+ inload: Closing notes on Ambush at Kalkriese and narrative gaming +

+ Zoggin' Eck! Thoughts of the Xeno in Defeat +

Bob_Hunk (he of the awesome Imperial Fists [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] and orks) has kindly written some closing notes from our game, Ambush at Kalkriese [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]:

A well deserved victory for the Ultramarines under Lieutenant Holion. But it takes more than a series of stinging defeats to keep a good Ork down, and I'm sure Gashbag is even now licking his wounds and plotting a suitably kunnin' response. 
I enjoyed playing against the Astartes Crusade list; after years of commanding my Orks against Codex Marines lists and the Imperial Guard, it's a refreshing change to face the might of the Imperium in a different guise. 
Now settle in while I reel out a list of excuses for my defeat. ;) There were three things that I feel went quite badly wrong.
  • Firstly, the large shoota boyz mob bouncing off the tactical squad who had extra combat weapons and counter attack. Extra combat weapons are definitely a sound investment when facing squishy xenos hordes!
  • The second problem was when Gashbag and his meganobs lost a combat, fled and were run down! I don't think I need to explain why that was a bad thing for the overall plan. ;)
  • Thirdly, the looted wagon completely failing to eliminate the heavy support squad and signal officer - in what should have been a relatively sure thing - with its kill kannon. All it managed was four turns of misses and malfunctions, with the fourth shot taking a chunk out of the newly deployed reserve squad of shoota boyz!
I would have got away with it if it weren't for those meddling dice! ;) 
Bad luck aside, I don't want to take anything away from Apologist, who outplayed me with effective use of his list, playing on the strengths of mutual support and the various buffs offered by his officers and rite of war. 
Next time I'll be sure to persecute those HQ units with a bit more prejudice, and of course bring something that can deal with the Contemptors!
Until next time, Apologist! *shakes power klaw menacingly*


+ Theoretical/Practical +

+ From my own point of view, the game went very well – it's always fun to play against Bob Hunk's orks, and having finished my board just hours before, I really enjoyed the visuals. +

+ In game terms, things went pretty much to plan. Any scenario which sees your force surrounded at the start can be intimidating. However, if you can avoid engaging both fronts at once, you can put the pressure of your whole army on half of the other player's. This worked out well for my army, which is at best a bit slow – being made up of infantry and heavy tanks. +

+ I'd love to claim that mastery of tactics saw me having such light casualties, but in truth I think Bob Hunk's plan was fairly solid. The gods of the dice were clearly against him for a number of important rolls! In terms of how the Age of Darkness ruleset and the Legiones Astartes list works against a regular 40k army, I'd suggest that it was relatively balanced. The combination of counter-attack (provided by the Legion rules) and additional combat weapons was perhaps gilding the lily against non power-armoured enemies, and I may have been better off without the upgrade and simply taking more Breachers. +

+ I'm sorry Holion and the Breachers of Viginti didn't have more of a part to play in the story, and am determined to use them more aggressively next time. Still, a very fun game – thanks pal! +


+ Gaming and competition +

+ Tabletop wargaming is unlike most hobbies in that it necessarily involves other people. It's a bit different to other aspects of the hobby – painting, converting, writing etc. – which can all be pursued solo. This is part of what makes it so rewarding; there's a social contract, and it brings me on to why I prefer a narrative approach over a competitive approach to our games. An important part of gaming that you discuss it with the other player. However seriously you take the game, we all do this naturally – informing the other player of what you're doing, clarifying aspects of the rules etc. – but I'd encourage you to take it further. +

+ Competition can be a lot of fun, and as the game has developed, this aspect of 'fair matches' has been emphasised over the scenario-led roleplay approach. I expect a lot of people have picked their 40k army because of a particular piece of artwork, colour text or story. If you tend to go for set points levels, I'd encourage you to go back to Rogue Trader and try a scenario game. This might be as simple as picking your armies from narrative description (and I bet you'll find a hell of a lot more basic troops and far fewer specialists!), or re-fighting a game you've played before. +

+ The important part is that all of the players understand what's going on, and that requires talking it through. The missions in the books and expansions – such as the Age of Darkness one we were using – provide a great starting point, but once you get into the habit of thinking of the person on the opposite side as another player whose enjoyment is important, rather than an opponent, you'll quickly find your gaming more rewarding and enjoyable. +

+ The old saw 'The objective of a game is to win; the point is to enjoy it' sums my thoughts up nicely. +

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