Game of thrones Store championship: Travelling man Leeds

Some more Game of Thrones commentary from the small store champs in Leeds, supposed to be featuring friend of the show Callum but unfortunately due to my incompetence you’ll have to make do with just me.

The deck definitely had some weaknesses but I’ll pop the deck list up here:
https://thronesdb.com/decklist/view/8218/wombo-combo-3rd-place-leeds-sc-1.0

The last stop for me in the store champs season will be Chesterfield on March 18th for Netrunner so hopefully I will have some more content from that event.

 

Stay tuned to the RSS feed:https://notasgrumpyashelooks.wordpress.com/category/podcasts/feed/
And follow me on Twitter:@BenIcarusCotton

 

 

Wargames Emporium Netrunner Store Championship

The second batch of casted games has been released into the wild. This time some Netrunner from my local meta in Sheffield, and aided by friend of the show Will.

Dave and I also chatted a bit about the store champs in the last episode of out podcast which you can check out here:

https://notasgrumpyashelooks.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/nagatl-episode-5-oh-god-its-2017/

Stay tuned for more video content here or on YouTube.

Game of thrones store championship – Fanboy3

Store champs season is upon us, while i haven’t been able to attend as many as I liked I did get to the first half of the ‘Thrones Weekender’ in Manchester. I rocked up very tired off the train with my Greyjoy Kings of Winter deck and finished in a very respectable 9th place, although there were definitely places both my deck and play could have improved.

While I was there i recorded some of the games to later pass my critical eye over them and give some play by play commentary for the day, and the results of that labour can be found over on YouTube.

 

I’ll present a massive disclaimer that I am by no means a Game of Thrones expert but hopefully you can still get a chuckle out of me getting defeated onscreen, I’d also like to do future events with guest commentators to make them more entertaining. I’ll hopefully be following this up with content from other store champs both of the netrunner and game of thrones flavour so watch this space.

Netrunner regional 2016 post mortem – Ankusa’s not a good card

So at the end of the tournament season for me I thought I’d take a look at pieces of garbage I decided to take to the regional at IQ games in Huddersfield and how they performed. While they certainly didn’t do well, at least some of the ideas might be things I carry forward.

The Runner – Kate ‘Mac’ McCaffrey

kate

Event (10)
1x Rebirth
3x Modded
3x Sure Gamble
2x Career Fair
1x Employee Strike

Hardware (9)
3x NetChip
2x Sports Hopper
2x The Personal Touch
2x Dinosaurus

Resource (13)
2x Councilman
2x Patron
2x The Turning Wheel
2x Scrubber
2x Kati Jones
3x Daily Casts

Icebreaker (8)
2x Ankusa
1x Mimic
2x Cyber-Cypher
1x Study Guide
1x GS Shrike M2
1x GS Sherman M3

Program (5)
2x Self-modifying Code
1x Paintbrush
2x Multithreader

The whole reason I built this deck was to try out the new icebreaker Ankusa, from fear the masses. I figured it might offset its high install costs and terrible expense to use by bringing in some ICE destruction into shaper, combined with Paintbrush I could use this to remove irritating sentries and code gates as well. I supplemented this with Sherman for anything bigger than a Fire Wall. Shapers have absolutely the best decoders, and the combination of Multithreader and Study Guide is brutal after as few as 3 or 4 turns especially after i switch into Kit with Rebirth later in the game. For sentry Breakers I quite like Shrike for its efficiency but added in Mimic to deal with thing around strength 2 or 3.

All this stuff firmly puts the deck into the category of big rig especially with the need for Dinosaurus to make either Ankusa or Shrike much more effective . And the deck consequently probably didn’t give enough slots to multi-access or economy. Relying on just The Turning Wheel for the former and reducing events with Kati Jones for the latter.

The result of this was unfortunately was being too slow against fast advance but also too poor for glaciers. Also, I had not considered recursion which meant that I had a rough time in my last round match against Jinteki, although I did eventually win with only 2 cards left.

Aside from totally abandoning the deck because Ankusa is just dumb, some changes I considered were putting in a Magnum Opus to increase my money or grab some Datasuckers to help out Ankusa. But another thing that I absolutely should have been doing is practising. Even unsuccessful runs are useful with The Turning Wheel but I need to be in that mindset, also Councilman is an excellent utility card but i need to be better at noticing good trigger times for him.

The Corp – Harmony Medtech

harmony

Agenda (9)
3x Braintrust
2x Fetal AI
3x Medical Breakthrough
1x Philotic Entanglement

Asset (11)
2x Mumba Temple
2x Jackson Howard
2x Mental Health Clinic
3x Shi.Kyū
2x Team Sponsorship

Upgrade (2)
2x SanSan City Grid

Operation (7)
3x Hedge Fund
2x Celebrity Gift
2x Cerebral Static

Barrier (4)
2x Bastion
2x Himitsu-Bako

Code Gate (4)
2x Enigma
1x Lotus Field
1x Crick

Sentry (7)
1x Cobra
2x Grim
2x Swordsman

Other (2)
2x Rainbow

Harmony Medtech was an ID I hadn’t seen in a while, but even when I did it was always in one style, 3 Global Food Initiatives and 3 Future perfects with Shi Kyus. I wanted to try something different, fast advancing 2 point agendas on a SanSan City Grid  but still using the Shi Kyus to make the runner need to score more than me.

As a fast advance deck the ICE definitely takes a back seat, nothing over 5 cost and as all of my influence was gone it’s not particularly mean. Keeping to a 44 card deck and staying at 15 ICE to have Mumba Temples meant I was mostly grabbing cheap end the run ICE or destroyers, and I decided to abandon any attempt at killing with net damage. The Swordsmen were almost obligatory due to Faust mincing through most of my other ICE.

For Assets and Operations there wasn’t anything too impressive or unusual here, however there really weren’t enough assets to properly spam, or enough good ice to really protect them, so any attempt to expand, for example for fancy Team Sponsorship plays, would easily get shut down by a even moderately wealthy runner. Also an odd pick was 2 Cerebral Statics, mainly added due to my longstanding hatred for Noise, and my newer fervent dislike of Whizzard, although those slots could have clearly been used better.

As for the decks performance on the day, it did ok, especially if I felt i could score a quick agenda behind some ICE, but if the game went on for any reasonable length of time it was pretty screwed. While it was never a serious aim to kill the runner, I was able to get one cheeky flatline from 2 Fetal AIs during a Legwork. I also discovered that I apparently had no poker face as any time I tried to sneak out an undefended agenda when my scoring server felt too weak, it was snapped up. The biggest problem the deck had was stalling out, and digging for another agenda only to be beaten to it by the runner searching R&D.

Unlike the runner I can see some obvious room for improvement. I have by no means played enough fast advance and because of this totally undervalued Fast Track, the abiity to grab the last agenda when you need it is invaluable, and while it stays in HQ it is actually relatively safe.Also Team Sponsorship is not the way to reccur the SanSans and I will be eplacing those with Interns in future. ICE wise I initially avoided Vnilla for its parasite vulnerability but I think it will go in in place of Himitsu-Bako, and I could probably do with something to replace Grim as I never felt like I wanted to rez it, with all the recursion out there.

Well, the tournament scene comes to a close and I sadly didn’t attend enough events for Netrunner or Thrones due to other commitments. I also failed totally to follow my own advice to netdeck and improve my fundamentals. I might do better at that next year, and with the tournament cycles splitting up could even give some time to the Star Wars circuit so stay tuned on that front.

And to anyone who’s going to nationals or even worlds, in particular @NotTopGearRH good luck.

 

 

 

Bolt Action – Student nationals 2016

So we come to the end of the mini saga of my Italians and their journey to the Student Wargaming Nationals in Manchester. You can check out my army list and thoughts on how they might perform ahead of time here:  https://notasgrumpyashelooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/road-to-the-nationals-building-the-army/
I finally finished painting them just 1 day before travel and here they are.

 

Game 1 – Maximum Attrition vs Soviets

 

09:30, D-day. Scouts have spotted Soviet guards armoured formations approaching, these are high quality units so degrading them will be vital to the campaign ahead.  Both forces will be arriving onto the battlefield from unknown locations so be cautious.

