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    Welcome to Dropping Dice, a blog about gaming life and having fun!

    What to do for a first post? That's pretty challenging... need to set the tone somehow.

    How about Mega Battles? Whoa boy. The type of everyone loves, but no one can figure out. Ooh wee! 


    What is a Mega Battle? Pretty much, it's a giant-normous game of whatever tabletop wargame you enjoy playing. You take a ton of models, slam them on the table, and are often part of a team of other players doing the same thing against a bunch of opponents. It could also just be 1v1 with two huge armies. Whatever it is, it's going to be huge. "Mega" even. Playing this kind of game is an experience that you should have, at least once in your gaming life. It's truly amazing to see so many models on the table, smashing against each other in huge waves and tides, getting aid from other players or lending your aid to other players.

    For as great as these games can be, they have a lot of challenges. For one, these games take a long time. Even if everyone is using a force smaller than what they normally would, people tend to go as slow as the slowest player. This means you're going to want to give yourself a lot of time to do this, and everyone involved should be aware of that time. Furthermore, you can actually use a "time limit" in a way that encourages fast and reckless play, but we'll get into that in a bit.

    You will also need to have a clear concept for the battle. Two big forces smashing against each other is fun, but without a clearly defined concept and goal, there will be problems. The biggest problem I find that occurs during a Mega Battle is the First Turn Advantage. Normally in a tabletop wargame, going first is very useful, but not back-breaking. This is because, while a good start is important, the size of the game gets players to really focus how powerful their lists are going to be, and so both sides are often of similar strength simply because players will have discussed things ahead of time. In a Mega Battle, you are encouraged to bring so much stuff that you will often be bringing some of your most powerful toys. This is a good thing, as this is the setting where you want to have these things! However, gamers being gamers, we will try to maximize their use and effect. What often occurs then is that two forces fighting against each other will often be woefully one-sided in terms of power, and even if they are not, the total damage that one side will do to the other in a single turn can often feel insurmountable for the opposing team. If you fail to deal enough damage to the opposing team on your first turn (even going first), the other team's damage is likely to be completely crippling in return.


    In other words, in most Mega Battles I've participated in, it feels like the battle is effectively determined after both sides have had Turn 1. For example, recently I played a mega battle against a friend; 40k, 5000 points each. He had a Thunderhawk, which eats up a massive amount of points, but can deal a massive amount of firepower. Despite getting the first turn, and the explosion caused by that model's death, once I destroyed it (turn 1), I had dealt so much damage to him that it was a nearly impossible turn 2 for him, and by the end of turn 3 he had almost nothing left. This, or something very similar to it, has been the case in every single "two sides smash" mega battle that I have ever been a part of. You need to have a way around this. Here are some of my tips:

    #1 - Have a "Game Master":


    You need one player who can organize this game and not play in it. Some people love this position, but they are there to make sure everyone else is having a good time, mediate disputes, keep people on track and on time, and make sure everyone is fed and hydrated. Really, having this type of person is so incredibly important, as they really do make the Mega Battle experience so much better for everyone involved! Always thank your Game Master.

    #2 - Multiple Boards, Interacting With Each Other:


    Instead of having just one board that you smash against each other on, have multiple different boards, each with a different objective or something that lets the players on that board do something. You can also do the same thing with truly MASSIVE boards. For example, perhaps there's a location that, if you control it, allows your team to start bringing in reinforcements that are normally automatically available. You are able to perform a ritual that allows you to summon forth units that normally you can just summon at any time, or you fire missiles from an orbiting space ship onto a point of the battlefield.

