Monday, January 11, 2010

killing them softly

by: farmpunk

 So our Escalation league went to 1000pts, and I got 2 games in. My conundrum comes with pulling punches vs. nuking people off the table.
I had sat down and come up with a balanced list, designed to take on a variety of opponents. (More...)

1000pt WH force for Esc. league
Cannoness 122pts
     Jump pack, Cloak of St. Aspria, frags, Bolt pistol, Blessed weapon, book of St. Lucius
Celestians (4Celestians, Vet. Sister Superior w/book of St. Lucius) 173pts
     Immolator (Smoke, Extra Armor)
Battle Sisters (7bolters, 1Hflamer, 1Melta, 1Vet Superior w/book of St. Lucius) 209pts
     Rhino(Smoke, E. Armor)
Battle Sisters (7bolters, 1Hflamer, 1Melta, 1Vet Superior w/book of St. Lucius) 209pts

     Rhino(Smoke, E. Armor)
Exorcist (E. Armor) 140pts
Exorcist (E. Armor) 140pts
total: 993pts (I suppose I could have put Meltabombs on the cannoness)

  game one was against a very green kid with a battleforce, and game two against a teen with  orks. I got first turn, and perhaps I should have allowed my opponents to go first, that seems to be a bit of an equalizer.

Perhaps  neither of them is used to facing a rhino rush, and thought (as many people do) "huh, sisters, this will be easy. The interwebs tell me they're uncompetitive."
I felt bad almost tabling the green kid, I blew up his wirlwind, and killed one of his 3 Speeders, rushed across the board, popped smoke, and he didn't touch me with his 2 Missile launchers, and 2 Multimelta shots (thanks to smoke) the next turn, I killed an ironclad Dread, and stopped his speeders from shooting. It all went down from there. I managed to kill his other ironclad, and speeders, then mop up the commander and tac squad. the only thing left were the scouts on top of the bastion. I just couldn't destroy the bastion. I don't think he killed a single thing. I even gave him some re-rolls a few times.

I had thought about re-writing my list before we started, and taking all footslogging GK's, and 2 IST squads on foot. Then play a list more apropriate to the skill of my opponent. I hope he learned something, like at least to park the wirlwind out of sight next time, and consider LoS before putting 10 guys on top of a bastion. I tried talking through some of the choices both of us made, since part of the escalation league is to help new players learn to play. I think he was most upset I blew up his whirlwind with the first shots of the game.

My second game was against orks, with 8 lootas, 1 Battlewagon w/20'ard boys, a Warboss, and 10 Nobs w/painboy in a trukk. I got first again, and proceeded to get a side armor shot on the battlewagon, exploding it, and getting a kaboom! result on the trukk. The Lootas managed to wreck a rhino though. As orks now had to run across the board, it would be easy. The nobs failed Ld, and failed a bosspole re-roll and ran, the warboss got hit by an exorcist, and cleaned up by the jumpy cannoness, and the 'ard boys got flamed up by the Immolator, but beat down the celestian's charge with ease.
It went downhill, as more orks dropped....
I don't think the 2nd game for the ork player ended up better than his 1st game vs. Chaos Demons did. the 2 Soulgrinders shot him up, then ate him in that game. I think it ended up being a similar story to my game,  his transports got popped, and he had to run across the field towards the grinders.

it was late, and I had to get home.

I'm considering bringing 2 lists, and letting people choose which to play, unless my opponent brings a competitive list. Like the IG list with 2Vendettas and a rocket pod Valk with 2 Medusas. That's a mean list with some farmpunk influenced nuttiness. (I like Medusas)

I was wondering what people out there in the blog-o-sphere thought about using a well-balanced competitive list against newer players, and talking about list building, or taking softer lists and talking more tactics, to make for more sporting games. It's not a lot of fun to crush or be crushed. I think it is important to talk about a turn after it's been done with newer players, and talk about prioritization of targets, and balancing risk vs. return. Part of that is also building a list to be able to handle a variety of things, which is a bit hard to do with a battleforce and Black Reach models only.

This week is still at 1000pts, Next week we bump up to 1250pts. I might fit an Inquisitor and Shelia the Callidus into the list, for some fun. Maybe my alt. list will use the Vindicare.

I might swing by the North Game preserve Wed. (since Mrs. farmpunk has a meeting Tue.) and see their new location. It supposedly has actual gaming space... more than the old place had, which was only 2 (4x4), and 2 (6x4) tables. We played a lot of 1000pt games there because of smaller table size.


  1. Against a newer player I likely won't change my list too much. I'd just take it slow and easy, show them what a balanced army looks like, is capable of, and how to use it. I find people learn better when they have a framework to build around.