My first opponent was Damien, his Soviet guards army was very different to the Soviets I usually play against, with fewer infantry and a greater focus on support weapons, as well as a massive IS-2 heavy tank. Since the scenario would be based on destroying units I was wary of a few of my smaller units, the paratroopers in particular so I sent those to outflank. The only units to set up on the board were snipers and forward observers, Damian’s sniper and artillery observer as well as a spotter for a 12cm mortar faced off against my sniper and howitzer spotter, my air observer being held back so I could effectively target his IS-2.

Turn 1 was fairly uneventful with both of us committing our first waves to the battle, I opted to pressure both flanks whereas the russians went for a more central approach, the only real event was my sniper taking out his artillery observer before being counter sniped. Turn 2 saw the armies come to actual blows with my flame tank on the right attacking some guards riflemen and getting promptly blown up in retaliation by the IS-2, similarly my Howitzer took a small chunk out of another rifle squad but itself died to mortar fire. Elsewhere I just made minor shuffling moves and took pot shots, trying to set up a better turn 3. Turn 3 started poorly with my airstrike completely bouncing off the IS-2, and while my cavalry did charge it was only against a sniper team. On the right I made a quick charge with my riflemen to clear out a unit of tank riders but took a lot of casualties in return. Now was when I brought on my outflanking units taking out a unit of dog mine handlers, the cutest anti-tank unit in all of Bolt Action. Meanwhile the IS-2 was rolling around being basically indestructible but fortunately also missing everything it fired at.

Now that turn 4 started I was behind by 3 units, this meant that my army special ability activated, the Italians were getting disheartened by losing so my entire army had -2 morale. This hurt my cavalry who immediately failed to charge. My 3 riflemen did manage to charge but got beat up by one man with a sub machinegun. I moved up my officer so I could get my cavalry moving next turn, and took out a mortar team with my paratroopers. The remaining russian infantry were whittling down my cavalry and once again the IS-2 missed and a breathed a sigh of relief going into turn 5. The cavalry were finally able to get moving and cut down the Soviet officer only to be blown apart by the IS-2 while my remaining rifle squad finished off a conscript unit. Turn 6 saw both armies running out of steam, as I finished off the last guards rifle squad and a fleeing man trying to get to safety, this left the IS-2 as the only remaining enemy unit so I just hid from it until the end of the game.

Certainly early on it looked like I might lose but the numerous small units being run by the Soviets offered me ways to catch up and start the tournament with a win.

Game 2 – Top Secret vs Germans

 

12:45,  D-day. Betrayal! German units have attacked us and are approaching an unguarded field headquarters containing maps to all our minefields and defenses as well as our supply dumps. Retrieve those maps and escort them off the field, enemy casualties are not a priority. 

Danny and the Germans faced me in round 2, several infantry units including some Waffen SS with assault rifles and a flammpanzer III appeared very threatening but I felt confident I could get in and out before the superior German firepower did too much damage.

In this mission all out units started in reserve so I couldn’t even set up any observers, instead I decided to ram all my units forward to intimidate Danny and hope he wouldn’t notice my cavalry which would hopefully be the actual game winners. Not many shots were fired but a significant boon for me was the flammpanzer failing to arrive from reserve, meaning my cavalry could feel safe from sudden destruction. Turn 2 was a little dicey when his Pak38 had a shot to the side of my flame tank a hit would mean certain destruction but fortunately he missed, the German infantry units then advanced and tried to harass my cavalry. I wasn’t doing a lot of attacking, mainly because I wasn’t positioned well but that wasn’t how i planned to win the game anyway. I moved my flame tank clear of the anti-tank gun and brought my cavalry in to pick up the objective, ready to move next turn, I also called in an airstrike on the flammpanzer which would hopefully arrive next turn.

At the start of turn 3, my airstrike did arrive but unfortunately did no damage, it did at least but some pin markers on the SS units which did prevent them from acting this turn. I retreated most of my army to extract the objective and also gain secondary tournament points for no units lost, in a similar vein my flame tank went forward and immolated the German officer for a point but then ran out of fuel. The flammpanzer then surged forward and cooked a unit of paratroopers that didn’t get away in time, losing me that bonus point. Turn 4 was very short as I got the first order and moved the objective off the board.

The cavalry were key here and no other units were especially useful, not seeing the flammpanzer turn 1 was awesome, although as long as it came on the board before my cavalry I could have worked around that. In this mission something on a motorbike might technically be more efficient but for the rest of the day the cavalry proved more worthwhile.

Game 3 – Point Defence vs Americans

 

15:00, D-day. Our forces have come up against a defence line manned by an American infantry division, we must be able to pass through this region. Capturing a majority of their strategic positions would make their defence untenable, any losses are considered acceptable.
Avanti Savoia!

After 2 games already facing Ben and his Americans, the faction I feared the most, seemed like a gruelling task, especially after I lost the roll off to defend. I watched him set up some infantry on his centre-right and artillery on his left, so I sent cavalry to outflank right and 2 units of paratroopers to outflank left. Also my sniper started off in forward deployment, hoping to catch his officer or sniper in my sights. Before the game my preparatory bombardment was very effective, putting 2 pins on a unit of veteran riflemen and his heavy mortar and howitzer.

The first turn was a bit more risky than previous games as Ben had serious units on the board and I did not, I had a large hill in the centre of my edge so felt funnelled down the sides sending the flame tank and one infantry squad down the left and my machine gun tankette with another infantry squad down the right. My howitzer was deployed centrally because the spotter would allow me to shell most of the map. The main American threat was the Chaffee, one of the best tanks in the game, but that was still in reserve so I brought on my air observer trying to cover the areas it might come on. The early pins really hurt here as none of the american artillery would fire and the infantry squad refused to advance, leaving the rangers to go it alone, advancing towards the flame tank hoping to get the drop on it in the next turn. As turn 2 began I drew the first order dice allowing me to flame the Rangers, although they did not run away as I hoped, meaning I had to bring up my riflemen in support. It was now that the Chaffee appeared and shot into the riflemen, missing with its high explosive round but doing some casualties with machine guns. The enemy howitzer failed to fire again, but the mortar succeeded in destroying my howitzer before being gunned down by the tankette. Ben was keeping his 2 remaining infantry units in reserve for a counter attack so I used the lull to move up my riflemen on the right and target the Chaffee for air attack. My  airstrike was delayed at the start of turn 3 but I could put up with that, my infantry on the left cleared the remaining rangers allowing my flame tank to surge forward. The American howitzer finally got into gear, blowing my tankette apart and the american lieutenant got into the fight trying to bolster the morale of the infantry squad still hunkered down in the deployment zone. The remaining American infantry squads stayed in reserve so I still had a temporary ability to push forward relatively unhindered. My sniper was proving to be totally useless as he repeatedly hit the enemy sniper and officer but failed to wound so I was almost inclined to just tell him to get down all the time.

When turn 4 rolled around I really needed the airstrike to arrive but it failed to do so again, instead I was able to get my flame tank attacking and wiped out a rifleman squad, and pushed my own riflemen forward towards the American sniper, here Ben chose to charge with the sniper, banking on the squads depleted numbers and his own sniper’s veteran status to carry him, unfortunately this didn’t work and the Italians were able to move forward into some trees. The american howitzer hit back however by destroying another unit of riflemen, at this point I was nearly running out of units, my outflankers had not moved enough along the board edge to bring them on. Turn 5 was almost a disaster, my airstrike arrived but the incompetent airman of the Reggia Aeronautica put several bombs through the roof of my flame tank, destroying it. The American engineers also arrived and destroyed my infantry unit approaching the central objective with their own flamethrower. Now I had to bring on my reserves, one unit of paratroopers moved towards the left flank objective, and the cavalry seized the right by massacring the howitzer crew with their pistols. Ben did still have another infantry unit in reserve which i had not yet forced him to commit, these arrived and with the help of the Chaffee cleared the left objective. It seemed like the game might end in a draw at this point, but I did at least manage to kill the enemy officer for bonus points. Turn 6 saw my 2nd unit of paratroopers arrive and hurt but not wipe out the infantry unit guarding the point on the left, my cavalry then made a move towards the central objective with a view to taking it if there was a 7th turn. Fortunately I was granted a 7th turn and was able to charge the engineers and capture the central point to win the game by a whisker.

