Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Very First Tournament - X-Wing Tournament AAR

This past weekend, I attended a X-Wing Store Championship tournament. While only have played a single game of X-Wing before - and having never played in a minature wargaming tournament - I decided to jump right in.

I took an Imperial list with a total of 5 ships:
TIE Advanced X1
-Darth Vader
-Cluster Missiles
-Engine Upgrade
TIE Fighter
-Swarm Tactics
TIE Fighter
-Black Squadron Pilot
-Draw Their Fire
TIE Fighter
-Academy Pilot
TIE Fighter
-Academy Pilot

My plan, such as it was, was to have the 4 TIE Fighters in a group that was tight enough to be effected by Howlrunner's ability (to re-roll a single attack die in combat) and Swarm Tactics. Vader was tough and fast enough - I figured, at least - to go on his own. Marksmanship and Cluster Missiles make a potent combination, especially with Vader's pilot skill of 9. 

I would have liked to have taken more pictures, but since we were playing limited rounds, I didn't want to risk wasting time. Maybe next time!

My first opponent was Matt. He told me he had played plenty of games back when Wave 2 was new, then dropped off. He was playing in the Top 4 round when I left after my games were over, so it seems like he shook the rust off pretty well!

Matt had a Lambda Shuttle and 3 TIE Bombers. He used the Shuttle to make and pass on targets locks, which the Bombers could then make use of. I did manage to knock out the Shuttle with Vader firing his Missile with Marksmanship active, but Matt's Bombers remained relatively untouched, and we timed out with a win for Matt. 

My second game was against Shaun, who took a X-Wing, a Y-Wing, and a B-Wing. This was the game in which I realized just how much of a pain asteroids could be. I actually managed to kill Howlrunner all by myself by bouncing him back and forth between a pair of asteroids due to a K-Turn and some very terrible dice rolling. In fact, I think I may have caused more damage to myself through collisions with asteroids than Shaun did!

This was another loss for me, but it was a much closer game - it came down to a single TIE Fighter against the X-Wing, and we might have duked it out to the end if the round hadn't timed out. 

My final opponent was Andy. He had a bit of everything as a Rebel player: a X-Wing, Y-Wing, A-Wing, and a HWK-290 (acting as the Moldy Crow). Once again, asteroids played a major part, with both Andy and I having to deal with multiple collisions in several turns. I even managed to cause a massive pile-up with my TIE Fighters after a miscalculation with their movement speeds. Well, new player and all that.

This was probably my favorite game of the day - it certainly went back and forth. It appeared at first to be in Andy's favor when he launched a concussion missile into the middle of my TIE Fighter cluster, killing an Academy pilot and putting a point of damage on the others. It swung back into my favor as each Rebel ship fell - first the A-Wing, then the Y-Wing, and finally the Red Squadron pilot in the X-Wing. In return I lost most my Fighters until I had only the Black Squadron pilot and Vader left.

A close collision with an asteroid left Vader stunned, however, and he was vaped by Kyle Katarn. The 360-degree Blaster Turret on the Moldy Crow tracked my last TIE Fighter and, no matter how much I juked and weaved, my Agility Dice couldn't hold out. Andy got a solid win against me.

So, three losses. But I can't complain - not only did I get to play, I met a great group of fellow X-Wings players!

The list itself was decent. Vader's a badass on his own - the Marksmanship/Cluster Missiles combo can do some real damage, and giving him the Engine Upgrade makes his version of the TIE-Advanced even faster. Howlrunner's pretty decent in the thick of a TIE swarm, but the Black Squadron pilot with Draw Their Fire was wasted as Howl died always died from normal damage. In the future I could drop the Black Squadron pilot down to an Academy pilot an give Howl and upgrade to increase his survivability.

While I didn't place, I did get a promo card of Ten Numb (a B-Wing pilot), so I didn't walk away empty handed. And since the buy-in was either $5 or buy something and have $5 taken off, I picked up a TIE Interceptor for my Imperials.

I had a great time, and eagerly await the next time I can get out to an X-Wing event.

Although I guess I need to buy a B-Wing now!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Normans vs. Welsh - SAGA AAR

Alex and I met up last weekend at 7th Dimension Games for a couple of games of SAGA. While we were playing to get the rules down, we had an ulterior motive in that we hoping someone else might take an interest. No one did, unfortunately, but we had a couple of enjoyable games. 

We each had 4 point warbands - Alex with his Welsh and myself with my Normans (recently fleshed out by models sold to me by Alex).

x3 Warriors

Warlord (Mounted)
x2 Hearthguard (Mounted)
Warriors (Crossbows)

Game 1

During set up, Alex deployed his warriors in 2 groups of 12, and basically had every Welshman take cover in the woods. 

I did the opposite, hoping that the superior mobility of my mounted Hearthguard could get them moving quickly enough.

Thing's didn't go as planned, however. My crossbows didn't do much since the woods gave the Welsh decent cover. I slammed a unit of Hearthguard into a group of Warriors. My knights did some damage, but they took a lot of hits in return, only leaving a single man who was quickly overwhelmed. 

