Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Match 1 - Khador v Circle

Time for the first match-up in my choosing a new faction tournament. If you're not sure whats going on, see my previous post. The first match-up features the #3 seed Circle Orboros versus the #14 seed, Khador.

Now, if you read my first post, you know th
is isn't really a fair fight. My primary faction is Khador, so obviously, my second faction isn't going to be Khador (thus they got the lowest seed). However, I thought it was important to include them for two reasons. First, some of my friends might be reading this blog to learn a little bit more about Warmachine, and so for completion's sake, I'd like to make sure I address my favorite faction. Second, I felt I could use this match-up as a demonstration of how I will look at each faction when determining a winner for each round. So for this match-up, I will save my thoughts on Circle until the next round, and just concentrate on explaining each criteria I'll use, and how Khador stacks up to that criteria.

I should point out, as a veteran miniture
s player, I will be placing a fair amount of weight on the modeling aspect of the factions. Play style is big, value for a buck is big, background is important, but I've learned over the years I spend a heck of a lot of time modeling and painting, so you'll see a bit more weight applied to those aspects as I go through. If you don't like what your painting, it's a project that's not going to get done.

Warcasters/Warlocks: Its the meat of th
e game. Every game must involve one one of these guys, if not more. Additionally, in this system, swapping out your warcaster can make a huge difference in how the army plays. I'm not sure there is another game around where a $7 to $20 purchase can make such a drastic change in how your army plays. For this reason, it's critical to have not just one, but a few casters you're excited to play. Obviously, the more casters I like, the more incentive there is to play that faction. Additionally, since a caster is the life of the army, having an caster who I like the look and fluff of can dramatically "make" the army.

Khador has a ton of casters I love. My favorites by far are Strakhov and The Butcher. As soon as I decided on Khador I knew I needed to pick up Strakhov. He's a great model with a super cool background. I love that he's an assault kommando leader, and he gun and trench knife are too cool. Fro theom a gaming standpoint, I was really intrigued by his ability to ignore cloud effects, and the fact that he was a new model when I got into the game let me feel like I was getting in on the ground floor of at least one part of the army. The Butcher is one of the coolest models I've ever seen. His play style seems a bit too straight forward to me, but he's got such a great model and fluff, how could you not like him. Additionally, I love Irusk, Vlad, and Karchev as well. I'm not as interested in the Khador ladies, but to fair I'd not be oppossed to playing any of them either. The only warcaster model Khador has that I don't immediatly love or at least like, is the Old Witch, and to be fair, I've not given her much of a look over.

Cost Effectiveness: This category looks at the cost effectiveness of collecting a faction. It's never cheap getting into a miniatures game, but it's always nice if you can save a few bucks. The most relevant factor in this category would be the usefulness of the battle boxes. While I don't pretend to know enough to speak totally to the power levels of each box, certainly choosing a faction with a battle box caster and/or models I want to use is cost effective, since they are a discounted buy. Also, playing a faction that has models that can be used across various armies (Mercs and minions) is a bonus, as is access to free or reduced priced models for a faction. This could be models I already own or that a buddy will sell me for a good price. Finally, access to useful plastic kits is cheaper than the metal versions.

For Khador, as I said, I don't love Skorsha, but she's certainly a caster I'd be willing to try occasionally. Also, with a small investment in her Epic Cards, I get two casters for the price of one with her. I do love the two Jacks that come in the box set however. I'm not sure how good they are, but they look cool, and seem at least serviceable in most games. They also seem to be great Jacks to learn with as one is close combat and can do throws and other can shoot, with an AOE no less.

Models: This category is where I look at the best models, medium models, and worst models in the range. As I said, given my hectic schedule and lack of local gaming store, I tend to spend a lot more time painting and modeling than I do playing, so the look of the faction is crucial. If I don't like the models, especially the really good ones gamewise, I'm not going to want to paint them, and I'm going to lose interest in the faction.

For Khador, I love most the models. Jacks like the Kodiak and Drago are AMAZING. additionally, their troops and solos are generally amazing. The Iron Fang Pikemen are great, as are the widowmakers. For solos, the manhunter is absolutly BA looking, as are the Great Bears. The only models I really don't love are the assault Kommandos, the Man o' Wars, and the regular Kayazy. I will say though, having bought some Assault Kommandos they are growing on me a bit, and the UA flamethrower is awesome, and gives me hope if the do a Kommando resculpt in the future.

Other Players Locally: Pretty self explanitory. Varity is the spice of life, so if another faction is played locally, or by someone I know, that’s going to downgrade it. Not as big of deal for me, given the few players I know, but if you decide to do this, something to think about. Another thought here is if you hope to get people involved locally, are their certain factions you can assume they will play or will want to play. Not always applicable, but sometimes you know…

Nobody plays Khador that I know, so green light there.

Playstyle: How does the army play. Is it in your face close combat, is it long range shooty, or is it a fast glass cannon. Finding an army that plays the way you like is crucial. Additioanlly, It’s important to consider in a second army creating some gaming variety for yourself. If you have a long range shooty army, are you really going to be excited to play another long range shooty army with different models? Perhaps, but for me, I want to find some variety in my games. If I don’t feel like shooting at long range, I’d like to have a close combat army.

