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Subject: The Rook vs Bishop - The First War rss

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Brian Bishop
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Okay, some background first..!
My son and I have played maybe fifteen times now and I think he's won fourteen with one "no contest" in there because he became tired or "something".
We start each game with a coin toss, in this case, a bolter and shield token. The person that wins the flip, chooses to take the initiative token for himself or pass it to the other player.
The Rook seems to almost always win initiative (no matter who flips or who calls; if you've read any of our previous write ups with different games, you know I have horrible luck with dice or chance of any kind...)
So his usual tactic is to force the initiative on me, making me lay the first tile so he can do his best to "flank" my positions with a beefy assortment of his forces.
He's exceptional with the Orks and Space Marines but I've also seen him slaughter me in the first couple of rounds with Chaos (not so much Eldar).

So I didn't mind, in the beginning, I was still trying to get my marine boots under me so to speak, I was learning the strategies and "experimenting". But after many consecutive beat downs, well I think he's starting to get a rather big head (for a twelve year old).
So I learned how to defend myself, I said I needed to "weather the storm" better.
Going in to this battle, knowing we would be sharing it with the world for the first time, we both wanted to do our best and I was determined not to lose (again), in the first three rounds.

I chose the Chaos and the Rook, his Space Marines. The coin was flipped and holey moley, I won one. I'll pass him the initiative and see how he likes it.
Before we go too much further however, I need to throw some disclaimers out there!
We are by no means experts! Having only owned the game for a couple of months, there are still new rules and things "overlooked" that we adapt to, with each new game.
So if you catch us doing something wrong, please leave a comment so we can correct it and so others don't learn incorrectly as well.
Also, I'm going to try to break down each step of the action, complete with illustrations. I know this is invaluable to all the newbies out there because when we first started, we couldn't find many "complete" games on display know what I mean.
However, this makes this thread gigantically long..! And while I'm not all that concerned about overflowing the big bad interweb, I am concerned about people "giving up" halfway through so, if you want, skip over some stuff, no big deal right.
I'm gonna try to enlarge the font size to something near "bearable" and our illustrations are fairly "top notch" so, kick back and enjoy some throw down, Warhammer 40,000 style..!

The Rook places his home tile first and look at all those units!


Normally his home system is "last placed" and almost always, naked of even a single unit. Here we have him being forced to play defense, his ship to prevent me from invading and occupying his only void area and two scouts plus a Marine to avoid an easy land path right to his factory and my first objective.
This "forced" defense is what I've been struggling with, so that first initiative decision is almost always a crucial one to determine how the game is played.
For my first tile, well I'm pretty used to going first and as such, I've learned the hard way, that the first objective token I place, is usually impossible to guard for long. I've gotten in the habit of throwing it on my least valuable tile and placing no units to guard it.
I know it sounds crazy but if I'm to last past round three this time, I need to concentrate all my units around my second placed objective.


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Brian Bishop
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The Rook's second tile placed has him doing almost the same. In a two player battle, you just don't have enough oomph to secure two positions and since his first objective is fairly fortified, he'll only leave a single scout to hold the fort.



Really, with his first tile, he's basically said okay, here's my last line of defense and if I lose this objective, it's game over because you've pretty much got my factory at the same time and I can't criticize this decision too much as it's what I've been forced to do right.
For my second tile, I'll take the advantage of no initiative and make the board the shape of my choosing, something else that benefits the second player in the beginning.
I also have to drop his second objective so I'll lay my home system, throw my ship in the void and both chaos space marines and a cultist (I'm saving my last cultist for some materiel).



The Rook with only one scout left and his last tile, will place his adjacent to my first played tile with the naked objective, ensuring that he'll be able to claim that with a minimum of effort.


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Brian Bishop
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Finally, for my last tile, I'll drop my last cultist on a juicy three materiel world, way in the back row, all lonely but somewhat safe. With his first objective in a halfway "out there" system and my money cultist, the Rook would have to spend some valuable time chasing those down while I can use those precious extra turns doing something productive.



So..! If you want to get an early "edge", even if it seems not all that large, use some distractions on your opponents. Force them to go all "out of their way" to get what they want or need.
Looking at the board in it's finished state, you can see that my objectives are lined up nicely in a mostly straight fashion. If I get big enough, I can steamroll through my obstacles with no deviation while the Rook must make a left turn or two.
I'll place my warp storm first and I don't know if it matters "too much" in the beginning, I don't have to play all kinds of early defense (this time) where I absolutely need that storm to buy me a round.
The Rook places his storm and here we have it, our board complete!



Now, before we get into the real mud and guts of our battle, we need a system..!
The following illustrations show how I will refer to the spaces on our board. You can see that, from my perspective (from my side of the table), the systems have been numbered from 1 to 6 and each area breaks down into 1 through 4, like so...



Note that the designation remains the same for the area spaces in each system, the Rook's side is at the top so, for example, if I abbreviate an area or space, it'll look like this...
S3A1 as in, "System tile number 3, Area number 1" and, for further reference, The Rook's factory is located in this space. Everybody keepin' up..?


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Brian Bishop
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All right, again, I apologize for the length of our "introduction". At least in the future, we won't have to cover this bloody, battle scarred ground again.
Let's get it onward, are you ready.?!
The first order marker placed is the Rook's and he'll plop that puppy in system three (S3), his home.
Normally, I'm lookin' at his early zerg rush and I have to prepare hard and fast. This time however, I can afford to sit back and do things a little differently. With units of his in systems 2, 3 and 5, he can place an advance order in my home system (which is usually what I'm preparing so frantically for) but I'll know that he's basically committing to two advance markers to get there.
I'll place my first marker in system 1 and watch as the Rook places his second marker in system 3 atop his first.
My second marker goes to system 4 where I have my lone cultist in the corner. I almost always try to place a Strategize marker somewhere "out of the way" and I try to make it the only marker in that system because this allows me to decide when exactly I need the better cards.
If I'm being rushed and things look dire, it's time to flip that puppy for my best defense whereas, if I'm not pressured, I can spend money in other ways and ignore that marker until the end.
The Rook plops another on his home system (S3) making quite a tower of blue.
My third will go to my home (S1) and the Rook's final is at system 6 where his naked objective is adjacent to a scout so I'm pretty sure that's him going after the easy objective, in round one.
As in, instead of using a much needed order somewhere else, he'll fall for the distraction when honestly, that objective is going to sit naked for, probs all game right.
My final marker on my home system and we're ready for some resolutions!

