AAR: SCTS IV

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Preliminary

I’m back blogging but I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. My final tournament of the season and ‘D-Day’ was SCTS IV. Mission were Firefight, Rescue and Frontline with a huge 16 XP Spec Op.

Lists

I’m not going to give you a full break down on lists, more a overview.

Alpha team was a variation of the Wu Ming list from a previous post geared for Firefight where I stripped down all the Specialists and used the Spec Op to cover all bases for Classifieds. I also squeezed in a Garuda with Boarding Shotgun to take advantage of the mission special rules.

Charlie team was a new list made after finding out the hefty Low Vis house rules using the same core of the Su Jian list but with a major rework to use a Hsien Haris. Spec Op here was a Spitfire toting AD troop.

Games

Game 1 was Firefight vs a top local player and JSA as the TO matched us up first round. He wasn’t familiar with the mission and was surprised after I had first turn an dropped th Garuda behind him. He also went against the Wu Ming from an exposed position with his Haramaki and got vapourised which along with some bad dice put him on the back foot early he nearly pulled it back with a devastating run against the Wu Ming with some Karakuri but my multi role Spec Op pulled them back up. Final move was him attaching the Garuda with his LT and going down to give me big win.

10-0 Win 3 TP

Game 2 was Rescue vs John who I travelled down with and his Tohaa so I knew it was going to be tough. My plan played out as we traded blows and I grabbed one Civvie last turn and set up defensive positions. He had the orders though so I came down to him passing the role to sync while stunned and surviving the hail of fire from a Hsien and Zhanjing, which he did neither.

3-0 Win 2 TP

Game 3 was Frontline vs Ariadna playing for the win I was in second spot. Unfortunately I was too timid moving up with my HI as he had many Camo markers in the midfield. I should have left the Kuang Shi out of the Fireteam to deal with them so that was a learning experience. Eventually I didn’t have enough in the mid zone and he could just move in without engaging to win the match.

2-4 Loss 0 TP

Final position 2nd

Conclusion

Happy with the day overall. Goal was to not make stupid mistakes and not get time ganked, which I both achieved. I definitely played the last game wrong but that was more down to new roles for the Kuang Shi and not much experience vs Ariadna so I count that as a learning experience. Two things I take away though overhearing talk after game two I’m not sure the tournament winner played it right, backed up, by the same issue in John’s last game (both local players). Also I didn’t win the Initative roll all day. I think I’m going to continue to develop the Hsien list in my quest to gain a high position this ITS season.

 

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Games and Theory: List Analysis

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As a bit of a follow up and kind of making my return to blogging a trilogy I’m going to have a little look at the lists I’m using as they are currently. I’ve always liked list theory and looking at the ideas others come up with. The UKs legit No1 player last year plays in my area and YJ and even though one of my lists has similarities to his I don’t think I could have got the same success with it. I’m not going to look at every troop as list writing is a very fluid thing for me so they tend to change a lot, even if its only minor changes. Instead focus on some key units and the over all idea.

Alpha Team

Imperial Service
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GROUP 1 10
WÚ MÍNG (Forward Observer) Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 31)
WÚ MÍNG (Fireteam: Duo) Chain Rifle, Submachine Gun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 25)
WÚ MÍNG Panzerfaust, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 29)
WÚ MÍNG HMG / Pistol, Knife. (2 | 39)
WÚ MÍNG Heavy Rocket Launcher, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (2 | 33)
CELESTIAL GUARD Hacker (Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 21)
CELESTIAL GUARD Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 13)
CHAĪYÌ Yaókòng Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
KǍNRÈN Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Combi Rifle, Chain-colt / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon, Knife. (0 | 29)
LÙ DUĀN Mk12, Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (0 | 21)

GROUP 24
CELESTIAL GUARD (Kuang Shi Control Device) Combi Rifle + Light Smoke Grenade Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 13)
DAKINI Tacbot Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Electric Pulse. (0 | 15)
DAKINI Tacbot Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Electric Pulse. (0 | 15)
PANGGULING (Minesweeper, Repeater) Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)

5.5 SWC | 300 Points

Obviously here they key element is the Wu Ming. I’ve run them before but HSN3 brought them some tasty new options and the new Fireteam rules opened up more ways to complement them. I started with a Zhanying in either FO or Hacker load out in the team but it always felt like a weak link, either spending too much to protect him or straight up losing him. The Hacker variant suffers from this even more as the enemy can bypass the rest of the Fireteam to target the Hacker with impunity. The 5 man bonus is such a big one I ended up switching to full HI.

