30 August 2010

WAAC: Why I loathe it. Part 2 of ?


It's been a while and I will apologise for this is not meant to be a rant, although again it will end up being so. I know this for a fact.

In my last WAAC post I talked about my first experience of dealing with WAAC players en mass. It wasn't a pleasant experience for myself nor for those who were used to playing to the fluff or for fun.

More recently I have seen people who do WAAC for pick-up games. Normally they don't have a list prepared and then once they have seen the enemy army or list they prepare one to counter it. the writing of the list is normally accompanied by some of the following;
  • It's written at the gaming venue.
  • It takes about an hour.
  • It can't be understood unless you know half a dozen dead languages and have three PhD's in cryptography and having grown up in Bletchley Park*1.
  • It is written while they are constantly bitching about their opponent's list.
  • They always asking for more points.
  • They are always complaining if any restrictions are in place.
  • They want to proxy miniatures because of a specific rule they have works amazingly effectively against your army.
  • Their armies are often poorly painted.
  • They are literally just thrown into or tipped out of a box.
  • They look like they have been put together by someone sneezing over the miniature when they have a cold and shoving the rest of the parts at it, hoping that they'd stick.
  • Finally they always say 'It's not the best list I can come up with.'

Normally people with lists like this aren't fun to play against. If something goes wrong they blame everything but themselves.
  • 'It's not a good list.'
  • 'I didn't have enough points.'
  • 'I can't win the game unless I kill every model of yours.'
  • 'I don't do objectives.' - I swear I was going to kill this guy...
  • 'I haven't had time to make a good list.'
  • 'Are we using the latest FAQ?' - I nearly DID kill this guy.

Even throughout all of these excuses and attempts to have a good game, I have often felt as if I'd just been in a WAAC tournament. It's not a feeling I like.
I actually have a few lists for each of my armies upon my person when I'm gaming. I can throw together a list in about 15 minutes, no matter the restrictions. As far as my armies for Warhammer go I have Ogres (apparently good in 8th, but one of the weakest in 7th), Bretonnia (see the comment about Ogres) and Lizardmen.
Now Lizardmen were got before the newer Army book came out. They were faring rather poorly on the power scale. Saurus were over-priced. Armies were small and under-powered, unless you went with one of the few internet lists available. Then along came the new army book. Nearly everything got a boost AND they got new shiny things. A horde of Stegadons crashed through the undergrowth, Skinks appeared in even greater numbers and the Slann were insane in the magic phase if upgraded properly. New plastics made them more affordable too.
I played them under the new army book for a bit. I was scared at how many more of the Lizardmen you could fit in an army. For myself I always like to take thematic armies. So I tried the Saurus Horde. Using only models with Saurus on them. I had 3 blocks of Saurus Warriors with spears, a big unit of Cold one cavalry, a Carnosaur Lord and two other Saurus heroes. I ended up just marching up the field and eating an Empire artillery army. I had managed to crush them in four turns. After this game I stopped playing Lizardmen for months. My opponent didn't even manage to destroy a single unit. This wasn't for lack of trying though.

I went back to my Ogres and a few months later picked up Bretonnians. I was going again for a thematic list. All cavalry. Sounded good. The main issue with the Bretonnian cavalry that they can't do anything if they don't break the enemy on the charge. So I bulked up my army with Peasants. Nothing too severe. Just made it more like an actual army. Knights were more or less ALWAYS in the majority. It was always the poor sods in the infantry who outnumbered them 270 to 1. I actually started having a chance at winning a game. The knights died in a multitude of horrible ways, but the Peasants normally survived. Ummm... sorry for rambling...

My main point is that just because it is a pick up game, doesn't mean that you should treat it as a tournament or bitch, whinge and whine if it doesn't happen according to plan.
It's a one off.

Apart from the 'I must win every game,' attitude playing a WAAC at a pick up game is not an occurrence that happens too often. People who do WAAC refuse to play it as a GAME. They, again, treat it as a job and it takes the fun out of it for people who don't do similar.

What I'd like to see is people playing smaller games, or playing under limits as to what they can use. For example in 40K only using 1 HQ and Troops choices without vehicles, special or heavy weapons, for Warhammer having one hero and only using Core choices.

Simple things to make gamers think on how to use their armies effectively without having to resort to an internet list from BOLS, Warseer or Bolter and Chainsword. I know there will always be some people who won't like it, but if some people can start playing outside of their comfort zone they will, hopefully, become a better person to game against for those who don't play as competitively as them.


