Monday, July 25, 2016

Pokemon: I Came, I Left, I Returned (Sorta)

Shameless Pokemon Cheesecake.
So, I was really obsessive about Pokemon Go, but then tragedy struck and I traded away my best critter with an accidental tap while in a conversation. Oh, also, there is one- let me repeat that, ONE Pokestop, and zero gyms, anywhere near where I live. This means I have to buy supplies in-game, because the construction of the game is stupid, and it rewards those in urban, upper-class environments. I ragequit the game, and swore it off.

Of course, in my usual style, I have returned. Not because the game is great or anything. I think the game is a waste of time. But I have a reason.

I have put on a fair few pounds of late. Now, I'm not "typical 'Murrican Wal-Mart shoppin' Rascal scooter drivin' washin' under the folds" fat, but let's just say I've put on 50% of my initial body weight again over the last few years. That's not good. I may be off the dating market, but I still wand to be okay with looking at myself in the mirror.

To this end, I am going to play the game for at least 30 minutes each day in order to get a walk in and if not lose, maintain, my current weight. This will slow my painting production, and the fact that I'm playing Elder Scrolls Online right now (say "hi" to Mitsune Kanno and her pet fox on the North America server some time), but it will continue to progress. I even have some pics to post- including a fairly huge development.

Oh, also, I have some thoughts on the General's Handbook. That will be addressed in its own post, though. As a preview; the points seem okay, but I have reservations about some of the army selection implementation choices...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

More Stormcast, And At Last, a Win!

Smug sense of satisfaction.
So, my Stormcast got their first big win against Demitra yesterday. I won't say that there weren't bad rolls on his part, but there were bad rolls on my end, too. In particular a Decimator Prime who hit three times in as many rounds of combat.

That said, I think I have found an overall army comp I'm okay with. My Drakesworn Templar could have done better, as all he ate were some weapon crew, an unlucky Engineer, and a Handgunner unit. In WHFB monsters were best employed hunting down squishy targets, so that's what I did.

There is also Very Big News. I have decided to change up how I'm painting my Sigmarines. The Celestial Vindicator scheme I have been using is too dexterity intensive to stick with, so most of the minis I have painted are in a bath of Simple Green right now. I took a close look at my shading and highlights, and upon realizing that they were... terrible, I switched to dip. Yes, I'm dipping minis again. Sue me.

Of course, I'll most likely lose soft score points for painting if I go to a tournament, so I will touch them up with some minor highlights, but with my hand what it is, serious painting is pretty much out of the question. This is why painting, while required, should not be added into a player's score in a tournament. For people like me, who don't have the fine motor control needed for a nice paint job, this may very put us out of the running before an event even begins.

Even sportsmanship (which is what is making me lean toward bowing out of X-Wing- too many players are jerks) is a score which, while it have some bearing on the tournament's outcome, is left up to players to decide, and can lead to dishonest players torpedoing their opponents' scores out of spite, or worse, to make sure their game club wins.

But what would be a solution? There will be jerks everywhere. It's a fact of life. When I ran Monsterpcalypse tournaments I would take a couple of minutes once or twice a round to just mosey through the tables and look in on the games as they were going on. In a really big to event, this just isn't possible.

This is where assistant judges come in. At a particularly large event, the T. O. will have a few extra staff on hand to make rulings when they are not available. Well, in between rulings just mosey from table to table checking in. The bad games are usually pretty easy to spot. Posture, expression, body movement, voice tone. It's all on display. Just quietly jot down the players involved, and keep on moving. If one (or both) players continue have games that appear less than pleasant, you probably have a problem gamer on your hands. Talk to their opponent, and find out what was going on. If the stories match up amongst the player's opponents, you have a problem participant. This is, in my opinion, a less biased way to determine sportsmanship. As far as how to implement it in terms of overall score? Got me there.

Any way, I'll throw up pics of my new Sigmarine color scheme soon. They should be dry enough to retouch the paint on tonight.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Starting To Understand Stormcast

So, I got in another game against Demitra in Age of Sigmar. Needless to say, I lost again, but I am picking up ideas.

First, when it comes to this army, numbers don't count for much. Five Decimators can lay out plenty of hurt against an opponent who still runs 20mm square bases. The tighter packed the enemy is, the quicker they will die. Stormcast are an MSU army. That's just how it is.

Second, when you set your eyes on a unit, kill it. This may seem elementary, but some enemies, once mangled (for instance Stormcast), are nigh useless. Others (the Celestial Hurricanum) are still very dangerous.

Third, don't be afraid of sacrifice. I hurled a unit of Decimators headlong into Demitra's handgunner mob using the Pennant of the Stormbringer turn one, and every ranged weapon on my right flank was instantly silenced. After the monstrous casualties the last three gunners turned tail and fled after only firing a single volley due to their musician.

Fourth, kill the enemy general. This may be a "duh, no joke" to many, but the loss of Command Abilities is a Very Big Deal. Once I had offed his boss, and still had my Lord Celestant trucking around handing out his +1 to hit bonus, the game felt very different.

