The Miniatures War College
Advenio paratus. Egressus melior paratus.
D&D Miniatures strategy and analysis.

April 27, 2005

On the Multiple Single Bannings

Wow, I get hit with finals and big class projects, and the Inspiring Marshal and Drider Sorcerer are is banned. This, in my opinion is a good sign for D&D minis. These This figures no doubt are driving a lot of the meta game. I am glad Wizards is looking at the environment and removing a figures that are is limiting the styles of warbands available today.

Ok, enough fun with the editing marks. Just had to give a jab to the web team that posted the wrong rules too early. No, Inspiring Marshal was never listed as banned, but the frostburn tiles were for a number of hours. But I do think one day the marshal will be banned, just not today. Why? Because of what I read between the lines in the banning policy. When a figure looks destined to be banned they as a question: can it wait a year? I am sure that if a really bad mini or combo turns up it will be banned, but that doesn't look to have happened yet. What we have are the constraining but manageable combos, and to open up the field those will be removed after a season.

This is why I think one day the marshal will be banned. The marshal wasn't that useful until Aberrations and the Frenzied Berserker showed up, so we haven't had a full season of the Inspired Frenzy (I like kiddoc name better, Smash 'n Grab). Come November, something will be done to change things if it continues to define the metagame the way it currently does. And with thinks like the Centaur Hero and Goliath Barbarian, getting rid of a melee figure won't change things, the Mover and Shaker will have to go.

Now for the Drider. I think this is good for the game, even though I bought one and held back trading a sealed Drider for better bait and have in effect lost because of this. The problem is the Drider give thins to CE that it shouldn't have, and with that synergy with what CE is meant for it makes the figure just too good. Just look at last year's championship eliminations rounds, there were more Driders than competitors! Even though people are saying that the drider is out of vogue and that it's metaed out I disagree. We have yet to see neo-trifecta builds that include things such as Zombie White Dragons and Ettins to any degree. They would have started showing up and been going far.

But what makes the drider so bad? Just the transposition? No, it's also the 3 lightning bolts. To get a better picture I figured out which factions had Area of Effect Damage spells, and who could do them at range. All factions have them, but most get them only from figures with the dragon type or subtype. Most of the others are in LE and to a lesser extent CG. The drider's lightning bolts are a significant stand out for CE, especially at 30 points for the figure. Trickery and auto-damage from spells are supposed to be LE's forte, and now they are again. There are some exceptions for CE, but either the damage was 5-10 or they were alignment restricted, or the piece didn't get much play, or all three. In other words those pieces are not central considerations for the faction, now that the drider is gone. CE is now an offense at the cost of defense faction with targeted buffs and pinpoint effects. It's all Mano-a-Mini.

April 12, 2005

Scenario Format: Siege

I've been reading the various threads on how the Assault/Plunder formats tend to do bad things to the Lawful faction while rewarding the speed of the chaotic factions. Here is one scenario variation that I think will even out the disparity, play into Lawful Good's tendency to defend, while not over correcting. It may need some tweaking, but here goes.

Siege
Special Rule -- Target Tiles: After terrain setup the player with terrain initiative picks a feature tile to serve as a target tile. Then the other player does the same. At the end of each round each player scores 5% of the warband limit for each target tile that they have creatures on. If one target tile is unoccupied then the other tiles value is doubled. If both players picked the same target tile it counts double as well. If neither tile is occupied then each side scores 10% of the warband limit.
Special Rule -- Additional Tiebreaker: Three additional tiebreakers are used between total points scored and the figure closest to the center of the board. (1) the player with the most tile points (2) the player occupying the most target tiles at the time and (3) the player occupying the target tile closest to the center of the board.
Victory: The first player to score victory points in excess of the warband limit at the end of a phase is the winner. If both players score in excess of the warband limit after the same phase then tiebreakers are used, up until the d20 dice off. In the event that the tiebreakers do not determine a winner one phase is played at a time until there is a winner. If no figures remain for either player after a phase then the d20 dice off is used.

Design Intent:
  • By allowing the players to designate tiles they can choose tiles closer to their side of the board. Designating a tile also limits the scoring areas to keep warbands from spreading too wide.
  • By makign sole ownership of the tile to the center of the board a higher tiebreaker it allows the player who won initiative to place the a tile covering the center 4 squares of the board and otherwise very close to the assembly tile.
  • The 10% 'no occupancy' rule will prevent the 10 round rule from coming into effect, forcing one player into action.
  • Both players can score tile points on both target tiles, advanceing the end of the match. This limits the timeframe of stalling strategies.
  • All combined this tends to insure one side will have a visible upper hand prior to time being called and allow players to play aggressivly or defensively as appropriate.

In this format an LG band could hole up in the treasure room with dwarven defenders and whirling steel monks near the entrance to plug it up and still fight a pitched battle at the doors. With multiple scoring tiles only the time limit tiebreakers will make initiative come into play, and knowing that from the start allows you to advance to the scoring tile quicker.

April 10, 2005

Link: Tile Tricks Article

Christopher Groves has written an excellent article on some practical tile placement strategies (beyond simply denying points). This confirms yet again to me that tile placement skills are in indispensable part of successful skirmish play.

April 7, 2005

Dungeron Room Tile

I hope it's not an April Fools joke, but WOTC says that The Dungeon Room is the tile for April. This is the tile I've been waiting for...
  • 6x6 size. If it can fit any way it can be rotated
  • 4 hard corders. Great for blocking out area
  • Permiable. i.e. you can run from all sides to the others, unlike Treasure Room
  • Great Cover. Look at all of those nooks next to each door. This is a must for Greycloak Ranger and Kenku Sneak Fans.
  • Somewhat LoS permiable. This is a good or bad, but you can get a LoS for effects through it with an 18 degree cone coming out of each entrance. (3/1 square angle). So larges can hide behind some corners but Beholders can mostly see right through it.
Man, if there were only a way my TO would let me get it before the game saturday...