For Khador, they are slow, powerful, and great at close combat. I don’t love how slow they are, but there are ways in the army to mitigate that. Also, I defiantly do like the in your face close combat feel, and their ability to shrug off damage and keep coming at you. Very cool. As for the second thought, it’s my first army so no variety issues here.

Fluff Bonus: – it’s always more fun if you can get into the ethos of your army. The look , feel, and history of your force can be crucial in bringing you into the game. Relating to your army can really be a great way to get maximum fun out of the game. It seems like at tournaments the guys having the most fun are the guys who seem to really, really dig their army and know the fluff.

Khador is great. I love the Russian/Eastern European feel. I love the fact that they are humans. I always want to play humans in any game I play (I was always a human in WoW for example). I also love the fact have they have this storied, military tradition, and that they feel they have to right the wrongs that have been perpetrated on them in the past. I have loved reading all the fluff I’ve had on them, and I can really get into the fluff. Huge win here for me.

“X” Factor: - This is sort of a catch all category for anything special that might be a tipping point for an army. For example, if I have an awesome idea for a theme or paint scheme, that can be a difference maker. Maybe a faction has a warcaster or model that is just so awesome, I absolutely want to include it in my collection. Maybe it’s a story or visual I’ve come across that really fires me up about a faction. Another example might be my desire to keep things simple by staying in Warmachine, or conversely, I want to really get a Hordes force to learn the rules differences and nuances . There are a large diversity of things that might give an army bonus points, and this is a great spot to make

mention of that.

For Khador, it was just the whole look and feel. There was very little I didn’t love about this force. This force was just head and shoulders above anything else I saw in the Iron Kingdoms, and in many other game systems for that matter. I just loved it all, so I had to go with them.

Hope that helps explain the process I will be going through in these matchups. So for this round, Circle moves on by default. See ya soon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Choosing an new faction

I love choosing armies, factions, gangs, crews, etc.

In fact, it might be one of my favorite aspects of playing miniature board games. Is there anything better than exploring all the possibilities of each faction and deciding which group you're going to cast your lot with? I love pouring over the rule books, model ranges, and forums to figure out which army I want to play. Lots of factors go into the decision, and it's fun to dream and think about all the possibilities before making that first major financial commitment. When picking a new army for Warhammer Fantasy after finishing an old one, I always liked to create a tournament bracket of all the armies, and make one v one decisions as I whittled it down to my next army. Usually I do this process with my buddies in a car ride home from a tournament. It was pretty quick and dirty, and had a lot of gut reaction built in, but it was fun, and I, as well as my buddies, enjoyed the tournament format.

Now, I've just recently started getting into Warmachine. It's a fun game, and I've really grown to love the rules, models, and of course the way Privateer Press does business. It's been very refreshing to get into a new rule set and system for a variety of reasons. So, with a new game I had to choose a faction to play. This I did, and actually it wasn't that hard. One faction, Khador, stood out head and shoulders above the others and so I began collecting them. I am not even close to being done collecting Khador but it's time to pick a new faction. The reason for the second faction is that I need a faction to demo the game with. We don't have a a local gaming store, nor do we really have a local community, so if I want to grow the game, I've got to have the resources to play and show someone else how to play.

To that end, I need to pick up at least the basics of a second force. I don't want to drop a ton of cash into it, but i'd like to have at least a small force to demo the game with. In my mind, if I'm going to invest $60-$90 in a demo force, I'd like it to be a faction I can later expand into a full force, and to do that, it needs to be a faction I can love. That leads me to engaging in one of my favorite aspects of the hobby, picking a new force.

I will lay out how I go about this, so that if you want to do the same process, in Warmachine or another game, you can. I highly recommend giving it a try, it's a lot of fun.

First, I needed to figure out how many factions I had to choose from. Since I'm open to playing Warmachine or Hordes, I put the count at possible factions at 14. Let me explain. First, there are the obvious 9 factions: Cygnar, Khador, Retribution, Cryx, Menoth, Trollbloods, Everblight, Skorne, and Circle. For Mercs, I felt I could break them into 3 seperate factions: Dwarves, Pirates, and general Mercs. For Minions, they could be easily split into 2 factions: Gators and Farrow, so there is my 14 factions.

Next, I needed to drop the teams into a bracket. It's always best to use brackets that are in multiples of four. So for 14 teams, I used a 16 team bracket with 2 first round byes. Also, to try to prevent getting a great faction knocked out too early, I wanted to seed the factions just like the NCAA basketball tourny does. At first this may seem crazy, as ranking them would seem to to negate the need for the bracket, however, the ranks a simple gut feeling ranking without much insight. When I've done this in the past, I've found that rarely do my initial rankings pan out exactly as I ranked them. So, I quickly ranked the fourteen factions, and then placed them in the brackets. You can see the brackets below.

From this point, I will take each match-up, and compare the factions in various pre-determined categories . I will discuss those categories in my first match-up post. After looking at all the categories, I will use the information gained to declare a winner in each round.

Next time the first match-up. 3) Circle of Orboris vs. 14) Khador

Saturday, January 15, 2011

coming soon

coming soon