I’ve tried multiple variations of the team, 2 FOs, 2 Panzerfaust among others. The core stays the same with HMG, FO and SMG and I’ve finally settled on HRL and 1 Panzerfaust. Obviously the FO for objective and the HMG for high burst, the SMG is good close support or breaking into suppression. Also gives flexibility in cresting a Duo to split off and at 25 points is a bargain. The remaining two slots have been contentious but I settled on HRL and Panzerfaust for a number if reasons. The Panzerfaust are great and cheap on the points and SWC but my personal experience is they can’t hit the side of a barn door, even in the Fireteam, and once they were gone the Fireteam had little punch left especially at long range. I tried things like a Dakini HMG as was stiffled for SWC but didn’t like it much. After including the HRL I’ve not looked back as he is has been performing well. I do subscribe to getting multiple specialists in a Fireteam but this one has been working well with one. I think that is partly down to the fact it is a large chunk of the army and with only one specialist the opponent has to make a choice of tackling the heavy hitters or objective grabbers.

Which leads me onto the second combat group. These guys are here for two reasons. A second order pool which can be used to revive the Wu Ming early game and move onto objectives late. A Dakini in suppression is no push over putting a -9 mod on non MSV troops as long as they are in cover. This also combines with the Wu Ming as they are able to take objective independantly if full attention is on the Wu Ming.

A quick mention to the Kanren as a forward deploying specialist and the Lu Duan which gives a bit of fire power seperate from the Eu Ming.

Bravo Team

GROUP 1 10
SÙ-JIÀN Spitfire, Light Flamethrower, Panzerfaust / Heavy Pistol, Knife. (2 | 59)
SOPHOTECT Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 31)
YUDBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
YUDBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
CELESTIAL GUARD Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 13)
CELESTIAL GUARD (Forward Observer) Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 13)
CELESTIAL GUARD (Forward Observer) Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 13)
CELESTIAL GUARD Hacker (Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 21)
WÚ MÍNG (Fireteam: Duo) Chain Rifle, Submachine Gun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 25)
WÚ MÍNG Heavy Rocket Launcher, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (2 | 33)
RUI SHI Spitfire / Electric Pulse. (1 | 20)
CHAĪYÌ Yaókòng Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)

GROUP 25 / 3
NINJA Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Tactical Bow / Pistol, DA CCW, Knife. (0 | 29)
CELESTIAL GUARD (Kuang Shi Control Device) Combi Rifle + Light Smoke Grenade Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 13)
KUANG SHI Chain Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)
KUANG SHI Chain Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)
KUANG SHI Chain Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)

6 SWC | 299 Points

This list has suffered a more serious overhaul. It started out much the same as Alpha with a second combat group containing a Sophitect while the main group had a Zhanying Haris team in it. They took on multiple guises again, HMG or missile launcher combined with an FO or a Hacker and sometimes both heavy weapons.  The idea was they could be a back up if the Su Jian went down and also be an ARO piece with burst 2 and Sixth Sense but I always seemed to use them as ARO pieces and while on paper a burst 2 ML is scary they just don’t perform for me. I had the same issue with the Yan Huo. After deciding to drop them I needed something that had damage output and preferable at long range to both back up the Su Jian or take over should he go down. There was a bunch of things I tried and the latest is an all guns Wu Ming Duo. I basically decided on that after the HRL was gold in Alpha Team and talking to other people who use Wu Ming. This forced my hand to rejig the combat groups. I’d previously only been using the Kuang Shi to fuel the Su Jian but having to rejig things I’ve decided to put them separate and run them as an annoyance piece, either smoking the Rui Shi or simply causing Chain Rifle havoc.

The Sophotect remains in this group as repairing the Su Jian has happened several times and with the combat group organisation as is I’m fine with her in the main group giving that option. The Rui Shi also returns as who can argue with MSV 2 Spitfire? A couple of FO Celestials to fill orders and provide more specialists with the Ninja Killer Hacker hiding in the second group, again an Infiltrating specialist is gold and not a problem in the second group as she quite often reveals to ARO enemy Hackers or late game for objective grabs.

State of Play

Alpha list has had the least drastic changes bar losing the Sophotect and although it hasn’t been run in this exact configuration all thats changed since last games is shuffling of the combat groups. Bravo team however has been run once in this version but with more heavy changes needs a lot more time to be comfortable with. As I said right at the beginning list building is very fluid thing for me so anything could happen in the next half hour.

As always please let me know what you think.

Games and Theory : D-Day count down

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D-Day

As I spoke about before I’ve started this D-Day count down and this time I’m going to talk about what I’ve been running.

The State Empire

At the start of HSN3 I ran sectorials to try out the new Fireteam hotness, as I’m sure a lot of people did. Yu Jing was my first love so they were my go to faction. I had a little dabble in JSA as being able to Haris Karakuri alongside a Keisotsu core team sounded pretty good. But with a flutter with Nomads including at the TCO I’ve been running ISS a fair bit so it was them I chose when deciding what to make of my hobby with Infinity.

