Product Review: THWG Objective Markers

A nation can resist an army of men,

But not an idea whose time has come

~ Victor Hugo

Most people love them and want to know more, a few start raging at the sight of them. These things might be the second most controversial discs in Warhammer, after the bases replacing the squares that died with rank ‘n’ flank.

I’ve invested in a set of 6″ Objective Markers from The Honest Wargamer, and I’m here to report to you on how they work in practice. As always, this site is entirely free from endorsement, and I paid for these things out of my own pocket – so if I do fangirl out, you know that’s my sincere opinion as a paying customer.

What’s the point?

Mark out the scoring zone for being in range of the Objective, and then count how many models are on top of it. Perfectly simple, perfectly clear, and with zero ambiguity of what needs to be where.

These things have the potential to be game-changers, in the most literal sense. All that pissing around measuring 6″ and doing the nudge-nudge count-count before you’re happy that the models are precisely where they need to be: gone for good, and good riddance. It’s pure drudgery and so, so easily avoided.

Get a visual on what needs to be where, move it there, and BANG you’re done. And if I never have to go through the end-of-turn rigmarole of measuring and remeasuring and countring and recounting and arguing over whether Plague Monk number 17 is just in or just out of 6″, I’ll be a happy Warboss.

Sounds great!

Well yeah, I think so. Not everybody is of the same opinion, however. Some don’t like the aesthetics, and find them ugly (more of which later); others feel that it is dumbing down the objective-scoring experience by sign posting it to the hard-of-thinking.

I must confess that I’ve had those thoughts myself, and initially was resistant to the idea of marking out the scoring zones; I quite liked the idea of my opponent forgetting to capture them, thank you very much. In practice though, I would never be happy winning a competitive game that way.

Ironically I would be much more likely to enforce it in friendly games, precisely because there is less at stake. If it really doesn’t matter who wins, then I don’t feel grubby for nicking it: I would quite happily give someone a harsh lesson about capping points in a friendly match, and if they’re a mate I’ll get up in their face to drive it home too. Whereas I could cite numerous occasions when I’ve let people off with forgetting to cap at tournaments, even when it’s had a direct outcome on the match.

And when push comes to shove – is it worth making every single game you play a slightly less smooth, slightly more fussy experience, just so you’ve got the chance of nicking a game through the back door once in every 100?

Nah, not for me.

I wouldn’t want to win games that way, I don’t need to win games that way, and I’d rather have a much better experience over the course of time by using the right tools to just make the game flow.

I’m all for it.

Practicalities

A Perfect Eight

These things are designed by AOS players, for AOS players, and let me tell you: it really, really shows. There might happen to be other game systems where these things can be used, and if so that’s great; but these are not a generic wargaming tool, they are an AOS tool.

It starts with the quantity you get in an order: a perfect eight, matching the peak number of Objectives in any Matched Play Battleplan (Scorched Earth, since you ask). I’ve seen packs of 6 doing the rounds from the competition, which either means you’re fucked when you play that mission, or you have to buy two packs and waste money on 4 “spares”. Fuck that.

Size Matters – And We’re Talking Girth

Next up, these are of course 6″ radius discs. They do have 3″ inner circles too, which doesn’t apply to many Battleplans currently, but is handy for things like Duality of Death (for zoning out the scoring zone as much as for capping it), and crucially, is a great piece of future-proofing for any maps yet to come.

Because I’m a fussy old bastard, I also went and measured the discs to confirm that they are the correct size, which they indeed are:

Terrain

One surprising gripe I had with these is the way in which they interact with terrain. Now when I say “surprising”, bear in mind that’s only because I was too dumb to think about it, but it’s definitely a thing.

Let’s take a look at a couple of the games I played at SAGT in Adelaide, just before shit went down:


Now what do you notice there? Big chunks of the discs are obscured by the terrain, that’s what. Now granted, the footprint of the terrain is particularly boxy, but even so it will come up to a greater or lesser extent on most tables.

That wouldn’t be a reason not to use these things though: it’s not actually a downside, just a mitigation of the upside. You’re still better off having most of the scoring zone visible on most of the objectives, than you would be seeing none of it on none of them.

Thus far, I have found that my opponents are more than happy to go with using these markers: on a table with preset scenery, it’s just a matter of lifting up the terrain piece, placing down the marker, and replacing the terrain. Takes two minutes and you never have to measure again for the whole game. Job’s a good ‘un.

Grip

A major concern I had over these things was that the shiny plastic looked like it could be slippery. You don’t want to be playing on a sheet of ice, with your models slipping all over the place every time you exhale in their general direction; you want to keep some kind of friction and inertia there, so a model placed is a model placed.

The good news is, these things are surprisingly grippy.

I don’t know if they went through a heap of different iterations and picked the best one, or just lucked out first time, but the material is spot-on for the job in hand. The discs are smooth in your hand, have a really premium feel and yet somehow just offer that little bit of traction against plastic bases. Perfection.

Aesthetics

In sports, you know the referee has had a good game when you don’t notice them.

On Bush Radio, you know it’s been a good episode when Pat doesn’t speak much.

And so it is with objective markers: the less you notice them, the better they are doing their job.

These markers are almost transparent and with only a very subtle THWG logo on them; just as importantly, they are wafer-thin, so they ghost underneath models and terrain pieces without raising them up.

Can you imagine how crap-tacular it would look to have a piece half up, half down on a thick rubber disc? No thanks.

If anything, the 3″ ring inside the larger circle does detract from the aesthetics slightly, but I’d rather live with that than have to buy a whole separate set of discs, or not be able to use them on some Battleplans.

All in all, they have a quality look and feel, and I would argue that the design choices are on point all the way through.

They actually look a little bit like records, hey

The Alternatives

Neoprene mats

In my opinion these are aggressively ugly, and too thick:

http://3d6wargaming.com/overstock-6-3d6/

No thanks.

Playing without objective markers

Doesn’t bear thinking about. These are a “before and after” moment: I obviously could play without them, I’d just rather not. It’s a bit like owning a dishwasher.

How to order them

Sounds great, right? So how do we buy them?

Yeah…about that. The ones I bought were a pilot run, and they did take a while to arrive. The Markers are currently unavailable at time of writing, but I’ve been in touch with James Powell, the brains behind the operation, who has confirmed that they will be back up within the next couple of weeks.

Pricing will stay the same at GBP 26.00, which is a sound investment. These things aren’t a consumable, and they will never wear out: buy them once, and have a better gaming experience forever. The key thing to remember is that you get 8 in a pack, so one set is a perfect match for your needs.

I’ll be updating this article when they are back up for order, but until then, you’re welcome to keep an eye out at https://thehonestwargamer.bigcartel.com/


The TL:DR

I’m a fan; a big, big fan. Some people will resist and hold out against them, but the march of progress only goes in one direction.

The future’s right here, so now you’ve got a choice. You can watch the Mandalorian on a great big fuck-off flatscreen, or you can watch repeats of Murder She Wrote on a shitty old cathode ray TV.

What’s it gonna be?

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