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Playing With Myself: A 40K Solo Play and Solo Learn Experience

Playing With Myself: A 40K Solo Play and Solo Learn Experience

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Post Fourth Battle Thoughts and Questions

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Questions:

  • The scenario states that everyone draws one objective at the start of their first turn, but they get more every turn thereafter.  Should the Nids be drawing more at the start of the SW turn or only at the start of their turns?  I went with only on their turns but I really wasn’t sure.
  • The Orbital Bombardment strategy says I must pick a visible point on the table to hit.  How is that LOS determined?  Can I see over models to see the ground for area effects like this?  I was going to target elsewhere, but the only thing I knew I could see over the Terminators was the Hive Tyrant so I went with that.
  • I keep stringing out long lines of units to control multiple objectives and still keep the enemy in range.  I could take a 30 man unit of Termagants and wind them around 4 objectives like a snake.  It seems wrong somehow.  Am I cheating doing this?  is there anything to stop be doing this?

 

Thoughts

Before I continue and start sounding negative, let me say that if a  friend turns up looking for a game I will most likely say yes.  I am not giving up on 40k.  It has some merits.

Preparing for this game was a miserable affair.  I had had friends around for gaming so everything had been put away.  Getting out all the models for both sides, preparing the table, digging through the stacks and stacks of printout needed and getting everything ready took forever.  i got up from my painting table around 2.30 to play, and took the first photo of the deployment at 3.50.  I didn’t feel like I was dawdling either, but I must have been.  Even then, it was a painful experience that had me thinking about giving up before I even deployed.

I know setting up takes time for any game, but it seemed to take longer and more effort this time.  I think the extra 2 foot of table makes life harder as I can barely fit it in the room.  The amount of models needed is excessive.  The Nids had 2 30 man units.  I usually play Warmachine and I don’t always have more than 30 models in my whole army there.  As such along with having an oversized table, every available free space had models and foam trays all over it, along with stacks and stacks of printouts.  I could barely move.

Once the game got going things did pick up.  The terrain was making things awkward and decisions had to be made.  It was more interesting.  The extra Psykers were fun.  The Tyranids definitely want to get more of them on the table.

Changing from fixed objectives to ones I can score right away and replace seemed like a good idea, but, in this game at least, they appeared irrelevant.  Games seem to mostly run down to one side being wiped out before the turn count expires and that victory condition trumps any VPs earned (I think.  Please correct me if I’m wrong.) so the objectives and VPs felt largely pointless.  Perhaps with more games and experience, and more tactical play my opinions on this might change.  I’d have preferred to see a VP goal that can bring about an early win, be it “first to X points”, or “If a player has Y more points than their opponent”.

I did find there were too many rules sheets and stat sheets to keep track of.  I had 2 different sets of Stratagems, 2 10-ish page sets of stat sheets printed from Battlescribe, all looking identical.  I had the main set of objectives and 2 faction specific pages worth.  I also had the rules and the scenario.  Pages upon pages upon pages.  Then throw in the phases system.  This means I’m not dealing with the Hive Tyrants sheet and then the Carnifex’s sheet.  I need all the move values on all the sheets.  Then I need to dig through and find all the psychic abilities.  Then I need all the shoot stats, and then all the melee stats.  It’s never one page and its done.  All the sheets ended up in a mess.

I know that if I was playing my 50th game I wouldn’t be so dependant on the paperwork as I’d just know stuff.  I also know that if I was committed to this and had my preferred lists I could prepare cheat sheets.  A Psychic phase sheet.  Double sided a5 or smaller stat cards for each unit.  A deck of cards for each sides objectives so I could have in front of them exactly what they were aiming for and ignore the rest.  I could plan which Stratagems were relevant in advance, and perhaps have cards for those too.  There are things that could be done, once a player focuses on an army and a list.  It is a hurdle to overcome when getting in to the game though, double so when so playing both armies.

When I looked at my watch and saw I should already have dinner in the oven and I hadn’t finished round 1 I was not happy.  When it was gone 9 and I still had 2 turns at least left and I needed a shower and sleep and I’d been playing for more than 6 hours I was really unhappy.  I know that its taking me longer as I do not know the rules that well.  I also know that solo playing a game I do know takes a little longer than usual too, and I lose time every round clearing stuff off the table to take pics and document what happened.  I still feel that the game would take longer than I would like and I’m still 500 points off of  “full size” armies.

