Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Battle Report : Kill - Ratkin v. The Brotherhood

We did a playtest battle of Ratkin v The Brotherhood (1000 pts, Kill scenario).

Josh is just getting into Kings of War.  I tried to get him to play a couple of years ago, but that was when he was living in a house with four other Warhammer players, and they had two tables in their basement for games.

Now that WFB is no longer supported by GW, we are starting to get him interested in Kings of War.  His first tried it at Origins, and I think we are getting him hooked.  It is interesting as his two WFB armies are Skaven and Bretonians - so it was fitting that we played Ratmen v. The Brotherhood.

Josh brought his box of Bretonians and hand made a 1000 pt list.  Unfortunately I did not review his list for him before the game, so he didn't realize you could only take one artifact per unit - thus he ended up being 35 pts short (since he could take both the Pipes of Terror and Diadem of Dragonkind on his spearmen)
The Brotherhood - 965 pts
- Villein Spearmen Regiment (bowmen proxy)
   - Pipes of Terror

- Order of the Brotherhood Regiment
  - Brew of Strength

- Order of the Brotherhood Horde
  - Chant of Hate

- Villein Siege Artillery

- Villein Siege Artillery

I took a Ratkin list that I'm building to use as a ringer army at the upcoming Legendary Game Faire III on October 16th.
Ratkin 1000 pts
- Warriors Horde

- Spear Warriors Horde

- Giant Rats w/ Handlers Regiment (mainly reaper Bones giant rats - wow are they bright white)
  - Brew of Haste

- Brutes

- Blight Lord w/ Bane-chant(3) (actually fully painted)

- War Chief

- Rattlewagon w/ Lightning Bolt(3) (also fully painted except for the base, and the stupid flag that is just too tall for my bin and has broken off twice now)

The Broherhood won the roll for deployment, and Josh decided to take the side with the two hills for his artillery.  I was happy about that, because this gave me the forest and hedge for cover against them (I forget that his artillery was indirect, so cover didn't matter - duh-oh), and to protect me from his Thunderous Charge(2) - which was really scary - especially from the horde of knights.  Luckily I had more drops than he did, so was able to put my spearmen (with phalanx) opposite the horde of knights.  So he had spearmen on hill with artillery, the horde of knights, the regiment of knights and the other artillery piece.

Seriously Josh, this is to show how you deployed (with my son Jon reviewing a Herd list in the background)
 My deployment had the blight lord, rattle wagon, warrior horde and war chief on one flank (facing the regiment of knights), with the spear horde, giant rats and brutes facing the horde of knights.  My plan was to brunt the force of the horde against either my spearmen, or the brutes behind the hedge (sacrificing the giant rats if need be), and then hope the other horde with the rattlewagon and heroes could take the smaller unit.  I also wanted to try to make sure as many units as possible could take advantage of the Rallying(n) rule.  Amazingly (*SPOILERS*) it actually worked out pretty much as planned, but a lot of that was because Josh couldn't roll above a 5 for a nerve check for most of the game.
And the ratkin in all their verminous glory
Turn 1 - Ratkin
All units moved up a bit - the giant rats didn't quite manage to clear the hedge even with the brew of haste.  The blight lord moved around he forest as I finally realized that cover didn't make a bit of difference, and tried to get ready to go and take out the artillery soon.  The warriors and rattlewagon moved up in the woods to protect themselves from the knights thunderous charge.  In the shooting phase, the rattlewagon fired off it's lightning generators at the artillery on the hill, but completely missed as the scurrying rats powering the wheels weren't yet able to get up to speed.

Turn 1 - Brotherhood
Both unit of knights moved forward so they were just within charge range for next turn.  (Josh should have moved them up to just out of the rats range and not just within his, taking advantage of his greater speed).  In his shooting phase the artillery on my right hit the warrior horde for five damage, and the one on the left missed the brutes.

