Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Song of Ice and Fire: The Krumpening

So I'd mentioned previously that I'm participating in the Warmachine starter league at my local gaming establishment, the Wandering Dragon.  I figure it's a good idea as that's how I was able to ease myself back into Warhammer after a long hiatus.  The downside is I'd never played Warmachine and knowing the tendency of the game to be much faster paced than I'm used to, I figured some playtesting was in order else the green monster I keep bottled inside bursts forth at the first instance of rules-lawyering.
I swear, if you reference the Errata one more time you're entering a world of pain...

I enlisted Alan, an equally laid-back friend of mine who is also starting up his own Warmachine army and we decided to write up some 15 point lists and throw down to teach ourselves the general rules of play and get a grasp on how our factions work.  Given my sometimes insane love of painting red (possibly a side effect of so many Ultramarine commissions) and an affinity for over-the-top Russians, I sided with Khador as my beatstick of choice.  Before I go into my selections let me remind you of the fact that even at my best I am a mediocre, fluff-based gamer.  I paint and play with models I like because if I'm buying a model and painting it for myself, chances are I'll be staring at it for around 10 hours under my task lamp before it's completed.  Now that you know tactical relevance had no part in my decision making process, here was my initial list:

pButcher          +6
war dog           -1
Juggernaut        -7
Kodiak            -8
Man-O-War Shock Troopers (leader +2)     -5*
TOTAL = 15 points
*normally the shocktroopers cost 6 points, but this was a tiered list so I got the cost break there
I figured this was appropriately heavy and hard to kill with a nasty, hard-hitting feat which combined with the full throttle spell makes for all sorts of nastiness in the form of heavy warjack charges.  I'd normally have pictures of the models right about here but my personal computer is in the shop and my loaner is not quite up to the task of uploading new photos to the blogosphere.  I'll post a follow-up with my Khador painting progress once this issue is resolved.

I was playing against the Protectorate of Menoth (hence the clever Game of Thrones reference in the title) with a force comprised primarily of what's found in the two-player battle box so right away Alan and I ran into our first bout of hilarity:  our forces are stitting nearly 3' away from each other and the longest ranged attack either of us possesses is 10":

After swallowing that last bit of pride and spending 1.5 turns doing nothing but sprinting straight towards one another, initial contact was made and I started liking my faction choice a whole lot more.  The Butcher cast Obliteration, a handy 4" AOE, POW 15 haymaker that obliterated two of Alan's grouped Cinerators and grievously wounded the third.  Fire from my Shocktrooper's shield cannons finished the third off.  My Kodiak speared in from the left flank and engaged one of Alan's warjacks while my Juggernaut sprinted in and started swinging at the other.  Blows were traded and much fun was had.  With the iron curtain swiftly advancing on his 'caster, Alan popped his feat, knocking all models in his control area down and re-engaging with abandon.  Sadly, his damage rolls didn't do much over scratching the paint of my two jacks.  My next turn I focused on the jacks to have them shake the knockdown and popped my feat (which adds an additional die to damage rolls) for extra krumping.  My Juggernaut re-engaged while my Kodiak plowed past his opponent to get to grips with Kreoss himself.  Two open fist attacks with 4 damage dice apiece and a headbutt later and the match was over.

Some folks would be elated with such a crushing victory, but games that one-sided always ring hollow with me.  I felt like I didn't learn anything to help advance my own knowledge of the game or my faction.  Alan and I quickly rematch and I walked away the victor again, but not after losing my Shocktroopers to some well placed spells and my Kodiak took a pounding from some concentrated warjack melee fun.  The Butcher also took some damage as well, making for a much more rounded and enjoyable gaming experience.  I've come to the conclusion, at least initally, that the Protectorate has some awesome spells and buffs but they may require a bit more finesse whereas the iron machine of Khador has the subtlety of a 6-pound sledge to the face.  To be honest, that seems to suit their fluff and I kind of like it.

I'm looking forward to trying the game out against other opponents in the league though my initial options are limited to the faction battle box for starters.  I guess it's time to investigate the Sorscha/Juggernaut/Destroyer road... 

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