Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Take me to the river.


This being the Internet We could just be talking heads.
But seriously take me to the river!
There are several Paragraphs about just that In both Warmachine and Hordes core rules. What about this precious precious thing is so terrifying that you will barely see it on a table?
Warmachine players of course fear anything that can take their warjacks out of play and rightfully so: two simple elements (knockdown and the water itself) and huge swaths of their army suddenly go down without rolling a die.
Warbeast only get wet.
Terrain rules are fairly elegant: fall X, bounce into / off y, crowd as close as you can to z. We ooh and aah about a pretty table with all sorts of terrain...then settle for a couple of 4x6 rectangles,  a kidney shaped hill or two, and a few shrubs.
Maybe its the overlap from other games. The 40k "4 ruins and some blocked LOS in the middle" meets regiments scale games' "big open field in the middle ". How boring is that?   What happened to small skirmishes across canals and taking control of mills while defending the waterwheels?   Where are the ponds people love to live near? Take and hold a bridge?
Uh -huh. "Only those cheating Cryxian bastards have amphibious... "
When did warmachine players get whiny?
Read one of the Unbound scenarios : place 5 hills plus whatever ... then later in the game flood everything not a hill with shallow water.
COOL!
Water, as with obstacles, concealment, cover, and blocking terrain not only provide us with tactical and strategic challenges,  but options.  Walls, hedges, and forests hardly make sense as the primary things to fight around.
When units are the primary obstacle the game has less depth. We aren't forced to look into as many application as we could be:
How can I exploit arcing fire?
How does chain lightning change the battlefield?
How do I tie units up with the building here?
What is the advantage of a slam or push rather than just beating the hell out of the target?
Don't get me wrong,  eyeless sight and pathfinder are cool, but if your opponent ignores trees and clouds why wouldn't you draw them into a town where you can take advantage of buildings? Those venators have more than enough common sense to kick a door open and start shooting from windows.
"Oho! Sneaky Cryx player, you're trying to make ghostly and incorporeal better!"
Sadly, just the opposite.   It takes just 6 models to turn a 4"x6" space into an impossible parking space for incorporeal small bases. Forget the mayhem of long gunners in a farmhouse.
I want to see something more than a shooty Jack with its toe on a hill to gain +2 defense. I want to see a unit of storm knights freak out because that Destroyer just took out the farmhouse wall they were behind!
Maneuvering around all this terrain makes having a +1 to determine board edge much more valuable. It changes Advanced Deployment from a reactive means to reinforce into a much more strategic tool.  Anastasia Di Bray is there for a reason!
Another idea: once your board is set up remember that 4x4 can be turned 90°! You pick your edge and lay out objectives after!  Ok, that one only works when you really can turn the table (ha-ha! A pun!), but it does make one think.

So, yeah, take me to the river. Drop me in the water. Just make it a > 1 inch drop - every little bit of damage helps!

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