Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You May Not Believe This, But...

...I finally got my first game in playing Ultramarines under the new codex.

Oh I can just hear the consternation now! "But Joe, damn it, your blog is entitled 'Ultramarine Blues'. You went nuts trying to track down the new marine codex before it was released! You love can it have taken you MONTHS to play under the new codex?"

Well, two things contributed to this, actually. First thing is real life. Between my job, moving to a new place, and getting everything done for my upcoming wedding (Jan. 31 is the big day!) I've had precious little time to get much playing in, especially with the painting/modeling projects I've been working on. The second thing that happened is the Macharian Crusade. I got a chance to play in a BoLS campaign and you bet your sweet ass I took it, even re-arranging my work and personal schedules to play one a week. It was an absolute blast playing in and I definitely don't regret the time and effort I had to put in arranging things to be able to participate in it. The problem with playing in it, though, is that I was playing Chaos Space Marines (as Ultramarines weren't involved in the Macharian Crusade). That meant pretty much since the release of the new marine codex, I've been focused on playing a different army. army that I've grown to love, actually. So much so that I stripped the models (or am in the process of stripping them) to repaint them with my "Army of The Crowing" scheme. Making this happen has certainly taken up the majority of my available "hobby time" lately.

So, now you know the why. I'll get on with it, then. :)

I was going to post up a battle report but truth be known, the game itself was a little skewed. There was a local player that posted up a request to "learn not to suck" and I thought I'd try and give a little back to the community which has been so very good to me over the last year and a half, and help this person out.

We threw down a 1,500 point game, she playing Tau against my Boys in Blue. The final result was a solid victory for me, because I set up some last-turn objective-grabbing "traps" that would ensure I would be at least contesting 2 objectives and controlling 1 (there were 4 total).

During the game, I did a little light coaching the player on what to do, and why. This led to some things that made it harder on me -- such as losing my Land Raider on turn 2 to Hammerhead railgun fire. Keep in mind, though, that this wasn't supposed to be a "real" game so much as a learning experience, and I think in those terms it worked out well. I covered the concepts of prioritizing your
targets, and why. Movement and "staying focused on the big picture" were the other two concepts I tried to cover (this is why I laid the last-turn objective-grab "traps"...even though I'd lost over half my army, I still won because I planned on controlling/contesting objectives, even though it meant some of my units didn't see any action once I got them into place).

Finally, I did want to mention that the only "new" unit I used were Vanguard. I took a squad of 8 of them with minimal kitting out (no jump packs, only a couple of power weapons), stuck my captain with them and loaded them up in the Land Raider. Y'know, the one that got destroyed in turn 2? Yeah, that one. So, when the smoke cleared, they were between a rock and a hard place...or, more truthfully: between a big unit of Fire Warriors, a 3-model Crisis Suit team, and nowhere productive for them to hide. It was at this point that I made a very hard decision: I needed to get the heat off a pair of tac squads and a unit of terminators that were busily making their way to objectives on the other side of the board. The Vanguard were on their way to assault the Fire Warriors, but I knew they wouldn't survive the remaining 14" or so on foot, not with so many Tau guns pointed at them. So, I sacrificed them. Ran 'em right out into the open and forced my opponent to deal with them or quickly lose her two FW units. It worked -- The unit drew the fire of eveything she had that could shoot at them. Did they die? Oh my yes, to the man. At the end of it, only the captain was still alive...but that was one less turn of shooting inflicted on my tac squads -- one of which, BTW, claimed an objective for me in the end. Sure, not the most noble and heroic of deaths for my Vannies, but ultimately they served the purpose I tasked them with (even though it wasn't what I had orginally planned on doing with them) and in doing so, helped contribute to the overall success of my army/strategy/plan. I call that success in any book.

Afterward, we had a detailed discussion on what was done right, what was done wrong, and how to do things differently. I thought it was important to do as the final part of my "coaching" gig. All in all, I think it went pretty well. I also pointed out some of the better players that happened to be in the store that night and advised her that she'd do well by herself to seek out their tuteledge. :)

Have you every done any coaching for another player to help them better understand the game? What did you do? Do you think you really helped? Would you do it again?