    #3 - Limit "Battlefield" Effects:
    You have a model that makes it so that "your opponent" suffers a penalty or "you" gain a bonus? Instead, make this so only you, and not your team, gets the bonus, and only the opponent directly across from you, or things within a regular battlefield size, suffer the penalty. A good example of this was a unit from 40k in 7th that could summon a lightning storm, which would have a 1 in 6 chance of striking each enemy unit. In a normal game, this would be fine, as it might hit 1, 2, or (if you were very lucky) 3 units. However, in a Mega Battle, with there being maybe 60 units on your opponent's team, this would suddenly hit 9, 10, or 11 units - a HUGE amount. It would also hit them even if they were tables away! The only way this kind of thing should be allowed is if there's a requirement that these players need to achieve first (see the first point about interacting tables).

    #4 - Different Sized Games are Okay:
    Oftentimes, I see people playing Mega Battles where everyone is bringing the same amount of stuff. Mega battles are actually great places to allow each player to bring and play the size of game they want. This is where having different tables that are removed from each other (or very large boards) can be very helpful! If one team starts becoming smaller than the other, give that team some additional bonuses to make up for the difference, like magical barriers, regenerating units, teleportation powers, or more!

    #5 - Have a Time Limit:


    Lastly, you want everything to be moving. Set time limits for people to do things in the game, like taking turns, or deployment. You can use these time limits as some additional "carrot and stick" behaviour patterns. Players can bid time for how long they have to deploy, with the team bidding lowest going first, but anything not deployed not being allowed to start on the board. You can issue time penalties to teams that start going over their turn's time limit, like bonuses for their opponents, or penalties on all their actions for the rest of the turn. You can also issue "time sensitive" objectives, like things that appear during one team's movement phase in a dangerous position, but with a powerful bonus if it is achieved, but with a very brief time frame to do so!

    Let me end this post with a description of my favourite Mega Battle I've ever been a part of.

    I was hosting a New Years Mega Battle in my basement about 3 years ago. It was 7th edition 40k. We had six players. One board was a Kill Team battle over an orbiting Battle Barge. Control over the Battle Barge's control room would allow that player to initiate orbital bombardments on the main table. There was a second table with a Vortex Missile Launcher, which could be fired by whomever controlled it onto the main table as well. The main table was 4000 points of Imperial Guard assaulting 2000 points of Eldar, but the Eldar had a massive Shield Generator that would take all the hits from the Guard, and allow the Eldar to fire out of at no cost. Pretty much, the idea was that the main table's Eldar needed to survive long enough to make it a fair fight, but if the Imperials on the other tables could gain control of their objectives quickly, they'd be able to drop down the shields before the Eldar could whittle down the Guard. The shield almost went down turn 1 (Despite having something like 60 hull points and Armour 14, with "Destroyed" results removing d3 additional hull points). Turn 2 it kicked in the middle of the Guard's turn. At that point, the Imperials still had more units than the Eldar, but the Eldar could at least survive. The game ended with the Eldar and Xenos victorious, but only barely! This, to me, is a great example of how different sized games and different objectives and tables can bring things together, with everyone feeling like they were a part of something truly bigger.

    Have fun, and happy gaming!

  1. That is a phrase I hear all too often. People sharing their disdain for all things related to the word "competitive." It is true, some people just enjoy throwing their favorite looking or best painted models on the board and smashing dice together. Which that is awesome, playing Warhammer for the love of them game and models, all the power to them. I want to make the argument that you can enjoy the game just as much while focusing on being "competitive."

    First of all, it might be appropriate to describe/define what I mean when I say "competitive." Often people equate competitive with WAAC (win at all costs). That means to win as a player I am willing to do anything, cheat, fast roll, slow play, heck evening paying my brother to steal your car and drive it to Timmins (like yuck who goes to Timmins?) just so you might get distracted. The image of WAAC is almost 100% of the time not the case, certainly there are players or games where this does exist, but in all the tournaments I have ever been to (probably north of 200 tournament games played) I have played against 2 people where in that game I would consider them WAAC players.  They were also the 2 least enjoyable games of 40k I have ever played. Now are these players always like that? I would think it is safe to say probably not, they were probably just having a rough day and normally are much better to play against. So where do we draw the line of competitive and WAAC? I think the distinction is in the manors and etiquette of the players involved. When I say competitive I am generally referring to using the units available to me to the best of my ability, while trying to win the game in an enjoyable manor. Lets go all the way back to 7th edition (like what 1000 years ago?).

