Today I'm taking a moment to look at something I personally really enjoy, but is often stomped underfoot by larger more flashy things - small games. Some of the best games I've ever played had less than 20 models a side, and I can't count the number of Friday night 500 point games I've played.
I've even dug out some old photo's of "Legion Wars" an escalation campaign that I started with my brother when we began our respective Salamanders and Night Lords forces. As we were both starting out we decided to make a rule that we could only field painted models from our new armies and gradually worked up the cost to about 500 points in the end by making week by week additions to the forces. At first we even took away unit coherency and let every model operate by themselves as long as they were outside of 2" of each other, letting them freely form and dissolve units at will in the smallest 5 a side skirmishes.
In the increasingly big game obsessed world where you can't swing a lasgun without hitting a phalanx of allied Imperial Knights, I thought it might be time to look at the pros of small games. I've given a list below, and man, does it make me want to play a small game!
10 Reasons to Enjoy a Small Game for a Change
- You don't have to paint as many models. Meaning you can spend more time on the ones you have and actually stand a chance at getting them finished!
- Your infantry are more effective, as the battle will be far more focused on them and the part they play.
- There is less room for "broken lists". In 500 points you'll struggle to fit 2 troops choices and an HQ in, let alone all those Riptides and Wraithguard!
- Every man counts - you can't waste your units when there's no backup!
- You don't have to buy as many models - save money and add to the collection slowly, rather than aiming for 3000 points right off the bat!
- The narrative is better. It's just true, in a smaller game those small accomplishments are more memorable - when Captain Brellion sacrifices himself to lay a Melta-Bomb on your dreadnought and they die in a glorious blaze you'll be talking about it for weeks. Less so if the dreadnought was ruined by a pile of Centurions from half the table away, before the whole thing is incinerated by a Titan moments later with no real effort of dynamism.
- A faster game - one you can fit in on a weeknight and still have time to relax in front of the TV (and also enough time to avoid that marital dispute that's coming because you've been taking too much time on your hobby!!). Less set up time, and less time to pack away too.
- Easier rules - Having trouble keeping track of all those formations and blanket special rules from your opponents codex? Not such a problem when they only have 4 units on the field.
- Drama in small places - suddenly a Dreadnought or Carnifex is a behemoth of the battlefield - with the comparative resilience of a super-heavy. You'll enjoy seeing those sometimes forgotten units shine for a change.
- Power to the people - some of the less popular horde armies suddenly seem rather powerful, try fighting a swarm of hormagaunts at 500 points and see if you can make it past turn 3!
|Sir... something's wrong with this planet, the horizon ends 15 feet away - and did you see the size of that cat!|
|Unfortunately, this outflanking manoeuvre didn't really go as planned...|
You'll also become a better player and learn a lot tactically when you don't have those ever-present "big guns" to back you up. When every shot counts and you've got no super heavies to do the hard work - try getting it done with an autocannon for a change, like a real man!
|You have to admit - it looks dramatic already, but when was the last time you thought that when 2 scouts shot at a single marine in the open?|
|Without the issue of unit coherency, the squad were finally free to get some space between their noses and Sergeant Bathinko's flatulence.|
|I knight you Sir Decapitatallus, you may now rise.... oh wait...|