Undoubtedly, Warhammer is a game of skill and strategy where opponents employ clever tactics in order to win. There are some, however, who take this one step further and bring advanced mathematics and statistical analysis to the (gaming) table.

Now there are those who would deem this kind of behaviour as missing the point of playing a wargame, after all isn’t the idea to have fun? By bringing along pages and pages of equations and calculations are these people missing the point? Well, not everyone does it to create an unstoppable force on the table.

An inevitability of Nerdom

While the motivation behind some of these mathematician gamers is the drive to win and succeed at all costs, it would be foolish to assume this of everyone. There are some who enjoy delving deep into the world of numbers and take great pleasure in seeing them in action on the table. It is the inevitable outcome of having a game with mechanics which are deeply seated in math(s) being played by a group of people who are already predisposed to all things deemed ‘nerdy’.

Tools for the job

But what about the rest of us who do not have a master’s degree in applied statistics? Well there are calculators out there for this very purpose which are freely available on the web. Such as Mathhammer40k. By inputting values, taken from the stat lines of your 40k units, you get a nice and easy to understand readout as to how effective they would be against a particular opponent.

The calculator is broken down into several categories: Shooting VS Infantry, Melee VS Infantry and Shooting VS Armor. It’s a very useful way to backup any tactics you may be wanting to try out. After my own tinkering I was able to statistically back up the fact that, in a Guard vs Space Marine force, fielding heavy weapon teams with lascannons over heavy bolters and autocannons was statistically more effective. The final column shows how many dead marines there would be on average.

Now there are downsides to using these calculators, and I’m not talking about not being able to write ‘BOOBIES’ upside down on it. If you allow yourself to become reliant on calculators are you really learning anything? You cannot predict and prepare for every situation so you must be able to think on the fly, and without making those mistakes by yourself you may not develop that ‘gut feeling’.

Bad Sportsmanship or a Valid Asset?

As useful as these are I wouldn't condone using this in actual games as it has a good chance of annoying your opponent, unless you have agreed upon its use prior to playing. I can’t imagine many people receiving the good sportsmanship award after they’ve pulled this out half way through a match. However, there is no problem in using a calculator like this to support your choices when constructing an army list. What you must understand though is that using calculators like these does not equate to an instant win. In Wargames, its not just about playing the odds it’s also about tactics and strategy as well.

Ultimately it comes down to your play style, are you one for spending days pouring over rule books and army lists trying to squeeze as much as you can out of those last 10 points? If so Mathhammer is right up your street. If on the other hand your favorite part of building an army list is creating a backstory to explain each of your choices, then this program probably isn’t for you.

So what are your thoughts on this, do you employ mathematics to achieve a tactical edge, or is simply having a good game enough for you? Let us know in the comments.

written by Madrilous

Hot On The Wire.

Tutorial: Painting Warlord's Plastic Roman Legionaries

My friend Scott got very excited by my 28mm Roman project. So excited he's been amassing an army of his own. I have to paint them though...