    During the end of 7th edition when I was travelling to a lot of tournaments I was using an amazing Eldar list. When I say amazing I am not referring to it being a well rounded and awesomely painted list, I am referring to the fact that it was second to none strength wise. The list was the epitome of what was wrong with 7th edition, spamming units manipulating various key words to gain the maximum fire power and advantage over your opponent. By the end of 7th I wasn't even having fun playing it anymore. It was at this point where I realized that there has to be a line for myself. A line where while I wasn't portraying a WAAC attitude (at least I hope I wasn't) my list certainly left some people (eventually even myself) with a bad taste in their mouth. A line that took the joy out of Warhammer 40k for me, I was sacrificing my enjoyment of the game to gain an strategic advantage.

    Here is where I want to discuss what competitive in 40k truly means to me. I never want to get to the point again, where for the sake of winning I use loop holes and key words to crush my opponents will to play. When you show up at table and see your opponents list and think "oh boy I don't even stand a chance, why even bother playing." It is that issue combined with the WAAC issue that gives competitive 40k a bad reputation. Don't get me wrong I still enjoy playing competitive 40k, even more so then just throwing dice in a casual game. But I feel that my perception of what constitutes "competitive" has changed. I now find myself focusing on making the best well rounded list I can, one that doesn't just leave a bad taste in my foes mouth. I want it to be my tactics and decisions that win me the game compared to my list automatically winning me game. To be able to bring a very strong list, play it masterfully, while keep your integrity as a player (avoiding being WAAC), and allowing your opponent a fun game with his toys is what the true definition of what competitive 40k is to me.

    I will end this post by referring to the list @stankywizard brought to the Beer and Pretzel Open, which he used masterfully to win the event. The list has also since been posted HERE on RAGE. His list was an extremely good list, but it also didn't just spam all the good units, or spam as much smite as possible. He brought units he wanted to, even some that people would consider to be "bad" in the game. While no one would say for a second his list was a bad list, it wasn't his list that won him the tournament automatically. It was his ability to utilize the list and a meaningful way, controlling objectives and strategically making decisions. Heck he even beat my brother and I, whom some consider to be way too competitive, or even WAAC at times.

    There you have it, my ramblings and thoughts and my first post into this blog examining Competitive 40k, what are your thoughts on the subject? Do you agree or disagree with what I said. Be sure to let me know in the comments. Keep on Wargaming!

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    The hobby of Table Top War games holds a wide variety of people who participate in it from the list-builder, to the fluff lovers. I myself am a Brush Jockey.  What is this you ask?  Well, I define my role in the hobby of Table Top War games as one who is in it for the gratification of watching little bon-homes go from hunks of metal or plastic to live action heroes on the board.

    This entry is going to be the first in a series that I will share with you on my process for producing a fully painted army.  This approach can be used for any type of table top war game; there are no favorites here because if I could, I would play them all.  

    A project like producing a fully painted army can be a very daunting task, especially if you are playing one of the larger games.  This article assumes that you are collecting your force on a unit by unit basis, and hopefully will provide some tips and best practice around the hobby end of things.  I have used this approach on a fully collected army for commissions, but that sort of undertaking is not for the novice or faint of heart. 

    There are many steps and considerations to look at when working on this sort of project. I like to break my projects up into the following categories;

    1. Assembly

    This is probably the most important step because it establishes the framework for the rest of your project. If you are just snipping the piece off the sprue and gluing together without cleaning the piece first, it could result in a poor looking paintjob at the end. If you are anything like me, you stress on the small imperfections that result from this.  Here is a great article ssembled (pun intended) on preparing and assembling your miniature. 








