The Vanguard Tactics 10th Edition Accelerator Programme is positioned as a companion to help returning players hit the ground running with Warhammer 40k 10th edition. Wargamer received free admission to the programme, and so we tasked freelance contributor Olly Paul with testing it out, to let you folks know whether it’s something you should consider, and what you can expect.
Whether you’re a complete Warhammer 40k beginner, or a grizzled veteran of the long war, read on to see what he thought after completing the course.
What is the Vanguard Tactics 10th Edition Accelerator programme?
The Vanguard Tactics 10th Edition Accelerator programme consists of seven modules, focused on different aspects of 40k that have changed with 10th edition, leading to a final module that suggests potential next steps.
Each module features a number of video lessons, with a comment section for questions, and in some cases documents such as PDFs that you can download and refer to later.
I found this combination fairly strong: I could listen to the video to gain a broad understanding of the topic, and then use the PDFs to refresh my knowledge before I went to a game.
As a previous Vanguard Tactics Academy member, I’m already familiar with this style of teaching, and it works for me. The course also offers advice on how to put each lesson into practice at home, for learners who prefer practical exercises.
What’s it like?
From the very first video it’s obvious that both of the tutors, Michael Costello and founder Stephen Box, have a lot of experience in teaching and coaching. Both speak conversationally, clearly, and at an easy to follow pace to cover the topics at hand.
The tone is really positive, focused on how to make the most of the new edition’s rules, rather than analysing whether they’re good or bad. Michael and Stephen are like two of your mates who happen to be very good at Warhammer, and have agreed to get you up to speed over a pint.
Here’s an example of the tone; module three contains a short video on each of the new Universal 40k Strategems. They’re short, to the point, and waffle-free, covering what the Stratagem does, any restrictions, and what you’ll probably use it for. At just one to three minutes long, there’s just the right amount of info to get you using Stratagems in 10th edition effectively, without diving deep into edge cases and deep strategies.
What does it do best?
Even if you read through the 10th edition previews with the zealousness of a Black Templar, and have read through the digital rules documents on release, the course offers real value by explaining what those rules mean in the context of the wider game.
Common knowledge and a general ‘meta’ develop over the course of Warhammer 40k editions. Vanguard Tactics is essentially giving you the jump on this, helping you to understand the advantages of the new rules and mechanics, and common ways to wield them.
A great example here is the module on ‘Rules Changes by Phase’. The ninth edition Academy taught me an overwhelming amount about the intricacies of the charge and fight phases in order to get the most out of my melee armies, so I was keen to see what I could learn from the Accelerator Programme about charge phase changes.
Seeing the new Charge phase played out and talked through was so much more accessible than reading a block of Warhammer 40k rules text, which can be overwhelming, especially when reading for the first time.
VT’s videos on the various phases were more than sufficient for me to internalize the new rules. I came away confident I could play a game without rereading the rules every ten minutes, or arguing with my opponent. And then after the game, I was able to go back and rewatch videos to cement my knowledge after forgetting some stuff mid-game.
What doesn’t it have?
“There’s a lot of tricks!” says Mike, whilst discussing the new Pile In and Consolidate rules. But rather than letting us in on the tricks, this is a cheeky teaser for the upcoming 10th edition Vanguard Tactics Academy. It’s a common refrain during the Accelerator course that more will be covered, and in greater depth, in the actual Academy.
Is it worth it?
This very much depends on your attitude towards the game of Warhammer 40k. Stephen Box gave this justification for the ninth edition Academy, which was enough to convince me to sign up: If he were to buy an expensive camera, he’d be happy to spend a decent amount more learning how to use that camera through photography courses.
The logic here applies just the same to Warhammer 40k: we’ve all spent hundreds of dollars on our lovely armies. For some people, it’s worth it to spend some more to learn how to get the most out of them.
With that said, the accelerator course does feel like a foundation. It will be most valuable to new players, or returning players who are still in the dark about 10th edition rules and want to get up to speed and start playing quickly.
It’s definitely a fun way to learn the game again, get some new techniques under your belt and warm up your strategic muscles with your favorite army.
Overall I had a good time with the 10th edition Accelerator course, and recommend it for returning players who think they want a boost up. Regular 40k players who are already familiar with 10th edition, but who still want coaching to elevate their game, should probably wait for the full fat Academy.