English Pillocket

*1- Bletchley Park was the place in England where the German Enigma machine code, Italian Air and Naval codes, and most of the Japanese Military codes were cracked during WWII. It is now the National Museum of Computing as well as being used half a dozen other roles.

03 August 2010

Warhammer 8th Edition and other bits... Part 2...


Now where I left off was finishing off the shooting phase for 8th. What I'm going to look at next is the Stabby-stabby phase.

Right, now for a start EVERY infantry unit fights in two ranks minimum when fighting to the front. This is a huuuuge boost for most units. Especially those with halberds and great weapons. Spears attack in three ranks and High Elf spearelves strike in 4 ranks.
If they are 20mm and 25mm infantry with multiple attacks can only make a single attack in the second rank or third or fourth respectively. Monstrous infantry (infantry models on 40mm bases, Ogres, Trolls, etc...) can make up to 3 attacks if they are in the second rank.

There is also a formation called 'Horde'. This is where an infantry unit has 10 models to a rank (6 for Monstrous infantry) can attack in another ranks. So 3 for non-spear armed infantry, 4 with spears and 5 for High Elves with spears.

You no longer strike first when you charge. All fighting happens at the model's initiative value. Models with the 'Always Strikes First' rule strikes first and if their base initiative is higher than their opponents then they get to re-roll any misses. EVERY TURN.
If there are models on both sides of the combat with the 'Always Strike First' rule then they strike simultaneously with no re-roll benefits if one model has a higher initiative.
For an army of High Elves this means that they are more likely to hit on a regular basis, but the only thing that it helps for hurting a unit is just rolling more dice. They are helped by the minimum of 6 to wound, but at the end of the day they are still only S3 T3. More attacks one way means that there is a chance that they can mitigate the damage received, but they will still hurt unless they kill several ranks of the enemy.

The only real bonus that charging gives you now depends upon the weapons used by the unit and you get a +1 combat resolution added to your final score.

There are also some rather juicy rules that mean that bigger units of infantry are likely to stick around a lot longer. If your unit loses the combat, but you have more ranks you are stubborn. Potentially this will stop the rot, if you will, for Goblin players who have their entire line break and flee due to a single unit of Goblins getting evaporated in combat.

After the combat has been resolved you get to reform if you don't pursue. This stops some of the re-directing issues that occurred in 7th.

There are a lot of other things in the book as well.

A series of special rules similar to what has been done in 40K, War of the Ring and other games. They are explained simply and their effects can be added to each other to give the different weapons traits that can be applied to them.

An expansion and a clarification of the different mount rules available for characters. These finally spell out all of the questions that were regularly occurring if someone had a mount like a Pegasus or another 40mm mount over something on a 50mm base or larger. Now it is if you have a character on a monstrous mount then it's wounds are the same as the highest model. So no longer will a model have their mount shot from underneath them and have to plod on foot or vice-versa.

They also explain all of the new uses of the unit command upgrades. I have already expanded upon the Musician.
Mission-wise there are 6 basic missions for pick up and play. There are 11 for narrative play and then it goes into the creation of your own scenarios. After this you have the Warhammer version of Apocalypse for 40K.

You also get masses of pages for the background and images of the painted miniatures for the different factions.

Spells and the new items and suchlike are at the back. The new ones are rather insane. Spells and items. From just looking at these there is a way of having a character that can annihilate other characters just by choosing a selection of the items. With the inclusion of some of the spells that boost units or reduce the enemy somehow, these characters can go on an insane killing spree!

I may as well comment upon some of the spells, purely for being able to enhance your units. Beasts, Light and Life are the best for unit enhancements from a cursory glance.

The Lore of Beasts has 4 of these Augment spells. Life has 5 and Light has 4.

First off we have Wyssan's Wildform. It gives a single unit and all therein +1 Toughness and Strength. This is pretty nasty. If you put it on ANY Lizardman unit you have got a lot of nasty things heading your way that are harder to kill. Putting it on a unit of Temple Guard for instance will make them into a bunker. Putting it on a unit of Saurus Cavalry will make them insanely hard to deal with, since you want them in combat before you cast it.
The next two spells only augment characters. First is Pann's Inpenetrable Pelt. This gives a single character +3 Toughness. If the Wizard boosts it, the spell gives +3 Toughness to ALL friendly characters within 12".
The second spell is The Savage Beast of Horros. This gives +3 Strength and Attacks. If this is boosted it gives his to every character within 12".
This is pretty insane. If you have a single phase and are able to cast all of these spells your characters within 12" will have +3 Strength, Toughness and +3 attacks. If the character also has Wyssan's Wildform on him then he gets +4 Strength, Toughness and +3 attacks. Putting this on even a hero with no items will be crazy. Putting it on a tooled up Saurus Lord will wreak total havoc. S9, T9, A8...

