Episode 144 - Variety of Play

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Episode 144 - Variety of Play

Post by cvtuttle » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:03 pm

Episode 144 of The Independent Characters addresses the topic of the many various ways you can now play Warhammer 40k.

We have Justin and Adan back in the studio to record with us this session. As we go through each way to play we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each and talk about our own personal preferences.

Of course we have our usual hobby progress and games played, but we also include a very short interview with Doug and Todd of Tablewar who have a short announcement at the beginning of the episode. We hope you enjoy the show!
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Re: Episode 144 - Variety of Play

Post by Fomite » Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:45 pm

I really, really like Maelstrom. With the very simple universal house rule, it's by far the most dynamic way to play full-sized 40K games. I noticed in Eternal War missions, I encountered two common issues:

1. When playing a strong army (*cough* Eldar *cough*), an awful lot of the EW missions get boiled down to "Or just table your opponent."

2. It's obvious who is winning. "There's no way I can do X, therefor I lose" on Turn 3 is something I experienced a lot.

3. As Carl notes, it keeps players who are worse players or who have weaker armies. There's math behind this (which I may one day write up for Variance Hammer), but "add randomness" is a way to add balance to the game.

I actually disagree with Adan - I really dislike the ITC version. One of the fun parts of Maelstrom is everything not going according to plan. Maybe you don't go surging forward, because you can claim a point here or there. Maybe you sacrifice a unit for a big card play, etc. when that wasn't the plan. I have never changed my battle plan in response to an ITC Maelstrom objective, partially because there are just way to many "Kill a thing" options in their abbreviated tables.

I haven't played by-the-book EW missions in the better part of a year, and I don't miss them.

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Re: Episode 144 - Variety of Play

Post by blockade23 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:52 pm

I find by the book EW missions useful when starting a new army / trying a new list out with a friend. My friend and I threw some new lists at each other this past weekend, and it definitely made things a bit easier without having to chase down a bunch of objectives. Granted, at only 1,000 points, we managed to essentially table each other by turn 4 on a 4x4, but it was a blast. Certain armies definitely benefit from the generic cards, but in response, get your special ones so you don't need to pretend your castling guard army is really an eldar army.
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Re: Episode 144 - Variety of Play

Post by Adan » Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:02 pm

Fomite wrote:I actually disagree with Adan - I really dislike the ITC version. One of the fun parts of Maelstrom is everything not going according to plan. Maybe you don't go surging forward, because you can claim a point here or there. Maybe you sacrifice a unit for a big card play, etc. when that wasn't the plan. I have never changed my battle plan in response to an ITC Maelstrom objective, partially because there are just way to many "Kill a thing" options in their abbreviated tables.
Hmmm. I've only played them a few times, and what I liked is the reduced level of randomness. But, I can see your point.
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Re: Episode 144 - Variety of Play

Post by Fomite » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:05 pm

Adan wrote:
Fomite wrote:I actually disagree with Adan - I really dislike the ITC version. One of the fun parts of Maelstrom is everything not going according to plan. Maybe you don't go surging forward, because you can claim a point here or there. Maybe you sacrifice a unit for a big card play, etc. when that wasn't the plan. I have never changed my battle plan in response to an ITC Maelstrom objective, partially because there are just way to many "Kill a thing" options in their abbreviated tables.
Hmmm. I've only played them a few times, and what I liked is the reduced level of randomness. But, I can see your point.
I had high hopes for them, but I've been disappointed.

What I was really hoping to see is a refined deck-building ruleset by someone, where you can tailor some of your deck to your preference, and use a reduced deck to cut down on some of the randomness. Basically, the same concept as the faction-specific decks, but more fine tuned.

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Re: Episode 144 - Variety of Play

Post by Adan » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:14 pm

Fomite wrote:
Adan wrote:
Fomite wrote:I actually disagree with Adan - I really dislike the ITC version. One of the fun parts of Maelstrom is everything not going according to plan. Maybe you don't go surging forward, because you can claim a point here or there. Maybe you sacrifice a unit for a big card play, etc. when that wasn't the plan. I have never changed my battle plan in response to an ITC Maelstrom objective, partially because there are just way to many "Kill a thing" options in their abbreviated tables.
Hmmm. I've only played them a few times, and what I liked is the reduced level of randomness. But, I can see your point.
I had high hopes for them, but I've been disappointed.

