Saturday, 6 August 2011

I'm Back... and here comes the sun...

Ok, so a slight hiatus to move house became a bit of an epic downtime as Sky and BT faffed around for ages before finally giving me broadband, but alls well that ends well and here I am. In the meantime, I've completed phase three of Tale of Eight Gamers AND run the phase three tournament, in which I came second. The tournament being won by the guy coming last in painting score was a real bonus for me, as this leaves me leading the painting score going into phase four. Awesome!

Anyway, as promised (MANY weeks back) I want to start a debate about Dawn of War. The deployment type, not the computer game. Now the problem I have seen with this deployment type is that everything seems stacked against the player going second, far more so than any other deployment type. In pitched battle if you're going second you just deploy in the best position to weather the storm of enemy fire for a turn. In Dawn of War chances are what little you have deployed will be crushed into your back line, and everything will have to squeaze in with it on your first turn. This makes playing refused flank a lot more difficult, as instead of having 12" to deploy in several layers, you'll be walking on 6" plus have a lot more ground to cross to boot.

Player 1 gets to bring his army on and has the handicap of night to stop him from shooting... at what, the 2 units that are deployed that are probably pegged as far into the enemy deployment zone by the not within 18" rule as possible? You'd be lucky to have the range for most guns anyway, let alone visual acuity. Player 2 rolls on, and there are plenty of targets... but of course you're moving, so can't fire as effectively, and that's IF you can see them. Turn 2, player 1 now has units in position, that haven't moved this turn, and a whole army in front of them and now NO visual restrictions... oh this is gonna hurt. I've played games like this where my SPEED freaks Ork army has only got one unit (and I use that term to very loosely to describe the few battered and bloody survivors) into combat in the entire game. A foot based list would not have reached the assault. And games that one sided are not fun.

At the same time I can see the problem from the point of view of the gunline army - if you're going second, those enemy forces are breathing down your neck before you can even begin to deploy. About the only advantage you have is that while you HAVE to kill those units in front of you, chances are everything else would be out of range anyway. Fail however, and they'll be in your lines tying you up while the rest of their force follows up, with little you can do about it.

Anyway, I think it's fairly clear I'm not a fan and the general mood I see is that it's the least popular deployment type with most people. So I'm wondering about what could be done to change things. Right now player one gets the first clear round of shooting advantage whilst player two get's the bugger all deployment zone handicap... perhaps these should go hand in hand. If you choose to deploy first, getting the lions share of land possession and forcing your opponent into a corner... you then have to weather the storm as he get's the first turn unless YOU sieze the initiative. This would put the units that are deployed far forward to force the enemy into a corner then expected to leg it back to the safety of the firebase in much more danger - GOOD! Surely if they've been sent to scout ahead of the main force they can expect to be in more danger! I've seen games where with good run rolls the entire enemy line is assembled on turn 1 and I can't even tell which ones his "sacrificial" units even were, and my army hasn't shown up yet!

A simpler idea would be to reflect the greater confusion of fighting in the darkness, make the initiative be siezed on a 4+ or something. With this in mind player one may be slightly less gung ho with the units he uses to pen the enemy in the corner, and player two may feel he has a fighting chance of catching these units napping.

Anyway, I'm interested in what you people think. Bear in mind I'm still trying to maintain something entirely distinctive from Pitched Battle and Spearhead here, Dawn of War is a different tactical challenge and I don't want to change it into being a carbon copy of the other two... I'd just like a bit more balance to the situation.

let me know your thoughts.