Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why Collect a Tau Army?

A regular reader of Tau of War, Pearly Gates, commented on my last post and posed the following questions:

"Why did you decide to buy a Tau army? What was it that appealed to you about the Tau? was it how they look or did you read into their background BEFORE you decided to build a Tau army?

I'd also like to know everyone else's reason for getting a Tau army too please!"

This reminds of the old Warhammer 40,000 Codices (well semi-old). In the introduction to the codex on page 2 or something, they always had a section that was titled, Why Play a X Army?. And It was like this 2 paragraph pitch for the army in some half-hearted attempt to get you pumped up about them. It was this section you were supposed to read to help you decide whether the army was for you or not. I think they removed that funny little section because every new player knows right away what he wants to play just by looking at the models!

I started playing Warhammer 40,000 back in the 8th Grade and I am now 29. I actually started playing Fantasy and I had a Skaven Army that I had collected that was almost entirely metal. I gotta be honest with you it was 90% shoplifted stuff. After playing Fantasy for while, my friends and I started on Warhammer 40,000. Mt friend bought the then-new-release grey hunters box and I bought a bunch of old Chaos Marines off a friend for real cheap. 

I played for a while but then mostly got into just painting miniatures and I ended up collecting and painting a Black Legion Chaos Space Marine Force from the really old codex. 2nd Edition was frought with a ridicuouls amount of tables and references that you constantly had your head in a book. I mean every single vehicle had three speeds and its own damage chart!
Warhmmer 40,000 3rd Edition came out and that was huge. I mean HUGE. It was a totally new way to play. There were less tables, everyone could rapid fire, not just marines. The grenade rules had changed as well for the worse in my opinion. Anyway, I was back in the game and collecting more and more Chaos Space Marines. 
Years later, there were rumors of a new army coming out. White Dwarf released some concept art. I remember getting my first look at Jes Goodwin's rendering of battle-suits and drones and I was sold. They even had concept art from John Blanche, he had done a rendering of what would later become a Stealth Suits. It looked sick! I was sold. I was going to collect a Tau army. 

On their website, GW released a teaser short story, a short piece of fluff, just months before their release. It was OK and it gave very vague descriptions of the units. My imagination ran wild. 

Soon there was stuff all over the internet and I was getting all this information about the rumored release from Portent.Net, a site that was a great source of rumors and pics of unreleased models. I remember seeing the 3 ups of the Tau Hammerhead and greens of the Kroot and just getting so incredibly excited. I was like a 5 year old on Christmas Eve.

When the codex came out, I was there at Dream Wizards to buy the Tau Battle Force and Codex. It had 3 Crisis Suits, 12 Kroot, 12 Fire Warriors, something like 8 drones and jungle trees. It was great price and I assembled my models quickly. However, it took me like 2 years to get a color scheme I liked and with college, it took me almost 6 years to get a fully painted army. Nowadays I have more time and better methods so I can churn out models no problem. 

Th Tau captured my imagination for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they seemed to make more sense to me. Warhammer 40,000 is set in the far future but few armies have the technology to show for it. On top of that, very few armies actually practiced modern warfare. I did not want to field units of bezerkers running across the field with swords. This was warfare in a world of rifles, tanks and fliers, why would you bring a sword with you? It's like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Tau made more sense to me than any other army. They had no psykers, no swords, and no monsters. They were practical and they were closer to modern warfare. 

And who can forget their biggest selling point? They have battle-suits! I think the first release of Stealth Suits drew me in mostly. I still have the unit I painted almost 9 years ago. So really I think it was the models that did it for me mostly. Subconsciously it was the Asian design underpinnings that really make the Tau look cool. The old Stealth Suits looked like freaking Samurai with futuristic chain-guns, man. Pew-pew-pew!

Today, the Tau have a tough time because they've gain a reputation of being a weak and loser army. Everyone seems to agree that the models look great but that its tough to get a win with them. That's partly their appeal to me. They are the underdog in a lot of cases. I love it when people are like, yes, I'm playing Tau, it's going to be so easy and then I rock their with missile pods while they are chasing me around trying to get me into the assault. 