Turn 2 - Ratkin
Because of the brew of haste, the giant rats were able to charge the spearmen, and the brutes moved up to the hedge.  In a previous game they had been routed in a single turn by a knight regiment - I did not want them to face thunderous charge at all.  The spear horde moved back slightly to be just out of charge range of the knights.  On the other flank I did the same with the warriors and the rattlewagon.  The blight lord moved into position to charge the artillery on the next turn.  In the shooting phase, the rattlewagon managed to get at least a few rats up to speed on the lightning generators, causing a wound to the artillery.  I then rolled 11 for the nerve test, and the knights were not in range to provide inspiring, so it was routed.  In melee, the giant rats did three wounds to the spearmen, and with another lucky roll they were wavered.

Ok, so I forgot to take a picture of the first turn.  Not much happened - so here is after the ratkin 2nd turn.
I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted during the game, but then I realized afterward that what I did get was fairly static in the foreground, with the real movement and changes in the back.

Turn 2 - Brotherhood
With both units of knights being out of charge range due to the rats cowardice, they again moved up - this time being just out of the 12" rat charge range, but well within theirs of 16" (having realized his error the previous turn - there was no escaping the charge from them next turn).  The remaining artillery again missed during the shooting phase.

Turn 3 - Ratkin
A quick check of the measuring tape, and the rattlewagon proved to be within charge range of the knight regiment - so took advantage of that even though it meant it was hindered coming out of the woods.  The blight lord also charged them in the flank, since the artillery he was headed after was now gone.  The giant rats again charged the spearmen.  The war chief and warriors move up to make sure the rattlewagon is in range of both his inspiring and their rallying(2).  With no shooting now, the giant rats do another two wounds to the spearmen, again wavering them.  The blight lord whiffed completely, and the rattlewagon only did a single wound (having lost its TC(1) and being -1 to hit from the forest).  The knights of course, didn't care, but they were disordered.

Turn 3 - Brotherhood.
Finally the knights were able to charge, with the horde charging the spear warriors and the regiment counter charging the rattlewagon.  The artillery finally hit the warrior horde, doing another three wounds on them, but they easily passed their nerve check.  In combat, the regiment of knights did 10 wounds on the rattlewagon (the brew of strength really coming in handy here), but then Josh rolled 3 for the nerve check, and it didn't go anywhere.  The horde charging the spearmen also lost their thunderous charge, but still managed to waver the rat horde.  However by not destroying them, they were now in a bad position.

Turn 4 - Ratkin
The giant rats AGAIN charge the spearmen.  The brutes did a flank charge on the knight horde over the hedge, so they were hindered.  At least they had straight crushing strength and no thunderous charge to lose (though only hitting on 5's hurt).  The rattlewagon, war chief and blight lord all charged the regiment of knights, and the warrior horde moved up to make sure that war chief was within range of their rallying.  The giant rats gnawed away at a few more spearmen, and caused them to waver for the third time!  Those pointy sticks were managing to keep the vermin at bay, but their courage was begin to fail as they took more wounds.  The brutes on the flank of the knord (I was going to correct that, but I kind of like that new word for knight horde :-) ) managed to do 8 wounds, but that wasn't nearly enough to rout them with their high nerve value.

Ratkin turn 4 - can't seem to get rid of this man-things.
Turn 4 - Brotherhood.
Both units of knights charge - the knord against the rhord (naw, that doesn't work as well) rat spearmen horde, and the knight regiment against the war chief - hoping to route him and overrun against the rattlewagon.  Unfortunately in the combat phase, Josh rolled horribly, and even with the brew of strength the knights only did two wounds against the war chief, so easily passed his nerve check.  So much for his plans.  On the other side, the knord easily routed the spear-rats, and reformed to face the brutes.

Turn 5 - Ratkin
The brutes charged the knord - again taking the penalty from the hedge because they were not charged in the previous turn.  The giant rats charged the spearmen for the fourth time!  Both heroes and the rattlewagon charged the regiment of knights.  The ensuing combat manages to waver both units of knights (ah, but they have headstrong thinks Josh!), while the giant rats do a few more wounds on the spearmen who now can only survive on snake-eyes - which almost happens, but I get a 3 instead, finally routing them and reforming to face the artillery.

