JStove is back for a quick hobby tutorial on how easy it is to make homemade terrain and how it can help you curb the dreaded alpha strike.
Jstove here, and I’ve been thinking about kittens. Bloody kittens. Big buckets of blood, of kittens. Specifically, I’m thinking about an editorial on a recent tournament.
If you didn’t read it, and you should, I’ll summarize it for you: Somebody rage quit on the top table of a major 40k tournament live on stream, right after deployment finished because they didn’t beat the seize roll for first turn. It was incredibly competitive alpha strike 40k and both players knew that whoever went first was likely to win, so he surrendered without a shot fired.
I’m not gonna sit here and talk about what I think about that. I feel that Tasty Taste already laid it out and there’s not much more to be said. We can cry all day about human behavior and who was right and who was wrong but my greater concern is the environment that enabled it.
The Savior of 40k: The Paint Can
Alpha strike 40k is a pretty big deal right now. Not just a big deal, but a big problem. Getting an alpha strike first turn was always pretty huge in this game, but 8E really took the training wheels off. With no-risk deep strike, assaulting out of vehicles, most twin-linked weapons becoming de-twinned and just having a double barrel (which rises exponentially in value the better your Ballistic Skill is and the less you need re-roll security), and the overlapping bubble effects of support characters, the 40k player has more firepower at his disposal on turn 1 than ever. If he’s got that magic <Imperium> keyword, just pack up and go home.
All this means is that now, more than ever, we need to talk about terrain. It’s a chronic issue at tournaments, where the tournament organizers have to transport and populate 60 tables at a time. Now it’s more evident than ever. If every model in your army can draw line of sight to an enemy model at turn 1, you’re not playing with enough junk on your table. It’s that simple. If big guns can shoot clear across 48” and flyers can move without having to dodge skyscrapers, you’ve got a problem.
A lot of rules in the game right now are abusive or just rushed and lazy. There’s no fix for that except waiting for a codex and hoping that the codex addresses it. In the case of Forgeworld, that day might never come. The only thing you can do to curb alpha strike 40k today is to put more crap on your table.
The good news is that giant, line-of-sight blocking terrain doesn’t have to be expensive. On the contrary, it can be cheap. Go to Home Depot and get a handful of 99 cent black spray paint cans. Then go into your garage and grab every paint can, coffee can, and $5 Home Depot orange bucket you’ve got. Then spray those suckers black and throw them on the table.
Congratulations, you’ve got an industrial park full of chemical tanks. You’re set. Now look across the table and see… Not your opponent’s entire army. The paint can, savior of 40k.
In case you’re not following, here’s a coffee can.
These are beer cans with a Keebler Studio lasercut frame on them.
Here’s the tabletop of a successful weekend of drinking.