Friday, November 29, 2013

Where do all these little wizards come from? (Smallworld)

Uh, makes me wonder if it's worth to drag an entire biggish board-game to another side of my country just to play one game?

Apparently it is. I played a game of Smallworld at my friends place in Salo, Finland.

We got three players for this game. I had forgotten Tales & Legends card deck at home, so it was a vanilla game with all the races from expansions.

First race combos chosen were Mounted Ghouls (which is slightly disturbing thought), Commando Giants (even more disturbing) and Stout Skeletons.

Ghouls went in decline right at the start of turn 2, but giants and skeletons played a little longer, though for skeletons that didn't matter much.

Corrupt Humans continued Ghouls' legacy, and it turned out this pairing was quite nice. No-one wanted to attack Humans because of their Corrupt special power.

Commando Giants were replaced by Peace-Loving Ratmen, and Pillaging Pygmies started stomping around right where the skeletons left off.

This was a curious part of the game. War was waged on Decline races rather than active tokens, thanks to Peace-Loving and Corrupt being on board at the same time.

When just about all the giants were taken out, Ratmen went in decline and the player took Barricade White Ladies, that in fact had quite nice stack of victory points from previous skippings. Pillaging Pygmies went away next and Heroic Priestesses entered the fray.

Ghouls/Corrupt Humans had eventually go to decline too, as just about all ghouls were wiped out, and even a couple courageous attacks had diminished the number of still living Humans. Swamp Barbarians was the new race chosen.

Both of the Barricade White Ladies and Heroic Priestesses went in decline so that they could play last few turns with a fresh race. Giants/Ratmen/White Ladies chodr Hordes of Wizards, and damn, there were some wizards, then.

Priestesses took Cursed Orcs that had 6-9 victory points on them.

And then it was time to count the points.

Mounted Ghouls/Corrupt Humans/Swamp Barbarians: 118
Commando Giants/Peace-Loving Ratmen/Barricade White Ladies/Hordes of Wizards: 114
Stout Skeletons/Pillaging Pygmies/Heroic Priestesses/Cursed Orcs: 99

... so all in all rather close game, with every player scoring quite a lot of points every round.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cross-demo (again)

Two weeks ago I demo'd Warmachine.

I asked if the player wanted test Warmachine or Hordes, and as it turned out, we played a couple of cross-demo games.

Hordes was played with:

Kaya the Wildborne (12 points)
- Feral Warpwolf
- Gorax
- Scarsfell Griffon

And Cryxian list was:

Iron Lich Asphyxious (12 points)
- Seether
- Defiler
- Deathripper

We played two games so that we switched factions. This was a funny little dilemma again - since we played two games, should they be added to the statistics as two games, or as one instance of giving demo games out? Finally after many a sleepless night I opted for the latter option. Focus was on teaching the game around a bit, not on the actual games and their outcomes.

Well, there isn't much to say about the games, except that Circle got the alpha strike in both games, probably because they got to start both games.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ivan's Stand

It's been two weeks since this game was played. I wish I could say I was busy the entire time, which is somewhat true, but was I so busy I couldn't get to write one game down? Probably not. But let's get to it.

I continued playing with Skorne, and this time we were playing 35 point game.

My list was:

Lord Tyrant Hexeris
- Archidon
- Rhinodon
- Basilisk Drake
- Basilisk Krea

Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Minimum unit of Paingiver Beast Handlers
Venator Flayer Cannon
Aptimus Marketh
Bloodrunner Master Tormentor

I was playing against Khador, and I knew that was a pretty damn good possibility. And still I didn't take any real way to counter Arm 20 into my list. Oh well.

Khador was, however:

Oleg Strakhov
- Black Ivan

Great Bears of Gallowswood
Maximum unit of Assault Kommandos + 1x Flamethrower
2x Kayazy Eliminators
Widowmaker Marksman
Epic Eiryss
Gorman diWulfe

Judging from the pictures, I believe Skorne got to start the game. Scenario was Incursion.

I had tried to place Archidon to control the left flag, but so that there would be no line of sight to Black Ivan, because if there was, it'd just come and make a mess out of Archidon.

Bloodrunner Master Tormentor did more than it had ever done before - a lucky hit killed one of the Kayazy Eliminators. A praetorian swordman charged to eliminators too, but missed both attacks even with Death March helping him out.

Next turn Strakhov used his feat. There was, in fact, LOS to Archidon so the beast was gone. We were not sure how to handle the situation where LOS is lost during charge movement, but apparently Ivan could've charged so that it could have tied up Basilisk Krea, which would've made my next turn more difficult. I doubt it'd made it entirely impossible, so I try not to be too annoyed by the fact that I gained some unfair advantage from wrong ruling.

Widowmakers and their marksman shot at praetorians. The marksman got the Officer to one hit box remaining and Eiryss snipered him soon after, and so praetorians lost Side Step, their minifeat and even Death March.

Assault Kommandos ran into the woods, thanks to their Pathfinder from Strakhov. Great Bears of Gallowswood made some charge shenanigans and got to position themselves like they did. Their damage rolls weren't quite good this time around, and much to my suprise they didn't destroy Rhinodon.

