Monday, September 26, 2011


It's baby-time! If all goes well, daughter by evening? :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ard Boyz-the Games (or 'how I stopped worrying, and learned to love the dice')

Okay, so the Venue was we'll look at the games.

I brought my DE, final incarnation looking something akin to this;

Azdrubael Vect
Haemonc (venom blade/crucible of mal/liquifier)
3 Trueborn (2x Dark Lance)
Venom (kitted)
3 Trueborn (2x Dark Lance)
Venom (kitted)
3 Trueborn (3x Blaster)
Venom (kitted)
10 Warriors (SCannon/Blaster)
Raider (kitted)
10 Warriors (SCannon/Blaster)
Raider (kitted)
10 Warriors (SCannon/Blaster)
Raider (kitted)
8 Wyches (Agonizer/Haywire Grenades/Snet+Imp)
Raider (kitted)
8 Wyches (Agonizer/Haywire Grenades/Snet+Imp)
Raider (kitted)
8 Wracks (liquifier)
Raider (kitted)
Razorwing (kitted/SCannon)
Razorwing (kitted/Scannon)
Ravager (kitted)
(kitted=Shock Prow/Flickerfield/Nightshield on vehicles that could take them)

I was supplied with copies of the lists from my last two opponents, my first having a printer malf and writing his list down upon arrival(having only one copy on hand). I appear to have lost them, so they are ALL being pulled from memory.
Round 1;
Scenario; Messenger (you know the drill, VPs with bonuses for the Messenger.)
Deployment; Pitched Battle

Opponent 1; swiss army knife Mahreenz! ('nilla marines)
Captain on bike with Relic Blade
Libby with Gate and Null Zone
8(?)x THSS terminators
3 Units of 10 tacticals (rhino)
2 Units of Bikes (full kit, with MM/Melta)
3 Units of 10 devs w/4x lascannon (razorbacks)
Thunderfire cannon

Okay, dispersed...but the thunderfire could actually give me guff. CSquadded Devs in his ruins (with bolster) were a significant threat as well, considering there was only ONE good piece of terrain on the board (right of center, middle deep).

He won the roll, and chose to go first...between this and his deployment, the game was over barring bad dice. It wasn't so much a true error, as a lack of understanding DE (I think). He spread out with his bikes, but cornered himself around his Rhino mounted messenger squad (which was his big Dep mistake, that and not making a biker troop the messenger).
I refused flank, opposite the one blocking piece on the board, and began to whittle him away.

It went as I expected, but not as I hoped. I killed what I needed, delivered my Messenger (while killing his prior to delivery), and kept it alive for the game. Where it came apart was turns 4/5. I just stopped killing things. Dice that loved me turns 2/3 suddenly decided they were 'used up'. I kept the win, solidly, but just die-stymied myself out of a Massacre.
My opponent, on the other hand, was there till the end and VERY fun to play. Other than his initial goofs, that he recognized on his own later in the game, he made few (if any) mistakes.
Major Victory/+2 Bonus pts.
Round 2;
Scenario; King of the hill (1 objective center, pitched battle with most scoring units within 3" controlling)
Deployment; Pitched Battle

Opponent 2; Fatecrusher Variant (daemons)
4 Bloodcrushers (kitted)
4 Bloodcrushers (kitted)
6(?) Fiends (kitted)
3x 5 Plaguebearers
2x 5 Horrors (one with Changeling)
BIG unit of Seekers
BIG unit of Screamers
3x Tzeentch DPs full shooting and Ironhide

Okay, Fatecrusher variants...I don't fear these, but haven't actually played against one with my DE. Ah well, it's all about target priority. :-)

He wins the roll to go first, and...chooses 2nd. Well, he's about to have a VERY teachable(and painful) moment.

