Sunday, 30 August 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful, 1, 2, 3!

Hello people,

One of the reasons we all engage in our hobby, and many others besides, is to find some escapism from the occasional harshness of real life. I often find that when life bites a bit harder than usual I often splurge on my various interests.

As such, behold!
I rarely get out of my pit early on a weekend but yesterday the lure of a Hound's Tooth and buddies did the job. Three Khiraz join the party along with two monstrous TIE Punishers to join Thrawn's Splinter Squadron. As such I spent an enjoyable morning popping card tokens and reshuffling my card folder (GEEK!!) whilst comtemplating the Slaver repaint.  Now that will be a labour of, geeky, love!

The Infinity pile has already been discussed. The second week of September has been booked as leave and I'm looking at a couple of ITS tourneys at Wayland in October. Always useful to have an aiming point!

So that just leaves Netrunner. I have a starter set and that's it so far. I can myself making a big investment over time and to help myself out I'm going to go all Tale of the Net with a series of posts charting my introduction. True Tale of style I'm going to set myself a monthly budget of £30 and do my utmost to stick to it. As much as anything it should be a nice change of pace from X-Wing and Infinity posts ;)
Meanwhile here's a Netrunner site I found that will form my lunchtime reading for a while.

Happy days ;)

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Embrace the Chaos

Nothing that dramatic in honesty but whilst attempting to simplify and progress my current projects I've actually managed, as many of us do, to increase the mountain whilst simultaneously finding other shiny things to run after.......

Firstly I've finally spent my birthday Element Games voucher on this lot;
I went for the Aguacile specialists the Tunguska Inventnors (the pandas are SO cool) and a couple of Zonds to round out the selection. The rest went on completing the scenery set with a three storey apartment, some holo ads, consoles and a dumpster which is to follow.

Additionally I've dug out another couple of AT-43 vehicles to add to the scenery set and also picked up a Moran Massai as I've realised just how good they could be. While I'm at a pair of Geckos have also made thier way onto the WANT list. Meanwhile I'll be picking up about £100 of X-Wing Wave 7 on Saturday as well as renewing the car tax........sigh!

I was already looking at taking a weeks leave in early September which is now likely to become scenery week. I'll also paint a few of Rob's bits to alleviate the mild guilt.

Moving swiftly on, Rich introduced me to Kaos Ball and the Netrunner LCG over the weekend.

Kaos Ball looked pretty much like another Blood Bowl / Dreadball clone when the Kickstarter came round so I didn't really take a look. Apparently it's aimed at novice / non gamers and it certainly comes across that way with simple, primary coloured graphics / print.
However, despite deceptively simple gameplay there is a lot more depth to the game than I expected. Card driven there's a decent element of resource management and bluff. There are various cheat / power up cards with some drastic penalties if you get it wrong. Most impressively there's multiple methods to score points, which ramp up as you play through the quarters which in themselves are timed by how many cards you've played.

As such there are quite a few variables knocking about that you have to pay attention to. All of a  sudden it wasn't nearly as basic a game as I first thought. Probably still not a replacement for DB, if and when I get round to playing it again, but I'd happily play a few more games of it :)

Which brings us to Netrunner, which has already been registering on the fringe of my radar for a little while now. In honesty it was already hitting a lot of buttons for me. The background, imagery, concept and the fact that as a card game it's straight out of the pack with little room required are all big wins. the only downside is its LCG nature and the potential need to catch up with the pack.
I'll admit that I wanted this game to be good and I was HUGELY impressed. Learning as we went with pre-built decks meant we surely never got all the bells and whistles going but they weren't necessary. There's a great tech feel, and thrill, to the game.

You alternatively play as the Runner and the Corporation and both feel significantly different to play. As with many LCGs there are strong resource management elements but the big thing here is the feeling of paranoia and pressure that comes with it.

As I'm sure you've already guessed I forsee a fair bit of Netrunner in my near future :]

