Sunday, November 4, 2012

Warmachine Un-Batrep: Old Witch vs Rahn

Steve and I setup to play a game this Saturday morning.  I should have seen it coming.

Zevanna Agha, The Old Witch of Khador
* Conquest
* Scrapjack
* Sylys Wyshnalyrr
Battle Mechaniks (leader+3)
The Great Bears of Gallowswood
Kayazy Assassins (leader+9+UA)


Adeptus Rahn Shyeel
* Phoenix
* Phoenix
Dawnguard Sentinels (leader+5+UA+WA)
House Shyeel Battle Mages (leader+5)
House Shyeel Battle Mages (leader+5)

Retribution won the roll and advanced.  Khador advanced.  Conquest fired at one phoenix doing six boxes and killing a nearby soulless escort, then setup a line of AoE and clouds across the board between our armies.

Dawnguard advanced with their vengeance move.  Rahn used Telekinesis to move both phoenixes forward, then tried to use it a third time to move a phoenix again.  Whoops!  That's illegal.  One advanced to combust and clear out the kayazy.  I misjudged the distance and only got three.  The other advanced to combust and clear out the great bears, but because I needed the second Telekinesis, he was short and missed all his attacks, leaving him two inches from the bears and five inches from Conquest.  Looked at the board… saw what was coming… saw no way out of it... and scooped.  The end.

Steve generously spent the next half hour talking through alternatives plans and how that might have affected the remainder of the game.  He strongly recommended I should have used the dawnguard's vengeance plus run to have them engage the kayazy, tying them up for a turn, and sacrificed one phoenix to the great bears to draw them out of position so I could kill them the next turn.  These still don't sound like very good options.  The battle is still replaying in my head, looking for alternatives.

Lessons learned: Telekinesis can only only affect a model once per turn.  And I need a serious revamp in my lists to deal with kayazy and underboss.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Warmachine Batrep: Magnus1 vs Rahn

Magnus the Traitor
Tuesday, Maz and I played a 35-point Warmachine game with the Longest Night scenario rules.  We missed out running this last year and he might before Halloween seemed a perfect encore.

Maz has been switching over to Magnus lists, beefing out a mercenaries army.  I somehow have never played against mercenaries and have only seen them (beyond admiring the models) once when a nearby tournament player experienced Gorten's Landslide feat for the first time.  A few pirate-y words were uttered.  But today we did not face Gorten; this was Magnus, bane of Cygnar!

Magnus the Traitor +6pt
- Mangler 8pt
- Nomad 6pt
- Renegade 6pt
- Renegade 6pt
Horgenhold Forge Guard (full) 8pt
Kell Bailloch 2pt
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile 2pt
Rheinholt, Goblin Speculator 1pt
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord 2pt

Serious players will no doubt notice several problems with this list.  First, no mercenary contract allows Horgenhold Forge Guard to be taken with Magnus1.  The will only work with Cygnar, the Protectorate or Searforge contract.  However, Magnus' Four Star contract only allows models that work for Khador or Cryx.

Furthermore, we didn't realize until I started writing this battle report that he was running six points down.  But, more on this later.

Adeptus Rahn Shyeel
- Phoenix
- Phoenix
Dawnguard Sentinels (6+UA+WA)
House Shyeel Battle Mages
House Shyeel Battle Mages

(Getting close to my goal.  This list is almost fully painted.  One unit of battle mages to go!)

The Mercenaries won the roll and opted to go first.  He setup the forge guard on his extreme right flank with Rhupert and the rest of his force on the extreme left.  Facing a (generally) slow Rhulic force with a (generally) quick Iosan force, a denied flank setup was obvious.  Rahn's models setup far right, directly across from Magnus and the warjacks.  It would take the forge guard three or four turns to arrive -- assuming they could get past the thralls spawning from the tents.

Top of turn 2

And that's exactly what happened.  Maz played ten points short (for the mispositioned forge guard) and another six point short for using a list builder that didn't remind him about warjack points.  It was a rout.

Maz built his list with Privateer Press' new War Room application and it was a severe disservice.  As a relatively new mercenaries faction player, he was not intimately familiar with the contract requirements of his caster and units and War Room did nothing to remind him of those limitations.  It silently allowed him to create and use an illegal list.  Furthermore it did not remind him that his list was incomplete.  It blithely displayed "35 points" where it could have displayed "35/41 points".  Bad experience for Maz; bad experience for me.  Bad for the game.

For these and many other reasons: Don't use War Room.  Don't allow your opponents to use it.  Don't give Privateer Press or Tinkerhouse Games any money for it.  You will only encourage them.

Lessons learned?  Not many.  It wasn't that sort of game.  Battle mages towing enemy warjacks into melee range of a focus-charged, concentrated power phoenix is lovely to behold.  MacNaile's artillerist power with the renegades is a nasty trick, but only once per warjack and it's nicely negated by Rahn's force field spell and the battle mages' inherent blast immunity.  Pretty straightforward and short game.

