06/14/2014: Summertime Skirmish

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06/14/2014: Summertime Skirmish

Postby Scrape » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:22 am

06/14/2014 Battle on the Porch

Unfortunately I lost a lot of the pictures from this battle, including the setup. Okay, truth be told I was using my wife's fancy camera and had no idea what I was doing and ended up with super blurry unusable shots until she came along and saved the day by showing me what to do with a macro lens (all you photographers can laugh at me, I'll suck it up). I'll try to show what happened using the few pictures I have, bear with me!

This was a two player game, just Pete's Pastel army versus my green and brown mercenary company Freakshow. It was a gorgeous Saturday and we played on my porch. To maximize our outdoor time, we decided to go all-out Battle, no Skirmish here, which makes my thread title misleading but "Summertime Battle" just doesn't have the alliteration to it, y'know? We had both brought big collections of frames, so we began the guessing game of how many to field. This is really fun when you've got a regular opponent- you know a bit about their fighting style and what they usually bring to the table, so it's a real mind game.

We were both angling to be the defender, and each fielded 5 frames instead of the maximum of 6. I went a system shy and managed to snatch Defender status from Pete, who thought I would field all 6 frames like I usually do. Sucker! His PPA was 4 and mine was 6; not a huge difference.

I usually run a melee-heavy group, but I knew that Pete liked to fight from range and so I mixed it up a bit, running half melee and half artillery/direct fire in hopes of not being stuck out of range. Pete surprised me by not fielding many artillery units at all- 3 of his 5 frames were melee hybrids and he only had two artillery units. Color me shocked, yet again!

Starting score was Freakshow 48, Pastels 36

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I had a hard time deploying my stations and was uncertain about the best position at first. I placed them conservatively, behind cover along one edge of the table. This effectively set up a perimeter and limited Pete's starting areas, so I figured I would know where he was coming from. He placed his stations as an almost mirror-image of mine on the opposite edge. His frames, however, he deployed much more aggressively than I thought, putting a group of three melee hybrid frames right on the path towards my stations, with no worry about cover at all. Not what I expected, again! I started to get nervous until inspiration struck and when it came time to place the rest of my army, I went ahead and put them outside my perimeter, expecting to abandon my stations right away and pull a full swap on the board. Risky, but his melee squad was making me sweat a little.

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By the way, Pete's Stations are great: they're these little tiny guys. He claims that they're scientists whose work is valuable enough to fight over, but during combat they get into these protective suits and just try to take cover where they can. I love them!

Pete made good on his threat of a hard advance, swinging his melee squad toward my stations in a perfect formation. I knew that resisting this would be futile, and had only placed a single Hi Leg there to guard them. The poor frame was quickly destroyed and two of my stations were captured.

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:twisted: Pete's awesome Pastel chub swoops in with a melee shock wand and utterly destroys my Hi Leg. Good thing this was a measured sacrifice on my part, bwahahaha!

I decided to go ahead and abandon the third one to its fate, so I took the Naga that was guarding it and managed to roll a lucky 6 movement- enough for me to take the Pastel Station by the gas pumps. By the time we finished the second turn, we had done a complete reversal of station ownership: His melee squad had rampaged through my stations, one after another, and he held all of them. Meanwhile, I managed to secure the three stations that he had abandoned. In the process, we had each lost a frame. The score was Freakshow 42, Pastels 32.

:( I don't have the in-between shots, but hopefully these annotated pics can show what happened.
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...Again, sorry that there are no pics of the action here. :? All I have is summary from my notes! We took a pizza break in the middle of the game and discussed where it was headed. When two armies are so close in size, what you've got is a war of attrition. I knew that my goal here was simply to hold my ground and make sure that I took out enough Pastels that my own losses would be acceptable. Meanwhile, Pete had successfully taken my stations, but at the cost of losing his own. He wasn't dealing the damage to drop my score fast enough and now his forces were commited on the opposite side of the board. Time was running out, and Pastel's only hope was to drop one of my frames and retake the station it held, which would drop me to 30 points and raise him to 32.

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This was a battle that lasted all afternoon and into the night. By the end, we could barely see the table and had to move it under the porchlight. The pizza break had a lot to do with this! Overall, a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, chillin' on the porch and playing MFZ.

Lucky for me, the dice were on my side. We both lost another frame each, but that still left us even. In the end, I held that final station with a frame that was down to just white dice. If the game had gone for a single turn more, I probably would have lost, but instead I managed to win 36 to 28.

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This has nothing to do with my meager victory, but I didn't want to waste an awesome shot of my chub mod Kamaji The Boiler Man.

The Aftermath/ Lessons Learned

First of all, 36 to 28 seems like a decent victory margin but in reality I barely eked out this victory: if Pete had dropped my frame holding the station in the bottom right of the picture, he would have won the game. I managed to win entirely because of the deployment, here. Because our armies were equally sized, I knew that our PPA would be close and that I needed to just maintain the balance to win. After seeing Pastel's aggressive placement, I knew that trying to defend my stations was totally futile. I also knew that Pastel wouldn't be able to defend his, either, so I planned for a swap. This meant leading him on with my Hi-Leg and offering just enough resistance that he committed that whole melee force to that side of the table, which meant they could never make it back in time to retake anything I snatched.

Bottom line: If you find yourself defending against a formidable army, see if you can get them to over-commit. That means placing your stations closer together and leaving behind just enough defense to entice them to go after you all the way. If you're lucky, you can pull off a stunt like I did and just trade stations with them: as Defender, all you have to do is preserve the status quo to win. This isn't always the case, but knowing when to go all-out and when to hold back is something that you learn with time. I feel proud of this victory because I recognized the winning strategy straight from the start of the game and followed through ruthlessly on it, even when it was costing me a lot of damage and risking valuable frames. ;)
Scrape
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Re: 06/14/2014: Summertime Skirmish

Postby spacemonkey » Sun Jun 29, 2014 10:45 am

Very nice report. And don't worry too much about the lack of extra pictures, your descriptions did a great job of painting a picture I could follow. :)
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Re: 06/14/2014: Summertime Skirmish

Postby Scrape » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:37 am

Thanks! It was a good battle and I love the Pastel army so I was bummed out that I couldn't provide more. I really like Red Robot's style of battle reports, with all the step-by-step photos. You could practically make a flipbook out of them.

Edit: the real loss is that we played one more game and I failed to take notes so I can't write it up. Booooooo for my contest entry!
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Re: 06/14/2014: Summertime Skirmish

Postby Red_Robot » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:18 am

Though you may lament your lack of photos, you do a lot with what you have. Your annotated photos impart a lot of information, and truth be told I kinda enjoy some of your blurred "action shots." It's like speed lines in anime.

But what I like most about this, though, is that it's not just documenting a game, but a social event. It's friends enjoying a nice summer night, good food and company. It's not just about bricks but about people. And really that's what the hobby is about.

It reminds me of times when I was a younger man when we had "Meat Day" and our circle of friends gathered for potluck and barbecue and cocktails and games. It was a great time, and a fond memory.

Scrape wrote:Thanks! It was a good battle and I love the Pastel army so I was bummed out that I couldn't provide more. I really like Red Robot's style of battle reports, with all the step-by-step photos. You could practically make a flipbook out of them.


I appreciate that a lot actually. Honestly, I feel like I have some of the worst documentation ever. I am super envious of Pipi Shortstack's graphic novel style. Plus I feel I have a terrible eye for composition. My last bat rep I took over 40 photos and ended up using 14.
When the Weepers first came through the gate, we didn't know why. We only knew that they were angry.
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