January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

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January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Rev. Sylvanus » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:54 am

Greetings all,

Welcome to another edition of Rev's Battle Reports. I'm Rev, and I'm bringing you a battle report from Central Pa, a battle against my colleague and new brikwar sparring partner McLovin. We met at his place, had dinner, and rang in the new year with some plastic carnage.

TL;DR if you need to, but I'm going to "set the stage" for this battle a bit. First, the battle is very one-sided. If that bothers you, go read one of my old reports. But it's lopsided for a few reasons; first, there may have been some fudged and/or forgotten rules. Second, for our last several games, McLovin has actually been FLOORING me. I beat him in our Hell Hunt battle quite handedly with my Barbarian army, but every time I pull out the Dragon Guard, McLovin has consistently been pulling out decisive victories against me. This has been frustrating since he's new to the game and with the number of battles I have under my belt, I think I can call myself a vet. He tends to use an archer-heavy force with small screens of spearmen and cavalry in the wings to set up charges. He rarely brings creations or MOC's, so since we play by CP value for starting armies, his CP efficiency is often higher than mine since I've tended to bring several high-cost creations in my forces (Dragon-riders, Griffon, artillery, etc.)

For this match, McLovin says he wants me to stop experimenting with lists. He and I are planning a campaign of brikwars battles together through the winter, and all of these games have been learning for him. He wants me to show him what Supernatural Dice can do, and play as dirty and competitively as possible. I say, "Ok," and draw up the following 400CP army:

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This is my medieval answer to an infantry/archer-heavy army that has been pantsing me multiple games in a row. The army has two essential elements that play a major part in the game. Two ballistae with crew that fire MKII "grenades". This is a decent enough counter to masses of minifigs. What you may not immediately be able to tell from the photo is that beside each ballista is a wizard. Both wizards have the same Supernatural Dice Pool: 2d4, 2d6, 1d10. While you continue to reflect on the nuances of this strategy, let's look at the rest of the battlefield:

Close-ups of my deployment

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McLovin's deployment

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Experienced wargamers will immediately recognize my strategy. I've castled my artillery on a single flank of the field. In normal brikwars, this is not a super-effective strategy because Size 2 and Size 3 weapon ranges are not massive, and the use rating for such weapons can be prohibitive against infantry. Yet I have paired each ballista with a mage who will each turn be able to use an action to augment the range of each ballista anywhere from 8" - 12" (accounting for a fumble or two). The mages can also supplement an extra 1d10 for the ballista's damage, turning what was otherwise an MKII into an MKIII explosion. :twisted: Each ballista is also flanked by a squad of heavy infantry; once McLovin's forces or my forces close the gap, the mages will enter these "bunkers" to provide squad buffs against survivors from the artillery barrage. At any rate, this was all my "plan" entering the game with a chip on my shoulder. Let's see how it panned out?

McLovin Turn 1

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Turn one for McLovin's Forestmen is pretty uneventful. He pushes all of his units forward their maximum move without sprinting. McLovin doesn't know it just yet, but saving actions will allow him to bail once the grenades start falling.

Rev Turn 1

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Not much has changed, but in order to make the ranges more agreeable, the Dragon Guard move the battle line forward about five inches.

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The archers screening the ballistae take aim at and demolish a tree; this way the ballista engineers will not have to worry about LOS.

I likely attempted some Supernatural rolls to augment ballista ranges, but nothing was long enough... :twss:

McLovin Turn 2

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Sorry for another boring turn, but McLovin just pushes forward again. Don't worry. Things are about to heat up; the Forestmen have entered what I'll fondly call the "kill zone."

Rev Turn 2

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After a nice Supernatural Roll, the right ballista sends a "grenade" at several Forestmen. The blast only fries two, but three or four others find themselves disrupted after bailing.

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The left ballista incinerates one of the McLovin's knights and injures a horse.

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And a forestman who bailed quite a ways forward of his lines is shot down by the Dragon Guard archers.

