CID and You – SR 2017

 

I’ll be putting aside my Tour de Cryx for this week to take a look at the CID process that Privateer press unveild today in regards to the Steamroller 2017 Organized Play format. If your interested in what I have to say, my opinions, and what I like and don’t, come on in, lets take a look. 

This is the first day of the first week. We know that this is going to be a 4 week long process, and that there will be changes. Likely, there won’t be articles for the changes – Unless they are really big, but I’ll post stuff to Facebook. Lets take a deep look today, so that we can reference where we start. 

Base Rules Changes

Let us start where the rules packet starts. Its gonna take a while to get down to the juicy stuff – the Scenarios, but bear with us. This is going to be long. If you notice anything I’ve missed let me know. 

Definitions – Currently, there aren’t a lot of definitions of items in the game, but we had four added here. – Tokens, Templates, Proxy Bases and Measurement Markers. 

From the document itself: 

There are a few things to note right off the bat. Proxy Bases now are strictly defined – They are only to be used when a model cannot be placed due to Terrain features or other models this is a specific definition that is separate from a Measurement Marker – see below – which can be the size and shape of a base. You’ll be using base sized measurement markers to figure out where you models are going, not proxy bases. Additionally, because proxy bases are now strictly defined, they will be required to have facing markers which seems ok to me as they are there to replace models that aren’t functioning on the field. 

This seems pretty solid. I can’t come up with a lot of reasons to dislike this, as its just clarifying what already exists. 

Now, lets get to the contentious, eh? 

Measurement Markers are a new defined play materiel, making its introduction in this beta of SR17. As a new definition, I think it is worthy of solid look. 

Measurement markers are, in short, anything that you use to mark the board for pre-measurement. This includes the spare bases, glass beads,  and other objects that can be used to keep track of the game state. These items are, at the time of this writing, limited to a single object on the board at a time, per player. 

This is a vicious and diametrical shift in how the game is played, based on our knowledge of the premeasure anything at any time stance they have taken for almost a year now. I’m not really sure – despite what is being said on the CID forums, what the intent is here. The community that I have experienced has rallied around the inclusion of pre-measurement as the best step to ensure clean and clear games of warmachine. So many people that I play with – Including me – Railed against it at first, but have now embraced it with fervor. If you told me 2 years ago that I would be writing enraged missives about my right to measure anything, anytime, I’d have sworn you were a lunatic. Yet, here I am.

This rules is trying to close Pandoras box, and it just cannot be done! This step is to late, and to much. If this was introduced with SR16 back last year, I think it would have become the de facto game state. There were plenty of people clamoring for a limit or restriction on what could or could not be measured, when, and how. Those people, though, have vanished. Many have left the game. Others have embraced the idea, and a few, I guess, have stuck around. I have not, through my discussions with a high number of fellow gamers, encountered a single completely positive opinion. More often what I have heard is that of a disgruntled understanding. 

The players I’ve spoken with, in general, understand Privateers desire not to have a turn played out in proxy with measurements and empty bases, and then executed after every model has been accounted for and pre-moved. However, they also have grown used to – and expected to have remain – the increased surety of the game. It is so satisfying to measure out where my caster will be, take a look at her control area, and then measure out the charge or move distance for the battlegroup, and then know that I can execute my plan. Dice still play a part in determining how this works out, but I know that physically, I’ll be able to put the models where I want. Now, however, I cannot. Instead of going for another plan, knowing that I cannot succeed, I will likely loose the game because I can’t judge distances. 

Again. 

Which is something I thought they were against? This Tangential skill related to the game that isn’t supposed to be a part of the game. 

I expect this portion to go through a lot of changes, and a lot of work before it comes out the other side of the CID, if it ever does. Few people want players planning out their whole turns, but fewer people want to give up the glorious accuracy that the game allows now, its cleanliness and clarity, for the dark and dismal days of MK2 weaponized Geometry. 

Deathclock is now the law of the land, and I love it. Times are unchanged, which works out well. There is a section in the back for Old School timing, if you want to use Turn Timers, but who does that anymore?