Then it was my turn, and I felt some anxiety from the fact that now Black Ivan was in close proximity to my army, and I had nothing else to crack it down except a crapton of low-powered attacks. That's not usually a very good thing.

However... Hexeris's feat kept me in game. Obliteration was succesfully cast on the big bunch of Assault Kommandos, and that's where the chain started. When the chain came to an end, Venator Flayer Cannon added fuel to the fire, as well as Rhinodon killing off all the bears. One of them made the tough roll, so he couldn't really move anywhere as a zombie. But yeah. All in all, it was a devastating feat.

Agonizer cried a little with the effect that makes warjacks lose their arc node and being unable to gain focus from allocation. I guess that was a way of taking Black Ivan out - I could do nothing to it, and it'd have only one attack against Skorne.

Anyway, next turn Strakhov went crazy. He charged Basilisk Drake, killed it and then sprinted to dominate left flag. Eiryss and Widowmakers kept a safe distance, and Eliminators went to control middle flag. In this process Skorne lost all of the Swordsmen.

On my next turn Agonizer kept on crying for no focus allocation, and the rest of my forces tried to kill the Eliminators. Aptimus Marketh managed to kill one of them, since he had swollen quite fat from the souls he had already stored. Hexeris himself had to charge to kill the remaining Eliminator.

Def 14 Arm 20 target wasn't an ideal target for MAT 4 & 5 warbeasts with highest P+S being 14. Basilisk Krea used her animus to lower Ivan's Def to 12, but still it was a bit on the high side for my hitting potential. As a result both of the beasts were only scraping Ivan's armor a little.

Next turn Ivan killed Rhinodon. Really, really bad. I think Strakhov killed one of the paingivers and then Sprinted away. Widowmakers and Eiryss killed Venator cannon and Aptimus Marketh.

On my turn Basilisk Krea used her animus to lower Ivan's Def and then Hexeris himself tried to destroy the warjack. If I remember right only the cannon broke down, though it didn't have too many boxes remaining any more. Ah well.

Then it was Khador's turn and Black Ivan tried to kill the crying little bugger, but its 8 damage boxes shielded it well enough.

Krea hadn't taken damage during game really. Strakhov charged it, and I believe the warbeast should have died, but defying all fate it was still standing after Strakhov's activation. I don't remember how the dice rolled, but since Sprint didn't trigger now, I had my only chance of assassination.

First Krea was healed by the last remaining Beast Handler, and then Hexeris advanced, attacked Black Ivan and pushed it 1" away and Hexeris advanced 1" closer to Strakhov. Hexeris unloaded all of his Fury on the warcaster, and Strakhov was no more.

So it was a really close-fought game. And I really, really need to start paying some attention to high armor values. Despite some 3 rounds of melee against Black Ivan, it had still not lost any important systems.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dice just bouncing off from Rasheth (in many ways)

A few days ago I played a 50 point game of Warmachine.

After a while I took out my Skorne, and I decided to play Rasheth. I was suspecting that I would be against Legion and Saeryn, so needless to say, I was a bit horrified.

My list:

Dominar Rasheth
- Archidon
- Rhinodon
- Bronzeback Titan
- Basilisk Drake
- Basilisk Krea

Maximum unit of Cataphract Cetrati
Maximum unit of Beast Handlers
Minimum unit of Bog Trog Ambushers
Minimum unit of Bone Grinders

As I was bracing myself for the worst it turned out I would be against a far more horrible warlock. Once again it was the dreaded Rasheth vs Epic Lylyth match. Once I saw the list I was surely crying on the inside.

Legion list was:

- 3x Ravagore
- Carnivean
- Naga Nightlurker

Blackfrost Shard
2x Shepherds
The Forsaken

Legion of Everblight also got to start the game, so Lylyth's feat would most probably come on turn 2, when I'd still be way too far away to close in to melee... This is what was to be expected. Everything else, however, went completely unexpected ways.

Luckily there was a hill on Skorne's side of the board. I had picked the side because I really didn't want Ravagores on a hill, but I quickly found out that a hill and Krea's animus makes even the big jolly guy Def 14. First picture is from the end of Skorne turn 1.

Lylyth's feat came, of course. Suprise here was that it killed nothing. Saeryn missed the critical roll of casting Pin Cushion against Bronzeback. But then every attack from Ravagores was targeted at Bronzeback Titan (who was Def 16, Arm 21 against most shooting). Only one of those attacks missed. All of the damage rolls were boosted. And yet Bronzeback Titan stood defiantly with six or seven damage boxes remaining. The damage rolls that were rolled were incredibly low. Best rolls were just on par with averages.

I can't say I was unhappy about the thing. With this match up I really needed such a dice screw happening for opponent, and had that been one of the few cases of critical dice screws, it could have been pretty much okay...

