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The Middle Sixty #4: Training

Welcome back to another middle sixty article.  This week’s topic is going to be about training.  What? You thought you didn’t have to work for those W’s? Think again.  

There are, rarely, players who can just pick up a list and perform well from the first time playing it.  That isn’t you.  It isn’t me.  It isn’t the norm.  In my opinion the biggest difference between players comes down to how much they play.  Play at every opportunity.  

Frequent games allow you to do several things.  First, you get to know your army inside and out.  Learn what works.  Pay attention to how much value you are getting from your units.  You’ll find that certain things are under-performing.  Cut them.  Pay attention to yourself.  Take note of tactical errors.  Take note of consistencies in the way opponents react to certain things.  

Second, you learn the meta.  Play everyone, everywhere.  Play every army.  You’ll see how your list does against every other list out there so you can tune appropriately.  Actively look for people who play common lists.  See how you do against battle companies, against riptide wings, etc.  

Next, you’ll get better in general.  You’ll gradually gain a better understanding of the rules.  You won’t have to think as much because the tactics will become second nature.  

The most important thing is to train the way you’re going to be playing.  Play the ITC missions, play the standard points limit, and time your games.  Make sure you get to as many tournaments as possible.  Not only is it the only way to rack up points, it’s great for getting in practice games.  

Competitive play isn’t for everyone.  Some people just don’t have the time to take it seriously.  But if you don’t play frequently, you won’t be improving much.  You don’t have to exclude everything else, but you do have to set aside time to improve your game.

Brandon keeps himself busy and entertained by coming up with the next project for Silver Sun Systems to tackle which includes Military Gamer Supply, Silver Sun Republic and a whole lot of other seemingly random pieces that are all part of the master plan!
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The Middle Sixty #3: Abandoning the Fluff

Guest Column by Jason Byrd

Today we are going to cover fluff. This is one of the most important topics in this series of articles. I don’t know about the rest of you, but epic battles between armies of elves and undead were what got me into Warhammer Fantasy twenty years ago. I liked the stories. I liked the color schemes. I named all my characters. From there it was an easy transition to 40k. Space elves and space zombies? Hell yeah!

Fluff is important. It is the reason most of us got into this hobby in the first place. What I’m about to say is difficult for some people to hear: Fluff has no place in competitive play. I’ve heard a whole host of arguments for keeping to the fluff. I’ve heard players complain about the ITC format allowing too many detachments or about allies being allowed because it doesn’t make sense in the fluff.

Stop. First, the ITC format is great. It’s not perfect, but it’s far more good than bad. More to the point, it’s not going away so accept that you’ll be playing in it. The same can be said for the other competitive formats around the world. Second, we are talking about competitive play here. Come to compete. You have to have a win at all costs (WAAC) mindset. You have to be absolutely brutal with your own composition. If a unit isn’t consistently performing it’s time to replace it, even if you have to take a riptide wing with your space marines.

It starts as far back as choosing your force. Pick an army because it feels right to play, because you understand how it moves and how to use it effectively. Don’t pick an army because you like the color scheme or the background.
Now, within the above statements are two places for fluff. First, if you’re playing Eldar anyway, and you like the colors of Yme-Loc over Saim-Hann, paint Yme-Loc. Second, you can take a break from the competitive mindset and play narrative games.

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The Middle Sixty #2: Defining Victory

You Are Here

This is Jason again from Military Gamer Supply. I’m going to jump into my second article geared towards the middle 60 percent of Warhammer 40k players.

This week we’re going to cover the first step in competitive play: defining victory. This article is geared for a fairly wide variety on the competitive spectrum. Some of you are pretty good players, winning the occasional local Rogue Trader Tournament (RTT) or finishing in the top 25% at major events. Others lose 8 out of 10 games or can’t make it to big events.

At this point, I’m going to ask a question: Where do you want to be? Seriously think about it for a little while. Do you want to just win more games? Do you want to smash at every local RTT? Do you want a best in faction for all ITC? Winning locally and winning nationally are two very different roads.  If you want to win locally you only have to worry about your game; list composition, strategy, local meta, etc. Playing on a national level brings a whole host of new concerns. Can you make it to enough events? Can you afford to travel? How much does your local meta differ from the national meta?

Until next week, consider where you are now, where you want to go, and how hard of a road you’re willing to travel. If you want to be a competitive player, you’re going to have to think about 40k as more than a game. You’ll have to put real effort into it and not just one day on the weekend.

On a side note, some of my readers asked for threads on strategy and list building. We’ll get there. There are several other considerations to address before list building.

Thanks for reading and let me know if there is anything you want me to cover.

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The Middle Sixty #1

What Is The Middle Sixty?

Guest column by Jason Byrd

Hello, this is Jason from Military Gamer Supply and a member of the Warhammer 40K crew, Team Sex Panther.  I’m going to do a series of articles designed for the average competitive Warhammer 40k player, also known as the middle sixty.

Sixty in this instance is a percentage.  Not the top 20 percent or the back 20 percent.  If you are going 2-1 or 1-2 in your average Rogue Trader Tournament (RTT,) this is you.  If you win nine out of ten games against tough opponents, you probably won’t learn anything from this series.

The middle 60 is where I am.  It’s where most of us are.  There are enough writers that are top tier players.  It’s a big gap from 79 percent to 10 percent and it’s not always easy to see how to cross it.  This series will attempt to break that gap down into manageable steps.  We’ll explore some of the things I’ve done poorly and things I’ve seen others do.  I may not be able to get you out of the middle 60, but hopefully I can get you closer to the front.

Comment below and let me know what you think I should cover or anything you’ve learned as a player that others could benefit from.  Thanks for reading.

