Monday, May 5, 2014

50pts Sorscha2 (Khador) vs. Jarl (Trollbloods). Balancing a game against my wife.

One of the privileges I've had of being married is introducing my wife to this game. While the general thought of hers was "That's a silly game, but I'll allow you to play it", it slowly graduated into her painting with me, and then playing the models she had painted. Currently, my wife is up to:

MOW Shocktroopers
Winter Guard Riflemen
Kovnik Joe
IFP Kovnik
Great Bears
*Nyss. The Nyss aren't actually Khador, obviously, but you wouldn't know at my household.

Her main gameplan is to proxy the Destroyer as Behemoth, apply Iron Flesh to the Nyss, and laugh at my Fenns when her Rifleguard shoot them to pieces. This has generally worked decent for her, for most games. More often than not, she loses, but not because she was attritioning worse, but because I got a lucky assassination. All it takes is one Kithkar to get in there and Sorscha's a goner.

So, as you're reading this report, I want you Khador-savvy guys to sit there and have ideas for what to buy next for Khador. We proxy Iron Fangs in the next game, but this one doesn't have them. Speaking of which, lists.

*Behemoth (Proxied by the Destroyer)
Winter Guard Riflemen
Kovnik Joe
Great Bears
Ayaina + Holt
Harlan Versh
Iron Fang Kovnik

There's a few issues with this list already. It's got a Lot of support. It's got a bunch of neat little missiles, like the Man Hunter, the IFPK, and Harlan's a pain too, but it's basically a 35pt list with solos added in to make it 50.

For my part, I'm tabling my newest caster, Jarl. I've played him a few times on Vassal, but this was my first time on the table. I also brought out the War Wagon, trying to use that again.

*Storm Troll
Fell Caller
Champions w/UA
Champion Hero
Fennblades w/UA
Fennblade Kithkar

She won the rolloff, and chose second. I put my Champs towards the woods, and gave the Fenns the open ground. She countered by putting the Nyss across from the Champs and the Winter Guard across from the Fenns.

Champions! They're not done yet, but they're close. In fact, I'm painting the tartan on them today.

Unfinished Jarl and the War Wagon too. Jarl strikes me as a Robin Hood wannabe, so he's in a treestand, for lack of a better term. It's kinda cheesy, but it's fun, and he stands out. He also requires his own foam cutout. Him and Janissa both, and now my 2nd Impaler. I gotta quit with the modding here.

Stuff runs. Stormtroll runs, War Wagon moves up, Mauler Runs, Impaler runs. Jarl gets Weald Secrets onto the Champs, and Quicken on the Fenns. The Fenns can now run 16'', but there's no reason to feed them all to the Riflemen, so I try to give her two, and get her to trigger Vengeance for me. Kithkar and Hero both station themselves within their respective units.

Jessica starts off, camping all 6 focus. Behemoth can walk 6'' with the Bond, so she's not worried about running him. The Nyss run through the woods, and the Rifleguard spread out, everyone keeping in mind the 5'' AOE pie plate I can drop with the Wagon. Behemoth walks up. The camp followers come along as well, the Bears screening Behemoth. Sorscha moves up and puts Iron Flesh on the Nyss, and decides against Shatterstorm on the Rifleguard. Kovnik Joe moves up and gives the Riflemen Fearless and Tough, and A+H stealth.

It might be feat turn for me. Jarl's feat is pretty amazing, if done right. He spawns d3+3 4'' clouds anywhere in his control area that act as normal clouds, PLUS they keep the -2 to hit for melee attacks as well. Also, models can move through eachother within the cloud, so there's some neat positioning that happens there, but generally, his feat allows him to push pretty hard with his army (Between Quicken and Tactical Supremacy, they're wicked fast), and still protect them from shooting in ways that very few other casters can.

So, I decide not to mini-feat the Fenns, since the Winter Guard are fearless this turn. Instead, I pull in fury, upkeep Quicken and Weald Secrets. Storm Troll moves way off to the side, and animuses 2 Fenns with Electro leaps. The Fenns run/charge and two of them slam into the lines while the rest run for center field. Of the two that reach, one misses. The other hits, the WGR toughs, but the leap almost kills Joe, which is cool.

War Wagon moves up, pie plates a Nyss.... and kills one. Stupid drift. Champions run to center, trying to squeeze in tight for the feat. Impaler far strikes Jarl, who moves up, shoots at a Great Bear and misses. I cast Tactical supremacy on him, feat, and roll a 5, so I get all six clouds, which is awesome. I cover up the fenns, and leave the far right flank of the Champions exposed, simply because I didn't get them together tight enough. Kithkar, Fell Caller, Champions all move up, and I hang tight. Jarl moves behind the War Wagon.

Incidentally, the rings in the picture are 3'' rings, so the space outside of them is measured with a melee gauge. I need to buy the 4'' rings, which will probably happen tomorrow, actually.

