Friday, July 8, 2011

Mordheim Tactica: The Opening Gambit

Mordheim is a very fun game, and right now it seems to be gaining some traction on the forum I frequent: Astronomican. There's a bunch of reasons to get into Mordheim, and they are the same reasons that I find myself getting into the game over and over again.

First off is the expense. While many of Games Workshop's games are very expensive to get into with some armies getting into hundreds of dollars. Mordheim's rules are free from GW's website, and it is possible to get everything you need for certain warbands for under $35. If you happen to play one of the many armies that has an associated warband, you might be able to play with everything you need with stuff you already own.

Second is that it is a campaign based system, and makes it great for a game club or regularly meeting groups. Most other skirmished based systems (Maulifaux comes to mind) have no way for improvement of your models, but Mordheim has that built right in! Although it does hurt it for one-off games, but it more then makes up for it.

Third, there's a lot of conversion opportunity. If you ever joined a full WYSIWYG league, then, man is this game for you! One of the great things about Mordheim is that it can be done with straight models pulled from their appropriate lists, OR you can really get into the weird and wonderful Mordheim look. Either way, you might just want to model someone with things that the normal model doesn't have.

However, there is a lot of easy to make mistakes that beginners make. However, there are more easy fixes then problems! So I present to you one of my favorite things, a numbered list of things to consider when creating your warband and running your first few games.

1. Armor in the opening gambit, and even well into the middle of a campaign, light armor even when coupled with a shield doesn't provide much protection. The 6+ (or 5+) save is negated half the time either by strength or by weapons with the cutting edge or piercing rules.

2. Numbers, numbers, numbers! The bigger the warband the less likely it is that you will suffer rout checks. This is especially true for warbands like Undead or Skaven who have lots of cheap expendable troops.

3. Ranged weapons rule far more in Mordheim then in the regular game of Warhammer. Any time you can possibly hit an opponent without them getting a returning hit is a benefit that cannot be over looked.

4. The best ranged weapon by far is the humble crossbow. With strength four, it will eliminate most armor, and wound most models on a 3 or better. Its main drawback is that it is move or fire. This seems much worse then it actually is, because you take a penalty to hit if you moved, and you don't want your ranged weapons anywhere where they can hit back.

5. Mordheim is far more of a three dimensional game then your standard Warhammer game! Remember the upper floors and roofs. If you can set up a ranged weapon guy on the top floor, they can choose their target instead of just the closest person. And the upper floors have an added benefit that some (zombies) models have a low initiative have a difficult time to try to climb up to get you.

6. Remember to stick to cover. This seems like a no-brainer, but there is nothing worse then a high cost model getting sniped by a Reiklander Crossbowman from a rooftop!

7. Animals and other things that do not get experience are only good in the opening games. Use them to fill out your warband in the beginning, but replace them as soon as you can. Things that can gain experience are preferable, even if they start out worse then an animal (or zombie), they can and WILL get better.

8. If you ignore every other piece of advice that I give, take this one to heart. Take every hero you can, and don't allow them to get into combat unless they are a monster! Heroes are how you make money in the exploration phase. Keep them safe at first. Let them get into it later, but at first keep them back, let the henchmen and animals do the work. Even if you lose a game, if all of your heroes survive you still make money in the exploration phase. Sometimes its better to lose then win. There are times when even those unbreakable warbands should cut and run. Unless there is a lot of wyrdstone or treasure in the offering, run before you end up costing yourself men and equipment that is expensive to replace. Weigh each victory before not running.

9. Remember that the club/mace/hammer is cheap and very effective! For many warbands, its the best weapon to take in the beginning. With the expanded stun range, it can help you knock down someone so that they stay down. Then when stunned, you can automatically take them out of action. Great thing to do is charge with your henchmen, and then use a hero to finish someone off. In almost every scenario heroes get XP for every person they take out of action. The henchmen don't get that bonus!

10. Don't underestimate the value of a helmet! A 4+ save on being stunned can often be the difference between a free curb stomp out of action or a roll over toughness!

So ten tips, and if you guys want, post and I'll continue with more tactica. Maybe some specific warband ideas, or middle/late game ideas.

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