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maandag 7 november 2011

Game Night!

*EDIT - and once again the blogger app ate my lay-out. Fixed now, with apologies*

Hello and welcome to the first ever edition of Game Night! where I'll talk about any specific gameplay bits  that I have participated in over the week. I'm still getting to grips with the new blog format but these post should be arriving more regarly :p

For this week's installment, I have three different items for you. First up will be a Thunderstomp Battle Review of a multiplayer battle we did in the final turn of our Fantasy Campaign, using the scenario from the rulebook. So for everyone who's wondered if that's a fun and fair way to do a three-player battle, this one will be for you!

Second, for a little dose of 40k, I'll do my initial thoughts on the new Necron Codex. I've been pouring over my copy since Thursday (I do enjoy usually being able getting my hands on a new book a couple of days before the official release!) and I have a few ideas to share with you. Nothing too serious, go to 3++ for that!

Finally, I have three army ideas to discuss with you, all possibilities for me to use for my half of a Fantasy doubles tournament in December. So, let's get to it!

Campaign Battle report - Battle Royale

Raise you're hand if you've ever played in a multi-player battle for Fantasy 8th ed. Not that many, huh? Nor I. Did you know there's actually a special scenario for it in the rulebook? Way in the back. Page 404. So not in the small Island of Blood rulebook, but the official, don't-ever-bring-it-anywhere-cuz-it's-so-heavy version.
The scenario is called Battle Royale, has very simple rules (easily fits on two pages), and we decided to try it out for our campaign as a good way to do a three-way battle. Here's what happened before, during, and after, as well as our thoughts on the scenario.

Before: We are currently in the final turn of our tryout, 3 player, Fantasy map campaign. Victory is determined by occupying a set number of semi-random territories by campaign's end. Each player has a mission card that tells him which territories are his primary and secondary objectives. Players earn points for occupying these territories, and whoever has the most points wins! So, this turn saw a mad dash for objectives and we ended up, for the first time this campaign, with armies from all three different players in on territory.

Here are the armies:

1000 pts High Elves
Level 2 Death Mage
3 units archers
2 chariots
2 units reavers

1000 pts Greenskins:
Orc Warboss on Boar
Goblin hero on Gigantic Spider
Goblin Level 2 on Wolf
15 Spider Riders
3 Boarboyz
5 Boarboyz
2*2 Wolf Chariots

1500 pts Skaven
2 Level 2 Engineers
2 Level 1 Engineers
2* 40 Clanrats w Weapon Team
2*20 Clanrats w Weapon Team
34 Slaves
20 Slaves
Warp Lightning Cannon

Scenario: Now, the way this scenario works is as follows. Three objectives were placed, roughly parallel to the long table edge, in the middle of the table. Players then roll off, with the lowest player deploying in the centre (a 24" by 16" square). Then the second lowest scoring player chooses a board edge and deploys within 6" of it. And the the final player does the same.

Turns move a little different from normal. Everyones moves in the same phase, in order of the deployment dice roll (so central player first, etc). Shooting also follows this order. One roll for magic dice is made and every player gets a pile of power dice and of dispel dice. First player can cast one spell first, and then the others follow in order. Dispelling is done by the player who is targeted by the spell, or by any player if there is no target (once again, this happens in order). And that's it!

Controlling an objective (by having the closest unit) gives you one Point. Killing an opposing General is also one Point. And you earn another Point if your general lives. Most Points wins.

Here's how we did:

Memorable Occurences:
> Doomwheels have not worked out for me this campaign. I think most all of them died from bow fire, and I killed at least 2 Skaven for every High Elf or Greenskin with the bolts. Nightrunners were the usual unfortunate conduits. This battle was no exception as it died from archer fire T2. At least I did not shoot any of my own guys with it this time.
> Warp Lightning Cannons, on the other hand, have performed well. At least, from a Skaven perspective. Over the course of the campaign one WLC managed to land a perfect hit on a General and his accompanying unit twice, either wiping them out completely or making them ineffective at the very least. Too bad one of those times it hit and killed my Skaven Warlord and 20 odd clanrats. Luckily, this battle it managed to kill the O&G General with a perfect shot, earning me a Point for the victory.
> The HE general, a lvl 2 wizard, also died at the hands of my minions. After spirit leeching my General to death in T1, the High Elf died when his unit archers got charged by 20 clanrats. Only 2 Skaven could fight the wizard, but that was enough! 2 Hits, 2 wounds, and one more Point for me! Hurrah!
> Spider Riders are really great at removing HEs from a building, at least compared to other Goblins. Getting those extra attacks from the mounts really helped.

