Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SO:KZ game v. Matt’s as yet undefeated Necrons

So, with the notable and profound exception of the forthcoming Raffle (what raffle, you say? Click here, and if un-persuaded here, immediately), the remainder of this month is going to be dedicated entirely to Special Operations: Killzone, and specifically to the epic struggle of Man v. Tables (6 of). So far, I would say the score is Man 1, Tables 3, but I eagerly anticipate an improved standings soon.

And so, in order to ease the transition away from Memory Lane and from the Raffle (do it), I offer this battle report from nearly two months ago. On the Monday evening before Baby Number Two arrived, I was able to sneak away for a short period both to enjoy Matt’s immense hospitality and to squeeze in my last bit of gaming for a while… as you may have noticed, since the arrival of Babyzilla, I have been doing well just to keep my head above water with the blog. Gaming? Not a chance. (as further proof, you might note that the photos on this report are of stock variety).

So -to the matter.

We rolled for Missions and landed on 34.6 "Persons of Interest" -of whom there were three (as if from thin air, Matt produced three incredible, rare Necromunda Juves for this role. By my way of thinking, there is simply little better than when the visual aspects of this game come so perfectly together – evocative, compelling). I hope to get a photo of these Juves and some other notable bits from Matt’s collection –pure quality.

So it was The Teeftotallers v. Matt’s Necrons for the first time the Orks would face the already notorious space-undead. They’ve had a good run, those Necrons…

In the opening turns, Matt won a series of priority rolls and chose to go second in each instance. While this may seem an odd choice, the savvy undead opted for this gambit in order to control the movement of the Persons of Interest (which is the mission specific upside of ceding the first part of the turn). Naturally, those PoI ran almost directly into the waiting arms of Matt’s Necrons and there was little the Teeftotallers could do to catch them.

…but here is where this delicate balance between narrative and strategy implicit in the Killzone dynamic gets really interesting me. There was a lot to play for and the peculiar movement of the PoI, and this seemingly straightforward impetus became a quite challenging point in our game. I'll explain: one PoI ran with remarkable haste directly in to the waiting arms of one of Matt’s Immortals. This was good news for Matt (as it was an almost certain lock of ten valuable Mission Points), however, it was also something of a kindness to me, as the tremendously valuable resource, in the shape of Matt’s Immortal, was now occupied escorting the PoI to his nearest table edge and away from the real action. Naturally, I was happy to miss him for a few turns while this happened. What seemed a straight-forward control of the objective became more subtle, more delicate, as Matt was forced to weigh each potential Mission Point against presumed loses in the mill.

The above represents a keen facet of what I enjoy so tremendously about this game –new and curious strategic options with a generous dollop of cinematic flair.

Indeed, in order to layer this dynamic a bit further, we opted to use both secret Secondary Objective Cards as well as Fate Cards (These, by the way, have been completely redone with ample suggestions from you, the gentle readers, and by James  -aka thatguyjames from, well, That Guy James. Thank you kindly, one and all. We will see a good deal more of this sometime before AdeptiCon).

So, the Secondary Objective swing –Matt drew the card “Bannerman” and immediately proceeded to kill the Bannerman. Dr. Dakkasteef himself, however, mounted a bold assault and kept his token from those very greedy Necrons. I drew the “Just Breathe, Rookie” card; thankfully, the Rookie survived, but he did not manage to stay in contact with his mentor for the entire game (he got sucked into a reactive assault, but the debacle quickly became a bittersweet one, as the rookie ended up single-handedly killing a Wraith, much to Matt’s displeasure).

Perhaps ironically, the Fate Cards did not have a tremendous impact on the game, but could have just as easily done so. We both held our cards perhaps a little too close to the chest in hopes that we could squeeze the best advantage from them.

As we tallied the butcher's bill, we found how truly close a matter the game was. Matt escorted two PoIs off the table. I managed only one, but utterly stuffed the Necrons in close combat, largely due to Matt’s need to reallocate his precious resources. Dr. Dakkasteef once again shone as a force on the table yet, for their part, the Teeftotallers continued to die in spectacular fashion. Despite the bellicose successes of the Orks, the Necrons played a more stylish and dynamic game. The final tally was 44 MPs – 38 MPs. Orks lose.  That’s a six 6 point split for a game in which Matt enjoyed a 10 point boon for collecting an additional PoI and a 3 point margin on Secondary Objectives (I earned 2, while Matt earned 5). Those numbers make a lasting impression and create a narrative entirely and exactly in the manner I hoped they would in a game like this.

The Killzone dynamic is alive and well, and I must add that I enjoyed this game more than I am able to express here. Cheers Matt for the hospitality and the banter.


The Angry Lurker said...

Sounds like a good game was had by you both.

Brian said...

Thank you, yes. I know that I've been banging this Killzone drum for quite a while now, but the game dynamic keeps growing on me. Apologies if I begin to sound an utter bore.