The Beginning 

The two list ideas revolve around the Su Jian and Wu Ming. I’m trying to keep the core lists the same only changing the bear minimum to make them optimum for the mission. They started out both with the same premise, heavy hitters with the Su Jian and Wu Ming, a smattering of specialists and a second group containing the Sophotect to bring troops back. I was also trying out new troops like Kanren and Ninja killer hackers along side Zhanying Haris teams.

Development

I won’t go through all the changes but here is what they have morphed into.

Imperial Service
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GROUP 1 10
WÚ MÍNG (Forward Observer) Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 31)
WÚ MÍNG (Fireteam: Duo) Chain Rifle, Submachine Gun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 25)
WÚ MÍNG Panzerfaust, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 29)
WÚ MÍNG HMG / Pistol, Knife. (2 | 39)
WÚ MÍNG Heavy Rocket Launcher, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (2 | 33)
CELESTIAL GUARD Hacker (Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 21)
CELESTIAL GUARD Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 13)
CHAĪYÌ Yaókòng Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
KǍNRÈN Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Combi Rifle, Chain-colt / Pistol, Monofilament CC Weapon, Knife. (0 | 29)
LÙ DUĀN Mk12, Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (0 | 21)

GROUP 24
CELESTIAL GUARD (Kuang Shi Control Device) Combi Rifle + Light Smoke Grenade Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 13)
DAKINI Tacbot Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Electric Pulse. (0 | 15)
DAKINI Tacbot Paramedic (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Electric Pulse. (0 | 15)
PANGGULING (Minesweeper, Repeater) Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)

5.5 SWC | 300 Points

Imperial Service
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GROUP 1 10
SÙ-JIÀN Spitfire, Light Flamethrower, Panzerfaust / Heavy Pistol, Knife. (2 | 59)
SOPHOTECT Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 31)
YUDBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
YUDBOT Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
CELESTIAL GUARD Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 13)
CELESTIAL GUARD (Forward Observer) Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 13)
CELESTIAL GUARD (Forward Observer) Boarding Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 13)
CELESTIAL GUARD Hacker (Hacking Device) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 21)
WÚ MÍNG (Fireteam: Duo) Chain Rifle, Submachine Gun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 25)
WÚ MÍNG Heavy Rocket Launcher, Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (2 | 33)
RUI SHI Spitfire / Electric Pulse. (1 | 20)
CHAĪYÌ Yaókòng Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)

GROUP 25 / 3
NINJA Hacker (Killer Hacking Device) Tactical Bow / Pistol, DA CCW, Knife. (0 | 29)
CELESTIAL GUARD (Kuang Shi Control Device) Combi Rifle + Light Smoke Grenade Launcher / Pistol, Knife. (0.5 | 13)
KUANG SHI Chain Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)
KUANG SHI Chain Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)
KUANG SHI Chain Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 5)

6 SWC | 299 Points

I found missile launchers and Panzerfaust rarely perform for me so they’ve been dropped in both lists whereas the Wu Ming have been doing work so they have popped up everywhere.

The other major change was the Sophotect. This came about with some lateral thinking when analyzing my lists. While reviving your troops is a sound idea (who hasn’t been deflated after seeing a TAG you spent so many orders taking down brought back to full health) you have to ask what that ability is costing you. While adding a palbot is a minimal investment the Sophotect and the extra orders needed to enable her to do her job really make for quite a large investment. While I have managed to do it I was questioning its worth. Also taking into account the Wu Mings lack of cube she was dropped from that list completely in favour of Dakini paramedics.

The major change in the Su Jian list was the swapping of the Kuang Shi to the second combat group. This came about due to the lacklustre performance of the Zhanying Haris team. I still think they could be good, certainly with the inclusion of a Hsien, but not in this list. This goes back to thinking about what you want from troops. Before I was basically using the Kuang Shi for cheap orders to fuel the Su Jian and backfield protectors. In this format they’ll need to do some work otherwise they’ll be wasted orders. 5 orders just to smoke cover the Rui Shi just isn’t efficient. I’m also trying out an all guns Wu Ming duo as the list needs more punch somewhere.

D-Day -8

That’s where I am right now with the lists. The Su Jian list has only been run once in its current version and as a whole I am 2-1-2 since the D-Day countdown started.

Let me know what you guys think and if I’m not full of horse garbage I’ll post up some unit reviews or something along with an SCTS AAR.

Psi division: Return to form

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Hello Again

Its been a while. I kind of stopped blogging as only talking about myself via tournament reports got a little weird and I don’t really have the confidence believe I know what I’m talking about to write about much else. After posting a few tweets and getting a couple of comments I’ve been spurred on to restart. Which is slightly ironic as my hobby head is all over the place right now.

I’ve been struggling a but recently for a number of reasons. This could get messy so feel free to spin on.

