June 27, 2013
So, the other day I was talking to one of my little weeaboo minions about how their lives will one day help shape the greater good… and I stumbled onto a most unintentional truth that had never really formed in my mind to that point. While comparing and contrasting the merits and fatal flaws of the various races in this game we all love (and to which we sacrifice vast amounts of time and money), he asked me why I play Tau.
My answer at that time was of course brilliant, but now that weeaboo school is out for the summer, I have had a chance to think a little more about the question, and I intend to poop out some rather lavish blather in answer. And it gives me a good first post, to boot.
I play Tau because I like them. I like their models, I like their their rules, and I like their fluff.
I believe that there are three basic types of people who choose Tau as their first army. Those who want to bring the heat and blistering firepower, those who immediately fall head over heels in love with the clean, sleek-lined 'techno' look of the tanks, fire warriors, and battlesuits, and those who are at least subconsciously tolerant of the notion of good aliens and the concept of the greater good. Let’s examine these motivations, shall we?
We all like 40k, and to some extent, the other people who play it. But one of the things that makes us choose Tau from the start is that we like way the army looks. I like armor, and tanks, and battleships, and weapons, and supersonic fighter jets. Jane's Fighting Vehicles was one of my first non-fiction books, and I still have my copy from the 1970’s. So what, I’m old, bring it on.
But I am not really interested in playing tank games with tanks that look kinda like modern day tanks, if you know what I mean… Imperial Guard, ho hum… And the green army men thing, get outta here. Blue is way better.
I like the segmented armor of the fire warriors, it reminds me of the Samurai of Feudal Japan. And Tau tanks remind me of the grid-tanks in Tron, one of my all time favorite movies.
Who doesn’t like futuristic tanks, cool alien armor, and battlesuits? When we were eight we all liked dinosaurs, then it was hobbits, and then of course tanks, and then we jumped straight into transformers and gundam. Then it was girls, at least for some of us. But the truly dedicated consciously choose to remain in that sweet spot developmentally between coloring between the lines and dropping a strength ten railgun blast right between someone’s eyes. Which brings me to firepower.
Fire power, and fire warriors. I mean come on, each fire warrior has a strength five shot with a range of thirty inches from one of the best small arms in the game. These guys can shoot targets on the other side of the table on turn one. Throw in a Cadre Fireblade and a nearby ethereal and a unit can pump out fifty-one shots at 15 inches. The math-hammer god scores that at least 4 wounds on marines.
(Edit: Twelve firewarriors naturally get 24 shots at 15 inches, a fireblade has one more, plus an extra shot for himself and every other warrior in the squad if they do not move bringing the total to 38, and a nearby ethereal gives them all one additional shot, totaling 51.)
The new codex just reinforced the notion that Tau is indeed a synonym for firepower. Between Broadsides with missile batteries and firewarriors with a buttload of pulse rifle shots, and not to mention overwatch and supporting fire... Tau make it rain.
And lastly, Tau players get a lot of guff about the Greater Good, and many of us like it. I mean life as a human in 40k has to suck. The new human scripture goes something like,
“For the Emperor so loved the universe that he sent his only mutant begotten gene seed sons to vanquish his enemies from it. And that whosoever believeth in him, and assisteth his gangly minions, should not perish from the earth, but have everlasting life, erm, at least until someone else kills them.”
Let’s face it, humanity has a bleak outlook. So let’s examine the Xenos.
Eldorks are glass slippers. They are beautiful, but expensive and brittle. I admire those who can play them well, and their ability to pull off a smashing victory once in a while. But I also love to see them lose to Tau. And every Eldar player I’ve known (about half-a-dozen) thought very highly of themselves, very highly indeed. Most shouldn’t have. Respectable race, tragic story, supercilious players. It is worth noting here that I have recently purchased a number of Eldar units to use as allies… hmm…
Then there is the Dark Eldar and the Necroids. Beautiful armies if they’re done right, but who plays them? The answer? People who like to tear shit up and who do not wish to be conformists while they do it. Not necessarily dark and broody people, but come on, one race thrives on pain, and the other has this eternal hatred thing going. Death rays and splinter rifles--talk about Emo and Screamo… Oh, and Dark Eldar vehicles actually look like glass slippers…
Chaos, more of the above, without the self-mutilation. The two races in and of themselves are pretty scary, I mean they’re based on Demons and demonic possession. The demons themselves are very random, and that bothers me, I would go mad if I ever had to run them. Beautiful models, I admire some of the work their fans put into them. And speaking of fans, Demon players are some of the nicest and coolest people I have met at our local store (outside the game that is). CSM is another story. These are essentially the Emo kids with crappy band t-shirts.
My little minion came into our local store a few days ago and bought the battle box, a set of battlesuits, a skyray and a riptide. His folks dropped $350. I loaned him a squad of my old metal pathfinders and a squad of old-style Broadsides until he can convince his parents to unload another $200, . Of course, he's 14, and may switch to magic next week, but I think he's off to a good start
Orks and Tyranids are the last two. I will be first to admit, I absolutely do not understand Orks. Talk about random, I believe people want to play them mostly for comedic effect. Sometimes it’s like a cross between keystone cops and holy crap, Batman, we’re about to be assaulted by these mouth-breathing idiots. And Tyranids are actually scarier than demons, like the aliens from the Sigourney Weaver movie. The Harpy model should look like her, don’t you think?
But seriously, folks, Tau got the bright end of the universe as far as fluff-politics goes. And people are obviously not the armies they play, I was just having a little go at my fellow Xenos players. I really do love the game and how GW has woven it together with each race having its own aesthetic, combat capabilities, strengths and fatal flaws. There's something for every wargamer, and that's quite amazing if you ask me.
So all kidding aside, we play Tau. We are blue, weeaboo space communists who are allied with flying bug-people and space-chicken cannibals. We are masters of the rail gun and battlesuit, and our stealth suits now rock. We have the riptide, the broadside, and the donkey punch. We are the original Blue Man Crew, and we're bringing sexy back.
We are Tau.
** Next time, did you know that we have access to 17 different battlesuits?