The last spell is only castable on the Wizard. It turns him into a big gribbly monster. The Transformation of Kadon is a hell of a nasty spell. IF it ever is cast successfully at either of the two levels it will swing the tide in a game. The monsters that are options are rather high on the statistic side. 5's and higher normally. The main issue I have with it is that even these insane combat machines will be rendered useless by a single throwaway unit. Since a 6+ can wound anything even a unit of Gnoblars can end up killing one of these big gribbly things.

The Lore of Light takes a different tack to the Lore of Beasts. Instead of increasing the ferocity of friendly units it increases their speed and reduces the enemy's chances to smash your battlelines.

Pha's Protection gives any enemy unit making any type of attack have a -1 to hit penalty. Cannons and other shooting attacks that don't use a Ballistic Skill roll can only hit them on a 4+. This is nice and simple. I wish it was the signature spell...
The Speed of Light gives a unit Weapon Skill and Initiative 10. The upgrade gives this to every unit within 12". I like this spell. This on a Saurus battleline is soooo gooooooood. Initiative 1? I don't think so.
Birona's Timewarp is the holy grail for nearly any army. Always Strike First and double movement. The upgrade boosts this to every unit within 12". hehehehehehe... It is hard to cast, but it is worth it.

The last spell Light of Battle is a surprisingly good spell. Potentially every unit within 12" becomes immune to all Ld based tests and will automatically rally if fleeing. Do you need a block of Saurus Cavalry to charge at the correct moment and not go stupid on you? I know I do...

Again you have the possibility of having every unit within 12" having WS, I of 10, ASF, double movement and the enemy has -1 to hit them. if Pha's Protection is cast upon them. This is more or less the only way to have a unit hitting back at you on 6+ in combat. If any are remaining that is.

The Last Lore I'm going to look at in this MAMMOTH post is Life. I liked the Lore of Life in 7th Edition. It was used for my Bretonnians and it was actually really nasty when I used it with my Lizardmen. Now we have a lore with a nice attribute as well. The ability to give back a single wound to a unit or model for every spell cast. This makes the army into a kind of Undead force. Just not as prolific.

Now the best spell in this lore is easily the Throne of Vines. It allows the Wizard to ignore miscasts on a 2+. Highly sought after if you have a cursory glance at the kaboom table. What it also does is boost more or less all of the other Life spells in some way. There is only a single boostable spell in the Life Lore and this is The Dwellers Below. But since it isn't an Augment spell I'm leaving it alone.

Earth Blood gives a 5+ Regeneration save to a unit.
Flesh to Stone gives +2 Toughness to a unit.
Shield of Thorns makes any unit in base contact take 2D6 S3 hits.
Regrowth gives D3+1 wounds back to a unit. Not a Character or his/her/it's mount.

These cast in conjunction with Throne of Vines makes them now;

Earth Blood gives a 4+ Regeneration save to a unit.
Flesh to Stone gives +4 Toughness to a unit.
Shield of Thorns makes any unit in base contact take 2D6 S4 hits.
Regrowth gives D6+1 wounds back to a unit. Not a Character or his/her/it's mount.

This is a rather big upgrade. If all of these spells are cast upon a single unit they aren't going anywhere fast. D6+6 wounds back on the unit, +4 Toughness, 4+ Regeneration and enemy units taking 2d6 S4 hits. That is really going to hurt.

Now this is my 8th drool session over with. Onto other bits.

First off I got myself some of the new plastic Hoplites from Immortal Miniatures. They are really nice. I mean the sculpts are great and you get a lot of option for the Hoplites. I put the boxes together so that I had a General, 49 Hoplites (one of 24 the other 25), two units of 8 Thracians and two spare musicians. You get a selection of different armour and helmets in the box. Some different crests.
The models go together well and you get some bases for them to go on.
You also get a small booklet about the different stages of evolution of the phalanx and a sheet of transfers to go on the shields. Using the points system for Warhammer Ancients gives you a Spartan army of 1630pts. Rather small, but... THIS IS SPARTA!


The last thing I want to mention is the shinyness that is the Farrow from Privateer Press. These are the new race of Pigmen for Hordes. Frankenpig and Porkenswine have been bandied about as regards some irrelevant nicknames for them. I just like the way that they look and they are meanto to ba a run in and eat people faction. Which I like the sound of.

That is going to be all for now. It has been a long time coming, but it is finally finished.


English Pillock