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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

LotR: LCG - Getting the Most Out of Solo-Play

One of the reasons that a lot of us got into the Lord of the Rings LCG was the fact that the game can be played solo. A weird work/family schedule means that I often have trouble getting a questing group together, so I play a lot of solo LotR. Grappling with a tough quest all on my own still provides a unique and satisfying experience, even though I generally prefer multiplayer.


However, recently I had been struggling to keep solo gaming fresh, and began to look for new ways to breathe life into solo questing. What follows are some ideas that I used to help reinvigorate lonely questing, and hopefully these ideas can help enliven your solo experience.

"Fine, I'll do it myself!"


Take on Quests that Originally Put You Off - Let's face it, there are some quests that simply aren't optimal for solo play. This mostly happens because the quests turn out to be so difficult with one player that beating it becomes a chore, but sometimes it happens because playing solo doesn't give the encounter deck a chance to function as intended (revealing only one card per encounter phase can prevent an encounter deck from developing).

Solo-ing some quests will take courage

However, lately I've taken to embracing the challenge of the more difficult solo quests. For instance, I set a personal challenge to beat the Siege of Cair Andros solo. I know other players have done it, but I wanted to see if I could make it happen. So far it hasn't happened but I'm well on my way!

One of the bigger drawbacks of doing this has been the need to forgo thematic decks. Beating the most difficult quests in the game sometimes requires that you throw theme out the window and focus completely on the gameplay value that cards bring to the table. Is it thematic to have Galadhon Archers in a Rohan or Gondor deck? Hell no, but they're a tremendous value and a great tactics ally.

So give those maddening quests another try! And give yourself a high-five when you solo through Nightmare Into Ithilien!

And an extra high-five if you kill a Nazgul

Plus, forgoing theme can lead to some interesting combos...

Create Some Crazy Decks with Rarely-Used Heroes - I'm not saying that you have to go ahead and bust out Caldara, but maybe take a look at some of the heroes that you don't use that often and build a deck around them. In this instance our challenge isn't coming from the quest, but rather from our ability to build weird yet functional decks.

Not every deck you build is going to be a winner and define the meta for years to come, but with the ease of gameplay on OCTGN it just makes sense to build a stupid deck and see if it works every once and a while.

See if you can make Theoden work

Turn a Series of Quests into a Campaign - Just because there isn't an official campaign mode for the normal release cycles doesn't mean that you can't develop a campaign of your own. One of the true pleasures of the Ring Maker Cycle for me has been the chance to solo through with an Eowyn-Eomer-Theodred deck. While there have been some setbacks, so far I've been able to beat each of the quests with this combination of heroes.

How strict you make your campaign is up to you. For example, if a hero dies during a quest you can choose to continue on without him, or keep the hero but maybe take a self-imposed penalty for the next quest, like a penalty to your starting threat.

Full disclosure: I'm just inserting art that looks cool

The point is that giving your gameplay a narrative structure can add to the playing experience. Obviously this is true for both multi-player and solo, but I've found that it helps raise the stakes of solo play to an enjoyable level. Speaking of narratives...

Truly Earn Your Nerd-Card and Write About Your Questing - I love to write...err...type, I guess... What I'm saying is that I enjoy completing these articles and writing fiction. So what I'll do to keep my writing skills sharp is create fiction based on certain scenarios, especially if I have some sort of epic play-through. Generally this fiction isn't shared with anyone, because I'm a rational human being with an accurate gauge of how much people enjoy a stranger's fan-fiction. But it serves as practice for when I do commit to writing stories for submission.


Fuck yeah

Aside from keeping my writing skills up to par, creating fiction based on a quest can give you an outlet for some artistic expression that is otherwise lacking in the card-gaming hobby. I come from the world of miniature gaming, and painting models used to be a good outlet for my artistic impulses. With the decline of miniature gaming in my area I've had to find other outlets, and writing has filled in nicely, for now.

That just about wraps up my main thoughts on this subject. If you have anything you'd like to share regarding solo questing you can reach out to me @PIflamesofwar. Thanks for reading! And good luck going alone into the wilds of Middle Earth!
Are you a solo-player? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!
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Steven's Huzzah Hobbies Open Late War tournament (Dec 13) Picture Dump!