Bounded Turns

It is important to note that the game, in addition to both the expiration of the deathclock and the destruction of a warcaster, now also ends after the 7th round. This is a new and very different way of approaching the game and tournaments.

Bounded turns and unlimited CP scoring allows for a very interesting at the start of the game. Do you try and get ahead, into position, and prepare for the alpha-strike into the army, or do you plan to last it out until turn 7 and try and get that final CP to push it over the top. I think that there will be strategies to do exactly that – both speed the game up and push it quickly to round 7, or grind it out and get to round 7 with just enough to score.

I think that the first player has always been at a distinct advantage of getting to set the tone and tempo of the game, and this finally gives a thought process to going second. In addition to being able to choose the table edge, which is pretty important, but not game breaking most of the time, to now being able to pick to have the last chance to score is going to change how many people look at going first and second, I do think

Terrain

This is a portion of the new rules I’ve been really interested in seeing for a long time. Now that its out – I’m pretty impressed. I don’t like all of them perfectly, but they are all good. and I am willing to give it a try! 

Eight Pieces of terrain is highly recommended, which I can concur with. I’ve been using 8 ever game since the start of MK3 and it has played a roll in nearly every game, and the lack of good terrain is deadly noticeable. I heartily endorse this. 

The list of terrain is remarkably similar, though there are a few noteworthy changes.  First, and this one strikes me strange, is that rubble is gone from the list. I assume this is an editorial error, but It seems pretty obvious. Dense fog and Hazards remain, but this is bolstered by the decision to make all temporary terrain in the rulebook (Burning Earth and Dense fog) permanent in SR. I applaud this, and will work to have more of both at my tournaments. 

The guidelines have, in addition to the removal of rolling for terrain disappearance, has also stated that there should be two line of sight blocking pieces of terrain or more on every table. This will come in play later, as Two of the methods of table terrain generation has at least one LOS blocking piece touching the centerpoint. 

Terrain Setup

Privateer now offers three different terrain setup guildlines. EO’s do not have to follow them, and are expected to mix and match within a tournament in order to get a wide variety of tables. 

Cluster Method (recommended number of terrain pieces: 6–8)
1. Place a line-of-sight blocking terrain piece touching the center point of the table.
2. Place a terrain piece within 6˝ of the center of the table and of the first terrain piece placed.
3. Place a terrain piece within 6˝ of both the first and second terrain pieces.
4. Repeat step 3 until there are five terrain pieces on the table.
5. Place all remaining terrain pieces within 6˝ of each other but not within 8˝ of any terrain piece placed in steps 1–4.

Quadrant Method (recommended number of terrain pieces: 8)
1. Divide the table into four 24˝  x 24˝ quadrants.
2. Place a terrain piece completely within each quadrant and within 5˝ of the center of the table.
3. Place a terrain piece completely within each quadrant and within 5˝ of the center of the quadrant.

Scatter Method (recommended number of terrain pieces: 6–8)
1. Divide the table into four 24˝ x 24˝ quadrants.
2. Place a line-of-sight blocking terrain piece touching the center point of the table.
3. Place a terrain piece touching the center point of each quadrant, and then use the deviation template to scatter it d6˝. If the scatter would result in illegal terrain placement, instead move the terrain piece in the direction rolled up to the maximum distance that would lead to a legal placement.
4. Place all remaining terrain pieces within 10˝ of the first terrain piece placed

All of these are going to take some time to sort out how they look (I would love someone to come up with a diagram of where terrain will end up, I saw this for old SR14/15), but they really seem to come into their own, with each piece of terrain being in a solid, meaningful position. 

Prizes

A long awaited bonus, there will be prizes for Sportsmanship and Best painted. The EO has final determination of how they are awarded, which is great because it does not add another level of Comp to the game, a dreaded fear of many. 

Controlling and Contesting

This is going to be important in a few minutes, as the methods and capacity of models to score has changed radically. I believe that this is the companies attempt to address a meta that they do not desire, one that is awash in spam and flooded with duplicate models. This is an interesting way to go about it, and I hope it proves to be well received and executed, as changing formats to change the meta is a much longer term solution than simply adding more models to counter models. Building the Format to reflect what you want the game to do is, in my eyes, the best possible way of achieving that goal. 