    2. Bases

    It is my opinioBases-25mm.jpg.2ee1b5c3446751c901613d5235230bba.jpgn that the base of a model really sets them apart from ones that do not have one.  There are different approaches I take during this process surrounding bases. If I am assembling a unit of more than 3 models, I will add sand or cork to the base of my models before I prime them. This allows me to paint the base with the model and apply flocking after the model is done with paint. 
    The second approach is one I will often use with special characters or with models I really want to have a stunning look to.  With this approach I will assemble the base, and the miniature separate from each other and paint each with the same attention to detail.
    Here is a link to a series of YouTube videos that show many different approaches to bases - http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4sEryds4XKU4wXX1rMj1J5PVQcfqBaid
    In my next installment, I will talk about priming and painting large quantities of miniatures .

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    So, another year is upon us. Some would even go as far as saying another day has dawned in the era of gaming in the North. Some people have asked why do this? What's the point? I kind of chuckle at the questions, people just generally assume that myself and @Capt. Thunderfawks do this because we love the community and while that is most definitely true -- I have to admit I am a bit selfish in the sense that I do this because I enjoy keeping busy in my free time. Anyone who knows us knows for certain that we love the community, love the events and for the most part love the people who make up the community. This is a side passion of mine - web development, running infrastructure, and of course table topping. Our primary goal as an organization is to bring gamers from all walks of life together, as a team this is what we hope to accomplish. As individuals we have very different views of and ideas for what we want out of this. While I won't speak for the captain, for myself everyday I enjoy taking on new challenges and while some of those may seem as pipe dreams, thats the beauty of how I work, I dream big and sort out what we can do to be realistic. I understand some people want the world when a dreamer talks of their ideas, but part of managing expectations and my job as a dreamer is to help identify what will happen and what could happen. You will never hear me say that I am content with any system, job, game, whatever - I will always look for ways to improve, theorycraft ideas new and exciting or talk smack about current implementations and issues. Now with that said and if you've made it this far in my ramblings i'd like to break down the train of thought into what goes into something like this, what to expect from a site such as this and the type of person you have working behind the scenes to bring you this.

    So without further ado, let's take some time to go over what we have in store for the site, what we'd like it to become (and not become) and give an overall roadmap into this entire community portal from my point of view.


    • Continual site improvement. Whether this is login integrations, feature enhancements, bug fixes, this I promise will be the majority of my work here.
    • Central portal for almost all gaming activity. Tabletop style will be the main focus and we will branch off as needed.
    • Integrations are a part of what make communities communities. 
    • Inclusion not division. Negativity/Harassment will not be tolerated here. There is no repeals or higher authority here. If we feel that you only bring toxicity to the community we will remove you. I know this was controversial in the past but let me put it out there -- I will not tolerate people starting shit just to start it. 
    • And of course hearing your thoughts and ideas (I cannot promise I will do everything you suggest but as a team we will vote)
    • We are a small team - be patient. I cannot stress this enough and I touched on it above. Yes some of our ideas may sound great and be the greatest thing since sliced bread - it doesn't mean it's going to be implemented tomorrow. Be patient with us, this is a hobby about a hobby not a full time job.
    • Expansion - You've all been on the sites around the web, blogs, forums, whatever. Our goal is to become inclusive not just within the local community but branch out to other parts of the country to start. This goes back to the don't be a dick thing. People do not want to come to a toxic environment. The key to expansion and attracting people is having a welcoming and helpful community. This is my expectation of you all - my return on investment if you will (which financially was substantial).

    Now with all that said, I do this for myself but also for you all. My goal has always been to have a really chill environment for people to come and hang, play some games, shoot the shit over the games and things they love to do. 

    Myself and @Capt. Thunderfawks have been working for months now and are really excited to bring this new community portal online for everyone. We're really excited to see what everyone is doing hobby wise, game wise or just what's up in general.

    If you ever have any questions or concerns my PM is always open, please do not hesitate to use it.

    Thanks everyone!