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Top Gun

Hello people,
Fair warning this is not just another musings post but also one in which I seemingly big myself up, so pay attention and acknowledge my awesomeness!! ;)
Returning from the X-Wing Scandinavian Nationals it has finally sunk in that I'm pretty good at this game and would consider myself an elite player. Without taking an acknowledged meta list and rolling average dice across the event I managed 10th, which is a very good result, predominantly through knowing my list and how to fly it pretty damn well.
I've rarely been a high end competitor with most of the games I've played over the years but this one's different. Even though it might not seem it from this post I'm generally far too modest to claim such status when it's appeared. This time it's different ;)
I do genuinely mean "appeared" because it was never an intention it just kind of happened though in retrospect I can see why.
As with any game I went through the three main steps;
1. Learn the mechanics
2. Learn the faction / army
3. Learn the opposing factions / armies
Sounds simple but with each step comes various levels of skill and expertise, deeper levels of understanding.
Learning the mechanics isn't just moving figures and rolling dice. At the top end it's also about scenery placement / interaction, deployment, opening moves as much as end game. Neglect the former and your less likely to be about for the latter.
Similarly learning statlines is merely the starting point for a greater appreciation of the synergies between troop choices and how they can combine to form an overarching plan and strategy. It's also as much about pre-empting your opponent as about planning your own manouvres.
As mentioned above this has been an almost accidental process for me and began by playing in a tourney at Dark Sphere. Realising just how close it was to work I started to turn up on a Thursday night. As much as anything that left Tuesdays at Enfield Gamers free for other stuff rather than near constant X-Wing.
 There are some very good players at Dark Sphere, predominantly 186 Squadron, and by playing and chatting with those guys on a weekly basis my own game came on in leaps and bounds. It was part osmosis but also that people took the time to discuss builds and tactics with me. From there I developed my own style which is all important as you'll fly best what suits you best.
Elite players and elite play groups can often attract bad press. Sometimes it's justified, most times it isn't. Being a very good player and being a WAAC (win at all costs) aren't the same thing. Sometimes they coincide but plenty of WAAC players aren't top players and even fewer are part of an elite play group for that very reason i.e. the inability to play nicely with others.
Getting to know the 186 guys they'll give you a hard game but not a hard time. The two are often confused and misinterpreted. I was invited to join after the UK Nationals and was very pleased to do so. It had as much to do with who I am and how I behave rather than how well I push plastic toys around a star mat.
Since that time I've experienced various negative comments and reactions to being a member of 186 but they've been outweighed by the positive. There are plenty of other similar groups about (Misfits / Vanguard) and they're all good guys. It's an undoubted truth that once you play at a high level you want those high end games, they're simply far more enjoyable.
Tournaments are one way to get that, another is to give newer players a leg up to the same level. The best way to do that is by giving them your best game....without being a dick about it and then chatting things through if they want to. 186 Squadron did that for me and now I'm more than happy to do the same, it's paying it on which us only right.
Others don't see or understand that. They see group like 186 in a tournament setting and don't see the rest. When they bitch they can sometimes get a, totally understandable, reaction.
For myself I'm proud to be a part of 186 Squadron and what it actually represents and will defend that to all comers.
Meanwhile I played Infinity Tuesday night as part of a club challenge between Enfield Gamers and Dark Sphere's Infinity guys. Jonny is obviously a very good player. Have gave me a good high end game but wasn't a dick about it.

Whilst gaving me a kicking across the table he explained what he was doing and helped me by talking through various tactical options. Whilst winning fairly easily he gave me some good ideas for what I'd do differently in terms of list, deployment and tactics. He didn't have to do that, he could easily have just crushed me, and my spirit, but made the choice not to. Elite player vs WAAC arsehole. Next time we play I hope I can return the favour and give him a more challenging game, we'll both enjoy it far more.
Awesomeness!! ;)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Scandi-licious part 3

Hello people,

Not a lot of chance to post yesterday as it was a very long intense day.

First off Nigel took the Armada title to become Nordic, and as such European, Champion!

For myself I ended up going 5-1 to claim 10th in the Swiss and my first top 16 cut which is immensely pleasing. Unfortunately my dice let me down in the first round this morning but I was a good close, fun game.....even against Dual IG.

International Prize Sniping was however achieved with some funky Crit tokens, especially appropriate as Boba took five in the final game ;)

Over the weekend my dice were decidedly rpoey but I flew pretty well and lucked out a couple of times with two very close match wins. The loss was unfortunate as the guy slow played me from turn 1 as an obvious tactic. It was the worst game of X-Wing I've ever played but thankfully it didn't effect the trip particularly.

That being said there were issues with the trip as a whole. Event logistics creaked, accommodation was an issue which stretched the budget past expectation.

On the upside were 6 good games, 3 of which were excellent. Top 16 is an achievement that I'm very proud of and one that spurs me on further. The 186 were excellent company an the majority of the very european field were excellent to chat to. Lots of quality banter!

The icing on the cake was the superb burger place that provided lunch three days in the row :)

Despite the feeling that the trip could have been more than it was we'd definitely do it again, just better planned. A case of being somewhat wiser from the experience.....overall a highly enjoyable one :)

Thank you Copenhagen!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Scandi-licious part 2

Greetings from Ballerup!

Other than a slightly delayed flight the trip in was straight forward and uneventful.

