Monday, March 24, 2014

WWX: Dixon's Learning Game

Things have been very busy for me lately with work and family life colliding and eating up most of my hobby time. On the rare recent days when I have had time to partake in some hobby time I turned my attention toward building and painting my WWX models in preparation for Adepticon. After a particularly brutal week at work I found myself sitting on the couch Saturday past, contemplating getting more models painted. I realized I had not played a game in almost a month and got in touch with John and Dixon, convincing them to head to Huzzah Hobbies to play some WWX.

Dixon has only played one game of WWX previously, participating in a 3 way game with John and I. As he showed up first, he and I decided to get a head-to-head game in so he could learn the game more. This was officially his first learning game. Dixon really wants to play the Firefly crew in WWX, so I brought out those models along with Jesse James as his boss. Lacking Bill Brocius (as a Badger stand in) and Abe Lincoln (who was Dixon's first choice but cannot lead the Wayward 8), Jesse was Dixon's choice.

I have a couple names I could label this battle report and this game. Dixon's Learning game is the politest choice so is where I am settling. Equally fitting would be "The game where Bill Show's everything NOT to do", but that was a bit long. I almost went with "The one where Dixon almost flips a table", which while accurate is also a bit long. All that said, here we go:

Dixon's Learning Game

We found ourselves with a nice quiet Saturday afternoon to grab a game. As we were playing $750-points and focused mostly on learning, Dixon and I decided on a 4x4 table set up as you see above. I wanted a bit of a town street for us to play on. Aiming for simplification, we also went with the Shoot Out scenario. This scenario is a straight forward "Kill em All" scenario, which is a bit boring for how we prefer playing but is also very easy to learn with.

Dixon is very partial (as mentioned above) to the Firefly based Wayward 8 crew. His list was as follows:
  • Jesse James
  • Mal (Marcus Wayward)
  • Zoe (Zarelda Kincade)
  • Inara (Sierra Icarus)
  • River (Flowing River)
  • Dark Council Member 

In Dixon's first game he was able to get a nice look at how shooting works in WWX. He really wanted to see how Close Combat stacked up as well. Due to this and the models I had remaining, I chose to go with Warrior Nation with the following list:
  • Sitting Bull
  • Sky Spirit
  • Walks Looking
  • Marcus Cunningham
  • Simon (Sun Totem)
  • Crossbow Brave
  • Spirit Totem
 I setup with Sky Spirit hiding behind a building to the left of my deployment and the rest as you see them in the picture. The game was really set for Dixon and I to just charge at each-other and see where the chips fall. This is typically a mistake for the non-Warrior Nation player, as things will go very south if Sitting Bull, Walks, and Marcus can pile into an opponent quickly. Alas, this worked better for Dixon than for me.

Turn 1

Turn 1 initiative landed on Dixon, who had fewer models than I did. This was a bit of a change for me, as I typically have the smaller model counts. Dixon activated his dark council (who must activate first) and Inara, giving Inara his influence and then moving them both forward. The DC hid behind the building and Inara moved up around the building to get some LOS across the street. Inara had no one in LOS at the start of her activation (only Walks and Simon were visible to her, who each have Living Spirit) so could not use her mesmerizing ability. I proceeded to move forward with Cunningham and toss out his smoke cloud, burning some influence to put it where I wanted. Dixon moved Mal up, then moved Jesse forward and took out my spirit totem which was parked behind cover in the middle of the board. I moved Simon, my crossbow, and Sitting Bull forward into and around the cloud. I moved Sky Spirit up and took a pot-shot at Inara (missing due to her DC influence). Dixon then activated Zoe and River, using Zoe to hand River 2 AP and walking her 14 inches forward. He followed up with walking River twice more, parking her within an inch of the crossbow brave and taking a swing at him. My luck held out and I negated the swing and with a life saving dodge. In return Walks Looking moseyed over to River and proceeded to remove her from the board with extreme prejudice.

At the end of the turn our Dead piles did not look too bad (mine on the left and Dixon's on the right)

Turn 2

Turn 2 ended up being a bloody mess of mistakes and table flipping outbursts. Ok, no tables were flipped during this game but it seemed like it was a close thing.

Turn 2 opened with my getting initiative and activating Simon. I aimed and took a shot at Jesse who was just at the edge of Simon's range. I hit and only put 1 point of damage on him, but achieved my goal of using Interference to shutdown Jesse's Guns. Upon explaing to Dixon what Interference does in combination with his gaining an understanding of how smoke works, he proceeded to have a bit of a tantrum at this point. This was to the point he decided (at this point) there was no way he could accomplish anything in the game so we should just pick up the models and he would concede to me.