Ratkin turn 5 - really not much has changed except the horde of knights has turned after routing the spear-rat horde.  It took me a minute to make sure this wasn't the same picture as last turn.
Turn 5 - Brotherhood
Ok, this is why knights cost so much - they aren't going to take this wavering crap from a bunch of rats.  Come on headstrong - and Josh fails for both his units.  His artillery piece also fails to hit anything.  He admits the game is over, but we go ahead and play it out.

Turn 6 - Ratkin
The giant rats charge the artillery, the brutes charge the horde, the rattlewagon and two heroes again charge the knight regiment.  In combat, the giant rats easily eat through all the ropes holding the trebuchet together and it is destroyed, leaving them to turn around.  The brutes put the smackdown on the knights, but AGAIN are hindered from the hedge (wasn't the hedge supposed to help me?) since the wavering knights weren't able to charge them back last turn.  Once again they managed to waver the horde of knights.  The heroes and rattlewagon manage to finally rout the smaller unit of knights, with all three units finally doing some damage.
Ratkin turn 6 - the knights are getting exhausted while the rats are dreaming of eating canned human for dinner
Turn 6 - Brotherhood.
One unit left that is wavering - but this time headstrong comes into play and the knight horde recovers, charging into the brutes.  The 32 attacks managed to do some serious damage to the brutes even without crushing strength, but Josh's dice decide to add insult to injury and he rolls snake-eyes for the nerve test (they would have passed on a 4).  Josh rolls a die - and even that won't give him any mercy as he gets a six and we have a seventh turn.

Turn 7 - Ratkin
The brutes charge the knight horde, but the giant rats are just out of range, being 15" from the flank of the knights.  But wait, I realize, I gave them the brew of haste - they move 8 - and so do manage to reach the flank of the knord.  With their 30 attacks on the flank, plus 18 attacks from the brutes who FINALLY aren't taking a penalty from the hedge (since they are counter-charging) (it actually only got them 2 more hits).  But at this point the horde has twenty wounds on it, and is finally routed.

So overall it was a good game - but Josh just had really bad luck with his dice.  For feedback - he really liked the rallying(n) rule for the ratkin, feeling it was very flavorful.   If he had taken out he spear rats like he intended so he could face the brutes, and if he had managed to route the war chief and overrun into the rattlewagon - well it would have been a VERY different result.

At this point level, Josh probably took too many points in artifacts - had he not taken them he would have had a hundred and five points left that could have both several small units.  Maybe three regiments of Order of the Brotherhood instead of one and the horde (though the horde is very scary).  However he is also not familiar with the list, so should get better.  It will be interesting to see if he brings it up to 1500 for next week.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dreadball Xtreme: Thinking inside the box

I'm a big Kings of War fan, it is by far my favorite game that Mantic currently makes.  Dungeon Saga however looks like a lot of fun as well, though not quite up there.

Dreadball is a great game, and while I'm patiently (yeah, I'll claim that) waiting for my Kings of War 2.0 pledge to come in, my final Dreadball Xtreme wave 3 arrived.

One thing that I haven't seen much of is what some of the actual models and expansions look like.  So I figured I'd open the baggies and take a look at some of the new miniatures.

In the base pledge, everyone got all the season four teams - then they went and mixed up the seasons.  So the mutants and mechanites were moved to season five.  This meant that I got no teams in my wave 2 box.

First are the mutants.  These are one of the more complicated teams, as you have to construct them with specific options.
Mutant Team
So there is a big bag of parts.  What kind of parts?  Pieces parts.  Does anybody remember that commercial?  Anyway, I tried to lay everything out.  There are basically 2 of every piece here.

So in the picture at the back are the head sprue, with 3 human, a Judwan, Asterian, Z'zor and screaming head on it (the screaming head is intended for the downed player).  The Grogan and Nameless heads were in a separate little baggie, along with human arms.

