Change isn’t great… It’s not bad, but it isn’t great…

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.

Batrep #1 (part 2)

For part 1, go here. Unless you’ve already read part one. In which case, please keep reading.

Game number 2 for the night was a little different for me as it was the first time I lost the beginning WIP roll and my opponent chose the side of the board I was already sitting at to be his deployment side of the table. I had to move! To be clear, I’d lost the roll before and it was no trouble to move, but it was comical to me that he wanted “my side” of the table. It was cool though, getting to play the same board from a different side of the table, which I hadn’t done to this point.

We decided the mission should be quadrant control again, because this was the easiest to do (see part 1 for a better explanation of quadrant control).

I tried to survey the board, look at the massacre points and plan to not populate those areas when this opponent’s heavies came through. My opponent for the second game was playing the Combined Army. What I know about the Combined Army I can sum up fairly quickly. It’s an alien army of evil! Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. All I know is that they are supposed to be organic constructs and other alien technology and even that I’m not too sure of. (Look! The new guy hasn’t done his game-fiction homework!)

Since I lost the WIP roll and my opponent chose to go first, I chose to make him deploy first. Once he deployed,

I moved sides and suddenly my game plan opened up. There was one high spot on the board that my previous opponent didn’t make use of, but I chose to do so as I had a sniper. I placed my sniper in the top floor of a ruined building, giving her range and sight to see a majority of the battlefield. My intent was to use her as a deterrent and then pick people off that ended up in plain sight, just out in the open. Additionally, I took the same list as the first game, to assist my learning the game.

After deploying everyone else and successfully hiding Kitsune (DLK), I said I was finished and realized a “fatal flaw” in my initial plan.

My opponent was going first. Dun-dun-dun.

She was a deterrent for one model’s complete move, gaining an ARO (see part 1 of the batrep for definition/translation) on at least one move. Then he had another unit drop smoke in my way and then, utilizing a troop with visual characteristics that allowed to see through smoke, shot my sniper dead without much going on. Though I seem to remember it taking him several attempts to do that. Once he took my high ground advantage away, his turn was done.

My first turn was mostly moving into the closest two quadrants with my Guilang changing quadrants to the zone on my far right. The only thing in this quadrant at the time was a “palm tree-looking” model that, by my opponent’s description was an AD order generator and once placed, it didn’t move until destroyed and some sort of simian with a firearm. Once my 29 point Guilang moved into position at the very edge of that third quadrant, my turn was essentially over. I owned 3 zones, to his one, so 3 points to me at the end of the first turn.

Second turn is currently fuzzy to me, but I know one of his troops came around and killed my Shang Ji (yet another game where my spitfire is silenced too soon!) and then he did some other maneuvering to finish off his turn.

I do remember that, yet again, the second turn was exciting for me. Kitsune came out of hiding and avenged the fallen Shang Ji. Not really, I just wanted to make sure that when contested, I had the appropriate number of points in the quadrant. Then I moved her back around with the thought of killing his “palm tree”, but thought better of it and just kept her TO camo’d in a corner of the third zone. 50 points to his, now, 4. There was much debate on the entry of my Tiger Soldier, but eventually, I just dropped his level down to 2 and walked him in on a table edge. Though I should’ve declared it from the beginning of the game (I had every intention of walking him on from the start of the second game, I just didn’t know I had to declare it), I put him in a position to claim zone 2. With Zone 1 (my immediate left closest quadrant), Zone 2 (immediate right closest) and Zone 3 (furthest right quadrant) all buttoned up, I called my turn as I couldn’t get any shots without fully exposing my troops to very strong firepower. With that turn over, it was 6 to 0, my favor.

It was a great game and a lot of fun. He decided to call it as it was 6-0 with only one turn left, the best score he could muster would’ve been 6-3, without secret objectives. We shook hands and talked about the high points of the game.

We decided, early on, not to do secret objectives. While this was absolutely fine, I do rather wish we had. But, since starting with a 150 point “annihilation” game to now (about 5 games in total), I suppose taking mission based play in steps is probably the best practice.

I have to admit, I really like the Quadrant Control mission. It’s a lot like annihilation, but with a goal other than wiping your opponent off the board. In the second game I did a bit more turtling down and a lot less hunting, but since I was going second, I could react to his actions and then put myself in the best position to win.

A lot of any wargame is luck, but a fair amount is tactics as well, and I found myself playing the mission closely on the second game where I tried to go hunting in the first. Neither is a horrible tactic with regard to this particular mission, but it really felt like I was playing my game when I finished the game. The more I play, the more familiar this game gets. I’m really looking forward to N3 when we’ll ALL be new.

And when you’re having this much fun, it’s hard not to want to play more.

 

Jake out.

Why Yu Jing?

So, as a guy with many years of wargaming experience similar to Woody, why would I pick Yu Jing? Frankly, it’s probably because I watched too many Anime mecha warrior/sci-fi  movie/shows (Akira/Bubblegum Crisis/et al.) when I was younger and the models just spoke to me as expressing that sort of fun. I don’t really have a cool skirt story like Woody, so really that’s it. As it turns out, there are many reasons to like the Yu Jing (Shang Ji anyone?), but I enjoy the fact that, at least with vanilla, I can employ a bunch of remotes or a nice TO camo “ninja” (Oniwabans, too) who can rip face while I try to hold it down with the rest of my army.

I have a few goals to this point. First, I’d like to bring as many specialists as possible. My current best count is 5. I would eventually like to try a TAG to see what it’s like to “Rambo” something around like something large like that.

My current test list is comprised of:

Yuriko Oda (with panzerfaust)

Celestial Guard (Multi sniper)

Celestial Guard (Combi rifle)

Kitsune Shinobu (General Death Dealer)

Tiger Soldier (paramedic, combi rifle/flame thrower)

Zhanshi hacker (combi)

Zhanshi doctor (combi)

Guilang Forward observer (combi, mine, deployable repeater)

Yaokong Husong (360 degree visor, total reaction)

Shang Ji (spitfire)

I have others, but this is the one I’m trying to learn now. It has 5 specialists for ITS-style missions and a good bit of firepower. It also has the most options to attempt to learn the rules, as it has a little bit of everything (remotes, TO camo, camo, mine layers, doctors, hackers, paramedics, etc). I also have a Hac Tao with HMG, but I haven’t found a way to correctly deploy him and use him effectively. That will come in time. So far, I’m really enjoying what I see as the style of the force which seems to be fairly aggressive. Move forward, try to get into CC range, shoot if that doesn’t work. I can get behind that.

I think the faction struck a chord with me more than the play style. As it happens, the play style seems to fit mine.

More on my journey into the Yu Jing empire as I discover it.

 

Jake out.