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Sons of behemat are unsustainable


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15 hours ago, dekay said:

There's one more thing in play here:

Many of us remember the days of 7th edition 40k when they were flooding the game with mini factions (tempestus, skitarii, genestealer cults, cult mechanicus, talons of the emperor, knights), we have since learned that it was because of the ridiculous marketing strategy involving white dwarf release schedule, and it was widely regarded as a bad idea. AoS has of course fallen victim to this strategy too (early battletomes for bonesplitterz, beastclaw raiders and so on) but, the thing is, both 40k and AoS have since moved away from this strategy.

The factions have been either combined into bigger books (warclans, mechanicus etc) or developed with second wave of releases (genestealers, custodes, knights) or at the very least, in case of AoS, with new characters, underworlds models and endless spells (in case of factions with kinda reasonable number of units, such as flesheaters or fyreslayers).

And here, out of nowhere, we get SoB, entirely in line of the previous design philosphy that many consider a failure. So here we are, looking at their 4 unit-2 kit army list asking 'where's the other half?' Because everything else that was comparatively compact in the past has since grown.

EDIT, additional reflection:

Look at Lumineth. Folks call Lumineth unfinished and lacking their Tyrionic half, and it's a faction of 10 units, endless spells and now underworlds warbands too. almost 3 times the choice of SoB. Compare it to say, Bonereapers, another faction that came out of nowhere that, despite borrowing only 4 warscrolls from the earlier Legions of Nagash still feels very much complete.

The folks calling Lumineth unfinished and lacking their Tyrionic half are mostly (but not exclusively)  people who waited for the Tyrionic half in the first place. That doesn't make it an objective truth though. I'm really content with the Lumineth, and don't think they lack anything much. Mainly, because I always loved their magic side the most. If they'd released the Tyrionic side instead, I might have complained, because it was not the army that I wanted, although it would likely have been a completely playable and satisfying army for the people who waited for that. 

If they release a wide range of units, also some people are dissatisfied. Moreover if they'd given Lumineth everything everyone wanted, they'd have no weakness at all. A lot of people complain about the Lumineth lacking a generic melee hero (especially a mounted one). But if they'd had that, with the artifacts currently available to the army, their'd been even more complaints about them being OP. Or, if GW would have made the two sides strictly different via keywords, people would complain that GW is limiting their choices too much. But if they hadn't, that there are too much choices, or that some units don't really have a role and are useless. 

Because everyone has a voice, you always will hear complaints about anything they do or don't do. You can't really separate that from the agenda and preference of people. That doesn't mean that GW can't make mistakes. Maybe there would have been a larger market for the Tyrionic side for example. Maybe they should have just given people dragons. I could already see the complaint though that then there are too close to Stormcast. 

There is nothing generally wrong with the Lumineth though. The lore and how the army works on the table fits. All units can be used, all of the sub-factions are playable, the army has play style variety, some things they are very good at, but also some clear disadvantages, which is good. It's not perfect (some rules are still unclear or weird, some of the artifacts are pretty useless, and they might turn out to be too strong). But it's not a bad release at all compared to some armies who have a much larger roster. 

OBR - people complained about lack of faction variety and that there are several "useless" units (btw. about the lack of archers for example). You don't hear these complains about the Lumineth. 

 

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Who cares? It’s not disastrous, it’s not unsustainable, it’s just not for you. or for me, for that matter.  but if you don’t want to keep adding to an army, if you don’t want to collect 50 p

Why does it have to be "sustainable?" In fact every army is unsustainable, you run out of things with every force. Smaller forces like Sons will "run out" of options faster than armies like Slave

What is going on. Two threads in one day with the subject of just being plain negative about an army... I really don’t see the point in this. 

21 hours ago, Greybeard86 said:

I thought we were talking about monetary cost.

After your post, I see the "fixed entry costs" as being in two categories:

  • Money:  I think we agree that buying some different units for an army is cheaper than buying a new army.
  • Time / mental effort: Need to figure out how to play the new army.

Then, there is the "need" / "desire" to change playstyle interacting with this.

  • If you have small armies with few choices, it is "mental effort" is "low(er)", but the monetary cost of switching playstyles is "high(er)".
  • If you have armies with many choices, the reverse is true.

Personally, I think that "money" trumps the mental effort, as one is a "true" cost and the other is part of the hobby (making lists). The fact that there are "bad" choices in large ranges has more to do with GW having bad internal balance, though. But that's a different topic.

If you want to try a new playstyle, it is easier to do so staying within an army if that army has more choices. I think that's self explanatory? So if you have a "narrow" army and you branch out to another army for a different playstyle, you certainly pay a big fixed cost.