The Rook goes first and he'll resolve the marker atop the pile at (S3), a Dominate worth two reinforcements. He'll also take the "promotion" and change his scout to a marine at (S3A1), spending his first penny.
My first marker is a Dominate on my home system, giving me a cache and reinforcement or what I like to call "cash and prizes" (you know, after the famous Ronda Rousey quote about whether she did any nude scenes in her movies)...
I'll also use my special Dominate power "Taint of Chaos" (which I refer to as "spreadin' the taint") and this is something I usually don't have the luxury of doin'. Most games, I'm huddling in my little corner and I can't spare or spread a cultist you know. This time, I'll take my 'ittle worshipper from (S1A3) and move him to (S2A3) because he'll at least "get in the way" of an attack by the Rook and if I can't straight up beat him when he arrives, I have to at least slow 'im down right.
The Rook's second revealed marker is another Dominate on his home system, this one only good for one reinforcement (as he's at his max). He will promote his other scout at (S3A4) into another marine spending his second penny.
Now before I reveal my second marker, I have to make an educated guess as to what I'll see from the remainder of the turn. This is one of the benefits to not winning initiative, you can wait and weigh your options.
My option is to spend money on units instead of cards as, right now, round one, well it doesn't look like I'll be challenged with his only remaining markers on the other side of the galaxy.
My second marker revealed is a Deploy (or, what I call "gang symbol going left" because you know, if you turn this marker ninety degrees clockwise, it sorta looks like something you would do with one hand, bend your pointer finger and ring finger just right, then pull your hand to the left, hence well you get the point...)
I'll spend my first cache token on a cultist ploppin' him at (S1A2) and for three moneys, I'll take my first city and throw it on (S1A3). I figure, if I'm not threatened, advancing up my tech level faster than the Rook might be my best strategy for holdin' back the drop pods and tanks eh.
The Rook's third order is Strategize on his home system and he'll spend his remaining four materiels on Hold the Line and Glory and Death replacing Fury of Ultramar and Blessed Power Armor.
For my three, I'll reveal a second Dominate in my home system and take my cache and reinforcement, spreading my taint from (S1A2) to (S4A1). If I'm to make it past the early game (which I'm hoping will actually happen this time), I might need a forge token or two and the planet at (S4A1) happens to be the quickest and easiest huh.
Sure enough, for the Rook's four, he'll take his Advance and move his scout from (S5A2) to (S6A1) claiming the easy objective (you know, at the end of this round).
For my four, I'll flip my Strategize in system 4 but with only three money left, I'm not sure there's any real "need" to upgrade my combat cards. If I can crank out another city, I might skip the level zero command cards altogether, assuming I have the cash and time.
If my gamble works, I'll have bigger cards and no need to go back for smaller cards, I "hope".
But just as I'm about to pass, I remember reading all about the Dread Ritual order upgrade so for two money, I'll snag that and save a coin for the next round and just like that, round one is in the books!
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Brian Bishop
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For objectives, the Rook claims his first from (S6A1) and materiels, six for the Rook and six for the Bishop (putting me at seven).
No one needs rallying so we'll move right to the events where both of us have a single Strategize on our decks.
The Rook moves a storm first and with his card The Emperor Protects, he'll slide a storm either right or left, in this case, moving the storm from it's current position between systems 2 and 3, to between 5 and 6.
This card also allows him to plop a free Bastion so he'll build that puppy on (S2A2).
For my storm movement, Through the Warp is a counter clockwise rotational so I'll be forced to move my storm from between 4 and 5, up and rightish between 2 and 5.
I'll plop this Scheme card in front of me and round two beginnith (it's a word, I'm sure it is...)

The first player token belongs to the Bishop now and the round's skull marker is moved to the second space.
At the start of round two, our map looks like this...



My first order marker will go on system 4, again, it's my Strategize, in case I need that puppy in a hurry or later you know.
The Rook will lay his first on system 2.
My second goes to my home system and the Rook's second, to his home system, 1 and 3 respectively.
My third will again go on my home system, the Rook's third on system 2 where I know he plans on doin' some advancin'.
For my final, I'll plop a Deploy on system 2, burying two of his orders. I might just use it in a purely capping (or "blocking") fashion but if somehow, I feel the need, well I might drop a Bastion out there, hoping to slow him down considerably if he needs to come through that space (I'm hoping to produce some ships to better secure (S1A4)...)
The Rook's last order will go on system 1 capping my two previous markers so, he might be thinking to invade my home if he gets that far, or he's just bein' a pain and makin' my order of events difficult.

With me goin' first, well I only have two order markers available, either my advance capper in system 2, or my Stategize in 4 which is something I'd rather not use all early in the round.
With his cap on my home system, I'm not left with much choice. Err!
I'll flip my Strategize from 4 and hope that my cap messes with him as much as his is messin' me huh.
And since I'm suspecting a battle this round anyway, well I might as well grab some combat upgrades. I have seven money and one cache so, I'll take the Marks of both Nurgle and Khorne removing Khorne's Rage and Impure Zeal leaving me with three money, hopefully enough to eek out my second city later.
The Rook's first order marker revealed is a Deploy on his home system. He'll take a scout on (S3A1) and two cruisers on (S3A3), no cities for him..!
I only have one order marker not capped so my hand is forced. It's my Deploy capper in system 2 and jeeze, what to do with that...
With my Dread Ritual, I can crank a unit out there. But with my money mostly spent on cards... I do have that cache token still. Humms...
I consider plopping a ship with the Dread but a quick check on the forums informs me that the Dread should read "plop a unit on a friendly area, not an uncontrolled" so if I had a ship in system 2 already, I could place a second but since I don't...
After a "lengthy" consideration, I decide to throw the ole marker on my event deck. I'm not about to reinforce a world or spend money where my opponent can just walk around it.
The Rook's second marker is an Advance in system 2. He'll take his handful of three ships and move them from (S3A3) to (S2A1), right on my doorstep. He'll also move his marine and new scout from (S3A1) to (S2A2) and his two marines from (S3A2) and (S3A4) all the way to my world at (S2A3) starting our very first battle!
Now it is his two big bad marines against my lonely culty boy, him with his three reinforcement tokens too so I'm not holdin' my breath at this point. Mabes I won't do any damage and that's okay but I'm hoping he'll waste a token at the least.