It would have been helpful if in just one game that day the airstrikes had done their job and removed a problem tank, but the rest of the army pulled together and made up for that weakness to bring me victory.

Ending the day on 3 wins of 3 games I was nervous of playing similarly high win opponents in the next 2 rounds but I put off that worry by retreating to the pub.

Game 4 – Demolition vs Poles

 

09:30, D+1. Polish cavalry units have outflanked our line and threaten our supply dumps, however their supplies are also nearby and without them they will be unable to sustain their raids. Defend our positions while also making forceful attacks.

Coming in tired and overly full on hotel breakfast I was up against Stuart and his Polish cavalry army. The mission was demolition, destroy the enemy objective by having one of your units contact it, and the several units of cavalry as well as small transport cars made me very worried that i could lose out of nowhere. This scenario allowed both players to set up significant forces on the board, this saw both of us deploying our armour and artillery early. I sent both units of paratroopers to outflank on the left, which I mainly planned to come on behind enemy outflankers.

Turn 1 was short and bloody, Stuart pushing his TKS tankette to attack my flame tank, fortunately doing no damage but the anti tank gun was put on ambush, waiting for my return strike. My tankette managed to outflank the anti tank gun, destroying it and leaving my flame tank free to move and destroy the TKS. Calling in an airstrike on the 7TP at the end of the turn I was in a good position. The airstrike was delayed from the start of turn 2 so I took the opportunity to redirect it to the rifleman squad guarding the Polish objective. 2 Polish cavalry units now came on from reserve, advancing down both flanks supported by machine gun fire from the 7TP and a patrol car, the Polish heavy mortar did good work by hitting and destroying my howitzer but i retaliated by eliminating the 7TP with my flamethrower tank. I felt confident at this point with most damage dealers dead I could concentrate on controlling the map. Turn 3 started poorly, my airstrike achieved little while my flame tank went FUBAR and annihilated my other armoured vehicle, fortunately it did not run out of fuel so remained a threat. The polish cavalry on my right were virtually unopposed so cut down my sniper in the trees, as for the ones on the left my own cavalry came on from reserve to meet them, whoever got the first order next turn would be able to dictate the charge. My only other move was to bring on some riflemen from reserve to put pins on the cavalry, hopefully they would fail their order even if they went first.

The first order die of turn 4 was indeed Polish, but the cavalry failed to obey orders, leaving me free to charge them instead, wiping out the unit for few casualties in return. I chose to consolidate backwards in retreat because there was still a cavalry unit outflanking me that had not yet arrived . Stuart then put his officer into a staff car, creating another fast scoring unit I would have to deal with as the second cavalry unit made its way around my unguarded right flank. The flame tank then turned and started moving towards the Polish objective, killing a mortar team along the way. Turn 5 saw the last Polish reserves arrive on my left, a large 10 man unit of cavalry very close to my objective. I attempted to whittle them down a bit before charging in my cavalry, who cut them down in short order and consolidated around my objective. The remaining Polish cavalry ran down an exposed rifleman unit and were positioned to charge me in turn 6 if they went first. My flame tank was able to eliminate the Polish infantry guarding their objective so I would be able to capture it in turn 6. Neither of us had many units left going into turn 6 but small units like my officer and air observer were contributing extra order dice so I could have a greater chance to go first with my vital cavalry. They drew their sabres and entered melee with the last Polish lancers, annihilating them but leaving my objective unguarded. This meant the Polish staff car could drive up and take it, giving me until the end of the turn to destroy them. Fortunately my remaining infantry did just that, destroying the car with the subsequent explosion killing the officer inside. My tank finally moved onto the Polish objective to end the game.

I definitely benefitted from a lucky first and second turn, without that I think the result would have more likely been a draw, as I would timidly retreat rather than risking an unsuccessful attack leaving me exposed.

Game 5 – Maximum Attrition vs Americans

 

13:00, D+1. The enemy is in retreat, destroying the enemy remnants will force them to sue for peace. Take care to protect our forces, without an army in the field our negotiating position will be severely weakened. 

The last game was a rematch against Ben with us being placed 1 and 2. A slightly different scenario, maximum attrition had me a little worried. My small units were vulnerable, especially to the very effective American Infantry and destroying the Chaffee was still going to be a problem as it was in round 3. We each set up our snipers and forward spotters, with my air observer successfully hidden from the American sniper and my own sniper positioned to hopefully catch the enemy commander as he came onto the board. This game I outflanked my flame tank to keep it safe from the Chaffee and hopefully catch the advancing enemy infantry unawares.

Turn one saw most of the American forces committed to my right, away from where most of my outflankers would be and concentrated near my weaker units like my officer and sniper. I sent my cavalry forward but the strong enemy forces made me retreat them behind a hill in subsequent turns. Now that the armies were deployed turn 2 would see some serious shooting, starting off with my howitzer taking out its American counterpart, and my machine gun tankette advancing to try whittling down the large number of enemy infantry. The Chaffee was menacing my right flank as my riflemen skirmished with some enemy riflemen sneaking around a hedge, not doing much damage but causing vital pins. On turn 3 my airstrike arrived on the Chaffee but didn’t cause very serious damage, at least stunning it for the turn. This enabled me to bring on my paratrooper unit unmolested to attack a unit of infantry, after heavy casualties they shockingly routed, giving me one less problem to deal with. over on the other side of the field however, a depleted unit of Americans made a quick charge towards my riflemen and cut them down, consolidating towards the board edge.This brought them near to where my flame tank would arrive, clearing them out. The US rangers also made my life difficult by advancing on and slaughtering my air observer.

It seemed like the game could go either way going into turn 4, with me getting the first order die. I used this to have my paratroopers charge the Chaffee with their anti-tank grenades, forcing Ben to consider whether to use his recce move to escape but he declined. I needed a 6 to cause serious damage but thankfully I got it, destroying the hated light tank. The remaining enemy combat strength was the rangers in the centre who had a clear line to my CO, closing in and killing him. However this but them right in the sights of my Howitzer which promptly blew them away. The rest of the game was just mopping up of the enemy lieutenant. Although I did lose a unit to some surprise engineers coming on from reserve it didn’t stop my momentum which lead to a wipe out in turn 6.

I can’t really complain about anything going badly in that game, I would have liked my airstrike to do something useful at least once over the weekend but really my army more than made up for it in other areas.

Over the whole weekend the elements that consistently proved valuable were the armoured elements, cheap but high firepower with the light armour not mattering when I could hide them, and the paratroopers who often were small surprise damage dealers who I’m glad I didn’t cut. To improve the army I’m not sure what I’d do with the limit of one platoon, maybe cutting the sniper to make the infantry units bigger and more durable would help but that’s a problem for another time.

image

So that’s it really, 5 wins of 5  put me top of the charts. I’d like to thank Vague for putting on an excellent nationals and Gonzo in particular for running Bolt Action. Also shout out to the other members of the Sheffield Wargames team, Tom Hands and Ed Wells getting 1st and 2nd in 40k and Jake Corteen placing 2nd in Warhammer Fantasy, with Sam May and Sam Watson doing well in Bolt Action and 40k respectively, also Simon Canham in the mixed event, The Gauntlet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Netrunner store championships – Wargames emporium 20/03/2016

Heading back to the table for a store championship I knew it would be a more serious affair than the game night kit I’d played for over 2 months ago. I wasn’t feeling confident, not nearly enough practice combined with decks that probably weren’t the best, also the level of play would definitely increasing. Given this I would have been very happy with being in a middling position at best. Disclaimer: in my role as most forgetful man in the world names and events may be remembered poorly or not at all, you have been warned.