Circular Zones can be contested by any model, and controlled only by Warrior models and Warlock/Warcasters. Troops must still have the full remaining compliment of soldiers, but they are no longer incapable of controlling if under 50%. 

Rectangular Zones can be contested by any model, and controlled only by Battle Engines, Warjacks, Warbeasts, Monstrosities and Warlock/Warcasters. Inert and Wild still cannot control. 

Flags can be contested by any model, and controlled only by Warlock/Warcasters in Base to Base

Killbox and Objectives have both changed. Killbox is now completely within 10″ – A welcome change for the Coven, among others, and Objectives – in addition to other changes we will get to – can be seen through and moved through by Friendly Faction models. Another good move. 

Tiebreaks

This area is relatively the same, except that the third tiebreaker, that of Army points destroyed (and therefore awarded to the player at the end of the game) are only accumulated on complete destruction. Units and solo groups are all or nothing, which I am fine with, at this moment. 

The New Objectives

The six objectives remain the same: Valor, Wonder, Armory, Fuel Cache, Bunker and Stockpile. 

Each of them used to have two effects, but now only have one – which is fine by me. They also changed, as I mentioned above, the Objective rule to make friendly models able to see through it and move through it, which is great. 

Those effects, you say? 

Wonder – NULL ZONE – Enemy magic attacks targeting a friendly model within 4˝ of this model suffer –2 RNG.

Valor – UPLIFTING PRESENCE – After resolving continuous effects during your Maintenance Phase, friendly knocked down models within 4˝ of this model stand up

Armory – SUPERIOR AMMUNITION – During your Control Phase, choose one Friendly Faction model within 4˝ of this model. That model’s weapons gain Damage Type: Magical XICONX for one round.

Bunker – DUGOUT – Enemy ranged attacks targeting this model or a friendly model B2B with this model suffer –2 RNG.

Fuel Cache – CAUSTIC CHEMICALS – During your Control Phase, choose one Friendly Faction model within 4˝ of this model. That model’s weapons gain Continuous Effect: Fire XICONX for one round.

Stockpile -SURPLUS – During your Maintenance Phase, remove d3 damage points from friendly warjacks, warbeasts, and monstrosities B2B with this model.

These seem clearly tiered. I think there are a few that won’t see much play at all – Valor and Wonder, With Bunker a close third. Its not that they are really bad, but they are clearly outclassed. Stockpile is good when its good at list building, but when don’t have the list to accommodate it, its not gonna do a whole lot of good. With Stockpile in that second tier there is Armory. This grants magic weapons, which when fighting a fair few things – Feralgiests, Gremlins, Cryx, Protectorate, Void Spirits – its going to be really fun, but otherwise is going to fall pretty flat. =The big daddy, though, is Fuel Cache. Caustic Chemicals is so damned good. On melee weapons, its not so great, but on things like the Skarre 2 Blackspot Kraken, its damned amazing. 6 AOE 5’s as a posibility with Auto-fire. I’ll just chuck it at everything on the board. IDGAF. I’m just going to light the caster and the whole damned army on fire! 

Now, the the attraction we’ve all been waiting 2000 words for! scenarios! 

 

Scenarios

First off, Every scenario in 2017 has killbox. With it being 10″, i’m ok with this. 14″ was a beast, and I am glad to see it scaled back if it is going to be in play all the time. I am sad, though, that the Coven Kraken does not threat the whole killbox. 

The Pit II

As you can see, above, The Scenario zones are really interesting. We still have offset deployment (though nowhere does it say what the deployment numbers are) The Objectives seem to be a bit out of the way for Wonder and Bunker – its unlikely you’ll be taking shots from spells and guns from far enough away to miss in those locations. It could be a nice place for Stockpile, though I expect all the carnage will be permanent there. Valor could be great, though I expect it won’t have enough impact due to many things just being annihilated, or the objective, while in the vicinity. Here is a great location, though, for both Fuel Cache and Armory

The zones to the left and right are jack zones, and that is really interesting. The center is, unsurprisingly, an infantry zone. This feels strongly like a “fight over the middle” which is exactly what the Pit now is. I expect that the armies are going to rush their zone – the one with the Objective in it, and then try and push to clear the zone. Its an interesting scenario that looks to be a lateral tug of war, something I don’t think we’ve experienced currently. 

