Sunday, 29 June 2014

Thinking about tactical objective cards.

Whilst out shopping yesterday I picked up a copy of the Ork datacards which contain a copy of the tactical objective cards. This lead to me pondering how how they could be used beyond the missions found in The Rules book as my experiences with them sow far have been mixed

So a quick recap is in order to explain what has lead me to try to create an actual tactical use for the Tactical Objectives. I have played two games with them now and each game has been fairly close in terms of casualties and board dominance but the results have been anything but. I was using my Guard (stop laughing, they don't always lose) and against Nics's bikes I found that one player could all too easily draw up the same objective turn after turn (the problem was exacerbated by playing the mission where you could steal each others objectives, meaning you could get one objective up to 6 times!). Against Lee's Daemons a combination of crazy Warp Storm and a six breasted beat down had left me trailing badly going into the last turn only for me to roll up three super easy objectives to pull it back to within a point. It was at this point that Will's criticism of not beaing able to make tactical decisions count seemed very valid (the case in point was that had Lee previously know that I had the objective to hold number 4  he would have prioritised killing the chimera which had one gun left rather than the unit of Veterans as the chimera was the inly unit I had with any chance of getting to the objective but the tactically sound choice given the information he had was to take out the Vets). 

All this made me wonder how I could create a scoring system using the cards. To create an asymmetrical game without the randomness causing players to stop making smart tactical decisions. I loved the 2nd edition missions where each player was trying to guess what the other was working towards. The games where Rob's Ork's would do something other than just rush down the throat of my guns would confound my battle plans as I would lose a turn or two trying to redeploy and wonder which of the misssions he had. 

So with 2nd edition as inspiration (much like most of GW's releases of late) I came up with the following as an idea to play test for possible inclusion in the next E.L.F event.

After placement of terrain players place the six numbered objective markers and determin deployment zones, Warlord traits and Psychic powers. Players then draw 10 random cards from the Tactical Objective deck (or roll on the table in secret). If a player draws a card that cannot be completed due to the required units not being present (no. Psykers in the opponents army etc) then the card is discarded and replaced. Players then choose seven card to keep and three to discard, they may keep that allow them to score the same numbered objective more than once per game (for example cards 22 and 32). Players may then choose to reveal upto three of their tactical objectives. Any revealed objectives are worth double. A player may only score one tactical objective each turn and may never discard or draw new ones during the game. All three of the standard secondary objectives are used in addition to the tactical objectives.

I don't expect this to be a complete fix to some of the issues of randomness but atleast you can make decisions based on a whole game plan and can choose to 'go big' by making your opponent aware of some of your objectives.

I'll try it out in my next game and would love to hear any feedback from folks who have given it a go.


  1. Very interesting idea Dave, i'll be up for giving it a go.
    The one thing it doesnt provide that i know the 'out of the box' version of maelstrom does is that mid-game dynamism. But it really is a struggle to balance that without also allowing for the problems youve highlighted.
    Might it be worth also trying something along the lines of 2 'waves' of objectives? an initial, say, 3 objectives at the start of the game, then another 3 at the midway point?

  2. There is a lot of scope for variations to give you more dynamic changes during the game. I was mainly focused on trying to create a mission with less random in game events to allow you to plan a little more.