Theorycraft

In an ongoing effort to play the game more, and play it better, I’m starting a new, alternative article series to the usual “How-to Tuesday” articles.  This new series will be mostly tactics and theory related, and will rely heavily on reader input.  Rather than discuss something I’ve learned and want to teach you, I’ll be talking about topics I’m interested in learning about, and asking you for input.

Deployment is the first thing you do in a game, and thus it’s usually where I screw up first.  In the last few games I’ve played, I’ve tried to put more thought into my deployments.  There have been too many times where something I needed to be front and center was stuck in the backfield, and all too often my flanking force spend the first half of the game running to engage.  Before we get into any of that, the first decision I often face is whether to go first of second.

Who’s on First, What’s on Second?

For the longest time, I always chose to go first, to dictate the battle.  I got to pick what terrain mattered, and where the fighting took place, and I essentially had an extra turn before combat (assuming combat begins Round 2).  Also, when I go first, it’s often my forces that are charging, dealing damage first.  That’s a big deal.  On the flip side, I’m not that great at judging distances on the table top, and I often come up short on my charges.

However, the more I play, the more I’m beginning to think that going second has more advantages.  You get to react to your opponent, making sure that you have ideal match-ups.  I also usually have some flanking unit, and going second lets me make sure they’re in a good place to affect the battle earlier rather than later.

I’ve come to the general conclusion that tank-y forces like going second.  They’re usually slower, so the enemy has to reach more than it should to get to them(increasing the chances for failed charges from bad distance judgement), which means that they can actually get the charge off on their second turn.  Also, since most tank-y armies are bricks, terrain and battle locations aren’t terribly important, so placement within the table isn’t a priority.

On the flip side, alpha strike armies tend to want to go first.  The trick is, you walk / move 1.5 your SPD the first turn.  That way, the likelihood of the enemy charging into you is slim, but you’re far enough up field that your forces can safely get the charge on Turn 2.

What dictates your choice when you win the initial roll off?

Rule 1

“Rule 1: Put your mans in all the best places.” – Faultie’s 3-step plan to victory

Most of the time, I put my caster front and center.  Getting buffs out first turn is too important to be flubbed by having models too far away.  I usually surround the warcaster with whatever models will be shielding or accompanying it (Shocktroopers, a tar pit, a shredder, etc).  After that, I usually put stuff down semi-randomly.

I’ve definitely learned that slow things go up front, faster things in the back.  Spawning Vessel front and center!  Man-O-War up front too.

Beyond those guidelines, I don’t have any secrets to deployment, but I’m hoping you do.

What tricks do you use to help with deployment?

Do you strategize and plan ahead, or do you just wing it?

Holy $#!7.

This dude is massive.  When you take a look at the comparison picture, he’s twice as tall as Ol’Rowdy, and nearly 3-4 times as tall as a small based model.

So he has big guns, little guns, he poops “lightning pods” and he has “electrified fists”.  No wonder these things have two cards, that’s six weapons, not counting how the “lightning pods” work.  If the colossals follow the same sort of rules that battle engines do, it’ll be using all six every turn.  No wonder they cost 18-20 points.

I really don’t want to speculate on the rules for the model, that’s not my area of expertise, nor really my primary interest.  I want to talk about this:

I count 16 resin parts, 33 metal parts, 4 bases and a cardboard wreck marker.  When you consider the amazing quality of PP resin parts, I think the $135 price tag is perfectly reasonable and justified.  I recently learned that each resin piece is hand poured by a human being.  That tells you the level of care that goes into these models.

Plus, do you see the ball and socket joints?  The shoulder and elbow will have amazing pose-ability.  I also like how the lightning coils on the back are separate pieces.  They’ll be much easier to re-cast in clear resin and put LEDs into.  Oh, did I say that out loud?

I’m incredibly excited about these models and the upcoming rulebook.  I was initially surprised about this, until I realized why:

I started miniature wargames as a 40k player.  I was too young to drive myself to the store, and my folks weren’t about to leave me at one for long enough to play a game, so I was always painting and reading, looking at the new models.  When the game company puts out rulebooks like GW does, each new rulebook means your models are less and less effective on the battlefield.  You’re further and further from the new hotness.

