Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dwarfs.. a small problem????

I was tempted into starting my Dwarven host for WFB as a result of a fascinating discussion on the South Island War games forum about how boring dwarves are to play. My first thought (already recorded on an earlier blog) was, how could you be bored by a lot of very short guys with lots of attitude and big axes? As I have also been 'gaming for 40 years this year (yep, 1969 I started) my experience suggests that if an army is boring then either the rules are rubbish, or players have developed stereotypical ways of playing that cause the boredom.

So, I thought, there's only one answer: build an army and start playing differently. So, i bought the army book and my first battalion box of GW figures, and have already started painting them (a small confession : I had planned to 'speed paint' them to get an army on the table. Sadly my painting habits - I am a fan of layering- have meant that I just can't bring myself to 'speed paint'.. damn). I also thought.. I've heard nice things about tournament players in WFB.. hard but good humoured etc), I've even anticipated playing in a tournament or two. An inspection of the army book seemed op present a number of appropriate alternatives that would allow for a range of interesting tactical alternatives that might make for interesting games instead of the 'boring (or predictable) games' that, I'd heard, are the norm.

Imagine then my surprise when, talking with a 'gamer whose opinion I have no reason to disbelieve, I discover that the alternatives I am contemplating are 'cheesy'!!!!

I HATE the word, but I've met the concept before. In the last nationals competition I played in (WW2,.. Natcon 1981.. in which Brian S and I took out the title as a team) we played an army that consisted of two Tiger Is and a Panther.... in WW23 terms that's 'cheesy'!!! I resolved after that experience that I would never play in a competition again.. I broke the resolution on 2008 and played at TagCon in their DBA competition.. thanks guys for showing what a good competition can be.

However provided you stay within the legal army book I am a little puzzled about why army composition could be considered 'cheesy'.. (I hate the word so much, I'll refrain from using it anymore in this post!!). But apparently I'll lose sportsmanship points 'big time' if I do so.

OK.. now I'm really puzzled. In any games that I play, I'm looking for interest and entertainment. I tend to lose at least as many games as I win, and I'm certainly NOT a power 'gamer. But if using the legal army list is frowned upon by one's opponents, and sportsmanship scores suffer as a result, it's NO WONDER that games involving Dwarf armies are boring.

Really, guys... how can you expect anything else if you basically 'cower' players into one paradigm of army composition, and therefore of play.

I have no problem organising armies that are legal, and looking for ways to create interesting tactical situations that make for entertaining armies.

But this attitude (if I have this correct): does this mean that if WFB players played Modern Spearhead, then you would frown upon opponents using Counter battery fire, or attack helicopters, is MRLSs, or Gas??? These were technically a possible part of any warfare on the modern battlefield, and are encompassed within the rules system as a result.

If specific army compositions are allowed for in the army book of a fantasy games system, isn't that an equivalent to CB fire, or gas or.... I had planned to lay outside the existing paradigm in order to create interesting games, fun games.

I am puzzled by why they are in the lists if they are considered to be 'ch...'.. no I can't say the word any more. Surely dwarf miners, or gyrocopters or.. whatever, anything in fact that alters the style of play, can't be that dodgy. Or maybe some folk just feel threatened by out of the box (but inside the army list) thinking.

I am hoping that someone else reads this blog post, and can assure me that what I have been told is not true, that this little rant was unnecessary... if it is true, then I've invested $$ and quite some time already for a 'gaming experience that I may not enjoy,


  1. Thats a shame Robin, perhaps you should have stuck to 20mm Caesar Dwarves and HOTT? :-)


  2. LOL.. a fascinating discussion has developed over on the SI wargames forum... sufficiently encouraging that I'll persist...It';s tiem we played some more HotT though...

  3. Indeed. When?!


  4. I know quite nothing about WFB, and ven less about the way dwarves are handled thru those rules.
    The most important is the pleasure of gaming...
    It's a shame that people play rules, nerves and clock only.
    It's also a shame that some people could think a player wish to do so only because he "like" a specific army or corp or unit.

    So, a useless comment, but my sympathy...


  5. I wouldn't worry, my idea of a cheesy army is just one that's heavily in favor of one phase example spending all points on wizards or dominating the shooting phase.

    good luck with dwarves

  6. Hi Robin,

    have read your post and think that there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. I love the Dwarf gyrocopters but hardly see them in games. Most players dont use them I guess because they are "useless." If that is the case why are they in the armylists? I say go for it....unless you are playing against my brettonians....then its cheesy :)


  7. Well... if the WFB doesn't work out you can always re-base them and use them to do battle with your HOTT undead army!

  8. good information, good blog, nice review, thanks for sharing

  9. if you write a list that is "Themed" and justify any troop choice you make by incorporating it within that theme then you should score well at any tournament you enter , cheese or not.

  10. Unfortunately GW make it quite clear that their game systems are "not" designed with tournament gaming in mind. Hence why there has been a movement for some years in the Oz/NZ regions toward "comp'd" gaming in WFB and 40K. Its an effort to balance out the army books which are not all "created equal". Hence yes, there are "options" which are considered somewhat OTT or "cheesy". Dwarves don't have too many of those apart from the "Anvil Gunline" list... which isn't very much fun to play against, nor to play with.