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The Tiger Roars
Guest Commentary

When “Mini” Isn’t Enough by Patrick Eibel
Patrick Eibel There are many ways to go about collecting a 40K army. Many people are content to have a small (1,000 to 3,000 points) collection of figures they use for every game. After awhile, however, you may find yourself wanting more. At this point, many players opt to start a second army to get some variety, but a few intrepid players opt to create a “maxi-army.”  

A maxi-army is at least two detachments and over 6,000 points worth of your favorite army. Now, many of you are thinking, “I will never get to play with all of those models, so why should I collect them?” Well, the following article will try to explain some of the reasons why having such a large army can be, to quote Martha Stewart, “a good thing.”

1. Scalability. Scalability refers to being able to scale your army back to whatever size you want and still be effective. Generally, the best games are between 1,500 and 3,000 points in value. These games offer the opportunity to field more than just the HQ + Troops + Troops + 1 or 2 things you would get in a smaller game, but still be payable in about half a day. However, if all you have is 3,000 points in your army, you will always field the same force and your opponent will develop tactics to stop you. 

By collecting a maxi-army, your opponent will have no idea what you are going to field because of the variety of figures available to you. A quick look at Kenton’s Poseur Army lists gives you an idea of the variety of ways you can scale back you army when you have a lot to choose from.

2. Flexibility. Flexibility refers to being able to field different figures based on the situation. For instance, against Orks, you may want more flamers in your squads, whereas against Necrons you want meltaguns. With a maxi-army, you have the flexibility to swap out figures, or even entire squads, to suit the situation.

3. Organization. The Force Organization Chart can be used as a guide to collecting your army. Start with the requisite HQ and Troop slots and then build from there. By creating a maxi-army, you can really begin to focus on an aspect of your army that you like. Perhaps you really like a particular tank, like Michael Lietzke’s Vindicators. You may not want to devote all three of your Heavy Support choices to the Vindicator unless you know that you will have three other choices in your second detachment.

4. Background. You have spent a lot of time and effort creating a unique army. By expanding the size of the army, you can begin to add other dimensions to your concept. Perhaps all of your squads use a particular special weapon, all of your vehicles have a particular upgrade, or all of your characters have a particular piece of wargear. One player I know has created an Eldar/Imperial Guard Allied Army that he can field as either straight Eldar, straight Guard, or (in two detachments) as a combined force. A maxi-army allows you a broad canvas with which to portray what makes your army different than all others.

5. Playability. Once a year, Kenton and I play a “big battle” using all or most of one of our armies.  Why? Aside from the fact that we can, there is a certain amount of enjoyment derived from marshaling so many troops. The strategy is different, the play is different, the entire game takes on a whole new feeling. Just check out the “All the Marbles” scenario in the Auros IX Campaign and you will see what I mean.

6. Coolness. Have you ever set out all of your figures on the table just to look at them? Now imagine setting out 100 figures, or roughly a Marine Company, and imagine the impact. Trust me, there is nothing more visually impressive as rank upon rank of figures painted uniformly.

Collecting a Maxi-Army
Once you have decided that you want to collect a maxi-army, the next question is, “How do I go about it?” Short of walking into a hobby shop and dropping $1,000 on figures, building a maxi-army takes time, planning and patience. I recommend taking some time to plan out all of the units in your army before purchasing anything. You can set different benchmarks as you collect your army, either through point value, organization chart slots, or cost (i.e. buy the expensive figures first).

Once you have decided on what your army will consist of, make a list of what you will need to buy to reach that goal. The Thousand Points Of Light articles present a format that you can use to get started. This will help you avoid buying unnecessary figures, or buying figures that you cannot use until you purchase one or two other things (i.e., one bike, one heavy weapon team, one Wraithguard). 

When making purchases, here are some tips to help keep you from going crazy:

  • Always try to buy in playable units. If the squad minimum is five models, don’t buy three. 
  • Know how many figures you will need and which ones you will want to customize.
  • Know how many of the expensive figures you will need for your army, and purchase them at times when you get the most favorable prices (holiday sales, eBay, trading with friends).  
  • Set reasonable goals for yourself in painting, purchasing, and still being able to play.  
  • Make sure you have adequate storage for your figures.
  • Know when to stop. Just because Games Workshop comes out with a new figure or vehicle does not mean you have to replace all of the ones you already have.
Hopefully these suggestions have offered some insight as to how to go about creating a really huge, really cool fighting force. The key thing to stress is to be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your army. Never be afraid to set it aside if the process becomes too frustrating or aggravating. However, at the end of the journey, you will have an army that will impress your friends and strike fear into the hearts of your enemies.

Related Pages 
Pat's Space Wolf Maxi-Army: An example for your review (also a Themed Army)
Pat's Blood Axe Army: A mostly infantry army that can be combined with...
Pat's Speed Freeks Army: ...lots of vehicles to form an Ork maxi-army.

A Thousand Points of Light: Pat's suggestions on building new armies
Building a "Balanced" Army: More advice
The Mini-Army: The opposite of what Pat teaches here

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© Copyright Patrick Eibel, November 2002. Used with permission.


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