No Fluff

Many of us game using miniatures and whether you use Malifaux, Games Workshop, Warmachine/Hordes, Kings of War or many of the other systems available you’ll find yourself a back story for your game, army and often characters too.
Where do we start when we are building our armies? How do we regard this information often referred to as fluff?


When I go to events I see some armies that I question if the owner has ever looked at the front section of the book. You might see characters mixed with units that would never be together and see them used in a style, which goes against what their army is all about.

Can an army stick to its theme and still win?

I like to think that it could and I often design my own personal forces with the army in mind. My Empire has mass ranks of infantry with few, if any, knights as they as a rare sight. I only field Steam Tanks in bigger games and always have a captain or a general at the head of the army.

Fear Fluff
So this got me thinking as to what other people do when designing lists. I sit down with a drink and think about the possible combos how I feel things will go during the game and how I can best support my characters, but do I at least attempt to keep with the fluff?

When we see our stuff on the table, could it be taken direct from the front of the book?

I’d love to hear people’s thoughts and how they build an army list, for both tournament games and for general games.

  • I played in a 40k event yesterday which was a 500pt multiplayer game, three players drawn randomly for each of the three tables available.Knowing I could be facing anything from Necrons to Orks and everything between, I chose to have a basic Chaos Marine expeditionary force of a Sorceror (Biomancy Smite power, no extra gear), a 10 man squad of Marines (7 x Boltgun, 1 x Heavy Bolter, 1 x Flamer, 1 Asp Champ no extra gear – Veterans of the long war), a 7 man Marine squad with no extra gear (veterans of long war still), and a 5 man Havoc squad (2 x Heavy Bolter, 2 x Missile Launchers (F&K), Asp Champ, Mark of Nurgle, Veterans of long war). My thinking was the commanders would not commit major forces to such a minor task as scouting the world below.

    I was drawn on a table with a force of Angels of Redemption (Chaplain leading an Assaut Squad with jump packs, tactical squad mounted in Rhino, and scouts with sniper rifles), and then the Grey Knights arrived – IN A LANDRAIDER!!!! Inquistitor Corteaz with his retinue (including 2 death cult assassins and a crusader) mounted inside the Flamer/multimelta/Twin-linked Assault Cannon armoured beast of a transport. Supported by a psyker unit. I was going to be truly boned!

    Between us the only models on the board that could even scratch the Landraider were the missile launchers (on lucky 6’s) or the Chaplain ith his melta bombs.

    Needless to say the Inquisition made mincemeat of us, though to be fair when my sorceror actually charged and challenged Corteaz (after my heavy bolters reduced his retinue to a single man) it was down to a psychic power granted reroll of his save to prevent my force weapon devouring his soul – right before he smashed my skull in with his thunder hammer.

    While the event organiser hadn’t specified any restriction on what you could or couldn’t take for the event most of the other players were surprised that someone brought a Landraider.

    It must be the RPG player in me that just enjoys making a more fluff orientated force for my games rather than a hyper-competitive “win at all costs” tournament-style force. Played a second game and I was sandwhiched between Imperial Salamanders and Dark Eldar. Unfortunately the result was very similar as I quickly found myself getting pounded from both sides and couldnt compete with the high initiative of the DE Archon and his retinue of witches ripped through my squad before I knew what hit me.

    Dont get e wrong I had an absolute blast and thoroughly enjoyed my day, I was just a little surprised at how competitive the world of 40k tabletop gaming had become in my several years absence from regular play.

    • Liam Gulliver

      Having attended the same event and with it being my first 40K experience, I have to say that my initial game (to which I finished 2nd, I might add) was minus fluff though and while that was beneficial for me as I was getting to grips with the rules, the RPer in me was thankful for playing with Mik in my second game that shows that fluff can be applied to 40K.

      Personally, I’ll probably minimize fluff in my games whilst I’m still getting to grips with the rules and my army but once I’ve found my comfort zone – hopefully by the time we start our campaign – I’ll be actively trying to drop fluff into my games.

    • jim

      Enjoyed that little report thanks you can comment again good chap

  • jim

    60* nobody cares about rbt’s and level2’s can be filthy your kidding no one mate

  • Ian Sturgess

    I took 6 lions to the maul yes I agree at 3K.
    However my magic was 2 level 2s, my warmachines were zero and my chaff was a list of 4 tiranocs and small swordmaster units that bleed points I had a laugh and hardly wrecked hobbies with my very suboptimal list.
    Maul is meant for a laugh and I dont think that list was designed for anything else

  • jim

    thats just for panzer though and you took 60 lions to the maul 😉 thanks for the comment makes a good point

  • Ian Sturgess

    I think its a mixture of the 2 that you need to combine. I love to fluff game and did it at both rise to glory and sheffield slaughter this year with what i consider fluffy lists. However if you are a tournie regular there will come a time when an optimumised list is required, from a personnel perspective I dont use the Net lists like stardragon, book of hoeth or 60 whitelions.
    An optomised list can be on a lovely theme if you want it to and tbh has to include nothing bent at all just a lot of combinations of things that work in harmony.
    The most important thing is to enjoy what you play and what does sicken me is going down to my local games club and having to write a comp pack to stop them netlisting that is very bad for the hobby.