Browsing the blog archives for April, 2007

Internet Radio: Doomed?

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Miscellaneous, Technology

I listen to a lot of music. As much as I can, I listen to music while I’m working. I listen to music as I browse the web. I listen to music at the gym. All in all, I’m probably listening to music about half the time that I’m awake (which is rather scary, I suppose, but there it is).

Mostly I used to listen to my own collections of music, and while I still do that, it’s not always possible. In the absence of being able to listen to exactly what I want, when I want, I’ve taken to listening to internet radio a lot. For the most part I listen to one of the stations at Digitally Imported Radio, as I can get relaxing ambient music or various forms of electronica which are entertaining enough to listen to but not distracting.

One recent development that has me a bit concerned is Congress’ recent passing of a bill to raise royalties on internet broadcasters. Although I wouldn’t be traumatized if internet radio went under altogether, it would be kind of disappointing to me. I mean, it would really limit my exposure to new music, and it would limit my options in listening to music overall. Not to mention, at one time I was involved in running a small-scale internet radio station and I wouldn’t mind getting involved in that again at some point.

A breakdown of some numbers can be found here. Excerpts:

First of all, the rates webcasters pay are “per performance,” meaning any time ONE listener hears ONE song (or any portion of a song), that’s a “performance.” If ONE listener hears ten songs, that’s TEN performances. If 1000 listeners hear ten songs, that’s 10,000 performances.

Let’s imagine a webcaster with an AVERAGE audience of 10,000 listeners (obviously, listeners come and go, and no one listens 24 hours a day, but we’re talking about an average number… so sometimes there’ll be lots more than 10,000 folks listening, sometimes lots less… but for math’s sake, let’s deal with the AVERAGE audience). Our webcaster plays 16 songs every hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to an audience that averages out to be 10,000 people.

$0.0008 X 10,000 listeners X 16 songs/hr. = $128. It’ll cost our imaginary webcaster $128 to play one hour of music for 10,000 people.
At the end of the day, that’s $3,072 ($128 X 24 hrs./day) — for just a single day! After a week goes by, it’s $21,504 ($3,072 X 7 days/wk.). And for all of 2006, this webcaster with a steady average audience of 10,000 listeners would owe $1,121,280!! (the $3,072 X 365 days/yr.)

I don’t really have any idea on how much money most of these internet radio stations make, but I can pretty much guarantee that they don’t make over a million dollars per stream. The tricky part is that even though this initiative is purely an RIAA-induced move (I’ll leave out motive speculation), the means through which it is done, the SoundExchange, is used by every label. So even though most, if not all, of the music played on the internet radio stations I listen to is non-RIAA, their initiative has punitive effects regardless of the label carrying the artist.

There’s a website listed here called SaveNetRadio.org to protest the new royalty rates. I’ll probably write a letter to my representative about it, though I’m debating whether the additional efficacy of an actual letter is worth the additional effort over an email.

Battle Report 2: Circle vs. Khador

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Games, Tabletop

My Army:

Circle Orboros
Kaya the Wildborne
Warpwolf, Heavy Warbeast x 2
Argus, Light Warbeast x 2
Total Points: ~380

Khador
The Butcher of Khardov
Kodiak, Heavy Warjack
Marauder, Heavy Warjack
Battle Mechanik Crew, Unit of 4
Widowmakers, Unit
Manhunter, Solo

Turn 1:
My Activation:

All of my units run up the board 12 to 14 inches. My units end their movement roughly 6″ from a forest where the enemy deployed his advance-deployment units (Widowmakers, Manhunter). The enemy is to my left, and both of my Warpwolves are positioned on my left. Kaya is positioned behind one Warpwolf, using his great size to block line of sight. My Argus are slightly ahead of the rest of the army and on my right side.

Enemy Activation:

The Widowmakers fire upon one of my Argus, and the Widowmaker emerges from the forest in a charge towards the same Argus. The Argus is severely wounded though not dead. The rest of the Khador force, the two Warjacks, the Warcaster, and the mechanik unit, position themselves besides the woods, getting into position to attack next turn.

Turn 2:
My Activation:

With the Widowmakers firing at me from the forest (meaning I couldn’t charge them with any of my Warbeasts), and the rest of the Khador battlegroup positioning itself to charge next turn, I decided that I may as well throw myself all-in. Either I’d cause enough damage to disrupt the Khador’s plans or they’d be on me next turn, grinding my rather-fragile forces into the ground.

My first Warpwolf charged one of the Khador warjacks. With a MAT of 6 on the Warpwolf and a defense of 10 on the Khador warjack, hitting is extremely easy. However, with 20 Armor, it’s not easy to deal lots of damage to the Warjacks. No matter — I got in both of my Warpwolf’s claw attacks and then followed up with the throat-ripper chain attack, knocking the enemy warjack down. I then poured a fury or two into an additional attack.

The enemy warjack was crippled but the battle mechaniks might repair it on the next turn — I didn’t want to leave anything left for them to repair. I threw my second Warpwolf at the downed Warjack and reduced it to a hunk of scrap metal. I followed up with a Baying of Chaos animus, attempting to disrupt the battle mechaniks and the widowmakers in the nearby forest. Unfortunately, neither was intimidated — But they should’ve been!

My damaged Argus counterattacked against the Manhunter and, despite his wounds, managed to take down the Manhunter with a combo-bite. My second Argus attempted to use his doppler bark on the Widowmakers, but their formidable cover bonuses defeated the Argus’ poor ranged attack ability.

The only thing I had left to try to deal with the Widowmakers was Kaya. Since she is a Pathfinder, I had her charge right into the midst of the enemy snipers. With her 2″ reach I was able to hit all of them from one position. Four attacks later and the Widowmakers were worm food.

Enemy Activation:

Things were looking pretty grim for Khador at this point. His only remaining units were a single heavy warjack, a unit of mechaniks, and the Butcher of Khardov. Although I wasn’t terribly worried about the situation, I knew that both of my heavy units would be tied up in combat next turn. Would I have enough of an army left standing after the enemy pummeled me to pull out a win?

The Khador warjack moved in on Warpwolf #1. He did a moderate amount of damage, but nothing disabling. I was confident that with another turn my Warpwolf could disable this warjack.

The Butcher was enraged. He used his feat, some kind of buff spell, and generally speaking made himself hellaciously deadly. At something like P+S 20, and thus automatically doing at least 4 damage to a Warpwolf, I was seriously frightened and awed by his melee prowess. He moved up and attacked my Warpwolf #2, doing something like 4+5d6 damage to the Warpwolf, nearly killing it outright.

Turn 3:
My Activation:

It was clear that this turn was going to determine who won or lost the game. Getting the easy stuff out of the way first, I had my Warpwolf #1, who was engaged with the enemy warjack, pummel him into the ground with two attacks and a throat-ripper. Although this didn’t destroy the enemy jack, it was unlikely he’d be a serious threat in the future with one of his arms destroyed.

My Warpwolf #2 used his regeneration twice (rules flub!) to restore a few hitpoints to his disabled life spirals. He then struck back against the Butcher, but mostly only did a few points of damage. The Butcher scoffed at the gigantic warbeast.

Neither Argus was in a position to get to the Butcher, but Kaya, being a Pathfinder, could move directly through the forests to him. Emerging from the woods, she attacked the Butcher from behind … A critical hit! Amazingly enough, I managed to get a critical on my first roll. Kaya’s staff, Splinter, has a knockdown effect on criticals which meant that the Butcher’s high defense would be entirely negated. Thereafter she began pummeling the downed man until he was down for good, though it took all of her fury and her feat as well.

Victory number 2. Surprisingly, considering I was playing an experienced player. I guess he wasn’t ready for the speed and hitting power of my army.

D&D 4th Edition Followup

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RPGs

I was following my referrer logs the other day and came across some links over from ENWorld. Specifically, I found a link to a thread a commenter (Agent Oracle) on my 4th Edition Wishlist post made. It’s interesting to see the breakdown of people over at ENWorld agreeing or disagreeing with me.

From my general impressions of the opinions of people in the thread it looks like a majority of the people agree with me on at least one point, about half seem to agree partially, and about a quarter want something like I want. I figure that’s a pretty good result, especially since my ideals for a D&D 4th Edition were intended, at least partially, to be pretty dramatic.

Since I’ve spent a lot of time perusing the ENWorld forums over the past week, and since there are some major shakeups in the D&D world at the moment (which I hope I can get around to writing about later), I want to elaborate a bit more about what my general attitudes and ideas are and how that informs what I want a new edition of D&D to look like.