Having gone through a few of PP’s release cycles now, that feeling of dread (oh, that gorgeous new model is not only expensive but will destroy my guys way too easily) is gone.  Because while all my enemies are getting stuff, I get a little something too.

Speaking of, where’s Conquest?  😀

There he is!

In my opinion, the colossals will be a great way for folks who are interested in playing two different sized games match up.  If I want to play 35, and someone else wants to play at 50, I can drop 3-5 points and put one of these on the table, and BAM! I’m at 50 points, and I don’t really increase the number of models in the game.  I still get to play at the speed of a smaller game, and my opponent gets to try out their 50pt army.

That’s called a win-win scenario!

Big, hurkin robots.  Hells yes.

What are you most excited about?

While I’m dealing with time away from the hobby desk due to vacation, overtime at work and have no material to discuss due to complete failure to accomplish anything lately, Mugu’s here to the rescue with part ! of a multi-part special on Templecon.

Faithful readers, as you probably know, Plarzoid, Ken, and I have returned from the chilly wilds of Rhode Island and survived might TempleCon 2012.  I think I definitely made up for not having been to gaming convention in years!  I had a blast, played at least four months worth of Warmachine games in three days,  got to see folks in lots of cool and interesting steampunk, pirate, and other costumes, and got to just relax and have a great time.    This will be the first of three posts, this one will show off some of the Warmachine boards available to play on.  There were several others, but off course there were times were I just forgot to take any pics at all (very silly of me).  Enjoy!

The Scrapyard

The Scrapyard was the first game and first theme board I played on at TempleCon.  The railcars full of scrap metal could be pushed by warjacks into/over other models.  As you’ll see in my next post, I forgot about that little rule…

A Tea Party

One of the boards I didn’t get to play on; the idea was for the attacker to try to destroy the crates on the pier and ship (IIRC) in order to try to win by scenario.

Cavern Board

The Cavern board (or old mines, it might have been called) was fun to play on.  AOE weapons that missed had a chance of causing a cave-in (several did happen), you couldn’t use arcing fire weapons to arc fire, and the black discs on the table were bottomless pits.

Ummm......Stone Pillar Board?

I call this the Stone Pillar Board, but I didn’t get to play on it and the pic I took of the name didn’t turn out.  Another board I didn’t get to play on.

Road to Berck

The Road to Berck board looked like fun (Plarzoid got to play on this board, I didn’t).  While I’m not completely sure, I think one player had to essentially block the pass and keep the opposing player from getting through.

Correct.  The player on the cliff side had one game size fewer points to play with (I had 35, my opponent had 50), and to win, I had to last 5 rounds, and still have a model inside the ravine.  If they got any models into the ravine, it was game over.

Cyriss Temple

The Cyriss Temple board is another that looked pretty cool to play on, though I have no idea what the scenario was supposed to be.  I didn’t play on this one either.

Beach Assault

The Beach Assault board was really popular.   From what I recall the assaulting player got more points to add to his army as the defending player had a nice sturdy bunker to hide behind/in.  Yes, another one I didn’t get to play on.

Well. that’s all the boards that I have decent pictures of.  There was a Corvis City block board, two ice boards, at least one trench warfare board, a cool graveyard board, a loading dock/construction board, and many others I cant recall at the moment.  The themed boards were in high demand and as the con and days went on, they were that much harder to get on unless you got lucky.

Have you built any themed boards?

Are any of the ones I took pictures of, one you helped build?

What do you think of themed boards?

Hey folks, here’s the follow-up to Mugu’s post on Monday.  Remember as you read this, it was written almost a week ago.

Welcome Back to the Madness!

In my last post (in addition to lots of demotivational posters) I told you how  tressed out I was about the upcoming TempleCon and what I thought I needed to get done prior to that date.  Well, since writing my first post over a week ago, I was able to take stock of what minis I needed to get painted as well as two army lists that I wanted to use at TempleCon.

First the easy and good news – I played the Deneghra1 (Tier 3 – Witching Hour) list and won.  My opponent, Ron, was kind enough to take pictures and wrote a small battle report on his blog, here.