EDIT : Okay, I seem to be unable to include our videos for some reason. Praps I'm not doin' somethin' right (noobs again) or mabes it's because it says at the top of this page "Notice: Please post videos in the video section..."
So here's the best I can do for now, if someone knows if I'm actually able to include some videos in this thread, please message me huh..!


https://youtu.be/_7RvnQMNIEk
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Brian Bishop
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So I cost him a reinforcement token in the end and I'm okay with that.
My order stack on system 1 is still capped leaving the Rook to reveal his third order, a Dominate in system 2 giving him his reinforcement token back (d'oh) and a cache. After spending all his money on units earlier, he has no promotions to offer (poor marines).
And finally, the big moment, his fourth order marker is a Strategize in system 1 and with no money, it was simply a blocker marker. Phew! If he'd thought far enough ahead, a second advance into my territory with his three ships might have spelled disaster but such is the life of a tactician, you can't always know what will happen during a round.
My third order is a Dominate in my home system giving me another cache and my third reinforcement token. I don't have any cultists to spread so there's no taintin' huh.
Finally, my four is a Deploy and I have two cache tokers and three money, what to buy what to buy...
With my Dread Ritual, if I crank out a cultist here, I can cheapen a future unit by one so it's almost a coupon if I want a culty boy and hey, why shouldn't I want a culty boy right..?
I'll toss my first cache for a cultist, plopping him on (S1A3), I'll use the discount (and my one city) to purchase a chaos marine with my second cache, ploppin' that dude on (S1A2) and to finish it all with some desert, I'll build a Bastion of my own on (S1A2), spending the two and leaving me with a single penny left.
I might feel a little scared with his three ships to my one but if he has to, he'll spend an advance clearing my void while I can use that time (hopefully) to deploy something bigger on (S1A3).
In this way, I'm totally sacrificing my only void space but if I must turtle, well I've become rather good at it huh.

No objectives were claimed at the end of round two. For materiels, the Rook surrendered some worlds with his movements there. He'll claim four moneys and for the Bishop, six to bring my total to seven.
Nobody was routed during this round so, no rallys and we'll go to our event decks where I have two order markers to the Rooks one.
I'm first this time so, after looking over both cards, I'll take the Incantation of Tzeentch. I'd like to be able to use a warp storm to seal the doorway to my kingdom but neither card gave me the move I needed. Not too surprising as one of the moves I needed is sittin' on my Through the Warp card in front of me from last round.
So Incantation is an up or down movement, I'll shift the storm between systems 5 and 6, to between 4 and 5.
Now the Incantation's text says I can draw three cards from my event deck and pick the one I want to resolve as far as text, not another storm movement.
Also! There's a little trickery here and if you're not watching your opponent playing Chaos with this card, well...
The rulebook (page 7 of the Learn to Play) states that any unchosen cards in this scenario (where you have more than one order marker on your deck), get shuffled back into the event deck so as to make them a true "random" again.
Obviously, if I have a scheme card sittin' on my playmat from the previous round, if I have two cards in my hand and one of 'em is the Incantation, well that other card is one I don't want right. If I slip that puppy to the bottom of the event deck, I'm picking three cards from out of five that I haven't seen "recently", see what I mean.
Three out of five odds gives me a pretty unfair advantage so the way it should work, as far as I know (and forgive me if we got this part wrong, noobs still huh)...
Is I should place my unchosen card and the Incantation, into the deck, shuffling thoroughly, then picking three at true random. A three out of seven this time (because my scheme is not replaced until I draw another scheme card).
Now I can pull another Incantation and if I do, I might choose that one again to let my luck ride and I can do this indefinitely, if it happens.
What actually happens is that I draw Spoils of War and decide I'll take a free forge token (as I currently have three reinforcements already).
Strangely enough, it's actually the Spoils card I needed to move my warp storm so, such is the luck when dealing with chaos eh.
The Rook's event card is Emperor's Champion and it's a left or right storm movement so he'll slide the storm from between systems 2 and 4, to between systems 3 and 6 placing it good and "out of his way".
His card is also his first scheme so he'll plop that puppy near his mat and the round is officially over..!
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Round three begins with our map looking like this...



You can see how the Rook pretty much throws the house at me. He has nothing in reserve, no cities, and it's all offense from him, all day huh.
He's upgraded two pairs of his combat cards, spent four and I imagine he'll spend the next four on the other two command level zeros and really, if I can somehow "last" his upcoming onslaught, I might have a chance to win my first ever you know.

The Rook's first order marker goes on system 6 and I can't help but think "what what?" He has only a single scout there from round one and if he needs a cache token that bad, well, he must need a cache token that bad...
I don't see him movin' in that direction but mabes it's his Strategize, the same way I throw mine out there in nowheresland.
My first goes to system 1 which the Rook quickly caps with his second marker.
My second goes to system 4, my Strategize and the Rook plops a second token on my home (his third).
For my three, I'll drop another on the ever growing stack in system 1.
The Rook finishes his markers with yet another on my system making that stack all kinds of colored.
Being the player without the first player token lets me drop last and all I really want is a chance to beef my forces in system 1 so, I'll lay my last token on top, bringing the stack to six order markers.
I'm really hoping I didn't waste too many orders by placing them incorrectly or in the wrong order while really hoping that the Rook, did.