Hope to try this again sometime.  Maz is always a pleasure to play with, and mercenaries are a fascinatingly fresh opponent.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Warmachine Batrep: Makeda2 vs Vyros1

Chad and I had a helluva game tonight. It wasn't a great game, sadly. They're never great when one side brings a strong counter to the other. But much smashing was had.

Supreme Archdomina Makeda
Supreme Archdomina Makeda
* Archidon
* Cyclops Shaman
* Molik Karn
* Titan Gladiator
Paingiver Beast Handlers (4)
Praetorian Ferox (full)
Praetorian Swordsmen (6+UA)
Tyrant Rhadeim


Dawnlord Vyros (Legions of the Dawn, Tier 2)
* Banshee
* Hyperion
Dawnguard Destor Thane
Dawnguard Sentinel (10+UA+WA)
Dawnguard Sentinel (10+UA+WA)

So, here it was: melee assassination Skorne versus melee attrition Retribution. Fight!

Bottom of turn three

Yeah, that about sums it up. Dawnguard sentinel swarm was irresistible force; Hyperion was an immovable object. Makeda was caught in the middle.

n00b-perion is displeased.  Very displeased.

Incidentally, do you like my n00b-perion? He's a Blizzard marine n00b from last year's BlizzCon. Think he needs some green arcane traceries?  I hear there's a real one in Santa's sleigh.  Might keep this one, though.

Lessons learned:

Molik Karn should not try to trample ARM 19 weapon masters. He's a terror with those blades, but only STR 10 in a trample. Whoops!

Get your armor piercing Tyrant Rhadiem into melee with the colossal, not stuck in with a four point destor for three rounds.

Molik Karn has a 19" threat range with Makeda2 and a tyrant gladiator. Tyrant Rhadiem and praetorian feroxes have a 17" threat range with Road to War. You need to know this. Lives will be saved.

Make sure your Banshee can get within Wailing distance (5") of the enemy warlock. Molik Karn badger doesn't care about Wailing. Derp.

SPD 5 colossal plus Mobility (+2 SPD, Pathfinder) means a colossal running
14" through a forest. Zoooom. Hello!


No, wait. Starburst plus 2x 1d3 POW 12 attacks *plus Vyros' feat* means potentially over ten focus for Hyperion on feat turn. Plus whatever you catch in the 5" AOE. kthxbai.

Colossals. Wow.

Thanks to Doug for a little list tune-up before the game (-manticore, -thane, +banshee, +soulless), and thanks to Monte for the blank Terran Marine n00b. And thanks to Chad for enduring that game. You guys are awesome.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Angry Elves, Angry Humans

It's not often that Inspiration and Opportunity knock simultaneously.  But there they were, Peter Chung's Diablo III: Wrath short film and Privateer Press' re-sculpted plastic Exemplar Cinerators, available inexpensively from the two-player battle box.  You got peanut butter in my chocolate!  You got Angiris Council in my ancient chivalric order!  It seems a match made in heaven.  Ah, Serendipity...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tactics: Gorman Di Wulfe

Gorman Di Wulfe gets a lot of play around here. His Black Oil grenades are spectacularly useful against enemy warjacks and beasts. But that's not their only use. He can effectively employ them against groups of Cryx bile thralls to prevent them from activating Purge (ranged attack special ability) in the next turn, buying your infantry another turn to destroy them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wrath/Domination Event

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war." --Sun Tzu

Shrine of the Medals
Last Saturday we finally held our club's Wrath/Domination combo-release event.  It was a six-hour, all-factions event using both special events rules.  Much as I would love to write about the event design, prep, operation, and post-mortem, but those topics can wait.  But rather than share all that Event Organizer work, I would much rather talk about greed.

First and foremost, you need to know that the prizes for these events are custom-molded and painted faction-specific coins made by Privateer Press.  They are exceptionally cool, and as much as I love the other two Retribution players in our club (Hi, Brandon!  Hi, John L.!), that coin was coming home with me.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wins and Losses

Lately I've been afraid that I'm writing up my winning battle reports and skipping on the far more important losses.  To keep myself honest all the wins and losses are now tagged as such over there on the right in the tag cloud.  If it gets out of hand, there will be some visible feedback.

Wins are fun, but it's the losses that teach us.  The best game I can play is one where I make a friend, have fun losing, and walk away a better player.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Warmachine: Unbound Test Drive

Who thought this was a good idea?
Steve W. and I played an apocalyptic 150 point game of Unbound on MLK Day. Unbound is a relatively new set of rules for Warmachine that allows extremely large games of 150 points or more with three warcasters in each army.  Rules for Unbound can be found in No Quarter magazine issues 36 and 38.

It hadn't been done before in our club. The models were sitting in our bags, daring us. Something had to give. We decided to start at 9 AM, but logistical issues and setup delayed us until noon.

One does not simply begin a game of Unbound. One must prepare, mentally and physically. One must ... unpack. One must pull up an extra table upon which to place models and cards and magazines with rules. One must take a very deep breath.

We began to set up.

