Saturday, 26 March 2011

Lumberjacking

Yesterday I had two highly enjoyable games (even if I did use the Fennblades...) using pMadrak against Jim.  Both times I came ludicrously close to assassinating Jim's warlock (Cassius) and warcaster (Strahkov) during my feat turn.  Cassius was left on 3 damage, Strahkov on 2.  Cries of "There's no justice!" were heard.

pMadrak during his feat turn functions in a very similar fashion to Mulg under Doomshaper's control: Madrak/Hero/Skaldi can chew their way through an army to get at that sweet, tasty, squishy centre in the middle.  Of course we'll have to see how the army fairs against a denial caster,  but pMadrak is proving to be a lot of fun.  My army list is somewhat less than optimal (damn you Fennblades!) at the moment, but I'm hoping to sort that out with copious use of PG points. What I'd like to do is have the Champion Hero do all the blitzing, but I've been using him to deal with problems around my flanks.  Unfortunately it's all very time consuming, so I'm unsure about using pMadrak as one of my lists - Grim Angus and Calandra offer better options in tournament play.

I've been hearing a lot about tournament tactics lately and offered a large amount of Sage Advice (hmm, maybe I should write a column under that name...) on the subject.  I get to observe a lot of tournament games and I see a lot of the same mistakes happen over and over again.

High DEF Models
Every army has them or can make them high DEF with spells - Khador is especially infamous for this.  Have some way to deal with fast DEF 14+ models - it could be Chain Lightning, it could be MAT 9 Kriel Warriors.  If you can't cope with these models, your army is going to get pinned down and out manoeuvred.

Denial Feats
Denial style casters dominate the tournament scene.  If you get caught outside scenario zones by a denial feat, it will often cost you the game.  Don't think to yourself "Next turn I'll charge that thingy with X Y Z."; consider instead what will happen when you don't get to take your turn at all.  Play each game with the thought that at some point you will lose a turn, don't be surprised by this or gnash your teeth that your carefully arranged charge has been denied, it was never going to happen in the first place.

Unit Formations
For the love of all that is holy, TRY to get either entire units or use solos to capture flags and zones.  If you look up and games are being finished, then it's probably time to rush into the scenario zones with your entire units.  Many games have been lost because one grunt in a unit wasn't in the zone when tiebreakers are being counted.  Many scenario points have been missed because there are no models in base to base contact with a flag.  Crowding large units around a flag is generally nigh-impossible (ever tried to get 15 Kriel Warriors around a flag?) so bring along a solo or two just in case.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Of Tartan and Brawls

The Tartan Brawl is now over, and it feels like a great weight has been lifted.  Matt Reid's terrain was fantastic, the attendance was good even with all the feeble people who cancelled at the last minute, and the tournament software I'm using is incredible.  Overall, I'd say it went very smoothly, possibly 8/10.  Better arrangements need to be made with the QMU to let us in earlier instead so we don't freeze our balls off in the freakishly cold weather - an earlier start also means an earlier finish, or a more relaxed finish anyway.  I'd also like to have a laptop so I don't have to lug my entire PC back and forth from my flat to my car to the QMU and back.

Anyway, here's the final rankings for the main 50 point event - best of factions in bold:

1.) Jim Lawrence - Circle Orboros
2.) Ross Silvers - Khador
3.) Richard McHale - Trollbloods
4.) Adam Davies - Minions
5.) Iain Adair - Trollbloods
6.) Jeff Barrass - Trollbloods
7.) Mark McKinlay - Cryx
8.) Martin Casey - Mercenaries
9.) Alastair Johnstone - Cryx
10.) Matt Reid - Cygnar
11.) Tom McCandlish - Retribution of Scyrah
12.) Colin McNeil - Cygnar
13.) Scott Burry - Circle Orboros
14.) Sean Murchie - Skorne
15.) Barry Kelly - Protectorate of Menoth
16.) Tom Rolland - Retribution of Scyrah / Mark Bonatti - Cryx
17.) John Sinclair - Cryx
18.) Michael Murray - Cryx

Since we ended somewhat early, I ran a quick 35 point Hardcore style event (dropping the painting requirement) which went down pretty well with the players.  The rankings for that are - minus anyone who dropped out:
1.) Ross Silvers - Khador
2.) Martin Casey - Mercenaries
3.) Michael Murray - Cryx
4.) Jim Lawrence - Protectorate of Menoth
5.) Alastair Johnstone - Cryx
6.) Barry Kelly - Protectorate of Menoth
7.) Matt Reid - Cygnar
8.) Richard McHale - Trollbloods
9.) John Sinclair - Cryx
10.) Jeff Barrass - Trollbloods
11.) Mark Bonatti - Cryx
12.) Colin McNeil - Cygnar
13.) Tom McCandlish - Retribution of Scyrah
14.) Mark McKinlay - Cryx

The dog tags went down well, so they're something I'm going to keep in for next year.  I actually had the perfect number of them for the number of attendees, though I have no tag for myself, but alas, such is the life of the Press Ganger.  It is an existence of great sacrifice.  I'm quite proud of finding the Mallet of Shame, which Murray won, much to everyone else's mirth.

