Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Playing to Win vs. Powergaming.

So checking out some army lists on various forums, reading others blogs, tactical threads, etc. has lead me to do some thinking. And I have come to the conclusion that I don't like powergaming. I don't like it one bit.
Powergaming is all about finding the 'best' units in a given codex and then figuring out how to get as many of those in an army list as possible. This will give the player an advantage over many if not most opponents. Furthermore, powergamers also look for every grey area and loophole in the rules they can find to exploit. This will in fact win them many games. I fear though, that it will not win them many friends! Another method of powergaming is to run out and start a new army everytime a new codex comes out. (This method is much pricier, but still some people do it! Just look at all the battle reports out there that have an army of the newest [at the time] codex on the table of unpainted models!) We all now about codex creep, and the only way to never fall victim to it is to play the army from the newest codex all the time. I am convinced there are players who do just that!
Losing friends is only one drawback to powergaming though, and to some it's not even a concern. If all you are really playing for is tournaments, then you probably don't care if you make any friends. But anyway, another drawback to powergaming is that I don't think you actually ever get any better as a player by powergaming. If the only way you can win is to spam out on all the best stuff, all you ever need to do is put it on the table. If you aren't completely incompetent you will at least be competetive. If you're opponent took a 'balanced' list then they will probably not be able to handle your spammed out army, and you will win. This will only get you so far though, and if you play the same person often enough they will get sick of losing to you and they will build an army list to counter yours. You will get sick of losing and you will re-tool to beat his new army list, and so on and so forth until you are both very good at beating each other. But how will you do against others?
Now I am not saying that you shouldn't take the good units. Not at all. In fact not taking them would be foolish. But the tactical effectiveness of something shouldn't be the only consideration when building an army list for a GAME! Do you like the way the models look? Do they fit the fluff for your chosen army? Are they actully FUN to play with? These should all be other considerations when building an army list.
None of this is to say that you shouldn't play to win though. You should always play to win. Wether you're playing in a Grand Tournament or just a pick-up game with your best friend. Some of you might ask 'How can I condemn powergaming and then condone always playing to win?' Well, it's because they are not the same thing. Powergaming is about exploiting the rules and codex's. Playing to win is about making fewer mistakes than your opponent and taking full advantage of his mistakes. It's about coming up with better tactics, making better use of your army and covering your own weaknesses. This can be done no matter how good or bad a given army list is, and is the basis for good play. If you don't have a spammed out army list you are going to have to actually think in order to win. Your win/loss record might suffer some, but you can take pride in knowing that the tally in your win column is actually earned through good play. Also, I think it is insulting to your opponent to not always give it your best effort. What joy is there in a victory if after the game your opponent just tells you they weren't even trying. It makes the victory a bit more hollow doesn't it? It does for me. Also, neither of you will actually improve as players that way.
Anyways, that's just my take on it. Do what you will, but for me Playing to win is all about tactics, thinking and trying your hardest, while powergaming is all about exploitation and spam, two things that always leave a bad taste in my mouth!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Battle Report: 1850pts Saim-Hann Eldar vs. Orks

Capture and Control using pitched battle deployment

Orks objective is the space cactus, Eldar objective is the crater

Orks deploy 1st and have 1st turn

Orks deploy entire army on the board, Eldar start with everything in reserves. I did this as a bit of an experiment. It drove Warboss Mark crazy ‘cuz I “was makin’ him think!” but other than that I don’t feel it worked well. I will probably not be doing that very often in the future.

Orks turn 1, Orks move out, most running and vehicles and bikes using flat out/turbo. Weird boy rolls ‘ere we go power jumping most of the way across the battlefield. Mega-Nobz hold tight to the Ork objective.

Eldar turn 1: nothing happens (of course, they’re in reserve!)

Ork turn 2: Looted Wagon rolled don’t push dat (failed both rules) and Da Amma and the warbuggies advanced forward, the rest of the boyz just hung out wonderin where the weedy pointy ears were. (Mark was getting very frustrated at this point due to the afore-mentioned having to think!)

Eldar Turn 2: Everything but the Autarch, Fire Prism, and Starcannon Vypers showed up.During the shooting phase the jetbikes and Farseer managed to kill one of the Deffkoptas who ran. Vehicles killed two warbikes. The Ork battle line really only left me one corner of the board to come in on. I really felt bottled up all battle long because of this and it led to many subsequent mistakes.

Ork turn 3: The defkoptas regrouped. Weirdboy rolled a 3 for Zzap and glanced the falcon, shaking it. Warbikes score 3 glances on the Vyper shaking and stunning it.

