March 2011

In yet another of my Small Table Game Days, number 2 this time, I played some 15 point fast and furious Warmachine with my girl. Sadly we didn’t take pics of the game, solely because there were some unpainted models. Still, I got a few of the table and the figures at one time.

She had the classic 15p force with Sorscha, Juggernaut, Destroyer, and Widowmakers. She likes them and knows how to use them. Now the title makes sense, because I was playing with Epic Sorscha (my new love), a Destroyer, my newly built Torch, and the Widowmaker Marksman solo.

We deployed 5 inches from the edges, and 7 inches for the advance deployment Widowmakers (both her unit and my solo). I had first turn and with eSorscha gave the Marksman a spell that basically turns his shot into a 3′ AOE if he killed something. Shot at a Widowmaker without cover and incredibly missed. Bummer. Torch advanced and threw smoke bombs, and Destroyer shot and hit the enemy Destroyer, doing nothing, but killing a Widowmaker in the blast.

She ran both her jacks, keeping Sorscha and the Widowmakers behind (some in cover but not all). They couldn’t shoot at eSorscha behind Torch’s smoke and the Marksman had a whooping +6 behind cover (I forgot he had Stealth, but later in the turn remembered).

Second turn and I managed to pull the good charges in, but with a stupid mistake as follows. Both her jacks were behind small walls, but just far enough to fit my jacks’ bases! So I gave a focus to Torch who charged the Juggernaut (he gets pathfinder on charges, so he crossed the wall) and did some damage. Marksman shoots against a fellow Widowmaker, the aforementioned spell upkept by the caster, and kills another Widowmaker with it, making the reminding one fail a command check. Then I remembered about the awesome feat Ms. eSorscha has, and decided that even though I already charged and did some damage with Torch and the Marksman, it was STILL worth to pop. Yes, it’s THAT good. So she pops her feat, gives boundless charge to the Destroyer, and a focus full jack charges 9 inches through a wall and into the enemy Destroyer. Needless to say after 3 hacks with double damage he was scrap metal.

On her second turn she kinda freaked out, Widowmaker couldn’t shoot because of the fleeing status. She didn’t even pop her feat to try and freeze Torch (eSorscha and the bonded Destroyer are both immune to cold). This was perhaps the biggest mistake in the game, because she could still try and do something with her caster and a crippled Juggernaut. The jack had his right arm (big ass ice axe) crippled so he really didn’t do much to Torch. And because he ended his activation 2 inches away from the bonded Destroyer, he got frozen.

My third turn. Torch beats the hell out of the Juggernaut, setting him on fire while frozen (Warmachine rocks!) and the bastard is left with one health box on. Yes, one. Blocking my charge lane to Sorscha. But don’t despair. Mr. Marksman takes a shot at a frozen jack (engaged by Torch, which still wasn’t enough bonus to make him sweat). Widowmakers can make one single free damage instead of rolling the dice. Which in this case was more than enough. One bullet and the Juggernaut was debris. Another boundless charge on the Destroyer and he charges Sorscha, who had a Defence bonus. He couldn’t hit her in a million years, of course.

One last turn for Sorscha and now yes, with only one Widowmaker and no jacks, it just wasn’t going to happen. Assasination was very unlikely (the thing with playing in such a tight surface) and she just tried to hurt the Destroyer which she did just a little bit. After her raging attack she was with one focus left, not enough for a wind rush spell.

On my turn I simply moved the Destroyer out of the way and took a swing at her which amazingly hit and got half her health. Then Torch charged in, I made sure the first boosted hit was with his sustained attack rip saw, but she was dead after the charge attack.

A great game with some minor mistakes (in tactics, not rules) and quite happy how it turns out in such a little play area. Every move was deadly, and the mistake my gf thinks she did was exactly that. Thinking things were going down from turn 3 onwards, as usual, while I got the charges in after a turn in which I didn’t even run.

Models we knew, some decent sinergies going on, but a whole new game with lots of cover and small playing area. And damn I like eSorscha and Torch.

This is a solitaire scenario I created and played for The Lord of the Rings SBG and my first Small Table Game Day battle.

As a refresher, I play solitaire LotR using my own rules hack called Isildur’s Bane. Click here to get them. Also, I decided I would give it a shot and design and play some scenarios for different games using a 60x60cm table. That’s roughly 2’x2′. Of course I was thinking small skirmishes with a few models a side. This was, of course, not the case!

For this scenario I decided that a dwarf warband lead by Mardin, one of my favorite models, would go into goblin infested depths of Moria to reclaim some ancient treasure. The objective was behind the center column (from the dwarves’ point of view). They had 10 turns to get the treasure and take it back to their side of the table. As well as the time factor, there were two trapdoors on opposite corners of the table. From those, each turn after the first there would come 1D3 goblin reinforcements.