I do not feel that 40k is the game I am looking for at this time.  It needs way to many models and takes far too long to play, and there’s just too much work involved for how much fun it is, both in set up and strip down, and in terms of fighting with all the printouts.  Also just squeezing around the table without knocking stuff off of shelves.  The pricing is scary too.  A box of 3 Zoanthropes is £40 rrp.  In order to build a max unit and get the Neurothrope I’d need 3 boxes (and have 2 models spare).  That’s £120 rrp for a 6 man unit and a solo.  That feels excessive, especially when 2 of the models wouldn’t even be needed.  I dread to think how much I’d have to spend to get both factions up to a vaguely competitive level.

If a friend turns up on my door looking for a game of 40k I’ll probably say yes, but I’ll be checking the time available first.  I do have a friend who is interested, but has a new child so hasn’t really been available for a while.  I’d also want to play as the Tyranids, but they are all stupidly shaped and a PITA to transport, especially on a bicycle so I probably shouldn’t plan to take them out of the house.  This means that if I spend more money on 40K I really need to think about which faction I want to play.  I also get frustrated just moving the Gargoyles around the table because they are top heavy and spiky and those wings get in the way.  Moving a unit of 30 gaunts who want to stay base to base is annoying too.  Everything is in the way of everything else.  Overhanging the base is something all games are guilty of, but GW seem to be more guilty than others.

 

40k is probably a good game if you and a friend want to get together across a whole day and play one big game, roll some dice and talk toot, drink your beer and eat your pretzels, not really getting overly invested in the game.  I do suspect that for the cost and the effort involved you might be better off looking in to other games instead though, but its not a bad game if that’s all you’re after.  If you’re looking for something where you and your opponent are invested in the game and you feel like you are making decisions every step of the way and its you and not which way those 90 dice rolled for that one attack that decides the outcome then look elsewhere.

 

I think for now I am going to walk away from 40K solo play, and find a smaller scale, quicker game to try.  I have a few.  I am considering starting Home Raiders next.

Post Fourth Battle Thoughts and Questions

Given my issues with 40K do people think I might have more fun with any of the following?  Is the play experience comparable, or are the games significantly different?

  • Age of Sigmar (I have an unopened copy of  Realm of Chaos Wrath and Rapture, and 3 second hand built big daemons.  Should I open it or ebay it?)
  • Necromunda
  • Kill Team

Also, is there any aspect of these games that make them unsuitable for solo play, such as lots of hidden information?

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amachan
Cult of Games Member
17092xp

The scenario states that everyone draws one objective at the start of their first turn, but they get more every turn thereafter. Should the Nids be drawing more at the start of the SW turn or only at the start of their turns?
I’d assume it to be on the player’s turn. Which scenario is it?

The Orbital Bombardment strategy says I must pick a visible point on the table to hit. How is that LOS determined? Can I see over models to see the ground for area effects like this?
Good question, where is this Orbital Bombardment strategy listed?

I keep stringing out long lines of units to control multiple objectives and still keep the enemy in range. I could take a 30 man unit of Termagants and wind them around 4 objectives like a snake. It seems wrong somehow. Am I cheating doing this? is there anything to stop be doing this?
It is completely legal, some people may frown upon this strategy, but no rules forbid it. There are downsides to it though, because when you want to move the unit, either to pile in or something else you have to try to get the unit back in coherency, which means making gaps in the snake could bite you in the ass when you lose model from the unit.

amachan
Cult of Games Member
17092xp

Games seem to mostly run down to one side being wiped out before the turn count expires and that victory condition trumps any VPs earned (I think. Please correct me if I’m wrong.) so the objectives and VPs felt largely pointless.

Newer scenario’s in the latest Chapter approved have an acceptable casualties rule, which basically means that wiping out your opponent doesn’t win you the game.

zebraoutrider
Cult of Games Member
4615xp

Really enjoyed reading about your trials and tribulations throughout this project. I agree that the pressures of every day life can restrict time and money to build a decent sized fully painted 40K force, so I’ve opted for Kill Team which enables me to focus on small groups of minis and hopefully appeal to my kids that it doesn’t take too much effort to build a team to play and still allows them plenty of time to spend on their social media, Fortnite, etc. 😬😀

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