Sunday, April 21, 2013

Yes Finally... A WarStrike Battle Report

I went over to Games 2 Die 4 on the west side for testing yesterday. Where I took pictures of the game we had, so that I could finally (yes finally) make a proper Battle Report for everyone to see.

First up, I apologize for the not-great quality of the pictures. I forgot to pack my Nikon, so these are cleaned up iPhone pics. Some are blurry, all have problems with the white objects in the frame. On the bright side, we did have a spectator who kept (mostly) reminding to take pics, so the action is easier to follow. :)

My opponent was "Pwnr". So named (by me) because he pwned my Germans once in Flames of War. He's a pretty competitive guy. Pwnr had never played WarStrike before, but had heard about it, and was willing to give it a go.

The rest of the old 40K crowd (except for Spag, who's at Adepticon) was playing various card/board games, as 40K (apart from tournaments) is all but dead here now. Most of them came by to look at the game. A few even spent long periods watching us play, and asking questions. There's definitely interest. Far more, I think, than if we had gone the modify-5th route with the project.

The Strike Forces

Here's the mirror-match strike force list we had:

Paladin Commander w/Storm Kraker, Vi-Blade
Legio Lieutenant w/Plasma Pistol, Chain Blade
2 Knight Legio Lances (3 Legios w/Krak Rifles, Grenades)
Knight Dragoon Lance (4 Dragoons w/Pulse Rifles, Leader w/Pulse Pistol & Vi-Blade)
2 Recon Drones (independant models), w/Twin Pulse Rifles
2 LaansGuard Rifle Squads w/Grenade Launcher, Heat Rifle
LaansGuard Autocannon HWT w/Autocannon
Knight Paladin Suppressor w/Gatling Cannon
So 11 units total. We used the current unit cards (link at right), but ignored the Aw stat, as it's no longer needed.

Eleven units is a pretty big game in WarStrike. A little too big, I feel. Games should probably top out at 7-8 units, with a 6 unit average for this type of force. But more on that later. I wanted to test out the new visibility rules as fully as possible, including terrain effects, and part of that was adding in the Recon Drones.

Here's the Recon Drones' unit card. Which uses the new format. Don't worry Eriochrome, I'll put Ld back on the card later. :)

They're fast, with the 'Recon' ability. Which allows them to roll a RoF 'attack' to lift Gone-To-Ground from units. Making them merely difficult targets beyond Awareness range instead of impossible ones. Evasion is a bit higher than infantry, as they're small and floaty. Zero close-combat ability too. Spit at them and they run.

'Acute Senses' lets them see units that have GtG at long range. To lift GtG, they then get a RoF 2 attack to mark the unit, exposing its position.

We decided before the game to allow the drones a free scout move, as in Flames. We also decided that (being floating drones) they shouldn't be allowed to enter woods, as they'd be too likely to get hung up in the trees or undergrowth. This would also allow infantry to play peek-a-boo with them more, as they'd have to (with woods) be in 6" to lift GtG.


We used the Meeting Engagement mission for this test. As I wanted to focus purely on testing the visibility system as straightforwardly as possible. Plus, as a bonus, SinSynn will be able read this batrep without chaffing at a mission that uses forced reserves. :)

Pwnr won the roll-off, so he was the attacker. He picked the green strike force. I got the red one.

Pic From Turn 1
First, we set up the objectives, at 2 per player (Capture either of the enemy objectives and you win). Then we placed the player-deployed obstacles (3 per player). Pwnr used his obstacles to fortify his left objective.

Pic From Turn 1
While I placed a couple of trees mid-table for my drones to hide behind, and a rock to my far left to help cover my planned advance in that direction.

We then alternated deploying our units. With the officers and drones put down last.

Pic From Turn 1
Before the game, we scout-moved the drones. I put mine behind the mid-table trees. So that they could mess with any infantry that went to ground in either woods. Pwnr scouted one up on top of the big hill on my left. While he moved the other over behind the trees on my far right.

First Turn: Attacker

Because the defender gets free GtG on turn 1 in this mission, and there's 36" between us, PzPwn's units can't actually see or shoot any of mine yet. So he runs most of his units forward into covered positions instead. I hadn't thought of that visibility dynamic with the new rules, but it's actually a pretty cool way for the game to start. You have to move. Which is also very much in keeping with the theme of the mission itself.

The templates are there because I was explaining some rules.
He pushes on his right (my left) with 2 units of Knight Legios, his Legio Lieutenant, a recon drone, and his Paladin Commander. His LaansGuard in the center move up towards the woods.

He goes defensive on my right. Holding back his Laansguard, leaving his autocannon GtG, and moving his Paladin Suppressor up into a nice firing position.

There's a drone hiding behind the trees to the right.

First Turn: Defender

On the right, I move up a unit of Knight Legios. Since they can take shelter behind that big rock-hill easily.

Behind them, my Paladin advances and opens up on the LaansGuard in the middle of the table, killing one. Good enough for suppression. :)

My LaansGuard on that side high-tail it for the trees, where they'll be safe.

My Knight Dragoons run up to the woods in the middle of the table. With a 24" run move, they could easily have moved right up to the trees. But I spread them out so that they wouldn't get completely raped by the Paladin Suppressor (PalSup) behind the rock-hill. They're there so that he has something else to try and shoot besides my autocannon team.

The PalSup has the sustained fire rule. So if that Paladin fires his Gat-Cannon without moving, he gets to place the big end of a teardrop template over his target model, with the small end pointed directly away from the paladin. Every model under the template then adds one point to his RoF. So if I'm all in a line, he would have 5 additional shots at me. This way, he can only max out at +3. Two if I'd spaced them a little better.

My autocannon team opens up on the Legios atop the big hill on the left. Killing one.

On the left, I'm pushing hard. With my PalCom, a unit of Laansguard, and the other unit of Knight Legios. My drone decides to fall back a bit, as he was too exposed behind the tree.

Over in the middle, my Lieutenant remains GtG behind the hill. He's there so that he can run to one flank or another as needed. Though to be honest, I just forgot about him after turn one. :)

Turn 2: Attacker

Here comes Pwnr's push. Over to the left of this pic, his PalSup opens up on my Dragoons (His Dragoons moved up between us afterward). Killing 3 with his Gatling Cannon. Ouch!

His Legios move up and take shots at my Legios here on the left, but only manage to kill one.

His Dragoons move up and pepper my Legios. No casualties, but I am a bit suppressed from the shear number of hits.

Pwnr doesn't move up either his PalCom, or the rest of the forces on that side though. He really should have. The first rule of WarStrike is not to advance unsupported. If you do move up, do it in a group, not singly. I did tell him this, but Pwnr said he wanted to see what would happen.

Turn 2: Defender

On the right, my LaansGuard run through the woods towards Pwnr's drone, which takes 2 hits from one of my Legios. I got an armor penetration, but didn't kill it.

The other two Legios lay in to PzPwnr's Dragoons, after my own Dragoons soften them up first with some fire. In total, four go down. Nice!

On my right, I move up my PalCom and pepper his Legio unit with 4 shots. Pistols get full RoF on the move, and his is nasty. He and the LaansGuard unit end their moves within 6" of PzPwnr's Legios, so we'll be having some Close-Combat this turn.

My Legios on that side pepper the hill again and kill another of his Legios.

My Autocannon targets his Paladin Suppressor this time, and manages to penetrate his armor with a single hit. The Paladin shrugs it off though. Damn!

I assault the drone on my right and his defensive fire kills three guard. Ug!

They smack him down in close-combat with rifle fire.

On my right, we have close-combat between my Paladin+Guard, and his Legios+Lieutenant. He ravages my Guard, who can't run far enough through the woods to get away from the 6" auto-kill zone. So they just die.

My PalCom laughs at this and then butchers both the Legios and his Legio Lieutenant. After which he consolidates back into the woods.

Turn 3

Sorry, we were having so much fun that we forgot to take more than one pic during the third round. The guy who had been reminding me went off to play a card game. :)

I peppered Pwnr's LaansGuard in the woods. I kill a few, but not enough. This flank is getting nowhere fast. At least I rolled well on the allocation test, forcing him to remove the grenade launcher model first.

Turn 4: Attacker

On turn 3, I had decided that I could take PalCom and the drone on the hill. I moved up and fired with both my PalCom and the two Legios. Pwnr's Palcom laughed as he passed his saving throws.

On his turn, Pwnr moves up both his PalCom and his drone. Both fire at my PalCom. I fail a 2+ saving throw on one of his PalCom's 4 auto-hits and Pwnr rolls 3 or less on both toughness dice. Damn! Dead.

Or maybe he's just feeling depressed because his backpack-totem broke. Paladins are so Emo. :)

Both sides are pretty whittled down, but I'm feeling good over on the right. It's hard to see behind the trees, but Pwnr moved up his LaansGuard and managed to kill one of my last 2 Legios on the left from their position in the woods.

Right after this pic, his PalSup opens up on my autocannon team. They get turned to swiss cheese.

There goes my best way to kill Paladins... ug!

Turn 4: Defender

I decide "Screw The Hill!", and send my last Legio on the left into the LaansGuard in the center woods. He runs them off single-handed and feels much better about himself.

Over on PzPwnr's left, my PalSup tries to kill his autocannon team, which was annoying him with penetrating hits that didn't kill. I hit once, and he fails the save. I then fail the kill roll. Damn.

At least they're suppressed. Since their Ld is only 1, and they need a 2 or less to pass, they'll probably stay that way for a turn (and they do).

My Legios take a gamble (because I don't have any better options) and advance on the PalSup behind the hill. Their shots are at -3 (because he's hidden), and I only get one shot each (because they moved), and he gets a 2+ save (Armor 6 vs. AP 4), but I do it anyway.

I hit him 3 times (needed 3+ with the modifiers) and he fails one save. I roll a 1 and a 2 for the kill roll. He's dead. Yay!


We could have played another turn or two, but Pwnr was pretty demoralized after losing his PalSup. He then fails to lift the suppression on his autocannon team, making them useless for a turn. So that leaves one Guard unit to try and stop a full Legio squad and a half-strength unit of LaansGuard in support. He doesn't think he can do it, so he calls it and surrenders.


Total Game Time: 1:35

Which isn't bad at all when one player is brand new to the system, as Pwnr was. But we also didn't play it out to the bitter end.

We also had a lot of units on the table, at 11 per side. I didn't think that the extra Legio squads and the drones would slow things down much at all. But I'm finding that it's not so much the number of models that slow the game, so much as it is the number of units, multi-model or not. Because each unit you activate causes you to stop and spend time thinking about what to do with them. The actual moving around and shooting part doesn't take nearly as long as the tactical thinking.

So I'm going to start paring the test forces down to 6-7 units. Which should speed up the game and force more hard decisions on the players. Since you won't have multiple units everywhere that you want them.

First Impressions

Pwnr really liked the game, and he couldn't think of anything negative to say about it. When pressed, he said that close-combat was a bit raw (which it is, no news there), and that the visibility system was a 'bit complicated' to learn. He didn't have any problems with it once we'd played a few turns, but he said it was a bit complex. Fair enough.

That was a minor quibble though. He also said that the game 'feels like 40K', though it's very much a 'squad level game'. Which I'll take as a compliment, as those are both goals of the system.

He actually liked that some tests require you to roll low. It helps when you're rolling 1's and 2's all game to know that you'll do well on some things. :)

Visibility System Thoughts

I really thought that it worked well in general. Some of the ranges or modifiers might need to be adjusted a bit, but I'll wait on that until it's been tested in some more games.

The recon drones didn't really get to do much in the way of gone-to-ground lifting, but they do make a nice little portable suppression unit with their 6 pulse-rifle shots. Not sure if that's good or bad.


When setting up the table, I used 8 pieces of major terrain. To which we added 6 obstacles total. I'm thinking that we might need to up the number of total player-deployed obstacles. Possibly by as much as double. I felt like the 'big stuff' was fine. But we needed more rocks and small things to hide behind with this system.

Other Issues

Assault is the same story. It needs refinement. But I need to get the shooting rules done first.

The units need to be rebalanced stat-wise. Again, that comes after the rules are more completely written.

I'm also feeling the desire for more variety, including asymmetrically selected forces with unique units. But the one time we did that before it was a rout. So we need the balancing system first, which will come after the rules are more complete. (sigh...)

That's it. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the report. The game does really feel about 90-95% complete, as a system, at this point. Everything just needs to be written down clearly.


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