Head Space

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I’ve been having a crisis of confidence lately, for a number of reasons. I’ve always been a fan of events, I went to many as a 40K player and now I go to Infinity events and some for X-Wing. I considered myself a good 40K player but as I never used net lists I was always happy with mid table placings. Infinity doesn’t have that balance issue so there is not that to hide behind when looking at my performance. When it comes to X-Wing I think I’ve done reasonably well but as I don’t have a great deal of flight time I’ve never broken into the top tier of players. Again I don’t have that to hide behind as Infinity is my main system and I spend a lot of time reading up or playing.

Now I’ve never been one to say winning is the main objective but I have to say being just outside the top spots so many times is starting to grate a little and something I need to correct if I want to put my money where my mouth is in being a good wargamer. Herein lies in issue as how seriously should we take our gaming? If you look at top placing players they definitely have a main system and sometimes only play one. It does seem to be that wargaming is becoming sports like in its dedication, but it is only our hobby. I guess it depends what you want out of it. After all there is a lot of time investment in list writing and practicing for tournaments why shouldn’t we aim for good results?

Now an Infinity specific problem. Time. Infinity has an issue of time in tournaments. The game can be very time dependant and cutting games short can have a dramatic effect. I don’t want to go into it here as it is a whole other topic but the crux is do I want to invest all this time into a system and continue to get time ganked at events?

Conclusion

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I guess all this is about how seriously I want to take my gaming. It is supposed to be my fun time after all. I think wanting to win is a bit of a taboo though and why should it be? Some of us put a lot of time into the hobby so why shouldn’t we aim for good results? I think a desire to win shouldn’t be confused with being a dick as they are not necessarily the same thing. On a personal level I’ve got to look at whether the extra investment to crack the top tier of players will be worth it. On the one hand it is my hobby and not a job, thus I don’t want to take it that seriously. On the other is I already put a lot of effort in and although winning isn’t main objective being so close to top all the time is wearing me down a bit.

This all got sparked as I’ve started a D-Day on Twitter, which is SCTS in August. Originally this was the last chance to not get time ganked before I quit Infinity but now it’s mutated into not making mistakes as well. By mistakes I mean things you instantly knew were a mistake as opposed to figuring it out after the fact which is more  a learning experience. Now I’m not really sure what D-Day means. I was originally going to talk about my progression there but that may have to be another post. I’ll see if anyone cares to read this first.

Games and Theory: Infinity table

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Down Boy

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I’m going to start the post about Infinity tables I keep  telling myself I would. Now I’ve been holding off because this subject seems to cause a shit storm every time and I’m in fear of the backlash to be honest. So before I start I’ll get a few things clear.

  1. Yes I do have a few opinions on the subject.
  2. No I don’t think my way is the only way
  3. Things aren’t that simple

1 plus 1

First I’ll go over some accepted basic principles. To begin with you should really be setting up an asymmetric table. This has even been suggested in an official capacity.

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This is to alleviate some of the problems the game was getting in its early stages where first turn stompings were a thing. There are more things at work here which have really helped but this is still a recommendation for table set up. This is where one deployment zone has an advantage over the other and should make it so taking first or second turn is not a clear cut option.

Now as you can see by looking at the diagram this is all great if you are only using boxes and to be fair if you are new then you probably are, I did. The Icestorm and USAriadna scenery is great for this. But we all know that is not how a lovely table looks like and it as another issue in itself. Corner cover. Most tables have a problem creating low cover like barricades as opposed to corner cover like building corners. This can also be an issue as it can not take a lot of angle before a model is completely exposed at a corner whereas in practice low cover is usually more sustainable. There are an array of crates and such that can be bought for quite cheap that can help in this matter.

There are also a few other rules of thumb the community seems to agree upon. One such rule is not being able to draw lof entirely across the table. While I agree with this as a whole rule 3 above comes into play and it’s not that simple.

Locate the DZ

The asymmetrical  set up of deployment zones is not the only consideration. It’s actually quite difficult to give one side a clear advantage without making it game breaking. Here considerations need to be made of a few things. Firstly actually deploying. How many models that should be in cover or total cover in a DZ is something that is rarely talked about but it is one way to separate the two zones. I don’t really have an answer for this as there are many things to consider within this topic itself. Do you count an army as 10 troopers for a start? So I wont give you any hard numbers. But certainly in my opinion the better side should be able to keep an average size army in total cover from the opposing DZ. Whether the less covered side should have to deploy not in total cover is a question, one I wont answer. But remember you also need to consider how troopers will lave their DZ. You need to have some way for each side to engage the enemy.

Another consideration is how much should be visible from the DZ. This is a subject that could be discussed at length and I feel is one of the contentious issues in Infinity. It is possible to have fire lanes without making an ARO hell hole. Here you can make the ‘better’ side have sniper nests but if you restrict their field of fire then it can stop them being all dominating.

