Sunday, 20 October 2013

Gaming Focus - The Art of Objective Placement in 40K

Evening all, in today's post I'm going to look at objective placement. In 6th edition objectives are king, and where to place them on the board is paramount to your success at holding them and ultimately going on to win the game.

Now, I'm not saying that I'm going to give you the be-all and end-all guide to placing objectives, but hopefully this guide will help some of you think about how you place yours in your future games.

So, lets get cracking. Below is an example of a typically set up 6'x4' table in my FLGS. As you can see, there is a ruin in each corner quadrant and one in the centre (the grey bits) and then scatter/area terrain between (the green bits).

For this the purpose of this guide, we're going to go with the Dawn of War deployment set up, and on the diagram you can see the deployment zones and table centre line marked on it. But obviously the principles mentioned can be put to use in Hammer & Anvil and Vanguard Strike deployments also.

Example 1 - x2 Objectives 

In this first example, we'll deal with each player having one objective each to place. In this type of game, most players tend to gravitate towards placing their objective in a chunk of terrain in their own deployment zone and castling up as shown in the diagram below. 

Before I go any further, I should point out that the objectives on the diagram are the solid, coloured dots in the centre of the circles. The circles are the 12" zones around the objective where you can't place any other objectives. This "control zone" (as I like to call it) is actually a powerful tool that you must learn to harness to give you the upper hand in the game.

Right, back to the guide. As I said, when presented with a 2 objective game, most players tend to castle up in their deployment zone as above and it generally turns into a game won by the player who gets First Blood and/or Slay The Warlord. This is of course unless one player decides to grow a pair and launch an assault to clear out the unit claiming the opposite objective or contest it. Either way, it's not a very exciting game with an inevitable outcome. Yawn!

The other issue with castling up is the potential to give away an easy secondary in Line Breaker. Think about it, if you place your one and only primary objective in your deployment zone, and your opponent decides to go for it to either claim or contest, you're basically inviting them to get Line Breaker, feasibly handing them the win on a plate through minimal effort on their part.

To try to mitigate this, don't place your objective in your deployment zone. Try placing it in the midzone, just outside your deployment zone as shown below. This still gives you the choice to castle up nearby in cover and then go for the last turn claim but also negate the Line Breaker threat somewhat. I know what you're thinking, "I'd still go for Line Breaker, it's easy!", but be honest with yourself, when playing how often do you get tunnel vision for the primary objectives and the killy secondaries and forget about Line Breaker? Psychological tactics you see. If you get tunnel vision, what are the odds your oppo does too? 

Example 2 - x3 Objectives

Things get a little more interesting when you've got more than 1 objective each to deal with, and this is where things start to get tactical. That's what we're going to look at in this example.

Ideally, you obviously want to place first as then you are in complete control of where your oppo needs to go. This is where the "control zones" come in. These are actually used as cover denial believe it or not. I'll demonstrate below:

Player B wins the roll off for objective placement and places their first objective in the midzone. Note how the placement means that the control zone extends into the central ruin. This serves 2 purposes. Firstly, there is no way that Player A can now legally place their objective within the ruin, denying them the option of deploying scoring infiltrators straight into hard cover on an objective within the midzone. Secondly, the actual location of the objective marker in Player A's half is enticing. If he takes the bait, it forces him to place his unit in the open if he wishes to claim it, leaving it vulnerable to shooting attacks (get those big guns ready!) and easy to assault if necessary. However, fight the urge to claim this objective yourself early in the game as it leaves you open to the possibility of receiving an asskicking in the same vein as you were hoping to deliver, unless you have some hard as nails scoring unit you can stick on there such as wraithguard etc.

Next up, Player A gets to place his objective. Let's assume he wants to play it safe and keep a home objective to give him a bit of security. The table now looks like this:

Player B then gets to place the final objective. Now this is the kicker as the final location is really dependent on the type of army you have. If it's a fast army then the final location should be in your oppo's deployment zone to give you Line Breaker if you get there. If it's a slower army then it should be in the midzone to prevent your oppo getting Line Breaker. Lets assume Player B is an Eldar player (like me!) and has a load of jetbikes in his army. So he places his final objective like so:

This final placement again forces Player A to claim the objective while out in the open and exposed to attack. This kind of layout allows Player B to corral Player A's forces and effectively control the movement of Player A's army and hopefully pick it apart and leave Player B to move onto the objectives at his leisure.

For games with more objectives, just take the principles discussed and expand on them. Same process, just more markers. Also, with more objectives you can also give yourself a freebie in your home deployment zone, just remember to give your oppo more tempting options in the midzone so that your home objective is ignored.

Now, as I said before, this isn't the be-all and end-all guide but hopefully it's been of some use. Just remember, it's not an unbeatable system and Lady Luck will always do her best to screw over your best laid plans but don't forget, fortune favours the brave!

Any thoughts? Anything you'd do differently? Hit me up in the comments

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