Before we get too much farther into these turns, I want to mention one other rule that is playing into the favor of my strategy: missed shots. Any player (according to 2010 rules) may insist on tracking payload projectiles that explode. This means they will come down somewhere. Because my lauchers fire MKII "grenades" the total blast radius is 4". The net result is that even a shot whose use rating missed technically will land nearby the intended target, keeping him--if no one else--in the explosion. Drifting shots like this will actually account for a number of kills I accrue this game.

McLovin Turn 3

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McLovin's Forestmen cavalry come thundering around my left flank, careening into some spearmen and the mounted hero.

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An archer red-shirts for the mounted Hero, and the counterattack from the Hero eliminates a wolf-pack knight.

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Disrupted forestmen right themselves, and McLovin's lines continue to press forward, hoping to overwhelm me.

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A Forestman downs one of the Dragon Guard.

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Battlefield overview, Bottom of 3

Rev Turn 3

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Spearmen retaliations on the left flank lead to the demise of two more of McLovin's knights. I'm of the opinion that McLovin should have had a few more armored knights in his force this game. It made sniping and attacking riders out of their mounts easier than it should have been...

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The Dragon Guard hero and a Dragon Knight change directions and ride toward the right flank, eliminating a Black-Falcon soldier.

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Another round of magical ballista augmentation finds several more forestman in ash-piles, including one of the Vikingess Heroine's bodyguard.

McLovin Turn 4

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One thing I admire about McLovin's gameplay is his incredible ability to use cavalry more effectively than I. Here he sets up three counter-charges, all of which eliminate their Dragon Guard targets (2 spears and an archer).

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The Forestmen Allies also set a number of their own soldiers and archers on the Dragon Guard Hero. Once the combined damage connects, the hero's steed selflessly decides to red-shirt the damage for his master.

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On the right flank, the forestmen continue to surge forward.

Rev Turn 4

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Even more fiery death; the leftmost ballista shot--I think--managed to eliminate two knights and a horse with this blast. Granted, there were a few crits to be had...

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The Rightmost Ballista claims only one forestman this turn.

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Overview, Turn 4. All of the Dragon Guard's melee combats for this turn were pillow fights.

McLovin Turn 5

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Infantry charges on the right flank are not incredibly effective; only a few Dragon Guard casualties.

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Nevertheless, an excellent knight charge slays the last Dragon Knight, and a sick amount of combined damage (2 spears, 4 archers) puts paid to the Dragon Guard Hero :cry: My left flank has officially crumbled. Last turn, however, I did move that mage away from the ballista and into his swordsmen bunker. I'm ready...

Rev Turn 5

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And the last remaining ballista projectile is sent careening onto the heads of several forestman archers. This shot actually sealed the deal; the arches could not bail because they had used their actions. It took about 3 or 4.

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The rightmost mage bunker skewers a forestman.

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And the ballistae prepare to fire the only remaining ammunition that they have!!!

ENDGAME

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This is the last maneuver of the game. McLovin throws his remaining guys at at my left-flank swordsman mage bunker. Having save his action, the mage used his 1d10 to augment the squad's armor for the turn, meaning the squad took no casualties (in fairness, McLovin's knight failed his attack as well).

At this point in the game, it was nearing midnight, and the field was very lopsided. I still had two wizards, 10 heavy infantry, and 5 archers surviving. Mclovin had a knight, two or three archers, two or three spears, and his hero. Victory went to the Dragon Guard.

FINAL SHOTS:

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PARTING THOUGHTS.

In addition to playing a bit more competitively this game in this game than my last several with McLovin, the addition of two wizards in my roster was an attempt to further playtest the Supernatural Dice rules from the 2010 book. Based on this game, McLovin and I both think that Supernatural Dice are quite powerful, especially when one army has wizards and the other does not. The game also demonstrates the effects of turtling versus being more aggressive in gameplay and maneuvers. I'm exhausted, so I'll continue with my reflections on the outcome of this bat rep in the morning. For now, thanks for stopping by.

