[NetEpic ML] Cheese or not cheese

From: Ian McDowall <idm_at_...>
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 13:07:25 +0000

Hi guys,
I've been following the recent discussions about army makeup and cheese and
wanted to stir the mud up with some thoughts.

Before I start, let me claim that I am not advocating cheese in any form.
I am principally a historical gamer and so I am used to balanced armies and
being restricted in choice of available troops (that's the fun of some
armies). I am also not defending cheese such as setting up dodgy terrain
or bending rules.

BUT - one of the attractions for me of SF based gaming is exploring the
capabilities of troops and armies and I want to suggest that arbitrary
troop restrictions may not be the best answer. If extreme armies work too
well then maybe the rules are at fault. For example, consider some armies
that have been slated recently as examples of cheese - an all heavy weapons
infantry force and an all heavy armour (titans etc.) force. Also, we could
throw in an all aircraft force from an earlier debate.

If the rules (including the points system) work well then I would expect
that such an extreme force would be weaker than a more balanced force. I
would expect that meeting an unbalanced force would be a shock at first and
might gain a win because of that but a player should be able to work out
tactics to counter the extremes. If it is not possible to counter an
extreme force then either the rules are at fault or all forces should move
to that extreme. I would suggest that it should be reasonable to tell your
opponent in advance of which extreme you are going to use - relying on
switching between extremes is probably cheesy (although it would be an
interesting campaign tactic given a balanced oveall force).

On the psuedo-reality grounds - if arming IG infantry or SM with heavy
weapons is more effective than normal lasguns or bolters then I guess that
the Imperium can afford to do it and should be allowed to do so. Armies
like Orks with a different social structure might be more resricted but
Tyranids should be able to spawn whatever troop types really are most

Rather than dismissing an extreme army as necessarily cheesy why not try to
work out the counter-tactics ? For example if an opponent is going to take
a lot of titans etc. then are there cheaper titan-killing weapons available
or could hordes of Infantry take lots of objectives and be impossible to
stamp out ? Would close combat be a better way of taking out some of these
devices ? What about aircraft (few of the big boys have good AA defenses
by themselves).

If your opponent has lots of heavy-weapon infantry then he will have less
than normal so could anti-infantry troops like barrage artillery, tactical
infantry or assault infantry wipe them out. If the terrain is too open
then this may not work but try a balanced layout and rush for close combat
or make them come and get you ? If the terrain is too open then what about
smoke ? If they sit in defenses and won't come out then stay out of sight
and hit them with indirect artillery.

If your opponent has lots of aircraft then what are your AA defenses like ?
 Aircraft are quite expensive after all so a few AAA detachments might be
interesting. If there are no effective AA units then perhaps the rules or
army lists are at fault in this area ? If the terrain is rough then the
aircraft may find few targets in the open ?

Just a thought...
Ian McDowall

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Received on Fri Mar 19 1999 - 13:07:25 UTC

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