Tuesday, 28 July 2009

PONDER: Do Armies Reflect Personalities?

By Suneokun.

Recently I had a bizarre sense of deja-va. Playing at a 8 player Apocalypse game I came across a doppelganger. Out of the eight players (2 Tau, Space Marine, Ork, Guard, Chaos Deamons and Marines and Eldar), I was delighted by the positive play and great sportsmanship around the table. Everyone had a great game, and while the forces of good conquered the forces of evil, I was most entertained by the behaviour of the players.

There's a very strong case for saying that Dog owner's become alike to their dogs (At which point Admiral Drax points out Cadfael is Mrs. Drax's dog.) and that parents are crafted by their children ... but are gamers who craft their armies in turn crafted by them?

"And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

One of my favourite quotes but how does it reflect in 40k. I actually thought 'little', but the battle on Sunday has pulled me otherwise.

The Ork player was a jovial fella who I would gladly play again and enjoy the undertaking, his approach to his models was typical Orkish - ie: carefree and flamboyant, casualties were fun for him.

The Tau player (including me) were strategic and cunning, measuring their plans and yet (still) dying in droves. As a comment, I would point out that one of my firewarrior squad (almost single handedly) shot down a huge ork biker (non nob) horde and then 7 Tau beat the 4 Ork Bikers in close combat - oh how I gloated... meanwhile the cluster of deep striking stealth and crisis suits made a mockery of the evil forces backfield.

The Chaos players (Marine and Deamon) threw things in at random and trusted to errr... chaos? And were devastatingly effective. Tythus and 7 Terminator IS a big ask in your backfield!

The Space Marine Player was dependable and thorough, toughing out the majority of the firepower and making it through.

The Guard Player simply accepted his casulaties and soldiered on, levelling his ordinance at the enemy and holding back the tide.

But my special focus is on the Eldar player... He was fielding an Eldar Titan - which is a bargain by the way, best value for money on forgeworld - and a fleet of Grav Falcons flying about brightlancing everything in range he pounded the majority of our superheavies into dust with twin evil pulsars while laughing off our return fire with his 4+ holofields... Then out of nowhere the TITAN LEAPS 36", shoots at some Vendettas and then assaults my Tau Crisis Command Squad... mashing a group of 5 models (including two gundrones).

This model had singularly the most 'fun' on the battlefield ... and while Tau EMP grenades and Vendetta Lascannons played havoc with his grav-tanks - this lanky dancer pranced, blew up and squished everything...

My rambling point was that despite all this, the Eldar player was wholely ungracious when we responded by blowing up his Titan. In fact he'd removed AND left before its fate was sealed... which leads me to ask a pertient question.

Fritz is clearly an accomplished player with a determined tactical approach. Judging by his blog he's also a challenging but fun opponent to play, mocking his own 'Eldar trickery' ... however, in my experience this isn't the norm.

I've played Eldar Players a lot and well their temperments CAN be as spiky as their models pointy ears ... after the performance at APOC it got my brain churning ... what if its the army that makes them ... well, a bit precious about their men.

So I'm pushing two questions out there:
  1. Are you like your army?
  2. Are Eldar players well ... like Eldar?
What's your thoughts?