My wife's not happy with me. "I can't do anything." she says, thinking. Sylys upkeeps IF, and she keeps focus on Sorscha. The Nyss have a go at it, move up and put shots into the Champions, but only do a few boxes of damage. Eiryss does the same thing. The manhunter charges, but due to absolutely terrible damage rolls, fails to do much more than two or three boxes.

"This is dumb. Oh, I have an idea." Then things go downhill. Sylys gives her Arcane secrets. She boosts to hit and hits the Fenn nearest to her that I sent up there to tie up the Winterguard Riflemen... Aaaand now all the Fenns are Freezing Gripped and stationary.

Woohoo. This is why Khador doesn't have arcnodes.

With the Fenns gripped, the WGR shift around, kill both of the Fenns. The Great Bears move up, the IFPK moves up, and Behemoth scatters a few shots into the mists, killing one more Fenn.

This hurts my list considerably. I also have things so tight together that the War Wagon can't get out because the Stationary Fenns are in the way. Jarl upkeeps... nothing, and pulls in Fury. The Fenn Kithkar moves up and kill the drummer, giving the War Wagon room. The Impaler puts Far Strike on Jarl, whoe moves up, magic bullets himself and shoots a Great Bear, damaging him ok, but using the Magic Bullet to kill Sylys instead. He then puts Quicken on the Champs. The War wagon moves forward, pumps a shot into the Nyss, and scatters, missing all of them. Way to go.

Storm troll moves up, and fires a shot off into the Rifleguard. It bounces once, kills them both. Fell Caller moves up, gives the Champs war cry (+2 to hit). Champions charge. One goes way off into the unknown, after Eiryss, but comes up way short. Two hit the great bears, two more engage Nyss, and Bonehammer himself goes after the Iron Fang. The Great bears all die, the IFPK dies to Bonehammer, and the Nyss get killed too. Mauler runs to shield Jarl, and that's it for me.

I still feel like my wife has got a decent chance at this game. It's feat turn time, and I fully expect to lose the Champions to Weapon Master Nyss on Sorscha's feat. The Fenns are no longer stationary, but the WGR are going to get boosted attack rolls from Joe. And Behemoth... Behemoth is a monster.

Sorscha puts 3 focus to Behemoth, and Reinholdt activates. He reloads her, and Sorscha feats, and shoots a Champion, missing. Happily, she has Reinholdt's shot, so she shoots three more times, but doesn't do more than four boxes. She then puts Boundless charge on the Jack. The Nyss charge, and do much better, with the exception of three horrible rolls. They kill all but Bonehammer and one Champ.

Behemoth moves up, and with AP, one rounds the War Wagon. Just one hit, and it's gone. He fires his next two shots into the Fenns. A+H move up, kiss the Fenns and Holt kills 1. The Rifle Guard polish them off with the exception of the UA. Harlan got in there too, but the Fenn he hit literally toughed 4 times and through 2 dice changes... It was sad. Hilarious, but sad.

Then I forgot to take a picture. Imagine a lot less on my side though. It's not hard.

Jarl upkeeps Quicken. The Hero charges in, and with War Cry help from the Fell Caller, carefully threshers the Nyss off the two Champions remaining. Bonehammer and the Champ charge Sorscha, and the two of them kill her with room to spare.

Thoughts on the game:

1. I don't think I have a clue how to use a War Wagon. I also question whether or not it's worth having in a Jarl list when I want to hide behind templates, except that there's a Huge base in the way. Maybe as a flanking force?
2. Looking at the pics, I feel like my wife had a decent assassination shot there once the War Wagon was gone. A couple of Fenns out of the way, maybe Kiss Jarl with Ayaina, and empty the Winter Guard rifles in his general direction. Evasive would have helped, I suppose (Jarl moves 2'' on a miss), but RNG14 rifles on those Winterguard don't care if he stumbles much. It wasn't a half bad shot, but she was focusing on the Fenns at that point.
3. She's figured out Freezing Grip, and I'm going to have to start hiding Fenns. She lands it on the next game too, and it's really hard to fight back on that one. Most stuff is high enough ARM to weather it, but it's still hard. I like to run them way out there as a tarpit, and now, she wants me to. Not good.
4. Speaking of tarpits, she didn't do that at all this game, which was something we talked about. She pointed out that she lost all of her Great Bears, without using them, Again. Same goes for the IFPK. But she's not shielding them. She's got 2 great units for shielding (Nyss and WGR) and neither one is shielding. The bears are just moving forward, hoping for the best until I out threat them.
5. Jarl is awesome. I actually get to outthreat. I forgot to mention Runebearer, but he was active all through the game, helping Jarl juggle some spells. Getting Quicken around is pretty nice. SPD8 Fenns are messed up. SPD7 Champions are wonderful. SPD9 Long Riders are as fast as Tempest Blazers. It's a lovely thing. And with the clouds, he can actually protect them. On top of that, he can clear out stuff on his own. Ignoring melee with black penny, magic bullet, all kinds of stuff. I like him.
6. I don't know what to get my wife. Like I said, the next game we proxy IFP. She really doesn't have much melee, and I think that's kind of an issue, since everything is so hi-arm. Sorscha can counter that for one turn, so that's nice, but it's still a rough game when everything still has to break 8 just to do damage, and when you do actually damage something, it has 8 boxes. Toss out suggestions, by all means. IFP? Merc unit of some sort? Somehow slot the MOWs in? Play the Nyss differently? What do you think?

