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The Facets of Force
Old 26 Aug 2008, 20:42   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Facets of Force

The battle is decided by these four things: Force Assembly, Force Deployment, Force Roles, and Force Application. These things are how you build your force, how you place them in the beginning of the battlefield, both what you have designed your units for and how you have decided to use them on the battlefield, and how you use your units to target your enemy’s. Of the most neglected of the Facets is the Force Roles, there are a lot of fancy equipments out in Warhammer 40,000 and it can get quite distracting when assembling your force. This is a general outline for your battles and should be adapted to every battle differently; it is a chaotic thing war and dice.

Force Assembly:
This is where the battle starts. What you decide to eqiup your force with is vital and likely decides quickly how the battle will evolve over the 5-7 turns that it will take to resolve. We have options on how to approach the first tier of a Warhammer 40,000 battle: we may be aware of our enemy and plan to best outfit our force to combat the known enemy, or we may not know our enemy, and plan an army to either overload a target version of the battle to win, or construct a force that is the most adaptable to different enemies. More on target versions later in Force Application.

Known enemy construction is the usual method of force assembly as likely in friendly games (or in some battle of egos) to be used. This is when you insert units, models, or equipment that will best neutralize the assumed force. Its usual that you don’t know the specifics of the enemy’s force, but general stereotypes of that force or known tactics of the operator of the enemy’s force. For instance, if you are aware that your enemy likes to swarm with large cheap units, then you will likely respond with a force that works to maximize volume of fire or explosive ordinance. This is the most optimal situation for force assembly, but is usually not the case with more serious tournament play.

Overload of battle sector is an option when building for the unknown threats. It usually involves exerting a lot of pressure on one target version of the battle in the hopes of achieving victory. This is characteristic with more vehicle oriented armies because of the toughness of its units. These armies, now less likely to proliferate with the fifth edition rules on scoring units, are dependant on overloading the hard target versions of the battle. It can be quite powerful as it can deny the proper application of units more specialized for soft or moderate targets. It is however unbalanced, and the success might not be as steady as a more adaptable force assembly.

Adaptable force assembly is a balanced approach at an unknown threat. It is designed to use units with specified target strength in mind. A usual army constructed this way will likely have units designed to neutralize soft, moderate, and hard targets. This, with a strong and competent player, will likely yield more successes on average than the Overload method of force assembly.

Force Deployment:
The forms of the deployment are basically in three types: the defensive organization, the offensive organization, and the responsive organization. In fifth edition, the person who deploys first must only decide with the first two options how his units starting the game will sit. The second player will nearly always take a responsive deployment, as it is the hope of most players to get this option. Let me define my terms:

Defensive organization is when you plan around an enemy’s attacks, or assumed plan of action. This might include hiding units behind cover in your deployment phase so that the first turn of fire doesn’t cause them too much harm. This is likely a better deployment option for forces that are less capable of receiving incoming fire well, or when attacking a superior force (or one you believe is superior to you). It is fundamentally flawed however: would you rather be the catapult or the wall?

Offensive organization is when you plan around your own assumed play of action. This would include placing units in such a position to give them the best places to fire from, or the largest “Fire Lanes”. This is best suited for armies that either out range their opponents’, or can take the incoming fire well. When you are unaware of your enemy’s deployment, it is likely the best option. However, keep it flexible enough to adapt, or be responsive to the enemy’s deployment.

Responsive deployment is the most popular, whether the user is aware that they are using it or not. More common in 4th edition when deployment was unit by unit, it is when you plan with your enemy’s general deployment options revealed. This is the most suitable of deployment options because it will adapt to the now developing battle ground. Examples of this would be to hide a tank behind a building to block the line of sight to the opposing anti-armor unit. All forces benefit from this type of deployment.

Force Roles
All units are usually designed for a target version, and usually fill very well that role. Some units are given a degree of animosity and adaptability to approach multiple versions of targets; its best, however, to design each unit in your force with a role in mind. This helps you better formulate how you will use this force and stick to it throughout the battle if it permits. Without direction of roles, you might be tempted to use inappropriate force for targets or dilute the unit in its role to a “jack of all trades, master of none.” For example, a Stealthsuit Team from the Tau Empire can have one out of three models equipped with a Fusion Blaster. This weapon is not quite to a benefit of the role the unit is supposed to play. The standard weapon is that of the Burst Cannon, which is designed for soft and some minor moderate target roles. The Fusion blaster on the other hand is designed for high end moderate targets and hard targets. The introduction of this weapon into the team means that it is now less effective at soft/moderate target roles, and is less effective against hard targets than other units available to the Tau Empire. If one were to equip the team with this weapon, they would have a unit that would fit neither role very well, and in doing so decrease their overall efficiency on the battlefield. If you construct units with battle roles in mind, you might better oppose your enemy’s units.

This type of role identifying is another facet of the battle: matching the enemy’s targets with appropriate force, whilst denying him the same. You might do this by sending a Stealthsuit team against a group of Imperial Guard infantry, which is quite ill equipped to deal with such a threat. This represents a simplified “Rock, Paper, Scissors” kind of organization of the battle. However, keep in mind that the cost of the unit in your Force Assembly might be inappropriate for the target you have selected for them. You might have neutralized the Imperial Guard Unit, but it only cost 80+ points while the unit that destroyed it cost upwards of 200 points.

