Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, January 13, 2011

So you wanna get good at 40k? Introduction

See that game screen over to the left? That's Xevious, a top-down flier arcade game that I had in my basement growing up. It's not very hard, by today's standards, but it taught me a million and one lessons about gaming. The most important one? Community.

Now, Xevious doesn't have a big community. There are no forums. There are no conventions dedicated to this game. The vast majority of people don't even know it exists. But it was special to me. It's one of the games my father played, and one of his good friends with him. I got the machine after that friend was done with it, and spent an enormous amount of time trying to beat it

I had two problems trying to win it all: one, the game didn't actually end, it just looped at a certain point. Two, I was crap at it so I could never get there to find that out anyway. No matter what I tried, the enemies (laughably slow) bullets always seemed to smash right into me. I just couldn't dodge!
That was, until that same friend of my fathers came over one day and saw me playing. He looked at the screen. He looked at my face. He looked at the screen. He looked at at my face. Finally, he spoke. "Look at your aimer, not your ship." Then he left.

This was revolutionary for my play. When I kept (forced myself to keep) my gaze far out, I could see the shots incoming, and could easily dodge. I got rapidly better and better after that, but I wondered: how long would it have taken me to figure that out on my own? A year, maybe a little more of playing before I naturally started looking further forward? I doubt I would have even gotten there, I probably would have just stopped playing long before that. But one line from this veteran player, and I went from being awful to beginning my long ascent to being good.

This truth extend to all hobbies: information is skill. He who knows more, wins more. If you look in the right places, you can find knowledge on the net that will teach you more about playing 40k in an evening than years of experience will. Oh, but there's the problem, where do you look?

It's difficult as a blog author to figure out what you should write. I don't want to do random, useless daily posts that are entertaining but ultimately pointless. I don't want to do list building and critique sessions, because honestly there's people out there who do it better. I don't want to write "tactics" articles that explain the obvious, or tricks that only work when the stars align on perfect unit positioning. So, what knowledge can I share that will help? I mulled it over for a long time, and now I think I know what I can bring: I am very, very good at making people very, very good at this game.

So, this is the start of a new series that I'll be working on here at 3++ (and B&S) I knew I'd seen it before!. We're going to take a look at the strategy of 40k and wargames in general. We'll take a look at good advice, bad advice, and how to tell the difference. We'll talk specific methods to improve your game. Ideally, we'll promote a way of thinking that will make you great at not only this game, but at all games, in the same way it has for me. When I first started playing, there were tons of sites dedicated to helping 40k play. They don't really exist anymore, they've been replaced by blogs that cater to the veteran crowd, and are impossible to navigate for a new player. It's time to make a repository of information that will help players go from bad to good at this game, without getting stuck in between like so many people at the game store.

If you want to help with this, all of the following would be nice:

* Send me your army lists. It'll be helpful in later articles to be able to point out certain flaws in builds without having to make up an army myself. Please, PLEASE send a description of your strategy with your list, it's fairly useless without it. While I (probably) won't be posting list critiques, I'll do my best to respond to every one sent to me with advice.
* Send me ideas for articles. If you have a problem (or know someone who does) and I'm not covering it, tell me and I will.
* Send me an article. If you send it, I will post it. It'll get my critique, of course, but it will go up. (Assuming it's appropriate, of course.) You'll get full credit.

Most importantly:

* Tell me your 40k story. How did you learn the game? Do you consider yourself very good at it? What are/were some of the difficulties you had to face while getting better? What is the one piece of advice you would give to an absolutely new player of this game?

You can contact me at, feel free to send anything you feel like. I'll answer. Oh, and if you actually want to PLAY Xevious? Here ya go.

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