5 January 2012

Picking the Right Pack

A guide to choosing and equipping your Tannhäuser characters

In this Tannhäuser spotlight, we hear from Jeremiah “miah999” Terry, a devoted Tannhäuser fan and the creator and administrator of The Tannhäuser Boardgame Blog. He is going to share some insights on building and equipping your team.

Team Building Exercises

For new players, the vast array of options available in Tannhäuser can be a little overwhelming, and choosing a character's equipment pack can be a daunting challenge. By breaking equipment choices down into categories, players can quickly pick equipment that will best fit their force in any scenario.

Almost all characters have three equipment packs, and these are divided into three groups. The first is the Combat Pack, which focuses on weapons and physical strength. Next is the Stamina Pack, which includes first aid items or abilities that provide protection against attacks. Finally, there is the Command Pack, which grants advantages to the entire team or to the player himself, such as making it easier to win Initiative Rolls and go first on a turn. Because Tannhäuser already has these categories, you can simply expand these concepts to encompass all of the game modes, scenarios, and even characters, creating a simple process that can help you choose between all the options.

The first step is to expand these three basic groups by applying them to the different game modes. The first game mode is Deathmatch. This is the simplest of all the modes, and focuses on eliminating your opponent’s team. Deathmatch is combat oriented, and therefore you can assume that issuing Combat Packs to most of your characters is a good plan. Many of the other game modes are just as easy to place in one of the three groups. Domination emphasizes map control, that and makes it far more stamina oriented. Command characters provide the biggest benefit in both Capture the Flag and King of the Hill modes. Objective mode is a little different. While it helps to have a lot of stamina, it also can be just as helpful to have strong command or combat characters. This leads to a need for a more balanced approach. The need to bring a specific skill set can also influence your character choices in Objective mode.

Gearing up for story mode

That covers all the basic modes, but where Tannhäuser really shines is Story mode, where the scenario rules greatly influence what and who you’ll need. When looking at a scenario and trying to determine what you need, the first step is to figure out which basic game mode the scenario resembles most. Are you trying to get a mystic item out of the castle, or assassinate a high ranking Reich official? While the latter will definitely benefit from a Combat Pack heavy team, the former is a variant on the Capture the Flag theme, and a strong Command Pack equipped character providing a high initiative bonus would be a great help. Some scenarios may combine features of one or two different basic game modes, which may require a more balanced team. Also, some scenarios may feature a different basic mode for each player. For example, the Reich could be trying to maintain control of the crypt, while the Union is trying to capture and escape with an object. This is where a careful read of the scenario will be helpful. Because the two sides have different goals, their teams will by necessity be just as different.

You can begin to see that by using knowledge of game modes and scenarios, you gain insight into which packs to bring. Furthermore, if you have a good idea of what pack to bring, you can determine what characters to use. Nearly all characters in Tannhäuser have the same three equipment pack types, but not all packs are created equal. Some characters have one pack that is better than others. For instance, Barry Brown has a strong combat focus, and therefore his Combat Pack is his strongest. While his other packs are not useless, he may not be your first choice for Capture the Flag or Domination mode where combat is not the primary goal. It’s a good idea to learn your characters’ equipment packs so you can choose characters based on what they can bring to the battle. If you’re going into a Deathmatch, you may want to leave lightly armed characters like the Commando Delta behind. 

Now that you can classify the individual characters in Tannhäuser into some basic groups, you can look at characters in terms of their strongest pack. This can be helpful when thinking about your opponent’s possible choices. You won’t know what characters and equipment your opponent has brought until the game begins, so you can’t choose your team based solely on what your opponents play. However, you can still make some educated guesses, and this can be very helpful when your goal is combat oriented. For example, do you know your opponent likes to use Blutstrum Agents, Shogunate assassins, or the Union’s big guns? Then you have to look at these groups as a whole. The Blutstrum is weak in the stamina department, so using heavy weapons and fragmentation grenades helps a lot. The Shogunate, however, is much stronger in stamina, and a direct assault may not accomplish your goals. In this case, a more command focused team, or even fighting stamina with stamina may be your best bet. If you find yourself facing down the Union’s heavy weapons, you’re going to want some characters that can take punishment and keep fighting.

Some final tips

There are many factors that can influence your choice of personnel and equipment, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Just keep sight of your goal. Remember to think about what you’re going to need to succeed before deciding on whom to bring. You can’t change your mind after you reveal your selection to your opponent, and sometimes it can be far more important to have the right equipment, than just your favorite personality on the table. 

That should be all you need to know to get a basic understanding of these concepts. Remember, everything in Tannhäuser can be placed in one of the three groups: either combat, stamina, or command. With these three basic elements, you can create robust counters to even the most powerful opponents. 

Thanks, Jeremiah! With these excellent tips, anyone can assemble a Tannhäuser team fit for action. Check out our the community forums for more Tannhäuser tips and strategies, and watch this space for forthcoming Tannhäuser articles.  

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