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El Baile de la Muerte – The Art of the 40k Battlefield
Old 05 Dec 2008, 09:03   #1 (permalink)
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Default El Baile de la Muerte – The Art of the 40k Battlefield


The art of maneuvering, countering, attacking and defending is all part of a grander scheme of winning, or maybe even bringing your opponent to a standstill which is often true when it comes to war zone. With the endless waltz of conflict, one can dance to the beats of gunfire, the crescendo of explosions, and the riffs of falling munitions as one moves about gracefully in the halls of death.
This is the El Baile de la Muerte, the dance of death.

Of course upon the tabletop, we are not fighting with our lives, but nevertheless the objectives of victory and defeat is but the same.

I often find that on the tabletop, each person will try to engage themselves in a dance of tactical and strategic maneuver, aiming to achieve the objective while also trying to eliminate as much of the opponent as possible while also keeping casualties to a realistic but minimal extend. Whether it is a SIGAFH fighting against a Mech Eldar, or an Ork Ravensquig against a White Scars army each will to maximize upon their capabilities while negating the other player’s capabilities.
Hence I will go about using terms that are often associated with dancing to the battlefields of Warhammer 40000.

The Physique of a dancer – The Army Incarnate
When it comes to dancing, every dance, no matter what style, has something in common. It not only involves flexibility and body movement, but also physics. If the proper physics is not taken into consideration, injuries can and are likely to happen to the dancer. Hence they would need to understand and train and tone their body so that they will be able to perform the physical stress required of the dance.

The same can also be said about a wargamer in general, as a player would need to understand and also train themselves to fight in their peak performance in whatever battle style that they like best. If the strategic purpose can be compared to the dancer’s mind, the army list can be compared to the dancer’s body as the army lists and units are the extension of this purpose, a tool for one to exercise their will upon the table.

Hence when it comes to playing in a friendly and also competitive environment, one must understand the goals and also capabilities of their own gaming list. Whether the want to sacrifice endurance for a faster tempo, or speed for a impenetrable firebase they will need to tone their list down to that single objective.

Even then, theories are just theories and thus you would need to bring your test-lists for a test run and just as a dancer would practice dancing for hours to get their choreography right, a wargamer must also fight several battles with their lists to make sure that their lists really works to what they have in mind about the army. If it does not work, it is back to the drawing boards and the process begins anew.

The Rhythm of the Dance – The Strategic Rock-Paper-Scissors
When it comes to dueling, the two duelists will face each other to a fight with dancing style in accordance with their training and skill. Hence when it comes to this ‘dance’ among wargamers, each will bring their own brand of battle philosophy to the table and will slug it out with each other. Sometimes they are of similar nature, sometimes they are total opposites of each other.

When the two players are similar to each other, there is a saying that goes like this , “The one which have the better defence will win”, This is because they are in essence fighting against themselves, and thus they will know each other’s strength and weaknesses. Thus by common law of battle, one will try to investigate and find chinks in the armour of the other in order to deliver the mortal blow while also defending oneself from such an attack.

However, the same cannot be said in regards to two players with quite different doctrines. When it comes to these kinds of battles, the main goal of both players are basically to undermine the other player’s advantage while maintaining their own advantage.

Both matchups are basically a case of strategic superiority, where one is to try and achieve victory in one’s own terms, and for all intend and purposes this can be considered the rhythm in which the battle will be fought.

The Dance Floor - The Battlefield of Decision
Whenever two dancers goes on the dance floor, they would see the condition of the dance floor and also other factors such as audience and the judges so that they know what to do when they are going to dance on the dance floor. The same can also be said when it comes to surveying the battlefield.

In 40k, there are many different things to consider when it comes to the table. Objectives, cover, Line of Sight, these are but a few things that a gamer would take into account when they are deciding upon the tactics that they are going to use in the game. Whether it is a barren table with several objectives to be captured, or just a heavily-terrained area with annihilation in mind, these will come to mind when the players are going to decide if they want to adapt their styles to the table.