For bodies (left to right), there is a Yndij, then there is one with a bony ridge on its back, another medium size, the prone player (kneeling, ripping his chest open), and then the smallest of the bodies.  The only body torso improvement is theYndij, but you could use the others for Skeletal reinforcement or Enhanced muscle density - or just guards, jacks and strikers.

For arms, you get Tentacles (two left arms), Z'zor claw (two right arms)  and Teraton arms (two right arms with dreadball gloves, two without, two left arms), two pairs of Judwan arms, four pairs of beefier arms (all the right ones have dreadball gloves), and two pairs of 'human' arms (both rights have db gloves).  There does not appear to be any Z'zor blade arms however (though in that aspect I'm lucky, as I have a couple of extra Z'zor from a Christmas crazy box).

Lastly are 2 sets of Kraaw wings, two Veer-myn tails and two Sphyr tails.  Plus a ball.  I have to say, I really like they are giving a ball with each team - these are so easy to lose, it is nice to get extras.

Now how to actually build out a Mutant team - yeah, I've not got a clue on how I would even get started there.  One big question for both this and the mechanites is are there enough parts in a standard team box to make a team that people want to play?  In addition is this single kit sufficient for those who want to add upgrades to their existing teams in leagues?

So next is the other team requiring serious assembly, the mechanites.  I think these are a bit easier, as each of the pieces has a corresponding drawing in the Season 5 book.  I did a team build when these were out for playtest, and pretty much can't do that team with this kit, because I use three or four of some parts.  Now I was trying to maximize the team, so maybe the restrictions are good.

Mechanite Team
Once again, you get two of everything, which could already be a limiting factor.  First are the quad legs, then the bird legs, then the armored legs, the quad wheels and finally the monowheels.  My list had three quad legs, so that is a first change.

For bodies, there are two A's, four B's, two C's and two D's.  I actually really liked body C because it was so cheap - my list had 3 A's and 3 C's, because of how cheap they were.

For heads, there are again two of each.  My list had 5 Tanks, because they were cheapest, and one radar.

For arms, again two of each.  2 Wrecking balls that could go on either the left or right, 2 left hand air cannons, 2 left hand grabs, 2 right hand hammers, 2 left hand Rams, 2 right hands, 2 left hands,  2 launchers (these could actually work for either hand), 2 left hand claws and 2 right hand gloves.  So 4 pairs of right hands, and 5 pairs of left with one pair that can go on either side.  For my list I had three air cannons - so one would have to be swapped out.

Lastly there are two large armor plates that would most likely be for guards, to reflect their better armor.  On the head sprue are also a smaller armor plate (that is for body B) and another smooth one that I'm not sure what it is for.  Plus a ball, of course.

One of the coolest ideas Mantic had was to make a couple of teams in translucent plastic.  The first of these is the Ada-Lorana
Ada-Lorana Team
This team comes with three strikers, two jacks and a two guards (so one can be made into a keeper).  I also got two sprues of guard/keeper arms/heads, one of which had the extra ball.  The prone markers are just spheres.

I've heard that all these need is a wash and some highlights to look really good.  You don't want to cover up the translucency on them at all (except for maybe the lightning effects as white).  Now getting the MVP for them to match - well that is another story :-)

The other translucent team is the Crystallans
Crystallan Team
These are meant to be a combination of rock and crystals.  They have five guards, three jacks, two prone models and a ball.  The tricky part painting these will be what parts to paint over as rock vs what to leave as crystal.

The next season six team is the Tsudochan
Tseudo-chan Team
This team is all jacks (8), plus two prone and a ball.  Normally I really hate jacks - but with their ability to move other players (friend or foe) it can make Jacks actually useful.  Pick up the ball and you are too far out to score?  Have a team mate push you two hexes before you throw!  Your opponent sets up a castle around the three/four point goal - simply move someone out of the way.  This looks like it could be a very fun team to play.

The last season six team are the Koris
Koris Team
These are four armed creatures from another dimension that create portals to transport them across the pitch.  Two guards, five jacks and a striker (plus two prone and a ball).  My pack actually had an extra striker in it (but then had no extra guard to make as a keeper, even though there are keeper bits on the guard sprue).  The portals look to make this team very interesting to both play and play against.

