Friday, January 1, 2010

12 December 2009 Inner Circle Holiday Beatdown (Postscript)

I enjoyed myself tremendously at this tournament, placing 6th out of a field about twenty. However, I did notice several things about the tournament that gave it a particularly interesting and unique flavor.

First, with the exception of the Chaos Demons and Tyranids, everyone was heavily, heavily mechanized. This is a club that has clearly recognized that 5e is a mech-friendly game, and the army lists reflected that.

Second, most of the players in attendance were proponents of the MSU (multiple small unit) style of play. The tournament mission rules, particularly as regards Kill Points, clearly favors this style of army design and play, but again, it was something that has been strikingly different from nearly every tournament and campaign I have participated in, in the current edition of 40K.

Thirdly, the mission itself was extremely repetitive. I think there were a number of changes that could be made to make the objectives less static and more fluid – allowing players to place two objectives each, for example, while the fifth remains static. As a result, I felt like I was literally playing the exact same game three times in a row. Because I played three dramatically different opponents and armies, I wasn’t bored, but I can easily envision having to play (for example) three Space Marine armies in a row, or three Mech Eldar armies in a row. Yeeagh.

Finally, the terrain was (shall we say) almost non-existent. These were tables that could have done double-duty as Fantasy tournament boards. Every one of the games I played basically had two or three very sparse terrain pieces in each deployment zone, and a big wide open middle of the table. If the missions aren’t going to be changing much, then at the very least the tables need to be wildly different to compensate. Ideally both.

That said, I very much enjoyed the gamers and games, and hope to make it down to Glen Burnie for some more of the Inner Circle’s (or the Frederick Area Gamers’) 40K events and tournaments.

Philosophical Musings:

I ended putting together a new Sisters of Battle army list because I was looking for something very different from my Slann-themed Tau list, and boy did I ever find it. The list I’m playing now is about as polar opposite from the Tau as I could find – instead of long-range pin-point heavy firepower, it has nothing but short-range fire, most of it of the template variety. Although they both rely on the MSU concept, the Sisters list takes that to the extreme, spamming Immolators and small five-man units of Sisters. And while the Tau basically have to take their lumps when it comes to Psychic powers, my Sisters list virtually shuts down the Psychic phase, and can deal out a little payback as well.

Of the two, I think the Sisters are far nastier, and will undoubtedly be far more exciting for many opponents to face. I’ll be giving out Kill Points like free candy in a standard KP mission, but whatever – I can realistically threaten to table most opponents in most games if they’re careless with deployment or gameplay. And they’re distinctive and different enough from most armies that they bring a very satisfying flavor to my own tournament (and gaming) experience.

In all, I’ll stick with the Sisters for a while. And if I find myself really missing the long-range firepower, that’s what allied Imperial Guard platoons are for, yes?

Until next time, then.

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