~Rev.
Last edited by Rev. Sylvanus on Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby lawmaster » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:03 am

Good battle we really do have to try an get together for a battle.
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I use my flamethrower
wait what you can't do that
Sure I can see
*door catches fire*
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Zahru II » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:21 am

augmented siege weapons are OP

Great game nevertheless
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Rev. Sylvanus » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:09 pm

Zahru II wrote:augmented siege weapons are OP

Great game nevertheless


At first, that was both McLovin and my reaction to the game. Honestly, though, the artillery did not heavily sway the game in my favor until Turn 4 when the blasts took out 2 knights and 4 archers who were unable to bail. In our joint opinion, the reason the casters were so powerful was because they spent 3 turns giving insane reach to the warmachines and then were also able to join infantry units and buff them out the wazoo. Plus the fact that I was fielding 2 and he was fielding zero was a big deal.

Homebrew conclusions we've come to:
6) All wizards are now "if-you-get-one-I-get-one". That way neither of us can harness a one-sided Supernatural Advantage.

Suggestions we have for Supernatural Dice:
7) Fumbling played a factor in the game, but not an incredibly significant one. We wonder if there shouldn't be another disadvantage attached to Supernatural Dice. My first thought was implementing some sort of crankiness tied in to Supernatural Cliche's. Just like Heroes get -1 to all dice rolls per other Heroes fielded, perhaps making all Supernatural units with more than two dice cranky for each other Supernatural unit with more than two dice.

8) 1d10's are the Supernatural Die of explosions. This gives radius effects to a Supernatural action. In a medieval game with a wizard with multiple Supernatural Dice, this can lead to incredible armor buffs for a squad of infantry or range for a squad of archers. Our suggestion is that only the values on the 1d10 can actually be distributed in an area buff.

9) Given how effective the wizards were with the artillery, we also wonder if all Supernatural Buffs (range and damage included) shouldn't be Size Dependent.

Anyways, those are just some of our feedback from playtesting and experimenting with the Supernatural Dice in this game.
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Cakeman » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:45 pm

Yay, another Rev. Sylvanus-report! And it did not dissapoint, good read and nice minifigs, good photography. Did you use the rule "if range for launchers is over X (forgot... 12'?) it lands next round" or did the bombs just drop when fired? Anyway good read - what do you both think about countering wizards with? I'm thinking flying explosive-carrying kamikazes...
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Zahru II » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:49 pm

Some magical disruptor kind of unit would be pretty neat. Like some runestone on a cart that gives neg mods or something, with or without allowing multiple ones stacking. Just tossing around ideas, I have no idea how to mould these to cope with the supernatural ruleset.
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Silverdream » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:16 pm

Zahru II wrote:Some magical disruptor kind of unit would be pretty neat. Like some runestone on a cart that gives neg mods or something, with or without allowing multiple ones stacking. Just tossing around orders, I have no idea how to mould these to cope with the supernatural ruleset.


Or maybe an anti-magic field casted around a squad or anti-magic armour that dispels any supernatural bonuses.
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Rev. Sylvanus » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:07 pm

Cakeman wrote:Yay, another Rev. Sylvanus-report! And it did not dissapoint, good read and nice minifigs, good photography. Did you use the rule "if range for launchers is over X (forgot... 12'?) it lands next round" or did the bombs just drop when fired? Anyway good read - what do you both think about countering wizards with? I'm thinking flying explosive-carrying kamikazes...


Actually, I had forgotten about that stipulation; been watching a few too many Warhammer bat-reps :shock: . And that would have made a difference in the 5-7 casualties outside of the 12" range.

The best ways I've seen to combat wizards are to make it a priority target. Even 4-6 shots/attacks in a combined action can overcome moderate SD pools. And even surrounded by infantry, an opposing knight/knights can often still reach the wizard with the length of its lance. Wizard-targeting heroic feats. Armor (like Zahru's ork transport) to get into combat safely. And when you have the opportunity, use fumble dice to back-lash attacks or "curses" on the wizard itself.
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby stubby » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:45 am

Rev. Sylvanus wrote:Before we get too much farther into these turns, I want to mention one other rule that is playing into the favor of my strategy: missed shots. Any player (according to 2010 rules) may insist on tracking payload projectiles that explode. This means they will come down somewhere. Because my lauchers fire MKII "grenades" the total blast radius is 4". The net result is that even a shot whose use rating missed technically will land nearby the intended target, keeping him--if no one else--in the explosion. Drifting shots like this will actually account for a number of kills I accrue this game.