The challenge cup is an interesting expansion, as it is both for Original Dreadball as well as Dreadball Xtreme (4 scenarios for each game).  Much like the Azure Forest campaign pack, it is a series of tournament scenarios.  It comes with 4 MVPs, but there are actually 8 in the campaign.
Dreadball Challenge Cup MVPs
Eko'o, Hexan, Blitz, and Alo-Khan are the four MVPs that were funded in the kickstarter.  There are four more that do not automatically come with the expansion - Eclipse (add on / Frenzy), Gemini (Dark Twins), 'Big Slick' Slalaran Vesh and Kreed.  When / if these last three are made they will most likely be metal.

Challenge Cup Rule book, counters (2 sided) and cards
 The challenge cup also comes with a small size rule book (it fits in one of the mantic figure cases, a map (I'm not impressed at all with this), two sheets of counters and a small deck of cards.  As is typical with their kickstarters, Mantic does not provide commercial packaging for any of the add on's, (i.e. boxes) only for the base game.  This is not a big deal for this expansion, since it all fits in a figure case anyway.  What I do find interesting about it is that it requires the Xtreme Xpansion for one of the DB scenarios and two of the DBX ones.

Challenge cup map - really disappointing if you ask me
The Dreadball Xtreme Xpansion is the DBX equivalent to Dreadball Ultimate - it is the three to six player expansion, but also a lot more.  With the new customizable pitch tiles, you can create very interesting and fun new pitches.  As with the challenge cup however, it does not include the box (commercial packaging).  This is a bit of a problem with this however, because it DOES NOT fit in a standard figure case - so it will be slightly problematic transporting all the large tiles.

Xpansion rule book - quite a bit thinner than expected
The rule book has rules for using the new tiles and giants, as well as for games with more than 2 players.

Tokens - most likely used to randomize the turns for more than 2 players
I haven't read the Xpansion book yet, so I'm not sure what the tokens are for, but my guess is to randomize the turn sequence (just like Ultimate).

Eight pitch tiles
The custom pitch is one of the cool things in the Xpansion - it is done via 8 double sided tiles (one has a side has a strike zone on it, the other just empty hexes.
A better view of  a tile.
Nice and thick tiles.  I like that while they could have easily been identical, each is slightly different (if just by the blook splatters).  I would have liked to have some of the upcoming Dungeon Saga tile clips however - I can easily see a pitch getting knocked about during a game.

Lots of Tokens
Enough cardboard tokens for six new players without re-using the ones in the original box.
Individual team starting areas
These are nice.  Six colors in two formats (to fit the hex pitch).  Each also has the score track and placement areas for your sponsor on it.

Xpansion Sponsors
And speaking of sponsors, you get four new sponsors.  With the two originals plus the Ardia Shi'lek (a kickstarter exclusive) (which is used as an example of building your own) there are now seven sponsors to choose from.  These are (l-r) Kraato Gon, Dr. Kain, Rathmar Ul-IHeq and Shojuun.  Nice and very characterful minis.  Note - they did change Eclipse from a sponsor to an MVP - of course that caused some people to absolutely lose their minds, however I feel it is par for the course.  A company HAS to be able to adapt and modify things during development.  Plus you could always use that mini as your own unique sponsor if you so choose.

Xpansion Giants

Of course of my most favorite parts of the 3-6 player expansions is the Giants.  Granted, I've never actually PLAYED with one on a team, but I really like the miniatures.  I feel Mantic really outdid themselves with these this time.  (l-r) San-Gar, Krastavor, Iron Ancestor and Chovar.    These are such awesome models - especially Krastavor.  This was a stretch goal that wasn't reached in the kickstarter, however Mantic made and included him anyway.  He may get moved to the top of my painting queue just because I love the mini so much.

