Character Defined Armies: Yay or Nay?
by John Venegas
Codex: Ultramarine Wannabees.” From a rules perspective, it cripples many formerly useful units while giving players no brainer (and often required) units such as Sternguard Veterans and their “kill everything from a gretchin to a C’tan” guns or the now infamous Assault Terminators with thunder hammers and storm shields. But in one respect, the book manages to offend both its depth of background and its rules potential: characters., in its current fifth edition format, has presented a host of problems. From a background perspective, the book should be titled “Codex: Ultramarines and
Aside from the typical Lysander? Does Ko’sarro Khan really have to show up in every White Scar assault? The easy answer to these questions is that Games Workshop makes models for all three of those characters and overhauling the rules to influence you to buy them is a fairly practical business decision. Thankfully for those of us who consider ourselves house rules developers, we are not bound by such market constraints. complaining we see on most forums, I have particular issue with character defined armies. Why is it that I cannot run a fast, assault driven army without Kayvaan Shrike? Why is it that I cannot setup a stubborn Imperial Fist battleline without Darnath
From a hobby perspective, character driven armies are terribly disappointing- almost as much as the idea that we can just pretend that a model of Belial, Grand Master of the Deathwing, is actually an Ultramarine Captain (because remember, we all want to be Ultramarines) leading a fearless Terminator force. It is unimaginative, restricting, and boring. Nevermind that the Imperial Fists are the Imperium’s finest siege lords. Nevermind that in all their ten thousand year history, Captain Lysander has only been in service for a few centuries. All Imperial Fists amount to now are Ultramarines who are stubborn and led by a dude with a hammer.
That said, I do believe very much that special characters, when taken, should have a strong influence on the army that contains them- that is precisely what makes them special. But this can be done without being boring and without hurting a business model. I have seen the effects of going crazy with overly intricate rules and I know that ultimately there will always be people who find that their armies are not adequately fleshed out by the rules given, but there is an achievable balance. There is a place where fun and well-tested rules can be used to let us live the Warhammer 40k universe through our toys.
An excellent article by John Venegas. Lets hear from the readers. How do you guys feel about Chapter Tactics and the idea in general that a named character defines your army?