Mike Bott
United States
Rancho Cucamonga
California
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I got a chance to play against Bloater this past Saturday using an advance copy of the Limited Edition. It was his first time, though he received coaching at first from Stephen and then later from Aly*. Stephen pointed out that because I was playing vs. a n00b, win or lose, there was no glory in this for me, but I sure had a lot of fun!

This was also my first experience with the new components and new Ancient Hegemony units. They all looked and handled great!

Steve helped Bloater build his army, which I dubbed "Bloater's Dakka", starting out with Wall of Dakka from Mission #1 in the rulebook, and tweaking it slightly.

I rolled with a tweaked version of Green Tide by adding some all-terrain capability. I figured the flexibility of a horde of Mediums would be effective no matter what happened, and hoped that the Lights and Brutes could work together to secure a terrain-heavy flank. This was also my first time fielding my custom Warlord, featuring a picture of an intoxicated me wearing a Lobster costume.

I took a little advantage of Bloater during Scouting by sticking him with the 'f-you' tile with the water down the middle on his right flank. I ended up with a terrain-heavy right flank cap point, a small clearing surrounded by cover on my left cap point, and some pretty hideous open ground in the middle, daunting given the two Heavies in Bloater's Van.



Bloater put his Heavies in cover in the middle, which was a bit scary. He put the rest of his Van in striking distance of the cap point on my right. I Vanguarded two Gold Mediums on my left, and put the Light and Brutes on my right suited Silver.

He immediately brought in his Sibyl HQ on my left and started trading shots with my Mediums. With two Take Cover and a Fury, that damned unit took zero damage the entire game. However, with the shooting power of my two (later three) Mediums, I was able to keep the Sibyl HQ away by just standing in the line of Covering terrain and shooting a lot.

On my right, I immediately advanced with my Light and Brutes all-terrain team and stood on the forested cap point. Bloater responded by throwing everything on that flank at the Brutes. 2x Lancers, Reavers, and I believe even the Cavalry got in on the action. The Brutes held the point for a few turns but Bloater was rolling well and I was a bit cavalier with using Standfast, so my 10 point Brutes were eventually forced to fall back with only 1 wound remaining in an attempt to deny Bloater the Glory of killing them.

The middle was just ridiculous shooting across an open field. Bloater effectively denied me the middle cap point because he had two Heavies with open fields of fire plus a Cav that occasionally stood on the point to get my attention. I opted to hold my Mediums back and just try to deny him right back with some of my own Medium shooting. There was one scary moment where my Warlord got pushed to my back row, but thankfully Bloater was not able to capitalize on that position.

As we got into the late game, Bloater's Heavy and Sibyl were able to kill one of my Mediums on my left. My Warlord and Light were able to kill off two of Bloater's Lancers, but somewhere in the exchange his severely wounded Reaver snuck around my Lights and brutally chopped down my Brutes that were hiding in the forest. Surprisingly, my Lights proved impossible to dislodge from the forested cap point, and that resulted in quite a bit of Glory loss for Bloater.

The death of my Brute brought our Glory totals very close, but I was able to hold two cap points for a couple more turns. The game ended when I ordered my severely wounded center Mediums to fix bayonets, leave their nice comfy blood-drenched foxholes, and charge Dana's severely wounded center Heavy. I rolled two skulls (!), which was enough to kill the seven point unit and end the game.

I have to give my MVP to the Lights on my right flank for stepping up once the Brutes were forced to fall back. They set up camp on my right cap point during midgame and HELD it against quite a few lancer attacks, and at least one Reaver attack. Bloater simply could not dislodge them for most of the game.

All in all, it was well-played and Bloater really made me sweat, especially in the early game. I suspect he will be a very strong opponent the next time we play. Great game Bloater, and I look forward to the next time our armies meet on the battlefield!

* To keep things somewhat fair, Steve switched over to my side once Aly got involved. We'll call him a 'fair' corner-man. His advice was sound but he spent a lot of time talking shit about my board position!

Edit: Mediums were on my LEFT, not my right.
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John Di Ponio
United States
Lake Orion
MI
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I am really looking forward to receiving my copy and getting it to the table! Thanks for sharing your play experience.
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Dana Cordes
United States
Simi Valley
CA
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The tutelage that I received was great, and I had a very good time playing. Some thoughts:

The game components were really, really great. The die cuts are super high quality and all the (giant stack) of pieced punched out easily and without tears. The box weighs a TON for it's size. It's very meaty. The print fidelity is very good and it was all quite impressive.

I think it probably takes two games to really get the hang of it. I've played quite a bit of 40k so I'm familiar with the concepts, but mapping those concepts to the way they're handles in Ars takes some time. I wasn't able to easily see my available fields of fire or recognize the icons on the units to determine the possible outcomes. The game came with a great reference card, so it was easy to look em up, but I was a little overwhelmed by all the direction and rules and stuff.

When I downed Mike's Brutes, the game got closer, but there was still ~4pt differential, and many of my units had wounds already laid on them, so it really wasn't /that/ close. I think my major problem was poor dice rolling prevented me from capitalizing on the left side. I had his units outnumber and I knew we were both low on Silver, but if I could have taken that point earlier in the game, it would have been me bleeding him out for the rest of the match. His Light that was sitting on that point was /amazingly/ resilient and my guys were shooting like Storm Troopers. By all rights he should have died, but alas...

By the end I was really getting the hang of it. One more game and I think I could really get into it.

Thanks Steve for bringing your copies! It's great seeing it in person and I can't way for the warlord builder to be live to I use an embarrassing picture of on of my friends to defeat them in combat.

Mike's warlord was a picture of drunk Mike wearing a lobster costume. It was great.
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Mike Bott
United States
Rancho Cucamonga
California
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Bloater has asked that I leave this here:
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