Player Manual
Last is probably the most important thing added to Xtreme - the Player Manual.  This has the rules for the new sponsors, as well as how to make your own unique sponsor.  And then it has all the rules for EVERY dreadball mini through season 6, including MVPs!!  This is what is going to make Xtreme as a game - it is just too limited with only the two teams and free agents it comes with.  This opens up so much for play, I can really see it taking off, and even a tournament scene growing around it.  (Though it will be murder for TO's to check lists).

And that is what was in the box.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Gencon 2015 Overview

A few days after Gencon is over, and it is almost hard to comprehend.  The show keeps getting bigger and bigger (and while it is good to have it growing, the rapid growth the past few years may not be a good thing).

I spent the vast majority of my time teaching and running Kings of War.  I had close to the same schedule that I did at Origins, but there the similarities end.

Disappointment with Gencon started off back in January, with the horrible housing lottery.  I feel frustrated that those who are working the show get absolutely no priority over anyone else (except of course those with huge pockets to purchase VIG packages).  Neither do people who have been going to the convention for years.  So for the first time in many years, I didn't get an attached hotel - with my lottery time being 90 minutes (and all the attached hotels filling up in 30).   So I opted for the cheapest hotel in the block, which was 12 miles away.  If I had to drive each day, it didn't matter if it was 5 or 12 miles.

Now our hotel was extremely easy to get to and pretty nice (well, the free breakfast was sub-par) and the room was absolutely huge.  Of course parking was a pain, especially Friday night with two other events going on downtown.  It cost me the same to park each day as it would have to just leave my car in the parking garage as I've done in previous years.

It is also frustrating to have to purchase a badge (to get a shot at housing) that doesn't get reimbursed for nine months (Origins does not require a badge to get a hotel, and completely comps the badge - so I never have to purchase one to begin with).

Enough of that though.  We got started a little late because I initially forgot my speaker system (thanks to my son for mentioning it before we got to far from home) - which absolutely saved my voice, so when we get to the convention center, we had about a 30 minute line at will-call to pick up our badges.  A few years ago my oldest son had his mailed to him, and it didn't arrive so he had to get another.  Now you pay extra for that and you get a tracking number - maybe I'll try that again in the future.

Exchanging out badges for the GM badges went surprisingly smooth (I hope the reimbursement goes as smoothly).  Then back to the car to get everything so we can be ready for my first session at 9 am.  I have a cart that all the terrain fits on, then a box with demo materials and 12 bins of models that fit on the box - so between the three of us it isn't that difficult to push our stuff to the hall.  Where we were turned away.  For the first time that I've ever run events, they would not let me into the hall to set up on Wednesday.  Our GM badges weren't enough - we needed a wristband.  So with the boys watching our huge stack of boxes & bins, I head back to GM HQ for wristbands.

And they would not give them to us.  Because we did not have a 'dedicated' area (i.e. we did not purchase gaming space at $5.00/square foot) then we had to share our space - and somebody else might be using our tables in the ONE HOUR before my first event started at 9:00.

So back to get the stuff, to take back to the car.  Of course the game of Adult Tetris I had played earlier to load up doesn't quite work with the suitcases and other stuff still there - but we get it packed up.  So we head off to the hotel, taking a few things in but leaving all the gaming stuff in the car.

I then drove back downtown to meet up with the other Mantic folks at Bupa di Beppo's.  Had some great conversations with the folks, even if this isn't my favorite restaurant, and everyone else got there early.  I feel this is a great crew, and I always enjoy talking with Ronnie and Joe and hearing their perspective on the industry and the latest events.

Ronnie Renton and my cool new banner
Thursday morning we had to get up extra early to set up.  Wednesday was hot, Thursday felt even hotter.  We got off a bit later than I originally planned - but still got in about 7:30 - found a decent parking space that required minimal elevators, and managed to get everything set up in a little less than an hour.  I'm covered in sweat, but things are working.

