Saturday, September 28, 2013

We found listner 4!!!

The one listener not having tea with mom showed up for the Steamroller at Dragon's Den today!!

And he recognized us by voice! Amazing!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Episode 16: Potatoes in the oven

The protagonists all randomly walk into a dark pub called the Glass Half Full. Once there, a mysterious stranger of varying dubiousness approaches offering a job. A job... to make a podcast and not kill each other...

They failed!

01:56 What are we drinking?
03:46 Cheers!
04:00 Topic Boy is putting potatoes in the oven
04:25 Whoring out! Richmond Breweries!
06:20 How are the shirts coming along?
09:25 We are an idiots... Oct 26th is the 50 pt Steamroller at Huzzah Hobbies, 35 pt Steamroller at Dragon's Den in Richmond Sept 28
10:10 Still no Warmachine talk....
11:00 Holy God! We are now getting to topics
11:35 BeerThralls Order of Activation
11:55 First Turn Advantage
20:40 A small interruption talking about Equilibrium scenarios
22:05 Guest arrives!
22:20 Back on topic
27:53 Segue into The Art of Deployment
33:47 Small interruption to talk about the No Quarter Brisbane list and Silverline Storm Guard/upgrade units
33:55 Back to Art of Deployment and a little about first turn
52:10 One Minute Rant: Victor rants about painting
55:42 Last Beer Down

Monday, September 23, 2013

Holy crap! They did a Battle Report!

No kidding! We actually Play!

50 points - New casters.  
Mortenebra Tier 4 for Cryx (Nathan)
Syntherion for Convergence (and James's deep manly weeping about the tier.)
The Mission: Chemical Reactions

 Gentlemen! Start your Engines!  Cryx and a liberal application of Terminal Velocity makes short work of deployment zones.  This is also why selecting your table side is important!  I didn't have cattle fences to cross.  From the Cryx perspective being outnumbered is terrifying - I have all the respect for infantry born of Bane Thralls.


The good, the bad, And tyhe ugly lists

We gamers plove to argue about statistics. Typically it Godwins down to a discussion of " X is numerically superior to Y. It should cost more resources than Y" vs "Y has proven to be a sincere problem in the past and consistently beats my X".

If only these two statements had any relation. There is a perennial discussion about how warmachine is so very unbalanced.  I'm not in the camp to believe Warmachine is inherently unbalanced but I understand most of the reasoning.

Peel away the subtle nuances of movement and obstacles like buildings,hills, bushes and the like and all we have are quantifiable values.  These sort of things are very difficult to dispute effectively until we invoke the unquantifiable value of things like Stealth, Flank. Take Up... Suddenly things have gotten murky.

Cygnar long gunners for example:
Have a fairly average accuracy, reasonable range and pow, up to two shots and light armor. The general consensus amongst Cygnar players is that they're an also-ran to other units like gunmages.  I disagree because there's a qualia to certain units.

It seems bizarre to hear a person who is pushing for more tournament attempt to discuss anything but quantifiable examples and statistics. Of the group of us I'm probably be least likely to run any statistics or theorymachine.  I focus on function and synergy rather than the numbers. 

Because of this I support certain units generally accepted as bad... well over shadowed by other units. Long gunners, sword knights, zealots, deliverers, and several Cryx jacks.  Heck I even like some of the light artillery!

I think it's the difference between qualitative and quantitative that really makes is people up in this game. "P,Q and R All really work well together. Why not Q,V and J? The numbers...."
Bile thralls,  for example are simply atrocious according to their statistics. Everything about them says that these models need to be left out of a list... except that awesome and completely subjective special attack they have. How do you quantify the value of this particular attack?  How do you quantify two combined ranged attacks but only some of the time?

Its variables like these that make most tournament players very uncomfortable with some units. For the most part its seen as gambling and inconsistency is inherently bad in that environment. I disagree. I find these units particularly valuable because opponents don't expect consistent behavior or they expect significant investments in resources to bring these units in line with other "superior" units.