D&D 3.X Isn’t Going Anywhere

Pretty much the most important thing, in my mind, when considering what a new edition of D&D should be is to look at what D&D currently is. If Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast stopped existing today, D&D would continue on just fine. Not only are there hundreds of official Wizards of the Coast books to explore, but the Open Gaming License insures that new content can be made by anyone. There’s virtually endless amounts of 3rd party content to use, and even if all of the current 3rd party publishers fold or give up on d20, the fans can keep the game alive as long as there’s interest.

I Don’t Want D&D 3.75

When D&D 3.0 came out, it really rekindled my interest in D&D. The same happened for plenty of other people. I tend to be very conservative with my purchases, but I know other people who spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on 3.0 material. Fast forward, what, two or three years and we get D&D 3.5. It’s been about four years since D&D 3.5 has been released and we’ve seen more broken material come out since 3.5 than existed in 3.0. Sure, 3.0 had some issues with things like Haste, the +Stat bunch of spells with durations over 24 hours, and so on and so forth. Virtually everything meaningful that 3.5 did could have been handled with errata.

Are errata ideal? No, it’s another step in the “Look up the rules” process. But when it comes down to using an errata or having to buy all of the core books again, I’ll take the errata. In my opinion, D&D 3.5 turns out to have been one of the biggest hoodwinks I’ve ever seen in gaming. Wizards tricked so many people into paying twice for the same content… Simply put, if 4th Edition doesn’t deliver substantial changes, I won’t bother buying it.

The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number

Most of the objections I’ve seen to my proposed changes come from the camp of, “D&D wouldn’t be D&D without X mechanic.” Considering the number of changes that took place from 3nd Edition to 3rd Edition, I find that a pretty laughable stance. THAC0 is gone, Armor Class counts up, the entire game usies a unified conflict resolution mechanic, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

What’s kind of interesting to me is the comments to the effect of, “If you want to play such a game, go play X.” The obvious riposte is “If you don’t want to play such a game, keep playing D&D 3.X.” I’d be perfectly happy with a state of affairs in which D&D 3.X retained a substantial playerbase. At the same time, I think if D&D implemented some variations on my suggestions it’d make for a better game, a better game system, and attract a wider audience to D&D.

If it weren’t so tedious dealing with the grognardism that says, “Because X, Y, and Z mechanics are part of my conception of ‘D&D’ means they shouldn’t be scrutinized or improved uponfor a new version” it’d be funny. I think gamers as a whole are a pretty conservative and stubborn lot, resistant to change and attaching a lot of importance to things they’ve invested mental energy in. I also think gamers, being a fairly brainy lot, tend to overcome their prejudices quickly when they encounter something legitimately better. So even though there’s a fair amount of resistance towards changing things up for 4th Edition, with this or that or the other thing being at least someone‘s sacred cow, I think a lot of the resistance would fall away once people played the game.

Although that’s not all I have to say, I am going to wrap this one up here and possibly follow up with another post sometime soon on this topic and other developments in the D&D world.

Guild Wars: Computerfall

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Games, Guild Wars, Personal

So, as you might’ve been able to tell, things have been a tad busy over here of late. For the time being, though, I’ve hit a little bit of a lull in work and other obligations.

A lot of really nice updates have hit Guild Wars recently: ArenaNet finally increased storage, and dramatically. Every campaign you own added another “storage tab” with as much storage as you previously had in total. A huge benefit to me, as I’m always overloaded with extra items. Last week we also saw the introduction of “Hard Mode” — It’s pretty self-explanatory, but it promises nice rewards for those who participate. Not to mention various other updates to skills, item drops, and titles that were rolled into effect simultaneously with Hard mode.

Either way, I felt like I might want to spend an hour or two running around Guild Wars, exploring, completing missions, and generally relaxing. So I started up the game, waited for all the updates to download, got my bearings, then went about my business. I started exploring an area … And died. My party wiped out and I went to go try again.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that I generally don’t like to wipe out and start over on an area that I’m exploring. My exploration process is pretty systematic and I like to see every step that I’ve taken in an area plotted out if I can at all help it. So I loaded up on as many henchmen as I could take and ventured out again. Things were looking good for the first fifteen or so minutes … I managed to clear most of the entire map. And then my computer crashed.

I restarted my computer, logged in to Guild Wars, and fortunately only a few minutes had passed — Around Christmas ArenaNet rolled in a feature that allows you to reconnect to an instance you were in if you happen to disconnect. So I logged in to the previous instance I was in and continued clearing the area — Unfortunately, all of my previous map-progress was lost, and this irritated me, but at least I was back where I had been.

I cleared the entire area … And then my computer crashed. I restarted, logged in, continued on. A fluke, right? Won’t happen three times, right? Wrong. Ten minutes later another crash. I tried this about five times and I can’t accept that this many crashes in the space of an hour or so is a fluke.

Each time I managed to get into the game just enough to hit my stride and then all of a sudden the game freezes. My sound card stutters madly. My mouse does nothing, my computer doesn’t respond at all. It’s all very irritating. Since I haven’t changed anything significant on my computer I have a hard time believing it’s anything other than the latest patches to the game. That, too, irritates me. I read the patch list, I get excited for everything I see only to have it denied to me, and worse, denied by the very patch itself.

Oh well. I suppose I’ll wait around until the next patch rolls around and then maybe I’ll be able to play the game again for periods longer than ten minutes.

Pale Rider

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Visual

I’ve never been a big fan of Westerns. I remember when I was younger thinking they were quite boring, or at least all the ones I attempted to watch at the time were boring. Oddly enough, in reading some of the film criticism that links Kurosawa with Sergio Leone and the Western genre, I became willing to take a second look, so to speak, at the Western. A few years ago I watched Unforgiven, which I thought was quite brutal but unsatisfying — Probably because I have no background in watching westerns and so don’t have the background to understand the ways it plays with the genre.

In any case, a few weeks back I was browsing channels on my TiVo and saw that Pale Rider was going to be showing. I queued it up, let it record, then sat down to watch it the next day.

PaleRider1

I’ve never seen this movie before. In fact, I don’t recall any Westerns I’ve seen with Clint Eastwood in them. I feel like this is a pretty big gap in my cultural knowledge, considering it’s basically where his entire career started. I had thought Pale Rider was the last of the series of movies in which Eastwood plays his Man with No Name character, but apparently that’s not entirely true. IMDB informs me that there’s strong implications that the character Eastwood plays in Pale Rider is his Man with No Name character, but no definite ties are made.

Eastwood plays a character who is known only as “Preacher,” arriving in a town which is, as usual in Westerns, beset by bandits or thugs. The central conflict of the story is a fairly typical one, with a group of miners-slash-settlers having a claim to land which is wanted by a greedy politician/capitalist. The Preacher intervenes in the conflict on the side of the miners and goes through various scuffles before finally defeating the thugs and mercenaries that threaten the peace.

Surprisingly, I actually really liked this movie. The religious overtones throughout the movie add a bit of mystery to Eastwood’s character — He first appears, fading onscreen, as a young girl prays for vengeance. As he rides into the town, the girl is reading the passage from Revelations from which the movie draws its title. Later, Eastwood’s character has taken his shirt off and many gunshot wounds are visible on his back in locations that would normally kill or paralyze a person. We never know whether Eastwood’s character is merely a tough-as-nails human or an agent of divine intervention. I enjoy that uncertainty.

He also has an interesting relationship with the young girl, who sees him as an angel sent to answer her prayers, and her mother. Eastwood’s character seems to have a bit of history with the mother of the girl, though a lot of that is unexplored (and possibly related to earlier Eastwood westerns). However, as I watched the movie I did get the sense that, perhaps, Unforgiven is intended to fit within the context of the story told in Unforgiven. The saintly woman Eastwood’s character marries in Unforgiven changes him, and the relationship the Preacher has with the mother in Pale Rider shows that he is at least softened by her. It’s plausible for me to think of the characters as the same, or at least continuous along a spectrum of the development of the Western gunfighter hero.

Overall I was surprised at the general modernity of the film. I’ve seen the tricks and tactics used in the gunfights countless times, but I can’t fault the movie for being copied. I don’t know whether this film was the original in any sense (particulaly having been made in 1985), most likely not, but it’s certainly well-executed in deceiving the viewer and building up a sense of mystery about how the Preacher is so cunning and deadly. On several occasions we don’t even see how he dispatches his opponents, again contributing to the mystery of whether he is supernatural or merely uncannily skillful for a human.

And I must say, that Eastwood is quite good in this film. I don’t ever recall seeing a scene as intense and heart-pumping as when the Preacher meets with the villain for a drink. Though no shots are fired, no punches thrown, the scene manages to completely outshine any of the action in the film. Eastwood’s look, you’ll know it if you’ve seen it, is probably the most apt I’ve ever seen for the description “bloody-minded.” Amazing, and worth watching for that alone.

I’m putting this down as a must-see. Even though I’ve been lukewarm on Westerns as a genre before, and unencouraged by some earlier forays, this film has made up my mind to at least check out Eastwood’s earlier efforts.

Virtual Gom Jabbar

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Administrativa

So, following Shamus’ lead, I went ahead and installed Peter’s Anti-Spam Captcha, and disabled some other anti-spam measures. Lets see how this works out over the next couple of days.

For the time being the security word is set to be “human,” and I went ahead and edited the text to indicate this as well (in case the image bit stops working or you’re blind, etc.). I’m betting that even the most basic reading comprehension is a far harder task for spambots than read-and-regurgitate OCR, so I doubt this will impact the security of my captcha. If you’re a non-spamming, non-human visitor to the site — Welcome! And, I suppose, sorry for automatically assuming that my website would only be interesting to humans.

Update: So far things have been going well. The Captcha has dramatically reduced my amount of spam. Unfortunately it hasn’t cut it down to nothing. I’m getting probably 1/10th of the amount of spam as I was before, though. One good thing is that most of the spam that is getting through seems to be from the same spammer (at least from the format and what it’s promoting). The most annoying spam, the hundreds-of-lines-long messages with hundreds of links contained within them are being blocked — When I see those in my Akismet queue I usually just delete the whole queue without bothering to check the others. The ones that’ve been getting through right now are one-line spams that I can skim for legitimate comments and delete without any anxiety.

Link Roundup: Pessimism Edition

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Miscellaneous

You may or may not have heard of the coming Beepocalypse. It sounds like something out of a cheesy Sci-Fi channel movie like “Mansquito,” but the threat to man’s crops should bee colonies collapse is real. The part of the story that’s interesting to me is that, according to the article, the cause of the so-called Colony Collapse Disorder amongst bees may be cell phones.

That kind of begs the question — If we learned today that the likely cause for CCD was definitely cell phones — What would happen?

My guess is nothing. No way are the Telecoms going to give up their lucrative cell phone business, and no way would people individually and voluntarily give up their cell-phones. It’d be kind of ironic if mankind were done in by the simple everyday selfishness and self-importance of not being willing to cut down on cell phone usage, rather than say, nuclear war or some monstrous plague or a killer asteroid.

A few years back I remember hearing the SAT had added a new writing segment to the test. As it turns out, my initial thoughts have proven mostly true, at least according to this article in InsideHigherEd: The three/five paragraph essay format is ridiculously stultifying for anyone with any amount of independent thought or writing skill, and teaching students to write to a formula results in formulaic writing. The subtextual agenda of schools that requested adding the Writing exam, to boost up scores of minorities, doesn’t seem to have come about either, so many colleges simply ignore it altogether.

This essay was linked in the story as an example of a “perfect” essay according to the rubric. Sadly, it seems more like it was written by a non-native English speaker than someone with a mastery of the language… And, even more sadly, if the comments on the InsideHigherEd article are any indication, it’s actually deserving of such a high score compared to other essays students manage to pump out.

This last story, about Joshua Bell playing violin in the subway, has been making the rounds of late. It’s a pretty fascinating story, although worth noting that all of the conditions of the experiment, though presented in a fashion so as to obtain a “neutral” reaction from the audience — Are actually stacking the deck against any sort of substantial reaction.

I guess the bit that gets to people about the story is the realization that, in the shoes of the people in that subway, they wouldn’t have done anything different. I can’t say I would either. Alas venustas? Well, perhaps.

Setting Planning: Pantheon Thoughts

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Personal, RPGs

I’ve been thinking a bit about what I want to do with my D&D campaign setting. Ideally I’d like to start it up again “soon” (whatever that means). However, since I’m not currently running the game I have the opportunity to play around with setting details to create a more interesting campaign setting to play in. One specific area that I’m thinking of doing some major changes to is the pantheon of my world.

A little bit of exposition: In my campaign setting there are about 13 major gods. This isn’t a huge number but it is a significant number. The trouble is, in any homebrew campaign setting you’re essentially throwing out a lot of the passively accumulated knowledge that players may have. In some senses this is good, because you’re throwing out the expectations for established D&D settings. But when it comes to actually interacting with the environment it helps if you know who you’re dealing with, why they’re doing what they’re doing, and all of those other critical questions. Your players might not know everything about the setting, but if you’re like me you’ve been encountering Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk material for decades. Even though I’ve never consciously set out to learn about either of these settings I know enough that it’s very helpful.

So what can you do? I don’t like throwing thirteen (and, in reality, about fifty major gods, but thirteen primary ones) names at players and expecting them to remember them. They need to remember plot events, character names … Having huge rote memorization tasks to function effectively in the setting is not something that I want.

I’ve decided that I probably want to pare my “Olympian” gods (So to speak) down to twelve. If I can think of a way to do so, what I really want to do is pare it down even further to something like Guild Wars’ pantheon. In Guild Wars you have five gods: Balthazar, Dwayna, Grenth, Melandru, and Lyssa. There are other lesser deity figures, but they aren’t the sort of figures you need to know to grasp the general setup of the religion of the gameworld. Another interesting thing Guild Wars does to add a bit of flavor is to reference the gods in many of the skill names (e.g. “Dwayna’s Kiss,” a Monk spell that does healing). Assuming I wanted to, I could reprint all of the classes from Iron Heroes with modified skill / feat names. Unfortunately, unless I printed out a couple of nicely bound copies of this modified material I think this would just be a headache for referencing purposes.

The real trouble is, I don’t know if I can do what I want with the religions of the gameworld and simplify things down to five or six major deities. The sort of twist I want to put on the religions in the campaign world is pretty academic and thus I’m inclined toward basing my fictional polytheistic religion on … real polytheistic religions. Having an obviously artificial system like Guild Wars’ is nice for players because each core class is basically associated with one god and everything stacks up nicely. Unfortunately I’m coming to believe that the messiness inherent in real life polytheism is antithetical to the goal of making a religious pantheon easy to handle for players.

The one thing that I’ve been strongly considering as of late is to simply throw out the idea of creating a unique pantheon. Why not simply utilize a real pantheon like that of the Greeks? I have to say the possibility holds some appeal. It resolves my own hangups about believability and complexity. At the same time, I’m sure the players in my group know who Zeus is, they know who Apollo is, and so on and so forth. Virtually everyone has at least some background with the Greek/Roman pantheons, whether it’s from school or God of War.

This is seriously tempting.

Battle Report 1: Circle vs. Menoth

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Miscellaneous, Personal

As my first game of Hordes I was playing against a friend of mine who is also a novice player, or at least one who hadn’t played Warmachine/Hordes in a very long time.

My army was this:

Circle Orboros
Kaya – 57pts
Argus x 2 – 108pts
Warpwolf x2 – 216pts
Total – 381pts

I’m a bit fuzzier on my opponent’s army, but I’ll make a rough approximation of what I remember it being:

Protectorate of Menoth
High Exemplar Kreoss
(1 Heavy Warjack), Crusader(?)
(3 Light Warjacks), Repenter, Revenger, Redeemer (?)
Total – 390pts

Now both of us, as I mentioned, were pretty new to the game, so to speak. I was constantly referring to the quickstart rules, and it took me awhile to get the hang of things.

We rolled off for initiative. I won initiative, so I would go first. We chose a random amount of terrain, two hills, and three forests, then deployed our forces.

In deployment I was a bit foolish as I split my army up into two “task forces.” The idea was to have one main group consisting of Kaya, a Warpwolf, and an Argus to engage the enemy. The spare Warpwolf and Argus would move up the other side of the board, attempting to move into a flanking position so that at an opportune time I could charge in with my additional heavy and wreak some havok.

While I think this sounds pretty reasonable, the fact of the matter is that I was deploying a good part of my army outside of Kaya’s control radius. I didn’t realize this at first, but that pretty much makes a lot of the power of a Warbeast (the ability to force them while within the Warlock’s control radius) wasted. On turn three and four I moved my second “task force” back into control range, but… Anyway.

Turn 1, Circle:
I force all of my warbeasts to run forward, Warpwolves warping for +2″ of speed. My forces move basically 14″ up the board. The enemy’s main force has clear LOS to my main task force, which is advancing on the right side of the board. However, I use Kaya’s “Cloak of Mists” spell on her and the other units in task force 1. Stealth prevents units from further than 5″ away from targetting the units. My secondary task force (WWolf2 & Argus2) attempts to gain a little bit of cover by sitting in the shadow of a forest on the left side of the board.