Lukee and Throck put on a tournament up at Huzzah Hobbies (what a great game store!) in DC, and I decided to run a train on it. As usual, I am bad at taking pictures during my actual games, but here's a mega-dump of all the pics I did take!

The Armies
This is what I ran. Panzerkompanie from Grey Wolf with a train (2 heavy arty cars and a tank hunter), 4 Marder III Ms, Mobelwagens, Pumas.

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Bolt Action - AAR: French (US) v Germans in Hold Until Relieved

I have not done an After Action Report (AAR) for awhile team, so I bring you a game I had recently between my late war French and some German Heer. Now just to clarify before we go further whilst I say they are late war French, I am actually using US rules so they play exactly the same as any actual US force.

JTFM Tiger I dressed for the occasion.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Bolt Action - Ghost Army Podcast Episode 3

The Ghost Army Podcast returns with another action packed episode.

Brad, Patch and Bryan talk about what painting and army projects they have been up to before digging in the bombed out rubble of the Monte Cassino campaign. Each guy examines a force in the battle and talks about how you could build an army based on one of the multitude of forces that fought there. Anfernee, The Rocket Man, returns to talk about his travels and to unbox his HUGE Mad Bob Miniatures Kickstarter box of loot AND we sit down to chat with Peter West, the TO of Cancon, to talk about what to expect at one of the biggest Bolt Action tournaments of the year. 

Plug in and check us out in episode 3!


You can also find this episode HERE or in your friendly neighbourhood iTunes store.

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WWPD Fellowship Episode 4: Nenya Bidness

Episode IV: Nenya Bidness.
Click here to download

With no new AP to distract us, we get back to business covering key concepts for new players. In this episode: Threat Management, some favorite card combinations, and our standard discussion of games we played and cards we are cuurently enjoying. We also talk a bit about the last installation of the Hobbit film.

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British Assault Company vs German Festungskompanie

By Steve and Jon

Jon and I wanted to play a game that we'd never see at a tournament. That isn't to say we wanted to play a scenario game- we wanted to stick to rulebook missions, available forces, and no house rules. After discussing it, we decided it'd be fun to pit a British Assault Company vs a Festungskompanie. Since we knew the Brits would be tailor made to chew up the Festungs, we also decided to use No Retreat- a mission that plays to the Festungskompanie's strengths.



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BAMF: Bolt Action Melbourne February Player Pack (February 8th)

A Melbourne Based, 3 game, 800 point Bolt Action tournament

Bolt Action Melbourne: February will be held at The Games Laboratory on Sunday, February 8thThe event starts promptly at 10AM.

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ARE PRESENT FOR REGISTRATION AT 9:50 AM.
                                   
The event will be run by Brad “Old Man Morin” with support from the guys at Boltaction.net and awesome staff at The Games Laboratory.

Location:
The Games Laboratory
328 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000
(03) 9602 2075

Contact Information:
For more information, to submit an army list and for registration information please email Brad at:  whatisabattle(at)gmail.com

Army Lists:
All armies for this event should be no larger than 800 points. Forces must be made up using the generic reinforced platoons. We will NOT be using theatre selector lists or lists using the TANK WARS rules.

Vehicle Flame Throwers are not allowed for this event.

Outside of the VFT restriction we have no other restrictions listed for this event.  We at BA.net would like to encourage people to experiment and play with lists that are fun to play with and to play against. This is NOT a win at all costs event. The TO reserves the right to ask players to resubmit army lists that are considered abusive to play against. To be clear, this has never been a problem in the past and we do not expect it to be a problem into the future.  There will be prize drawing for players who go to the effort of theming their lists. I.E. Invasion of Manchuria Japanese, Guadalcanal Marines, German forces in Anzio, etc…

All current “Armies of…” books must be used (up to date “Armies of…” PDF’s issued by Warlord Games may be used as well). This means that the main rulebook army lists and outdated PDF lists may not be used.  Please note that units listed in the “Additional Units” PDF are available for use.

Please contact the TO if you would like to use units listed in the “Battlefield Europe” Campaign Book.

Please make sure that you are familiar with the most up to date rules FAQ PDF available (for free) from the Warlord Games Website.

Though this is a Boltaction.net event we will not be using the Season 1 tournament rules. This event will use Bolt Action’s rules as written.
The Warplane rules will not be used for this event.

Games:
Bolt Action Melbourne: February is a three game tournament.  Each round will last 2 hours.  In Round 1 players will be chosen at random. We will be using 3 rulebook missions over the course of the day. Maximum Attrition, Hold Until Relieved and Point Defense.

Registration:
To submit an army list and for registration information please email Brad at:  whatisabattle(at)gmail.com

Cost
The event costs $15 which should be paid via PayPal or money transfer by the last day of January (The same day that army lists are due).


For this event you will need:
  • Warlord order dice and enough six sided dice to play the game
  • 3, 40mm circular objective markers
  • A tape measure
  • The rulebook and relevant “Armies of…” book
  • Pin markers
  • A pen and pencil
  • 3 print outs of your army list
  • An appropriate dice bag




Sponsors:
We at the Boltaction.net would like to thank our major sponsors for this event:


Ian from War and Peace Games has once again generously provided prize support this tournament.  As the Australian distributor of Warlord games products they have a great selection of product AND have a super friendly and helpful staff that love to "talk shop."  Give them a call or check them out online:
02 4353 4043 




We would also like to express our thanks to Warlord Games for writing such a great game system (Bolt Action) and for consistently providing great prize support for our events.  Thanks guys!!!




We would also like to thank Laser Touch for their prize support for this event and we would like to remind you that they are the only online source for custom pin markers (look for the ready made LRDG and Ghost Army Podcast markers) and WW2 custom carry cases.


AND... We would like to thank Blitzkrieg Miniatures for their prize support for this event and their continued support of our podcasts and website. Love your work guys!




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Friday, December 26, 2014

Huzzah Hobbies Late War Open Tournament AAR

By Sean and Luke

A couple of weekends ago Luke and I had the great good fortune to run a 1600 point late war tournament for some folks up at Huzzah Hobbies, one of our favorite FLGS.

The three round tournament hosted 20 players with an even spread of axis and allies and nothing was banned except NGFS and fortified companies.

The Germans sported three lists with with 3 or more Jagdtigers/King tigers, along with 2 Hungarian lists and a Finnish Sturmi Kompania. The Allies actually had 5 soviet players along with 1 Brit and 4 Americans. One of the American lists was the good ole arty park while two happened to be my personal favorite, the Chaffe horde!

Our missions were:
~Hasty Attack
~Free For All
~Breakthrough

We were able to secure a Flames of War blister for each player along with prizes for 1st through 5th, Best Painted and our "Sweetheart" player; he who placed lowest.

By round three we had two players with double 6-1's facing off on the top table and one player who actually managed a 7-0 as he killed of Otto Carius without losing a platoon. It was a tight race to the finish but in the end the top five were:

Ben Gobel 3-0 16 points, 7-0 3rd round Hungarian Zrinyis
Noah DeZwart 3-0 16 points (lost out on power of opponent) American Chaffees
Bob Evans 2-1 15 points, German infantry with Tiger support
Luke Melia 2-1 15 points (lost out on power of opponent), American infantry with Arty Park
Kato Lee 2-1 14 points, American Chaffees

Two Chaffee lists in the top five! A tournament after my own heart.

Well, that's plenty of ado, check out the sweet pics!
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fate of the Nation Battle Israeli Tank Company vs United Arab Republic Tank Battalion

By Eric Lauterbach

You may have noticed something looks different about the pictures of tanks in this post, well your eyes are not deceiving you we did this battle in micro armor.

John Desch has a huge micro collection some of the models dating back to when his US Army days and they used them for training. (This what the army did before computers kids)

You will notice in the pictures some of the models are not quite right, which is something you don't notice when putting the force on the table top. From normal eye to table distance you really have to look close to tell a M48 from a M60, pictures have a magnifying effect.

For micro armor we did not change any of the movement or shooting distances. The only real change we had to do was make the small village area terrain because the buildings are two small to get the granularity.

So for our first battle with the Fate of the Nation we went with a basic free-for-all so we could get a feel for how it played.  The forces were an Israeli Tank company with 2 Magach-3 in the HQ, a platoon of 3 Magach-3, a platoon of 4 Isherman, some 4 AT jeeps, and 120mm mortar section.  To face this force the Arabs had 31 T-55s all upgraded with stabilizers in three 10 tank companies and one platoon of two ZSU-57.