Jason recently took part in the Las Vegas Open, the premier competitive event for Warhammer 40K earning a place within the top 25% of competitors from around the world.  Additionally, he received a trophy as Top General for Renegade Knights.  This article is the first in a series designed to help those who want to help themselves improve within the competitive gaming scene.

Brandon keeps himself busy and entertained by coming up with the next project for Silver Sun Systems to tackle which includes Military Gamer Supply, Silver Sun Republic and a whole lot of other seemingly random pieces that are all part of the master plan!
Posted on Reviews Battlefield 1

War, war never changes; well, unless you’re adding tanks, airplanes, chemical warfare and a whole lot of other technological advances to the repertoire of death on a massive scale for the first time.  The “War to End All Wars” or World War One as it is known to us today was a brutal conflict driven by a complex web of those permanent alliances, Mr. Freedom himself, George Washington, warned against.  The Battlefield series is generally looked at as a multiplayer FPS with a story mode that typically feels like an afterthought and played mostly as a way to get used to the controls and game mechanics.  It is in the storytelling mechanics in single player mode that Battlefield One shines without sacrificing anything in the multiplayer arena.

Shovels become weapons of mass death when the need arises, but sadly they don’t make you run faster.

The opening cinematic is short and to the point; it at least makes you feel something no matter how connected or not you are to the visceral reality of war.  It connects on an emotional level, but no video game will ever able to achieve true immersion due to lack of full sensory virtualization (for example, smell).  It does, however, hit you in the gut using simple white text on a black background with very straight forward statements on the impact of war.  It’s also quite a trip to realize that World War I took place over 100 years ago.  Those born after the 70s have enjoyed being largely disconnected from war unless they or their immediate family or friends have been in the military.  The introduction really helps set the tone and the pace for the rest of the single player experience.  Battlefield is known for being largely multiplayer, but the single player feels like something special.  It’s one of those “artful” moments like Bio Shock where the storytelling mechanics are well done and hook you almost immediately.

The game also opens with calibration for brightness, which has become pretty standard, but it also has an audio calibration system that is a welcome feature.  I can’t remember how many times I’m sitting in voice comms shouting at everyone that I can’t hear them because I just fired up a game and the audio is making my ears bleed.

Moar shovels! Unfortunately they don't kill tanks, only squishy humans.
Moar shovels! Unfortunately they don’t kill tanks, only squishy humans.

The tutorial for the game operates as a series of single player scenes does a good job of functioning as a storytelling mechanic exposing you to the various features of the game.  It also continues to highlight the utter futility of World War I introducing new weapons of war while both sides desperately attempt to employ massed infantry maneuvers.  One moment you’re leading the charge at the head of a mass of armor and infantry, the next you’re overextended as you become the next target.

The loading screens for each mission start hit you with statements and statistics that highlight the continuing narrative of how ill-prepared each of the nations were for this war.  It continues to provide something for history buffs and the military crowd because many veterans will be able to relate to the ups and downs that come with service.

Multi-role fighters were a thing right off the bat. Who needs the F-35?

Being Air Force, I was pretty pumped about the airplane features, but this is where some of the disappointment set in.  Battlefield has always had that feeling of being too arcade-like versus something like the Arma series, but it then again, the UI and overall smooth gameplay has one upped those other more realistic games.  The aircraft are of course limited in the “assisted” flight mechanics, being free flight and not on rails, but limited in the full control over the flaps and ailerons of the airplane moving in response to the mouse cursor.  The campaign itself is fun and the scenarios made me forget about some of the flight control issues, but this is an FPS, not a flight simulator.  Those looking for flight simulator mechanics will be disappointed, but to adopt one of the most uttered military phrases, “it is what it is.”  The weapons in the game consist of a solid variety, but will again feel arcade-like, which, again I will simply state that, “it is what it is.”  It is not a full on military simulator, but an FPS; those looking to scratch that deep military simulation game itch will not find satisfaction here, but the game does have a lot of great visuals and plays very well.  The game feels very polished and smooth.

Single player mode isn’t the only area that got some love in this rendition; Multiplayer has some pretty cool additions with Operations being the first thing that springs to mind.  Operations are a series of missions that are the closest thing we’ll probably see to territorial conquest in Battlefield.  The assaulting force has several chances to take a map from the defender.  If they cannot establish a beachhead within those set amount of opportunities, then the defenders win.  On the other hand, victory by the attackers advances the map to the next in the series.  I’m anticipating that this feature will add more depth and hold more interest in the game longterm because it will lend itself to organized clans who can fight it out in more than just a series of single, disconnected matches.


Overall, the game looks beautiful with a wide range of performance settings as well as the option to enable DirectX 12.  Multiplayer will feel familiar to those who already enjoy what the series does best, but it also offers new ways to customize and level up your character.  Collecting weapons and other items with the option to turn them into currency will add more depth to the “gear grind” that other games seem to hook players with these days.  The CO for, Wilson, has a simple metric that he uses to determine whether or not a game is worth it.  Yes, boys and girls, this is what the Marine Corps will do to you; refine you into a cold, calculating killing machine that can take something like the question of whether or not a game is worth buying and turn it into an objective scale.  If a game can keep his interest at a rate of $1 an hour then it’s considered a win.  In Battlefield One’s case, I believe we have a winner.  The single player campaign alone has enough staying power to make up a majority of that time.  Add in the extra hours from multiplayer and I believe that DICE has achieved a game that many will enjoy for many different reasons.

Overall I give Battlefield One a 5 out of 5 stars rating.  I believe this will be one of the highest quality titles to release this year.  Enjoy your rating, Battlefield One.



Brandon keeps himself busy and entertained by coming up with the next project for Silver Sun Systems to tackle which includes Military Gamer Supply, Silver Sun Republic and a whole lot of other seemingly random pieces that are all part of the master plan!