A few days ago, I had my second game of Sixth. It was a 1250 point game versus 'Scape's Necrons, with the following lists:
Bryss' Exercitus feat. Imperial Guard
2 Storm Bolter Warriors, 3 Bolter Warriors, 2 Servitors with Plasma Cannons, 1 Jokaero
Chimera with Searchlight
5-man Strike Squad with psycannon
Company Command Squad with Camo Cloaks
Platoon Command Squad
2x Infantry Squad with Grenade Launcher and Missile Launcher
2x Heavy Weapons Team with Autocannons
Destroyer Lord with Sempiternal Weave
2x 15 Warriors with Night Scythe
3 Wraiths with 1 Particle Caster and 2 Whip Coils
Tomb Spyder with Fabricator Claws
See where this is going yet?
We rolled Hammer and Anvil deployment, with The Scouring. Each of us has 6 VPs worth of objectives in our home zone, with one 3pt objective in board centre. I went first in all cases.
Blow by blow, it went something like this:
- Due to random terrain, one side of the board is sparce, the other dense. I get the dense side and promptly castle up my Guard, apart from the joke Ratling unit (couldn't have bought much else), who Infiltrated into a building close to 'Scape's main force. He reserves the Scythes, I reserve the Valk and Strike Squad, whom I opt to Deep Strike.
- Turn 1: Night Fighting applies. Because of the board layout, most of my shooting is worthless, however the Vindicare does manage to blow up the Stalker, and one of the Wraiths takes a wound. In return, I lose a Ratling.
- Turn 2: The Valk turns up and is worthless, the Scythes turn up and Invasion Beam. I lose the Valk to Scythe fire, my Russ to Gauss and 2 Ratlings to more Tesla, with the last standing tall.
- Turn 3: I roll Incompetent Command and can't do Orders just when I need them. I knock a Hull Point off of one Scythe, and one Barge, and completely deplete one squad of Warriors. My main base killed 14, and my one Ratling somehow managed to kill the last one. I get my Strike Squad in on one of his objectives. They are promptly engaged in combat and killed by Turn 4. Oh, and the one HP I knocked off the Barge is repaired. The Scythes bugger off back to Reserve, with the one Warrior squad embarked up again.
- Turn 4: The Vindicare kills a Barge. The Scythe Warriors take one objective in 'Scape's home zone, the Wraiths another. The weakened Scythe goes supersonic to get the Linebreaker point.
- Turn 5: I can't down the Scythe, and Coteaz' lot try for the middle objective. They are set upon by the last Anni-Barge, and Coteaz is closest. I take a gamble on his Armour, and he fails the only save he took all game and dies immediately, as then does the whole squad.
Objectives: Bryss 6, 'Scape 6
Slay the Warlord: Bryss 0, 'Scape 1
First Blood: Bryss 1, 'Scape 0
Linebreaker: Bryss 0, 'Scape 1
Killed FA Units: Bryss 0, 'Scape 1
Overall: 7:9 'Scape
Right, so my thoughts on that, well:
- Remember, Ruthless Casual is riskier, but more rewarding. The board layout encouraged us to castle up and just play defence, with both of us only making one half-arsed attempt at offence. Furthermore, due to the lack of mobility of a static gunline army (me) and the high mobility of Scythes, there was no real way in frak I was ever going to get that Linebreaker point. Three of my units tried, all were repulsed by the Barges. For the risk to be a risk, it needs to have a chance of success. I didn't. Therefore, that was suicide.
- Random Terrain Placement is idiotic and time-consuming. Not only that, but it encourages silly things like placing a small piece on the very edge of the board where it's useless to use up terrain allowance and frak over whoever gets to deploy there. There was nothing wrong with mutually agreed, balanced terrain setup. I won't be using it again.
- Night Scythes. I'm sorry, but right now the game swings far too heavily towards Necrons. You can zoom 36", pop Troops, and Rapid-Fire murder any tank in the game in one shot. And should the Troop survive, just click Edit-Undo and zoom off the board safe from harm. There's also the small factoid that Doom Scythes are scoring in one mission. The automatic Linebreaker point you'll inevitably get if your opponent has no non-Valkyrie flyers is icing on the cake.
- I've talked about anti-air before, and one thing I suggested was using Bring It Down! on autocannon teams. What I failed to take into account was that Weapons Teams cannot buy vox-casters, and therefore you will fail to issue the order half the time. At least I was right about the Vindicare becoming the Doom of Open-Topped Land Vehicles.
- Because of the Flyer Transport Rules, you know, the ones that Necrons don't adhere to, the Valkyrie is now a properly useless piece of junk. I'm converting mine to a Vendetta with immediate effect. And the sad thing is, it probably won't help, as it's one plane in a sea of Scythes. This means that, realistically, the only setup I can use to fight 'Scape's Necrons, or indeed any Necrons, is Dark Eldar allied with Imperial Guard, which gets me access to both my flyers.
- Bonus Points. First Blood is a 90% chance of gaining an advantage if you go first, Slay The Warlord benefits well-armored leaders of at least T4, Linebreaker benefits non-footsloggers. Is there any benefit anyone can think of that doesn't benefit specific setups? Come on, there must be something. I'm actually sort of OK with FA and HS sometimes being scoring, as that actually has a drawback.
There is, however, one other possibility, and that is that the game doesn't work at less than 1750 points properly any more. If this is indeed the case, my favourite points level, 750 or less, is done for. Frak me.
OK, so what have I established? Well;
Ruthless Casual is almost never random for random's sake.
Ruthless Casual works to ensure both players feel comfortable with the game at all times.
So, I've turned a load of hyperbole into two more maxims. Nicely done. And on a personal note, I can start making house rules:
No Random Terrain or Narrative Terrain. Both players agree on a balanced setup.
If you are bringing Necrons at a points value of 1500 or less, you must inform Bryss in advance so he can panic and wring his hands.
See you next time, when I'll talk about red paint.
Oh, and I've reached 40,000 pageviews! Don't expect a contest though. Achievement unlocked and all that.