AD will likely have a strong advantage, as being able to put a number of models into your opponents Jack Zone will be a strong play to start off the game. You might not need warriors to really win here, as if you can push far enough through the center zone, and get to the opponents to start blocking their scoring, you should be able to get up on scenario points and hold the game pretty solid. 

I do think that this may never develop quite correctly because it is very vulnerable to people not understanding how to play the scenario the way it looks to be played messing up a good deployment strategy and sending the game into a weird spiral. I’d really like to test this out a few times. 

Standoff

This scenario looks very, very miserable. With a back-line Objective like Armory or Fuel Cache, this can really give a solid gun line a solid leg up. If they have just a few skirmishing troops to keep the opponent from scoring for a turn or two while also taking down any of the models that can take their base, it seems possible for them to run the table. 

However, those circular infantry zones look mighty menacing. if the troops trying to push through have a solid LOS blocking piece of terrain – and there will be at least two on the board, to hide in or behind, they can start scoring and forcing the Gunline to go wide to try and pick them out. I see a pretty standard use for Stockpile, providing some value due to the static nature of the center, rectangle zone. Wonder and Bunker seem to make a lot of sense here, too. While it might be miserable, this is another one I really want to test. 

Spread the Net

This has a similar feel to both the Pit II and Standoff. You’ve got your warjack zone, but this time no Objective Bonus to work with, and a flag right opposite your zone – both lateral and horizontal. Once again, in the center is the Infantry Mosh Pit. 

I very strongly feel that this is a “push forward” scenario rather than a “hold your side” Jacks and beasts are going to be hard pressed to be as far away from the caster as the zone to the right dictates, while the zone on the enemies side of the board looks to be solidly within the control range of many of the casters reaches. This is another sideways scenario that could be interesting, given the right plays. I look forward to this one, though not as much as the other two, as it easily could be a gun-line camp as the other one was. 

Breakdown

This here is a scenario! With two zones for infantry to take on the flanks, and a battlegroup-zone in the center, there seem to be plenty of reasons to take a balanced army that can attack all the zones and hope to score. The problem I see is that a significantly unbalanced army can look to take the center zone once, maybe twice, and simply hold you out of the zones, be careful with their caster, and hold you off for the full 7 rounds, until the game ends in their favor. This one I expect to be a complete shit-show on the center line, and I am very much OK with that. I do worry, however, that a sufficiently fast army could push past the zones and lock the opponent out of a single point, but I don’t know how fast that army would have to be. Probably an Ravens List going first with a ton of crazy monsters. flying up the board. 

I think this is my favorite scenario they have had so far, and that is saying something, because I really love the next scenario. 

Outlast

This is a bit changed from the double-circles, as it adds a pair of flags on the centerline to contest as well. I like that change a whole bunch as that is often where my caster would sit while trying to figure out which zone to get over to to win the game. Now, I can sit and wait while also scoring points. 

This scenario makes a jack list a moderate liability because all the balanced list player has to do is clear one zone and score once, and then the opponent can’t even try to catch up unless he puts his caster in harms direct way. Its not a great place to be. 

This is another scrum in the center, which is no surprise to anyone but still an obvious go to in many tournaments now that they will need circles for a ton of scenarios. 

Recon


thankfully, This one is the last, as its the least changed and the most recognizable. With well placed objectives, the new zone being able to be scored only by battlegroup and Battle engines will be interesting. I think that the play for this scenario isn’t going to change a whole lot.

 

Well, I hope that gives you a brief run down of the SR17 beta that started today. Maybe you can give some input that changes the way packet goes together. 

Till next time, 

 

 

  • Ian Pinsker

    Be aware that the measurements are correct but the diagrams are wrong. Standoff’s zones are 6″ apart, the center line of Spread’s zones is on the same line as the bottom of the circle (relative to each side), and that makes them much less friendly to gunlines.