Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Rucht Hour: Position, Position, Position

This battle report is a bit old, but it's about something interesting that I'd love to hear your comments on - positioning.

Positioning your minis on a battlefield is crucial to miniatures based wargame. Whether it be HeroClix or Flames of War, positioning is crucial. And that's as it should be.

The reason I bring this up is that the whole discipline of field positioning has been one that I've been struggling with lately with Warmachine. It's definitely what lost me this latest game while playing my dwarves.

First up, though, another shout-out to Doug, who is continuing to hammer away at painting minis. The guy is new to Warmachine, new to wargames, new to painting minis. And he already has two armies and has over 50% of each army painted. They look fantastic, too! Check out the purple Skorne again:

A little background on the game: We were playing a three-way match up. The scenario was a King of the Hill game, where you scored points if your warcaster was in a square zone in the middle of the field. The zone lay upon a ruined building. 

So, onto my sound defeat. 

Mistake #1 - Misplacing my ranged unit. I completely misjudged by advancement and declared shots on two or three of my opponent's minis, when I could have fired upon all of them. I didn't think I had them in range, but I totally did! The result? I missed an opportunity to fire at my opponent and I advanced too close to the enemy. To my unit's credit, they lived much longer than they should have. But I completely fumbled this flank. 

Mistake #2 - Charging my warcaster up too far, too soon. We were playing a occupation scenario where you scored points my putting your warcaster up on the ruined building that you see here. My warcaster has a rep of being tough, so I put him up on the ruin by Turn Two. And that's with a dwarf! My opponent's forced initially dinged him for a little damage, but nothing I was worried about. Below, you see him - Gorten, painted by Mik, first on the hill!

This flank went okay. Below, you can see my forgeguard before were eventually slaughtered, but they tied up an opposing unit, a heavy warbeast, and a solo. If they were going to be sacrificed, they were sacrificed well.

Mistake #3 - Well, my warcaster was first on the hill and I almost won the game. After two turns, I was one point from victory. It became an imperative for my opponents to kill my 'caster or concede victory. The Skorne warlock marched up into the occupation zone and slaughtered Gorten. My mistake was that I didn't know my opponent's full capabilities. Had I known them, I would have certainly rushed into the zone with more support.

Mistake #4 - This wasn't my mistake. It was Doug's! He was so thirsty to kill my warcaster with his warlock, he charged his own man onto the Hill with little security. Alexia (an infamous Warmachine solo) swept in at last and finished off the warlock with ease. So, the mistake here was being too eager about claiming a juicy prize. Especially disastrous in a three-way game. 

All right, enough about me. How about you? What's your favorite wargame story about positioning? When did you really goof it up? When did you position your forces so perfectly that it lives in your memory? Tell us your story! 


  1. The really key thing about positioning is having good spatial awareness (I'm not great at this myself). In the games I've played, measuring things out before you move/shoot is not generally allowed; you have to "eyeball" things and then make measurements after declaring actions. What I used to do was use the established diameter of the standard mini base (2") to estimate range (I would mentally "lay out" a series of minis between different locations). That usually worked pretty well for me.

    The sad thing about minis wargaming, for me, anyway, is that you rarely have enough playspace to really make maneuver a worthwhile tactical pursuit. Fast-moving armies lose a lot of their edge when 2-3 turns puts most any enemy units in shooting range, and when objectives can generally be reached by turn 4. I'd love to see a game with a much bigger battlefield, where fast-moving units could reach objectives well in advance of slower-moving enemies, and consequently have plenty of time to dig in and defend.

  2. My favorite story was actually in Warmachine as well. I set up for a two warcaster battle against my friend (Cryx on my side, Orboros on his) only to realize as we started the game that I put the Deathjack too far from the 'caster. D'oh! It immediately turned around and charged the Iron Lich so I spent the first turn just trying to get it back under control. Always a great way to start off a game!