The sessions go great.  People are enthusiastic, and except for one on Saturday I don't have to turn anyone away.  Plus on Thursday morning I send my son over to pick up a pre-release copy of the new 2nd edition of Kings of War as soon as the booth opens (they only were able to bring 60 copies, and sold out Friday morning).
Kings of War 2nd edition Gamers Edition pre-release (only 60 were available)
What I do start to notice is there are a lot more people checking out the tables and talking about the game.  Whether it is the new banner that makes my area fairly visible, Age of Sigmar or just the pure growth of the game, I find myself spending a lot more time just talking and promoting between sessions.

Now I enjoy this.  I'm able to turn on the full outgoing sales mode, and since I am comfortable with the product and miniatures I find it easy to talk to people.  If you know me at all away from conventions I am a very introverted person and it takes a lot of energy to be outgoing - one reason these conventions are so exhausting.

At Origins I had near the same schedule - 2 hour demo then 2 hour break.  Rinse and Repeat.  I had plenty of time to walk around and didn't really feel pressured about anything.  It was the same schedule I did the year before as well.  However this year and this convention were different.  Over the four days I managed to walk through the demo hall once (in three separate portions), and that was only stopping to talk to a couple of vendors total.  But it kept me from spending money - which is overall a good thing.  Still, it was frustrating that, for the first time, it felt like all I did was work.  One afternoon I was not able to get out of the gaming hall at all between 1 pm and midnight.  I think I lived off of brats from the concessions stand all weekend.

The mega-battle went well - I was surprised at how challenging the players found the scenario - but then I expected them to be able to roll a 4+ much more often than they were able to.  The tournament also went well.

Of course they closed the miniature HQ before my last event was over on Sunday, so I had to go to GM HQ to turn in my tickets, and those tickets have yet to be reconciled - though all the others have.  I had a total of 126 players (out of 156 seats) - with the 24 seat tournament only having 8 people being more than half of my empty slots, and dropping my fill rate a full 10%.

I think next year it is time for some changes.  My assistants need to get more active (and have even volunteered to be), so I need to let them.  Look at having others run the actual sessions to give me a bit more downtime as well as earning their badges.

The speaker system worked very well, and completely worth it.  I do wonder if I could get a double one with a speaker in front and back so when I turn to a table the people behind me can hear better.

The floor padding worked well, once we got it in a good place at the end of the tables.  Trying to put it between them was a complete failure, as was not initially taping it down (and where I expected the Gorilla tape to rip it up, it held wonderfully and came off without a problem).

Next year we will have the tournament during the day and now that Mantic has said they will sponsor the open night over at the Colt's bar as a regular event, I know not to schedule anything Saturday evening so I can attend / help there.

It is great of Mantic to give me two more shirts - so over the four days I don't have to re-wear any now.  It will be interesting to see how big a collection of these I eventually get.

It was fun, but exhausting.  This was the first time working one of these in three years that I felt like I didn't have enough time for anything I wanted to do.  But I've already started planning for next year.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Gencon 2015 : Learn to Play Kings of War

So what is different about teaching Kings of War at Gencon vs. Origins?  Size, pure and simple.  Gencon is significantly larger - and will only give me half a table for each demo - so things are a little crowded.  Not in the room to play the game, but just squeezing everyone together.

With the larger size comes more people!  I held 10 sessions with 12 seats each.  The day before the show started all sold out.  Of course this did not mean everyone showed up, but overall I had 106 people learn this game in 53 games over the four day convention.  It was a bit frustrating when I had fifteen people show up for one session - one ended up leaving while the other two extra doubled up with a friend.

I had help from my son Jon, as well as my local players Kara (current reigning US Champion) and Amy with the games.  I did manage to actually still have a voice at the end of everything, and that is a bonus!

So is it lucky or unlucky to get to play against Jon?

Some people got personal attention from Kara 

Kara enjoys helping another gamer girl beat up on her boyfriend
Having so much fun I can't even keep the camera steady!
Jon once again helping teach a player

Overall the players enjoyed the game, and many were excited about the upcoming release of the 2nd edition rules!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Gencon 2015: Kings of War Mega Battle

So once again did the dastardly forces of evil join together in their eternal struggle against the sainted forces of good.  The battlefield was Gencon, and so far the forces of good had managed to stop the evil hordes every time, with a record of 4-0.  Could they continue to hold out?