The Decks

Rielle “Kit” Peddler: Transhuman

03028

Event (8)
3x Diesel
2x Modded
3x Sure Gamble

Hardware (7)
2x Plascrete Carapace
3x R&D Interface
2x Astrolabe

Resource (9)
1x Kati Jones
3x Daily Casts
2x Symmetrical Visage
2x Film Critic
1x Hunting Grounds

Icebreaker (7)
1x Corroder
1x Mimic
2x Atman
1x Gingerbread
1x Cerberus “Lady” H1
1x Study Guide

Program (15)
2x Panchatantra
1x Magnum Opus
2x Paricia
3x Self-modifying Code
1x Paintbrush
3x Leprechaun
3x Multithreader

My Runner game tends to gravitate towards safe shapers and Kit is as safe as they come. With the newly released Panchatantra breathing life into poor little Gingerbread, this only got better, making any 2 deep ice defeatable. Study Guide combined with one or more Multithreaders is incredible, helping Multithreader make back its high install cost. I was initially worried the deck could struggle for money but that ended up not being the case, although this worry was from testing against HB decks and I saw none on the day. Some of the choices were a bit more questionable, Paricia is nice but eats up valuable memory, so it probably gets overwritten some time in the middle of the game and Hunting Grounds was included for use against Tollbooth which never appeared. The patchwork of support programs, Panchatantra, Multithreader, Paintbrush and Magnum Opus necessitated some Leprechauns, this made things more complicated with the need to find and pay for their installs. Overall the deck was typical of my shapers, too slow and too timid, but with only 4 rounds, the opposition was not representative of the full spectrum of decks.

Cybernetics Division: Humanity Upgraded

08050

Agenda (12)
2x Advanced Concept Hopper
3x Accelerated Beta Test
3x Project Vitruvius
1x Gila Hands Arcology
3x Self-Destruct Chips

Asset (11)
2x Mumba Temple
2x Adonis Campaign
3x Cerebral Overwriter
2x Jackson Howard
1x Chairman Hiro
1x Tech Startup

Operation (11)
3x Hedge Fund
3x Restructure
3x Mushin No Shin
1x Cerebral Static
1x Defective Brainchips

Barrier (3)
1x Heimdall 2.0
2x Markus 1.0

Code Gate (7)
2x Viktor 1.0
1x Viktor 2.0
2x Gyri Labyrinth
2x Turing

Sentry (5)
1x Vikram 1.0
2x Ichi 1.0
1x Janus 1.0
1x Fenris

I chose to play Cybernetics Division because i wanted a deck that allows flashy plays and puts the stress on the runner, it doesn’t need to be as rich as a meat damage deck and can close out games with fast advances a bit better than a Jinteki deck. Even though cybernetics division can have a small deck size, I felt a bit too constrained trying to fit in enough economy, ICE and kill so went to 49 cards. The deck is trying to drop my 3/1 agendas along with throwaway assets like Mumba Temple and try to sneak them past the runner, dropping their hand size until i can kill with Chairman Hiro. Mushin No Shin helps greatly with this, meaning I don’t become incredibly poor scoring an agenda turn 2 and making Cerebral Overwriter much more useable. The ICE suite is ok but definitely has some problems, Fenris is nice but i can’t justify it since Faust destroys it and is everywhere. The bioroids are good in this respect as they are typically reasonable strength with high subs and Turing is great. Gyri Labyrinth however should definitely have been cut as it will never secure the kill, the runner being easily able to break it by the time 2 temporary brain damage matters. A necessary addition was one Cerebral Static because I hate Noise and all he stands for   The aim of the deck, to play mind games with the runner, is fine but ultimately i didn’t make the wrong decisions seem necessary enough for the runners to take them, and the deck slightly fizzled.

Round 1 – NEH and Noise

Wargames Emporium had a nice late start of 11:30 so I wasn’t forcing myself out of a hungover bed, and I sat down for my first round against Rebekah who i had faced at the game night kit in January. Seeing NEH I had mixed feelings, typically one deep ice meant I could probably get away with only the study guide however the fast pace of the game would require me to spend my money trashing assets and being constantly wary of fast advances from the hand.

I opened up well, seeing both my Paricias and pressuring the open remotes to trash San-San City Grids, Pad Campaigns and Team Sponsorships, but I was unable to prevent her from sneaking out an Astroscript using a Biotic Labour. I made a calculated risk that I would not be seeing any meat damage and spend a little time setting up my Study guide and a Magnum Opus. Seeing an Archangel and a Little engine in R&D I slowed down and built my Study Guide bigger to deal with them. In this time Rebekah was able to put out a bit more ICE and also score a Project Beale out of hand, but I now had R&D lock with two R&D Interfaces so was feeling more confident. Then to my horror she snuck out an already installed Astroscript without me noticing bringing her to 6 points, now I knew it was basically over as any agenda in her hand would allow her to win. I made 4 hail mary R&D runs and got up to 6 points but lost to a breaking news out of HQ. The lesson there, my deck lacked HQ pressure, maybe I could make room for a Legwork.

So we flipped sides and I faced off against Noise, my least favourite fictional human ever. His ability just makes all my lovely careful plans fall apart. I could have played a consistent deck that didn’t care about its individual pieces as much like core set HB, but where’s the fun in that?

I started off bold, Mushin on an Advanced Concept Hopper behind a single piece of ICE, HQ and R&D left unguarded. It paid off with a quick score of an excellent utility agenda and nothing of note lost from the centrals. I threw some ICE in front of my centrals but didn’t really have the money to pay for it all, hopefully I could keep my poker face up as they were only Ichis and wouldn’t stop a determined run. I lost a Project Vitruvius to Noise’s mill before I could get my Jackson down, but was able to score a Self Destruct Chips behind a Turing, following this up with a Cerebral Overwriter behind the turing to bait out a D4v1d although this failed as she chose to click through instead. I was in a rough position, I could either attempt to score another agenda or sure up my centrals, in the end I chose to build up some cash and protect HQ. The end came swiftly, a Faust plus spooned clearing my ICE on R&D then multiple Medium runs grabbing the remaining agendas. Noise is always a pain, especially when I’m playing combo oriented decks. He proved why he’s still my nemesis and that he’s a punk kid who needs to get a real job.

Round 2 Ken Tenma and Tennin Institute

 

Gearing up for round two against Tom,  I was wary of Ken Tenma. Being a criminal I was expecting Inside Job to sneak into the one ICE remotes I create through Mushin and the excellent criminal killers like Fairie or Mongoose would scupper my plans for sneaky brain damage from my ICE, so I considered taking a slower approach.

I began by putting ICE on HQ to ward off the inevitable Account Siphon, installing a bit more ICE and gaining some money, and then over the next few turns snuck out a Self Destruct Chips before he could get any breakers ready. I managed to stop an Account Siphon and a Maker’s Eye with my ICE and used Mushin No Shin to throw down a Cerebral Overwriter, which Tom promptly ran on and reduced his hand size to zero. However, by now Tom had built up a huge money pile through Oracle May and some strong event economy, I wasn’t confident I would be able to continue scoring agendas so instead I relentlessly started digging for Chairman Hiro to get the kill. In the end I was able to flatline by putting out another Cerebral Overwriter with Mushin and it felt good to end the losing streak.

Switching up to my runner I was concerned about facing a Jinteki ID, my deck had no net damage protection and it would slow me down to draw up cards to protect myself with. Although it wouldn’t be too bad as I planned on installing most of my programs before running anyway, I hopefully wouldn’t find myself in a position where I was unable to get into a server.

After a turn of putting ICE on his centrals, Tom laid out 3 new remotes. i chose not to run on any of them and instead build up money and find my study guide, fortunately none of them were agendas. He then used his ID power to advance a card in one of the remotes, I felt like I had to run it, a Junebug wouldn’t be awful and I couldn’t risk a 4/2 like Nisei Mk2 being scored or a Ronin, but in the end it was a Cerebral Overwriter, one brain damage not a serious issue. I then hit a snare which hurt a bit and I had to stop my brain from going on autopilot and clear the tag, however I was able to pick up a Philotic Entanglement from HQ saving a bit of pain later. I was now able to get through the ICE on R&D so I dropped 2 R&D Interfaces and went for it, over the next 2 turns I saw all three Medical Breakthroughs and closed out the game. Tom did get unlucky there, if I had not already seen some of the net damage i would have been punished more for my multi accesses but in the end I got away with it and balanced out my score going into round 3.

Round 3 NEH and Whizzard

Another round, another NEH, sigh. There’s nothing wrong with the fast advance strategy, but it does stress me out ridiculously, the feeling of inevitability after they score the first Astroscript, and the feeling that you’re playing badly if you’re not able to trash all the assets and make repeated multi accesses. However I figured I would stick with the game plan, Study Guide through anything and try to set up an R&D lock.