It's important to realize that in between turn 1 and 2 John showed up and Dixon had spent a lot of time talking about how excited he was to use Inara. I usually would have done a joint activation of Simon and Sky Spirit, (with possibly the crossbow brave), targeting Inara and trying to remove her in conjunction with shutting down Jesse. I chose not to do this in an effort to give Dixon a chance to play around with a model he was excited to use. This proceeded to contribute to the trouncing I took in this game. Additionally, had John not shown up and helped me "talk Dixon off the ledge" the game would most likely have ended at this point with Dixon deciding WWX was not a great game to play due to a prevalence of "hard counters" making it "rock/paper/scissors". John worked on talking Dixon through all the good things Mal and Zoe could still accomplish in the game, removing my second typical target (Mal) from the equation as I wanted Dixon to experience a fun game. It just seemed like a dick move to have John talk up Mal's assets and then remove the model with Sky Spirit before he got to use him.

So, that brings in the rest of the turn. Tantrum subsided we moved on with Dixon's activation. He activated the Dark Council and Inara, giving Inara the DC Influence and then moving the DC out to the middle of the board. Inara went On the Lookout, using John's advice on how to stop a charge by Sitting Bull by knocking him prone.  Sky Spirit moved into the smoke cloud and took a couple shots at Zoe (using the weaker multi-shot) to not much effect. Jesse moved forward to take cover behind a ruined wall. The crossbow brave took some pot-shots at Inara and did very little. Marcus walked forward (trying to draw Inara's shots but failing) and redeployed the smoke cloud, missing a bit where I wanted it. Zoe gave Mal her AP and Mal unloaded with 5 aimed shots on Sitting Bull, which I barely survived through using the bulk of my influence. Walk's moved out (again looking to draw Inara's on-the-lookout) and moved toward Inara. I succeeded at drawing out Inara's shots, but due to bad influence rolls on my behalf and good shots on Dixons, Walk's was removed as dead.

This left Sitting Bull left to activate, and I made another mistake. Instead of waiting for more influence I moved out to engage Jesse with my 2 remaining influence. On activation Sitting Bull took 9 points of fire damage and then I moved on Jesse. Dixon still had a bunch of influence left and Jesse was not affected by interference. I chose to forgo my "attack on engagement" to avoid his quick-draw response. I moved straight into my second AP, launching 6 claw strikes against Jesse in an attempt to draw out Dixon's influence. I landed 5 damage on Jesse, and then decided to use my last AP to launch 3 bites at him. My thought being if I was lucky and got the kill I could clean up with Jesse's activation. I was not lucky, with Dixon negating all but 1 of the bite damage.  The turn ended with me in a pretty bad position, essentially guaranteed to lose Sitting Bull at the start of turn 3.

Our dead piles were starting to grow, and by our I mean mine (to the left).

Turn 3

Turn 3 was not much of a surprise to me, although I stuck in and tried to do the best possible. Dixon won initiative and started with Mal, Zoe, and the Dark Council. The DC gave his influence to Inara then Zoe gave her AP to Mal, who proceeded to unload on Sitting Bull. Copious Influence negated 6 shots before Mal finally put the wolf down and drained my of all my remaining influence. Mal finished out his turn by shooting his remaining shots at Marcus and removing him from the game as well, removing his smoke cloud with him. I activated all my models together in a last ditch effort to give myself a chance. Simon shot Jesse, hitting and interfering with him (but doing no damage). Sky Spirit and the Crossbow dumped all their shots into Inara and even though they hurt her, they failed to kill her. Those rolls sealed my doom as Inara moved forward and dumped two templates onto Sky Spirit and the Crossbow Brave, knocking them prone but not killing either of them. Jesse then finished the turn by walking up and trying to punch Simon, but failing. Simon was out of range for his half inch melee weapon, so he took a quick-draw shot back and failed to hit Jesse (that's the only thing that could have saved my game at that point).

My dead pile continued to grow:

while Dixon's did not:

Turn 4

Turn 4 Dixon grabbed initiative again and it was cleanup time. Jesse activated with the DC and after Inara grabbed the DC influence, Jesse proceeded to shoot down the remaining 3 models I had.

Final Thoughts

This was a debacle of a game all around. I guess the best lesson one can draw from this is don't become explosive and throw a fit in a game. Clearly there is plenty that can happen in a game to turn what appears to be a "I can't do anything" situation around fairly drastically. On the one hand, I was frustrated by what I perceived as an overwhelming defeatist attitude from Dixon. On the other hand, I am happy he could be convinced to calm down and play through as I think he will be back to play more games.

At some point I will have to get Dixon on the podcast to talk about what he thinks of WWX. Not sure there is much else to discuss here other than to give the advice to avoid many of the things I chose to do in that game.
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