Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Gaming thoughts

Over the last couple of weeks I've managed to get a game in and watch a few others, the luxury of time off! And I've had a few thoughts on gaming, mostly about three way battles, proxy models and fair play. Nothing ground breaking or new I'd imagine, but I thought I'd put my thoughts down on here, it's what this page is about after all.

I'll start with three way battles. I turned up at the club the other day with no game planned, and was invited to join two other gamers in a battle. Now, in principle it sounded like a good idea, in reality its not. Now, a 2 vs 1 is a different matter, these games can be fun and can be useful for newer gamers, as they can discus details and tactics easily with there playing partner but 1 vs 1 vs 1 are not so simple. Even something as simple as deployment becomes challenging, what size table do you use? What deployment zones? Who table edges are who's? If you could put together a 6 sided table you could get around some of these problems, but not all of them. The other issue is time, these games take a lot more time than normal games. With extra set up times and an extra Player turn per game turn, time quickly disappears.

The only fun thing with these games is who to go after, with a whole host of models on the board, there are always targets. We played a 2000 point battle between a chaos army with a few bikes, a raider, 3 obliterators and marines, a wolf army with thunder wolves, scouts, a grey hunter squad and a whirlwind thing, and my Hjaltland LI, so with 6000 points on the board it was a little crowded, even with there extra 2foot of length we put on the end. Personally, I think games like these are not great, and I would much rather just watch a normal game than try and run another 3 way game.

The next week my game fell through at the last minute, 😞 , so I just watched the three other matches that were being played. One thing I noticed in these matches was the use of proxies, or rather there different uses. All three games had proxies of some sort or another, and all for different reasons. The first game was between Elder and Chaos Daemons, all very nicely painted models with some really good conversions. One of the players was proxying one daemon for a different daemon to test out the rules. The second game was SW vs Orks, with the Ork player using Rhinos for looted wagons, again all models were painted up nicely and there was some good conversions. The Rhinos were painted up in orkish colours and all, so you could just as easily called them conversions. The third fight was Chaos Marines against Orks. The chaos army was mostly painted, albeit in rather random colours and with no overall scheme, but most of the Orks were unpainted ( not a problem as far as I'm concerned ) but there were a lot of proxies, mostly Marine bikes for Ork bikes, random armless Orks for various weapons and large plastic dinosaurs for Squiggoths.

Now, proxing for testing rules is not only sensible but also a reasonable thing to do. It means you don't have to spend time, money and effort on something you may not actually want to use. A friend is using some rhinos as wyverns at present to see if he want to run 4 of them in a list, that's about 136 quids worth of models, a lot of money if he decides not to use them. Although if your still proxying after several months it gets a bit silly. Proxing for units with no models, something of  a rarity these days, with a similar model or conversion is also fine in my eyes, as long as it is similar. Using a converted rhino for a looted wagon is fine, both model and fluff wise. I can't think of any other codex entries with out models these days that would need proxying, I'm sure there are some somewhere.

Both of these uses of proxies are fine in my eyes, there sensible and reasonable. The final example of proxying is not so clear cut. The Ork player was proxying a number of different units for different reasons. He was using SM bikes as war bikes, similar in size and shape, they are reasonable proxies, but with no attempt to orkify them, does it make them less valid? Along with using various random Ork models to represent various units, such as plain old Orks boys as Runtherders and random Orks as Weirdboyz, it adds to the question of their validity as proxies. The one example however that I find hard to deal with though is when it comes to Forge World items. Proxying to test rules is fine, as FW models aren't cheap, and no one wants to fork out a load of hard earned cash for something that may turn out to be useless and proxying a plastic dinosaur for a Squiggoth is ok, border line but ok, but 3 is pushing it a little I feel. This is especially so when you know there not doing it short term until they can buy the real thing. The other thing is a matter of scale. What size is a proper Squiggoth? I haven't ever seen one, nor do I have the measurement for one, so how do I know that the plastic dinosaur is an accurate proxy? If its a little out, I won't be bothered, but if its a lot out I would. After all it can make a big difference in a game using true line of sight and base to base contact.

I may well be being a little harsh with my criticism, but I feel that there is a big difference between proxying a model or two in the short term and half an army on a regular basis. Now, I'm more inclined to allow there player in question to get away with this sort of thing as he's just a kid, he's enjoying the game and he's the future of the hobby. It does kind of make the game very one sided if he's bringing lots of FW units or high powered units, all of which are proxies. Maybe it's just me being a grumpy old man. But it does kind of flow in to my next point, fair play.

I bring this up as the other Ork player, playing the SW's, fired a shock attack gun and rolled a double, a 3 I think, meaning he had to place the template on the nearest unit, friend or foe. Now, he chose to place it slap bang in the middle and take 7 hits, when he could have placed it at the edge and taken just 3. Now, he lost 5 boyz, which didn't do to much to him, as he drew the game in the end, but it could have done a lot more damage in the long run as opposed to loosing just 1 or 2 boyz. That's about 9 to 16 hits different in cc, and that could be huge against MEQ's. So what's that answer?

Personally, I think you can look at it in several ways. In friendly games I would play it that either let your opposition choose or choose with them, or just drop it in the middle and let the dice fall as they will, after all its a friendly. In a more competitive setting, I would either draw a straight line and place it on the closest model regardless of what the model is or choose a corner of the unit and go from there, after all its a competitive environment and every wound counts. You can bet that your opponent won't give you easy wounds and their playing for the win as well. I've bent a few rules in my time on the tournament tables, some intentionally, but mostly just by accident or over enthusiasm. Fair play though does require both sides to partake, if one side is playing for the win regardless of the game, them its fair play to use the rules to your advantage as much as possible.

In the end though, its up to the players and the environment your playing in. The main thing though, is to make sure your having fun!