Friday, 23 September 2011

Doubles Sept 2011, Part Two: Day One

Day one kicked off with a hearty breakfast, and old tales of burning French breakfast materials and inquisitive waitresses.  We arrived without incident at the hallowed halls of GW and set about our grisly work.  Turns out that work would first be against a rather strange match-up:

Game One: Deathwing and... Tyranids?
Yep, Dark Angels 1st Company and some of the NomNom monsters.  Not sure what sparked that coupling, but one I've heard thrown around a few times.  Deployment was easy ("As far away as we can get") and we had mobility on our side.  Unfortunately it was an objective game, and the one thing they had in droves was objective-squatting power.

The first few turns went pretty well.  Fast-moving bikers and speeders put wounds on the monstrous creatures and the 517th's tanks put holes in a lot of the Tyranid ground cover.  It quickly became obvious that we couldn't shift the Terminators though.  Even putting myself in Rapid Fire range was asking for a hammering, and I lost at least two bike units to this.  With the Tervigon out of the picture we were starting to have a chance.

The endgame consisted of us pulling tricks, trying to use our extra mobility to scoot around the slow Terminators and claim objectives.  We would've pulled it off too, if it wasn't for that pesky Trygon.  No, seriously.  The SpikyWormThing was way too fast to out manoeuvre, and I couldn't get my bikers around him to the objective.  A last-minute balls-of-steel tank shock by the 517th claimed us a draw on objectives, but we lost on Kill Points.

Marbo Vs Belial.  You bet your ass.
It was a close game, and left us with much heart to continue onto game two.  Our opponents for game one were sporting and friendly, setting up a really positive atmosphere for the rest of the day.

Game Two: Eldar and Dark Eldar
Oh, who is this?  Our game two opponents were actually two of our usual gaming companions.  We'd played this particular pair of pointy-ears during practise, using exactly the same scenario and with them being aggressors.  It didn't go well for us in practise.

The Emperor was protecting us this game though - nearly all the pointy-ear transports were wrecked or immobilised before turn three.  Lots of very nasty close-range units left to slog over open ground with the 517th's battle cannon shells falling all around.  We had a few upsets, including a wayward demolisher shell that cost us a scoring unit, but managed to keep the advantage from our early game luck.

The endgame saw a desperate run by the evil pointy-ears towards the centre objective, bravely held by one of the 517th's Chimeras.  By this point the Sanguine Swords had been reduced to an immobilised Land Speeder with only its Heavy Flamer to bring to bare.  A lone Eldar ranger had previously made a brave run over open ground, but the last of the Swords had put him out of the picture before being obliterated.  A few more volleys from the Leman Russ put the Dark Eldar down and we were able to claim victory on the central objective alone.

Game Three: Space Wolves and Blood Angels
Oh man this hurt.

Convoy, and we're defending.  Against three Vindicators, Space Wolves galore and Mephiston.  MEPHISTON.  By the Emprah he did a lot of damage.  We were in a bad way even before the end of turn one.  Side shots had put the hurt onto the 517th's armoured column, and several of my bikers had ended up in combat with the Blood Angel's psychic monster.  He promptly wiped my squad and my Captain off the board like they weren't even there.

Last turns saw us constantly on the defensive, we managed to eke out a few wounds here and there but mostly we were so broken from the initial wave that we couldn't recover.  We made the most of our mobility to stay away from the scary Blood Angels units while what was left of the 517th engaged the Space Wolves.  Given our early game pounding though we lacked the fire power to put too much of a dent in them, though we picked up some easy kill points from transports.

Mephiston was king of the field though.  Where he went death followed and there was little we could do to stop him.  If we'd been able to bring all of the 517th's Veterans to bare in the same turn, or focused all our bike firepower on him we might've stopped him, but with the wreckage of our tattered convoy it was beyond us to position all of our units in such a way as to put him down.

Damn Mephiston!

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Thursday, 15 September 2011

He Should Be Dead!