Force Application
Where and how hard you hit is the basics of any strategic or tactical situation. In Warhammer 40,000, both sides are equal in strength, and so it is vital that a player strike as efficiently as possible to further his or her likelihood of surviving/winning the conflict. Two variables are part of this facet of the battle: the amount of force, and the targets of that force. There is three degrees of force: minimal, appropriate, and overloaded. There are two target types: the target of value and the target of opportunity as well as the version of targets: soft, moderate, and hard.

Minimal force is when either there is no application of force to a particular type or version of target, or it is lacking of appropriate force to neutralize the target. A enemy might have a hard target, and you either ignore it entirely, or apply not enough force to deal with it correctly. For example, you might attempt to puncture an armor value of 14 with a 6,7, (Which cannot ever penetrate the armor value) or 8 strength weapon (Which can barely penetrate the armor). This application of force is not appropriate for the target, and likely could be better spent elsewhere. The volume of fire is also part of this force, while it might be quite unlikely to pierce the vehicle with a strength 8 weapon, if you have sufficient amounts of this weapon (statistically you would likely need 6 Strength 8 weapons to achieve one glancing hit) it would then be an appropriate application of force.

Appropriate application of force is when you meet the target with the most suitable weapon. This is the most efficient methods of application of force in most situations. This would be when you use a large blast weapon to eliminate a massed target or when using strength 9 or 10 weapon to puncture armor value of 14. However, if the force exceeds its statistical requirement (two Strength 10 weapons should pierce the armor value 10) then it becomes an overloaded force.

An overload of force is when you apply an inappropriate amount of force to a target to eliminate it in excess. This is an unnecessary application of force, and will likely pull resources from the application of another target, reducing overall your efficiency on the battlefield. An example would be to use strength 10 weapon to eliminate an infantry squad with toughness 3 and/or very low armor saves. Not only could this weapon have been likely use better against another target, it also will not do as well as a more appropriate weapon for the soft target. However, if there is an element of the enemy’s force that threatens strongly your likelihood of victory, it isn’t seen as an overload to attack a target with an excess amount of force—but be weary, because you may ignore another target that will become quickly dangerous as the one you just eliminated. If you watch for Giants, you will be devoured by the Ants.

The Target of value is a unit that is the most vital to the enemy’s attempt at victory. This might be the transports of an infantry heavy force, or the artillery pieces of a very ranged oriented force. It is usually the best pathway to victory to eliminate these targets with appropriate or overloaded force, as they are vital to the enemy’s victory in the conflict. It is important to focus on these targets than those of opportunity.

Targets of opportunity are units that have presented themselves in a way that puts them in a strong danger of being eliminated by your forces. This could be a vehicle that has exposed its rear armor, or a stealth unit that has left its cover. What is vital to the difference between a target of value and a target of opportunity is that it is a target that isn’t vital to the success of the enemy. They usually serve to distract the opponent from the most vital units of the player’s force. Be wary of any player that places his or her units in such a way that makes it susceptible of incoming fire as it is likely a decoy. And in the reverse, you might also use your less vital units as targets of opportunity to your enemy. It must be stressed though, that a good commander does not take sacrificing a unit lightly and could quickly change the battle should it be a bad decision to do so.

Soft targets are the bread and butter of more horde oriented armies. They are usually targets with low toughness and high saves. They are almost always cheap and are usually in large groups to make up for their weakness to incoming fire. The most appropriate weapons for such targets are large blast weapons, template weapons or high volume weapons. Many times, these targets are either low priority, or are designed to strike indiscriminately against some sort of target.

Moderate targets are infantry models with fairly high toughness and low armor saves as well as most light or open topped vehicles. The appropriate forces for these targets are usually strength 5 to 8 weapons with armor penetration values of 2 or 3. Although it must be said that if you can force a high volume of possible wounding hits, it can be just as effective as a weapon that has a more powerful and slower rate of fire. It is possible for soft targets to become moderate targets by situational or environmental cover saves provided by fortifications or more natural elements of a battlefield. They may require a harder hitting weapon to remove the threat therein.

Hard targets are usually the monstrous of infantry models and the heaviest of armored vehicles, like tanks. Usually these are expensive and vital units, and quite a lot of force must be applied to appropriately deal with these threats. Weapons with strengths of 8 or above are usually needed to deal with these targets and all the better with armor penetration values of 1. It is quite hard to apply an overload of force to these targets, and more often they receive minimal force.

I hope we can start a dialogue for this "document" I've created. I figure we could use a general statement on how to play WH40k or any strategy game really. Its talored specifically, but is likely appropriate for any game or real life application. If you think of any amendments, quote the section you are amending and give corrections or thoughts. I'd love to hear what you guys think about this.
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Old 26 Aug 2008, 21:29   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Facets of Force

Get this man some karma. Like now.

I'm not sure what I can add, man. Seriously.
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Old 27 Aug 2008, 01:52   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Facets of Force

You seem to have summed up all my thoughts very nicely . I second the Karma call.
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Old 27 Aug 2008, 03:01   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Facets of Force

Karma given.
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Old 27 Aug 2008, 12:02   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Facets of Force

That was a very well written and very informative post. Great job!
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Old 27 Aug 2008, 15:18   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Facets of Force

Nice job and congrats on the karma. You basicly covered it all so I can't really add much...
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They hating,
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Trying to fix him with with a dark lance
Trying to fix him with with a dark lance
Fix him with a dark lance,
Try to fix him with a dark lance.

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Old 28 Aug 2008, 00:03   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: The Facets of Force

I'm quite happy that you guys find it so nice. I wrote it in hopes of a framework of how we might discuss unit tactics. I think its a good way to focus on how you might use them on and off the battlefield. any thoughts on this?
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