Epic by itself is a very tactical game, perhaps more so than many other wargames. Unit placement is quite a key feature of the game, and one that I’ve mentioned before with commander stands, crossfire and formation proximity, so this week I thought it’d be interesting to look at the strategy behind the reason our armies are fighting in the first place – the objectives.
Three of the five main goals in Epic revolve around holding various combinations of these markers, so they’re pretty integral to the game. There’s only so much control you have over them, though, since your opponent will be placing three of the six on the table, so it’s good to capitalise on those you can place. In an ideal world, they’ll be perfectly placed for your army while frustratingly difficult for your opponent, and this really depends on the armies playing. For example, when I’m playing my Eldar in Epic I tend to spread my objective markers pretty far and wide. Since the Eldar’s movement speed is, by and large, superior to most other armies, I can re-route a unit on the last turn to double and claim an objective an opponent couldn’t reach. Conversely, when I’m using my Thousand Sons I try to bunch them up as close as possible for the opposite reason – since Rubric units can’t march, their superior armour and near-universal Fearless special rule makes them ideal to sit on multiple objectives and hold them against the opposing forces.
On this subject, a hard-learnt lesson for me was to watch what your opponent is doing. Since you take turns placing objectives, it’s generally good to try and work out what they’re doing and see if you can’t use their objective placement to your advantage. To clarify what I mean here, the picture below shows an example of a Thousand Sons army placing objectives after the Blitz is down.
The first objective (1) is placed by the Eldar player, so to counter the Thousand Sons place one of theirs 30cm away (2) – this means one unit can contest both at once, which is a boon to the slow-moving low-model-count Thousand Sons. The Eldar player then places one far off to the other end of the board (3), where his fast-moving transports can reach it with an ease the lumbering Rhinos of the Thousand Sons can’t match. In response, the Thousand Sons place their final objective (4) close to the previous one, simultaneously making Take and Hold easier for the Chaos forces and harder for the Eldar. This also helps to deny the Eldar They Shall Not Pass, since by aiming for your opponent’s objectives makes it a lot easier to keep units in their board half. Of course, the Eldar player will have made it easier for himself by having one objective far across the board – one that’ll be hard for the Thousand Sons to contest, but can be easily claimed by the faster Eldar units near the end of the game, and allowing him more troops to throw into an assault on the cluster of objectives…
In conclusion, really, it depends a lot on your army. Many will find ‘clustered’ objectives easier to hold, either due to their low model count, superior armour or simply slow speed, while others will prefer to have them scattered to make it harder for their opponent to contest them. Let me know what your thoughts are, it’s always great to hear :)