He goes first and his only option is the first marker he plopped way out in system 6.
As I suspected, it's his Strategize and he'll snatch his last two combat pairs. When I ask him what starter card he kept, he refuses to tell me but I know, time will tell. (Time always tells, hah!)
I'm avoiding the big stack so I'll flip my Strategize from system 4 and I don't think any order upgrades are going to help here.
I'll spend four out of my seven for the last pairs of combat level zeros. The original pair I'm keeping is Dark Faith, mainly because of the auto gain a 'quila dice and hey, spreading a free culty's not bad either.
For futures, the rule book calls the aquila symbol "morale" and on occasion, when I'm feeling all crafty, I'll refer to 'em as "keelyas", as in, if I have more than you, I'm gonna keel ya..! (Not that funny I know but to a twelve year old...)
Now, it would be the Rook's turn but with his remaining three markers somewhere in "the stack", it's my second order.
I reveal a gang symbol goin' left, a Deploy on my home system so let's buy some stuff shall we.
With only three money left, I'm not buyin' "much" but I do have a cultist still there for his Dread Ritual coupon, assuming I do this right...
I consider slappin' a third chaos marine on (S1A2) which would give me the max unit allowance with a Bastion or, what we call "dice for days" (because three dice each times three marines plus two for a Bastion, yeah...)
But I don't think he wants to go that route. In fact, after all the games we've so far played, I happen to know that he'll go for the objective and the easiest route there, no messin' around.
We are, after all, both Aries signs meaning, we lower our horns and smash through opposition huh.
I notice at the last second that with my iconoclast ship at (S1A4), I can use my Ritual this time to cheapen another ship. With three money to spend, I'll take two more ships and bam, three ships in my home void.
In this way, I've pretty much beefed my front line as much as possible. Should he take the land route, I have two marines and a Bastion totaling eight dice worth of resistance. If he wants the void route, my three ships give me six dice, the same as his three ships.
So I'm ready, our decks are mostly equal and we both have three reinforcement tokens. Bring it on!
The Rook's second order marker, the one currently atop the stack, is his Advance.
Given the choice between land and sea, he chooses the ships and it's his three against mine at (S1A4).
I watch with eyes wide as he decides how many reinforcement tokens to plop. If he goes with all three... ballsy eh.
After much deliberation, he assigns two and I'm thinkin' I know I have a Dominate somewhere in the stack so I can reclaim at least one. I'll throw one reinforcement and hope I can do some damage.
What I'm really doin' is assuming I'll lose the battle, but not the war because his ground troops still have to come take his objective over my dead bodies and if I have even a couple more tokens, then my tokens have chances to grow into big boy marines (with my Tzeentch's) and my dead bodies are not so dead anymore.


https://youtu.be/IhlEg2Qmi4I
 
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Well some cool stuff happened and some bad stuff in this battle. I managed to learn that his last original card is the Reconnaissance (not a bad choice), I played a Dark Faith to get a free cultist at (S1A3), something super cool as it was something I was considering doing a bit ago.
He burnt two of his reinforcement tokens to my one but in the end, my iconoclasts couldn't hold the space and I am forced to retreat.
So..! Retreating is sometimes a complicated affair eh.
I, we, believe I can retreat all three of my ships from (S1A4) where we were attacked, to (S2A1) which is where we were attacked from (makes sense).
I must route all three of my ships though so they won't be goin' anywhere while they make some basic repairs for the remainder of the round.
Moving onward!
It's my order marker on top and I have a Dominate, just in time! I'll take my cache and a reinforcement token to replace the one I just lost meaning, I suddenly have three to his one.
I won't spread my taint because I know he's still comin'.
His order marker next and it's his second Advance. He'll snag his two marines from (S2A3), really all that he can bring without a ship remaining in the path at (S2A1), and deliver them to my last line of defense at (S1A3).
His one reinforcement token is out there, the most he can bring and since I know it's war time, my back's to the wall, I'll lay all three of mine giving me hopefully, all I need to send his blue boys packin'!
I know he's got some Drop Pods in there though so, you never know...


https://youtu.be/zqOQRxScsq8

Well our third battle belongs to the forces of Chaos, woopt! I watched as he agonized about his Drop Pods card. He hoped so hard that he could roll an aquila die to bring one of his little friends but it just didn't happen.
For all the 'quilas that the Space Marines are always totin', he sure doesn't have any help when it comes to not bein' able to roll one. As opposed to Chaos which guarantees you a 'quila with Mark of Tzeentch (and Dark Faith and Daemonic Resilience and Chaos United and so on...)
So his two marines will be forced to retreat back to (S2A3) and I'm left with two chaos marines and two culties, thankfully my world's unit limit is big bad four.
Next up on the stack of markers is the Rook and it's his fourth and final I believe. It's a Strategize and he's poor so, to the event deck it goes.
My final marker and the bottom of the stack is my Advance and I basically plopped this puppy here as my last chance. If the Rook had won that world, he would be sittin' on victory and my only hope would be to move left and down from (S1A2) with my two chaos marines.
Thankfully I won when I preferred so this order marker is goin' on my event deck.
Bringing us to the end of Round three.
No objectives were claimed and for materiels, the Rook is still holdin' his four to my six once again.
I'll rally my ships at (S2A1) and he'll raise his marines from the ground at (S2A3).
We each have two order markers on our event decks so we'll shuffle and draw with the Rook movin' a storm first.
He's playin' Work of the Righteous and it's a clockwise spinner. He'll move the storm from between 4 and 5, downward so that it sits at the bottom of the map, along system 5's edge.
This card is a tactic and it allows him to gain materiels or assets from one of his friendly worlds. He picks the (S2A3) which gives him both the cache and reinforcement token.
Of my choices, my Incantation of Tzeentch looks better again, I'll move the other storm between 3 and 6 upward so that it rides the edge of the map along system 3's topmost edge.
Then I'll throw all my cards into the deck (except for my lingering scheme Through the Warp), shuffle and pick Spoils of War once again. This will get me a second forge token and a reinforcement so, not bad goin' into round four (which is almost uncharted territory for me...)
 