Alex let me know how devastating Welsh combat could be, especially with their ability (Strength of Numbers) to add attacks equal to the disparity of men in combat - those 12-man Warrior units could hit really hard! Combine that with a flurry of javelins, and I lost another unit of knights. I had my foot Warriors move into the woods as they braved waves of javelins.

Having lost all of my knights, I decided discretion was the better part of valor and pulled my Warlord back.

My major problem was that I could get those Warrior units down to small sizes, but I could never seal the deal, and Alex kept getting SAGA dice from those damaged units. He used the Strength in Numbers with his Levy to kill of my wounded Warriors. 

The game ended when I decided to get a little daring and have my Warlord charge Alex's Levy. Once again, Alex used his Strength in Numbers ability to turn my Warlord into mincemeat and end the game. 

Game 2

For this game I combined my Hearthguard into a single unit. This brought me down to 5 Saga dice, but now I could move my Hearthguard all at once with my Warlord.

Alex deployed his Welsh shieldwall mostly in the woods, with his Levy outside. I had my foot Warriors cover my Hearthguard's advance. Stupidly, for some reason, I had put my Hearthguard outside of my Warlord's We Obey ability, so I had to spend a turn getting him over there. D'oh!

Alex consolidated his Warriors and Levy into the woods to cover his Warlord. I advanced my line to engage in the next turn. 

And engage I did! I managed to wipe out a unit of Warriors, but lost half my Hearthguard in the attack. 

I must have forgotten a few pictures here, but essentially Alex decimated my Hearthguard, wiped my Crossbowmen off the table with some well placed arrows, and beat back my foot soldiers. I tried to get his Warlord with my own, but what few attacks connected were passed onto the nearby Warrior unit. 

Alex ended the game by having his Warlord led his Levy (which got the MVP Award for the night) in a charge and killed my Warlord. Ouch!

So, things I learned:
1. Normans are tough at 4 points. They don't have the breadth of choices that a 6 point list would have. 

1a. Norman foot Warriors aren't too useful. I had hoped to use them as a screening unit for my Hearthguard, but once that was done, they kind of... died. I think a unit of Levy would serve better in a screening unit, especially since they could actually fight from a distance. 

2. Welshmen are absolute bastards when you give them a bit of scrub to defend in! The ability to activate all their units at once for a shooting attack really hurts, and the ability to gain extra attacks if they outnumber you makes for deadly 12 man units of Warriors. 

3. A bit of a correction. Alex and I remembered that unit's can't generate more than twice the original number of attack dice they had when using Battleboard abilities. So those Levy aren't quite as dangerous as them seemed. I still have to be wary when engaging those big block of Warriors, however!

So, I may go back to my Anglo-Danes and try getting better with them. I enjoy their defensive and denial-based abilities more so than the Normans shoot-and-charge tactics. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Painting Update - ACW

Back in April of last year, I mentioned that I was starting to paint the 20mm-esque miniatures that came with my copy of the 150th Anniversary version of Battlecry. Well, that was a little bit of a lie. I had fully intended to start painting them, but I really just placed them back in the box and they were forgotten. I've taken so long in getting to them that the primer started to flake off, which is really messy. 

Oh yeah, that was back when I was doing the 15mm French-Indian War with This Very Ground. Man, don't I have some regrets there. 

Anyway, wanting to do something different than 15mm WWII or 28mm Dark Ages, I broke out my light and dark blues and got the Union generals, cavalry, and artillery done. 

With that done, I need to flock the bases and hit everything with a dullcote lacquer. Then it's on to the infantry, and then at some point I'll have to start and finish the Confederates. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Demos, Demos, Demos! - SAGA AAR

Alex and I ran a few demo games of SAGA for a local wargames club. The bulk of the miniatures were provided by Alex (6 points warbands of Normans, Welsh, and Anglo-Danes, 2 each), with my Vikings thrown into the mix. I was given one of the Norman warbands, and faced off against my own Vikings (since they didn't come with a info-card like Alex's warbands did. A very clever idea, that). 

Normans (and a very, very fast Norman Warlord) and Welsh battle it out 
My own Warlord led a group of knights into an ill-advised charge
A slight miscalculation led to a bit of a do-over for the Normans and Welsh, but they were eager to get back into it! 
'M'lord? Where'd you go?'
Anglo-Danes weather a storm of Welsh javelins
What's left of my Normans. Notice the distinct lack of Knights. 
My warriors hold. For now. Did I mention that the Norman Battleboard only support cavalry and missile infantry?
Welsh and Anglo-Danes trade blow for blow
The opposite Norman Warlord feels a little isolated.
Just Levy = no Saga dice = Viking victory!
The Welsh celebrate their victory around the fallen body of the Norman Warlord.
Previous obligations forced me to leave once the games were over (and miss a game of Fireball Forward, unfortunately) but it seemed as though SAGA was well received by the group. With a 4 point Norman forced that Alex helped me to complete, I'm hoping to introduce the game to a larger audience.