Formations seem to have become an integral part of army building in 40k these days. Whether that is a good or bad thing is for each individual to decide, today I thought I would take you through my thoughts on formations and how I feel they influence the vast universe of warhammer 40,000 these days.
|Not a free transport in sight......|
Right off the bat, it is only fair to let you know dear reader, that I rarely use formations in 40k. This is not due to some particular stance on the use of formations, I just like the Combined Arms Detachment (CAD) and find it the easiest way to make up an army and what I have been used to for many years. The second issue is that even with my vast collection of models for some armies, I sometimes still struggle to have the basic requirements for many of the formations that I can field, so am limited in this respect too. The one exception to this is the Ravenwing Strike Force from the 7th edition Dark Angels codex. Being a big fan of Ravenwing (and bike) armies, I have utilised this formation a lot in recent months, even taking an all Ravenwing army
to the recent Blog Wars X
tournament using the formation and having a measure of success with it in my games.
So this is where these opinions and impressions come from, a player who generally doesn't use formations, but has some experience both playing with them and against them in a competitive and casual environment.
Also, a note of nomenclature. I tend to use Formations and Detachments interchangeably when talking about them. I know that there are differences between the two, but to me, the comments on one could be equally applied to the other.
The Early Days of Formations
Force Organisation Chart
You could argue that one of the earliest instances of the use of formations in 40k was the introduction of the Force Organisation Chart in 3rd edition 40k (I certainly would argue this, and since this is my article, I can do what I want!).
|Hasn't changed much at all. |
Prior to 3rd edition, armies were constructed using the percentage system. Your army would be composed of units/models based on the percentage of the points used, for example; 25% or more core units, up to 25% characters, etc.
When 40k was re-launched with 3rd edition in 1998, a new mechanic for army building was introduced- the Force Organisation Chart (now known as the Combined Arms Detachment). For the first time, units in an army were separated into 5 different types; HQ, Elites, Troops, Fast Attack and Heavy Support. Players constructed armies by selecting units from "slots" in the force organisation chart and calculating their points cost for the unit until the agreed upon points limit was reached. The only compulsory choices in your army were one HQ and two troops slots. This limit still applies today in the CAD.
The idea was to allow players to build themed forces, more representative of typical armies your fraction would be likely to field. Your army would consist of an HQ unit to lead the army and two units of core troops to provide the backbone of the army. Additional troops units could be used to bolster your force and more powerful units could be taken from the other slots, though in lesser numbers to represent their more limited availability.