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The Tiger Roars 

The Mini-Army
Don't get me wrong: I love my Fighting Tigers, but every once in a while I get the urge to play something different. I would like to have a second army, but I don't have the time, expendable cash, and patience to create another huge, lavishly painted legion like the Tigers. To address this dilemma I've developed the concept of the mini-army.

What's a mini-army?
Many 40K players have a single large army, usually at least 3000 points, that they use in every game. Some players, like my buddy Pat (who is a sick, SICK degenerate chimp), have two or more large armies. The mini-army concept takes the middle road between these approaches. A mini-army is a small (1000 points max), easily-painted force you can use when you want to play 40K but also want a break from your regular army.

Why collect a mini-army?
A mini-army provides a nice break from your main army and allows you to do something totally different without investing a lot of time and money. I've been playing Fighting Tigers since "Rogue Trader"; Space Marine armies tend to be small, shooty forces that emphasize quality over quantity and use precise, surgical strikes against the enemy. I don't know what my second army would be, but I'd prefer a (relatively) large, close-combat force that emphasizes quantity over quality and smashes the enemy right in the mouth.

Alternatively, if you're just starting out and can't decide what army you like best, you can collect several mini-armies to get first-hand experience with them. Mini-armies work well if you're on a limited budget because you can plan them out ahead of time and have a compact, efficient fighting force.

Mini-armies are also very useful for demo games that introduce Warhammer 40K to interested friends. You can let your friend use 1000 points of your main army while you play the mini-army. This usually works out well because most main armies are fairly easy to use (unless you started out playing 40K with something difficult like Dark Eldar) and you'll be able to answer any of your friend's questions.

How do you collect a mini-army?
Planning is crucial for a mini-army. Get a copy of the appropriate codex first and pick out a balanced army using the Standard Missions Force Organization Chart. That means you'll need at least one HQ and two Troop units, but you should also include at least one unit each of Elites, Fast Attack, and Heavy Support.

The driving force behind choosing and using each mini-army is the scarcity of points: 1000 maximum, with little room for expendable troops, fancy wargear, or unnecessary vehicle upgrades. This also means that units you take have to be as flexible as possible to deal with whatever foe they face. Resist the urge to go over 1,000 points or you may find that your "mini-army" has grown much larger than you intended.

How do you paint a mini-army?
If your main army is kind of bland (like Orks), you can take advantage of your mini-army's small size to paint up something really snazzy (like Harlequins). If your main army is snazzy (like Eldar) you can give yourself a break by painting something simple (like Ultramarines). After years of laboriously painting literally thousands of tiger stripes, I'm looking forward to spraying my miniatures black, adding a few details, and painting a squad in an evening instead of a week.

How do you use a mini-army?
The important difference between a mini-army and a main army is that (unless you play 500 or 750 point games) you'll be using the same thing every time you play, so the mini-army will have to be flexible. You can't pick and choose the most effective units to use against certain enemies and not others. You can't afford to have over-specialized units that are helpless out of their element. Even if your mini-army specializes in a particular combat style (such as shooting or close combat), it must be able to respond to a variety of opponents. That's why I strongly recommend that your mini-army have at least one unit of each optional category (Elites, Fast Attack, and Heavy Support).

In some ways, playing with a mini-army is harder than playing with a main army. With a main army, you can easily choose extra anti-armor units for fighting Imperial Guard or extra anti-infantry units when you're fighting Orks. You don't have that option when you play a mini-army, so instead of adjusting what you take you'll have to adjust how you use it. Mini-armies, especially themed mini-armies like the example I give below, can really test your grasp of strategy and tactics. 

As an example, I've taken one of my Themed Army Ideas (the Shrine of the Black Scorpion) and sketched out how I would put them together as a mini-army and (more importantly) how I'd use them in battle. Follow the link below to see what I've done.

The Shrine of the Black Scorpion Mini-Army
 

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© copyright Kenton Kilgore, February 2000.

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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