This is by design, although it should be noted that catching a target with the edge of a blast delivers a lot less damage than a direct hit. And since it's the lowest dice in the roll, it'll even less than you would expect.

The one-turn-delay for shots over 12" would have made a difference, but McLovin's real mistake was in leaving his forces bunched up while you were raining grenades on him. He should have broken up the squad plates and dispersed until he was able to engage your forces directly, forcing you to catch your own troops in the blast radius, or until you ran out of grenades. The trick would have been to make you spend ammo on smaller numbers of casualties.

Rev. Sylvanus wrote:The game also demonstrates the effects of turtling versus being more aggressive in gameplay and maneuvers.

I'm still open to suggestions for how to reward aggressive play. Handing out Behind Enemy Lines bennies every turn (1.4: The Spirit of the Game) would have helped McLovin a fair amount also.

Rev. Sylvanus wrote:Our suggestion is that only the values on the 1d10 can actually be distributed in an area buff.

I like this idea in principle, but it rules out a lot of Effects that depend on other dice types. A different idea might be to say that a 1d10 can be used to cause an Explosion, or be "burned" to add +2" radius.
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Zupponn » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:24 am

stubby wrote:I'm still open to suggestions for how to reward aggressive play. Handing out Behind Enemy Lines bennies every turn (1.4: The Spirit of the Game) would have helped McLovin a fair amount also.

Maybe hand out bennies every turn to the player with the most kills?
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby stubby » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:30 am

No, that would encourage defensive play also. I don't want to punish people for letting their dudes get slaughtered.
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Zupponn » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:44 am

Encouraging close combat more might be useful.
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Zahru II » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:29 am

Gotta agree with stubby: turtling is for powergamer munchkin cowards.
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby Rev. Sylvanus » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:32 am

stubby wrote:This is by design, although it should be noted that catching a target with the edge of a blast delivers a lot less damage than a direct hit. And since it's the lowest dice in the roll, it'll even less than you would expect.


We did follow this, which resulted in many figs who took insufficient damage.

stubby wrote:I'm still open to suggestions for how to reward aggressive play. Handing out Behind Enemy Lines bennies every turn (1.4: The Spirit of the Game) would have helped McLovin a fair amount also.


This is another option I did not know had made it into the rulebook yet. I remember the concept being discussed at length in another thread and am glad to see it written down. My suggestion would have been to re-visit this idea, but since it's in place, I'll just make the note.

Zahru II wrote:Gotta agree with stubby: turtling is for powergamer munchkin cowards.


Why thank you :D
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Re: January 4 Brikwar @ Susquehanna: Casters and Catapults

Postby IVhorseman » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:22 pm

did you also factor in the increased UR from all those supernatural dice? Woulda made shots miss even further.

To further justify the you-get-one-i-get-one thing on wizards, I think you might want to further that to be for supernatural dice in general, and not just for wizards. Meaning, if my opponent has a team with a wizard who has 3d6 2d10 and 2d8, I would be fielding commandos with 3 supernatural 1d6 lazer rifles, and maybe put the rest of the dice on my own wizard. Remember that supernatural dice can also be granted to weapons, machinery, and monsters as well to create terrifying shows of force.

Behind enemy lines bennies are the only kind of benny I have trouble defining. Picking an arbitrary point as the middle and rewarding players for crossing it does encourage frontal assaults, but would getting a unit literally BEHIND the enemy lines be more appropriate? As in, if one of your guys manages to get behind the main enemy group and assault them from the rear, that guy should get a bonus for overwhelming odds. You could calculate it by just seeing if there's more enemy units between 2 groups of guys than there are in either grouping - the smallest one gets the bonus. I played a game of brikwars last night and got my space-skull little gunship thing behind a big group of his guys and opened fire, and if he'd qualified for a benny it would have made things more interesting for sure. I was the aggressor that game for the most part, and got my guys past the midpoint first for sure. If i'd gotten bennies for all those guys, i'm pretty sure my friend would have flipped the table (he came pretty damn close already since I was winning so hard)>
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