I deploy on my line with maximum dispersion...I give him one last chance, and ask him if he wishes to roll to seize. He laughs, and says 'why would I want to?'
I proceed to 'illuminate' him.
Full movement, with 36" flat outs on my 'Wings, and my movement is finished. I gave him three safe 'pockets' to deploy in. One in his left corner, one in my right and one in my left.
He kinda looks at the table with understanding dawning.
He spends the rest of the game picking up models at a rate of two or more units a turn.
Turn 3 he loses Fateweaver, and appears very irritated I didn't shoot at him until then.
The game ends (due to roll) turn 5. Unfortunately, due to his lack of understanding as to how Tank shock works (and a bad call from the TO, the only one I was aware of the whole day) I lose the massacre. He simply refused to accept how it 'should' work, and only wanted to shift units he perceived as being affected. Ah well, I'll take the major.
(note, if this seems like a less gracious writing than my prior round report, it is...this 'gentleman' argued with me a great deal after his turn 2, around when he realized he was losing. Up til then, he had questioned two of my moves and 2 ranges for shooting...both of which I was correct on...starting with turn 3 he questioned nearly every range and movement, slowing me down GREATLY. He actually FOUGHT me on the tank shock, and managed to flummox the TO. I don't like being slow-played, and merely sped up as much as I could. I think he was actually irritated the game ended 15min prior to dice-down).

Major Victory/+3 Bonus Points
Round 3;
Scenario; Variable (random victory? the fu##???...If you aren't in the know, look it was irritating. It's the scenario I did NOT want to play)
Deployment; Spearhead

Opponent 2; Dante-wing variant(blood angels)
Sang Priest
Sang Priest (jumper)
6x Terminators (LClaws)
Sang Guard (kitted)
Sang Guard (kitted)
Sang Guard (kitted)
Tacticals (razor/twin Asscannon)
Tacticals (razor/twin Asscannon)
3x MM Attk Bikes
3x MM Attk Bikes
3x MM Attk Bikes
Storm Raven (MM/Asscannon)
Dreadnought (Talons)

He won the roll, I failed to seize.
We were both tired, and at this point (with the AC out, and unseasonably warm weather, sweating our arses off) we just played.
Nothing stood out, it was sniping vs positioning. He reserved His jumpers and loaded Stormraven (Termies and Dread).

I positioned and played the game banking on two things, NOT getting the 'terrain' Victory Condition, and getting 6+ turns. (we promptly rolled 'Terrain Features' top of turn 3).
That, coupled with a ruling that Terrain pieces could not be contested on turn 4, I played 'out of position' for a turn and only managed a Minor Victory when it ended bottom of turn 5 (damn you dice).
I would LOVE to blame the ruling for throwing off my plans, but frankly...I should have spent turn 3 being a bit more aggressive. I let my inability to kill the SR until bottom of 4 influence me just a wee bit too much (counting on a turn 6) and lost the Major due to it. Sometimes, even when playing 'conservative' DE, you have to drop your balls on the table.

Minor Victory/+2 Bonus Points

I wound up in 4th place (out of +40 players), much to my surprise. Had I realized I was doing as well as I was (hindsight, and all that crap) I might have been a little more pushy in Game-2...but assumed nothing but massacres would get me into top 3. The fact that this gamer pool had little in the way of 'gimme' players, and some unpredictable variables with scenarios, I shouldn't have been as surprised (not at my placing, but that few were going to just 'massacre' their way into finals).

Overall, a great string of games.
I really didn't get THAT irritated with my second opponent. My good mood game from turn 1 (my opponent and I had a load of fun) just carried me through. Probably why I didn't really push the issue on the Tank Shock...or accuse slow-play...just rolled with it. It may just be that's the way his group plays, and he didn't really see anything 'different' about it.

I will DEFINITELY return to the 'arena' next year. Until then, I plot!

The Good, the bad...and amazingly NO ugly! Ard Boyz Semis 2011

Okay, so last year I had a...well let's just say 'bad'...Ard Boyz experience.
I had fun with my opponents, but the Venue not so much. I'm not going to re-hash it here, just reference it;
(if you're interested in the 'review' of the venue, scroll past the bat-reps and ain't pretty).

So, after last year I was leery to return to Indianapolis for Semis.
In no way was the player base onerous, in fact I genuinely had fun with my fellow players last year...but the venue REALLY left a bad taste in my mouth.
Honestly, with gas and tight finances shaving a half hour off the drive (coupled with the player base being solid players, well versed in the rules and genuinely pleasant) Indy was the only truly logical choice.

Like last year, I was up at the butt-crack of dawn waiting for friends to carpool with. Also, like last year, my spouse drug her sleep-loving (and now very pregnant) self out of bed to cook us all breakfast. Soon we were on the road, chatting about the game and life (but honestly, it was a bunch of guys going to play with plastic crack...we talked mostly about the game).