Partly what I wanted to do when I set out with this blog is make the Tau army more effective by sharing field experience. I hope I've done so not just by my thoughts but the reader's thoughts as well.
My first White Dwarf!


slxiii said...

Good question, good answers. Personally, I have always been a fan of efficiency strategically, and games wise. In most computer games I would be a sniper, because what's better than killing your enemy before he knows you're there, from too far away for his friends to help, AND with just one bullet? When Dark Crusade came out for DoW, I immediately hated the tau, because they got slaughtered in melee. After my first few wins, they have been my army of choice. Of all the armies in 40k, the Tau are the only ones that have any real fluff about their strategies and philosophy on war, this appeals to me too.

Doug said...

I have a tau army and started with them 4 years ago. I chose them because they have the best looking mechs and I like how you can give different paint jobs to the different races tau kroot and vespid. Although I dont have any vespid since I think they are overpriced...

Michael said...

Models and Tactics for me.

I love the tanks! The suits are meh in my opinion. But they are futuristic, and I like them.

But for me, it is really the tactics. I love the JSJ mechanism. I love the heavy guns. Rail rifles are just full of win. Everyone is afraid of rail rifles.

They are tough to win with against another good player, but that makes it all the more fun!

Simon said...

I had a 4th edition Tau army and I chose them based solely on the suits. I played a lot of Mech Warrior when I was a kid and the Tau reminded me of that a lot.

Flekkzo said...

I neither play nor own any Tau, but I like the army. It has a fairly distinct and specific flavor. I like the clean crisp paintworks you can give them. They and the Eldar have the nicest vehicles. I like the patterns vehicles can have, though they look like a pain to paint (are they?).

I am a bit soso with the suits. I don't like the legs. I do think they need another tank chassis and the Tau need walkers. They have suits, why not walkers? Imagine a dreadnought with big railguns! Ok the XV88 I guess. But they don't have walker rules though… They don't have the presence of a dread.

The reason I am thinking of getting a few Tau is because I want to try to paint them. Might sell them afterwards. Or keep. But mainly I want to paint:)

Anonymous said...

I've never owned Tau but I have played with a friend's several times and I must admit. I really love the fact that they can concentrate firepower efficiently and are so maneuverable. It was down to either Tau or Eldar and even though I picked Eldar in the end, I'm definately getting Tau one day.

levi said...

We started to play with a friend of mine together in the summer, using paper models, coz We didn't have money. We still use them to be honest, I've got a few Tau but thats all. We both are imperium fans and after the first battle between my iron hands and his angels of absolution I immediately decided that this wont work I just have to come up with sg. that's not imperial.

First, I read the eldars, gave them a try, but since we were complete beginners, I just couldnt keep in mind so much special rules with the basic ones as well.

Then came the Tau. The tactics, and the chance to modificate the XV8s. Thats what got me.

Soundwave said...

I used to have a small Tau collection. I got into the Tau because of their story and the look of the basic Firewarrior - my favourite looking Troops choice in 40k.

I ran a poll on my blog recently, for what army to make for an upcoming tournament. The Tau and Eldar jointly won, so I'm torn between the two. People keep telling me Eldar, but with all the new codexes coming out so quick and a "secret" release after Blood Angels I'm not so sure what to do!

Sholto said...

I got the Tau at a stage when I was collecting every army I could, but after buying them I found I loved the look of the models and the unusual way they played (being used to Chaos, I had to adjust to play as the Tau). Since then, they have become my main army.

Itkovian said...

The first model I ever bought (when I was 17) was one of the old Stealth Suits - I just thought it looked "badass".

The next day, I saw the battlesuits. Haven't bought a Tau model since.

Heretic said...

I stared playing right as fifth edition was coming out and asked some of my friends which armies would be good for a beginner. They told me Tau and Space Marines, but then everyone had a Space Marine army so I chose Tau.

With the new world of 5th that my cadre came into, I lost a lot because I simply tried to stand and shoot. After beating my head against a wall, I decided to try something new. That didn't work so I tried something else.

That need to adapt taught me how to be a better player. I appreciate that and the connection that the Tau fluff has to their table top play style. OSH and Sholto, you guys along with Adam have helped me refine my army both in list and tactics. Thank you from a reader.

