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Themed Army Ideas
Jungle Juice

Jungle Juice: April 2007  by Patrick Eibel
Recently, I have gotten a little behind on responding to suggestions.  A few months ago, I received the following e-mail:

I am an Imperial Guard player and have recently started to put together a Space Marine army. I am using Codex: Space Marines for the basis. I don't really like the mind set of most SM players using Tactical Squads for everything, so I decided to put together an all-Scout army (with a few exceptions).

I plan on buying and adding to my current collection of SMs another 50 Scouts: 10 built as an “assault” squad, 20 used as “tactical” style with a heavy bolter and bolters, and 20 with sniper rifles and missile launchers. I like the Land Speeder models and wanted to include a squadron of three of them into the army, as well as Scout Bikers.

I already have a Commander and Command Squad, which I hope will end up being the only power armored Marines in the army; 10 Scouts who are built as an “assault” squad; and my friend has given me one of his Dreadnoughts. I liked the fluffy idea that they are starting a new chapter, with the Command Squad being from one of the existing ones originally, but I haven't found a way to include the Dreadnought in, fluff-wise, besides having the Scouts coming across an abandoned base in their sector that had it still sleeping inside of it.

I regularly face Dark Angels, Imperial Guard, Tau, Orks, 'Nids, and Necrons (shudder), so one of those armies could be a main antagonist. I have yet to come up with a name for them yet, but they like to infiltrate in and rush up with the Scout Bikes and Land Speeders.

I would appreciate any words of wisdom you could shed on this army and its lack of fluff even if it isn't published on Jungle Juice.

Thank you always,
Chris

Thanks for your e-mail, Chris.  The army idea is an interesting one. Kenton did a similar idea once, which he called his First and Ten because he used Scouts and Terminators from the First and Tenth companies of the Chapter.  I like the idea of representing a newly- formed chapter, and so I will focus on the background story for their creation.

Getting Started
Since the army list uses Scouts almost exclusively, there is no reason to choose any Traits.  You already get Infiltrate and Move Through Cover from the Scouts, and most of the Traits do not apply to them (you could go for Preferred Enemy, but why incur a drawback just for that?). 

As a new chapter, it is unlikely that there would be any Terminators (we’ll deal with the Dreadnought later), so the Command Squad will be in power armor.  They should be given Infiltrate as their Veteran skill to keep with the theme of the rest of the army.  I would also give them a Company Standard to help the Scout squads with Morale rolls.  I also would include an Apothecary for the survivability of the unit, since it is your only one with the 3+ armor save.  Tool them up for assault (meltaguns, flamers, or plasma guns over heavy weapons, specialists with power weapons), and use them as a counterstrike unit to keep the enemy off your shooty Scout squads.

Finally, let’s address the name of the chapter.  The idea of using lightly-armored troops to stealth forward and harass the enemy from cover is very similar to guerrilla warfare.  The word guerrilla comes from the Spanish for “small war.” While this information really has nothing to do with the name, I think it makes a good starting point and so I want to use the word “warriors” in the chapter name.  The second part of the name should evoke a sense of what the army is about – stealth.  Stealth Warriors, however, is not a good army name as it sounds like the translation of the army’s name from another language (which is always an option).  I could go the animal route and look for an animal that is stealthy (chameleons, tigers, any other cats), but I prefer Shadow Warriors because it adds an air of mystery and will allow for any changes the army should go through (Chris may decide to advance the story of his chapter and add more power armor guys at some point, thus changing their tactics).

Modeling and Colors 
The army will be pretty straightforward to model with mostly scouts, and now that there are plastic models it will be that much easier and cheaper.  To really play up the guerrilla tactics idea, get a bunch of sprues of jungle trees and use them to decorate the bases and pose the models lurking in the wood or just emerging from cover (this will look odd when you are playing in a city environment, but in general the overall effect will be worth it).

To play up the shadow aspect of the name, the color scheme should be dark and muted.  I suggest Shadow Gray for the cloth parts of the Scout armor and Chaos Black for the carapace, boots and gloves. For the shoulder pads, I would use Warlock Purple with a black throwing star (shuriken) on a white background to tie in with the obvious allusion to ninjas (the ultimate in stealth warriors).

Army Selection
An army list for the Shadow Warriors might look like this (any unit not listed may not be taken):

  • HQ: As per Codex: Space Marines, may only have one Command Squad, so any other  Independent Characters chosen either go it alone or get attached to a Scout squad (or hang out with the only Command Squad).
  • Elite: Dreadnought, may not be made Venerable.  As a backstory to how a new chapter has a Dreadnought at all, there could be some connection between the hero in the Dread and the Commander: maybe the Commander saved the guy in the Dread’s life and now the Dread is in his service until he repays the favor.
  • Elite: Techmarine – as per Codex: Space Marines. The Techmarine will stay near the Heavy Support tanks to repair them in the event they suffer damage.  To this end, he must take at least one Technical Servitor, but I would take four to really help with the repair roll.
  • Troops: May only use Scout Squads, as per Codex: Space Marines
  • Fast Attack: Scout Bike Squadron – as per Codex: Space Marines
  • Fast Attack: 0-1 Land Speeder Squadron – Chris wants to limit the amount of power armor in the army, but the list needs more fire support options.  Limiting the number of Land Speeder squadrons available seems like a reasonable compromise.
  • Heavy Support: Vindicator, Whirlwind, and Predators – all as per Codex: Space Marines.  I would suggest always taking a Whirlwind and Predator Annihilator for troop and tank hunting, respectively.  The third slot could be any other tank.
Conclusion 
Limiting the choices your army can take from their codex is one of the easiest ways to establish a theme to build your army around.  In this case, by limiting the Troop choice to Scout Squads, we were forced to address several questions that established the “fluff” of the army.  Why are there only Scouts available?  Where did the non-Scout Marines come from?  What other choices from Codex: Space Marines would make sense in this type of army? 

The key thing to remember when undertaking this kind of exercise is to keep playability in mind.  Having a highly themed army that always loses because it is too limited to compete against regular armies will not be a whole lot of fun.  Hopefully, we have mitigated the limitations of only using Scout squads by supporting them with tanks, the Dreadnought, and a tooled-up Command Squad.  Maybe Chris will let us know how he does, should he decide to follow our advice.

If you would like me to develop some ideas for you, check the introduction page of this series for the e-mail address.
 

Related Pages
More Jungle Juice

Posted April 2007. Used with permission.
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle