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pox
25-11-2015, 18:27
I posted this over at Dakka-Dakka, and figured I'd post it here too since the atmosphere of the two boards are very different.



What do you do when you don't play a regular roster of opponents?
For me, I work a lot (sometimes 14 days in a row) and I have family obligations and other hobbies. This means I usually only get to the game store once a month on good months, and when between jobs I might get there five times a week! I also play in a solo GW store, so only the occasional weekend day is possible and no evenings.
I thought I would share how I've made AoS work with pick-up games, which can be difficult sometimes, and get other players thoughts on what they do or have tried.


DO

First up, I try and either play RAW or if my opponent has a comp he likes, use that if it's easy enough to learn or use. (can I make the models I brought using his comp in 20 minutes?)
Next, I try and keep the total model count under 100, with 50-60 being ideal. I find that keeps the game around a few hours.
I usually bring three armies, with different strengths and weaknesses. My three current rosters are (from weakest to strongest) Clan Eshin, Clan Moulder, and Clan Morr.

My Eshin list is Gutter runners, Night runners, and assassins using a formation that makes the night runners move, run, and shoot every turn. I usually run Deathmaster Snitch with this army.
My moulder list is Rat Swarms, Giant Rats, packmasters, and Rat Ogres.
My Morr list is Queek Headtaker, Stormvermin, Clanrats, Slaves, and then whatever I need to match my opponent. (I bring Plague Censor Bearers, Plague Monks, Warp lightning cannons, Warpfire throwers, Rattling guns, Jezails, and Poison Wind Globadiers.)
It's not too difficult to transport all of this at once, that also allows me to mix-n-match as needed. I also have the ability to teach someone to play or get in a rat vs. rat game if someone is there, wants to play, but has no models.

After that, I try and use a 40K level of terrain, and objectives. I've had a lot of luck just using 40K missions, they are super easy to adapt to AoS and if my opponent also plays 40K then its really easy to play. If they don't play 40k then I just use the scenarios from the AoS resource books. I haven't really played them in order, but they scale nicely so they can be tailored to the size of game and time that we have.

I find I can ignore most of that if my opponent has a background for his forces, we just talk about what our armies are doing background-wise and come up with a scenario from that. I also have several "hooks" on why my rats might be fighting any given army. No matter what, I like to have a clearly defined set of goals that will cause a major or minor victory for each army.
Terrain can be tricky if it has lots of rules, so I only use those rules if my opponent wants too, or if I have more time then usual.

Lastly, I make sure I have all my needed supplies. I tried just using a tablet for Warscrolls, but after my first game I printed out scrolls for every unit I typically bring along with the rules. Next break I have I plan on just printing out ALL of the warscrolls and making a 3-ring binder in plastic sheets, so my opponent and I always have the needed info handy. Along with this is a few tape measures, and two blocks of 36 dice and a rolling box.

I made reminder counters for all my special abilities. A lot of characters and war machines have persistent bonuses, and having chits to help with that makes the game run smoother.

I'm sure I have more, but that's the gist of it. I bring something to paint in case no one is there and the shopkeep is busy or doesn't want a game.

DONT

I don't bring giant models to pick up games. They are fiddly and sometimes too strong, but mostly it's a transport issue. I leave the screaming bells, abominations, and Verminlords at home along with giant blocks of troops. I find having 10-15 model units looks and plays good, giant swarms of 25-50 models gets unwieldy.

I watch out for unit and model synergy. between hero's, generals, spells, and formations, it's quite possible to get a unit to hit on 1+ or save on 1+. This makes for very difficult to kill or stop units which can really drag down the game. Alternatively, I'll ask my opponent to bring back the "1s always fail" rule.

I try to match deployment with deployment. If they are throwing down hero after hero, I find if I just do the same it stays playable. It gets tricky with model count and sudden death when you decided to stop deploying, but I really haven't had an experience where my opponent was really trying to throw down mean stuff just to win. All that goes out the window with a good scenario, and of course those are discussed ahead of time. The match deployment is more for the 40K missions.

I watch out for an imbalanced game. Ogres are the absolute worst nightmare for my Skaven to play, they are just brutal. pound for pound they can really bring the pain, so having smaller units and fewer units saves the day. even wounds don't really help and it takes a few times to find a good balance. All 40mm based models are in the same boat, it's just ogres without gnoblars don't seem like a lot when fielded. All that being said I don't press the point, usually a equal model game lets the ogres know how strong they are, and they can modify the list next time we play. (usually in the next fifteen minutes as I'm tabled in turn 2)

IDEAS

In another thread I had the thought of my opponent choosing my army then we deploy, or maybe just switching sides for deployment. That way you choose what you're facing, not what you're using.
I also had the idea to kind of "force" equal deployment by cribbing the 40k terrain rule, after whoever decided to stop deploying first the other player can only deploy one additional warscroll. (or 2, or 3.) The idea is just to have a limit once someone has stopped deploying.
Ive thought of breaking out the 4th edition 40k book, and the 5th edition WHFB book for more scenarios. I think thats when they did force organization charts for the first time in 40k, and there were a TON of attack/defense missions with different FOC as indicated. A lot of those would be easy to craft into AoS missions.
Speaking of 40K force organization charts, I bet they would work easily for AoS scenario frameworks.

OK, that's all I got for now. This is how I get pick-up games to be fun and timely, pitfalls to avoid being TFG, and some ideas I want to try as soon as I'm not working 80 hours a week.
What do y'all do to make pick-up games fun? what do you avoid or are dealbreakers? what ideas have you been thinking of trying?

Dosiere
25-11-2015, 19:20
For truly fast and no hassle pick up games I found adopting a fairly comprehensive comp packet to work the best. If a club can adopt a particular one as its standard then at least you know what to expect and what to bring.

I played a few games using the Azyr comp, one of the very early versions, and it did help tremendously.

You can totally play it RAW, but you have to realize before the game it's just not going to matter who wins or loses. Some of my best games were just straight RAW games, although some of the worst were as well.

My worst experiences were when we played RAW or close to it and one or even both players really cared about balance or the game outcome in general.

akai
25-11-2015, 19:46
I posted this over at Dakka-Dakka, and figured I'd post it here too since the atmosphere of the two boards are very different.

What do you do when you don't play a regular roster of opponents?
For me, I work a lot (sometimes 14 days in a row) and I have family obligations and other hobbies. This means I usually only get to the game store once a month on good months, and when between jobs I might get there five times a week! I also play in a solo GW store, so only the occasional weekend day is possible and no evenings.
I thought I would share how I've made AoS work with pick-up games, which can be difficult sometimes, and get other players thoughts on what they do or have tried.


Since you play at a local GW store, they most likely have a local GW facebook page. When you know what days you get off, you could try to set-up a match before you go there. Maybe it will save some preparation time when you get to the store.

I also notice that Dakka-Dakka forum atmosphere is very different compared to here. I just recently joined their forums.

pox
25-11-2015, 20:25
Since you play at a local GW store, they most likely have a local GW facebook page. When you know what days you get off, you could try to set-up a match before you go there. Maybe it will save some preparation time when you get to the store.

I also notice that Dakka-Dakka forum atmosphere is very different compared to here. I just recently joined their forums.

I can do that and play in escalation leagues/campaigns when I'm not working. when I'm on a job I'm basically on call 24-7 so I don't know if I'm working a weekend until just the day before. This makes even planning games tricky, I'd rather fish for a pick-up game while painting on the day, instead of planning for a game and leaving the other guy high and dry.

Hopefully I have some time off in January, I'll paint up a few hundred models and play all the time for a few weeks.

akai
06-12-2015, 02:32
I watch out for an imbalanced game. Ogres are the absolute worst nightmare for my Skaven to play, they are just brutal. pound for pound they can really bring the pain, so having smaller units and fewer units saves the day. even wounds don't really help and it takes a few times to find a good balance. All 40mm based models are in the same boat, it's just ogres without gnoblars don't seem like a lot when fielded. All that being said I don't press the point, usually a equal model game lets the ogres know how strong they are, and they can modify the list next time we play. (usually in the next fifteen minutes as I'm tabled in turn 2)


You seem to have more experience with pick-up games than me with AoS. If both you and your opponent determined that it will be very lopsided in the match-up would you consider just ending the match midway (when both know the outcome already) or finish the game to the end?

malisteen
06-12-2015, 05:58
Since I play undead, one of the most obvious issues to address before games is summoning. In vanilla, no-limits age of sigmar games, you can deploy anything you want, as much as you want, so any unit you summon in the game you theoretically could have just deployed to begin with instead. Summoning, and all other effects that bring new units onto the table, are thus effectively just alternative deployment methods. Well, they also let you game the sudden death rules, but I think we can mostly all agree that the sudden death rules don't really stand up to that sort of deliberate manipulation, and need a second look regardless.

Anyway, if you are working out any sort of limits on armies, whether those are formal comp piles, or less formal wound or model counts or even just a informally guestimating roughly even forces by mutually agreed gut check, then you should declare in advance any units you plan to hold in reserve for summoning or similar effects, and count them along with you deployed army. This preserves the 'summoning is essentially just an alternate deployment method' treatment of the vanilla rules.


As for the sudden death rules - I find it's best to ignore the model count and just mutually gut check even sides, including reserves. Assuming even sides what you're going for - obviously if you want to play some sort of lop sided scenario, then you mutually gut check the sides to be as uneven as you're going for.


Scenario wise, for typical, even-ish games, I find what works best is to let both players pick a SD objective. Total victory = you table your opponent. Major victory = you made your objective and the opponent didn't make theirs. If neither side was tabled, and neither or both objectives achieved, then minor victory goes to bigger kill pile, measured in wounds.

I also find spitballing sides based on roughly even wound count more or less works out, though there are exceptions (ogres can be a bit much, and models that halve incoming wounds have deceptive wound values, etc). So again, mutual rough guestimation by you and your opponent rather than hard rules. We might say '50 wound game' set out the models, say 'that doesn't look right', and one side or the other will add or subtract a bit. It's awkward, and you can never completely feel like the game was decided by skill rather than misestimation of sides, but... *shrug*

Though I'm willing to play them, I'm not a big fan of the major comp systems out there. I find they often cause more problems than they fix compared to simple wound counts, and most of them can't resist also changing the game in a number of other obtrusive ways that again tend to cause as many problems as they fix from what I can tell.

pox
06-12-2015, 13:33
You seem to have more experience with pick-up games than me with AoS. If both you and your opponent determined that it will be very lopsided in the match-up would you consider just ending the match midway (when both know the outcome already) or finish the game to the end?

Honestly it boils down to if it's still fun or not. I find you get tabled most often when your opponent goes two rounds in a row during a critical juncture. (after turn one for shooting/wizard armies, after turn two for melee armies.) Once it's 100% clear I or my opponent is dead I personally like to call it. I'd rather free up the table or get in another game. In using the ogre example, I'll play a few rounds model for model if they haven't played yet, then play again once the Ogre player realizes what he has on his hands.

I also bring up Ogres a lot because they are a popular starting army for AoS, at least in my neck of the woods. Their starting battalion has everything you need to play AoS pretty much.

pox
06-12-2015, 13:44
Since I play undead, one of the most obvious issues to address before games is summoning. In vanilla, no-limits age of sigmar games, you can deploy anything you want, as much as you want, so any unit you summon in the game you theoretically could have just deployed to begin with instead. Summoning, and all other effects that bring new units onto the table, are thus effectively just alternative deployment methods. Well, they also let you game the sudden death rules, but I think we can mostly all agree that the sudden death rules don't really stand up to that sort of deliberate manipulation, and need a second look regardless.

Anyway, if you are working out any sort of limits on armies, whether those are formal comp piles, or less formal wound or model counts or even just a informally guestimating roughly even forces by mutually agreed gut check, then you should declare in advance any units you plan to hold in reserve for summoning or similar effects, and count them along with you deployed army. This preserves the 'summoning is essentially just an alternate deployment method' treatment of the vanilla rules.


As for the sudden death rules - I find it's best to ignore the model count and just mutually gut check even sides, including reserves. Assuming even sides what you're going for - obviously if you want to play some sort of lop sided scenario, then you mutually gut check the sides to be as uneven as you're going for.


Scenario wise, for typical, even-ish games, I find what works best is to let both players pick a SD objective. Total victory = you table your opponent. Major victory = you made your objective and the opponent didn't make theirs. If neither side was tabled, and neither or both objectives achieved, then minor victory goes to bigger kill pile, measured in wounds.

I also find spitballing sides based on roughly even wound count more or less works out, though there are exceptions (ogres can be a bit much, and models that halve incoming wounds have deceptive wound values, etc). So again, mutual rough guestimation by you and your opponent rather than hard rules. We might say '50 wound game' set out the models, say 'that doesn't look right', and one side or the other will add or subtract a bit. It's awkward, and you can never completely feel like the game was decided by skill rather than misestimation of sides, but... *shrug*

Though I'm willing to play them, I'm not a big fan of the major comp systems out there. I find they often cause more problems than they fix compared to simple wound counts, and most of them can't resist also changing the game in a number of other obtrusive ways that again tend to cause as many problems as they fix from what I can tell.

What we have been doing with summoning is have the player with summon units "declare" them as part of the deployment phase. so I put down a unit, you put down a unit, I put down a hero, you tell me "this warscroll is being summoned," I put down a unit, etc.

That way every unit thats going to be summoned is declared at the beginning of the game and I can react accordingly. This declaration can work with "recycling" too, as in the Demon player will say "once this unit of Blood Crusher cavalry dies I'm going to summon them again."

As for sudden death I don't like using it, mostly because it more often then not penalizes horde armies. I prefer to use the other options, which are powerful in their own right. (remove a unit, monster, or hero.)