Warmachine Batrep: Siege vs Ravyn

Major Markus 'Siege' Brisbane
Finally got a chance to play against Mike G. this week. We've been trying to play for months, but schedules never seemed to work out, until now.

Mike has several armies, but tonight he brought Cygnar and insisted on a 35 point game. What the heck. I put the Rahn list away and started rummaging iBodger until I found an incomplete 35-point Ravyn list from before the holidays. It felt too light on melee units, lacked any tar pit, and didn't have enough shooting to take good advantage of Ravyn's feat.

Or so I thought.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Warmachine Batrep: Xerxis vs Rahn

Tyrant Xerxis
Chad and I played a good old 50 point Kill Box game Tuesday night.  Chad's list was allegedly taken from PG Lord Tyrant Watt's 2011 tournament list, with the exchange of a unit of Cetrati for Tiberion, the new character tyrant introduced in Wrath.

Tyrant Xerxis
- Aptimus Marketh
- Basilisk Krea
- Cyclops Shaman
- Tiberion
- Tyrant Sentry
Cataphract Cetrati (leader+5)
Nihilators (leader+9)
Paingiver Beast Handlers (leader+3)

My list remained the Rahn list I've been playing the past few weeks:

Adeptis Rahn
- Manticore
- Phoenix (x2)
Arcanist (x2)
Dawnguard Sentinels (leader+9+UA)
- Soulless Escort
House Shyeel Magister
House Shyeel Battle Mages (leader+5)
Mage Hunter Assassin (x2)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Warmachine Batrep: Skarre2 vs Rahn

With the League and Unbound out of the way, Chris and I thought it was high time to throw down a fifty point game.  Chris brought his Skarre2 list, upgraded and improved for fifty points.

I've played Chris' different versions of this same list at 35 points a few times now, and knew what to expect.  Cryx is full of nasty little tricks, but one of the dirtiest plays out like this: Malice harpoons one of your warjacks and tows him across the board, and spends a soul to possess it.  He then activates the 'jack and sends it running deep into the Cryx lines where the Withershadow Combine uses their Dark Industry power to wreck it and replace it with a new helljack.  Hooray.  What could be more fun?  He fills the rest of the army with units you can't really ignore, like The Deathjack and a full unit of satyxis raiders with UA and solo support.  And at fifty points, he throws in some pistol wraiths to ensure your 'jacks are easy pickings.

But it didn't quite play out that way.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Journeyman Postmortem

Our club's double-length Journeyman League wrapped up this week, though the last game was played on 20 December.  As a player, I reveled in the event; but as a club organizer, I was less than pleased.

It started out strong, with twenty-six players, but by the twelfth week had dwindled to around eight.  Scoring was reasonably strong, and everyone seemed to have a good time.  Several hundred points of models were painted over the course of the event, new factions were adopted, and lessons were learned.  When you run one of these multi-week events, be sure your organizer or press ganger understands the club's expectations.  One can't expect them to understand your local club culture and motivations.  Be sure they communicate well and that their goals correspond with the club's goals, that the establish the rules, plan for player retention, and build motivational sub-goals into the event.  And plan how a lengthy event will affect non-participants. Communication – before, during, and after.  Drop me an email if you'd like an earful on the subject.

Still, I'm grateful the League got so many players into painting their first figures.  List-crafting and tabletop generalship is rewarding, but there's something about the personal connection one creates putting hours into making each figure one's own, then putting them down on the table that brings it all together.  Several other club players mentioned during the league that playing against painted armies was motivating them to paint, too.  And while there are plenty of solid arguments against groupthink and social conformity, in this hobby, placing down a painted army is mostly a gift to the players.

At its roots, our hobby is the nexus of social-crafting-puzzle and shared story-telling.  And a well-run Journeyman League can give that to your club.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Doubles Night

Our club had a doubles game night this past Tuesday.  Phillip and I decided to form Team Angry Elves with my Retribution and his Legion, and we challenged Team Too-Tough-To-Die with Steve's Khador and Jenn's Trollbloods.

The lists were:

Zevanna Agha & Scrapjack
Zevanna Agha, The Old Witch of Khador
- Scrapjack
- The Behemoth
- Sylys Wyshnalyrr
The Great Bears of Gallowswood
Iron Fang Pikemen (leader+5+UA)
Kayazy Assassins (leader+5+UA)
Widowmakers (leader+3)

Madrak Ironhide, World Ender
- Dire Troll Mauler (extreme)
- Dire Troll Bomber
Pyg Burrowers (leader+5)
Fell Caller Hero
Krielstone Bearer & 3 Scribes
Kriel Warriors (leader+9)
- Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower 
- Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower 
(Incomplete.  Maybe another min unit of Kriel warriors.  There were an awful lot of trolls.)


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Journeyman, End of the Road

Retribution of Scyrah
The Journeyman League is at an end.  Twelve weeks ago I hadn't put brush to mini in over twenty years. Now, I own a wet palette and sixty-two points of painted Retribution of Scyrah.