The Israeli force

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Conquest Warlord Focus: Nazdreg, Warboss of da Bad Moons

Welcome back to our continuing series of articles for each warlord from the Conquest core set. Today we're going to take a look at the Ork faction's warlord, Nazdreg. He's the warboss of 'da Bad Moons' (ed. note: there won't be any more 'ork speak' unless it's the actual title of a card), and actually has a bit of character development in the 40k universe.


In the 40k canon Nazdreg Ug Urdgrub is the leader of the Bad Moons Klan, a band of Orks known for their love of loot and gadgets. It was Nazdreg and his klan who perfected 'tellyporta' technology that nearly won the 3rd War for Armageddon. Interestingly, Nazdreg is portrayed as an Ork who is obsessed by loot and riches as opposed to the goal of sheer conquest, and is said to speak fluent Imperial Gothic. His tactical guile culminated in his capture of an Imperial battleship with a Trojan Horse-type scheme.

In sum, he isn't your average Ork, and I think understanding this background will go a long way toward understanding the current Ork play-style.





First, let's analyze that warlord card shown above:

His base stats, 2 attack and 7 hit points, place him at the stronger end of the spectrum for the core set warlords. Of course, the true measure of a warlord is found in their special rules, and Nazdreg's is certainly interesting;

Each other unit you control at this planet gains Brutal. (Each unit with Brutal gets +1 ATK for each damage on it.)

First of all, this rule applies to each other unit, so Nazdreg himself won't be able to benefit from this. Second, his ability can boost Ork units up to crazy levels of attack, but will also leave them vulnerable to the counterattack. It leads to a strategy that is surprisingly subtle for an Ork, until you remember that Nazdreg is not your typical Ork warboss - his own fluff indicates a cunning, subtle mind (for an Ork, at least).

Ork players will need to balance the desire to attack with the necessity of survival. It won't do any good to boost a unit's attack with a bunch of wounds just to have it die to a wimpy ranged unit before it gets a chance to fight.


It's important to remember that Nazdreg's ability is applied to every unit you control, not just to every Ork unit. This means that beefy Chaos allies and even some Guard allies can become combat monsters under the right circumstances.


The two above cards are normally marginal, but can become fearsome with Nazdreg

Luckily there are plenty of Ork cards with large numbers of hit points, and there are several ways to get additional damage onto Ork units.



The point I'm trying to make is that Nazdreg does not lead a stereotypical Ork faction. It's going to take practice and subtlety to perform well with this warlord. Luckily Nazdreg's command cards help synergize his ability with the rest of the army.


Nazdreg's Flash Gitz x 4 - They're on the pricey side, but combined with Nazdreg's ability you can get a lot of mileage out of this unit in a battle. Oftentimes your Flash Gitz will be able to attack twice at a planet, but their ability also let's them ready after arriving to a planet from your HQ. Having this kind of action advantage can be critical in Conquest, and your opponent will often have to choose between targeting a more valuable unit or letting the Flash Gitz attack again. Either way, you're dictating the fight.


Bigga is Betta x 2 - This is a fantastic event to play on a beefy unit during the turn that you have initiative. Just make sure that the unit either already has Brutal or that you'll be sending Nazdreg to back it up.


Cybork Body x 1 - Each faction has an attachment similar to this one, but I think that the Orks may have the best one. Doubling hit points is huge and can push Nazdreg's ability to its furthest limit. The main drawback of this card is that you only get one of them in your deck, so it's impossible to rely on this card as part of a crazy combo.


Kraktoof Hall x 1 - Another card that you'll only see one copy of, but it's a good one. I've most often used this as a point of healing for Nazdreg, and I can then take that one damage and place it anywhere I want. Either I'll boost the strength of one of my own units, or I'll snipe an enemy. I've heard of people using this card to sneakily bloody a warlord, but I've never been lucky enough to pull off that dream scenario.

That just about does it for Nazdreg and his command cards. What are your thoughts on this greenest of warlords? Reach out to me via Twitter @piflamesofwar and let me know what I missed!

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