Blood Bowl Lessons Applied to 40K: Pacing

Pacing - Tortoise and the HareA few months ago I did an article about how Blood Bowl translates to 40K. As I continue playing Blood Bowl, I highly recommend it to anyone, I continue to find lessons from Blood Bowl that are directly applicable to 40K. This lesson is about pacing.

There’s a strategy in Blood Bowl called the 2-1 grind. How this works is you start the game kicking off to the other team in hopes they score quickly and then kick off to you with enough time left for you to score in the first half. If all goes well then you score after they did in the first half making it a 1-1 game and now they are kicking off to you in the second half. So, the last half of the game you slowly drive the ball aiming to score on the last turn for a 2-1 win.

The principle being used here is pacing and it’s two-fold. First, the team who receives the kick and drives too quickly up the field to score is pacing themselves too fast and opening them self up to a 2-1 grind being used against them. Second, the team looking to use the 2-1 grind is pacing them self in the second half of the game to use up as much time as they can while still being able to score. This makes it near impossible for the other team to score again and you take the win.

Pacing is a very real strategy in 40K, just as it is in Blood Bowl. I’ll leave the methodical application of this type of strategy to those better suited to writing about it. However, I will cover it in a general sense.

There are two types of games we commonly play in 40K. Games that focus on objectives and annihilation missions. In an objective mission do you rush out on the first turn to go squat on an objective for the next 4+ turns and hope you survive? Typically the answer is no, though like anything there are exceptions. Generally you want to keep your army together as long as possible so units are mutually supported and have a better chance of destroying the enemy while staying safe. Once a path is cleared, or you see an opening, then you move in for the objectives. Pacing yourself this way means you have less resistance getting to objectives, assuming things went to plan, and less to worry about pulling you off the objectives when you get there. Without the proper pacing, be it too fast or too slow, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.

The same is true of annihilation missions, though the approach often varies. Some armies can hit hard and fast out of the gates but lack staying power. These type of armies will normally want to get a quick lead in kill points and then back off and play defensively, content with their lead and looking to minimize the retaliation. They want to keep their lead while destroying opportunistically. Other armies are slower and more cumbersome and so they look to wear down the opposition taking points where they can and consistently or otherwise weathering the storm to close the gap and take the lead late game. Regardless of which method is used it’s all about the proper pacing. You need to know when to take it up a notch and when to slow it down and use time to your advantage.

What you’re looking to do in any game is be the one controlling the pace. Being able to dictate pacing gives you control and winning a game is all about control. The more you can control, the less choices your opponent has, the better your odds are of winning.

  • This is very true.  Pacing and pace changers need to be built into your list as well as your game plan.  And if you’re playing a timed game you need to be aware of how many turns you may get. 
    Personally, this is one of the things I struggle with most.

    • Yeah, in timed matches pacing is crucial. It’s tough because you don’t know if you’ll manage 5-7 turns like a normal game or if you’ll get stuck for time and only make turn 3. I make a point to check time after each round and evaluate how far I think the game will go. In my 2nd ‘ard Boyz game I knew we’d be stuck for time so I made my advances a turn sooner than I normally would have.

  • Anonymous

    Yep in my game against Ripped time moved way faster then I expected or could comprehend in the moment. This really hurt because I started playing like the game was ending turn 2 and we made it to turn 6, I think.

    • Yeah, and that doesn’t fly against a skilled player like Ripped.

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