A couple weeks ago the brunette scheduled a weekend of gaming in honor of my fourth decade (achievement unlocked.) It was a good time and had the additional benefit of letting me throw some actual dice in actual contests.
Friday, Squish and Cherylkat came over for a game of hero realms. This is White wizard’s fantasy version of star realms--still pissed I missed the kickstarter. We played the collaborative version against the guild boss. Squish and I got eliminated early and went off to man-cave land to look at custome light sabers on line. Hero realms is a better balanced game than star realms in my experience; not because it functions any differently but because the card selection, distribution of abilities, and price-to-value is better distributed. There are no screaming deals. Also, the mechanics and naming conventions just work well for me on an intuitive level.
After the game ended Cherylkat went back to her place and grabbed Corc’s old ultra sabers dark initiate. We charged it up and spent an hour or so talking about games while taking practice swings at imaginary sparring partners. It was all very low-key—a really nice evening.
Saturday started early with KC bringing over some humans for some blood bowl. We have this tradition where she brings over some beers to try with the brunette followed by fantasy football. I won the starting roll and chose to receive. We fought it out over a brutal quarter. My dwarves, the Strong blow Maulers, caught the humans off guard and were able to move in and block down most of the opposition and pick up the ball turn 1. There was a lot of blocking and counter-moving which lead to the loss of one of my blitzers and 3 of her players all due to bad injuries. The quarter ended with my runners breaking out of her closing net and scoring despite several close moments and fumbled balls.
I am definitely getting better at BB. Playing dwarves really helps. I am always going to be out-threated, so my job isn’t to out maneuver my opponent but rather to figure out what I need to do, make that play, and use whatever players I have left to tie up/tackle the rest of the opposition. I am getting faster. I am reading WMTG’s 3d printed block dice consistently. I am nowhere near a 4 minute turn but that was always going to be a long-shot. I wish I could play more/longer games but the apatite just isn’t there for most of the larger group. The video game has ruined them for table-top play—not that I blame them.
That afternoon/evening, Cherylkat returned with light saber in hand—got to get me one of those—and we set up for a demo game of frost grave. We got through 3 turns before we had to make room for pathfinder but by then Cherylkat was hooked. It is fun watching people discover the value in a treasured property like frost grave. Since she lives within walking distance, I can actually get some games in with her. We’re thinking about making campaign bands and playing through as many of the scenarios as we can manage. WMTG, Shoggoth, and I were heading in this direction anyway so it looks like frost grave is going to be a thing for the foreseeable future. I will have to build up a couple warbands—oh, the horror—but this looks totally doable.
We finished the evening with a quick game of skull and shackles in the pathfinder adventure card game line. We are into adventure deck II which is…interesting. The game is seriously challenging compared to rise of the rune lords. The Characters are better balanced but the scenarios expect you to use that balance to collaboratively overcome odds and resource limitations. I have never felt entirely safe—even in the introductory adventures. We are really loving this game.
Sunday, DQ came over for some good old fashioned warmachine box set battle. Death quaker has not played in a long time. Her base models came from the MK I battle box—Metal Cryx.
This came in at 2 points over the 0 point standard but we figured whatever. After all, how much use was she going to get out of that defiler anyway?
I want to start out by saying this was in every way a non-standard game. I used a 3x3 frostggrave mat for our board since it was the only thing that would fit on my kitchen table. I was playing a bog standard box set caster; she was playing one of the queens of tournament play. This was more about her learning the game and me testing Kozlov’s limits than any kind of formal competition—and yes, I knew I was in for a rough time.
The board was a ruined ice field covered in battlefield wreckage, industrial ruins, and huge chunks of glacial ice. I took first turn, charged forward and tried to snipe out some chicken jacks with the decimator—defense 14 is really annoying BTW. She came up, got parasite on the juggernaut, and sprayed a couple things. I dropped chosen ground, obliterated the slayer, and passed the turn. She cast scourge on my grouped up caster and jacks, knocked all of them down, and dog piled him into a bloody mess. Game 1—Cryx—ouch—that hurt.
Game 2—same lists:
Deathquaker chose first turn. I opted not to advance much trying to extend the window for the decimator to remove channelers. The defiler and a deathripper moved up my right flank while the slayer and the other deathripper moved up the left flank. I was just far enough up for Deneghra to arc parasite on to the decimator.
There was some back and forth as I tried to limit her ability to maledict me into oblivion. My efforts failed as the juggernaut caught a face full of crippling grasp. The defiler poked its head around an outcropping to spray and channel sludge all-over the decimator. Then a deathripper ran up to engage my mildly inconvenienced gun platform.
Turn three, I remembered to upkeep chosen ground. I had a plan. It might not have been a good one but it was a series of actions that would let me deal out the most damage. Both jacks got max focus. Kozlov popped feat and charged forward to clear the deathripper off the decimator. The juggernaut—poor juggernaut—charged the slayer and managed to hit it once with its open fist. The decimator charged the defiler and left it in bad shape. Deneghra allocated focus to the slayer, moved up, popped feat, and cast ghost walk on the slayer. The slayer charged out of combat and splattered Kozlov. Game 2, Cryx—ouch again.
1. Setting aside the shortened board size and slight points imbalance, this is why tournaments run a 2 list format. With a 14 inch control range and chicken jacks running 14 inches at no focus cost thanks to powerup, Deneghra is almost guaranteed a free hand to cast whatever she wants wherever she wants. She might lose the vector next turn but at that point, who cares. Even on feat turn Kozlov cannot make up the difference in threat range.
2. Deathquaker played two solid games. I do not want to make it sound as if I lost because my list wasn’t up to the task. She made best use of the tools at her disposal. The odds were in her favor but only because she played well.
3. These games exemplify my “concerns” with Kozlov’s viability. Against a somewhat equivalent force (defense, armor, and threat range) he plays a solid to excellent game. This is particularly true if you can give him faster models like eliminators, gun carriage, Uhlans, and Drakhuns. However, against a force with better threat ranges or lockdown capacity, he has no game. Defense 12 or better (basically all of Cryx) requires boosting to hit reliably which severely limits his battlegroup’s damage potential.
4. I do not think this would have gone any better against the current Cryx battle box. It still significantly out threats Khador while maintaining stupidly high defense. Against this kind of threat, big red has to one-round its targets but defense 13+ limits the likelihood.
5. We are probably going to play some larger games in future. I am likely to take the ice queen or lady Z into those fights—casters with more resources to deal with Deneghra’s nonsense.
Overall, good games, good times, and good friends. I appreciate the chance to face down a larger cast of opponents. I feel like I am a much better player than I was in 2014. I can sit back and objectively enjoy the experience even if winning is a challenge.
So…40 and stuff. I’ll do something a little more introspective on the topic soon. For now though…great celebration with good friends. On to light saber shopping.