For those who look at the pictures, I forgot to bring my other Brute Thrall and my Scavenger, which were represented by the Ogrun Bokur and armless Helldiver respectively.

What I learned:

The game went better than anticipated as I was really wary of not having any heavy warjacks in my army at all.  I also did not have anything that I felt could shield Deneghra if Ron’s warjacks got too close.

As Ron points out in his blog (in the comments section) my army is vulnerable to Area  Of Effect (AOE) weapons and I knew going into the game that it would also be vulnernable to shooty armies as well.

What I can do about those weaknesses:

My standard approach to AOEs is positioning. I to try to spread my army out as much as possible to try to minimize the damage to any single unit/warjack.  This also has the added bonus of causing some folks to panic when they see the wave approaching.

As for shielding Deneghra, I’m still trying to figure that one out.  During my game with Ron, I kept her as far back and away as possible, but still within support and control area range.  It just happened to also work out during that game that I kept the Savenger and Necrotech between her and the opposing warjacks.

Army Selection:

The army performed well overall despite my abysmal dice rolling.  I may still replace the Scavenger with a bonejack with an arc node, just to have something a bit more untilitarian. Though the Scavenger’s 7 MAT and other abilities make it worth the points, seeing as its my first time using it, I wasn’t impressed (but that’s through my own fault).

I’m on the fence about the Ripjaw.  It performed well enough, but after missing with my initial charge attack by rolling double ones (I should know by now to always boost the roll to hit when I really need it ::sigh::). I couldn’t use the armor piercing attack, but if I had a Deathripper, it wouldn’t have mattered for my second (purchased) attack.

The Mechanithralls and attached Brute Thralls worked better than I could have hoped for – killing the Great Bears of Gallowswood and all but one of the Iron Fang Pikemen! They were the MVP’s of my army.

The Defiler and Warwitch Siren spray attacks were really handy and the Defilers’s arc nodes were really useful for arcing spells into Ron’s models as soon as they were within range.

The Pistol Wraith distracted Ron more than doing anything else, as Ron didn’t have any models other than Vlad with magic weapons that could attack it.  It didn’t really damage many (any?) of his models, but it definitely distracted him.  The Scrap Thrall spent the entire game running around warjacks and trying to make a beeline to Vlad.  The Stalker got too close to Vlad, who was happy to carve it into little pieces.  The Skarlok slung Crippling Grasp around mostly and managed not to get killed.

Painting the Models

After checking my models the other night, it turns out I *only* need to paint the Scavenger and Brute Thrall for the Deneghra list and six Soulhunters & Darragh Wrathe . And only a week to paint it all in. [At the time of writing the article – P]  ::sigh::  Possible, but not likely, especially since the Brute Thrall and Darragh Wrathe need some conversion work.

Speaking of Darragh Wrathe, I have a really nice undead mount from another company that I want to use in a conversion to mount him on, but its going to take too long to finish and so I’m going to mount him on Epic Alexia’s horse with Darragh’s deathpony’s head and tail.  It’s the easiest and quickest conversion I can do and still maybe get him assembled and painted by TempleCon.  I’d just use his old horse, but I chopped him up into many pieces.

Darragh's Parts

 So here’s my plan:

1.  Finish painting the Scavenger.

2.  Assemble and prime the Brute Thrall (who’s getting the IK Bridge Troll’s head).

3.  Reassemble the arms and legs that have come off of my Soulhunters.  (Re)Prime as necessary.

4.  Assemble Darragh Wrathe and horse.  Even if I don’t manage to get him painted in time for TempleCon, I want him to be assembled to use.

Final Thoughts:

Hopefully mine won't be this painful

I’m still a bit stressed, but the win helped boost my confidence in the Deneghra list. The relatively small amount of models that actually need to be painted doesn’t leave me feeling too overwhelmed, either.

However, since last Thursday was my last chance to get a game in, I’ll be heading into the crucible at TempleCon to see if I can master these two lists.

The New Year is a great excuse to analyze the past, digest it and then to plan for the future.  That’s what I’ve been doing recently.

Snotling Pump Wagon!

