Sunday, 16 March 2014
Imperial Guard Morale Hopes for 6th Edition
The Imperial Guard are unique in how they deal with leadership. Most armies ignore it and many have a high tolerance for battle. However the Guard being predominantly human means there are many things (and with good reason) put fear into our soldiers. Luckily for us many humans have the charisma to instill hope in the soldiers, these generally make up the officers and command of the Imperial Guard and will be found on the front lines reminding the men of their goals and bringing out the motivation to fight and die. But its not just the officers, no the men have plenty of other organisations dedicated to keeping up their moral and discipline. Commissars, Priests, and some times inquisitors can be pivotal to keeping your army functioning.
I think that a willingness to fight is among the most important aspects of any war. If your men dont want to fight then they arent gonna perform well. There have been a huge number of instances where the morale of a fighting force have shaped the world we live in today. For example Alexander the Great had to stop his breathtaking conquest because his men simply refused to fight. America was brought to its knees in Vietnam largely due to the enemy going to any means to achieve victory, whilst many Americans simply wanted out. Of course these are put simply but moral is a huge factor in how well your men will perform. This phrase sums it up nicely:
"Do not keep asking too much of your men, otherwise you will no longer ask yourself, can they do it? Instead you will be asking, will they do it?"
I cant remember where I read a quote like that and a quick Google search wont help me, but I think its important for any Imperial General. When Tyranids are tearing the innards of your men in a gruesome melee you will be asking yourself if they will hold or break. Them holding can tie up the unit for an extra turn or keep that extra objective contested. May seem minor but one day it can save you. It has certainly saved my force before.
The current codex (5th edition) offers us much in the form of gear and units to keep our fragile units on the field. Off the top of my head I can think of Commissars, Priests, Company and Platoon Standards, many special characters and Vox casters (for orders). But there is a slight problem with all these that would be nice to have altered in the upcoming codex release.
Vox Casters: So we all know whats wrong here. The radio waves travel as far and fast as human voice. So instead of radios being used as a communication device, its used as a voice amplifier. I really hope this changes as I love the idea of Vox Casters on my men. Every squad that can has one. But its usefulness is limited. I think we all want to see Vox Casters work over long distance or at least a longer distance.
Commissars: I love Political officers. In many armies in history these guys would write letters for their men as he could read and write properly. Sometimes these guys would be used as a disciplinary force watching over every officer in an army. Unfortunately the ruthless kind are only available on the tabletop. I dont like that my beefed up sergeant will die straight away if he fails a leadership. I personally would like it if there was a way of Commissars affecting the battlefield without killing expensive models off the bat. So maybe there should be a 50/50 chance of letting it go or punishing the officer. After all a Commissar should know when and when not to execute men. It just seems the duty is taken a bit too lightly.
For a rank that was about more than just shooting those who lacked discipline. They where about monitoring the morale and discipline of the soldiers and more importantly making sure officers and men alike where dedicated to the cause. If they had to kill so be it. But I think they kill a bit too much on the table top.
Priests: I love the idea of having these guys. But unfortunately They are very pricey and can only work in a few units ideally. But for their price I (as casual as I am) have decided to avoid them this time around. They die a bit too easily and cost a bit much. I have no idea how I would fix them but I think they need something.
Banners: I like the Company Standard a lot. I think the radius of bonus it offers is pretty good. But the Platoon Standard doesnt quite cut it. It feels a bit wasteful mainly due to it only affecting the Platoon command and nobody else. I personally would give it a smaller radius than the company command squads option. I would take one straight away if that where the case.
Morale is important, but on the table top its just very pricey for what you get. After all for the points spent on these upgrades I could have an extra squad or 2 of men who would probably do more over the course of the battle. This is a pity really as it reduces the amount of character in an army. Banners will not be customized to fit the regiment for example. It all gets left behind for more guns and nameless bodies.
Unlike other armies we have these as a unique option. I cant think of any other army that has as many leadership based options like ours do. So lets hope in the next codex this gets a bit of a makeover and we may see them on the battle field a bit more.