[Surprise Attack!] Big Money Comes to Town

I took one last look in the mirror before I left my hotel room. Nothing to do now but show up to the big game.

No, not yet. There was one more thing. I looked myself square in the eyes:

“You’re a champion…”, I whispered in a hushed voice, “Today is your day…”

Confidence is everything when the stakes are high. You can’t show weakness, even to yourself.

I sauntered up to the register and pulled a crisp $20 bill from my pocket. Silence fell across the store. Who was this stranger in our land?

“I’m here to pay my tournament fee. In cash.”

Behind me a woman swooned and struck the floor. The Magic players stopped dealing and gaped at my back, index fingers still halfway up their noses. I understood their shock: It wasn’t every day a high roller like me walks in to town and turns it on its head. The shopkeep eyed my money suspiciously and bit a corner of it. He gave me a look that told me he wasn’t convinced and was about to throw good money after bad, but peeled off my change with the reluctance of a man walking to his own grave. Five…five…five…fifteen dollars came back to me across the counter. He was taking a big risk, and he knew it.

But risk was the name of the game today, for I knew the truth behind that old saying: You gotta spend money to make money.

It was time to man up and enter the cage: I had rent to pay.

Today was my day. I knew it in my heart.

Because I’m a champion.

*          *         *
Certs already beat me to the punch and put up a great after action report over on his site, but here’s the low-down from one player’s perspective. I happened to be in town for work the same weekend he was running a tourney in the D.C. area. The weather went tits up the morning of, but a few of us braved the snow and trickled into Victory Comics. Good times, and a lot of lessons learned. The local guys really know their shit and I was thoroughly schooled (which I mean in a good way). 

Game one was against Tim’s vanilla Yu-Jing, which I don’t know nearly well enough to define what each unit is called. Actually, you can just go ahead and apply that to every army that’s not mine. The matchup of armies and scenario strongly favored me, so I planned on pushing hard with this one. I took first turn and deployed a few long-range guys in the mid, two Cameronians on the left wing and on the right a couple Irmandinhos backed up by a camo counter of Antipodes skulking around in the shadows. The four green 40mm bases in a diamond shape around the board were sentry guns (boarding shotguns) that shot at everyone in ARO but ignored camo, much to my Antipodes’ relief. Irmandinhos rolled +1 armor and something else for their Booty powers, which is something I can’t say out loud without laughing. That +1 armor really paid off later…

There was also some accusation of running a horde Ariadna army, which I will deny to my dying breath because that is not only slanderous but completely false.

False, I say!

Cameronians rushed up the left wing at a camo counter that was hiding in the far left corner’s building and dropping mines like crazy. The Cameronians kicked in the door and took mine blasts in the face, but I got to deliver the bad news that they have Total Immunity that prevents them from Giving a Single Fuck about the mines’ Shock Ammo. One made his armor save, the other took a wound, then they opened up with two chain rifles…each. Chain rifles are basically flamethrowers that shoot shrapnel instead of fire, and they use what would roughly be a large flamer template in a GW game. They auto-hit but the target still gets a shot back at you, so they’re great for suicide runs from mooks you don’t care about, or big dudes that don’t mind getting hit back. Template weapons can even be used against camo markers since they’re not a “pinpoint” weapon. How lovely! They’re utterly disgusting, and I’m quite the fan of them.

Four hits to everything later the room was clear and they set up shop and got comfortable in their new bunker. One ended up getting killed, the other smacked around a curious HMG Total Reaction Bot with his paws then went for a stroll outside the bunker to see what’s up and was still clinging to life by the end of the game.

*ding dong*
“Hello sir! Have you heard the good word about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?”

On the right the Antipodes blitzed up the walkway that was guarded by the sentry gun and slipped past it under cover of camo. The two Irmandinhos pushed up halfway on the table edge, then the one with +1 armor also Gave Not a Single Fuck and bum-rushed up into the corner blazing away with his auto-hit chain rifle and accompanying large flame template. This dude got popped over and over again but they kept missing or he kept making his armor saves, then his guts rolls. I only wanted him to clear out the guy overwatching where my para was supposed to land, but the dice were hot and he’s cheap as dirt so why not go out in a blaze of glory? Eventually he managed to work his way around the corner of the building and hit four troops at once with his template, then failed his guts roll and had to get back in cover. At this point his luck ran out and he realized that a sucking chest wound is nature’s way of telling you to slow your roll, son.