I think the reason why we come to different conclusions in this case is that I don't think that having more model choices in an army is the primary way of achieving playstyle variation. It's definitely one way to do it, but I think the real driver of varied playstyles are the available army rules.

As an example, I have a Legions of Nagash army which is primarily Deathrattle based. I run them as Legion of Sacrament alpha strike Deathmarch, for the most part. But without getting any new models, I can run them as a grindy Grand Host army.  Or as Legion of Night Hammer and Anvil with ambushing shennenigans. Or as magic-heavy Legion of Sacrament. Even though Legions of Nagash has a deep unit roster, I don't need to go out and buy bat swarms or whatever to try different playstyles.

What does happen, though, is that some playstyles are "locked" behind models. I won't be playing Legion of Blood to it's full effect unless I get a bunch of Blood Knights (let's ignore the fact that realistically, I'd just proxy them in friendly games to start). That would be less likely to happen with a smaller unit roster, since for a small army it's more reasonable to own "one of everything".

I think the lowest barrier to entry, both in terms of money and effort, would be with small factions with a variety of battalions or subfactions that enable distinct playstyles. That way, it's people can reasonably play the same army with the same models in it in multiple ways.

I get that in theory a wide army deep army roster can also drive playstyle variety. But I don't know that this is happening with all the armies that currently have big model ranges. Khorne, for example, seems to play fairly similar most of the time even though the army has a lot of model choices available. Cities of Sigmar has a lot of variety, but several redundant units (which is fair given that the faction is supposed to enable people to play their old stuff, whatever that may be), and the variety in play style seem to me to be mostly driven by the different allegiance abilites you get from the different cities.

So overall I get where you are coming from, but I just don't believe that a small unit roster necessitates buying a new army to try a new play style, and I don't believe a wide army roster necessarily leads to varied play style options.

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23 hours ago, Beastmaster said:

Maybe skirmish games would be more up your alley?

Can't quite believe you made that suggestion...  I think the 3+ hour game time is actually as significant a barrier to new players as anything else.  However I'm now derailing the thread so will stop 😉

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23 minutes ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

So overall I get where you are coming from, but I just don't believe that a small unit roster necessitates buying a new army to try a new play style, and I don't believe a wide army roster necessarily leads to varied play style options.

Thanks for the lengthy explanation and the specific examples.

I still believe that there is more "variation" to be had from a model of a horse and a model of a spear than from the same spear lad with two different rulesets. Let me just add this: it is not like large armies do not have or cannot have the same variation of rules that small armies have for their same units.

So, to sum it up, you can make a small army play in a variety of styles with "rules", but you can accomplish the same with a "large army" across two dimensions: i) rules, ii) models. So, all else the same, the large army has more variation in playstyle.

I gather that we agree on the fact that you can more easily re-use models within armies than across armies, thus collecting two armies being more expensive than collecting a single army with more models.

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4 minutes ago, Greybeard86 said:

I still believe that there is more "variation" to be had from a model of a horse and a model of a spear than from the same spear lad with two different rulesets. Let me just add this: it is not like large armies do not have or cannot have the same variation of rules that small armies have for their same units.

I don't know, man. Those skeleton warriors get pretty speedy at times ;)

I agree on all the other points, of course.

 

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I'm looking at Sons of Behemat differently

I'm seeing them as an experiment by GW, they're testing to see what people's single model price point tolerance is, and whether there's demand for big monster armies. This I suspect is a follow on to Beast Claw Raiders and the Thunder Lizards style armies that generated a lot of talk on social media when they came out.

If the concept is a commercial success, particularly if Mega Gargants start turning in in people's armies then we'll get more models. Almost certainly another type of Mancrusher-sized Gargant, maybe even a kit that themes them along the lines of the respective tribes. If not, maybe some gigantic pets instead. There's also scope for variants based on an additional sprue or Forgeworld based add-on parts.

Right now, yup the army isn't a big deal. You can collect a whole army in a few months and be done with it as a complete force (no need to go to 3k+ worth of models) but I suspect in time we'll see more IF it's a commercial success.

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54 minutes ago, Lucio said:

I'm looking at Sons of Behemat differently

I'm seeing them as an experiment by GW, they're testing to see what people's single model price point tolerance is, and whether there's demand for big monster armies. This I suspect is a follow on to Beast Claw Raiders and the Thunder Lizards style armies that generated a lot of talk on social media when they came out.

If this was the case Im fairly certain they would have made the Mega-Gargants stronger and thus more interesting to ally in. Imo there is no way they are worth 1/4 of your army + 1 CP without their alligiance abilities. Running a Mega-Gargant in your army is no different than allying in Gotrek. It is not optimal, it is just for fun.

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