I tried to be aggressive right off the bat, running early to force him to rez some ICE and deplete his money, but i hit a Data Raven. The horror that I might now have to worry about meat damage, I jacked out and built up my money, digging for a Plascrete Carapace. Any successful run might be my end, with SEA Source and Scorched Earth being a very real possibility. This timidity let him score out an Astroscript and then another from his hand. I tired running R&D but saw nothing and he scored a Project Beale using his Astroscript token. I made a last ditch attempt to score some points in R&D then asked ‘Do you have a Breaking News?’. He did and the game ended quickly.

Whizzard messes with my preferred strategy, to put out my Self Destruct Chips unguarded along with stuff like Mumba Temple and Adonis Campaign. A normal runner might consider running on these to be a waste of clicks and credits to trash them while they are unknown, but Whizzard is more than happy to check them out. I opted to mulligan for a Mushin and try to make flashy plays.

As in game 1 I started with a Mushin putting down an Advanced Concept Hopper behind a piece of ICE, leaving my centrals unguarded. I knew I was going to lose in the short term, but the Hopper would pay off over time. His run in the following turn hurt, losing me a Jackson Howard and an Accelerated Beta Test. The next couple of turns I put ICE over HQ and R&D and built up my money, I felt safe with a Turing on R&D since Faust would be unable to get in. I managed to score a Gila Hands Arcology but often forgot to use it when clicking for credits like the idiot that I am, along with an Accelerated Beta Test which I opted not to fire. Unfortunately a Parasite had eroded the ICE on HQ which lead to another steal. I drew into a Project Vitruvius and had a Mushin ready, with this being match point I went for it and put the agenda down unguarded. The ball was very much in his court, he installed a Turntable, grabbed some money and fruitlessly ran my HQ leaving him on one click. That click felt like it lasted five minutes as he weighed up the risk of a Cerebral Overwriter or a Junebug, sadly the fear did not win out and he stole the agenda, swapping it for my Advanced Concept Hopper. I could clearly see at this point that the tide had turned and he closed out the game shortly after. 2-4 with only one round left and I could feel the awful spirit of tilt gripping onto me.

Round 4 Jesminder Sareen and Jinteki:Personal Evolution

Round 4 was against Dave, an unreasonably nice man who I would be trying to destroy. Jesminder is a nice ID that I’ve been wanting to try out myself, I was expecting standard shaper bullshit but maybe a better than average chance of things like Account Siphon, so I would have to pay attention to his money to spot scoring windows.

The beginning of the game was fairly standard, I used my muligan to try to find Mushin but ended up with Chairman Hiro much earlier than I would have liked, at least I still had enough ICE and cash to protect my centrals initially. Dave’s initial turn involved dropping a Professional Contacts and going down to almost no money, so I took advantage of this to put down an Adonis Campaign and score a Gila Hands Arcology. At this point Dave managed to get himself a breaker, Gingerbread comboed with Panchatantra, so he could now get into any of my one deep servers for a not very high cost. I tried to Mushin out a 3/2 behind ICE and dissuade him from running it but the bludd failed and he stole the agenda, I then did the same with a Cerebral Overwriter and he did not take the bait. My poker face clearly needs some work. He was then able to access HQ and trash Chairman Hiro for 2 more points. I also lost points to accesses through R&D which was expensive for him but he seemed happy to pay to get in. Over a few turns Dave had managed to destroy the ICE on HQ and I had not been drawing affordable means to replace it so the final points were scored from my open central. My lack of ICE over strength 5 meant that his only breaker, Gingerbread, wasn’t being made prohibitively expensive to use. Maybe my deck would have benefited from some Heimdall 1.0s as they would have been good against both this and Faust.

The final match of the day was against Jinteki: Personal Evolution and I was not on top form at all. I knew from experience that playing as Jinteki at the end of a long day is taxing too so I hoped that would work in my favour. Going into the game my concerns were the same as in round 2, slowing down to draw, and missing agendas because I was too scared to run open remotes.

Dave started by using Celebrity Gift to show me a hand full of net damage and not a lot else, gaining plenty of cash and dissuading me from running HQ for most of the game. This at least freed up my turn to run R&D to force him to spend some money, then building up my own money pile. His next few turns were spent laying out a series of remotes, one of them being advanced once, this ended up being advanced a massive 7 times leading me at various points to think it was a Nisei Mk2, an incredible bold Vanity Project or a huge GRNDL Refinery, but it was actually a Junebug the whole time. I did manage to pick up a Philotic Entanglement and trashed a Ronin which made me feel less like I could die at any moment, although a House of Knives was scored from an open remote. R&D was protected by only a Lotus Field so it was cheap to access after I got my Study Guide up to strength, I made several accesses but found a Fetal AI when I was too poor to steal it which stung. Dave then used Mushin No Shin to put out a card and left it unguarded. I decided I was fine with him scoring another one point agenda so instead ran HQ, hitting a Shock, and gathered some more money. Then he asked me how many cards I had in hand, it was three, and revealed that the Mushined card had been a Ronin and delivered the killing blow with a Neural EMP. My only flatline of the day leaving my score on 2-6 but I couldn’t have lost to a nicer guy so I wasn’t too bitter about it. I wondered after if something like Net Shield or Feedback Filter might have been helpful but they are both in their own ways quite fiddly and it would have been a better solution to just play better, not letting myself get so low on cards.

The end came and I received my alt art Jackson Howard, the most stylish man in all of netrunner, since I wasn’t going to make the top 8 I slunk away and retreated to the pub.

All things considered I’m happy with the decks I took, more so with the corp than the runner, but I’ll be spending the time up to regionals doing a lot more netdecking to improve my fundamentals, maybe switching up to criminal since I’m not a fan of the very prevalent Whizzard/Noise Faust decks. Also the Patriot Games cube league should be a good opportunity to get better at building decks that are just solid rather than trying to do anything fancy. However when it comes to the actual event I’d always rather be playing something a bit more unique that I thought up myself.

 

 

Road to the nationals – Building the army

With the nationals 3 weeks away it’s time to nail down the army list, and putting it up here will give me a chance to work through my general strategy for the tournament. So here it is.

Italian 132nd armoured division ‘Ariete’

Headquarters
1st Lieutenant (Regular) + bodyguard 85
Forward air observer (Regular) +bodyguard 85

Infantry squads
9 regular infantry 90
9 regular infantry 90
5 Paratroopers with SMGs and anti-tank grenades 95
5 Paratroopers with SMGs and anti-tank grenades 95
9 Cavalry 135

Teams
Sniper (Veteran) 65

Artillery
Medium artillery (Regular) with spotter 85

Tanks
L3/35 tankette with twin MMGs 70
L6/40 tank with flamethrower 105

 

The army’s core operating principle is to go hard and fast against infantry, while hiding and protecting its own. Since tanks are expensive, particularly ones that will duel other tanks  I’ve taken a calculated risk that I can avoid dealing with them. If it absolutely comes to it I have the air observer and the artillery.

Some of the units are slightly edgy calls, in particular the paratroopers, the units are quite small so vulnerable to damage but put out a fair bit in return. These units and other being fragile makes the army weak at assaulting an enemy, but hopefully I can use the Italians’ ability to re-roll who is attacker/defender to mitigate this. The sniper is a unit I didn’t particularly want to include, his damage is quite low but his potential to take out key officers at least promotes some fear in the opponent. In essence my sniper is a response to my friend who plays americans and his sniper, who constantly threatens my air observer so I have included a sniper mainly for counter sniping.

The shining star of the army is my flamethrower armed tank which is some ungodly machine of death, removing one infantry squad per turn if it is in range, it could also threaten a tank if pressed, so on a cramped map where it can hide from AT guns should do well. I have also included the cavalry because frankly they are hilarious, especially if you can time a charge well, and also they do well in objective based modes as they are some of the fastest units in the game.

So that’s the army really, on a map with heavy terrain I should be able to push high damage on small fronts and in a more open area I’ll sit back and let them advance into my guns. In a scenario where I have to attack on a broad front it will be much more difficult much like for the actual Italian army.

The next update on this front will be after the tournament, so wish me luck. Now to retreat to the painting table.

