You’ve been married to 40k for a while now, and maybe things aren’t quite as exciting as they used to be. You barely even say hi to one another when you come home, 40k rarely changes out of its sweat pants and baggy t-shirt, and all you guys seem to do is argue. So I say it’s time to spice up your Chessex Life! (See what I did there? I’ve had a pretty decent pun subroutine installed.)
Battle HonorsWhenever one of your models does something amazing in combat and survives until the end of the game, add a special bit or marking that denotes a battle honor. Then give that model a name on the back of his base and write down his gory victories in a Battle Honors Log and be sure to include when and who you were fighting. For instance, my Tyrannofex Insta-killed Dante from over watching with his Rupture Cannon when Dante assaulted him. That is badass. Do you know the odds of that? 4.6% chance of that happening. So now my Tyrannofex has a Golden Helmet and Banner partially buried on his base as scenery and he is now known as Sparky. I let a friend name him. Don’t judge me. The same goes for vehicles; tally marks or transfers on the hull to denote stuff really adds personality to your army.
Make it “Your Army”Now, I know that in this hobby many players create their own army chapters and paint schemes. But a surprising number of people don’t add any sort of backstory to their army to answer the question “Why are we fighting?”. I find that it makes the game much more enjoyable if you use your army’s backstory to give meaning to your battles. Why does Chapter Master Asshat of the Astral Douche Bags want to claim that objective marker? Because … because it is a stockpile of spray tans originally intended for the Jersey Nebula! Boom. Now you’re fighting with feeling. You’ve been intensely watching your dwindling reserves of spray tan for weeks and finally found some! It was a close call though, if you had ran out, all of your units would have the Crazed special rule.
|Her make-up is so thick, it confers a 5+ Invulnerable Save.|
Don’t Make it “Your Army”I personalize all of my armies with backstories, but sometimes it is fun to play a scenario-driven battle that involves armies that aren’t “yours”. The local Planetary Defense Force fending off waves of Nids. A particular scene from a famous battle during Armageddon. That time the Ultra Marines performed a panty-raid on the Sisters of Battle. Your options are endless. Now, I know that you’re thinking “That last idea was just stupid” and you’d be right. Nobody plays Sisters of Battle. A-cha-cha-cha.
|My Panties are metal. And guarded by a padlock and anger.|
“So there I was rounding the corner of a shoe box on the planet Countertopia, bolter at the ready. Then out from behind a soup can sprang Genestealers! We knew we didn’t have a chance, so we retreated back to the salt and pepper shakers to prepare a counter attack! We couldn’t let anything stop us from reaching that giant ring of keys.” (Some of) You spend a lot of time painting your models to help immerse yourself in the battle, but then end up using some pretty terrible terrain. Instead of the whole “I-go, You-go” way of setting up terrain, I think it’s much better if one person sets up a scene depending on what your mission and the other guy chooses his deployment zone. This way it gives you a nice setting and a good reason for fighting with an actual scene that makes sense and has synergy rather than scattered random terrain. I enjoy using small scenic objective markers for missions. I have many ammo dumps, chaos alters, crashed escape pods, etc. but one of my favorites is my dead space marine for Relic missions. He is holding a device with important information on it (I guess) and both sides want to drag him around. But Dark Eldar players may want to keep in mind that, just because that Space Marine isn’t saying “no”, doesn’t mean he’s saying “yes”.
Narrative MissionsI like to give myself a reason for fighting; but it doesn’t need to be anything deep or longer than two sentences. Just a brief explanation why you are fighting and maybe where you are and what is at stake. Like downing some Uppers while watching Football, it helps me get into the game. Fighting for no reason takes the cinematic aspect out of the game and takes away your immersion.
Now play again, but with more feeling this time.