I have noticed a distinct difference in the downtime after tournaments as a Press Ganger lately though, as I don't play in the events there's this weird outsider feeling as people talk about their victories and defeats of the day.  People can tell all the stories and I find I have none myself.  So it's definitely time to badger the people in Perth and Dundee into getting a PG of their own so I can go forth to crush some hopes and dreams.

Monday, 7 March 2011

There Will Be Brawl

Having lost a good percentage of imported players to the Irish Masters the Tartan Brawl numbers are much lower than I'd like.  With the numbers much reduced (unless I get a whole load of surprise attendees) I may have to change the format to two separate events run on different days.  Emergency measures will have to be put into place.

Sadly, Timpson's wasn't happy to etch my dog tags, the man behind the counter looked at me like I was some species of axe murderer when I asked to do 30 tags with a custom graphic.  So I'm getting the standard embossing done, no fancy Iron Kingdoms fonts I'm afraid unless someone wants to fork out enough cash for me to order a minimum of 250 bespoke metal key rings from a promotions company.

Next year I think I'll put in a pre-pay option for the Tartan Brawl since those soft southerners seem to prefer that.  It also commits people to coming along, as it's a big hassle to get their cash back and hopefully reduce the number of last minute disappearing acts.  Finally, it gives me more predictable numbers.

I've also just heard that GUGS plans to run Conflagration in November this year.  Which I believe to be a blatant lie as that would involve having a different committee at the time.  Students being students, this means it's going to get fobbed off on a bunch of people who think the previous committee should have organised it, and in the end, very little (if anything) will have been done.  Seeing as students are my lowliest minions however, I'm sure I can whip them into action at least long enough to run some sort of event.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

UK Masters Preparation: Part 1

The UK Masters tickets will be on sale in mid-April.  The format has changed, requiring 3 army lists and each list being used at least once during the event.  This irks me greatly since I have to pick up more Trollblood stuff to have 3 viable lists.  Though I could just throw things onto the table and see how it all works out...  At the very least I need to pick up another warlock.

The Shopping List (so far):
pMadrak resculpt.
Runeshapers x3 (yes, 3 units)
Kriel Warriors - Either 2 blisters or another unit box.  Also, full UA and WA attachments.
Dire Troll Bomber
Pygmy Burrowers
Trollkin Scouts - maybe 2 units

I'll have to schedule a few random games in for next week - provided there isn't a plumbing disaster at the last minute like this week, I should be able to squeeze in some 50 point games.  Seeing as pDoomshaper is my favourite warlock, I'm sure it's hardly surprising to anyone that I'm planning to run his themed force as one of my lists.

I saw Mike Davies' pMadrak tier 2 themed force of massive Kriel Warrior spam and it's certainly impressive (though Vish did call it as soon as the Trollblood book came out - his "Get Outta My Office!" list).  I can't say I'd like to run it however, that's quite simply too much for me to paint and a whole load of Not Fun for my opponent.  pMadrak does offer me some very viable infantry clearing options though, so he's not totally discounted, and I hope the resculpt sorts out his tiny, tiny legs.  For my final list I may resort to using eDoomshaper.  If I'm honest though, I'd probably use him in the first round if I meet an unseeded player, then discard him for the rest of the tournament.  He is, unfortunately, a predictable monster.

Doors

Yes, as the title says: doors.  How does one get through a door in a possible IKRPG game?  Do you pick the lock or smash it down?  Smashing things is easy, you assign it DEF and ARM values, throw in some damage boxes and away you go.  Picking locks on the other hand, uses skill checks.  I use Repair for this.  The character in question makes a skill check using their repair skill, and if they 'repair' enough boxes on a separate grid, the lock is picked/done in/bypassed.  This makes doors behave as time obstacles for the most part.  It's going to take a group of adventurers X activations to get through that door, so someone's going to have to deal with all those Risen coming up the corridor.

I finally had a game of WM/H the other night against Mark Bonatti, though I lost because Mulg decided that hitting Kaya wasn't worth the hassle.  Having had today off too, my minimum unit of Kriel Warriors, Janissa and the Swamp Troll are all fully assembled and based.  If tomorrow morning's weather is mediocre then I should get them primed and ready for the first set of base coats.  Meanwhile, the KSB has migrated back onto my desk.  That's a unit I use in every game, so getting the five models in the unit done up is quite high on the priority list.

The Tartan Brawl is rapidly approaching, so there will be a lot of double checking and manic last-minute preparation taking place over the next week.  I wonder where I'm going to park my car...