I’m a creature of habit. I’m not unique in this, but I know I am. When learning a new skill or activity, such as a board or miniatures game, I need these “things” called rules to stay constant. The trouble with miniatures games, regardless of scale, is that by and large the whole reason to play a different faction is that it gives you an advantage, or mechanic, that your opponent doesn’t have. Which means the rules change, so to speak, when you play that faction. This may be countered by something else your opponent has, that you may not, but this entire process makes learning a new system difficult. Combine that “condition” with a natural high level of skepticism and you have a recipe for embarrassment that was my last playing session.
I’ve spoken before about my favorite model, Kitsune Shinobu and I’ll do so again right now. The profile that goes with the model is a female assassin of the highest order. The character has the highest level martial art skill that is possible in the game and to boot, she’s a Thermal Camouflage model with superior infiltration, which means I can hide her anywhere I want and she’ll come out and reek serious havoc and panic for my opponent. Combine her with a total reaction remote with a 360 degree visor and you now know my top two favorite models. The thing I like about Shinobu’s abilities, is that if I can get her behind someone, they can’t turn around as I sneak her up behind them, due to her high martial arts value (level 5). Usually, this means that the model she’s sneaking up on is dead and the best li’l Oniwaban is off to her next victim.
However, I played two games last Saturday that challenged my “love” for Kitsune. OK, not really, but they were both very interesting. I played the Tohaa in one game. The mission was Frontline and his list comprised of 17 models to my 10 (+2 medbots), which I have to admit is daunting. In truth, it’s frightening, as his army nearly doubled mine and the mission dictates that I’m supposed to be moving across the board to try to take real estate on his side of the board. During this game, I learned about a special ability called Sensor, which allows the user to roll to discover anything that may be hidden or in marker form, such as my beautiful Kitsune. If the roll is successful, then my TO camo model becomes revealed. Not a huge issue, if she’s the only one out there, especially if she’s been in and out of TO Camo already, but certainly annoying if she’s still unknown and a scary marker on the table. I get the mechanic. Especially from the Alien Faction (Tohaa) that it comes from. They’re the cool aliens and they should have cool alien tech. But, to that point, I’m rolling against human factions and hadn’t run into that yet.
Then there’s the Ariadna game. I had a really great time playing my opponent, I really did. But, as I might’ve mentioned before I’m a natural skeptic and sometimes my skepticism looks like frustration or complete disbelief and I feel like it might’ve come across as the latter to my opponent. The skill was 6th sense level 1. I’ve dealt with 6th sense level 2 and that seemed weak, compared to what this was able to do. Basically, it allowed the figure to roll a reaction shot regardless where the threat was coming from. An amazing ability to have on your side of the pretend battle field, to be sure. But, as a skeptic, it was hard to deal with the fact that this “lower level” skill was automatic (i.e. without a roll) and my level 5 Martial Artist didn’t have any sort of counter to this level 1 skill.
I know I need to read and re-read rules before I get them. Then, on top of that, I need to play again and again, until it’s completely engrained in my head. I’m not quite there yet with “N2″ and with N3 right around the corner (2015, or late 2014), there’s no real reason to do much with regard to learning rules. I’ll continue to have fun with my new friends and any of my old friends who want to play this game as well. I hope I can keep everything in perspective until I get everything down.
So far, this game has had many very awesome surprises and I look forward to many, many more in the future.