Friday, April 22, 2011

[RPG] A Hat Tip To OSR

I've mentioned  it here more than a few times that I don't play D&D.

I really never did. I don't have any early years Moldavy/Holmes/Red Box nostalgia, nor any Temple, Mountain, or Lair adventure stories. Really- I don't.

I did give it a try once when I was about 19. I was young, in college, recently married, and playing with some very good friends. I can say I honestly tried it. I think it was AD&D, but I honestly don't know. TheDude might.

I know I got frustrated by a lot of the inherent design- how random generation made the possibilities for character ideas much more restricted. I didn't like how limiting it seemed to me, after playing points-buy games. I found class constraints infuriating, and the lack of rationale for the rules more than slightly annoying. I wanted to know "why" a lot.  "It just IS that way" became my GM's mantra, which was a drain to him, I'm sure.

THAC0 was my number one enemy and I railed on it incessantly. It just seemed DUMB to me that the more armor you had, the harder you were to be hit. Understandably, every rule system needs a baseline on how to attack, and this was the standard for years. I comprehend the concept intellectually- but in common sense terms, it was the dumbest thing I'd heard in a long time. My GM started calling it something else, just to get me to be quiet.

The campaign had a pretty serious storyline, but a lot of laughs were had. "I got better" was a pretty major one-liner that's still used by those of us that were in the game. (I can't remember who said it first, though.)  Going into a bar became the code for going to the next town. I drove the rogue insane and I think I captured some bad guys.

I don't remember the game because of the system. I remember it because of the people and the time in my life. I remember being young and having fun with my pals despite all the problems I found with the system.

Whether I like the system or am part of the OSR movement is not the point- the point is that there are literally hundreds of bloggers out there, producing insanely crazy-good materials for a system that THEY love.

They're talking about and finding new things to do with their system of choice, and engaging others while they're at it. Despite some minor quibbles on language and reason, the entire "Old School Is Cool Again" mentality is a good thing for the community.

Even WITH disagreements and face-offs and general frustrations, these guys (for the very most part- I've seen one or two lady OSR bloggers) are helping the roleplaying/gaming community simply by having discussions. The passion and intensity behind their work is unreal and definitely a bonus for everyone involved.

I don't hold any grudges or unpleasantness about the OSR stuff, despite being a "new school" player, for the most part. Why would I? The OSR guys know their stuff, they like to talk about it, and in general, help grow a cottage industry when no one else is doing it. Besides, these guys are pretty nice overall. One of the VERY nicest people I have met in my life happens to game at my store, and writes a pretty darn good blog

In fact, his blog was part of my inspiration when I was contemplating starting a gaming blog. The only real issue I had was that I knew I'd never be as good. I'm simply not as talented a writer, nor as creative a mind- but he got me thinking that maybe MY voice might be of interest to others. Thanks, Jeff.

Being passionate about what you do, and getting others to join in - whether to agree or find fault- is something we as gamers could do more; and benefit greatly.

So, to all you THAC0 nuts out there, thanks for making the community so much fun. I'm glad I'm benefitting and watch some of you in serious awe.

But I'm keeping my new-fangled wuji games, thank you very much.  =)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

[40K] IG/BA vs BT/GK

This week's league game was against the team I forgot about- IG &BA. The team is composed of the youngest players in the league, something I really didn't notice until the LO pointed it out.

I was worried about a lot of shooting, and for good reason. We lost, even playing pretty aggressively. My partner summed it up pretty accurately- it was frustrating. Rather than just my snapshot, let's see how it went.

[I absolutely failed to get any sort of idea of their army list. I'm guessing here-

1 Chimera,
1 artillery tank thing
1 Predator (?) with TLLC
1 Vendetta
Dev squad with 4 plasma cannons
IC of unknown stripe (bronze with wings) and jumper crew
IG squad with Demo and melta inside small tank
Drop Pod
Furioso Dreadnaught]

We brought something kinda like: ( I can't completely remember. We made a last minute change from our pre-determined list that might not have been so wise)

EC (Accept any challenge)
5 Terminators w 2 CML and tank hunter
Crusader Squad (9)w LRC (dozer blade on the LRC)
Crusader Squad (5)
Razorback w/ TLLC

Grand Master
Purifier Squad in Rhino
Terminator Squad of GK doom

We had Spearhead with Seize Ground, 4 objectives. We finally got first turn and they declined to attempt to seize. (One of my opponents said that in objective games, it's better to go second. I have never found this to be true, but I really don't have a lot of experience.) We deployed across our deployment zone something like this:

Then we use a psychic scout move thing to advance a couple units some more. They put everything in reserves. On our turn,we move some more and then sit tight since there is nothing to shoot at. They can't come in, so turn 2 comes around very quickly.

We mostly sit tight again, waiting for something to do. Of course we move towards objectives, acting in a fairly aggressive fashion since there's really not a reason not to. The drop pod comes in behind my LRC, and out comes Furioso.

The rest of their units fail to come in on turn 2, so it's turn 3. We shoot at Furioso and the pod, do a little more scooting and getting onto objectives, but wait it out again. On turn 3, they STILL don't come in except for the artillery thing whose name I don't know. Of course, I shoot at it with my LRC.

Turn 4. Finally things to shoot at and things to do.  He brings in his Purifiers on a Rhino, as well as move through cover to get better shots and get on objectives. We shoot a lot- and get shot in return. My Termies go down pretty fast despite being in area cover. This was a big victory for them as the CML are a big part of our army. Then the IG blob comes in and takes out a ton of the GK termies. The tide is starting to change...

I missed almost the entirety of turn 5 due to being at the counter with a regular customer. Luckily, I have a great partner that I trust to kill heretics and mutants with much more effectiveness than I can. I came back and I was still alive- which was good news in my book, since his crew was kinda shaky.

Turn 6. My troops from inside the LRC are contesting an objective, but there's a vehicle on it so of course, we assault it to actually HOLD it. His last couple GK Termies are in HtH with Mephiston (uh-oh). I destroy the vehicle and bunker up on the objective, and then his GK are down to one.

After Mephiston wins in HtH with a Grey Knight terminator.

Turn 7- The last of my guys were in assault combat with Mephiston due to his jump move, and well- we got eaten for breakfast. We held on as long as we could, because my LRC was pushing towards the objective- but the IG guys immobilized it and this game was a wrap with them winning 2-0.

What I learned: It wasn't anything I did- I learned something really awesome by watching. My partner's use of cover to keep his guys within 50% or more of cover was amazing. He moved carefully and stretched his Terminators to the absolute maximum of the 2" coherency to get guys in a "conga line" across area terrain to area terrain and still stay "in cover"-it was masterful. In addition, his REMOVAL of GK was brilliant- he was careful to keep 50% or more of the unit in cover at all times- so when he had to take guys off the field, he always took guys that didn't hurt his cover ratio. I would never in a million years think of something like that if I had not seen him do it.

What I need to work on: With both my partner and I fielding small, expensive armies, I need to use everything I have to my advantage and not take silly stuff. A lasgun might not be the best choice against some of our opponents to come.

About my opponents:  I honestly don't mind losing to younger players- as I've said before, my son smokes me pretty often when I (rarely) play Warmachine. They were very pessimistic the first 3 turns- but when the guns started blazing, they got really into it. I enjoy the enthusiasm- they had fun. Their army was pretty tight, and set for Termies- which did not help us a lot. Despite some communication gaps between them, they did well and played a tough game.

I am looking at making a big change to my army... but I haven't decided yet. We'll see what my partner says and go from there...