Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Reader Question Time - Count As and You

So a quick one here.

I was writing up a short editorial on competitive play and count as, and well, it got a bit wordy.

A couple of articles recently have gotten my attention, as a lot of blogs recently have become a bit stale. Its not surprising since 5th Edition has been explored quite thoroughly and 6th is around the corner. It certainly is effecting me, as I've pretty much slowed my army progress down to a crawl with one eye on what 6th Edition will mean for army list construction.

However, one of the articles that did catch my eye was over at House of Paincakes

In summary the article is basically referring to the "great model, terrible rules" conundrum that many people have, and how many might approach the situation.

This obviously can be broadened into the whole concept of count as.


The concept of Count As is a very polarising one in our hobby.

You have players that love it, no matter how it appears, there are some that hate it equally. More often than not you find players that appreciate the models, but dislike that you have the element of "justification", "oh your just playing it with the best book", and then the players that hit the nail on the head, right theme, right models and right units, and it all works. And then everything in between.

I have my opinion on the issue, which I won't put forward just yet, but I'd love to hear what others think about Count As.

Is it always wrong?
Is it never wrong?
As long as it matches the theme?

My examples above are more closely linked to examples such as players doing Adeptus Custodes or Mechanicus count as. Something that exists strongly in fluff, but has no representation in the game.



This is the truly controversial one, and the one I am more interested in.

Do you care what your opponent puts down on the table, as long as its modelled accurately and clearly?
As long as he's not playing Ultramarines as Space Wolves, is it that bad?
What if its his own DIY Chapter, can you REALLY take offence?
Should you just pick a theme and a book and stick to it?

Again I am holding back my opinions, I really just want to see what our readers feel on this one.


  1. I for one am all for count as armies, as long as they are clear, and the dimensions are similar to the original figure i.e. the Daemon prince isn't a 1 foot tall goblin king!

  2. As long as its WYSIWYG I'm not going to object. However, that's not the same as liking it. I much prefer red Blood Angels, blue Ultramarines and black Black Templars.

    What I dislike more, is unpainted armies, or half built ones. That really presses my buttons, cause a big part of the enjoyment of the game for me is the cinematic joy of 2 well painted armies on great terrain. I would rather have a well painted counts as army, than a scrappy "authentic" army.

    But who am I to say how somebody else should enjoy their hobby?


  3. Models. Paint. Rules. Mix and match to taste.

    I'm good with pretty much anything, as long as it's clear. If you want to run Space Wolves rules using SW, Ultramarines, purple marines, chaos marines, mantic forgefathers, fantasy lizardmen or other figures no biggie, just be clear and consistent.

  4. Interesting so far.

    I wonder if the staunch anti-count as/one army to rule them all-ites even ready sons.

    Maybe ven scared them off with his "heavy bolters as psycannons" lol.

  5. prety sure i dont need to answer this one do i? :D

  6. I don't mind if he does play ultramarines as spacewolves. I don't see that playing ULTRAWOLVES, my own chapter with shared fluff I pulled out of the two codexes should be any better than just saying I'm using the spacewolves codex because I like how it plays or greyknights because I like undercosted dreads. I think its great when a player has the freedom to model as they choose and then play games with a codex that makes sense OR they like the style of play with. Who can judge someone for not buying and painting 4 greyhunter squads when theyve got four tactical squads at home (it was the same box with an upgrade sprue last edition).

    Clearly if someone is using it to break the rules by using tiny models or huge models in some abusive fashion, or isnt WYSIWYG and tries to pull surprise wargear etc. on you mid game then thats not cool.

    The only other problem I ever have is if the 'counts as' stuff isn't clear as to what it is. At the point you can't remember what anything is on your opponents side of the table that gets a bit much. If your playing a game and your opponent has to constantly stop to ask you questions about what your guys are and what their weapons are then that is a pretty good sign your counts as stuff is stretching it a bit.

  7. I am shocked to not have seen any of the "one army count as" haters come out.

    Not saying they are wrong but they are usually so vocal!

    I need quotes lol!

  8. I am hideous 'counts as' bastard as I play whatever the hell I feel like week in week out...with the exception of the last 6 months when I've been playing a lot of Necrons.. quite consistenyl for me and all WYSIWYG etc. Crazy..

    But as Bully points out, I've used HB's as Psycannons cause..well..they are all just large calibre bullets right? GK just mind fuck them a little bit before firing.. But I actually draw a bit of a line as I know it breaks convention.. I'd never actually take Grey Knights to a tournament as all my Blood Hunter (One ring to rule them all chapter) models do not have power weapons and storm bolters..

    On the otherhand the following is a response that one could offer if one were so inclined: "who the FUCK are you to tell me how to enjoy my hobby bitch! Have you seen me? I'll fuck you up little man!"
    Of course, I am not that way inclined..

    The counter point is that love and care and fluff matters and you are not really playing as Vanilla Marines with your Chaos Marines and that the Emprah' would be mightily pissed off..