Units may come and go. Their popularity me shifts with changes to tier list or unit attachments. casters may trigger off units that seemed substandard.  Give them a couple of tries and you might find yourself a new and interesting tool.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pro scrub and anti scrub

We talk a whole lot about competition. About challenges and about what's going on with our local gaming scene... even though 200 miles seems to be what we qualify as local.   Sometimes we forget that some players play simply for the love of the game. 

One of the things we talk about is to play what you want to play and not to let other people dictate how and when you play.  I probably should expand that into playing painted vs unpainted.

I'm guilty of being a hobbyist. I want my boy Barbies to be visually appealing.  And boy am i guilty of expecting other people to want the same thing. The fact of the matter is people would play just as well with tokens as with toy soldiers.  When I saw a player effectively rolling parts into a ball with glue, placing it on a base, and essentially calling it done the other day I couldn't contain myself.

With as much as these game pieces cost and the time we invest in these games I imagine people would want to spend time making their toys look good. I am of course wrong.

Its not that I actually see the pieces as deserving some special attention so much as a reflection of self respect. I suppose it's similar to how some athletes find people who don't conform to their body type repulsive. They see it as self respect too.

So if you see me don't be afraid remind me that my painting looks like finger painting by the color blind epileptics under the strobe lights at a rave.

I most assuredly need to be taken down a notch... and if you play better than I do its just apropos! Just go out and do your best and the rest will fall into place.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ep 15: Dot Dot Dot I Don't Think I Like Richmond

And we invaded Richmond ... and Richmond attacked back with beer and crappy hotels. I think we lost this fight and retreated back to NOVA. Oh God! An hour and 30 minutes...

01:14 Recording from Strangeways!
02:00 What are we drinking?
04:39 Cheers!
06:36 The Invasion recap
17:10 First beer down
35:36 Second beer down
37:48 Steamroller down at Dragon's Den
38:04 Colin tries to transition and I steal it!
38:10 How to chose tournament lists
47:07 A wild person appears and starts talking to us....
47:38 and Colin brings us back to the topic at hand
57:28 How does the list choosing work in a Steamroller
1:14:14 Suggestions for people coming back into the game
1:28:38 Minute Rant: Nathan rants about terrain
1:30:25 Power is about to die so we end


Monday, September 16, 2013

The Strangeways and means committee

A great big thanks to Strangeways Brewery for letting us record Podcast 15 In the heart of their Brewing Laboratory!

This weekend we sat around to discuss List building and theory  crafting... and of course go way way off topic. We didn't touch on theory  crafting enough.

Putting together a list it seems to work well on paper (duck taco) just isn't enough. Like science it requires peer review from neutral third parties.  Specifically people waiting outside your meta. Reviewing a list in a group of the same bias simply does no good.

What are the things that makes our team so much less dysfunctional ( beer!) is that we disagree so much! Shane for example plays Cygnar In a manner that many forums would say is wrong. It's hard to argue results. Neither of our Cryx players can agree - They even play the same caster differently.

To really test theory we have to go to someone else's lab. We know how each other play.  We can anticipate each other from experience thus the need for a third party.

Forums are excellent for Basic theory crafting. Sharing ideas general principles is very effective in treating people and for shaking the worst kinks out of a list. But a single forum is likely to congeal into a single meta.  At some point it is very likely for that forum to lock step and limit outside thought.  Not because of malice but because of inertia.

So go meet new people. Go play in their laboratory. Learn from another part of the community.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Episode 14 - Wallystomped?

We are back at the Alamo to record another episode of the bestest Warmachine Hordes podcast that there is!
Well it was going to be but then Topic Boy got sick and we decided to record in a copper kettle so...
We were stuck in the back room which had horrible reverb
00:35 What are we drinking
02:00 Substitute Topic Boy!
02:28 Cheers
02:46 High Command review
04:00 We are ordering but the tape was still rolling
04:21 Back from ordering
11:00 Speaking of Tournaments - Stop having fun! Dave Sirlin's opinions
18:28 Plug for Cripple System
22:08 The Rule of Cool... well we tried
23:24 The BeerThralls Invasion of Richmond itinerary
25:18 Back to the Rule of Cool (Hold my Beer and watch this fun!)
39:07 This is hard. I'm lazy.
40:26 The great scattering
41:22 Back to topic
53:20 Two members of the BeerThralls have never seen 5th Element. Get em!
55:40 Victor Wins
56:40 James' Minute Rant: The NOVA Open painting competition
57:40 Painting in competitions and tournaments
1:02:55 The ending


Tell me about the meta of your home shop Usul ...