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The first player token slides to the Bishop and at the beginning of round four, our map looks like this...



My first order marker will go on my home, system 1. The Rook places his first on his home, system 3.
My second to system 2 and the Rook's, on top of mine at system 1.
My third is my fairly predictable at system 4 and the Rook's, atop mine in system 2.
For our finals, I'll plop another on system 4 and the Rook's, on his own at system 3.

I'm goin' first so I'll reveal a Deploy on system 4. With my cache, I'll spend a penny to place my second city in the corner at (S4A3).
The Rook's first order of business is a Deploy of his own in system 3. He'll spend one of his caches for a scout at (S3A1) then ask for a ship when I have to remind him that he already has his three little ships on the board.
He's become somewhat stretched "thin" and there's a break in his path from his house to mine. When he sent all three of his little ships forward, there became no one to transport more troops later (not only because he has no cities and can't build a bigger ship but also because he assumed he would not need to send a second force to claim victory. This single minded view is what I'm hoping I can exploit huh...)
Grumbling about how the Space Marines should have more ships, he concedes the end of his turn and is forced to "rethink" his round's strategy.
For my second order, I only have the one available in system 4. I'll reveal my usual Strategize but I now have two cities (and six money) allowing me to afford a big boy battle card, oh yeah!
I quickly snatch up Chaos United and sadly, wave goodbye to Dark Faith.
With two money left, I also want the order upgrade Fear From Above because I see myself doin' a little bombardments in my future and hey, for a penny, that's a card I can justify huh.
The Rook's two is a Dominate in his home worth the two reinforcement tokens and he'll promote his newly minted scout to a marine, spending one.
My markers are still covered so it's the Rook's three, an Advance in system 2. He'll move two of his ships from (S1A4) to (S2A4) leaving one to hold the fort in my system. Interesting...
After his three is my three and my order marker in system 2 is an Advance of my own so it's decision time for the Bishop.
I can bring some of my ground forces to hammer his at (S2A3) but I've already established that as an inferior choke point. If I move precious units out there, I'm weaking my last line of defense and that just doesn't sit well with me, I need to make a cautious decision.
I also play around with the idea of bombarding (S2A3) because I would have seven big bad dice and I could still hold my position, blocking some of his path but again, "some" is not going to cut it. I need "total" and after much head scratching, I decide to take my three ships and attack his two at (S2A4) because if I can eliminate his forces there, my chokepoint becomes firm right.


https://youtu.be/WSmUBxAzX3I
 
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Brian Bishop
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So he retreats his remaining ship to (S2A1) leaving his path wide open and humph, I hadn't thought of that. I spent a reinforcement token to his none and I left the freakin' door open, poopy...
I can feel my first victory slippin' away as the Rook flips his last order marker, in my home system, in slow motion.
It's his second Advance and I'm tryin' not to think I'm in trouble.
He grabs every last ground unit in system 2 and delivers them to my world at (S1A3).
Before we've even rolled dice, he's got all three of his reinforcement tokens out so it's lookin' like trouble, all real style.
My two chaos marines with two culty boys against a wave of blue in three marines, two scouts and three reinforcements to my big fat none.


https://youtu.be/T5v86yZrqOI

Wow what a battle!
My reds may have lost but I made 'em pay a healthy price!
His roll of 4 aquilas in the beginning really hurt, I was able to continually throw Mark of Khornes and do some real damage (if only I had a third Mark, I might've straight up won that one...)
Also, I noticed that his Drop Pods might bring bodies but if there's no shields and I'm sittin' on a pile of bolters, he might as well have dropped his blue boy in a red blender you know.
So my surviving 2 chaos marines and one cultist have to retreat and I'll go to my factory world at (S1A1), all routed but still alive at least.
His surviving two marines (one of which is routed) will turn my city blue and if I didn't have one order marker still sittin' there, 'twould be big fat game over.
Thankfully, I've been in this position before and since I'm the first player this round, well my first marker was right here, waiting for this moment.
I'm halfway thinking I would have liked to orbital bombard with my three ships but it would be six dice (a seventh with my Fear From Above) and I'd need a whopping six bolters to eliminate both his marines.
So I'm stuck, it's my two chaos boys from (S1A2) against his, to prevent my defeat. Although, with one of his marines still routed from way back in round one of Battle five and neither of us with any reinforcements, he's got all of two dice to my six. And..!
With my combat deck "slightly" bigger, I might just pull this one out from the chute eh.


https://youtu.be/l6iuo8UqMtQ
 
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Brian Bishop
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And Chaos reclaims the city, bathing it red in the celebration!
Both of the Rook's marines have died leaving the map fairly empty of blue at this point.

At the end of round four, no objectives were claimed (phew!). For materiels, the Rook claims his four to my six bringing both of our totals to seven.
I'll rally my units at (S1A2) and the Rook does not have a token atop his event deck this round while I have the one.
I'm moving a storm first and I keep drawin' the Incantation of Tzeentch. I'll move the storm above system 3 downward so that it lies between 3 and 6.
I'll again shuffle and search the top three cards and ope, Spoils of War has been fairly good to me. It might be my new favorite eh.
A forge token and reinforcement slide my way and for the Rook's movement, he'll take the storm at the bottom of system 5 and lay it between systems 5 and 6.

At the beginning of round 5, the first player token goes to the Rook, the skull marker is advanced and our map looks like this...




The Rook's first order marker goes in his home, system 3 followed by my first, system 4.
His second is plopped at my home, system 1 and my second, atop his at my home.
For thirdzies, the Rook drops another in system 3 while I, another in system 1.
Finally, the Rook's last marker in system 2 and mine, again in 1.

