I’ve been thinking about Warhammer a lot recently, as you’ve probably noticed, and something occurred to me this morning while I was over in Stelek’s neck of the woods.
Fixing Dwarfs, Warriors of Chaos and most of the armies with limited tactical capabilities would be so very very easy: bring back Dogs of War, and ignore the whinging gobshites who droned on (and on, and on) about them being a CRUTCH for WEAK PLAYERS who didn’t know STRATEGERY, and didn’t seem to twig that that’s what mercenaries are for – helping your army do stuff it can’t usually do.
A good general identifies their weaknesses and takes steps to mitigate them, and if that means paying some forriners to bring their fancy pew-pew and boom-sticks along, so be it. A poor general is one who ignores the facts and buggers on regardless, entering an engagement they can’t win, and frequently gets poems written about what a noble idiot they are.
Nothing has annoyed me more about Warhammer than the player base’s rejection of the Dogs of War. They were a bloody marvellous opportunity for the thinking gamer, they let painters get some variety into their collections and, because they were optional, the player who wanted to retain the thematic purity of their army and didn’t care that they were missing out on things that could help them win games… well, that player could do that.
Except, of course, those players did care about winning games, they’d just fooled themselves into believing that they didn’t, and so they kvetched and moaned when people who’d got their priorities straight turned up with a full toolbox and proceeded to drill them a new one.
(I know that they did this because I’ve been one of those theme-over-effectiveness types myself, and I’ve whinged that whinge that comes from making a decision and following a goal and realising that I care more about winning than I think I do.)
And, of course, their defeats were the fault of the stupid, broken Dogs of War and the stupid WAAC players who used them, and nothing to do with the ill-defined priorities of the people who’d missed the opportunity they represented. Everything is always everyone else’s fault – and no, the irony is not lost on me here.
The point is, though, that I think Warriors of Chaos (for instance) could be massively improved by spending their Rare slots on, say, Menghil’s Manflayers and a unit of Ogre Leadbelchers, or Ruglud’s Armoured Orcs; that gives them shooting, scouts and skirmishers, three things they don’t normally have, three things they desperately need, and three things their existing Rares are very bad at giving them (because the Hellcannon is just one shot, and an expensive shot at that; two Hellcannons means you have the firepower to encourage your enemy to close with you, but not enough of any army to fight them effectively when they do). That would make the army more fun to play, and I don’t think it would compromise the theme hugely: indeed, I remember when playable Chaos forces included Dark Elves and greenskins all the time (hello Realms of Chaos… hell, hello fourth and fifth edition with your lovely Allies rules).
What are those Allies rules in the core book like, I wonder?