  2. As a new player, I say take the list you want to play, but please please please talk about why you won after the game! my Sisters got smashed by Space Wolves and I couldn't see what else I could have done so I asked my opponent for advice. Turns out I had fundamentally misunderstood his units and his intentions and had been needlessly afraid of the wrong things and avoided them. Even getting tabled can be fun and useful if it's done right.

    Especially against younger players it can be useful to talk as you go, explaining (as if to yourself) why you are doing what you're doing on a turn-by-turn basis. Otherwise they can get upset and cranky and the post-game review comes too late.

  3. I played a game versus a new marine player a couple months back where I walked my infantry behind their Chimeras after seeing his list. I also waited for him to deploy (I was first) and then had him redeploy after I told him how I would position his units for maximum effect against me.

    It was still a slaughter, but he got to kill some guys and was very appreciative afterwards for the help and explanations.

    There was a funny moment in my escalation game last week where the newish Ork player expected me to charge forward into him on turn 1. Instead, I took the defensive and did a lateral move to put more distance between me and his fastest units. He was vexed by this, but I explained why I did it and I saw the lightbulb go on over his head.

  4. I have to vote for keeping a tuned list. Would you ever savor a victory knowing your opponent artificially handicapped their list?

    Additionally, I think it is good for new players to see tuned lists. It gives them an idea of how a list should be constructed and run.

    However, and this is key, don't play a closed game. Talk to your opponent after or even during the game. Explain why it was that you took a particular unit, moved how you did, shot at what... Walk them through your strategy and tactics, your bluffs and gambles, etc.

    And in the same sense, be willing to help them find their maximum effect against your list. Play an "open" game and be forthright about any bad calls and why. You don't want to seem like you're playing the game for them, so only do this sparingly in-turn on really BAD ideas. Otherwise, wait until the end of the turn or even after the game.

    Basically, respect them by playing a solid list and game... and teach them how to do so themselves.

  5. I typically (when I've got the time) will talk through my decisions with newer players. I also encourage them to watch a game between myself and SandWyrm or BlueMoon. I know enough about how those guys play to be able to narrate the decision making, and not have it greatly impact game outcome.

    It's kind of fun to play tactical review games verses experienced players as well. Tactical review games (talking through decisions) can really help your game, especially against a codex you're not real familiar with.

    Typically in 'teaching' games, I like to review my prioritization and moves. It helps me hone my decisions, and predict outcomes. It also helps demonstrate what sequence to fire your units in based upon LoS and target priority.

    good suggestions and feedback all!

  6. My feelings on this are mixed. Especially with newer players. As we are always seeking to grow our gaming club, I will usually ask my opponet what type of game they want to play.

    Do they want a fun game to learn or practice from? Or do they want something more competetive? And even that can go many ways.

    Newer players need guidance, so just destroying them outright can chase some away from the hobby. I would recommend keeping a well balanced "training" list on hand specificially for new players. This allows them to see a variety of units, plus it also may allow them to see how their army performs against other units.

    Now if the player in question wants a competetive style of game and wants me to "bring it" so to speak, than I would field something more sound and make them earn a win. The only way one can get better after mastering the basics of this game is to play better opponents and lose on their way to figuring out success.

    Excellent article though.

  7. I find my self in a similar place, but I have reached a different conclusion.

    At my local game store there are only a few experienced players with vast majority having just started out. While I may not enjoy kicking in a green players teeth, I can only imagine how little they would enjoy the experience.

    So instead of dumbing down my play which is obvious on the table even to a new player, I don't take a competitive list to the game store. Instead I will bring a characterful list with “sub-optimal” choices that are fun to play together. I might still not “go for the throat” when I do play but I do not have to hold back while playing either. If I happen to play against a better opponent, Bonus! Sure I am going to have a tough time but the game is almost guaranteed to be a colorful and fun experience.

    As an example here is a list that I ran at the end of the last escalation league. While it is not “competitive” List it is far from a pile of garbage either.
    1500 Pts - Chaos Marines Roster

    HQ: Huron Blackheart (1#, 170 pts)
    Summoned Greater Daemon (1#, 100 pts)

    Troops: 10 Chaos Space Marines: (Chaos Glory, Meltagun x2, Fist Champ, Rhino)(11#, 255 pts)
    10 Chaos Space Marines: (Chaos Glory, Meltagun x2, Fist Champ, Rhino)(11#, 255 pts)
    7 Summoned Lesser Daemon (7@ 91 pts)
    8 Summoned Lesser Daemon (8#, 104 pts)
    8 Summoned Lesser Daemon (8#, 104 pts)

    Elite: 8 Possessed @ 288 pts (Icon of Khorne; Poss Champ, Rhino)

    Heavy Support: Predator (Autocannon; Lascannon)) (1#, 130 pts)

    Total Roster Cost: 1497


out dang bot!

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