Knowing he has the first player token, I can probs safely assume his last order will be the one at the bottom of the stack in my home planet and if he somehow manages to win that one, it's game over with nothing I can do to stop him so, preventing that is my goal this round.
His first reveal is a Deploy in his home system 3. With a cache and six pennies from his pocket, the Rook will take four scouts ploppin' two on (S3A1) and two on (S3A2).
My first order is an Advance in system 1 which throws the Rook for a second until he understands my tactic. I'll move two of my ships from (S2A4) to (S1A4) beginning a two on one battle and hopefully ensuring that the door is indeed, fully closed again.


https://youtu.be/OQwRIHkzG4c
 
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Brian Bishop
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After a trick shot with my Mark of Khorne on his routed ship with no defense dice, I'll move my two ships back home to (S1A4).
The Rook's second order marker is a Dominate in system 3 providing him with his precious two reinforcement tokens. He'll spend his last penny to promote a scout to a marine at (S3A1).
My second is a Deploy on my home system and I have a forge token I'd really like to spend. It's almost never that I've gotten this far in the game so for me to actually have two cities, money to spend and the precious hammer, well I just have to spend it, no?
I drop five money and my hammer on a Repulsive Grand Cruiser and man that thing looks awesome sittin' there with it's escorts at (S1A4)..!
I'm also in such a good mood that I'll spend my last two pennies on a culty boy depositing him at (S1A3) you know, just in case the Rook pulls off a miracle or somethin'.
The Rook's number three is an Advance in system 2 so he'll bring his marine all the way to (S2A3) and leave his scouts at (S2A2).
My third is my Strategize in system 4 and since I spent all my money at the super shipyard, I'll throw that sucker to my event deck.
Now since the Rook's last marker is under mine in system 1, I get to finish my markers before he does.
I'll flip a second Advance on system 1 and since there's nobody to attack there, I can't do much other than throw it to my events as well.
It was something of a precautionary marker and, looking back, I spoze I could have done something different but we'll see how big of a mistake it was, depending on what the Rook can muster with his last assault.
He flips it, it's an Advance (which should have surprised absolutely no one). He'll move his three scouts and one marine to (S1A2) where he'll find only my Bastion waiting.


https://youtu.be/2SS-IpHU5pE

Well there went my Bastion, I didn't think it would last and that's okay because he still has to get through the meat of my defense and if I have some time, and some money, I think I can withstand him.
What I need to really start focusing on, as round five draws to it's end, is how I'm going to snag one or both of his objectives. I keep thinkin' of that first naked objective I gave him in round one and if that decision will cost me the whole game, six (or more) rounds later...
The Rook's four units are on a world with a three unit limit (S1A2) so he'll discard a scout leaving one marine and two littles.

Skippin' objectives, the Rook manages five materiels this round due to his theft of my world which brings my total income to five also.
No rallying so for events, the Rook moves a storm first. With no markers on his deck, he moves the storm from between 5 and 6, upward and left to sit between 2 and 5.
I have two markers on my events and, there it is yet again, my Incantation so, the powers of Tzeentch must be with me tonight. I'll put the storm from between 3 and 6 back down to below 6.
Reshuffling once again, I'll peruse my choices and I'll take Seduced by Chaos to finally replace my Through the Warp from way back in round one.
 
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Brian Bishop
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So the first player token comes back to me and the start of round six has our map looking like this...



It's my ploppage first so I'll lay one in system 1 (would you guess that it's my emergency Advance?), the Rook's first in 3.
My second goes to 4, the Rook's to 3 again and, can you tell I'm excited..?
For my third, I'll drop another in my home at 1, the Rook's feeling confident as he drops his on my stack at 1.
My last order marker goes right on top at 1 and the Rook's final at 2.

I'll reveal my top order marker in system 1 and it's an Advance. I'd like to get his people out of my system or, if I can't, I want to wound them for simply bein' this close.
I've got three ships, one of them a big boy so I'll test fire that new planet popper on his forces at (S1A2).
With all eight dice in hand (I would have had nine with my Fear From Above if I were allowed), I'll roll and pray for bolters.
I managed four (which isn't bad for me) and a 'quila to use with my Fear. The Rook assigns the damage to both his scouts leaving no damage for routing and I'll take that, that's significant damage in my book, new guns well tested..!
The Rook's first order is a Dominate in system 1 so he'll take the cache token from (S1A2) and promote his marine to a Land Raider. Ooh, scary!
My only choice for order number two is in system 4 so I'll flip that Strategize and go shoppin'. I have five money and two cities still so I "could" take some more big boy battle cards.
I think long and hard about another order upgrade, particularly that Complete Destruction because I'm going to have to get that Bastion off the world at (S2A2) "somehow, someday", but...
Nopes, Inhuman Strength looks too tempting. I'll replace my Mark of Slannesh giving my deck a much better lead (two command level twos to the Rook's none).
The Rook's number two is an Advance in system 2 so he'll move his Land Raider back to his Bastion and I'm smellin' somethin' of a retreat (that's never really happened before well, except in round four with his ships I spoze...)
My three is a Deploy in my home system and I don't have much money left. I do still have my Dread Ritual and if my cultists keep dancin' for a two money discount, well I'll take a Chaos marine for the extra penny and plop him on the newly vacated (S1A2).
For his three, the Rook reveals a Deploy in his home system. For his only cache and four money, he'll take three more scouts and I can't help but laugh. He can't really build his first city in the later half of round six and he only needs the one objective so, I guess I can see how he's half stuck and half committed eh.
Two scouts on (S3A1) and one on (S3A4).
My last order was my defensive Advance in my home system and with no one to attack and nobody needing "repositioning", I'll chuck it to my event deck.
The Rook's end is a Dominate in his home system and, I think he's gettin' tired. It's been a long game for his little mind and it is gettin' late.
Without any assets to claim, he'll toss his to the event deck also and I'm startin' to feel a little sorry for my little guy huh.