Well then it was my turn. It was quite annoying that even when opponent wasn't able to do much last turn, I couldn't either. Three Ravagores were even without Lylyth's feat still a very real threat to Rasheth. I just ended up bringing the heavy beasts forward, healing Bronzeback as much as possible and generally just hoping for the best. Scenario had Killbox artifice, so Legion wouldn't be able to fall back too much.

Then was Legion's third turn. And this was the turn where I started to feel bad for the opposing player, despite the difficulty of match-up.

Naga Nightlurker had been left with one Fury, and as it happened, it failed Threshold check, charged Carnivean and dealt an amazing damage roll that broke a branch. That might haven't been too bad, but Naga blocked charge lane for Carnivean now. Opponent could have charged Rhinodon and Archidon and just shoot the nearly dead Bronzeback with Ravagores. Now he had to do the other way - Charge Carnivean to Bronzeback and shoot the other heavy beasts as much as possible.

Carnivean was quite confident in killing Bronzeback, and boosted two attack rolls to kill one beast handler and bone grinder with its spray. But three initial attacks and a couple additional attacks later Bronzeback was still standing. I can say that a lot 1's and 2's were rolled during that activation.

Blackfrost Shard tried to freeze Archidon, and the last one of Shards shoot the Kiss of Lyliss or whatever that ability was against Def 10 Archidon with skill 7. And... it was a miss.

At least all the Ravagores hit Archidon, but by now you can guess it. Their damage rolls were absolutely disgraceful. One of the Ravagores had used its animus, so Archidon and Rhinodon were on fire now, and Archidon had six damage boxes left.

Naga Nightlurker shot somewhere, either Archidon or Rhinodon, and hit but didn't do any damage, even with a damage boost.

I know there have been games where absolutely nothing can be done, despite odds being in your favor. Usually failing a few critical rolls and underperfoming here and there can bring that feeling to you, but honestly... games where it's more than fair to blame the dice to this extent are rare.

Now, then it's Skorne turn 3.

Fire effect deals five damage to Archidon. So Archidon survives with just one damage point left. So the bad luck for opponent didn't stop last turn, no. It continued all the way to end.

I brought Bog Trog Ambushers to field and ran them as close to Lylyth as possible.

Bronzeback mauls Carnivean to the ground, Rhinodon (who had Carnivore) charges Blackfrost Shard and Naga Nightlurker and kills all but Naga.

Beast Handlers heal Archidon and Bronzeback, but only one damage is removed from Archidon, which was a bit of a bummer, but I guess I didn't have any rights to complain right now.

Then Rasheth activates and uses Plague Wind. He heals Archidon for one point, casts Carnivore on Archidon and casts boosted Blood Mark on Lylyth through one of the Bog Trogs. This was quite a risk, because it left Rasheth with no Fury. But I had quite good chances of taking out Lylyth, who had only one Fury for transfer.

Archidon then charges Lylyth, and deals enough damage to bring her down to 3 hit boxes. Second attack deals enough damage to kill her, so it's transfered away.

Next Basilisk Drake walks up and shoots spray at Archidon's back. Even with a boost it misses Lylyth, but hits Archidon without a boost. Damage was rolled. Dice showed 2 and 3. I had to count that many times, because I just couldn't believe Archidon was again brought down to 1 hit box remaining.

Cataphract Cetrati charged around in an attempt to engage as many Ravagores as possible. As a bonus they managed to kill Naga Nightlurker. I actually had this false sense of protection, when Lylyth was engaged. I didn't remember she had Evasion.

And with that starts Legion's turn 4. This is the turn where Legion would either win or lose the game. Now, wouldn't it be just righteous and fair, if all the bad luck was payed back in abundance on the turn where it mattered most? Not according to the Dice Gods.

Lylyth activates and casts Pin Cushion on Rasheth, which succeeds. Then she makes two attacks with all remaining Fury, and deals 7-8 points in. So those rolls were actually... average? And then there were two Ravagores that got to fire their attacks. First one dealt enough damage to bring Rasheth down to 5 hit boxes remaining. Blast damage kills a Beast Handler who was standing next to Rasheth, and because of Plague Wind this brings Rasheth to 6 boxes. Last Ravagore shoots and deals five damage to Rasheth. So even Rasheth is left standing with just one hit box, and that was thanks to collateral damage!

To add plenty of insult to injury, even one of the Cataphract Cetrati was left with just one hit box. During the game Archidon had been twice on one hit box, Bronzeback Titan once, one of the Cetrati and even Rasheth. I wonder what are the odds for all of this happening in one game.

And then... there was Lylyth with three hit boxes, no Fury and Blood Mark on her in middle of Skorne army. Opponent conceded, and I didn't have the heart to force him to watch final rolls, though a grand dice screw on my part could still save Legion. After all Archidon was with one box and on fire, and I had 12 Fury on board. Though now when I think of it, Lylyth had 3 boxes and Arm 12, Breath of Corruption had POW 12 and even with triple 1's she would've died.

It would be nice if I could say that I won Epic Lylyth with Dominar Rasheth by playing exceptionally well. If I'm completely honest, though, it was all only because of amazingly bad dice rolls opponent made, or when they were not 5-6 below averages, they were just one short of doing actual damage.