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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tavern Talk: Fluffing It

Kuffy from The Trading Post has offered up the first in a series of collaborative blog post topics. This months topics is "Fluffing it" in which Kuffy wants to know how we feel about fluff as well as how we incorporate it into our armies.

I love fluff, it is one of the main things that has drawn me into this hobby. Fluff takes on various meanings for me, from army composition to background and various things in between. I started off in gaming through playing Dungeons and Dragons back when I was a teenager. I loved building a background for my characters, then when my D&D groups started using miniatures I got into painting them and converting them to be as I imagined my character to be. I carried this over with me into miniature war-gaming.

When developing fluff for my armies I usually start off with my characters, specifically my army general. To the left you can see the stalwart leader of my Dwarf army, Runstal Stonehammer. He is a Lord of Karak Kadrin and so he as well as his army sport that holds colors. Runstal and his Stonehammer clan have devoted themselves to the protection of their home. Instead of residing in Karak Kadrin, Runstal keeps his army on the borders of the Dwarf lands protecting it from the various Orc hordes in the area.

Because of this background my army list tend to be more troop heavy than war-machine. I figure that Runstal is constantly moving his army to defend against new orc threats, thus he needs vast amounts of troops to hold off the orc masses. I also figure moving large amounts of war-machines would slow him down, so he maintains only a few that are easy to transport. Other war-machines can be built on the spot as needed.

That was just a glimpse into my Dwarf fluff but you get the idea. I started off defining my general then explaining why his army is more troops than war-machine. Now to the right you can see my Black Orc Warboss, Grubak Skulzbusta. I just recently acquired an orc army that I painted for a friend several years ago. Over half of this army is already painted so as I think about my fluff, I have to make sure I incorporate things like the units that are in the army and why, as well as the color scheme. I am early in the stages of making the fluff for this army.

Much of this orc army is already painted, and the units all have the color red in them some how, be it dags, tattoos, or skulls painted on their armor. So I plan on using this theme in choosing a name for Grubak's horde.

A color scheme is a great way to unify an army but it is also a way to show some of the fluff of your army. Maybe Grubak likes the color red and makes sure all his boyz be wearin it. Maybe Grubak got his Skulzbusta name because his finishing move always involves a blow to the head. There is just a few mins of brainstorming while writing this post, I have got some fluff developing for the army. I have even got a potential name, the Bloody Skulz tribe. I got all of that because of how the two units below were painted.

Another way to make an army fluffy is through the units themselves.  If you take a look at the picture to the left, you will see my Dwarf Miners. This units fluff, as well as rules, allow them to come up from underground  and appear on any board edge. So with my miners, I took the time to convert the rear two ranks to look as though they are still digging out from underground. This is a way to add fluff and still play any type of list you like.

Another example is from my orc army. The Savage orcs use magic tattoos and warpaint instead of armor, so every savage orc I painted has tattoos or warpaint on their body just to represent this little bit of fluff. Other idea are placing bits from your arch enemy onto your models. My dwarfs constantly war with Orcs, so an orc head or two may be appropriate on their banners, or at their feet.

The final way I do fluffy list is my army composition. I believe that the core units are core because they are the most numerous units available to the general. My army list are always very high in core troops. Secondly, rare choices are for lack of a better word, rare. The force organization chart does limit the numbers fielded, but I further limit myself by rarely taking two of the same rare choice. You will never see two giants running around with my orc tribe. There is one exception to this for me and that is my Tomb Kings, occasionally I will field two Screaming Skull catapults.

As you can see there are numerous ways to add fluff to an army. You can even still use your ultra competitive list and have them be fluffy, it just takes a little extra work. In my opinion fluff makes me enjoy my army more and allows me to be even more creative with my army than just following the rules. Is it important to just play the game? No, but it makes the game more enjoyable for me and I enjoy seeing and hearing the fluff of other peoples armies.

Do you feel that fluff is important?
How do you add fluff to your armies?
Do you enjoy playing against fluffy armies?


Gyro said...

Adding fluff to my armies can be as simple as just naming a squad leader, or a captain, or the like. Making a backstory for a certain unit, with a history in other battles works too. Obviously fluff can be tied into simple things like color schemes and such as well.

Playing against fluffy armies is much more enjoyable, but if my opponent's army isn't that fluffy, I'll at least have fun playing my own fluff army. Well-written and thought-out scenarios can turn even boring armies into a fun battle.

BJ said...

I am completely with you on the well thought out scenarios, they are always a blast.

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