Fifth, it's all about the characters. Having a pair of Knight-Heraldors hanging back and allowing my units to disengage & run & charge all at once was amazing. Teleporting a unit of Decimators into charge range turn one was stupendous. The Knight-Venator paid for himself impressively.

Bravely run away!
Sixth, don't be afraid to retreat. Seriously. I caught a lot of flak for the tactic, but the death of Demitra's general came at the hands of my Lord Celestant after he broke free of a drawn-out melee, spun around, and charged the foppish noble. Don't feel as though you have to stay in a fight that is less than ideal. You can (with the help of a Knight-Heraldor) pull out of a no-win situation and put your troops in a location they want to occupy. Alternatively, you could swap out mismatched troops for ones more suited to the situation, or even just withdraw and set up a roadblock in order to buy time. Think of Liberators with shields (already basically a speed bump unit) that have taken a charge from an elite enemy (in my last game, Greatswords). They cannot do enough damage to matter this turn, and in fact they may be mauled to the point that your opponent's unit will be able to wipe them out now, and continue toward an objective unmolested. What happens if they fall back a few inches? You can adjust the unit's position so the enemy cannot go where they want to without dealing with the nuisance unit, and they cannot be gotten rid of this turn. You have bought yourself a round to maneuver (and perhaps send help) just by falling back a bit.

I am pleased with myself.
In the end, this game is going to be what you make of it. My tactics are not the end-all be-all by any stretch. I lost my last game, I have not mastered the Stormcast, and I may never. I do, however, feel that I have improved vastly since my last outing. I forced myself to be patient, I was not afraid to leave a tactically sour situation, and I tried to prioritize targets (I was incorrect, but it was a start.

I did, several times, forget some abilities. I think I need to make up some reference cards with what abilities models have and when they trigger, but one thing at a time. First, master the basics, then on to the memorization.

I'm still looking forward to the General's Handbook. It will be a whole new way to play the game. As much as I love the PPC system (and I do), a standardized pick-up-and-play system for anywhere you go will help the game a ton.

Finally, I have some more minis done, and I'll show them off soon!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Random Repaint & Battlefield Roles

First off, let me start by saying "oops". Turns out the decals on the shoulders of your units do more than simply designate units... The offending minis, pictured to the left, have been fixed. I didn't take a picture yet, but now they have moons where the stars were.

Now, that said, how 'bout some more AoS? Today will be my first time fielding a "pure" Stormcast Eternal army. I have been reading up on Stormcast tactics, and the interwebz seem to agree that the Sigmarines are best in an MSU (multiple small unit) configuration. To that end, I starting putting together a new, more swarmy, version of my old list. PPC comp system, of course, as the General's Handbook won't be out for another few weeks.

I won't go into the gory details, just an overview.

After Demitra's thorough whupping administration laid upon the backsides of my Vindicators, I have not only studied the rules and the FAQ, but also some strategy articles discussing formations, model roles on the battlefield, and weapon loadouts. 5 models seems to be the ideal size for most Stormcast units. Their characters are capable of several roles at a time- buffer, fighter, sniper, etc. Because of that, a Stormcast player can get away with bringing less characters than most armies.

Weapon loadouts are another thing. Decimators should all have axes. All of them, all of the time. with their excellent reach and crazy ability to get an attack for every enemy within 2", they should capitalize on crowd control. Leave the scary things to the other paladins.

Judicators are wonderful. They have good range, and their arrows hit pretty hard. The crossbows... Situational at best. I can see them trailing some Protectors as crowd control, but unless they are shooting into an ongoing combat, they are most likely going to get eaten.

Damn you, Liberators! I know you have SOME function!
I'm positive Liberators have uses, but I'm not seeing them. They're not good bait, they don't crank out a ton of damage, and they're not super durable. I wish I could see their appeal. I guess twin hammers and a Prime with a Great hammer might work as a "swap out" or "temporary tarpit" unit, so I'll keep trying with them.

The heroes are mostly pretty good.

I have some severe hesitancy about the Knight-Azyros. Unless you build your army around his Lightning Strike tweak, he will light up an enemy unit for a very brief period before his swift, brutal death.

The Lord Relictor only really seems to shine in the presence of a Dracoth rider or a Star Drake, both of which will leave him in the dust.

Finally, the Lord Castellant. Oh, how I want to like you! Oh, how the FAQ religated you to the blackest depths of my figure case! Now that you make saves, regenerate wounds, then apply damage, you end up in the "Relictor Zone". Cool on paper, in practice, however, meh or worse.

Everyone else in the books have some great abilities. Personally, with my "go get 'em" style of play, a Lord-Celestant on foot handing out +1 to hit the enemies of the God-King (especially when backed up by an Amber Wizard for OMG levels of brutality) is a no-brainer in terms of being my General.

Knight-Heraldors? If you don't see the amazing control potential for these guys... Well, think hard. Yoinking units out of the wrong fight and sending them running toward a new threat is brilliant. Better yet, a Star Drake moving flat out (fly + run), unleashing its breath weapon (it's an ability, not an attack), and then charging? Squeeeee!!!

Any way, my head is a-swirlin' with thoughts, and I have a game tonight, so time to start narrowing down my options into an army list.

Until next time, when I'll have minis to show off!