(Elided here are the rules-futzing which caused me to conclude that my beasts would all have to make threshhold checks on turn 1 because I hadn’t spent any of their fury. I had my Warpwolf in task force 2 frenzy and destroy the nearby Argus…)

Turn 1, Menoth:

Menoth, seeing my two-pronged approach, also splits his forces into two groups. One group consists of his Warcaster, his heavy warjack, and a light warjack; This group moved about three inches and took cover behind a nearby hill, obviously plotting to come out around the hill and charge my primary task force. His second group consists of two light warjacks, one of them with some sort of rocket launcher weapon. He moved these units about 3″ towards the left side of the board to present an obstacle to my secondary task force. One of the light warjacks had some sort of rocket launcher, which he attempted to target against my Warlock. However, since all of my task force was under Stealth he was unable to target them directly (since I believe the rocket launcher is an AoE he might’ve been able to do so anyway, but we didn’t realize this at the time). He fired a rocket at the Warp Wolf in my second task force and completely missed.

Turn 2, Circle:
At this point, having deployed at 12″ from the table edge and moved 14″ the previous turn, and Menoth having deployed 12″ from the table edge and moved an additional 3″, I was able to make a 9″ charge with my Warpwolf. I had him warp for +2 Strength and charged him headlong into the Menoth heavy warjack that was staring me down from the side of a nearby hill, a light warjack and his warcaster not far behind. The Circle is not one to mince words, and my designs were to control the battlefield by having complete control over any engagements — Letting myself get charged was not an option.

My Warpwolf charged in, the charge adding one fury token to his total pool. The first claw did some fairly significant damage, especially having been boosted from the charge. With his second claw attack I boosted the attack to make sure it hit, as the Warpwolf has another ability called “Throat-Ripper” that can trigger if he connects with both claw attacks. Both claws hit, and the Menoth heavy warjack was definitely feeling some pain. Then I followed up with Throat-Ripper, an attack that knocks down the enemy and does one point of damage to every system or aspect. This pretty much put the nail in the coffin of the Menoth heavy warjack, knocking it down and disabling three of its systems.

Kaya and my Argus moved up somewhat. My second task force found themselves outside of the control radius of Kaya, so I couldn’t force them. Rather than moving them into the open but within control range, I moved them into the nearby forest for cover. The battle was going my way on the other side of the board and they were doing well enough to draw off two enemy warjacks.

Turn 2, Menoth:

Menoth’s situation, though he didn’t know it yet, was grim. His caster was sitting a few inches away from his disabled heavy Warjack and the only thing that stood in the way of my Warpwolf charging his caster was a light Warjack. After virtually wiping out a heavy Warjack in one turn I was confident my Warpwolf could eat his light jack for dessert.

His caster used a spell on his light warjack, boosting it somewhat. He then used his feat, which knocked down every enemy unit in his command area (which included my Wolf, Kaya, and my Argust). His light warjack then charged my Warpwolf. The damage was significant, but as the Warpwolf’s body is constantly in flux, I could allocate the damage where I wished. My Warpwolf’s mind aspect was disabled and much of his body aspect, but I planned on having him regenerate the next turn to return him to full operating strength.

The other two Menoth light warjacks didn’t realize the gravity of the situation. Another rocket launcher shot flew past my Warpwolf in task force two, doing nothing.

Turn 3, Circle:

My Warpwolf regenerated a few points of damage, stood up, and then turned his attention to the upstart little warjack that dared to attack him. Two claw attacks and a throat-ripper later and the light warjack was a light pile of mechanical scrap. With the threats out of the way, I had my Argus and Kaya stand up and move forward. They were in perfect position to charge at the enemy Warcaster next turn.

Feeling the battle was mostly over at this point, and that there would be no way for me to screw it up, I moved my Wolf and Argus in task force two out in the open and more towards Kaya. I decided I may as well try to pile in on his Warcaster with everything I had. If his two light Warjacks got in the way, I figured I could scrap them too after seeing my Warpwolf do such a number on the other Menoth jacks.

Turn 3, Menoth:

Menoth’s warcaster used one of his remaining light warjacks as an arcnode to cast some sort of lighting spell that struck out at my Warpwolf in task force 2. It did some damage, but nothing crippling. The remaining two Menoth warjacks remained in position and didn’t attempt to move over to guard his warcaster. A rocket flew out towards my exposed task force 2, but did nothing.

Turn 4, Circle:

Kaya, my Warpwolf, and my Argus charged Kreoss. Menoth resigned the game.

Victory number 1. A pretty good start for starting out completely ignorant of the rules.