The Dance Moves – The Act of War
When the two dancers finally decide on dancing against each other, they will begin to show all the labours of their training and also skills to gain the advantage over the other dancer, each coming up with even more spectacular moves. Occasionally there will be blunders or mediocre dance moves, but nevertheless the dance must go on until one gives up.

How does this apply to wargaming? This is the phase where you will begin the battle of attrition and manoeuvre with each other, preventing one another from getting the upper hand, attacks and counter-attacks each will try to gain the advantage by exploiting the weaknesses of the other and will attempt to outdo the other in a dance of death.

The Judgement
Finally after the amazing dance, it is up to the judges and the audience to determine who among these two dancers is the best, and most often than not it is a close one. The one who is awarded as the best dancer will achieve much recognition and the adoration of the crowd, while the other dancer will either be booed, or will be applauded for t efforts that the dancer put on the dance floor. Sometimes there will be times where they are tied, and thus they will have to do a sudden death bout to finally determine who is the winner, and if even then they are tied, the two dancers will hold the tile of the best dancer together.

For 40k, this often means whether or not the players achieved the objective of their battle, whether it is annihilating units or capturing objectives. The one who is closest in achieving the objectives will win the game.

The dance of death is a concept that truly showcases the beauty of a fight, as each party will shine at their brightest whenever they are pushed to succeed at all cost, and even though their opponent may be vanquished in the end, but the respect for their opponent still lingers on in their mind.

The same can also be said about 40k, and thus if possible try to engage in a dance to fully enjoy the many aspects of the wargaming hobby, and never be afraid to fight against new opponents for you may learn something from the match. Rebirth will follow soon after death.
Guide to keeping:
Scorpions : Corn Snakes : Basilisks

Originally Posted by Emlyn
Originally Posted by FT
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Old 05 Dec 2008, 11:42   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: El Baile de la Muerte – The Art of the 40k Battlefield

Way to complicated. Unfortunately, none of this really applies to 40k. A neat read, for sure, but essentially you've just stated a bunch of Sun Tzu style generalities which cannot be executed in game. Sure, you could explain it as an "elaborate dance of death", but in reality you're still running those guys towards the opponent to assault, fligning the skimmer to contest the objective, and holding back and shooting exactly as expected per unit.

It isn't your fault that this doesn't apply. This isn't bad guide, by any means. However, 40k simply isn't flexible enough or detailed enough to integrate this amount of subtlety. Were it that you took the plain guise of the experienced player rather than the zen master of war, it would probably be 8 paragraphs shorter, but not qualify as a guide. Very nice try though, and there are certain specific elements that could be helpful to new players.
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Old 05 Dec 2008, 15:52   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: El Baile de la Muerte – The Art of the 40k Battlefield

I pretty much agree with Ninja Ork. There isn't room in 40k for something as subtle and complicated for this to take place. If there was though, it would truly change the aspect of the hobby. As it stands, the closest forces are going to get to this are heavily themed armies that are strictly designed to perform in a separate way, more so than an army simple driven in a specific direction.

The only way I can see this taking place in 40k presently is with the Harlequins, and that's only really adaptable with fluff where they often perform plays and dances. Although I can't be sure on this as I've never played a game that included them.

Whether the want to sacrifice endurance for a faster tempo, or speed for a impenetrable firebase they will need to tone their list down to that single objective.
I disagree with this statement though. There's no such thing as an impenetrable firebase. There is always a way to defeat a certain tactic, though it will usually take time and possibly and significant amount of tailoring to do this depending on the effectiveness of that tactic.
Also, it isn't necessary to totally sacrifice one aspect of a force to to accomplish a single objective with that list. For instance, you may choose to take a few Tactical Squads, Sternguard and Devastators which makes for a powerful firebase. However, they may hold an Assault Squad in Reserve to harass the enemy from behind their own lines as they're advancing upon the immobile firing line.

Originally Posted by Minako
That may just be helped by massive boobs though, i'm female. I don't know how that shiz works...
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Old 06 Dec 2008, 22:08   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: El Baile de la Muerte – The Art of the 40k Battlefield

Hm, I was expecting this a bit later than it arrived.
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