No objectives once again, for materiels, the Rook gains six money to match my six as well.
No rallying, I've got two markers on my events and I'll move first. I've got a Touched by the Warp and it moves the storm from between 2 and 5, over to between 3 and 6.
Now my tactic is a little weird and since I don't have any culty boys near any warp storms, I'll pass on that one.
The Rook has a marker and draws Rites of Battle moving his storm from below system 6 to where it recently was, between 5 and 6.
With his tactic, he wants to buy himsmelf a big boy battle card too until I remind him that he still has to have the cities to allow it. He argues for a bit then concedes and decides not to use that tactic as well.
 
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Brian Bishop
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The beginning of round seven starts with the first player token going to the Rook, the skull moved to the seven and our map lookith like this...



He'll open with his first marker on system 2 followed by my first on 4.
His second at 3 and mine, on his first at 2.
The Rook's third order marker goes quickly atop mine at 2 and it looks like we're going to build another stack of doom there eh.
My third goes to 1 and I need a Deploy in there "somewhere".
His final is plopped on 3 and my last on the stack at 2.

The Rook flips his first order and it's a Deploy in his home system. He'll spend four for two scouts, both on (S3A1) and it truly is too late for any deviation at this point.
Then, realizing he's got no path from (S3A4) through (S3A2), he'll move one of his scouts to fix his gap (again, it's been a really late game and it's probs a bit past his bedtime...)
I reveal a Dominate in my home system for the cache and reinforcement and I'll spread a little taint from (S1A1) to (S2A3). I'm feeling the time crunch and any extending to my path is better at this, desperate, point.
The Rook's got his own Dominate in his home system for his order two and, with his scout on (S3A2), he can snag one more reinforcement bringing him to his total allowance of three.
He'll also promote a scout to a marine at (S3A1).
For my two, I'll flip my Strategize in system four and I need my big boy Complete Destruction for the three monies as I see some Bastion bombardments in the upcomings.
The Rook's three and he's stuck with his remaining orders in the stack of doom so I'll take my three and blamo, it's Advance time in system 2!
I'll snag my REPULSOR (I love havin' that sucker out there) and a little ship and bring 'em from (S1A4) to meet up with their little friend at (S2A4). I'm also going to bring a chaos marine from (S1A1) and plop 'im on (S2A3) you know, for "futures".
Then I'll turn all my guns to bear on (S2A2) and, with my Fear and Destruction upgrade cards, I'm hoping to put a serious dent on that world huh.
I've got eight dice naturally and I roll 6 bolters, 1 shield and 1 'quila so I can't use my Destruction's "destroy" a structure or unit power but I can spend my aquila to make sure somebody's routed.
Rather than loose his Land Raider, the Rook tosses his Bastion and routes the tank so, good roll for the Bishop and damage well done sir..!
The Rook's next order is an Advance and he'll bring in some fresh bodies. His marine and a scout join his routed tank at (S2A2) leaving two scouts on (S3A1) and one on (S3A2)
For my last order, I have a second Advance in system 2. I just bombarded the world with my objective token on it and I do have a sizeable force that I could bring to bear in an invasion scenario but...
I don't like his three reinforcement tokens sittin' there, all excited to be thrown into the chaos. I also like my eight dice with the ability to quickly punish (the time thing again).
So I'll drop my eight and hope for the best. This time, 4 bolters, 2 shields and 2 aquilas.
The Rook will assign 3 damage to his marine eliminating that, my aquila will force him to route the remaining damage so he's left with both a routed tank and scout.
Not bad, could have gone better but you know, you gotta do what the gods of chaos tell you, you gotta do.
Opes! I almost forgot, with my two shields, I can use my Destruction so the Rook is forced to toss his scout, sweetness..!
The Rook flips the last order marker of the round and it's a Dominate on system 2, intermesting. There's no assets there for him to claim and perhaps he was hoping to promote someone until I laid waste to them all with my star beams. Wahn wah wah... to the event deck it goes.

No objectives again, the Rook claims four materiel to my six once again.
His tank will rally and he'll move the first storm. He pulls an Exterminatus and moves the storm from between 3 and 6 rightish and down so that it sits on the right edge of system 6.
This is also a scheme for him that allows an orbital bombardment to do some extra punch but I don't see him bein' able to use it much.
For me, I've drawn a Prayer to the Dark Gods so I'll move my storm from between 5 and 6 also rightish and down so it sits at the bottom of system 6.
My card is also a scheme and it's the one that allows me to interrupt the Rook's movement of a storm giving me total control of storm movements (which is pretty cool) but since this is the put up or shut up round, well I don't think it's going to come in handy huh.
 
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Brian Bishop
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We begin round eight, completely uncharted territory here, the Bishop gets the first player token and our map now looks like this...



I'll slap my first order marker with eagerness in system 3, the Rook will plop his in the same (last ditch Advance anyone..?)
My second goes to system 4 (in case I need a last minute card) while he'll smack his down on 2.
Number three goes in my home system 1, the Rook's three in 2.
My last is assigned to 2 and the Rook's, to 2 to join the others.