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Here you can see an elevated position where to the right is cut off by more stacked containers and straight ahead broken up by sign-age. You can also just about make out to the left where more stacked containers restrict vision there. Here is where rules 1 and 2 from above come in. I do think that long fire lanes are not a problem in themselves but whole open areas are. I had to jig a few things around on this table as originally this position could see far too much of the table and would have been very dominating. This leads on to.

Don’t be dense

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Now I’ve been in a few heated debates about scenery in my time and really some of that comes from over reaction. Usually they start when I say a table is too dense. It’s happened when others have said the same so I know it’s not only me that thinks this way and it usually involves someone complaining about snipers and HMGs. Now not being dense doesn’t mean a flat table. If you’re calling for a dense table when you’re army relies on short range that’s just not cricket. I feel with the changes to range bands that CB want those range bands to be utilised. Now that doesn’t have to be everywhere, just somewhere.

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As long as that range is only a corridor then it should be fine.

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Now before we get excited, yes I do advocate not having a fire lane that crosses the entire length of the table. But what this picture shows is that range is possible to achieve while not being dominating, there are plenty of way to flank a sniper in this position. This picture was taken from this board.

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Which illustrates another factor when considering tables, especially when in picture format. I played on this table and there was only two or three orders of long range fire the whole game and I bet most of you were crying its too open as soon as you saw it. Making open areas and actually utilising long range fire are not necessarily the same thing, but the more you close off the table the more compounding the effect is to remove the viability of any range weapons.

Now for me the problem of density is not having long range fire lanes but allowing single positions to seem great swathes of the board, thus locking it down with few, or a single, model. I think that allowing long fire lanes but only in tight corridors then you utilise the range bands but give options. Do you engage, cautious move or maybe flank? So the problem doesn’t have to be the range itself.

We’ve just got to get out

I’ve touched on it already but the table is a whole and so thinking about how to set up the rest of the table once troopers eave their DZ is also worthwhile. There is always a balance between setting up a table that looks good and feels right but also plays well.

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This is a table I worked on for a while and although it is not its final incarnation it is pretty close. It got a lot of praise at the tournament where I set it up and I’m pretty happy with it. It does have a massive issue though. The centre piece of the train crates a natural barrier to cross and also killing fields down each side of it. The kill zones are dealt with slightly now with vehicles to break them up so they still look natural but play a bit better. The issue of the barrier is not something I have yet to solve though but this does illustrate the issue of playability verses aesthetic.

I have my own little theory here and that is to extend the asymmetrical DZ into two L shapes so that as you leave the DZ one side is more dense and one side is more open allowing you to choose which method suits your style better. But this really is just my own little idea. In the picture below the left side is quite well covered while the right more open. Remember that pictures don’t give you a true perspective as I will admit that the right side looks open but in the game it was far from a killing field and troopers managed to advance through it some way.

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The left side would be ideal to advance through with Impetuous chain rifle troops and that is exactly what happened, along with a Su-Jian.

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Above you can see the angle from the blue building in top corner from the first picture and can see it’s only really to its extreme left that has a commanding field of fire. Again the use of signs has blocked what would have been a dominating position by cutting off the view but still allowing for longer range fire.

Where are the trees?

All this is very nice, at least in my opinion, but it can be difficult to put into practice. I alluded to it earlier and I certainly feel that making a board that looks good and plays well is a challenge. I quite often find myself breaking my own technical rules to gain a better ‘feel’ for a board set up as I like my boards to at least attempt to look like a real place. There are other things that come into play. Remember when I talked about how much of an army should be able to get cover in a DZ? What happens if that army is 20 orders strong? What happens if the mission is area capture and the ‘best’ sides sniper tower is now totally useless as you need to move to score points? There are other things as well like if you use a lot of the same height building and nothing on top of them then the second level effectively becomes a flat surface and the ARO nightmare becomes real. Also objective spread can affect a mission. In Lifeblood the crates tend to favour one side and that is obvious from the dispersal points. If you make that side the less favourable side then you effectively neutralise the board advantage.

All in all I really feel that board set up can have a massive impact on a game but unfortunately it is a difficult conundrum to get right. While in no means extensive these are some points to have in mind when setting up a table and a few of my own thughts and ideas as well and I hope that this helps or at least gives you something to think about.

Again as usual please feel free to leave a comment.

Games and Theory: Army Composition

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List Building Games

I think some of the attraction of the games we play is the ability to create seemingly limitless combinations of units or armies and sometimes come up with that all conquering combo. Whether it is from the boundless lists of old style GW codex or card type units of games like X-Wing the designers put the choice of army into our hands and that gives us a feeling of control over the destiny of our gaming. Which is really great. One of things I really loved about 40K was the ability to not only choose one of the famous chapters but the freedom to design your own.

