Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Time for War: CSM v. BA Simultaneous

The armories rumble, the mouths chant, the planet wails.  Over the horizon, a grim wall of marching men and crushing treads advances, their grim resolve already weakening the defenders.  What hope can their be?  Walls of ceramite-bound flesh advance, and the fate of the city is near - wait a minute, are those cult marines?  Orbital bombardments wipe out those poor slow bastards and everybody takes the afternoon off.

As threatened, I decided to run a game with simultaneous turns.  Well, near simultaneous, we took turns in each phase activating units.  This was a simple, "fundamentals" type game with decidedly mediocre units without great synergies or anything that simply wipes units.
I'd already gotten a regular game in, a mono-nurgle CSM/Daemons list vs. a mono-tzeentch CSM list.  If you haven't seen marines fail to kill each other in a game, try some plague marines vs. 1000 sons.  You'll be amazed at how nothing dies the entire time.
I brought Typhus, a giant blob of plague zombies, two squads of PMs in rhinos, a vindicator, heldrake, great unclean one, big blog of plaguebearers, soul grinder.  My opponent brought a dante/sanguinary guard murder squad, Death Company, storm raven, and a mess of tacticals in rhinos.
The amazing thing about this match was how little taking alternating actions changes anything, except for the excessive boredom of waiting a half hour to take moves, and the excessive despair you feel as your army gets mauled before you do anything with them.  The biggest material difference was that flyers are definitely wonky, and require a different methodology for movement that neither of us really gelled on.  Other than that, I don't think anything died that would have lived, and nothing lived that would have died.
Psychic powers should probably be generated per psyker to avoid confusion and delaying.  That means that Draigo could gate, nova, and sanctuary as one activation rather than three.  A big part of the game ended up being delaying, "null" activating and shuffling guys around, waiting for the opponent to reveal their hand.  So this format definitely encourages MSU to an extent.
Because we weren't playing uber-lists, the total killing power of our lists was definitely neutered.  I couldn't push his line and he couldn't push mine.  His CC guys were tied up thankfully with my GUO who had iron arm; otherwise they would have rolled over my midfield with ease.  He eventually died, but not before dante's kids had no chance of moving over to any contested areas.  We held our objectives, and couldn't budge each other of them.  Nor did our lists have enough mobility to even hope to take it to the backfield.  I failed my first reserve roll on my plague bearers and then promptly forgot them for the remainder of the game.  Damn.
We played maelstrom; I lost by a point, same as the game before. Maelstrom is pretty stupid.  I had a brief interest in it from tournament format fatigue, but taking a game about dice and ALSO making it about random card draws makes the game just about unplayable.  Without extreme mobility and cheese methodology, you may as well just roll off to see who gets favorable draws and call it good. 
It's been awhile since I've had a jetbikeless army, and boy, do you need them.  The realistic mechanics of distance mean that most units can never hope to be a part of the game other than holding back objectives.  If you're not heavy on DS, jump packs, or turbo-boosting, then you really can't hope to get into your opponents face.
I'm going to try playing this mode with some tournament-level lists, see how it goes.  My initial impression is that it will work fine, and again not change the overall "what-would-happen" of the battle.  But maybe the powerful will rise higher and the low fall lower.  For casual/friendly games I highly recommend it, simply because you are engaged with the game the entire time rather than in 20-minute increments. 

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