AOS Skirmish: CoralHammer, part 3

It’s time for the third part of this series. And now it is the time for high adventure! In the manner of first battle report. Or at least my thoughts about the first game of deep sea skirmish.

Since most of my usual gaming group is still on the fence about getting back to wargaming I deemed it easier to build and paint suitable teams to lure them to me. This has proved a bit difficult since building the scenery has taken a lot of my hobby time. When I suddenly had free time for a game and my brother visited me we just kind of went with what we had. Trying out the game was much more important than the actual balance or game play.

Since the Sylvaneth are my main army I had a good force for them. They included Branchwych and five Tree-Revenants (one being the unit champion). My brother played these.

My own force was a rag-tag band of five Namarti Reavers I had managed to paint lead by a proxy Soulscryer.

Set-up for the game. The white seashells acted as the treasure hoards.

We rolled artifacts and abilities for the leaders as instructed in the White Dwarf but forgot to use them during the game. As the scenario we rolled the Treasure Hunt from the same issue. As a flavorful treasures I had sea shells that could cover a plastic pearl. It was a nice touch.

As most of those who have played skirmish could foresee the Sylvaneth annihilated my Deepkin without a problem. The Branchwych is insanely powerful in this format and the Tree-Revenants’ ability for re-rolls is bumped to the max with each model being their own unit. At least this is how we interpreted it. This game made me value these Tree-Revenants more for while in the flavor they are the core of Sylvaneth armies in the Age of Sigmar games I have often found them to be too squishy.

I was able to get my archer to a good position during set-up but the amount of scenery protected her targets.

I tried very hard to navigate around my brother’s force with my quick and accurate archer. Namarti Reavers were fun to play but the odds were just against me. My champion didn’t have any value in this game and being against the Branchwych was just too hard match. I think I managed to kill one or two to the revenants but by then my brother was controlling the majority of the objectives and just camped in the middle with the ‘wych.

The Tree-Revenants (or Coral-Revenants as we called them) proved to be excellent for skirmish.

The game lasted about one hour and even though it was unbalanced and short it was really fun. As I had anticipated the flavor of the models and the battlefield did marvels for the game.

I might have had better chances if we would have used the scenery rules for the Gloomtide Shipwreck. But since I haven’t gotten around to make a coral forest for the Sylvaneth yet we decided against the shipwreck rules. We did however use the deadly rule for the Barbed Venomgorse and Shardwrack Spines and they ended up almost killing the Branchwych.

The treasures were easy to take but that also meant we had to fight for their control. This game was a bit lacking in the dimension of elevation but that can easily be fixed with more scenery!

One of the things I wanted to find out was how the size of the gaming area affected the game. In the end I was very happy about it since smaller gaming area meant more conflict and required better planing (when compared to the 48”x48” area recommended by the original AOS Skirmish).

All in all we had a good game and spent some time after it discussing strategies and the game itself. This kind of debrief is always a signal to me that the game was an interesting one and that it will have a future. Which, given the amount of time I have spent building these, is an awesome outcome.

Fun with Hijack

I’m not sure I’m advocating it, but I’ve been playing a fun-off Hijack in my Gruul Midrange sideboard. Why? I thought it would be a good finisher against Gate-decks. Stealing Gate Colossus is a strong move against those decks, but admittedly, often unnecessary rub-ins instead of actual winning move, since it’s often a good match-up anyhow.

But it does tend to lead to weird situations. Especially in mirrors (or semi mirrors), where the opponent tries to go bigger and grindier.

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GMing Mistakes 17 – Teaching Your Players to be Murder-Hobos

Ever notice how players don’t trust anyone and just kill everyone over anything and with any excuse? Well, it might be your fault.

Now, I would like to note that this might not be only you. If players have learned from through previous games and GMs that violence is often the answer, perhaps the only answer (I’ve played under GMs, who have actually forced combat encounters, when players were actively trying to find other solutions), these players will have learned certain modes of operation, and unlearning them might be difficult.

Obviously certain games encourage this with rules that emphasize combat. If that’s what your character is set up to do starting with character creation, that’s what you want to do. Therefore, if you are using a system which has combat in it’s core, you have to expect player characters to want to fight.

This isn’t the only reason. RPGs don’t often have very many casual encounters. This is often fine. If you look at stories, people only meet for a reason. Just going through the everyday life of a character is generally boring. For that reason you push the interesting moments to the fore.

Now, characters will have opportunities for other kinds of interactions. However, if they are generally either boring, hostile or (way too often) untrustworthy, the players will act accordingly. This is a difficult balance. You have to make interesting characters, but they can’t steal the scenes. The spotlight should still be on the player characters.

However, in order for the players to be interested in something other than simple goals of gathering loot and experience, the world needs to be rich, or at least have the potential for that. You should create opportunities for the characters to meet people, who are not going to backstab them at the first chance.

But those encounters need to be interesting. They need to stand out between the bloodshed. Or, if you try to avoid the bloodshed, they need to be interesting enough on their own.

One way to do this is actually making bloodshed be more part of the whole than separate. What often happens is that when the combat starts, the mindset of the players changes. Maybe you bring out maps and miniatures, or change the music, but the message is clear. You are not in the story anymore, this is something different.

This should never happen. Even in the best action movies the action is not separate from the rest of the movie. The story is just told differently. You should work to divert the expectations here. If a player decides to rough someone up, don’t let them break the immersion. Just let them rough up someone, if that’s what you think would happen in the situation.

You just shouldn’t let that become the norm or you should at least encourage different kinds of approaches. There should be actual consequences to behavior you want to mitigate. If the player wants combat and is rewarded for his behavior with more combat, they don’t actually have a reason to do anything else. So, if your character gets a reputation for lack of respect for others, just make sure they know they’ve lost certain lucrative opportunities because of that or something like that.

But I do think the key here is that they need positive interactions. Not every NPC has to be an asshole to the characters, as many unimaginative GMs like to do, nor do they have to be there just to wait for an opportunity to stab the PCs in the back, literally or metaphorically. This will hopefully teach them to trust others instead of only thinking about what they can gain from killing each person they meet.

How to Approach London Mulligans

Here’s the new rules, if the test in London is successful: Scry is out. Instead, you always draw your full seven and after that you put as many cards on the bottom of your library as you’ve taken mulligans. For example, when you’re going to five, you still draw the seven, but now you put two of those cards on the bottom of your library.

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Testauksessa: Brass: Birmingham

Teemansa ja nimensä puolesta ei suoraan sanoen mikään kauhean houkutteleva peli: Englannin teollistumista 1700- ja 1800-luvuilla.

Mutta nätti se on! Tummia sävyjä, jotka onnistuvat luomaan teollistumisen ajan fiilistä ja olemaan myös omaperäinen värimaailmansa puolesta: pelaajien värit ovat violetti, kulta (messinki?), about tiilenpunainen ja jonkinlainen vaalean sävy. Tykkään jo siitä, että ei ole sellaista perushailakkaa meininkiä, vaan voimakkaita, teemaan sopivia värejä.

Alkuvaikutelma oli kaoottinen, mutta kun peliin pääsi sisään, niin se onkin tosi kivasti hahmotettavissa ja opittavissa. Komponenteista ja visuaalisesta ilmeestä täydet pojot! Kickstarter-laitoksessa vielä on pokerichipit rahana, mikä on todella jees.

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