Despite my irrational love for Frank Herbert It becomes a valid question.

" Tell me about your local meta." Will get you respect and camaraderie in a single breath. Everybody loves to talk about themselves and they love people who seem interested in them.
We could discuss the ulterior motives of asking questions like this but I'd rather just dismiss them as the parallels to that first date. Also it makes them more likely to forgive you when critical devastation throws a warjack onto their caster...

Ask a person about the local meta and you can expect about 15 minutes talking about their local gaming.  Yes it's reconnaissance but it gives you something in common and open them to ask you the same question.
I can't write this as a dating guide for Fremen... but I can give you pointers on how to get a better sportsmanship score.

" That was great how you..." < Insert there most frustrating or bizarre move here> " Where were you going with it?"    Because now that you're interested it's safer for them to explain their technique. That probably will give you better insight into other players of that faction.

" I really messed up at... what would you have done in my place?" If they balk follow up with " seriously. Almost anything would help. I make this mistake a lot."
Now its back to them to teach you. You've given their ego a Scooby Snack so they'll probably offer something.
Thank them and shake their hand.   You'd be amazed how simple handshake and a thank you will get a person to remember you. If they remember you were polite or they taught you something they are more likely to think positively of you.

     You'll notice everything so far has been essentially asking someone to give you something. Advice, compliments, insight.  This is to take advantage of cognitive dissonance -  people like to have reasons for what they do. Helping a stranger and giving them advice should have some sort of reason. The brain will make up a reason - usually something to the effect of "I just like that person". 

Take a moment. Learn from someone else. Grow the community. (And maybe a leg up on sportsmanship.)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Narcissism and competition

A lot of you are going to go out and going to research game theory and how to be "better". Chances are you find page 5 of the mark 1 books and latch on to that idea. I can only hope for a little while.
In your reading you will undoubtedly run into You might as well read Tucker Max. Both leave a sort of indelible stain on your view of people and of gaming in general. To say I don't support the context of their writing is generous. Sirlin doesn't care (I'm a scrub) and Tucker... his theory says he can sod off anyway.
Lets go over some of their major points:

If its in the rules it's perfectly OK.
There's a difference between the method and the goal. The rules are the method with in which we operate; the goal is victory. Using the rules to our advantage is therefore not only expected it is necessary.  There are no legal actions that are inappropriate and meta behavior is fair game.

     Bobby Fischer had a problem with this and got his own musical. McEnroe, Rodman... all famous for bizarre activities and a temper tantrums that brought a different element to their competition - the mental meta game. Sirlin's theory  argues that this is "up to you" while reinforcing it as valid behavior discussing a person's "fear aura".
     By mentioning intimidation as a valid tactic and reinforcing it as not expressly forbidden in the game or the tournament it has been tacitly approved.  I argue this demonstrates a lack of confidence in one's own ability.

We make our own victory and sabotage it in our associations.
Winning is as much a state of mind as it is behavior. Associate with people of a different mindset and you will be compromised by their mindset. Like must therefore associate with like.

     Utter bollocks. While studies do show the people reflect the values of the five people they most associated with - a diverse group consistently demonstrated greater prosperity and trended towards higher education. Correlation is not causation but this does suggest having a mix of points of view is a more successful strategy.
     A sense of community and respect presents a better opportunity for growth. Not only do the less skilled players become better but the average skill set trends upwards.  This is why people attend things like Toastmasters. If one really wants to improve their skill teaching is a very valid option. ( see also:  how to get to Broadway)

The teacher and the slaughterer
The top skill set in a field has two options: operate at maximum capacity until they are consistently defeated or uplift the skill set of those around them.