Freedom of Choice

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Well that may not be the case as much as we think. This freedom of choice is easily tainted by a number of factors. It could be restricted by the companies business model. If they make the next new shiney the best then you are restricted into buying those armies or units, especially if your chosen army hasn’t had any recent updates. I’m no business expert and I wont claim that is the case but I speak from the heart using my own experiences and that certainly felt the case when I played 40K. A game I played for a good while and competitively, but one I left because I ultimately felt I could not or would not keep up with the perceived power creep. But then the grass is not always greener, as they say.

Gaming Structure

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Our choice could also be restricted by the structure we choose for our games. Now whether it is an official tournament or just a game with friends we usually put some kind of structure to our games. Obviously the official play is the restrictions imposed by the organisers whereas club or home games might be more subtle, something like a theme or a story. Maybe a recreation of a battle in your chosen games lore. The game that has replaced 40K for me is Infinity and while at its base level I feel it has more choice in army selection as there is more balance in the game one of the big arguments by the people who play Infinity is ITS, its official tournament play, is how to be efficient in ITS you need a certain type of army build and to be honest the more I’ve played the more I agree that is the case. So even here the restrictions have been imposed. Its not just Infinity either. While the restrictions there are down to the best way to win the mission I also feel that X-Wing, the other game I play competitively these days, also can restrict your choices. Now here I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not hugely experienced but when I first started playing I definitely felt that the hour time limit made the game very different beast to an open ended game. I believe this had an impact of the two ship lists that dominated for a while. Admittedly this may have been addressed with the latest FAQ but I’m probably not the best person to ask.

So where to now?

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I guess I’ve been thinking about these things a lot lately. The new X-Wing FAQ changed my squad for the last tournament I went to and I’ve been talking about high order Infinity lists with the Totally Crit guys. Either way we never really like the thought that our choices are restricted but always seem to forgive out favourite games for any they impose. After all we all partake in this hobby out of love for the Emperor, for the Force or maybe just for the destruction of our enemies.

As always please feel free to leave a comment.

Psi Division: Back in the Saddle.

It’s Been a While

Well, since I’ve done anything on here. I’ve had a busy time including moving house and while I did post a few items some months back I was struggling with what I was getting out of the hobby in all aspects. Some of which was down to time. It was getting stressful trying to get all the things I wanted done and so I lost a bit of enjoyment from it. Also what it was giving me. Gaming is obvious. The game itself is enjoyable and the social be rewarding. But things like this blog are a bit alien in nature to me as they can be a bit self absorbed sometimes. I’ve tried to make some posts giving food for thought or tactical advice but then I’m also the sort of person that struggles with self belief, so the thought I have any knowledge worth impacting is also quite alien.

Anywho. In recent times I’ve found a new lease of hobby life. Not only am I enjoying gaming again but I have gotten back on the hobby horse as well and put paint to mini. In the last couple of months I’ve finished some outstanding minis and got praise from a well established quality painter for them. Gaming wise I managed a first and third at my latest Infinity tournaments and even dangered the cut at my last X-Wing outing, along with third in the local escalation league. Along the way I’ve also tried to get involved with Totally Crit podcast again although at time of writing things are conspiring against me here.

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Organising is the only area where I’m not returning to former glories so to speak and I’m ok with that. Sort of. While it’s never nice to see people doing things better than you it’s great to have started such a vibrant scene locally. Plus I’ve never really been a leader, it’s just that gaming is the only thing I’ve really loved, other than my family, and I like to see things get done. On the Infinity side the TC guys have really taken to the tournament scene and another club member took on the X-Wing league, which went well. So I’m happy to let those guys run with it rather than rock the boat. Plus who know how much time I will get next year for events.

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That does mean I’ve turned my attention elsewhere. Forever contemplating the next hobby adventure I am. So here I am again, on this blog. I’ve also got an eye for a video bat rep and maybe that Infinity table article. So keep an eye out. From here on I’ll be asking for comments and feedback. That way I know someone is reading at least and maybe finding something useful. So if any of this has sparked any thoughts feel free to get in touch.

AAR: SCTS

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Preliminary

I’ve been a bit tardy with writing the AAR for the SCTS as at the minute I’m not really sure what I’m getting out of writing the blog so am unsure how much longer in will continue. But that is a matter for another post.

The event was yet another polished event from Simon and the guys at Lvlup gaming. We’ve come to know the drill and this did not disappoint. I have been getting a fair amount of Infinity in after my spell with X-Wing Store Champs and after a second place at the Expo was quietly confident. Both Chris and Robin were in attendance but I was shooting for a third with luck.

