In praise of Themed Armies

Spang MagakanSpang Magakan It always seems odd to me that most people never name their characters. After all, your general is meant to represent you on the battlefield. It's such a nice way to personalize an army. You may not care if those Orcs over there get pounded to a greenish paste under the hooves of those Khorne Chaos knights. But if it's a case of Skabby Da Skragga an' iz Skraggin' Pals being shredded by Khraraak the Shredder and the Ancient blood-brothers of Shred suddenly it seems more important. Plus you can give your guys silly names. What more could you want?

Personally, I've always named my characters. Right back in the days when I started playing 2nd edition 40K (Back when Orks had background which said they could shred marines, and rules which said the opposite) my army was lead by Rogsnot Da Pulverisa, a mighty Bloodaxe Warboss armed with a Chainsword and an Autocannon. He had a trusty right hand man known as Major Moaner. And the army had a theme. I decided that I wanted to play with Bloodaxe orks. Bloodaxes, for those not reared on 2nd edition 40K are Orks who have been influenced by the empire. They wear camouflage (sort of) and come up with plans (sort of). Admittedly, I only did this so I could take looted imperial vehicles, cause they where more powerful than the Orky ones and there were actual models for them.

I didn't have any background for these guys, but they did build up grudges against my Brother's various Terminator only space marine chapters.

These days, I always have a background for my armies. Even my Blood Bowl team (which I only used twice!) has a background! My Lost and the Damned horde has a strong and detailed background (complete with bad poetry!), and although I never did work out a good name for the leader, I can tell you which inquisitor ordered their planet wiped out. Part of the reason the background is so strong is that we ran a campaign set on my home planet a couple of years ago. It really gives you an incentive to play your best if you are fighting for your home world! The battle turns from merely being two slightly (or very) geeky guys pushing around toy soldiers to a vital and desperate battle for control of a strategic location.Fatso the SquiggothFatso the Squiggoth

So I always theme my armies. It's what sets them apart from the crowd. It makes them more mine, and it gives me the opportunity to explore the background of the race. That's why my WFB Orc army (Waaagh! Grabthug) is a slave raiding Orc force, and all the gobbo slaves are in chains while all the warmachiens have bullies. That's the reason why I have a squiggoth instead of a Giant. That's the reason my 40K Ork units all have names, every nob has a name, and some of the ladz even have names. That's the reason my 40K Ork vehicles are all converted from WWII armoured cars, trucks and tanks. That's the reason my upcoming Dwarf army will feature a Keg Thrower, not a Grudge thrower.

Simply put, themed armies are more personal and more fun. They give you great opportunities for conversions and paint jobs. They can give you a great reason to be fighting a regular opponent, and they can even give you the opportunity to make special terrain to go with them. Plus the earn bonus points at tournaments!

So why haven't you themed your army? Go on! Give it a try! You'll never look back.

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