Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Objectives

I want to talk about something now that is probably the most important part of the game. Something that influences deployment (which obviously influences the first couple of turns) but also something which influences the end game. Yes, I want to talk about Objective placement. Firstly, I'd like to admit that this is something that I have trouble with. I always spend 5-10 minutes trying to work out where to place Objectives but usually still pick places that aren't ideal. So, the purpose of this article is for me to put down some thoughts about what to do with Objectives and hopefully brainstorm my way into some good thinking.

Now, in my opinion, when placing Objectives you should be thinking the same kinds of things you're thinking throughout the game. Namely, how can I increase my strengths and maximise my opponent's weaknesses. For example, if I was playing against my usual MSU army, I'd see all of those Space Marines in their nice little tin cans and I'd be thinking about how to get them out. Putting an Objective in area terrain would force me to either risk driving into the terrain or more likely, I'd try and get out to claim the Objective. If you put a squad on the Objective, you can go to ground for a 3+ cover save and then I've got to take one (or maybe two) difficult terrain tests to try and assault you off the objective.

So, what are my army's strengths? Well I've got great firepower and mobility and while I'm alright in assault, 5 men squads aren't that difficult to wipe out. Being so mobile means that I don't have to place Objectives in my half of the board as I can always try and claim them with a late Razorback dash. Obviously Objectives are placed before table edges are decided but it means you don't have to put anything deep in a potential deployment zone. Having good shooting means that ideally I'd place Objectives out in the open where I'd have good lines of sight so I can shoot anything that is either sat on the objective or, even better, on their way there.

That all sounds pretty straightforward so lets look at bit at how we might try and maximise the enemy's weakness. Most purely shooting armies (Tau, certain IG builds) don't really want to move. They're quite happy sitting in their deployment zone shooting you to bits. If we place objectives away from their potential deployment zones so that they have to move and also in places where we can get cover on the approach we force them to move and take away their shooting advantage. Horde armies (Orks, Tyranids) have an advantage that they can claim two or more Objectives with one large squad. Here our plan is twofold, we want to ensure that they can't claim more than one Objective with a single squad but we also want to try and create a refused flank so that we can destroy each large squad piecemeal rather than trying to take them all on at once. Assualty armies (Orks and Tyranids again, Blood Angels, Black Templars) are quite happy to assault you off an Objective and will then happily defend it in assault through numbers, Feel No Pain or Preferred Enemy. We need to make sure that any approach to an Objective will be filled with so much deadly gunfire that anything that survives will be almost tactically useless.

Again, this all sounds so simple in theory. What is harder is trying to make this work for five Objectives, especially if you're placing second. I do think that a large part of making it work is experience, which is something that I don't have yet. Hopefully it will become easier and hopefully come Thursday, I'll actually follow some of my own advice here.

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