Eldar turn 3: Autarch and Starcannon vypers came in from reserves. Dire avengers
bladestormed and jetbikes added their fire to kill 5 warbikes (who failed morale and ran) Vypers killed 1 defkopta, Farseer and Jetbike killed 3 boys. Wave serpent destroyed the big shoota on one of the warbuggies.

Ork turn 4: Looted Wagon destroyed the Wave Serpent (rolled a 6 and a 6” scatter for the debris. Ouch!) and 2 dire avengers were killed in the resulting explosion. Rest died to mass ork fire. In assault the boyz and the boss kill all the jetbikes and the warlock from the Farseers group. The Farseer manages to make all his saves and then passes his insane heroism (snake eyes was rolled!) I should never have been in assault, but I forgot about the Orks special rule WAAAGH! And as a result ended up being inside of charge range. Just one of the afore-mentioned mistakes!

Eldar turn 4: Fire Prism finally shows up kills 3 mega nobz Fire dragons disembark from falcon and kill 2 mega nobz. Jetbiles wound the deffkopta.In assault the Baron and the boyz killed the Farseer with a mighty swing of his powerklaw.

Orks turn 5: Warphead Eddie rolled ‘ere we go and scattered onto the fire prism and rolled a 1 on the mishap table and became lost in the warp. Da Baron and the boyz killed the Autarch and Shininng Spears in assault. Here was another of my mistakes coming back to bite me. In my arrogance (or stupidity take your pick) I didn’t think through the idea that the Farseer would probably die in the assault phase on my turn (which he did) and that that would leave the Autarch and Spears in assault range. Doh!

Eldar turn 5: The falcon tank shocked the mega nob who death or gloried and destroyed the falcon before dying himself. The jetbikes turbo boosted to the elder objective. The fire prism and vypers killed a bunch of burnas who then failed morale and ran.

Ork turn 6: Orks failed to damage the vypers. The looted wagon killed one biker. The Zzap guns took out the fire prism’s cannon. The deff dread and deffkopta failed to hit the fire prism in assault.

Eldar turn 6.The jetbikes kill the Deffkoptas in shooting. Everything else failed to hurt the deff dread. (Also forgot to take a pic here. Oh well!)

Ork turn 7: Looted wagon kills a 2 jetbikes who pass pinning. Everything else fails
to hurt the vehicle.

Eldar turn 7. Vypers turbo boost to contest the ork objective. Jetbikes and fire prism take shots at the rear arc of the deff dread destroying a weapon and shaking it (also stunned it but due to the armour plates that was reduced to another shaken result) . Jetbikes use 6” assault move to contest Eldar objective.

Game ends in a tactical draw.

I really felt that I played quite poorly in this battle. Meanwhile Warboss Mark played quite well. If it weren’t for the superior speed/movement of the Eldar I would never had stood a chance. About the only thing positive I can take away from this battle is that no matter how bleak things appeared I kept in mind the mission objectives and never gave up.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shining Spears results round 2

So trial number 2 didn't go so well. It's not that they performed poorly, though. The problem was that I played so poorly I never gave them a chance to do anything. Again they were joined by the Autarch equipped with jetbike, mandiblasters, and laser lance. Despite having much greater movement than their Orky opponents I went and placed them right in charge range of an almost full mob of boyz accompanied by Da Baron (the Warboss!) They of course got charged, and though they did take 2 or 3 boyz with them they were all cut down by the massive amount of attacks that a mob of boyz that big can bring to bear.

Officially it has to go down as a failure for the Spears, but now we all know that the failure was truly mine!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dire Avengers

Here are a few pics of my Dire Avengers squad. The Exarch (the fancy one with the banner) is equipped with two avenger shuriken catapults doubling his number of shots to four. I also usually give him the exarch power 'bladestorm'. This allows the entire squad to fire one extra shot in a turns shooting phase. The drawback is they cannot shoot at all the next turn while they re-load. Bladestorm has been particularly nasty against Ork boyz so far. Although after the last battle where they lost combat to one Nob and a boy in assault I am considering getting an Exarch with either the Power Weapon/Shimmershield combo, or the Diresword and Shuriken Pistol combo and taking the Defend exarch power as well. Or maybe that is how I will configure my next squad.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fire Prism

Here it is!

There is still a little bit of work to go before it is actually finished, but it is at least photogenic at this point. I want to magnetize the turret for easy removal/attachment for transport and weapon destroyed results and such. Also until I know for sure how the magnetizing goes I am not going to actually glue the main body's carapace to the undercarriage. Other than that though it's good to go. Oh, and I need to magnetize the base as well, but that won't stop it from hitting the battlefield.