 

 

 

Road to the nationals – A Bolt Action adventure

My first foray into games in the tabletop sense was the behemoth that is Warhammer 40,000, and while it has served me well for 9 years now the shine has definitely worn off. I no longer have the sick dollar to keep updating my armies or branching out into new ones so have been stuck with broadly the same armies for a while now. I’m not a collector or a serious painter who buys models because I just want to, I’m always building towards a specific army list, so I don’t have large collections to make many different lists out of. This can end up being a problem since my first ideas are often bad (as are my second, third and so on, I’m not good at games OK), so I was definitely in the market for something a bit cheaper. Also as a bit of a history buff I fancied a historical wargame, so when some of my friends mentioned Bolt action a 28mm scale WWII game designed by some of the 40k creators I jumped right on it.

dreamwalker.jpg

You guys are definitely part of the problem

I’ve only played about 10 games against a handful of people but I’m committing to playing Bolt Action at the student wargaming nationals in April. I won’t be posting my list just yet as it is very much subject to change but if somehow people are scouting me, I’ll be playing 1940 Italians so I wouldn’t worry too much. Instead I’ll go over some of the key aspects of the game and why I like it.

The mechanic that drives the action part of Bolt Action is the order system.( I haven’t found the bolt yet but I guess it could be in a drawer somewhere) Each player has 1 order die for each of their units and put them all into a bag, these dice are then drawn randomly and the player they belong to may order 1 unit for each one drawn. The orders that can be issued are relatively straightforward, all being some combination of moving, shooting and taking cover. You could end up with one player getting a string of orders in a row and start to snowball, this is exacerbated as units die and their dice are removed from the pool. And while this might be a problem I have rarely found a wargame that doesn’t get harder once you start losing. I’ve often excused this potential unfairness based on an an anecdote about the design of Magic The Gathering. The mechanic of land allows players to be lucky or unlucky with the amount of resources they have and so unskilled players have a chance to beat more skilled opponents, this also gives them an excuse for defeat too and helps them persevere with the game.

Another key mechanic that affects everything about the game is pinning,  whenever a unit is hit by fire it receives a pin marker, pin markers represent disruption and the desires of soldiers to keep their heads down. Each pin marker makes units less likely to obey your orders, less accurate in their shooting and more likely to break and run after heavy casualties. This is easily the best thing about Bolt Action, it makes every unit matter, one pin marker is allocated per attack regardless of the number of hits, so outside of damage one lonely officer with a rifle can affect the game as much as a horde of soviet conscripts. It has strong synergy with the order dice mechanic, if you can get the drop on an attack your opponent had set up, the unit might be too pinned by the time it’s turn rolls around. It makes Bolt Action a game not about wiping away an opponent with a huge alpha strike, but a game about wearing down your opponent, suppressing threats so you’ll be in a good position to attack them later. The terrain affects this a lot, and I haven’t yet played with significantly line-of-sight blocking terrain, the inability to focus down units with most of the army would change things significantly.

bolt_action_soviets-4.jpg

Russians! Thousands of ’em

The game is also very well balanced, most men with guns are the same across all armies, with 3 levels of training to differentiate them, recruit, regular and veteran. All armies have special rules but these often add flavour more than affect performance in an significant way. There are more differences in vehicles, and Bolt Action has a large vehicle selection, although the skirmish nature of the game means you will typically see only 1 or 2 armoured vehicles per side. Although there is a Tank War variant which I haven’t tried yet, I’ll get around to it once i rustle up some Afrika Korp.

I think vehicles are one of the weaker aspects of Bolt Action, a big heavy tank like a Tiger might be iconic but they don’t add a lot of value to your army. Big anti-tank guns can only really be used against other tanks and so the heavy investment struggles to pay for itself against an infantry heavy force, which most are. These weapons can also be very anti climactic missing with their one shot and leaving you underwhelmed with your white elephant.

 

german2

It’s ok boys, that’s nearly half their points right there.

While automatic weapons are plentiful the game still has satisfying rules for the adrenaline fueled rush of close combat, even dashing cavalry charges. These require nerves of steel but can be a winner takes all gambit if you pull it off, assaults are quick and bloody with the losing side being annihilated even if only a narrow defeat. These assaults along with rules for off table support from artillery and airstrikes, and even the opportunity for outflanking maneuvers are icing on the cake giving you more options than just grinding your way to victory in slow firefights.

The missions in the rulebook are often creative but i feel these are also another area the game falls down. Some are fine in terms of balance but are lacklustre, others seem too favourable to either the attacker or defender, and then there’s ‘top secret’ a mission that 99 times out of 100 will end in a draw. While there are historical or themed scenarios I’ve always disliked those in wargames, I want to show up for a pick up game with an all comers list and see equal lists with equal generals have a roughly equal chance to win.

So that’s Bolt Action, if you’re a recovering 40k addict like me then i think this is right up your alley. It feels both similar and very different. It’s not super cheap, i think I’ve spent around £200 going through a few different list variants for my Italians. But most wargames of this type will run at this price range or higher. Overall i think this game rewards thinking tactically and being gutsy in equal measure and it definitely deserves your interest.

*I have just realised the title image is of the Italian surrender, maybe not so auspicious.

A Game of Thrones – IQ games 10/01/16

My first tournament for A Game of Thrones in either edition so I thought I’d write some words about it. Arriving literally just in time after negotiating the Huddersfield one way system was not a good omen, and I sat awaiting first pairings with veteran 1st edition players running sensible decks. Whereas I was the only Tyrell player there with a deck which lacked a clear archetype.

The Deck

House Tyrell / Banter to the Stag

Plots
1x A Feast for Crows
1x A Game of Thrones
1x A Noble Cause
1x Building Orders
1x Calm Over Westeros
1x Counting Coppers
1x Filthy Accusations

Characters
1x Littlefinger
1x Varys
2x Maester Cressen
2x Melisandre
1x Ser Davos Seaworth
3x Fiery Followers
2x Dragonstone Faithful
2x Left
1x Maester Lomys
2x Margaery Tyrell
2x Paxter Redwyne
2x Randyll Tarly
2x Right
2x The Knight of Flowers
2x The Queen of Thorns
3x Garden Caretaker
1x Olenna’s Informant
3x Wardens of the Reach
2x Arbor Knight
1x Renly Baratheon

Locations
2x The Iron Throne
3x The Kingsroad
3x The Roseroad
1x Chamber of the Painted Table
1x Highgarden
1x The Mander
3x Rose Garden

Attachments
2x Milk of the Poppy
2x Heartsbane

Events
1x Put to the Torch
2x Tears of Lys
1x The Hand’s Judgment
2x Seen In Flames

The overall idea behind the deck is to build a big board, attacking with big characters like Randyll leaving enough small characters for defence and dominance win. I chose to play Tyrell largely because of The Queen of Thorns, although she really would work better in a Fealty deck once the character pool is bigger. Bannering to Baratheon so that I could take a reasonable amount of kneel to suppress big threats.

The Deck has a very small number of events and attachments so most of the cards are fine for a set-up hand, typically 3 or 4 cards on the board at the start of the game. The events I did choose were probably questionable, only one each of Put to the Torch and The Hand’s Judgment to counter specific threats like The Seastone Chair, The Red Keep and Tears of Lys. Although with only one of each I was unlikely to see them when I needed them. My own Tears of Lys were there to make up for my lack of reliable military pressure.

Considering locations there were probably too many one offs and I would have benefited from more consistency with additional Chambers of the Painted Table, in the end I never used The Mander or Highgarden to great effect.

The characters have a reasonable cost curve peaking around 3 gold but the icon spread is not great being slightly lacking in power icons, making me regret removing 2 Courtesans of the Rose. I was happy with all my Baratheon characters except Renly who ended up being too expensive to put out. The Tyrell characters mainly had strong intrigue which I was continually pushing through, with The Knight of Flowers being a key character, usually able to get through a power challenge with renown.

The plot deck was the part that I agonised over the most, a Building Orders to offset my locations being one off when I would have rather had a Summons or a Marched to the Wall. My favourite plots were A Feast for Crows and A Game of Thrones, helping me to push forward my power and slow down an aggressive opponent respectively.