Old Shatter Hands said...

@Heretic, I love how your friends told you that Tau were a good army for beginners! That's really funny! HAHAHAHA! Seriously though, they are very difficult for beginners because you really have to know the rules through and through to field them well. I'm glad blogging has helped you out. Tonight, I'm going to a 1500 point with a different cadre than I normally field. Bat rep to follow.

Anonymous said...

...because I like their politics.

Swift Hunter said...

I knew I wanted to get Tau when I saw XV88s picture in friend's White Dwarf (page 49, WD315). Just enough. I didn't know rules, fluff, anything. Railguns rules!!! :D

Dhinanta Aloke said...

I started playing Fantasy and 40k sort of simultaniously, so I went with Chaos Daemons. They were a new army (in the sense that they had their own codex) and I really like all thing honor, magic, undead, and demon/daemon (and mech).

After about a year I was tired of the simplistic play style. Drop in, do everything possible to charge, repeat. It was kind of boring. (They weren't terrible overpowered in Fantasy because, somehow, both my roommate and I missed that they caused fear...)

I started looking at other armies. I really didn't even know what Tau were when I started thumbing through their codex. The battlesuits really appealed to me, very Armored Core. The drones seemed pretty awesome too. Then I got into their strategy and the fluff and it just spoke to me for some reason.

I do like how I went from ignoring the shooting phase to ignoring the close combat phase though... >.<

ehemkeh said...

Tau is the my first army and 5th edition is the first rule set I've played in. The store manager at the FLGS tried in vain to talk me out of buying the Tau battleforce. It came down to the models for me. I love the look and the army captured my imagination. I've had the steep learning curve I was warned about, but I've been managing to get some wins and try to learn from every battle, win or lose.

Pearlygates said...

Well thanks to all who posted their comments about why they chose Tau; And ESPECIALY thanks to you OSH for dedicating a blog update to my question! Truly I feel honoured!!!

After losing interest in Games workshop for a few years, I just decided one day to pop in and have a look at what was out in G/W.
And there in a display cabinet was this AMAZING Tau army; So without question I chose the Tau simply for their looks! It was about 10yrs ago now, Tau had only just been released when i saw them.

Typically of me, I dived straight in without thinking and bought £**** amount of Tau!....and in the first few months of playing them, oh how I regretted it!

For a long time I thought I had wasted my money on a pathetic army and quickly they were shelved and replaced by a Chaos army that soon turned to a pure World Eater army.

But then I decided give them another try, and slowly began to understand how to use them better.

It's mainly thanks to Blogs such as 'Tau of War' and Adam's 'Warhammer Tau' that I learnt how to improve my skills, understand better use of tactics and units, etc, that I have become a much better player with Tau.

They are my No 1 army and will never be shelved again!

Raptor1313 said...

I picked 'em up as a bit of a challenge; my initial understanding was that they were a nasty army but very unforgiving.

I'm also a fan of their general aesthetic; robots + hovertanks is win, and I can deal with kroot because of what they do for my army.

They also have the most 'futuristic' style of fighting; we have target designators, troops that pop in and out of cover (a la pop-up attacks from helos), and, y'know, RAIL GUNS.

Plus, they're one of the closer things to good guys in 40k. I suspect they're a little more intolerant of humans because it's a survival thing; I mean, come on. Humans really ARE that bad in 40k, but that's a function of the setting.

Russell's Teapot said...

Forgeworld battlesuits. That's the main reason.

Also, I got bored of playing Space Marines & IG - and I wanted something that played differently that wasn't a case of running across the board yelling "Death to (insert army here)"

Mon-keigh Reaper said...

Every boy likes to play with robots and to be honest that is what Tau (suits) look like. Clean lines and big guns also help out. I have avoided the temptation of buying any Tau. OSH and our other friend both play Tau and would shoot if I bought any.

Hmm, maybe if I just buy 500 points combat squad, I just love the look of stealth suits. Must resist...

Anonymous said...

@ Raptor: interesting, I feel that the Tau way of fighting is more akin to the way modern nations fight today. Mobile firepower ftw!