      There is no option. Slaughterer trains the local game to adapt to the slaughterer. The teacher grants an opportunity to continue growth.  I prefer the metaphor of the farmer and the wolf: the farmer grows and nurtures an area while the wolf hunts until its driven off or killed. The farmer can have good and bad seasons but the wolf drives away competition.
     This means the Slaughterer actively poisons the community. To develop and grow an event an incentive has to exist for newcomers to participate.  Constant defeat at the hands of more skilled players drives newcomers out and reduces the pool less skilled have to practice against.  

     What bothers me most is that you're going to read this diatribe of abusive asshattery (yes, we still cite our sources!) and think "this guy has it right!".  He codified two tropes that can reconcile with the concept that Competitive Play and Casual Play are both valid, and must not attempt to dictate to each other.
       This is not entirely true either. One thing we continue to lose track of his that this is "play". That player with a limited budget for playing, and that player who's trying to use less efficient tools to learn these tools better certainly isn't a scrub. They're playing. Tournament events like "who's the boss?" (Randomize warlock/caster) or Highlander (there can be only one...of anything) is inherently play.

But where am I really going with this?
- if you are not having fun in this game and your opponent is not having some degree of fun you need to stop. If you can't be courteous because you must crush your opponent please leave. if you can't be supportive and help people learn please go find another game.

" How sad to see a model of decorum and civility become a battleground for rival ideologies to slug it out with glee" ( Chess. Go watch a musical. Get some culture.)

Try to remember that once the clock starts you might be oponents, but there was a before and is an after. Shake hands, congratulate the winner, and go see what's happening on that for table. The person you just played might have an interesting perspective.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Terrain Rage Pt II - Electric Boogaloo

So, I read all sorts of blogs (And, if you're listening to the internets about my habit for DragonCon themed ero fanfic,  Haters gonna...I digress.)  and I don't stick to just one genre of minis gaming because I could use to learn from anyone.

Thanks Felix for the photos.
Take a look at this wide open field. Two hills, an obelisk, a cookie, and some objectives. Love you dearly Fritz, but WHAT. THE. FUCK?

For the love of gamers everywhere, stop.  Use more terrain.This is pathetic. Easy to produce for a tourney. Still crap.

The good news is that the guys at Feast of Blades also give you crap. Sorta. It works for 40k. Mostly.
Adepticon? You guys can do better.Yes, dozens of tables...but that swamp...why did it even hit the table? There's no use for it.
And the guys at the Warstore are awfully sparse too.

(  Felix is gonna get mad at me for eating up his flickr bandwidth  )  THIS is the table people want to fight on.  Yes, there are two HUGE terrain pieces, but small changes to this and everyone's going to ooh and aah over it.

There are no 48" guns in Warmachine; 23 is as good as it gets. There's no reason not to have much more terrain.

Look at play on thisthisthis thisor this!


Why I want to play hardcore

This one's going to be a bit more stream of consciousness and the rest:
Hardcore is, to me, is the target to play at for most Systems anyway. Play your absolute best. Paint your own stuff to the best of your ability. Face new people, and come back next year hungry to win.
And is most certainly not about:
200 kilo man children with hygiene  problems trying to find their  place in a fairly segmented social group.
Internet fame. Seriously who cares? This blog tends to be full of a degree of fan abuse for a reason : no matter how awesome we are at a single game if we don't carry that bit of our drive to achieve to other parts of our lives all the shiny coins and trophies mean nothing! .
Respect? HAHAHAAHAHAHHAAHA! For playing with dollies?  The reason we don't make fun of the women who fly 3000 miles to play with Polly Pocket is that those ladies are crazy. They're likely to cut you. My crazy requires I pretend to have achieved something - and doesn't mind being rewarded with shiny dollies and beer!
I'm still not convinced list building is anywhere near as nuanced as the internet swears it is.  And I know I'm going on this particular rent before.  Pick a caster add a colossal crowbar in infantry of your choice. Rinse. Repeat.  That's 18 or 19 points in one spot - two warjacks. I'll bet five points to disable it every time. One big lump of wasted points.

I just want the challenge - I want to go get busted up by new and interesting people.


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