29 October 2012

Fearful Symmetry

Guest Writer Jeremiah Terry Previews an Upcoming Tannhäuser Expansion

In July, Fantasy Flight Games announced the upcoming release of the Frankenstahl Single Miniature Pack for Tannhäuser. This horrifying expansion includes one painted figure and accompanying character sheet, a twelve-page rulebook with an all-new scenario, and all the tokens and equipment cards necessary to bring this deadly abomination to your battles.

The Frankenstahl will burst onto store shelves later this week, and today we’re pleased to present the second of two previews by Tannhäuser enthusiast Jeremiah Terry. Last time, Jeremiah explained some of the Frankenstahl’s formidable abilities. Today, he’ll show us how fielding two Frankenstahls means double the destruction.

The surgio-techs of the Eisendivison have been hard at work churning out dread monstrosities. Now, as whole divisions of Frankenstahls march across the battlefields of France, the Obscura Korps has acquired a few of the monsters to support their dark missions. The special rules included with the Frankenstahl allow you to field multiple Frankenstahls despite their Epic Hero status, but there is a cost for doing so.

Should you choose to field more than one Frankenstahl, the second one will need to sacrifice his top health row, or you’ll pay a Command Point each turn to play him at full health. While at first glance you may think the CP cost is too high to justify fielding two Frankenstahls at full health, keep in mind that you won’t need as many CPs to spend on shaking off wounds. It’s unlikely that the Frankenstahls will take many wounds in a single turn. Furthermore, with two Epic Heroes in your squad, you’ll only have room available for one more Reich hero. This hero will most likely be spending all his time in a support role as far from the enemy as possible, so he should not need to spend many Command Points either.

The type of enemy squad that you’ll be facing is an important point of consideration when deciding whether or not to give up that health row and Command Point. Although you will never know exactly what characters and packs your opponent is bringing to the game before the first turn, you can usually make some assumptions. For instance, if your opponent likes to play an all Union squad led by Edison and featuring four troopers, you will find the extra health row far more useful than a single Command Point no matter the chosen game mode. This is because while you will be far outnumbered in terms of actual characters, you will be able to even the odds in terms of health rows.

All the new team building options coming to Tannhäuser means you may want to think not just in terms of Heroes and Troopers, but also in total health rows per squad. Continuing the above example, the Edison led squad would have twenty total health rows between all of the characters. The two Frankenstahls and another Reich Hero would have only thirteen health rows if you chose not to give up the Command Point for that extra bit of health. One health row can make all the difference, especially when facing what seems like overwhelming odds. Also, should your opponent choose to give up a trooper to gain Edison’s other bonuses, you will suddenly find yourself evenly matched in terms of health rows (fourteen to fourteen) while still seeming to be outmatched by pure figure count.

The versatile Schulterkanone offers extra firepower on a limited CP budget.

The Hammer and the Anvil

Although you’ll be tempted to treat your Frankenstahls as two individual super heroes by sending them to disparate parts of the map all alone, you have to resist this urge. The two Frankenstahls work best in tandem. While spreading out on the first turn may work to draw your enemy in, you need to keep your Frankenstahls within about twenty path circles so they can easily move to the same path on the next turn. Working in unison, two Frankenstahls should be able to take down any enemy, even another Epic, within one or two turns.

Once the two are on the same path, one Frankenstahl will be your hammer and the other the anvil. During your set up, make sure that one Frankenstahl has a Schulterkanone. This will allow you to spend what is likely your only Command Point to set this Frankenstahl on Overwatch even after performing another non-attack action. The unit on Overwatch is the hammer. He’ll hit any enemy that approaches or attacks first. If your Overwatch attack fails to eliminate your enemy, or if a second enemy moves into range, your second Frankenstahl has a variety of options to deal with the threat. Perhaps the best of these options is the Command Pack, which has the ability to force enemies that begin their activation on your path to flee in terror. This allows you to control the movement of your fleeing enemies and determine when and where the next engagement will take place. If used correctly, you can make sure that the next skirmish will be weighted heavily in your favor.

Call in Support

The final decision to make when building a team around dual Frankenstahls is which fellow Reich Hero will be acting as support for your two great monsters. While the bulk of this decision will be up to your personal preferences, there are a couple of really effective team combos you should consider first.

When facing Edison, your number one concern beyond the possibility of extra troopers is the extra Command Point he can bring to the game. To counter this as a Reich player, your best option comes in the form of Hoss and his Command pack. In this pack, Hoss’ “Eye of Akhenaton” increases the cost of all Command Point functions by one. Shaking off a wound is two points, bringing in reinforcements is a whopping four points, etc. Not only does this negate Edison’s special power, it effectively evens out the game. For all intents and purposes, your opponent will be playing with only one Command Point action per turn, just as you will be if fielding two full-health Frankenstahls.

The second option is Hermann von Heïzinger and his Combat pack. The “Hermetica Umbra” will add an additional die to all attacks made by your Frankenstahls as long as they are within six circles of Heïzinger. This will bring the Frankenstahl’s already deadly Combat pack ranged abilities to a frightening new level. The monsters can now make attacks with seven dice with a Combat value of seven, and they’ll hit with any roll higher than a three. On average, attacks of this strength will cause two to three wounds. With two Frankenstahls focusing all their power on a single enemy, the opponent’s death will be all but guaranteed.

These are just a few examples of how these new monsters will change the face of Tannhäuser’s battlefields. Although this will be the last release for Tannhäuser’s foreseeable future, it will be a long time before anyone fully explores all the tactical possibilities that the Frankenstahl, and the previously released Edison, bring to the game. Look for Frankenstahl at your local retailer in just a few more days!

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