Anyways, thanks for reading!

  Blog Readers!  Sup guys.  Ya'll are the best.  I post these batreps to the forums as well, but I've been enjoying some of the input here too.  Keep it up.  I wanted to reference the title of this post a bit more though, and talk about gaming with my wife just a little bit.  It's a subject I've seen come up several times on the forums. "How can I get my wife to play?"  

  You can't, really.  My wife did a demo game that was heavily in her favor (First game ever, using Haley2 and a Stormclad/Lancer combo?  Yeah) and thought it was ok, but that was it.  The kicker came later when she tried painting, and found out that she enjoyed it.  After that, it was a matter of her wanting to play what she painted.  As long as I've got stuff for her to paint, she's got stuff she has to play because you can't paint it and not play, right?

  Then, in our own home, she enjoys it.  She doesn't play it at the shop, she doesn't get on the forums, and she doesn't drool over the shelves at the store.  She does, however, enjoy a 50pt game of an evening with me, and enjoys talking smack with the guys at the shop.  She'll sit there and watch me through a game, joking around, offering advice, and be a part of it, which we both enjoy.  It's a game for us when we want something more complicated than risk, but less complicated than Axis and Allies (believe it or not).  I really love that she plays the game a little, and understands what's going on, as silly as the whole thing is.

  That being said, when we play these games, my goal isn't to really win, but to have a good time.  Half of the time, we're figuring out her turn together and she's bouncing ideas off of me and deciding what works for her.  Freezing grip in this game was her idea.  I hadn't even thought of it, or I wouldn't have sent my Fenns in so far.  She's good at the game, whether she'll ever admit that or not.  

  So, what's this about?  Balancing a game with my wife?  If you've got a good friend or loved one stepping into the game with you, step back from that tried and true twin-stormwall Haley2 list and try something different.  Don't build a list with what they have in mind.  Instead, have fun.  My game has gone up considerably playing my wife because I've tried units I never would have otherwise.  

  As far as balancing, I'm trying to figure out what she needs to play me better.  She's beat me more than once, and I'm game for her doing it some more.  The better she is, the more she'll play, and the more time I get to enjoy playing warmachine with my wife.  It's a win/win.  I brought Jarl this game, and I probably won't again unless she plays someone else.  Jarl vs. any shooting list is a great matchup for me, not her, and that's not really all that fair.  I try Madrak1 in the next game.  I'll probably bounce around quite bit, but because I can.  She plays her game, we enjoy the discussion, have a good time competing with eachother, and it's a blast.  

  If you're getting your significant other to play the game, take it easy, let them show the interest, and let them play a good game.  There's been more than one game I won on the first go around, but when we rolled back the dice, and looked at another assassination route, my wife won.  Don't be the guy that measures the deviation template eight times, or uses a laser for LOS.  My wife enjoys it because she's spending time with me (Horrible reason to enjoy the game, I think, but I'm not arguing), and she enjoys figuring out strategy.  Let him/her figure it out, let them play the game and take some ownership for their ideas, and if they play out, awesome, otherwise, go back and have them try something else.  You'll learn more playing a relaxed game with them than you will getting trounced at the shoppe.

  And if they don't like warmachine, meh.  Fairy Tale's a fun game too, I've found out.  Or Zombicide.  We play a lot of that.  

  Anyways, that's my blurb.  Maybe one of these days I'll actually ask her why she plays the game, and get some real reasons from her.  But then she'd have to admit she likes the game, and she might quit altogether at that point.  

  That's all I've got for today.  There's another batrep in-route, Madrak1 vs. Sorscha2 (my wife again).  I also have the Champions, Hero, Kithkar, Sons of Bragg, and Mulg all just waiting for tartan stripes, and they'll be on here.  The Champions will come with a walkthrough on the armor, in case you like it.  I also am painting another Impaler because I'm tired of using the mismatched one.  I'm also getting creative.  If you've ever wondered what a light Troll looks like with something like the Skorne flag the Cyclops carry around, I'll have the answer soon.  And it's not actually a stolen flag, I modeled it, and we'll have pictures for that process too.  Going to be a good blog week I think, so stick around!


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