> I hate weapon teams. They die so easily. T3 and W1 with a 4++ isn't nearly enough to keep them alive if they are targeted by anyhing, no matter how small. I'll not be taking these again in 8th. Well, maybe a Mortar, since I can hide that behind a unit and still shoot with it.
> Being the Central player sucks. Sure, you can move and charge first, but that just means your opponents can always respond to you and countercharge. Same with magic. It might seem nice that you can get the first spell off, but all players will still have all their dispel dice. The Shooting Phase is the only phase you might have an actual advantage going first. Yet that's hardly enough of an advantage to offset the disadvantage of being within reach of every player on the board from the start. As the O&G player found out to his detriment.
> Dispelling in order offers a nice extra level of tactical depth. Since players dispel in order when no enemy unit is targeted, it is quite possible to make only a token effort to dispel an augment that will affect an opponent and not you. Case in point: the 15 spider riders charge 14 High Elf archers in a building. The Greenskins player then casts an augment on the spider riders to give them (better) poisoned attacks and help them win the combat. Now, since no enemy unit was targeted by that spell, I, being the next in line, got the first attempt at dispelling it. As you can imagine I was fine with letting it go through, so, as each spell can only be attempted to dispelled once, I rolled one of my dispel dice to try and dispel it. I couldn't beat the roll of the casting player with only one die, so the spell went through. Since there had already been an attempt to dispel it, the HE player could then only grumble and glare at me for being a Sneaky Git and suffer from it's the ensuing combat phase. And that's ok, because it was actually he who had come up with that particular underhanded tactic before the battle!
> I got lucky that I had an army with lots of big units of infantry and lots of wizards, and my opponents both had cavalry heavy armies. There's no way they could deal with my troops on their own, and, fortunately for me, they are notoriously bad at working together anyway. In fact, they seem to have an almost Skaven-like need to backstab each other at the earliest opportunity. Seriously, they tried cutting a deal and work together to defeat me at first, but they couldn't even manage to keep that up for one turn, both of them wanting to hit the other first, before they would be betrayed in turn. All I had to do was move up and kill those unit who weren't busy killing 'allies'. Good times :)

First Thoughts - Necrons

I did one of these posts when the Ogre Kingdoms book was released and I enjoyed reading what I thought a while later and see what had changed or had come true. So, never one to miss a chance to look silly in public, here are my initial thoughts on the Necrons:
> The Triarch Stalker will be the Necrons version of the Tervigon. A great deal of good Necron armies will include one, and GW will wait a long time before releasing a model.
> Necrons will not do a all-mech force well. Their vehicles are just too expensive to take enough for that to work. Hybrid armies will be the norm.
> Troops: Immortals over Warriors, and Tesla Carbines over Gauss Blasters (barely).
> Heavy Destroyers still have a role to play. S9, AP2 and effective range of 48" makes them ideal units to get flank shots on enemy mech. And, with S9, even frontal hits have a good chance to do something.
> Lychguard and Praetorians will be compared to assault terminators a whole lot, costing the same, and they will not come out on top. But then, compared to assault terminators, who does?
> Wraiths are probably the army's best CC unit. High S and Rending, a 3++ save, an optional ability to negate the unit's main weakness (low I) in combat, and enough speed to get where they need to be quickly, and this unit will fill the role of combat "specialist" in an army sorely lacking in that department.
> Speaking of the close combat department, if you want an army to do well there, Necrons is not for you.
> Flayed Ones have the coolest fluff yet will be the least used unit. Giving a poor combat model more attacks does not make that model good in combat, only slightly better. Also, Flayed Ones have some very stiff competition for the Elites slot. Heck, everyone who is not a Stalker has stiff competition there!
> The Tesla Destructor is my favourite weapon in the book. S7 and a lot of shots, combined the potential to do even more hits, this weapon makes me wish I could take a lot more Annihilation Barges.

600 pts Warhammer Double Tournament List Ideas

As I mentioned last week, I will be participating in a small Warhammer Doubles Tournament in December. Each team will consist of two 600 pts armies, and any combination of armies will be allowed. Each 600 pts part needs to be an legitimate army in it's own right, severly limiting what each player can bring to the table.
Now, I always have a problem deciding which army to take to a tournament, and this time is no exception. In fact, this time it's even worse because 600 pts is so few, I could even start a new army from scratch! Now, my partner in crime, who usually plays with HE (as he does in our Fantasy Campaign), will return to an old love and bring Empire to the Tourney. This helps me not at all, as Empire is probably the best all-round army in the game, and I won't know what I'll need my army to do until I see what he has come up with.

After thinking about the tournament a bit more, I have come up with the following three armies. Each one has it's pro's and con's, but hopefully putting them on here will help me make up my mind!

Option 1: Ogre Kingdoms
Bruiser, great weapon, heavy armour, 5++
6 Bulls, Ironfist, Standard
4 Maneaters, Brace of Pistols, Standard  

This army was made with one concept in mind. Every 600 pts force will have at least one hero level character. This will probably be an ill-protected one, since there will not be many spare point for fancy kit. The Maneaters will have a field day sniping out all the characters and earning points. However, is that worth 250 pts for 4 models? 
The bruiser is there to beat face and the unit Bulls are the only semi effective Core unit I could make with these points... 

Option 2: Daemons
Herald of Tzeentch, Master of Sorcery  <Shadow>
15 Horrors 5 Seekers, Champion, Musician
2 Bloodcrushers 

Magic Mastery is the key phrase here. The Horrors and the Herald will help me have magical superiority. The Seekers are there to hunt Warmachines and such, and the Bloodcrushers are there to hit stuff in the mouth.
At 600 pts you really start to realise how few models you can take in a Daemon army. Apart from possibly the Bloodcrushers, this army will fall apart in combat. 

Option 3: Skaven 
3*3 level 1 Warlock Engineers
50 Slaves, shield, Musician
26 Stormvermin, shield, full command
Warp Lightning Cannon 

Reliable magic missiles, large blocks of infantry and a potentially devastating warmachine. That's what this army brings. It'll be a challenge for every opponent to get rid of 50 slaves and the Stormvermin can act as more dedicated combat troops. Three wizards with Warp Lightning will hurt unless my magic rolls are really bad (all I need is 6 power dice). 
This army's main weakness is it's Leadership, even with rank bonus. I would like the Empire half to include a BSB so I could benefit from Hold Your Ground! as well. 

So, there you have it, my three options. Try and think up a 600 pts army yourself (no special characters) and let me know which of my options you'd dread facing the most!  

And so we come to the end of the first ever Game Night! It sure is long, right? :p
Let me know what you think!

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