Battle Brothers (and Sisters)
Warhammer Community’s own Eddie talks today about doubles tournaments, and why they’re one of his favourite ways to play.
Eddie: Two warrior-heroes, back to back, explosions erupting around them, battling against an endless tide of foes while orchestral rock ballads overture their glorious last stand*. That’s how I picture doubles events*.
4-player doubles games of Warhammer 40,000 are, for me, the perfect way to play. They combine the frenetic fun of a massive, multiplayer game, with the competitive edge of a standard matched play tournament.
I’ve attended a lot of doubles events in my time, from the Battles in the Age of Darkness to the Hobbit Strategy Battle Game, and soon, Warhammer World’s first doubles event for the new edition of Warhammer 40,000.
If you’re interested in attending, here is my 5 point guide to attending one of these events yourself, either in Warhammer World or near you.
Your Battle Brother (or Sister)
A lot of time, you’re going to be heading to these events with a friend who you play against a lot – this is really handy as you’ll understand their armies and how they play. It can be a lot of fun though, to go to these events with someone who you’ve maybe not played with much before – there’s no bonding experience quite like facing down an onrushing tide of Tyranid bio-constructs. Regular opponents, fathers and sons, husband and wives – the mix of teams that attend these events is one of the reasons they have such a great atmosphere. Even if you’re a naturally competitive gamer, say, playing one of these weekends alongside someone who approached the game with more of narrative mindset can be a surprisingly rewarding experience.
“Millennia ago on the black sands of Isstvan, you struck me down. Vengeance stands before you now, clad in Iron. Face me, betrayers!”
“Can’t argue with that I guess…”
Your Army List
Building armies for doubles games is a lot of fun. There are two general schools of thought here. 1) you plan both armies together and ensure that they work as a single cohesive force that covers each other’s failings and supports each other’s strengths. 2) Both of you bring whatever you like and you make the best of it on the day. Both are fun – planning the army as one force, unarguably leads to a more competitive, cohesive army, but there is an undeniable attraction in finding ways to make two very disparate forces work together on the battlefield in ways you might never normally try.
“Ok, my Genestealers are going to pounce on them from the shadows early on in the game.”
“No-can-do. The shadows are already full of my Mandrakes.”
“No, I’m in the shadows, you were going to shoot them. I don’t have any guns.”
“Neither do I.”
“Ah, this could be tricky…”
Your Painted Force
Theming a doubles army can be very rewarding, especially if you’re painting the force together over a few weeks or months on the buildup to the event. There are a few easy things you can do to make this work. Consistent basing goes a long way to unifying a force, as does a common colour scheme. From a narrative perspective, there are hundreds of examples of iconic pairings of armies that make for a more involved theme – a Salamanders strike force on Armageddon battling alongside a Steel Legion armoured column, a Genestealer uprising welcoming their Tyranid “Starchildren” overlords, a Word Bearers ritual summoning a warp-borne Daemonic horde – the list goes on. Doubles armies really open up your theme options to new and interesting places.
“I was thinking we could do a combined all free-hand painted checkered, non-metallic-metal, converted Harlequin masque, dancing across a kaleidoscopic rainbow crone world, what do you think?”
Finally, the tournament itself. You have your gloriously painted and themed doubles force (or not) and it’s time to get those dice rolling. These games are a blast. Even if you’re naturally inclined, like me, to try and play strategically and make the best gaming decisions, it’s hard not to get caught up in the narrative of the game, as you, your partner, and your opponents become interactive bystanders in an epic story unfolding on the tabletop. Awesome in-game moments always seem more memorable when there are four of you to witness them.
A word of warning though, make sure that you are confident your battle buddy and you have the same game plan if you leave the table, even for a few minutes…
“Hey, I got coffee for everyone from the bar, what did I miss?”
“Our men fixed bayonets and charged. Everything. I was sure of glorious victory. Brace yourself though, it did not play out as I anticipated. Did you know Orks are better than humans in combat? News to me. Anyway, here are your armour saves. Put down that tray, you’ll need both hands.”
So there you go, doubles events, and why I think they’re awesome.
*The actual effect, for me anyway, is sometimes more akin to two Grots arguing over the exact workings of a squig-catapult neither fully understands.
And don’t forget, you can play against Eddie and a few other members of the Warhammer Community team at the Warhammer 40,000 Doubles Weekend in Warhammer World on the 8th and 9th of July. Find out more about the event, and get your tickets here:
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