Friday, June 4, 2010

Hailed vs. Hated: The Vultures Circle

In lieu of a basic “progress” report on the development of Hailed vs. Hated, and in the spirit of the first transatlantic battle report we concluded earlier this week, today’s post participates in what has become the standard post-battle roundup here on A Gentleman’s Ones, The Vultures Circle. You can (and should) check out Dark Templar's take on the whole matter with his edition of The Vultures Circle here.

So, today I’m going to take a closer look at the good, the bad, and the putrescent. But before I get into the specifics details, I wanted to talk about a couple simple points. We played a 500pt game and sent countless emails back and forth. I had a board set up with all the key players from my end, and some pretty rough proxies to represent Dark Templar’s much-overlooked Blood Angels. Dark Templar made some tremendous maps from the initial photos I'd sent him, and we just worked a bit roughly from there. This first effort was always just going to be an experiment with viability, so we really didn't stress the finer points (like precise measurements, and whatnot). We just let the story guide the contest.

A significant portion of the photography was designed to be a manner of slight of hand, and particular commendations must be given to Dark Templar for pulling off some great shots in his last report. Great stuff. On my end, I was particularly proud of the on-the-fly Rhino I swapped over from on old SM army I had in the basement. The paint job is pretty scratch stuff, but the point that I enjoyed was/is the claw marks I put on the side to match the write-up, in which my Lord raked the side while dodging a Tank Shock. These are the kinds of quirky details that entertain me to no end (and full points for any keen reader that spotted what I’m talking about).

With regard to the actual battle, I thought that the gentle pace and pauses between our correspondence might help me as a general, that I might have proper time to consider the options and make a rational decision. Instead, I found that the extra time simply made my tendency toward indecision worse, not better. I second-guessed every single move. At times, it was excruciating.

And one final point about game mechanics. Templar and I sent emails with our rolls, and then let the other make saves etc. So, I would send him a note with something like this imaginary example:
Egregi 12 shots at Squad Kamor:
-to hit (3+): 6,5,5,4,4,4,4,4,3,3,2,2.
-to wound (4+): 5,4,4,4,3,3,2,1,1,1.
Squad Kamor takes 4 saves.
Obviously, trust was not even the slightest of problems. Dark Templar is truly a class act, an absolute legend, the real deal. I mention this only because it struck me how statistically improbable rolls look when you write them out like this. Moreover, in turn 2 or 3, I had an amazing roll –just a pure blinder. I almost felt guilty typing in my results for fear how it would appear. But this was all part of the challenge presented by transatlantic 40K.

OK. Now to the details:

RAPTORS: I’ll start with the Raptors, yes those same five Raptors that summarily got stuffed by Templar’s Reclusiarch. I had positioned them in a spot close enough to Templar’s Rhino that they could take a pot-shot with their Melta and also close enough that they could threaten the enemy objective at a moment’s notice. I thought that this was a decent bit of strategery. Well. Let me just say that in a 500pt game there’s little room for schoolboy errors and I paid dearly.

INDECISION (and the little Rhino that could): I mentioned indecision above, but it’s worth noting that Squad Decadi really embodied that point. It doesn’t help, of course, that Templar stunned their Rhino… twice, but they seemed to spend the entire game simply setting up rather than participating –with one notable exception. They did take a much-needed wound off the Reclusiarch with some suitably cowardly, evil, and devious shooting. Even then, they would likely have done better to charge and help Lord Amnitolo with the dirty business of finishing that pious puppet. They would have had many more dice and the same basic numbers to hit and to wound. I held them back in hopes that they would jump in the Rhino and speed away toward the enemy objective. ah fate.

FLUFF IT: Perhaps Lord Amnitolo would have done better to avoid Assault with the Reclusiarch. I’ll admit that I underestimated his fighting prowess, the worm, and it would have made more strategic sense to help Squad Egregi cut through Templar’s scoring unit so painfully close to my objective. Still, I don’t regret the decision. I mean, how could Amnitolo pass an opportunity to lock horns with the enemy champion? …particularly after I’d just finished writing extended passages about how he’d been anticipating the champion, and how he could feel the Reclusiarch like a thumbprint on his mind, blah, blah, blah. Amnitolo could hardly stroll casually past his nemesis to crack softer shells.

And, true to form, the fluff option worked out wonderfully. Seriously. The two champions impale each other in the final Assault of turn 4. One simply can’t make that up. Classic. The only way it could possibly have been better is if they finished each other in turn 5, but beggars shan’t be choosy.

EGREGI: nice work. Outnumbered two-to-one, these guys managed to stick with a fight they had no business living through until the very last phase of the game. Had Amnitolo won his bitter duel and made it over to help, the game might have looked much different in the final gasp. These guys demonstrated, once again, why the basic CSM is such a monster. They are clearly the MVP. And as I imagine it, the lone survivor will clearly and irreparably receive Nurgle’s blessing. Expect to hear more from him in future bits of fluff.

To conclude, I’d like to thank Dark Templar once more for a tremendously entertaining game.

I’ve got just two or three more posts next week before I head off for holiday. So, I’ll see you Sunday and Monday at least. After that, I won’t see you again until July. Wipe those tears.


Joe Gekko said...

In my (not so) humble opinion, you did the absolute right thing having Amnitolo face off with the Reclusiarch, stragegery be damned.

The play's the thing, and all that.

Joe Gekko said...

Stragegery? Stragedy?


Rabidchild said...

I quite enjoyed the efforts put forth by both sides. I mentioned on Dark Templar's blog that you both put such passion into it and posted with such cohesion that at one point I forgot which of your blogs I was reading!

Oh, and I particularly like the clever little trick of posing your old marines so the red side is facing the camera. Well done. ;)

Brian said...

Thanks Joe. Any well you want to spell it works just fine with me. I'm officially off the clock for a nice long break.

Thanks also, Rabid. That's about the best compliment you could have given us, particularly as we worked quite hard at making this whole thing hang together. Cheers.

I'm glad you caught that trick about those old marines. It may have looked a bit hokey in one or two photos, but for the most part, it seemed to blend in nicely.

Brian said...

Of course, that's any "way" you want to spell it. Point made. It must be Friday.

I wish these comment sections had an edit option.

The Dark Templar said...

As I posted on my own blog, thanks for everyone's support with this project, we've had a blast.

We will be ramping things up for the next project!

Grizzled Gamer said...

It was a fun battle report to follow.
Hopefully, you guys have found out a way to modify and make easier the next game - as we are all looking forward to the rematch.

Warhammer39999 said...

A great idea, and great execution. Here's to your next trans-Atlantic batrep. :) Out of curiosity, about how long do you figure it took to play the game out entirely?

Also, if you're looking for editable comments, you may want to look into Disqus. I use it, and am completely sold on it. Plus, your readers don't have to keep entering those silly word verifications...