How often do you hear that in a game?  I don't think I can go a whole club session without hearing it, often with a dissatisfied tone.  Of course, they are wrong.  They are saying "I threw enough fire-power at that unit to ensure its destruction", when what they mean is "I threw enough fire-power at that unit to kill it, on average".  These two events are not the same.

Example:  How many bolter shots to kill a Marine, on average?

We hit two thirds of the time, so that's 1x0.66 = 0.66
We wound him half of the times we hit him, so 0.66x0.5 = 0.33
He saves two thirds of the time, so 0.33x0.33 = 0.11

1 Marine / 0.11 chance of a shot wounding him = ~9 shots, on average to kill him.

What most players don't grasp is that this is on average.  It does not mean nine shots kills a marine.  In fact, we can work out how likely he is to still be alive:

One shot has a 0.89 chance to be survived.
Two shots has a 0.79 chance to be survived.
Three shots has a 0.7 chance to be survived.
Nine shots has a 0.35 chance to be survived.

You can shoot him nine times, and over a third of the time he will walk away.

So, let's change our definition.  How much fire-power do we need to ensure his destruction?  We will assume that any event with a probability greater than 90% is a certainty for our purposes, after all you can't remove the dice from the game.

Example:  How many bolter shots to kill a marine, with better than 90% certainty?

We can work this out by continuing the maths from above.

Nine shots has a 0.35 chance to be survived.
... (0.89*0.89*0.89......*0.89)...
Twenty shots has a 0.097 chance to be survived.

Twenty shots!  Over twice as many as our "on average" set of shots.  See why nine shots isn't a "He should be dead" situation now?

What's the lesson here?  If you need a unit to die, assign at least twice as much fire power as necessary to kill it on average, and always be prepared for it to walk away.  Always anticipate failure and always have a plan B.

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Doubles Sept 2011, Part One: The Army

So, this is part one of my series on the Games Workshop Doubles Event in September 2011.  I teamed up with my Imperial Guard ally to take the Sanguine Swords 3rd Company and the 517th Cadian to war.  We did well, though you'll have to wait for the later parts to see how well.  For now, you just get a breakdown of the army.

Cadian 517th

The Cadian 517th consisted of:

  • Two Leman Russ Battle Tanks.
  • One Leman Russ Demolisher.
  • One Chimera with Command Squad, armed with four plasma guns.
  • One Chimera with Veteran Squad, armed with three melta guns.
  • Sly Marbo!
The Cadians provided our army's "anvil".  The high armour of the Imperial Guard vehicles let us take a pounding that Space Marine tanks cannot rival, and the ability to drop Str 8+ pie plates on the field would prove to be a massive boon.  The Cadians outlasted my Space Marines in pretty much every battle, but this was always their purpose, and they accounted for their fair share of damage.  Marbo provided much hilarity, and often caused the opponents to panic for a turn over a lone guardsman.

Sanguine Swords, 3rd Company

The Sanguine Swords 3rd Company consisted of:
  • Captain Cursus, riding a Bike and armed with a Relic Blade.
  • Two bike squads, armed with 2 melta guns and accompanied by a multi-melta attack bike.
  • Two Land Speeders, armed with multi meltas and heavy flamers.
The Swords provided our army's "hammer".  Able to re-deploy very quickly and deliver melta strikes into high-value targets, they were often engaged with the enemy from turn one.  They lacked the durability of the Cadians, but allowed me to funnel enemies into range or to destroy targets that would prove tough for our ranged attacks.  Cursus often sold his life dearly, but usually managed to cause enough trouble to allow our other units to perform without being tied up in close combat (except when he got Mephiston'd).

Tune in for part two, where I'll be going over our battles from day one, as well as potential fixes and outcomes for those battles.

In the mean time, I leave you with this photograph of the Commander of the 517th, deep in thought while crushing his enemies.

Or about to demo cannon some of my bikes.  Who can tell?

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Sunday, 4 September 2011

Preparing For Doubles 2011

ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH! Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...