What I was really hoping to see is a refined deck-building ruleset by someone, where you can tailor some of your deck to your preference, and use a reduced deck to cut down on some of the randomness. Basically, the same concept as the faction-specific decks, but more fine tuned.
Cool idea. Hop to it!!
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Re: Episode 144 - Variety of Play

Post by Gunzhard » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:57 am

Fomite wrote: I actually disagree with Adan - I really dislike the ITC version. One of the fun parts of Maelstrom is everything not going according to plan. Maybe you don't go surging forward, because you can claim a point here or there. Maybe you sacrifice a unit for a big card play, etc. when that wasn't the plan. I have never changed my battle plan in response to an ITC Maelstrom objective, partially because there are just way to many "Kill a thing" options in their abbreviated tables.
I have to agree here, key phrase being, "everything not going according to plan". I'm not a great player and an even worse list-builder (because I just field units that I like) so my opinion is perhaps biased; but what I've always disliked about 40k, especially "competitive" 40k, is the win being determined by the faction and/or list, rather than the actual game play.

While Maelstrom does need some tweaking the ITC version is just too much gravy, as Fomite said, you'll not need to revise your smash-face battle plan really at all. What I want out of Maelstrom is improvisation and decision making - on the table, not at the computer/list-app.

I loved the old City Fight, but the newest version with the Cities of Death Maelstrom Cards is actually very fun, and quite a bit easier to play. I'd say these cards are better balanced and have less of that 'drunken commander' feel but still force some tough decision making during the game.

Further a lot of the Faction card sets are excellent and the Tactical Supremacy set is significantly better than the original.

@Adan - for Planetstrike you can still Assault out of deep strike if you already have the deep strike rule in the new book. I'm not sure they really changed much apart from the 'detachments' / warlord traits. I always enjoyed PS but it was met with mix feelings in my group.

Great show guys, this is certainly one of my favorite topics.

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Re: Episode 144 - Variety of Play

Post by Adan » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:53 am

Gunzhard wrote:@Adan - for Planetstrike you can still Assault out of deep strike if you already have the deep strike rule in the new book. I'm not sure they really changed much apart from the 'detachments' / warlord traits.
Cool, thanks. I was going by just a quick scan of the book, as I had picked it up a day or so before we recorded (and frankly CoD was my primary focus).
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Re: Episode 144 - Variety of Play

Post by Inquisitor Valeria » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:25 pm

Fomite wrote:What I was really hoping to see is a refined deck-building ruleset by someone, where you can tailor some of your deck to your preference, and use a reduced deck to cut down on some of the randomness. Basically, the same concept as the faction-specific decks, but more fine tuned.
One of the neater ideas to come through my FLGS in regards to Maelstrom cards was this: Before the game, flip 20, pick 10, score any time (but only one of the same objective a turn). Flipping 20 out of 36 cards gives you a good chance to get a few high-points cards, and the keep 10 gives you plenty of wiggle room to toss cards that don't apply to the game like cast psychic power or kill a flyer. Choosing also gives you the feel of control over your own destiny. Doing it before the game starts allows you to make a plan of engagement (if you need to move across the table to OBJ 4, for example, because you drew all three of that card), while the score any time allows for those fun moments of 'Oh! I can grab THAT this turn!' It also prevents the issue of pulling some hard-to-get cards in the first turn while your opponent takes an early lead with all obj cards on their side of the table the first couple turns.

We've also played a variant on that where you can only score 2 of your 10 cards in any given turn, and you have to declare which you're going for at the beginning of your turn, which adds a rather interesting tactical wrinkle.
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Re: Episode 144 - Variety of Play

Post by cvtuttle » Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:40 pm

Inquisitor Valeria wrote:
Fomite wrote:What I was really hoping to see is a refined deck-building ruleset by someone, where you can tailor some of your deck to your preference, and use a reduced deck to cut down on some of the randomness. Basically, the same concept as the faction-specific decks, but more fine tuned.
One of the neater ideas to come through my FLGS in regards to Maelstrom cards was this: Before the game, flip 20, pick 10, score any time (but only one of the same objective a turn). Flipping 20 out of 36 cards gives you a good chance to get a few high-points cards, and the keep 10 gives you plenty of wiggle room to toss cards that don't apply to the game like cast psychic power or kill a flyer. Choosing also gives you the feel of control over your own destiny. Doing it before the game starts allows you to make a plan of engagement (if you need to move across the table to OBJ 4, for example, because you drew all three of that card), while the score any time allows for those fun moments of 'Oh! I can grab THAT this turn!' It also prevents the issue of pulling some hard-to-get cards in the first turn while your opponent takes an early lead with all obj cards on their side of the table the first couple turns.

We've also played a variant on that where you can only score 2 of your 10 cards in any given turn, and you have to declare which you're going for at the beginning of your turn, which adds a rather interesting tactical wrinkle.
This is a cool idea - does it lead to really high scoring games?
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