I like you scenario idea, nice and simple. I'll try that next time I play. I also agree with you on the various comp systems, they all have issues and I think more importantly they kinda sweep aside the few things that are really going for AoS. I also find they put the focus back on competition, which just wont work that well with the AoS rules. you would need to use one of the full Comps like Azyr and both players need to be fluent in the rules for that to work, which is not so good for a pick up game!

Darth Alec
06-12-2015, 21:21
I've done it fairly simple so far. Bring whatever I want to play with + some. Talk to my opponent about some simple comp (usually 60 wounds + 1-2 heroes + 0-2 monsters). Pick a scenario, go.

Much easier than going "oh, you only have 1500 points? I'll just make a new list then".

akai
08-12-2015, 15:04
As for sudden death I don't like using it, mostly because it more often then not penalizes horde armies. I prefer to use the other options, which are powerful in their own right. (remove a unit, monster, or hero.)

I like you scenario idea, nice and simple. I'll try that next time I play. I also agree with you on the various comp systems, they all have issues and I think more importantly they kinda sweep aside the few things that are really going for AoS. I also find they put the focus back on competition, which just wont work that well with the AoS rules. you would need to use one of the full Comps like Azyr and both players need to be fluent in the rules for that to work, which is not so good for a pick up game!

A list of several scenarios that you or your opponent can agree upon based on what both of you brought to play seems to be helpful for pickup games. I plan to look at the different scenario/battleplans from the AoS resource books, but I think there are many that don't have a sudden death victory condition or an altered version of it. Also, I thought Cybtroll scenario generator that he posted in my thread about playing without points was a neat/good idea:

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?415096-How-I-enjoy-playing-Age-of-Sigmar-without-using-a-points-system&p=7570653&viewfull=1#post7570653

Captain Marius
09-12-2015, 20:16
My group has tried various comp stuff, but our favourite by far is combining the turns, so the person who wins the roll off does the hero phase, then the opponent does theirs, then alternate phases, with only the combat phase being done unit by unit. This tones down shooting as everyone gets to combat quicker, but also tones down the combat phase as there are only half as many in a game. This makes the game quicker AND keeps both players engaged throughout. Has anyone else tried this?

HelloKitty
09-12-2015, 20:20
That is pretty cool actually and I like that.

pox
09-12-2015, 21:09
no, but I will as soon as I'm not working 85 hours a week, that's brilliant! It would also seem to lesson the impact of someone getting the initiative roll twice in a row. still useful, but not in a "I just tabled you" kind of way.

malisteen
09-12-2015, 22:40
Might be worth spreading the back and fourth of the assault phase to the other phases if doing that. Like, not "i move all my models, you move all yours" but taking turns to move units one at a time until one player is done, then the other moves the rest. Do the same in shooting. Heck, do the same with activated spells and command abilities in the command phase as well.

Dosiere
10-12-2015, 08:14
My group has tried various comp stuff, but our favourite by far is combining the turns, so the person who wins the roll off does the hero phase, then the opponent does theirs, then alternate phases, with only the combat phase being done unit by unit. This tones down shooting as everyone gets to combat quicker, but also tones down the combat phase as there are only half as many in a game. This makes the game quicker AND keeps both players engaged throughout. Has anyone else tried this?

Actually yes, although we doubled up the combat phases as well and whoever didn't have initiative the last round got a +1 on the roll. I got the idea from the LoTR rules, which I liked. The impetus for doing so was primarily to try to keep the game as fast paced as possible for both players and to get rid of the rather ridiculously huge advantage of going twice in a row. It was a bit messy. My next idea was to combine the turns completely but never got around to trying it. So the shooting phase the players would just alternate activations, starting with the player with initiative. I dunno, it kind of works, but might require a few changes to make it flow right. Never really thought it all the way through, and never could find my old copy of the LoTR rules to compare the two and let it help me figure it out.

I would recommend trying to combine the turns though, it makes the most sense and also lessens the rather crazy advantage initiative has on the game, which IMO is good.

Spiney Norman
10-12-2015, 13:17
My group has tried various comp stuff, but our favourite by far is combining the turns, so the person who wins the roll off does the hero phase, then the opponent does theirs, then alternate phases, with only the combat phase being done unit by unit. This tones down shooting as everyone gets to combat quicker, but also tones down the combat phase as there are only half as many in a game. This makes the game quicker AND keeps both players engaged throughout. Has anyone else tried this?

I haven't tried playing AoS that way, but that is exactly how the turn is structured in LotR SBG so I'm fairly confident it would be awesome. It would also massively alter the strategic emphasis of the game (allowing you to execute counter charges against charging enemy units before the combat phase comes around).