21 Aug 2013

Table Top - Playing for Scenario

I am not a tournament player. Out of my last three Warmachine/Hordes tournaments only once did I get into the top 3. My last tournament I was in the back half and the other one I was middle of the row. I don't have the time allocated to tournament play. I could become better if I put my time towards game time on the table and putting together my minis. I decided that I have more to do every night then work on army list and figure out neat ways to use my Nomad's Sin-Eater Observant. Instead I work on another plot point for a far distant RPG campaign that may never see the light of the dice.

Sin-Eater Observants w/ Multi Sniper Rifle
also a very sexy model
Updated my Kickstarter contribution to add this
fuck yeah! 6 player royal rumble
I crash on the couch with my wife watching Netflix rather than hitting Fandom 2 and putting in a game of Dreadball and setting up a league for the locals to play in. I live in a small two bedroom flat on the 3rd (also top) floor of a fifty-five year old building. It suits our needs and makes it easy for us to go back and forth to work, food and letting out the pooch. I don't have a 'lab' anymore to work on the Heavy Gear Arena table I've been dreaming on building since I played my first match of a Peace River sponsored Tech team but that's life. Oh how I wish I had the place, money and more than anything... time to spend on my hobby. Using a 'rattle can', spray paint, is hard with no basement or garage.
Mushashi - Merc, Irregular and the best CQC guy in the game

You see I have much more on my plate - all of my own choice - then to master or become a better tournament player. Yet tournament play is getting more and more coverage. I can understand why. Pitting my JSA with Musashi in an ITS event just because no one expects it was fun and I did pretty well. Throwing down on a starterbox tournament at the Kobold's Korner (which was the first tournament of the store) was a good time (it was the last event I've played in).

Last but not least not all of my mates or all of my hobbies are just spent on the table. I read comic books, watch flicks, listen to music, play Farcry3: BloodDragon ... yeah you know what check out the video and read about what I want to play in the next little while.

Tournament play is here and it's lead to some of the best miniature play in recent memory. Scenario based play... see you after the awesome.

ps. Video has bad words and stuff so get your headphones and keeps the kids aways as you get told about neon lit dinos who shoot lazers... yeah see you after the break.


Scenario based play is not a new thing.

Since the days of Chain Mail, players have been putting together reasons and objectives based on those same reason for their slew of miniatures to get on set table and fight in the specific and restricting area.

Games Workshop always has a scenario in their battle reports... well since I last looked at a White Dwarf let alone bought one. Privateer Press publishes official scenarios for tournament and event play annually. I really looking and hoping to get in on the Summer Rampage at Wizards Tower that is getting run soonish.

Infinity's Capaign: Paradiso was the most wanted book in the release history of the game's second edition. Fans had been clamoring for years about scenarios for games written and made official. The rules have some many different specialist units of hackers, pilots, doctors and engineers. We forget sometimes the level of education that many of the units have in the game. It's a ShadowRun - covert mission completed by skilled experts sponsored off the books in order to be unofficial. Paradiso was brilliant with it's scenarios, Spec-Op system and story based campaign.
Spec Ops!
Oh my!

We had more then just run a gun. Folks were coming to the table with those odd yet skilled minis more often. If I had the terrain and the folks to play with, I'd be throwing down way more Infinity matches. The games are the fastest I've played and the dynamic action is hard to find anywhere else. I love it.

Going back to Warmachine/Hordes the last couple of matches I've played have been without scenario. Next time I hit the Wizard's Tower on the Sunday game night, I'll have a copy of the Steam Roller 2013 or any scenario with me. I'm getting tired of just playing a quick game of 'caster/'lock kill and calling it a day.
Been watching this with the wife
Red Forman is brilliant
his wife is better... we have that in common

It's quick and only somewhat satisfying.

Scenario play is the glue that keeps players playing. We'll get bored of doing the same thing over and over again. Rote activity is not the same as playing a high octane game where my steam powered magically telepathic walking robot army beats up your hyper-beast rage leaching force. That sounds epic and yet my last couple of games have felt like a bit of a slap fight.

It's 3 am on a Sunday morning and I'm pondering why my last couple of games weren't as much fun. When I figured out it was because my game had the same direction, objective and reason as my last couple of games... it was a small confirming shock of I'm a dumbass.