The Lists

Alpha Team

Yuan Huo Lt/HMC
Hac Tao XO/HMG
Tokusetsu Engineer
Tokusetsu Doctor
2x Yaozao
Celestial Hacker
Aragoto BS
Tiger Spitfire
Guilang FO
Yaopu TR
Lu Duan

Bravo Team

Zuyong Lt/HMG
Pheasant CoC/BS
Karakuri Mk12
Tokusetsu Engineer
Tokusetsu Doctor
2x Yaozao
Celestial Hacker
Tiger Paramedic
Tiger BS
Bao Sniper

Tiger Paramedic
Monk

Basically the plan was Bravo Team for Baconland and Alpha Team can handle everything else. Alpha was the same as the Expo with only minor tweaks but Bravo was enlisted purely for the task of Baconland.

Games

Game 1 Baconland/ MO/ Adam/ Won Inititative took Deployment and Second 9-3(?)

The plan for this game was a double Tiger drop for the far score zones with more specialists, including a more resilient Karakuri, to move up and take the exclusion zone.and reconfigure beacons. I had the Tiger BS for a first turn rampage if I ended up with first turn. The plan worked well, almost too well as when on the back foot Adam decided to drop a beacon in his deployment zone denying me a lot of points if I could not do something about it. I still used the Tiger to rampage my first turn as it was a good way to damage the link team. The Tiger Paras worked a treat dropping beacons to claim the zones and even moving one to get more in the enemy DZ to score points. I survived a return surprise specialist troop myself with a close hit from the Karakuri Chain Rifle. Other notes were both the Zuyong and Karakuri surviving first turn multiple hack attempts through a REM forcing me to deal with it, and the Bao taking out a TR bot at range after the Monk failed to drop smoke cover. Things to take away from this game – with 9 points it’s pretty much as good as it’s going to get. Mission specific was dropping a beacon in his DZ really caused me problems to score big and that was something I hadn’t considered and something that happened in Chris’ first game. Also I still have problems with Impetuous as the Monk dies to TR fire whilst trying to lay smoke cover for the Bao. I had considered his deployment but as I had second turn I wanted him in a position to cover my flank from assault. In hindsight the fact they never receive cover bonus I possibly could have changed his position.
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Game 2 Transmission Matrix/ Haqq/ Robin/ Lost Initiative took second 0-10

This game was a bit of a train wreck. Robin took deployment recognising one deployment zone was shocking. As the game progressed it became more and more apparent he was right. I wont say I lost the game due to the table as I have never beaten Robin but it was sure a factor I did not need in that match up. I had real trouble deploying anything bigger than S2 and there was only 2 routes for a 55mm base out of the DZ and across the halfway line. Robin basically moved a load of Infiltrating shotguns into good range and wreaked havoc. Things to take away from this game – I was probably a bit stubborn in my list selection as although Bravo Team was not the optimal list for this mission it could have completed it and would probably have faired better against Robins list, which I wouldn’t have know at the time but it would have had a better time on the cramped table. Getting no points after such a good start was a bit of a downer.
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Game 3 Annihilation/ Ariadna/ Claire/ Lost Initiative took first 6-6

At this point I felt the day was done with zero from game two so was only in it for the funs. I was against a newer player and as I was out of the running didn’t feel like going full throttle. Which actually in hindsight as there was about 5 players tied in OPs in 4th, which I’m pretty confident I could have jumped. As it stood I just advised a things few things she missed and such. Things to take away from this game – Discover, I failed a butt load of discovers against the Antipodes. There’s no insight there other than dice will hate you sometimes. Also weight of fire is not always a protector. The Hac Tao went down to a missile launcher when in active and odds in my favour, not to a Crit either.
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Conclusion

There games were a bit skewed to really dwell on too much. Game 2 had issues and game 3 was more like a club game than a tournie game. I was an enjoyable day non the less. Unfortunately the only big thing that came from the day was another discussion on terrain which took place afterwards. I’m honestly getting tired of it as whenever I say a table is too dense everyone assumes you want to play on a flat table in an HMG fest, which is not the case. Tables should be balanced where all weapons are usable and while that does mean Chain Rifles I think the change to Sniper and HMG range bands really shows those long fire lanes should be present on the table somewhere. But I digress and have plans for a dedicated post on the subject. But I’ll leave it on a positive note. Even though I only finished low end mid table I did enjoy the day as usual as a day of Infinity is always a winner. Plus I’m down to head back in October.

Additional

Another note on the day would be ref Baconland. I didn’t have a problem with the mission and it was fun to play. The non opposed scoring does create weird scenarios like dropping a beacon in your DZ almost to spite your opponent, something I had not anticipated. Also although I doubt it would happen the possibility for high score draw, collusion or not, isn’t something that feels natural. I do like the emphasis on scoring yourself in ITS but being able to both score with little interaction is weird. So while I like the mission I would not want to see it as a regular.

Briefing: SCTS

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The Event

Another SCTS is coming up this weekend. I can’t get to all of them these days, although I believe I’ve only missed one so far, but they are always great events and well run. You know the drill by now!

