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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

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Feast of Blades Mission #2

On to mission 2!

This is one of my favorite takes on objectives, that I've often seen in tournaments but never done to my satisfaction.

This is also one of the missions that I payed particularly close attention to during our playtesting. It's easy to have objectives misplaced or poorly costed, and end up with a game that doesn't encourage engagement as much as it should.

The objectives are effectively valued from easiest to hardest to control, for obvious reasons. Making the player placed objectives worth the most and the middle one the least would encourage players to sit back, go for late game contests and generally take less risks. By making the objectives increase as the players get close to the center, it forces conflict and an active engagement on the field.

The secondary objective was also carefully chosen. Table Quarters again encourages central conflict and advancement, as having units near the middle makes it very easy to redistribute for capturing quarters.

It's also important to understand the Feast terrain- we believe that LoS blocking pieces are very important to play, so yes, there will be multiple hills and a major ruin on every board, as well as two thick forests. Armies that plan on sitting in deployment and ranging the enemy to death will lose. At the same time, it's not an overwhelming amount of terrain and shooting lists that bring mobility should do fine. (I'll be doing a post on Feast Terrain as soon as I can get some good shots of it.) It's not enough that you can hide a whole army, but you can pretty safely advance up one side of the board and deny crossfire to important targets as you need.

So what are the winning strategies for a mission like this? Well, you should come into this mission with a plan from turn one. The placed 1-point objective is often going to be easily held, and it's not really wroth trying to capture the opponents, but getting some fast stuff in position to contest late game can frequently mean a victory. The 2-point objectives are 6" and 18" from your deployment zone, meaning neither are too far, but one is clearly a defensive objective. For open players, you can reserve even two short range units to get the battle point bonus, and then have them roll in to protect your home 2-pointer.

Both players, in general, want to set up an advance towards the enemy 2-point objective, as it also takes them closer to the 3-point objective. While the 3-point is very attractive, I find that it is VERY frequently contested in the endgame, and the real winning strategy is to take your opponents 2 while holding your own. Troops advancing towards the opponents 2 can easily be rerouted to get to the center, and it also gives a nice distribution of troops in 3 of the 4 table quarters. (Both 2-point objective quarters, for defensive and offensive forces, as well as the close-left more passive zone.)

I don't recommend a straight center advance. It opens you up to the enemy's advancing force, as well as counterattack from any defensive units, and a central push benefits from the terrain much less than a flank push. It's important, basically, to set up your two side engagements carefully during deployment, not just deploy in standard "kill the enemy" formation and take the mission as it comes.

Mission 3 goes up tomorrow. For those of you who are curios about the new mission 7, it's up on the Feast of Blades site as I have just recently finished playtesting for it.

See you tomorrow!

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