2011

Looking back at 2011, I got quite a few commissions done.  I helped make some very cool Gatorgents for a friend, and I scratch built some Snotling Wagons.  I also painted two 35-pt armies, and won a painting competition with one of them.  I’ve done some fun conversions, like my Voltaic Stormclad, and I’ve written loads of tutorials.  I also became a PG last year, and migrated to this new website.

All in all, last year was pretty great!

2012

Looking forward at 2012, there are several things I want to do.  One of them is focus on a few factions, rather than all of them.  I have too many models, across too many factions, and I need to put several of them away in a closet and leave them there until next year.

When I made this decision not too long ago, the immediate followup question was: “Well, then what factions go in the closet and which ones stay?”

One faction was an obvious choice:

First attempt at Sorscha, 2009

Khador

Having painted and played Khador for a while (due to the Butcher1 Theme Force), I’ve fallen back in love with the fur-lined Northerners.  They were my first faction, and some of the first PP models I ever painted.

I hadn’t touched Khador for about a year when I started working on the Khador Theme force, and I gotta say – I miss ’em.

The list I’m currently working on is the one I devised as an expansion based upon the 2-player starter set.  In fact, I just finished assembling all the models just the other night.  Since I’ve magnetized my plastic chassis, and I’m re-painting half the army anyway, I’m going to also replicate the Butcher1 Theme force I’ve enjoyed for these past few months.  This *will* include a Plastic Kodiak conversion, which I’m already working on.

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Points: 35/35

Kommander Sorscha (*5pts)
* Juggernaut (7pts)
Man-o-war Shocktroopers (Max Unit) (9pts)
Winter Guard Mortar Crew (2 Models) (3pts)
Greylord Ternion (3 Models) (4pts)
Koldun Lord (2pts)
* Destroyer (9pts)
Widowmakers (4 Models) (4pts)
Widowmaker Marksman (2pts)

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Heart of Darkness

Points: 35/35
Tiers: 4

The Butcher of Khardov (*6pts)
* Juggernaut (7pts)
* Juggernaut (7pts)
* Kodiak (8pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Man-o-war Demolition Corps (Min Unit) (6pts)
Man-o-war Shocktroopers (Min Unit) (5pts)
Manhunter (2pts)
Manhunter (2pts)
Yuri the Axe (3pts)

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This past week, I’ve been rapidly working on assembling all the models for the Sorscha1 list. Remember, I have to start from scratch because the Pink Khador army will be going to auction for charity (eventually – I’m working on a few extras to throw in, as well as working on contacting a charity to take the donation).

I’m very excited to try this list out!  I just have no idea what sort of scheme I’ll do them in…  Yellow?  Classic Red?

35pts of Angry Beards!

Legion of Everblight

In order to stay balanced and up on Hordes vs Warmachine, I’m returning to my beloved Legion of Aquablight.  Like Khador, I’m going to focus on the Battlebox ‘caster, Lylyth1.  She’s always been one of my favorite ‘casters, and I’ve developed what I think is a fairly fun list based upon the Legion Battlebox.

The Legion of Aquablight!, 2010

The list focuses on Lylyth, and her ability to make everything hit more accurately. It’s also a tad beast heavy, but in a very fun way.  While I’m getting that list done, there’s a good theme list that only needs a few extra models in order to be complete.

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Points: 35/35

Lylyth, Herald of Everblight (*6pts)
* Carnivean (11pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Harrier (2pts)
* Stinger (2pts)
Blighted Nyss Striders (6 Models) (6pts)
* Officer & Musician (3pts)
Annyssa Ryvaal, Talon of Everblight (4pts)
Blighted Nyss Shepherd (1pts)
Strider Deathstalker (2pts)
The Forsaken (2pts)

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Winds of Change

Points: 35/35
Tiers: 4

Absylonia, Terror of Everblight (*5pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Shredder (2pts)
* Stinger (2pts)
* Proteus (10pts)
* Ravagore (9pts)
* Typhon (11pts)
The Forsaken (2pts)
The Forsaken (2pts)

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Luckily, I already have the Legion Battlebox painted.  However, I would like to try a different armor scheme on the Alternate Lylyth Sculpt (since I’m still not sold on the gold), and I’ll certainly be getting a Plastic Legion Heavy kit for a Scythean and Proteus, so there’s still a fair bit to paint for this army.  Alternatively, I’ve been debating switching up the color scheme and doing something with orange blight – it’s a pretty cool effect.

