TastyTaste over at Blood of Kittens has been running a series called In Defense of 1500 that I’ve found interesting. When I got into playing 40K with my friends we were always playing 1,500 games, sometimes we’d go up to 1,750 or 1,850. Initially I was building my army and couldn’t do very large games. However, after I had my Orks built up to a relatively large army we still continued doing smaller games, occasionally tossing down a 2,000 for the fun of it.
After a few years I finally decided to head down to a local shop to check out the 40K scene. The games being played there were larger. A 1,500 game was small and an 1,850 was more the norm with 2,000 not far behind. I adapted and didn’t really think much of it until I began reading Tasty’s series and I have to agree with him.
For me the fun in a “smaller” game, what we’ll call a 1,500 game, is that you can’t bring all your toys and you’re faced with needing to make decisions and sacrifices in your list. Do you bring a good all around list, do you instead grab minimal troops and focus on bringing a big hammer unit, do you go heavy anti-tank and forgo anti-infantry…on and on and on. In a game of this size you just can’t be good at every aspect, you have to pick and choose and to overcome your weakness you need to be a good general.
In larger games it’s easier to cover all angles pretty well. You can take a hammer unit without hurting your core force that much, the points are there. Hell, you may even be able to take two hammer units and just smash your opponent. You have so many models that losing a unit doesn’t hurt nearly as much as with a smaller game, especially since there tends to be so much spamming and general redundancy in your list. In general I just find that larger games are less about the better general and more about the better list.
I do enjoy larger games from time to time. It’s definitely fun to throw down a game of 2,500 points now and then just to drag out all the fun units and see how bloody a battle you can have. In general though, I find smaller games more fun and more balanced. Which brings me to a good article Tasty posted about just that. Well, not specifically about that but about The Truth behind GW Playtesting.
You’ll find in that article that playtesting is done at a level of 1,500, which has been speculated but I had never seen anything definitive to prove it. I’m not surprised both based off Tasty’s series on it and the difference between Americans and British. For us Americans it’s always the “bigger is better” mentality with everything: homes, cars, food portions, anything really. We’re an exceptionally competitive nation on top of it. You mix the two things and you get ‘ard Boyz, which is an event held in the US only. The British though are a much more mellow culture that doesn’t put as much focus on the competitive side of things, football aside. Being that they created the game then it should come as no surprise that things are balanced out at 1,500 with less focus on competition.
What do you think though? Do you enjoy the “smaller” games, the 1,500 range, or are you more of an ‘ard Boy, playing 2,500 games as the norm? Why is it you prefer to play that particular game size?