    The 'counts as' issue only truly arose as an issue when the prices to field a GW stock army rose to hundreds of pounds. Running a 2K competitive Gaurd army is damn expensive...all those Chimeras, Hydras and Vendetta's cost a shed load.
    Of course this is a relative point.. some people spunk spare/disposable cash others don't have that much..
    I've seen both sides of the coin, at the minute I'm fronting a wedding.. it's expensive.. before that, I'd happily buy a new army each month or two as and when I got bored.

    However, there is no denying htat GW is an expensive hobby and that for many, 'counts as' and proxying are largely a result of the nature of the game.

    Deal with it.

    If you have spent 000's of hours painting, lovingly converting your models and they look incredible on the tabletop.. who is to say that that your enjoyment and participation in the hobby is the same?

    Does that person have to input the same love and care to be a "valid" gamer/hobbyist?

    Aren't all geeks created equal under the Emprah? Except me of course, I'm better than you.

  9. Seriously, where's the staunch anti-count as teams?

    I swear to god they used to sniff these sort of posts!

    Everyone here is pretty much mirroring what I think.

    Its your models, first and foremost. You spend on average at least £300 per army, unless your doing a Deathwing or Blood Angels jumper army, and that still see's you near enough £200 all said and done. When your talking that sort of money, per army, being creative and flexible with your choices is essential.

    Its like magnets, for the time invested, being able to swap your jump pack captain to a foot captain, or your TH/SS terminators to shooty terminators is so important. A captain is £12, terminators £27.

    Sure there is the frustration of "you were ultramarines last week, what gives?" - but at the end of the day this is a game, and if people get enjoyment out of certain rules and army make ups, even if its because "they are more powerful", given the complete lack of flexibility given to us by both price and time (even a badly painted army takes a few days to make and paint, and really is it worth it?) - you have to take the rough with the smooth.

    More over, not all things are made equal. For those dudes that do swap up books and lists, other than just "keeping it fresh", some guys just don't want to intentionally nerf themselves by playing weaker books when the only thing wrong with their army is that is blue not grey, or red or silver.

    Like everyone has said, as long as its clearly identifiable, then where is the harm. At worst you have to play against a dude using a all suited up ultramarine army as wolves, or their freshly painted GK army that is done in XXX legion or YYY chapter colours because its the best MEQ book.

    The issue there is not with the count as, or the colours, but with game balance. If all things were equal, which because GW is not a competitively driven developer, they wont be.

    If codex marines were on the same power level as wolves, which were on the same level as GK's, and the xenos books on the same level as xxx - then these problems wouldn't arise.

    Mostly I've seen the moans about count as come from either "why are your wolves blue" or "sigh, another GK player just counting as xxx, good justification m8".

  10. I'm another counts-as supporter (especially as I'm doing on myself now) as long as the models are tooled up properly, with full WYSIWYG and painted. Its painted that really gets me, I absolutely hate playing against grey plastic/black undercoat. I'd much rather play against a counts-as painted army using the newest super powered list out on the net than some pile of grey plastic playing the same thing. Considering how expensive it can be to run a different army for every book you want to play (not to mention the time to paint), I'm all for counts-as, especially the more imaginative examples as well, such as Atreides.

  11. How do people feel about creative license?

    Say I made an army, instead of melta-guns I used, I don't know, AK47 models, everyone who had a MG had a AK instead, boltguns were desert eagles.

    Is that crossing the line or, just by being consistent and clear in a theme, I'd still be ok?

    I personally think it would be fine. I'd prob not do it myself, but if my opponent made it clear I think I wouldn't have a problem with it.

  12. As long as things are either WYSIWYG so I know or explained what is proxy or got certain wargear on i.e melta bombs, then I am cool.

    One thing I cannot stand is 'one army to rule them all' like having some semi painted Marines and using them for various diffent Marine codexes. I know it's saving money etc, though it just does my head in. Just stick to a few codexes and learn their strengths and weaknesses.

    Btw - also added to this weeks UK Bloggers group round up ;)

  13. Oh, the UK Bloggers group logo would look great on here ;) you can get it from www.imperiusdominatus.com :)

  14. Ven will have to have a look at that, I am just a blog monkey.

  15. As for the multiple books, one set of models "issue", I think the real question should be why is it so easy? Why are these armies that are so similar as to be mostly interchangeable appearance-wise spread out across so many books? It's certainly a lot easier to take my guys in power armor with bolters and chainswords in their Rhinos and use them for a number of different books, swapping a unit here and there, than it is for me to use Eldar for Orks, Daemons, Nids and Necrons with a few minor tweaks each time.

  16. Thats actually quite a cool point and only today did I really start thinking about it.

    In count as, except for the odd exception (I've seen some stunning "Using nids to make Adeptus Mechanicus" armies) - they are generally MEQ based armies.

    Certainly the "one army to rule them all" are always MEQ.

    Its obviously a fluff point, as the chapters like BA's and SW's have different doctrines (despite the idea of Asartes not meant to be different to stop heresy again), if they just had "one book to rule them all" it might be a bit easier as well.

    Honestly though, it does lead to a point I am going to be talking about a lot leading up to 6th - game balance (and lack of). Simply said, a game should have a fair share of balance - if your going to make "stuff that sucks" you need to have something in place to support it. I.E more books and more accessible builds.