Round 1 Baratheon-Fealty

I went into the first round pairings very nervous, I was sat across from a reputedly strong 1st edition player, rocking Bara-Fealty a known strong archetype. I would have to pull out all the stops. I started with a 4 card set-up of a few weenies and a Roseroad, but shockingly he had managed to put down Robert Baratheon. Turn 1 I knelt his Robert with a Filthy Accusations and was able to follow up by using Tears of Lys on Robert, killing him and leaving me in a strong position. This lead to a few turns of unopposed challenges getting me a good power lead, however during this time he had got out Melisandre and Stannis and was kneeling my threats pretty consistently. Plot 7 rolled around and it was a Wildfire assault from him, decimating my board leaving me with Margaery, Randyll with Milk of the Poppy on him and Paxter Redwyne up against both Stannis and Melisandre. I was able to rebuild just enough to not lose immediately but it wasn’t looking good. I have a a board mainly of weanies, losing power challenges but retaining dominance. It boiled down to the 10th plot when I flipped A Feast for Crows and time was called, we determined that he could not prevent me from winning dominance and getting to 15 power so round 1 went to me.

Round 2 Lannister – Banter to the Dragon

For the second round I was up against a Lannister deck but I had a good start, a fair few characters for set up and able to drop The Knight of Flowers turn 1 racing up to 10 power in 3 turns, however he had been building his board and was ready to strike back. A big military challenge went in so I chump blocked it, but I was surprised by a Put to the Sword, killing The Knight of Flowers and setting me back immensely. An especially galling loss since I had wasted a Hand’s Judgement on Things I do for Love just a turn earlier. I attempted to build back up but at this point I was staving off the inevitable. Big character after big character, Cersei destroying my hand with Tywin and Jaime racking up renown. It was over before plot 7 and left me 1-1

Round 3 Greyjoy – Fealty

Greyjoy are the faction I feared coming up against, probably wrongly, largely due to Balon and The Seastone Chair for scary targeted kill. He had a pretty great set up, including Asha and an Iron Fleet Scout compared to my mediocre efforts, Paxter Redwyne and a couple of weenies. I felt pretty intimidated when he dropped Euron Crow’s Eye and Aeron Damphair over the next few turns but it got better with a successful intrigue challenge setting up Tears of Lys. However I made a terrible mistake, killing Asha while Aeron Damphair was still alive making my efforts worse than useless. After that it was all downhill, many unopposed challenges through stealth closed out the game in a few turns and I slid down into a negative win ratio.

Round 4 Baratheon – Fealty

Staring down another Bara-Fealty deck was not what I had in mind especially seeing Melisandre on the board straight away, although he was light on military icons. I took advantage of this, keeping the pressure up so he never had rarely had free characters to attack with. I was able to keep creeping up on power and board presence, wary of building too big in case of wildfire assault, but it never came. My main controlling pieces never really got used unfortunately, no Milk of the Poppy due to Maester Cressen knocking about and I didn’t see any Tears of Lys. In the end this didn’t matter as I was able to push for a fairly quick victory through a Feast for Crows turn, evening out my win ratio.

Round 5 Greyjoy – Banter to the Lion

Another Greyjoy deck for my last round, I didn’t feel like I  would make top 4, but I wanted top 8 for some of that sweet store credit so it was all to play for. Neither of us had a particularly good start, an Arbor Knight with some Fiery Followers and some economy for me and a Black Wind’s Crew with some economy for him. I opened up with a cautious Calm Over Westeros, as I had pretty much every game, just in case of Naval Superiority, and so I could relax on my weak military challenges. After a few turns of good gains, able to actually win attacking military challenges against Greyjoy, Balon arrived and put the fear in me again. I endured a couple more turns, throwing down Melisandre and keeping Balon down for a little while and racking up power with The Iron Throne and Chamber of the Painted Table. In fact I had build an almost unmanageably big board but he had not been idle either, supporting Balon with a smattering of smaller characters but crucially not Asha or Theon who might have made a stealth power challenge. He also had down The Seastone Chair so could start picking off my important guys using Balon. Through strategic use of Margaery I figured I could actually stop Balon’s challenges but then Widow’s Wail was played from ambush and all my maths was destroyed. The next turn I dropped Varys to try and stop the rot, either he would waste The Seastone Chair on Varys or I would wipe the board. What neither of us had noticed however was The Knight of Flowers who poked through a cheeky power challenge with renown to end the game just before time. A very close game with plenty of back and forth, I wouldn’t have the tournament end an other way.

I ended up placing 7th out of 18 earning a very pretty Tumblestone Knight and £5 of store credit, which I immediately redeemed on a beautiful Tyrell playmat featuring the two best cards in the game, Left and Right obviously. IQ games in a great venue and I’ll certainly be back if I have time to travel.

 

Final thoughts on the deck.

Having played the same deck with a few tweaks more since the tournament it has become clear that the deck is junk. Half heartedly trying to be like the popular Lannister/Rose decks that are going around but also worse than if it had been a pure Baratheon deck. Looking at the cards in The Road to Winterfell they seem continue to push Tyrell into being  a banner faction or at least not do enough to let them stand on their own. However, even though it probably is just me being a contrarian, I’ll still hold a torch for the boys and girls in green.

Wargames emporium- A Netrunner tournament report

Some inaugural content for the blog and my first tournament write up. The GNK at wargames emporium on 09/01/16 will probably be my last before the NAPD most wanted list goes into effect so a chance to enjoy the wild untamed frontier of Netrunner. 4 rounds of swiss followed by a top 4 bracket. Not enough testing, sleep or breakfast, it wasn’t going to be easy.

The Decks

Titan Transnational: Investing In Your Future

Agenda (12)
3x Project Atlas
2x Chronos Project
3x Firmware Updates
2x High-Risk Investment
2x Oaktown Renovation

Asset (13)
3x Jackson Howard •••
2x Daily Business Show  ••
2x Mark Yale
2x Capital Investors
1x Corporate Town
1x Contract Killer
2x Team Sponsorship  ••

Upgrade (3)
1x SanSan City Grid  •••
1x Ash 2X3ZB9CY  ••
1x Crisium Grid

Operation (5)
1x Beanstalk Royalties
3x Hedge Fund
1x Cerebral Static  ••

Barrier (7)
2x Changeling
2x Fire Wall
1x Meru Mati
2x Spiderweb

Code Gate (3)
2x Enigma
1x Wormhole

Sentry (6)
2x Archer
1x Grim
1x Susanoo-No-Mikoto  •••
1x Taurus
1x Tour Guide

In a last minute call this was the deck I took instead of Chronos Protocol, after the latter’s ice suite proved to be utterly useless due to being S4 in a world full of the Sunny breakers and Mimic/sucker. Apart from Argus, which I have never made work properly Titan is my favourite Weyland ID, while the Atlas counters and money hoard of Mark Yale could be leveraged towards kill, I decided to spend it on some big ICE with a sprinkling of fast advance. ICE suite wise, I liked having big sentries, but regretted not having more Tour Guides or some Ice Walls. What let me down the most is having maybe too many one offs, never being able to deploy my Wormhole or Ash. Star players were the assets, especially Team Sponsorship and Daily Business Show.

Who said working at a bank was dull?

Hayley Kaplan: Universal Scholar

Event (5)
3x Diesel
2x Career Fair ••

Hardware (8)
2x Akamatsu Mem Chip
1x Plascrete Carapace
3x Lockpick
2x Astrolabe

Resource (26)
1x Data Dealer  ••
1x Aesop’s Pawnshop
3x Armitage Codebusting
3x Scrubber  •••
3x Daily Casts
1x The Source  ••
1x John Masanori
1x Tri-maf Contact  •
3x Ghost Runner
1x Symmetrical Visage
3x Off-Campus Apartment  •••
2x Film Critic
3x Technical Writer

Icebreaker (7)
1x Corroder  ••
2x Dagger

2x Refractor
2x Cerberus “Lady” H1

Program (3)
3x Cloak

With the release of Technical Writer it seemed immediately obvious to me that I should play a Hayley deck. (or Noise, but screw that guy). It also seemed that it would be a stealth deck, with the low install cost of a large number of parts really filling up those technical writers. Since I would want A LOT of draw I went with an Off Campus approach and typically saw my entire deck. Economy being entirely resource based didn’t end up being too much of a problem but I could have used a bit more money. A couple of odd choices of associates for the student Hayley. Scrubbers were included because of that glorious 1 influence and I felt they were needed as before Christmas I hit a lot of asset heavy corps building huge boards with Team Sponsorship and Turtlebacks. Data Dealer? OK I’ll admit a little odd but this was a meta call against in particular News Team. One of the cards that didn’t deliver at all well was The Source, after being very useful in testing it ended up not showing up at the right time or against the right opponents.

