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40k: Tactics – Movember to Remember

5 Minute Read
Nov 18 2010

This month we men folk are supposed to try to grow the best mustache we can to build awareness for the great planet of Baal.

Wait a minute.  Not Baal?  What about BoLS?  Still no?  Ohh, the other balls. Gotcha.

Ok.  Let me start over and before people think that I am not taking men’s health seriously. Below is a blurb about what Movember actually is before I go off on another 40k tangent.

“Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.”

This is for all sorts of men’s health concerns but for the sake of this article we are going to talk about Baals. I mean agucates… huevos… cajones or as my eight year old would call them, the Chinas. (don’t ask me why but I blame

I asked around to find out who has the biggest Chinas in 40k and initially everyone that was asked said they did.  This is clearly not what I was looking for but the answer made me believe I was asking the right people, people who play like they have a pair. This isn’t about who the ‘best’ player is because we all know trying to rank individual players in this game is a process that no one will ever agree on but I give out kudos to those that have tried. See here.

The Aggressive Player
What is playing aggressive all about and what makes it different from average play? An aggressive player will be called many things and the most polite name will likely be Power Gamer.

To the average player the term Power Gamer is not a term of endearment.  It symbolizes someone who does not play for fun.  It symbolizes someone who crafts the cheesiest army list they can.  It symbolizes someone who will use loopholes in the rules to gain an advantage over someone who plays much more casually.

For the record I do not like loophole advantages like the classic extra movement from pivoting debate.  I do like making the tightest list I can and while simply playing a competitive game is fun, at the end of the day winning is ultimately more satisfying than losing.

Just because you are playing to win doesn’t mean you should be a dirt bag during the game.  I have played all over the country and I can honestly say that there are probably four people whom I would ever consider dinging their sportsmanship score.  I have had my clocked cleaned by some of the best players in the country too.  They played to take my head off and they did it.  So how did they do it without earning the ire of someone who just had their alpha dog list crammed back in the box?


You can’t be a douche.  You can be right. You can prevent me from playing sloppy or being liberal with a rule. You can have a spirited rules argument. You can completely kill my army down to the man. You just can’t be a douche.

Being a bad sport will leave your opponent never wanting to play you again.  At a national tournament this might not be a big deal other than the fact that he can ding your sportsmanship score and instantly dirt your dreams of taking home the top prize.  At a local tournament or even on the weekly game night being a bad sport will quickly run you out of opponents. No one will want to waste their time playing with you.

We just covered what not to do while trying to be an aggressive gamer.  So what do you do? 

Know the Rules
You have to know the rules.  You have to know the subtleties of how the game works.  As an example: is something going to prevent you from missing an opportunity to muli-charge or simply forgetting to take advantage of the open topped rule on the damage chart.  Is something going to keep you from forgetting to Run during the shooting phase so you aren’t out of position for controlling objectives later in the game.  The rules for 40k are very permissive. They allow you to do all sorts of crafty things during the game.  They may seem shifty to an opponent who is unfamiliar with the nuances of the game but being an aggressive gamer you’re going to have to know how to use these techniques.  Sometimes you just need to be aware they can happen so you know what to plan against.

Master the Objectives
The second most important thing you need to do once the game starts is read the entire objective and completely familiarize with all the victory conditions.  A lot of missions in tournaments have a primary, secondary and tertiary objective.  This can be a lot to keep track of during the game. An aggressive gamer will have a plan in place before the first die is cast.  You need to be able to determine the ‘draw fest’ missions from the start. You need to be able to determine if you have no prayer of completing one of the objectives so you don’t waste time and resources trying to get it.

Draw fests are games that are incredibly hard for a player to win versus an equally skilled opponent.  This is typically a mission where there are only two objectives on the board and to win you must control more objectives than your enemy.  Both players typically castle up and make the other dig them out.  The only way to get a win in this situation is to play aggressive.  You have to find a way to basically eliminate your opponent’s entire army while leaving a scoring unit back on your objective.  It’s not easy.  This requires you to have a masterful command of the core game rules, your codex rules and a baals to the wall attitude that you will not go quietly into that good night and accept the draw.

Basically in situations like the one above and those like it you can’t give up.  You have to claw and scrape for every battle point or kill point or victory point.  Even when the situation seems grim you have to have faith in your ability, your list and your huevos.


It is easy to get your faith shaken if you have a few bad rolls early in the game or lose a couple of critical units.  Never give up.  A good general who can put pressure on his opponent will win more often than not.  You won’t be looking for any lucky sixes, you’ll be having a pre game gut-check with a side of man courage that you’re going to come out on top.

Tune in next October for my Ta-Tas of 40k article that I was too distracted to write this year.

So what are the makings of an aggressive player to you?  How does someone get the image of being a though opponent without coming off like a dirt bag?

Paul Murphy
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