2+ hours later we arrived.
We walked in, and after initial shock(the store was small for upwards of 50+ possible players) we were directed to an empty shopfront next-door...and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Before dice down, nearly ALL my fears from last year were alleviated. Though terrain was light (for my tastes) on some of the tables, a genuine effort had been made to make certain things were good...and they were. So, without further ado, I will review the effort that Games2D4For ( put forth for this years 'Ard Boyz semis in Indianapolis!

-Venue location-Good; not too far off the beaten track. All told, maybe 15 minutes off of I-70, and pretty straightforward to get to. Aside from minor glitches (My GPS AND Google Maps both led us slightly astray) we found it with very little difficulty. Located at a major intersection, with easily accessed food and necessities, it was a very amenable destination to drive to.

-Venue Layout-Good; Just as a store, it is good. Definitely a labor of love that has its heart in all the right places. For 'Ard Boyz semis, it was a bit small...but the ownership rented an entire storefront next door to accommodate the geekery that was descending upon it. That setup was well laid out, with minimal constraints to movement, and (space allowing) as much concession to comfort as could be delivered. Elbow room was tight, but not excessively so. Chairs were supplied for all players. Walking aisles were clear enough for any needed travel between games/for Judge travel. The only complaint would have been potential for excessive butt-rubbing, but it was less than I expected.

-Terrain Layout-Average; A genuine effort was put forward to populate the tables with playable, competitive terrain...and it showed. Unfortunately, consistency was not great. Some tables had very large blocking pieces, others had few or none. For the most part, terrain averaged just over 20% (between extremes). Low, but not crippling...and far better than last year. Consistency was my ONLY issue, as variation between tables was a bit extreme.

-TO involvement-Excellent; What can I say? He gave a damn. He walked the tables, responded to requests for input immediately and was quick to explain rulings with no rancor (in fact, ALMOST apologetically when ruling against someone...not in a wishy washy fashion, but in an empathetic way). Funny thing, he wasn't even supposed to be the primary (who was in a car accident on the way to the event...fortunately just fine) and had his girlfriend from out of town hanging out for the weekend. He sacrificed a great deal to make sure we were all covered.

-Ownership involvement-Excellent; Again, he(they?) gave a damn. Walking the floor and talking with the TO constantly, to insure happiness (or at least sportsmanship) abounded. It's an investment in time/money/energy for something like this to go off with little in the way of issues, and they did it.

-Transparency-Excellent; Spreadsheets, constant updating, posted listings/tables and even off-handed knowledge of pairings (etc) bore all the earmarks of genuine and unbiased involvement in all aspects of pairing.

-Timeliness-Good; A might late on a few little things, but frankly that ball started rolling with the accident, so no issues.

My only gripes for the whole thing (Venue/TO related) were really terrain based.

I think more varied terrain on individual tables, while maintaining a greater level of consistency between tables, would have been even greater improvement than an increase in percentages.
BUT, I also am of the firm opinion that 5th ed functions best at the 30% terrain mark (noting that the 25% mark really is a minimum, not a cap).

I will CERTAINLY return here if they ever do host 'Ard Boyz semis again, and may make it a point to drive out there just for one of their RTT's.

Thank you Games2Die4, for restoring my faith in the system!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tales of a 4th place nothing!

So, finally got excited about 'Ard Boyz...2 day before semis! :-O

Went to Indianapolis, my closest semi's location being Games2die for.
They did a very good job, with only a few minor gripes and a great deal of Kudos.
(I will write a full review sometime this week, but have a great deal to do today)

I took 4th, and unlike last year had NO lopsided games.
Each of my opponents were solid, with lists they tuned in and played very well.
I was also fortunate to play no repeat armies, or civil wars.
I brought my Dark Eldar.

My results were;
Rd 1- Major Victory (2 bonus)
Rd 2- Major Victory (3 bonus)
Rd 3- Minor Victory (2 bonus)

I thank all three of my opponents for well fought, well executed and challenging contests.
Mini-Batreps, scenario evals and Venue comments to follow this week.

Thanks for listening to my inconsistent ramblings, but with a baby 3-6 days out, the last month+ has kept me...well, 'distracted' :-D