Protectorate of Menoth

The third army I’d like to work on is something from the Protectorate of Menoth.  Every Menoth player I talk to enjoys the faction, and I’ve always stayed away because it’s usually been popular wherever I am.  I no longer care what everyone else is playing, I want a piece of the fiery action!

Studio Alt Scheme

I have two lists that I’m tossing around in my head.  One is based off the 2-Player Starter Set, and another is a theme force:[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]

Points: 35/35

High Exemplar Kreoss (*5pts)
* Crusader (6pts)
* Vanquisher (8pts)
Choir of Menoth (Min Unit) (2pts)
Exemplar Cinerators (Max Unit) (8pts)
Exemplar Errants (Max Unit) (8pts)
* Officer & Standard Bearer (2pts)
Exemplar Errant Seneschal (2pts)
The Covenant of Menoth (2pts)
Vassal of Menoth (2pts)

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Defenders of the Temple

Points: 35/35
Tiers: 3

Feora, Protector of the Flame (*6pts)
* Reckoner (8pts)
* Vanquisher (8pts)
Choir of Menoth (Min Unit) (2pts)
Daughters of the Flame (6 Models) (5pts)
Flameguard Cleansers (Min Unit) (5pts)
* Flameguard Cleanser Officer (2pts)
Temple Flameguard (Min Unit) (4pts)
Temple Flameguard (Min Unit) (4pts)
* Officer & Standard (Free)
Nicia, Tear of Vengeance (3pts)

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I have a pretty clear goal for my Protectorate paint scheme.  For Exemplar models, I’m going to take the classic colors and invert their placement.  This will mean white cloth and dark red armor (with white accents).  For Flameguard models, I’m going to mute the tones a bit, and skew more towards the studio scheme pictured above.  It’s a very warm, ember-like look, and I really, really like it.  I’m pretty excited, and I’m hoping to get a test model done soon.

So those are the factions I’m focused on.  Cryx, Skorne and Cygnar are all going into the closet for 2012.  Don’t fret, though.  I have big plans for those factions for next year.  Like, Battle Engine big…

Painting Goals

As I stated earlier, in 2011 I painted two 35pt armies. I’d like to get three 35pt armies finished and painted this year.  I’m going to aim for one from each of the factions, and anything beyond that is a bonus.  Since I’m also focused on Battleboxes, those lists will obviously be easier to complete than the non-battlebox ones.  I’m likely to hold off on painting Khador for the slow-grow league I’ll be running in a few months.  Instead, I’ll start with either Protectorate or Legion, or a Battlebox.  Probably a Battlebox for some variety…

Completely unrelated to Warmachine, I’m hoping to have my first Malifaux Crew finished, and I’d like to learn how to play.  Many local guys have tried and enjoyed the game, and the card-flip mechanic seems interesting.  There’s a tournament mid-February, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to make it, and be fully painted by the time I’m done.

Is that... Is that a fanny pack?

Gaming Goals

I don’t consider myself a competitive gamer – I often play because someone wants to learn, or I have to because there’s one odd guy out on game night, and I feel bad he doesn’t get to play a game.  I’d like to be more comfortable with my armies, and I’d like to be more confident with my play style.

For instance: my Butcher1 army and my Morghoul1 army are easy for me to play now.  I have them down fairly well.  I know I’m doing well with those, because I know most of my model’s stats without looking at the cards.  That tells me I’ve played them enough that I’m very familiar with how stuff works.  That said, I still flub the order of operations with my Skorne, and I still have maneuvering issues with the Khador.

I’d also like to compete in a tournament.

I think that’s enough rambling and theory-craft for now.  I have Typhon to finish up for the Clash of the Titans, as well as a min unit of half finished Skorne Swordsmen.  I’m going to wrap those up this weekend, and then see if I can’t pound out a battlebox before Templecon.

What Battlebox you’d like to see painted?  Trolls, Circle, Protectorate or Cryx?

What are your gaming & hobby related goals for 2012?