I attended another Batman event at Holmfirth at the weekend. Given that the Animosity events are more about narrative that full on competition, I decided to take a slightly unusual crew...the Justice League!
|Flash, Batman, Hawkgirl and...erm...Lantern?|
There has been much debate about the relative merits of both small crews and speedsters, so I thought I'd try both. I wasn't too worried about my competitiveness as I was more keen to get some interesting games in with models I hadn't used before, and pose a different challenge for my opponents.
Game 1 - Patrol vs Sam's Penguin Crew
|Lighting photos was a bit of an issue.|
Sam's crew was big and slow (or so I thought), however, he made really good use of Inspire and Follow Me to get them moving really quickly down the main street of our board. I made a massive mistake by dropping Hawkgirl into the middle of the mob, and she got battered. However, Batman and Flash were able to claw back the score a bit thanks to grabbing loot, solving riddles and even getting the Bat-signal turned on once. The cop blew his whistle manfully to slow down the Penguin gang and my placement of the Bat-signal kept Lobo out of the fight to guard it.
|Yes, it's an old photo. The lorry wasn't there this time.|
Ultimately, the unstoppable flock of Penguin goons swarmed into my deployment zone, took out the cop and jumped onto the objectives. However, I was pleased to keep the VP gap to just 6, which only counted as loss by one point. Had Batman not completely fluffed his attacks on the last turn, it would have been a draw.
Game 2 - Plunder vs Steve's Scarecrow Gang
|Steve's crew took some wear and tear during the day.|
Plunder is arguably the scenario which least suits small crews and so I wasn't hopeful...until Steve told me that he didn't have any Bat-claws. This meant that after Hawkgirl turned on the Bat-signal in turn one, it cranked out 3 VP's per turn for me and allowed my crew to get on with other stuff.
Batman clobbered Deadshot, but had a close call against the Militia Brute when he managed to tag him with a knock down. Flash ran about not doing a lot, but the threat of his flurry of attacks, kept Steve's weaker henchmen at arm's length. The cop sat on ammo and loot, racking up points until the last turn when he got clobbered. Hawkgirl again got over ambitious and, despite knocking out a henchman, again got mobbed and dragged down. Meanwhile, Steve's ranged threat made me too cautious, and almost killed both Flash and Batman.
|Another old photo...I forgot to photograph the boards.|
Ultimately, I'd been scoring more points per turn, we both took down an enemy Free Agent and a Henchman, and Steve was able to level things up when he prevented me scoring the Ammo and Loot for the last two turns. The final score was 40-38 to Steve, which was a draw.
This was a really tight game, but my misuse of Hawkgirl (again!) combined with my inability to really do anything meaningful with Flash, prevented me from really having a chance of winning. However, we both enjoyed this really cagey match up.
Game 3 - Infiltration (Modified Version) vs James' Bane Gang
|Dallas and Deadshot! Yay!|
Whereas Plunder wasn't ideal for my gang, the combination of the Infiltration scenario, a board with lots of terrain, a footslogging gang and a fat cop with a whistle, meant that James was going to struggle to complete the objective of getting markers all the way across the board. I however, was extremely mobile, and set about solving riddles (or trying to), grabbing tokens and zipping around.
Hawkgirl made up for earlier failures by clobbering Deadshot and getting the Bat-signal turned on for most of the game. Flash intimidated James' henchmen from coming forward and zoomed an objective token into the end zone successfully. Batman turned out to be too slow to be able to batter henchmen and move a token about. In retrospect, I should have not worried about the mission objective and just splattered some henchmen.
|Bat-Signal + Crane = Arsehole!|
When Hawkgirl was again beaten up (this time by Bane), James managed to claw the result back to a draw. Of all the games this is the one I kicked myself about as if I'd just not worried about the objectives, I could have got to the loot counter that James was able to secure early enough to keep in touch, and sent Batman and Flash after soft targets. Ultimately, I should have realised that the cop's whistle meant that James was never going to get all the way across such a dense board.
My highlight of the game was losing the roll to determine sides, as it prevented me from being forced to choose whether I wanted to be an arse and place the Bat-signal on the massive crane.
Game 4 - Fight For Gotham vs Simon's Bane Gang
|They look a bit punchy!|
Although I wasn't supposed to play against a second Bane crew, I kept quiet when we were sorting out the games for the last round as I was looking forward to playing Simon from Brummie's Wargaming Blog (see the sidebar for a link). I was also interesting as this would be the first time I'd seen some of the new Suicide Squad models in action, as he'd (very quickly) managed to get both Slipknot and Killer Croc painted in time for the event.
We were playing on the Lian Yu board that caused me issues in the last event, and the lack of cover combined with the presence of Dallas with night vision goggles made me extremely cautious. Thankfully the tournament conditions put two handy bonfires on the table as bonus cover.
|Not an old photo, a stolen one! Thanks Simon!|
I made an immediate mistake by placing my objectives poorly (it was a long day and I was tired), and this allowed Simon to guard both with Bane. Meanwhile, Batman and the Cop guarded his objectives, and although they brought down Croc, this took too long, and so I was unable to do much about the Venom Thug sneaking onto the Titan Container for a couple of turns.
Hawkgirl did a great job this time, dropping Dallas early on, sneaking some point off the Ammo crate and somehow surviving two rounds of (fluffed) attacks from Bane. I think the thing that really cost me in this game was not really having a plan with Flash, and dropping a loot counter to sort of support Hawkgirl and then not being in position to block the Venom Thug meant that he didn't contribute a great deal
The game turned out as a draw, although a thoroughly enjoyable one. In hindsight, due to my speed, I had the initiative and didn't really use it properly, and so most of the game was a bit of a stand off.
Three draws and a loss represent my worst set of results for some time, however, I was using an unusual crew which I found tricky to get the best out of. however, in retrospect, if someone were tempted to try this crew again, I'd say the following:
- with such a small crew, you need to decide whether you are going to try to attack your own objectives or defend the enemy's, you cant really do both - I'd suggest threatening to attack (to force the opponent to defend), grab loot to score points, and then focus on ambushing the enemy as they advance
- you need a clear plan with Flash, he can be almost everywhere, but he shouldn't try to be; so work out how he is going to score most points, whether that's getting to objectives, grabbing loot or beating up henchmen, and then do it (I'd suggest that he's a great candidate for the threatening role, to pin back the enemy)
- Hawkgirl is a glass cannon and should be treated like one and sent at an isolated, high priority target (snipers are ideal)
- Don't rely on Batman alone for inflicting damage on big targets as he's prone to fluffing and only does stun damage - he needs back up in the form of Hawkgirl (don't lose her too early) to take them down quickly or the cop to arrest them when he does put someone on their back
- do not underestimate the power of a cop with a whistle!
Anyway, four challenging games against really good opponents (in every sense) was great fun. Once again Animosity and Holmfirth Gaming Centre put on a great (if chilly) day and I'll be jumping at the next event they host.