We had 12 players at the mega battle - for 6000 pts per side.  For this game we play "Pillage!", with three towers the objectives.  Gencon has more space constraints and is much tighter about their gaming area - so while at Origins we grabbed a third table - here we were forced to just use the two, with the objective towers being placed every four feet (conviently marked from the Learn to Play sessions earlier in the day)
All the units were deployed and ready to go, when a great rumbling is heard from the towers.

The forces of evil

The forces of good
I like to make the mega battle a bit more fun and light hearted.  In the past we have had random events happen to various units, but this year the players were in for a BIG surprise.  After deployment, two giants emerged from each tower to stand watch over them.  These initially counted as blocking terrain - however after both sides had a turn, then at the end of your turn, if you had a unit within control range of a giant, you could attempt to recruit it on a 4+.  If you had more giants than the other team the test got harder, and each side could only control three of these.  The catch was that in order to control the tower and score for the win,  you had to remove both giants around it.  I was initially worried this would be too easy.  Foolish me.
Postal Service giants

Slave Giant, and a Malifaux Whiskey Golem which is big enough to be a giant

discussing 'strategery'

and the fight begins
It turns out the giants were MUCH more difficult to control than anticipated.  The second turn for evil had them attempting to recruit five of these monsters - and fail every roll.  This became a pattern throughout the game, with three of the giants not being recruited until the last turns of the game.

The forces of good had more gold than the evil ones did, and recruited two bands of giants to help in the battle.  Giant chariots and dwarf beserker brock riders attack the undead cavalry

Basileans maneuver and charge, while the Vampire riding Undead Dragon uses the un-recruited giant to protect his flank.
Wanting to make this a more epic battle, I encouraged people to bring bigger monsters than they normally would in a 1000 pt game.  Thus we had and Undead Giant on the table, as well as some dwarfs brought a Steel Behemoth.

Simple rebasing turned an awesome Mage Knight Seige figure into a dwarf Steel Behemoth.

Abyssal Dwarfs and Twilight Kin fight against Basileans and Elves

One of the giants finally being attacked

The Whiskey Golem was the first casualty of the game, as the goblin swinging from his hand broke off quite quickly.

Kara has changed the basing for her regiment of halfbreeds (representing by the big walker) so that it slides back from its base, helping it to actually be in base contact with other units as it charges them with undead cavalry

The dragon and a giant attack some dwarfs

And the dragon goes after some ogre shooters

While the giant maneuvers itself so that after charging, it back up so that the tower keeps the dwarf from counter charging

Ariel the mermaid tries to sing to some Basilean men-at-arms, but they don't appreciate her song.

Can anybody manage to take control of these stubborn giants?

Moving up the halfbreeds

Halfbreeds with a flank attack on the horde of ogre warriors.  This is not going to end well for somebody

Golems attack the steel behemoth (with a grotesque champion in the flank) while the undead cavalry destroy the organ gun in the background

The nutters on badgers aren't intimidated by the animated pile of bones

skeletons line up against the dwarfs with the uncontrolled giant blocking them

At the end of the game, while the dwarfs were next to a tower, the undead giant contested it.

At the second tower, the steel behemoth and grotesque champion contested again contest the objective
For the center tower, it looked like the dwarfs would control it, because the skeletons were just our of range.  However it was pointed out that the rickety tower sitting on the divide between two tables had been knocked over during the game.
A quick measurement resulted in the placement of the tower being correct by over an inch - which resulted in the skeletons going from being 1/4 inch out of range to firmly in range to contest it.
So the final result was no towers were controlled by either side - resulting in a win for the Giants!!!  The scenario beat the players.  So the record now stands at 4 - 0 - 1 in favor of the side of good.  While the evil players claimed it as a tie, and thus not a loss, I still think of it as the giants winning.

A good time was had by all.  A 12000 point game was played through in just under four hours.  Everyone had a lot of fun, and they say they are looking forward to the next one.