Warhammer Wednesday – The Point of Power LevelJanuary 9, 2019
Power Level: ‘This is a rough approximation of a unit’s relative effectiveness on the battlefield. These can be used to very quickly throw together two roughly equal forces to fight a battle.’ – Warhammer Community
A Common Misunderstanding
Warhammer 40,000’s 8th edition has been with us for two years now and has gone from strength to strength in that time. Unfortunately there is one huge misunderstanding that persists despite FAQ’s and annual Chapter Approved publications; Power Level.
First and foremost I’d like to find a common ground that we can all agree on; there is more than one valid way to play 40k. Serious tournament players, competitive gamers, casual bunnies, narrative junkies and family time to name a few. Power level won’t be appropriate for all of them all the time.
Is Power Level for me?
If the first thing you see when looking at Power Level is the opportunity to get the most from a unit by taking every upgrade… you are better served by using points values. If you want to turn up and grab a quick game at the local store… Power level!
Age of Sigmar launched without any kind of points value to encourage carefree pick up and play games. Lacking experience with how units compared in the new rules and wanting to have balanced play; the community soon decided to match their forces on number of wounds. Wounds weren’t perfect for balancing games but it worked. Eventually points values arrived to support competitive play but casual gamers already had what they needed.
Power level is quick and easy, power level is not perfect and doesn’t pretend to be. To get the most out of it you will need to have a friendly dialogue with your opponent. If their Tactical Squads all have top end heavy weapons, it’s probably fair to upgrade all the guns on your Wave Serpent. Find what works for you both and base future choices on experience. Focus on a fun game as your objective rather than who wins.
Playing to lose
I have spoken before about embracing failure. There are few things as satisfying as a good defeat. Military history is filled with the glorification of uneven battles from Thermopylae to The Charge of the Light Brigade, Falkirk to The Alamo. If your objective is to play a losing battle then spending your pre-battle time adding up individual wargear is pretty pointless.
The last stand of the Crimson Fists against hordes of Orks is a great one for this. Slap down some squads of Fists, don’t worry about the cost of their weapons options. Now send wave after wave of Orks at them, starting with an equivalent Power Level and adding more each turn.
Perhaps the most important part of Power Level play supporting new players and those on a budget. Now each kit comes with rules including a power level you can play right out the box without a codex being essential. Perfect for showing new folks the ropes.
Power Level, it’s cool as heck.