List building

I’m going to take variations on the lists I took to the Expo. Which is why I haven’t posted an AAR for that event. Now normally I’m not too bothered if people might get some tips on my play style and such but as the events are so close together I’m going to hold off this time and publish both of them after this weekend. Both lists have had tweaks, one more than the other but they worked well for me at the Expo coming second.

Main Effort

Again the main effort has to be have some fun with the lists. I have to check my enthusiasm after such a good showing last time out as it may not be so good this time. I hope for a positive win record again and it would be good to carry some momentum into the event and get a decent placing. But who knows.

AAR: UKGE

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Preiminary

I attended the UK Games Expo last weekend to play in the Infinity tournament. It was run By Phlyk for the first time but was pretty much as expected. The day did feel rather rushed but I’m not sure if that’s due to having time restrictions as I don’t think we had 2 hour rounds. But I didn’t check my watch to be certain. Again we were playing on tables covered in cloth and again I assume this was down to the facilities supplied by the Games Expo. The same thing happened at Dark Sphere and while I personally don’t like it as you are not playing on 4×4 (as I found out game 2) it doesn’t detract from the game only niggle my OCD. We ended up in the marquee which I had heard about through the X-Wing grapevine which while wasn’t the best, again didn’t dampen the day. Unlike the mornings rain!

The Lists

I went back to basics so to speak by using troops I had not turned to in a while in an effort to broaden my horizons. I always have a lot of ideas that look good on paper but reality can be quite different and after a discussion with fellow Totally Crit members I was thinking about play style and how playing to it can benefit. But as always I did manage to squeeze a few new troops into the lists.

Alpha Team
Yuan Huo Lt/HMC
Hac Tao XO/HMG
Tokusetsu Engineer
Tokusetsu Doctor
2x Yaozao
Celestial Hacker
Keisotsu FO
Tiger Spitfire
Guilang FO
Yaopu TR
Lu Duan

2x Monk

Bravo Team
Zuyong Lt/HMG
Pheasant CoC/BS
Zuyong FO
Karakuri Mk12
Tokusetsu Engineer
Zhanshi Doctor
2x Yaozao
Zhanshi Hacker
Tiger Spitfire
Evo

Tiger Paramedic

Games

Game 1 Quad Control Sam MO 7-4
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First game I lost the Initiative roll and got first turn and deployment. First turn was difficult as with a lot of tough targets I couldn’t push in to the far zones with enough weight to confidently control them after his turn. Which proved doubly true as the Yuan Huo on my left flank was taken out by a Panzerfaust thus leaving the door open to give away the first turn. Turn two and it was revealed as Joan being the Lt and therefore I invested a fair amount into killing her as that could really hamper his ability to redeploy the following turn. I also dropped the Tiger to take out a enemy in an elevated position and it transpired he took the far left quadrant to boot. With some damage done and Joan dead I took turn two. Turn three was a matter of shuffling and setting up suppression as he was short orders to dig me out and it ended up being too much of a stretch and I took turn 3 as well.

Game 2 Transmission Matrix Luke Merovingians 9-3
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I won the Initiative roll and took deployment as there was one objective in the open and I wanted to use my HMC to good advantage. Luke chose first turn and as usual with this mission I had made a mistake and deployed my REMs in repeater range. My brain cannot seem to differentiate between control zones and repeater ZoC, needless to say they were both hack immobilised. The Tiger dropped in to take out his hacker and I took the first turn clearing him off is zones. He still had a strong link team on the centre zone though which remained and he fought back to draw the second turn but was taking heavy losses. Turn 3 there wasn’t much resistance left and I hammered home my advantage to take third turn.

Game 3 Antennae Field John Tohaa 7-3
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I ended up going first again in this game using my second list. Unfortunately I could not do enough damage and while I ended up on two objective and covering the other three John used a TO Specialist to take his objective and a link to outflank my prone Hacker taking mine and kill her. This gave him first turn. He tried to roll round to my karakuri who was dug in on an objective on my left but only managed to kill it with his final orders. I had taken out the link on the objective to my right and again pressed home an advantage late game. My last turn was left to the Tiger paramedic to drop in flaming the TO on his objective and closing the range to his TR troop covering the middle ground with enough orders left to jump onto an objective. I had put John into retreat for his last turn so that was enough to take the turn.

Conclusion

It was a good day with a very respectable finish. I dropped points on both games where I went first as I could not do enough damage to hamper both opponents. In hindsight in Johns game I should have completely ignored the mission first turn and used to orders to attack instead. I’m starting to really like suppressive fire as several times throughout the day it gave my opponents great trouble. I also used supportware which came into its own in game two on a TR Pangguling. Overall happy with that and hopefully I can carry some momentum into the next event.