The lists were roughly equal:

The dwarves

5 archers
6 iron guards
4 teams of vault wardens
Points total:  310

The goblins

Goblin captain with shield
10 goblins with shield
10 goblins with bows
2 cave trolls, one with spear and chain
Points total: 307

Here you can see the table set up, both armies deploying on the platforms 5 inches from the borders, and the starting forces. For the game I used the rulebook, my own Isildur’s Bane hack, tape measure, a few D6, a single D3 for goblin reinforcements and some tiny dice for the trolls’ wounds and Mardin’s and the goblin captain’s Might and Wound scores (no bookkeeping for me). Deck of cards because of the solitaire rules and a new zone of control marker since I misplaced the other one 😦

After deployment the armies advanced. One single change I did for the solitaire rules was that instead of creating groups every turn with figures 10cm from each other, I’d simply activate groups of similar figures. The table being so small, I could probably get away with very little groups with the original mechanism, so I simply decided all similar troops were a group for the whole battle. So I dealt one card for trolls, one for dwarf archers, one for goblins with shield, one for the goblins with spears (reinforcements), etc.

The first couple of charges were from and against the trolls. One of them was left with just one wound but amazingly finished the battle, while the other one fell after the first combat. Dwarves are very hard to scare with a simple Terror test.

After that the centre became a big Bloodbowl match, goblins going down easily, but dwarves falling here and there and hurting a lot more. For reinforcements I only rolled 2s and 3s, so there were between 4 and 6 new spearmen every turn!

After some turns Mardin managed to get to the goblin captain with a small escort, killed him and took the treasure with him. This was probably around turn 6 or 7 so time was almost up. The troll tried to catch Mardin running away with it and with his chain managed to hurt him. But the battlefield was too crowded for him to move easily around his own troops. At this time the dwarves had to start making Break tests, and they managed to pass them all being near Mardin (20cm is a lot in such a small table).

I kept drawing a red activation card for Mardin, even though he was the only character. That was because maybe, just maybe, a red Joker might come up with something bad happening to him (using the random events optional rules from IB). The iron guards had a tough time during the battle when they got the Joker and couldn’t do anything for a whole turn. Goblins needed to roll 6s and then 5s to hurt the vault warden shield-bearers. The bastards killed 2 of them! Finally Mardin kept running away with the objective, while goblins chased him from every corner and the remaining dwarves kept blocking. It was turn 9 when he finally reached his table edge with the relics. Very close call for the sons of Durin.

Overall a really fun scenario, surprisingly balanced too. In a new battle I would probably send some goblin reinforcements to block the dwarves edge instead of attacking the battle line from behind, but of course the dwarves could deploy a few vault warden teams to cover that corner as well.

Here’s the end stage and the casualties. A crowded small table with lots of LotR flavor to it and a very good scenario, by chance of course. It could have gone horribly bad and end in the second turn, but I was a bit lucky (as well as knowing dwarves and goblins pretty well, game-wise).

Small Table Game Day 1 was a complete success, even if it was a solitaire battle. Got to play with a lot of models, a game I haven’t played in a while, a pretty cool original scenario from scratch, and great tense moments on the table (as well as pretty pics!). And now that I think about it, seems appropriate to open my STGDs with small size creatures like these.

I had contact with the game Infinity a long time ago. Probably the most gorgeous sci-fi models in the world, and the rules have been free online forever. Had a look at them and they seemed so old-school and clunky.

This week’s Beasts of War spotlight on the game got me to revisit it. Yeah, it is written in an old style, if you know what I mean. But man they’re crazy. I just remember watching some Valkyria Chronicles gameplay videos in youtube (I do not have a last gen game console) and loving the orders system. It’s all Infinity. The ARO system, just amazing (and so much simpler that THW’s).

So yeah, I’m guilty of putting a game aside by the look of its cover (and with Corvus Belli it’s usually a very pretty cover). Might have to get me some ALEPH troops to make it up.

By the way, had my first Small Table Game Day game last night, some LotR solitaire action with an original scenario that worked just too well and a lot more troops than you should ever deploy on a 2’x2′ table. More on that to come.

After an awful Orcs and Goblins week full of crap, you really should not miss Infinity week at Beasts of War.

I mean it, it’s excellent material, specially the custom made Quick Start rulebook the did together. Amazing work.

Been playing some Warmachine on Vassal, as usual. And since I’m putting together my second Sorscha model (see a couple of posts below for the acquisition of said plastic model) I thought I’d use her as the epic version in coming games. But Vassal is the test drive.

In case you’re wondering, yes, this is the illo that inspired my whole army scheme.

Reading her skills and spells is just pure pleasure and fun. She’s as kick-ass as they come. And I’ve been playing lots of Winter Guard + UA + Kovnik Joe, which is something of a given in an eSorscha force.

Anyway, her feat is just amazing and pretty straightforward to use. It is not a matter of how to use, but when. When is it going to do the most damage? Which is the turn I’ll set my whole army to deliver one devastating blow and make the opponent cry? It’s as simple as doubling every point of damage that beats enemy models’ armor. Yes, anything that damages, does it twice as hard for the whole turn. So it reminded me of this song from a great band. Fits perfectly.

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