With friends like these, in one turn Hayley should be able to take delivery of a ‘package’ from the local Trimaf, hit up the baby and run for little to no real money and trash something even if an agenda is not stolen, all while drawing from her console and her good friend John Masanori without clicks. Leaving just enough time in the day for Hayley to get to the revision I should be doing, or clear tags, whichever seems more urgent.

The  tournament.

As I usually play at patriot this tournament turned out to be mostly a new meta to me. Less information, but on the plus side, no people I ‘knew’ would wipe the floor with me. Also apologies to names I’ve forgotten. I didn’t have the foresight to do this report immediately after unlike other much better tournament reports-https://aclicklateandacreditshort.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/wargames-emporium-gnk-090116/

Round 1 –  Chronos Protocol and Leela Patel

Starting off the day against Jinteki, especially Chronos felt good in my head, since I wanted the hard thinking to be while I was most alert. I started off slow slamming down some resources and annoyingly clicking for credits, allowing him to score out 2 quick Houses of Knives over the first several turns. These were especially scary considering Chronos Protocol’s ability. At this point I had my rig set up but not enough stealth credits to run more than once a turn. I managed to sneak a Philotic Entanglement that had been left on the board with a Caprice for later damage. The end of the game was made easier by finding my Film Critics, allowing me to grab a future perfect and a Fetal AI without fear for the win.

Seeing Leela across the table made me wish for 2 Executive Boot Camps, clicks spend replacing things like a San-San or central ICE hurt, especially after he got his Gang Sign out. The game started out fine, he was struggling to see economy so I got my Capital Investors up to start churning out the cash, however an early attempt to score a Firmware Updates was foiled by an Inside Job, trashing my Cerebral Static. This was a recurring problem, never really building up more than one piece of ICE on most servers, leaving me vulnerable to Leela’s ability and Inside Jobs. What did it for me was every time I scored, my one ICE on R&D being bounced, 6 agenda points stolen from the open central.

Round 2 – Sunny Lebeau and Blue Sun

A bit shaken, I went into round 2. Sitting across from Sunny I was slightly hopeful that a fat 50 cards might slow him down. I started out reluctant to try and score, Icing up my centrals and getting an economy remote with Capital Investors. Later I took a risk and scored out a High-risk Investment and with a Team Sponsorship slotted in a San-San to my scoring remote. He wasn’t running very much so I was able to hold onto my money and not reveal how easily he could actually get into my servers. The next 3 turns were for the win with 2 Project Atlas scores. All aboard the Atlas train!

Going up against Blue Sun was going to be tough, large barriers are my weakness as Lady gets used up. A fairly standard set-up from him, early on using an Oversight AI on a Hadrian’s wall. I made a potentially poor decision to blow most of my money on a Lady and run to break the Hadrian’s wall and deny him the income. A few turns later, an Accelerated Diagnostics put some cards in archives and a Subliminal Messaging. I decided to run there to burn his Jackson and deny him his Subliminal Messaging. To my surprise I picked up an agenda, a Government Takeover! He had allowed me to take it, with 3 credits and 3 cards I saw my doom. So I just kicked back with some pounding techno, and waited for the Weyland enforcers to kick down the door to my student apartment.

Lunchtime came, and so I retreated for a performance enhancing beer.

Round 3 – SYNC and Noise

After lunch I came back and was drawn against Ed, a regular from patriot/the pub and the one who had inspired to to make some of my more questionable meta calls.

Round 3 I was not hopeful, NBN being a fast corp I would have to get a move on, not easy for Hayley who’s usually leaving it right to the deadline (I assume, she’s a student). The SYNC ID isn’t totally terrifying one extra credit to clear tags hurts but wasn’t the worst thing in the world. My deck being so resource heavy I wasn’t going to float tags so my strategy didn’t change too much.

After a slow set-up in which Ed managed to score a cheeky Project Beale I felt ready to run. after a couple of HQ runs I could see I was up against some kill so I went into extremely cautious mode. My Film Critic was an unfortunate victim of a Snatch and Grab, just because I pirated those movies doesn’t mean my critique is invalid. Later in the game running on the scoring remote through a Data Raven I was ready to score, but sadly it was a Quantum Predictive Model, bringing him to 3 points. This was followed up by a Casting Call on a Beale then double advance, clearly going for the 3 points. Without my Film Critic I needed 3 clicks and 9 credits after running to avoid death so I had to concede those points. Ed closed up in fantastic style with a face down card behind his Data Raven. I had to run in case it was an agenda and it was, another Quantum Predictive Model giving him the win. In the end John Masanori was more of a hindrance, making me scared of his tag if I failed a run and conserving even more clicks. At the very least Data Dealer worked out, selling a News Team for a juicy 9 credits.

Switching up I saw that I was against Noise (screw that guy), but joy of joys my Cerebral Static in hand. Feeling good after turn 1 with HQ and R&D iced I passed over. Wyld/pancakes coming out from Ed for a nice set-up, then a run on R&D. I didn’t want to go down to 0 credits so I let it through, what’s the worst that could happen. A High-risk Investment steal, that’s what. A 3 point agenda and my current trashed. From then on the mill was furious, but I fought back building up some money for a San-San and an Atlas score. But I was getting desperate, D4v1d an Clone Chip were making a mockery of my big ICE allowing some Medium digs for both my Chronos Projects. 5 points in the bin no cards in hand and I had only just kept him out. Jackson off the top deck saved me and an Archer over the scoring remote helped me have a plan. Unfortunately too little too late, I had to do 3 things to get back in the game, install Jackson, score a Firmware Updates for money and purge viruses to prevent a big medium dig. I popped out my Jackson and waited, but a big R&D run ended my hopes and dreams.

That punk kid needs a real job.

Round 4 – Adam and Haas-Bioroird :Engineering the Future

The last round and I could feel myself succumbing to the tilt. Going up against Adam I was a little worried, most of my ICE is one sub so he’d have an easy time getting into my servers especially early on. And that is exactly what happened with early R&D pressure, stealing a High-risk Investment allowing his Brain Chip to start going to work. Meanwhile I snuck out 2 Firmware Updates selling their counters to the hungriest man in the world Mark Yale. Using that money I was able to shore up my ICE and get my Team Sponsorships and Daily Business Shows up. At this point his economy was faltering, not helped by a Contract Killer shooting Kati Jones in the face. The Always be Running directive was really hurting him, wasting his clicks resulting in an entire turn to run HQ through my Enigma. This allowed me to score out an Oaktown Renovation and an Atlas to put me on 5 points to his 6 after an Archer rez. It came down to the last turn. A HQ run through my Enigma, accessing 2 cards, 2 of which were agendas, but luckily he saw neither. I closed up by scoring an Atlas off a San-San.

The final game of the day, up against core set HB, I was concerned. Another big ICE deck with strong econ. Although my icebreakers gave me some confidence, big threats like Ichi, and Turing go down fairly easy to the stealth breakers. I managed to get myself ready to run fairly early and ran into a very expensive remote to stop an early score. Viper, Enigma and Heimdall 1.0 were tough to crack but I got in and saw, an Adonis Campaign. However I had drained almost all his money. Unfortunately he was back in the money within a turn or two and I was forced to run again. A gruelling run to the bottom of the server and it was another Adonis and I was too poor to trash it. I spent a lot of time after that rebuilding my money, allowing him to score a Global Food Initiative and an NAPD Contract. A run on HQ got me a Utopia Shard before time was called. My last turn, a double advanced card in a remote with 5 pieces of ICE. Running straight away clicking through a Markus and a Heimdall and breaking a Turing, a Viper and an Enigma to steal a Global Food and tie up the game. A gruelling slog of a game revealed how hard it is for my deck to get through large barriers, in the end I accepted 4 brain damage from the Heimdall.

Conclusion

Even though I placed low it was fun to take out some original decks and play a lot of Netrunner. I’d consider running Titan again, with some tweaks, trying to get in more cheap ICE like Tour Guide or Ice Wall, and against Noise I felt like really wanted a blacklist. My Hayley on the other hand really needs a couple of Femmes for large ICE and the money to pay for that, how I’d do that is less apparent, especially with the NAPD most wanted list.