Rocking up at the venue this morning you could hear the event logistics continue to creak but at the end of the day Imperial Assault, Netrunner, Conquest, Star Wars LCG and Armada tourneys have taken place which is a big win all the way around and a major achievement on the part of Vince and his crew.

After a leisurely stroll and lunch in town Nigel hit the Armada tables while I hit one of the many sofas for some pre tourney R&R. It has to be said that the venue is A1 with a well stocked bar and plenty of amenities just round the corner. Rumours are that space may be an issue from tomorrow but a lack of faith is often disturbing!

Currently two of the 186 are in the running to take the Armada title. International prize sniping ahoy!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Scandi-licious prt 1

Hello people,

This was a mobile post from Nandos Gatwick south terminal as myself and Nigel set out to Copenhagen for the FFG Nordic Nationals. I've just noticed that it didn't publish so this is some 30 hours delayed.

Soon to join to a number of 186 Squadron for an international prize sniping sortie a number of the event logistics have crashed and burnt faster than a lone Academy TIE making a run for that small moon.

Meanwhile spirits remain high and more importantly I have themed luggage ; )

Updates as and when possible!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Little by Little

Hello again people,

No, not too much has happened since last time I showed you some actual figures. I've had some time but, in  honesty, haven't always made the best of it as the coalface has been somewhat flinty recently.
I have however finally come to the end of the construction production line as all of mine and Rob's remaining figures have been built and based. As with such finely crafted multi-part figures a few stray antennas and the like have detached themselves during the basing process but that'll take a few moments before a touch of undercoat provides a further amount of adhesive bonding.

That should be Wednesday evening before.....SEEMLESS SEGWAY....I disappear off to Copenhagen for the FFG Scandinavian Nationals.

I've played against foreign players but not as one so this should be an interesting experience and one that as such I shall chart via camera phone and data roaming, as long as it's not too wallet crippling. Myself and Nigel fly out Thursday lunchtime to rendezvous with about a dozen 186 Squadron ready to take on the best the Nordics have to offer.

The X-Wing isn't until Saturday but a few of the guys, including Nigel, are also competing in Armada. I shall attempt to make myself useful as required whilst also taking the opportunity to explore the event as well as the city itself.

Flying back Monday lunchtime I am intent on using what time off I have as best I might before the coalface beckons yet again....

It'll definitely be an experience! ;)

Monday, 3 August 2015

It's a hard life ;)

Hello people,

So basically I spent the whole weekend gaming and I'm knackered. Definitely looking for a soft day in the office but ill be smiling so not a problem.

Saturday myself and Rich headed down to Tonbridge Wells for the Totally Crit 3rd ITS tournament. I was in a state of mild trepidation as I'd still call myself a novice player and this was an official ranked event. As was always likely to be the case there was no need as the Totally Crit guys, check out their podcast / Facebook etc, run a laid back and welcoming event. Also I've done more than enough events in my time ;)

As previously mentioned my expectations were set at "learning experience" so I was as suprised as anyone when I actually won my first game. Luck was involved, with a string of impervious armour rolls, but I also felt that I played pretty well. Already more than happy with the day I lost the second fairly hard with several rushes of blood to the head. Point noted. 

Heading into the final game I beasted my perfectly amiable opponent off the table only to fail to pay due attention to the scenario. Scoring points for dominating horizontal zones across the table I pushed into a safe position in his deployment zone....only to find out they didn't score and as such lost the game where I should have won all ends up ;)
A great day out and, despite coming one off the bottom, one that will definitely be repeated soon. I'm really pleased that I finally hit the Infinity tourney scene as I'm sure it will only improve my game and as such my enjoyment of it.

So, back on more familiar territory myself, Mr C and Nigel headed down to Dark Sphere yesterday for a bit more X-Wing tourney action.
Due to inbound transport issues we were soon into the action. Running my Stress Kath list again I went 3-2 to place a respectable 11th. The two games I lost were also the best of the day against skilled, clean playing opponents with whom I also had a good laugh. Two of the game I won involved a certain amount of gameplay with more than a suggestion of slow play. 

So another good day out and some good experience flying my list against a few more archetypes. As with the whole weekend I generally know where I went wrong. This is never the end of the world for me. I'm not hugely competitive but I like to know that I've played as well as I can. Doing well in a tournament setting is almost a by-product of that. It's always easier to enjoy winning but the manner matters to me and many others. An easy win isn't necessarily an enjoyable win, for me at least.

As my previous post mentioned I've got pretty good at X-Wing. I'm not nearly so good at Infinity, yet at least ;) , but that doesn't mean I enjoy playing any less. In honesty between X-Wing and Infinity I'm pretty well set for quite sometime.

Happy Days :)  (whatever end of the rankings I'm at)