Yeah I'm a dumbass.

I need that reason to keep playing. I need to put together a list that can play scenarios like Ammunition Run (#4- SR2013). I need to be able to beat my enemy with something that makes more sense then simply kicking in his leaders teeth. Some 'casters play that way... that's their style. Others don't.

I like feeling that victory when even at the end of the match, I've been on the ropes but I pulled a win because I took the scenario away from a balls to the walls player. I kept them at bay long enough to complete my mission. When I'm playing an assassination list I love trying to work a way to make their 'caster/'lock available by threatening the scenario and making the other guy gamble his dude in order to pull the win. I love putting that to bed or even failing on a good run.
Why is that Gear there doing that?
Plenty of reasons inside... 

Heavy Gear is one of the games I've not mention in a while. I don't play it as much with only a few wankers who have any mini's and let along are able to play the game. My last game with Ontos was a quick game that I won because I played to my mission. You see Heavy Gear has an objective gameplay element right from the start. You pick the limits of your list, build your guys and then based on the size and limitations you've chosen you select from a list of possible mission objectives.

You're playing Tier 1 operatives ala Rainbox Six, you've picked some of the best trained pilots and top of the line gears for your force. Your small team has special rules to drop in, insert itself and stay low out of sight and fire... your mission is not going to be easy. Being Ranbo and taking on fifty militia troopers is boring and a poor fourth... third... second film if you have the same mission then the fifty dudes you can kill on camera in only a few seconds.

Your opponent is playing a garrison force holding position in local AOR (Area of Responsibility - army talk) they have five teams of average pilots using standard issue equipment and gears. The odd heavy weapon and special system in littered amongst the ranks. Why would they have the same mission as you?

Heavy Gear's system is refreshing. It's not the best but it's another great option in the idea of organized, scenario play. With the current rule set, I've yet to play a game of Heavy Gear without objectives. As per the example above, your objective is to target a few structures and gain intel (keeping that unit from shooting that turn as they actively scan the buildings) while looking to not lose a single unit. Your opponent is must keep their commander (and in many cases, best pilot) alive while trying to keep enemies from crossing into a section of the table.

Both players have their goals. Both are playing against the other, while working towards completing these goals. You may try to scan from a distance but it's harder, so do you close in and break the perimeter of the other player? Your opponent reacts by moving a team in quick reaction, does he send the rank and file and hope to get a lucky shot against your elite or does he commit his commander and gamble their safety?

See the conflict. See the choices you and your opponent need to make. Mario has to save the princess. It's the whole reason he jumps and breaks bricks. I like Mario but I also find the goal to be boring. The magic is in the game play and the more active goals; get to flag, jump on boss three times, find magic flute, etc...

Sexy table from a Infinity Tournament
just running around and shooting folks would be a waste
taken from the forums: Link 
When I look on the Infinity forms some of those tables look awesome. Remote observation posts prime for a night raid. Cityscapes ripe for some covert shenanigans. Corporate headquarters and orbital stations full of something someone else wants.

Why would you waste such layouts? It doesn't make sense. I want more stories at the pub after the event where players are recounting those moments.

Yeah she's pretty... awesome!
When her Hexas sniper from PanO gunned down the Tohaa Bioengineer who was working the medical system to release the bio agent that would gas one whole section of the board.

When his Ariadna's were getting boned by the Morat Diplomatic Corps and a well placed demo charge put a random count down on the mission because he used Uxia McNeill to destroy the orbital's vector controls.

That one time when the her Haqq had fought tooth and nail to grab the intel from your Nomad recovery team. Only to have a lucky shot drop your mini carrying the info and a Kum Motorized bike rushed over and scooped it up for the win when she was already in retreat.

Uni-bike have always been awesome
just look at the anime Venus Wars
Those are the stories I want to hear over a pint. I want to hear about the time when the he shot his prime Butcher forward with little regard for the 'caster's safety. Deciding to 'fuck it' and go all in into the contested zone. Killing everything Pale Rider had and shift the balance to gain the control point he needed and win the match.

I loved my Peace River Defense Force strike squad were able to push towards the objective and take out Ontos' NuCol comms tower while he was trying to target and scan my units for intel purposes.

This is why I play on the table.

You're getting bored with your game? Spice it up with a scenario.

Cheers.