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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him


Friday, April 2, 2010

GWvsJohn's Adventures in Vassal, Chapter 1: The Difference Between Right and Wrong

Uh, oh, it's new author time. Someone's blog is about to blow up like N*Sync (Lucky Boys Confusion)

Anyway, I asked Kirby if I could do some guest articles and he graciously agreed, so here we are.

First, a little bit about me. I live in our nation's capital (I'm gonna go ahead and assume you're all American, because that's what we do :) ). I'm married, and in about 2 months, I'm going to be a (Medical) Doctor. So, I guess I can handle any health related questions in addition to 40k. For my gaming history, I started playing exactly when the 2nd ed box came out. Played hardcore all through 2nd ed and into 3rd ed. I fell off during college and missed all of 3.5 and 4th ed (there was 3.5, right? Or is that only D&D?) I've gotten back into the game with the advent of 5th ed and have hit the web-side of 40k pretty hard. Besides Kirby's blog, you may know me from banging my head against the wall on Warseer or getting yelled at by Stelek. I'd say I'm an A- list writer (if my posts here haven't convinced you, please see: all my advice being ignored on Warseer, a guide I wrote that Stelek liked here and my award winning Mycetic Spore army here) I'd also say I'm a B- player. Deployment vexes me, I get hung up on objectives, and I'm the worst roller ever on the vehicle damage chart (arguably the most important roll in the game) Still I think I have something to add. Due to my schedule and a crippling inability to paint, most of my gaming takes place online. On Vassal (scary, right?) For those not familiar, Vassal is, for the most part, a barren wasteland of stupidity and noobism. Still, the roving bands of mutants are usually up for a game, and I'm happy to oblige.

Long-term, I'm hoping my articles will be battle reports, army list analysis and tactical thoughts. However, like any good blogger, my first post will be a rant.

The first thing you need to know about Vassal is this: it's not real 40k. At best, it's a close replica, at worst, a very abstract simulation. As such, you can't take it too seriously. Unfortunately the unwashed masses don't realize this. Mistakes will be made. It's inevitable. However, there's a right and wrong way to make a mistake and a right and wrong way to deal with them. We're going to use two recent examples to illustrate this. (NB. In general, I will try to avoid using names, unless someone really pisses me off)

If you don't know me, one of my usual lists (and my go-to if I'm in the mood to win) is a Vanilla Codex double LR/Assault Termie list. Since you all read Kirby (and probably YTTH, TKE, etc.) you all know that Vanilla Terminators have Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields. Every time. Most of you probably know that Army Builder defaults to Lightning Claws for Assault Terminators (because that's the default in the codex) Often when building lists, I forget to change this, since Termies ALWAYS have TH/SS. So I start a game, post my list and muster my sprites. Before sides are chosen, my opponent points out that my list says Lightning Claws and my sprites say Thunder Hammers. I made a mistake. I admit said mistake and apologize. He calls BS. I explain that clearly my Termies have TH, because they always do. He doesn't relent. I link him to multiple threads on Warseer where I mock anyone who suggests Vanilla Lightning Claws in any situation. He still maintains that I am switching the armament to my advantage, i.e. cheating. I was incredulous. This same opponent insisted on knowing what army I was using before he chose his. He also did not post his list until he had seen all my sprites. This situation was ridiculous for several reasons. 1) It's Vassal. Who cheats here? 2) They're vanilla Assault Terminators, they always have Thunder Hammers 3) It's Vassal, why would I cheat? 4) He chose (after seeing my army no less) to run mono-Slaanesh CSM; I would have beaten him regardless of what the Termies had. So, here we have the right way to make a mistake (admit, apologize, explain) and the wrong way to react (accuse, be an asshole, stay adamant).

The second example occurred before the game started as well. My opponent rolled mission and deployment, as is often done. However, he rolled Seize Ground. For those of you familiar with the BRB, Seize Ground clearly tells you to place objectives, then roll deployment. I calmly explained this to him. He replied that I was reading the rule wrong. Just to be sure, I opened the BRB and re-read the page (aside, I wonder how many players have the BRB next to them when they play Vassal, 10, 15%?). I explained again how the sequence works. He played the "I've played hundreds of games..." card which works great, unless you're wrong, and he was. Eventually we had to bring in outside voices (including our esteemed Master Kirby) to moderate. He relented, I smiled (smugly) and we played. So, here we have the wrong way to make a mistake (boast, don't check the BRB) and the right way to react (be easy like Sunday morning)

I guess that's it for now. Hopefully we've all learned a bit of etiquette and to keep the BRB handy. My next post will try to be meatier. If anyone wants to ask me a question, or have me review a list, you can post it as a comment on one of my posts (I don't care if it's off-topic) or e-mail me at tjbalt@gmail.com

11 pinkments:

The_King_Elessar said...

My first post was a Conversion. My second was a review of Shining Spears, so that's kinda a rant. :P

Also, Warseer is full of retards, and Vassal full of dicks.

I can generalise further if required.

Dethtron said...

I would generalize it to the point that either a) the internet is fullof dicks or b) the world is full of dicks.

john, your post has reminded me why I don't look for pickup games on vassall. Thank you :)

Surreptitious Muffin said...

Eeeeh. See, if the TT+SS thing had come up later in the game (i.e. the sprites were wrong too and he found out T3) then he might've had a leg to stand on. As is he seems like the sort of bloke you'd never want to play against.

Generousity to one's opponent is one of the marks of a good player. It means a) you trust your skills enough to not need to nitpick such things and b) you're not a douche.

Chumbalaya said...

That sounds like fun, good thing I never bothered to learn vassal :P

Anonymous said...

I actually saw you on last night GWvsJohn. Matter of fact, I see you on most nights, mainly b/c I'm in the same boat as you: too busy with work to be able to squeeze in a real game so I rely on Vassal for my fix.

Agree though that most people on Vassal are noobs and asshats. I've only found a handful of decent, friendly players. Look for me on sometime, I'm usually up for a relaxed game (if I have the time that is)


Roland Durendal

Kirby said...

I love how GWvsJohn assumes everyone is from America on a blog run by someone who lives in Australia. And look at the flags! Only 50% readers are American :P.

Chumbalaya said...

So you round up, duh.

Half of the Aussies watching are probably kangaroos anyway.

The Wolf's Lunch said...

Everyone makes mistakes on vassal. Infact, I find that it's easier to make mistakes on vassal. In nearly every match I have on Vassal either myself or my opponent stuff something up, but that's the way it goes, learn from it and carry on.

The number of noobs on vassal now is almost overwhelming, people either quit when they start losing, or they don't know what they're doing in the first place. Then the other half of them think they're right everytime (and they're typically the ones that don't have the rulebook at hand either, surprised?)

Kirby, the number of americans on your blog should be halved, we all know that most yanks are so big they need two computers for each person :P

Kirby said...

Remember I also have an American passport Wolf lol (and a British one...then there's those other ones that aren't legal...). Vassal really is just a program to trial models I don't have or can't bother proxying or play against friends I don't know IRL and as GWvsJohn and Roland have pointed out, if you don't have time to sit down regularly and game, it's great as long as you take it as it is, a replication of 40k.

Anonymous said...

Random note: I could never get vassal working. Is there a patch that makes it compatible with x64? I keep getting told "the files are corrupt" and that the Vassal 40K rar isn't a valid VASSAL file when I try to launch.

Power of the Machine Spirit said...

John, come back to us and blog smore!

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