Take a break, little buddy. You earned it. 

Tim had a shitty streak of luck with the dice trying to stop that and neither of us believed that a ten point piece of crap just Schwarzenegered all the way up and through his deployment zone. But there we were. His other Irmandinho buddy ran up to help but didn’t get much done, the Antipodes de-cloaked at the end of the walkway and leaped off the roof into close combat with the survivors of the the huddle of dudes still hiding behind the building. Mayhem ensued.

Pictured: Mayhem

Game ended 7-0, which is misleading as hell because I only got my points from a bunch of dudes hanging out in midfield smoking and looking bored, this being the Frontline scenario where you score by moving forward and not much else. Having to stop a ton of dudes (which I totally didn’t have!)  who won first turn was a rough matchup for Tim but he did a solid job of stemming the tide. Theoretically, I could have scored 48 points if all my guys lived and I got them into the best scoring zone at end of game. I also got really, really lucky when I needed it and he got really, really let down when he needed to make his rolls. A fun game where he un-learned some of the n00bish concepts out of my skull, and it was nice not to have to smoke by myself in the snow. For some reason I had it in my head that in a face-to-face roll, if the loser lives his action still goes off. It doesn’t. I’m just dumb. Learn from my mistakes, people!

Game two was against Roboute’s Japanese Sectorial Army. Two TAGs, a link team with two missile launchers, and a mine-laying engineer. Nasty. My deployment went something similar to the previous game because I’m a shameless one-trick pony. I think he went first but don’t take that as gospel. Scenario was Supply Run, where we had to fetch and retrieve three objectives spaced across the center line. 
The Cameronians got held up on the left and had to hop around dropping smoke grenades in the face of AROs from the opposing TAG’s heavy machine gun. Eventually the center TAG (his Lieutenant) ran up, stole the objective on my left, and brought it back to the safety of his deployment zone without even staying for tea and biscuits. How rude! 
Yeah…time for Plan B…

 On the right I learned the hard way that Roboute is phenomenal at layering his defenses and it took me a minute to take it all in and figure out how to skin this cat. Besides all his other trickery, he’d run his engineer down the walkway and took possesion of the objective, then dropped into prone and tossed out some mines. This was on top of a rocky outcropping that I didn’t have LoS to from anywhere, and his link team was overwatching it from the other end of the walkway. I ended up spending two turns using my troops in elevated positions to pick off the missile launchers in the link team and pinning the rest in place, then brought up an Irmandinho to blast the one mine he could baaaaaarely see when looking up from gound level.

The elevated troops’ point of view, with that damn objective in the center right screen taunting them. 

Taunting them with its succulent victory points! 

My two surviving Antipodes then jumped up in the face of his overwatching fire, took a mine blast in the face, disemboweled the shrieking engineer, stole her objective crate, and jumped back down to safety. Lucky, lucky, lucky. I managed to hold on to this one until the end of the game.

In the middle my Spec Ops ran up and snagged the remaining objective in the board center, then I made Big Mistake #1 and ducked him into nearby cover instead of running him back to my own lines and safety. Distracted by his loot he failed to notice the Lieutenant TAG running up from the other end of the board. He got off two desperate hacking AROs but failed them both. That’s right, I bought him a hacking device.

NOBODY EXPECTS THE ARIADNA HACKERS!

He got pulped and the TAG who picked up the loot made a run back towards his own lines but didn’t have the orders to make it all the way back (a problem horde lists don’t have…not that I’d know that or would ever take one).

At this point my surviving Cameronian and Antipodes converged on the TAG holding the objective. I was up 4-2 on objective points when I had it and I was not cool with it suddenly reversing in the last turn of the game. Here I made another big mistake and learned a painful lesson on simultaneity:

Is ‘simultaneity’ even a word?

I used a coordinated order to rush up my Cameronian in to hand-to-hand to tie up the TAG and keep him from shooting, then brought in the Antipiodes as the next part of the order. The three of them should have sliced up the TAG and won me back the objective crate, but you see because it all happens at the same time he got to let one ARO off before combat started. He chose to incenerate the Antipodes with a heavy flamer at each of them, a wise choice. They died horribly and the Cameronian was left alone, a melee he did not triumph in. Game ends there with 7-1 for Roboute.

The Lesson: What I should have done was bring in the Cameronian by himself, end the order, and bring in the Antipodes on a new order. Not simultaneous.  Or, tossed a smoke grenade on the TAG, ended the order, then bum-rushed him with my hand-to-hand guys in a coordinated order. Shit happens, lessoned learned.

Full of Fail

Game three was against a Corregidor list on the same table. We had to call it early, and it sort of blends into the one before it in my memory since it was the end of the day, on the same table, and we didn’t take pictures besides some random one Certs snapped when his game was over. So I don’t have too much to say on it. It mainly revolved around massive suppressive fire in the center objective and a little squabbling around the flanks. High point for me was his airborne HMG using her super-climb to get around the rocky outcrop where my Cateran was sniping from, taking a few shots at my poor troops, then using that super climb to spiderman her bitch ass back around the crest of the rocks to lurk in safety.

Or, so she thought. Caterans have super climb, too. They also have a distinctly un-sniper close combat stat of 17 and an armor piercing weapon. So he came over and said hello, then watched her limp body drop onto the rocks below. Sowwy!

Low point was my para doing her usual “ah-HA!” surprise jump on to the table only to be blasted in the face by some random douche halfway across the table rolling a crit on his fucking piece of shit musket. Same old, same old.

I lost 6-3, and there was a minor last-minute objective grab in the middle that I screwed up or I would have won 5-4. Ah, well. If we’d kept playing past turn two he probably would have peppered my little dudes with some kind of exotic Nomad weaponry and taken victory points that way, so no sense ‘what if-ing’ it.

At the end of it all my last opponent took first place, no surprise since he’d been crushing it all day and went 3 for 3 in his games. What was surprising was that I took second by a hair, beating out the third place guy by one point. I have no illusions that this was due to me actually being the second-best player there, more like I scored high in one game and held my own in the next two while the regular crowd grudge-matched each other in usually low-scoring games. In the last game of the day Certs did something to Roboute involving hacked TAGs that provoked howls of outrage from his opponent. From what I understand he hacked his TAG then used it to go on a rampage that ended up with him tearing off the arms of the former owner’s Lieutenant and beating everyone to death with them until Roboute destroyed his own TAG to keep it from happening again. It sounded nasty, and I can’t say for certain that there wasn’t a knife-fight in the parking lot after this incident.

So! After a surprising finish I was the proud owner of a $10 gift certificate to the store. Since doubling your investment in a few hours is the kind of pecuniary wizardy that the sultans of Wall Street pleasure themselves to at night, I don’t think it’s out of line for me to suggest some new kind of nickname that properly reflects my status as a maven of high-stakes gaming.

“We only do that because porn is for peasants.”

I like “Big Money”…it has a nice ring to it.

What to do with my newfound riches? Well, there was a “Game of Thrones” jigsaw puzzle in the store display I had eyed up earlier for Doña Craft’s Christmas present.

I already know what you’re thinking: I, too, am a grown-ass man who expends far too much time and disposable income on man-dollies and even I think jigsaw puzzles are fucking lame. But…she has expressed a bizarre craving for them in the last few months and she’s a huge Game of Thrones nerd so who am I to say no to an easy round of Christmas shopping? It was a bit of geek-culture, merchandise-based serendipity.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll be in San Antonio over the holidays gorging on authentic Tex Mex provided by my thousands of in-laws, but I’ll try to stack up some posts to help keep the ball rolling here while the world’s enjoying a little time off. This is a great opportunity for me to steal readers from the other writers because I harvest their souls to power my infernal hell-forges.

Hey, planetary conquests tie up a lot of resources. I need all the help I can get.

– BC BM

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