Two out of four of my markers are capped so this would be a very inopportune moment to be forced into working in the wrong order eh.
My first order is a Deploy in my home system and for three pennies, I'll take my third city and demonicly chant that thing into being at (S1A2).
The Rook's first is also a Deploy in his home system. He'll spend four for two more scouts launching them into the fire at (S3A1) and it's a good thing that world is a four skull huh.
My second and only available marker is in system 4 and it's my usual Strategize so, if this is my last chance to spend any money, well I'll relish in it. I peruse my ultra big cards for a minute before deciding on Death and Despair for it's "kill a crap load of command level zero units" (see where I'm goin' with this..?)
I spend my six and replace my Mark of Tzeentch and it's the Rook's turn.
His second order is an Advance in system 2. He'll bring two of his scouts to (S2A2) and he's all defense now, my how the tables have slowly sank on his end...
For my third, I have an Advance in system 2 as well but... What to do what to do here. With his tank and two scouts, if I go after (S2A2) he can plop all three of his reinforcements and that might be quite a fight if I roll poopy.
It's a tough call, this late in the game, I can't make a mistake now.
I have the path to bring "everything" and two reinforcements of my own but, I don't know, it feels all "strange" playing offense and, yeah, mabes I'm gettin' tired too.
I'm going to bring one of my chaos marines from (S1A1) over to (S2A3) and since there's a two skull limit on this world, I'll eliminate my culty boy in favor of having two chaos marines there.
Then I'll bombard and man that world must have some significant craters on it (I think this is like the third time I've made toast out of it's atmosphere).
I roll 2 bolters, 4 shields and 2 'quilas..! I knew my luck was going (if it wasn't already gone, that six bolters with my first bombardment was a shocker...)
The Rook removes a scout for the bolters, and with my two shields' Destruction, he'll eliminate another scout to ensure that at least his tank is present and unrouted.
I'm not sure it matters much as my last and final marker is sittin' in system 3 but hey, we're tired from our eight round slug fest.
The Rook's three is an Advance in system 2 and this leaves him scratchin' his noodle as we're both realizing the last combat of the game will have to be in system 3.
In a bold maneuver in which the Rook uses some deductive reasoning, he decides he'll bring his tank from (S2A2) to my twin chaos boys at (S2A3) because if he can weaken me here, he knows I can't attack in system 2 again. My only option upcoming, is to take these two to his factory and try to win that objective, skipping the one at (S2A2), even if it is sittin' all naked and lonely.
So Battle number nine it becomes!


https://youtu.be/Z2YRLsnkw3o
 
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Brian Bishop
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Wow, I can't roll bolters when I bombard but throw me some boots on the ground and I drop five out of six, humph. No reinforcements as we're both tryin' to save 'em for the final countdown upcoming which, sorta makes sense but if the Rook was thinkin' a little bit clearer, he'd realize that the more damage he does here and now, the less he'll have to take in round two.
When I roll 5 bolters to his zero shields though, I spoze it doesn't matter much how many bodies he has out there, I'm going to carve through 'em like butter knives and butter right.
So my boys hold their line. My last order is an Advance in system 3 and it's almost a shame this one's comin' to an end eh. I'm finally rollin'..!
I'll bring my REPULSOR from (S2A4) to (S3A3) creating a path for my twins and it's invasion time baby!
My two against his three scouts, my two reinforcements against his three.


https://youtu.be/vA4X-1BY9gc

Wowzers!
Two out of three rounds I had higher level cards in play. One round I had a command level two and in another, a command level three when all three of his were just topped out zeros.
The last of the Rook's markers is flipped and it's a Dominate in system 2, not very helpful at all...

The end of the round cometh and I've got my first objective from (S3A1), I also claim his factory.
At this point there's no point in claiming materiels, no rallying.
We do draw events as there "might" be "something" that causes a change in the map however, both of us draw schemes and it's over, no storm movings.
It's on to the real meat and space potatoes of our ending and the Rook insists that we are tied with one objective each until I point out a little known fact that I read oh, way back in the whole "learning the game in the beginning" readings.
I snag that Rules Reference book, flip it open to page 14 and under "Winning" read...
"If multiple players win the game at the same time, the player that has collected the most objective tokens wins. If still tied, the tied player who has the most friendly worlds wins."
Looking at the map again, well the Rook has very little presence left. His one ship and one scout at (S6A1) is all of one friendly world while my amount is significantly larger.
I do a little dab but remember how many times he's beaten me so, with a hug, I tell him good night little warmonger and assure him we'll play again tomorrow.
Here's our map at the end of the game, just in case you need the visual.


 
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Brian Bishop
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Okay, what'd we learn?
Well, lots of stuff perchaps and mabes nothin' "real" huh.
I saw many instances where the path or "corridor" used most often in battles became blocked or obstructed.
Several times I had to choose whether to press forward leaving my flanks open or hold back. Several times the Rook attacked and left his side door wide open. In the end, he assumed I would have kept hammering on his front at (S2A2) when I was just as capable of going right around it and hittin' his home system.
I also know from experience, that you can forsake the middle and late game and just mash that pedal to the floor and hope for a good early rush but if you stutter or fail (or have a bad roll), your opponent suddenly becomes much better off.
Those first few choices in the early rounds are critical in getting off to a good start. If you spend an order marker on something that can wait, your opponent just jumped in front of you.

Hey feel free to throw out corrections, improve our strategies right. Special thanks to Umbral Aeronaut, his guides were priceless in our learnings and we used the images of his cards. Also special thanks to Joseph Courtight for pointing us at the Vassal game where we pretty much acquired all our other images.
And hey, big fat thanks for reading, conquer the Stars people!
 
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Joseph Courtight
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I might read this later when I have time.

However I do have one point. Your text is so big compaired to the images. I would prefer a normal text size and if the image were larger large or original sized.
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Asaf Hamtzany
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First of all thanks.
This was both interesting and educational in understanding the flow of the game. I just got my copy today and I can't wait to play.

I agree with Dalek5 that the huge font is mainly annoying.

While I am a total noob here I must comment that your mindset, as presented here seems very... defeatist (that's the most fitting word I managed to find).
Despite the initiative advantage you were so excited to have at the beginning the way you begun the game felt like you're playing to loose.
You immediately give away an objective for free, but you don't do it to gain some ability to quickly attack and claim an objective yourself. Instead you plan to turtle in your home system to await your enemy's onslaught.

Throughout the narrative it felt like you really always expect to loose.
 
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Brian Bishop
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Hey thanks for the comments guys..!
I'm still workin' on "tweaking" font sizes...
It looks like if I enter in my own font size in the "brackets" I can make something between "normal" and "large" know what I mean. I might be able to adjust, we'll see...
As far as our illustrations, if you click on a picture, you can see the original is "freakin' huge". I'm not sure how to change the size of how the pictures appear in my posts so if anyone knows, please help huh..!

You have to understand that I've been beaten at this game almost every time I've played. I have horrible luck with dice, whenever I've tried to go all offense against the Rook's all offense, I've lost quickly.
This was the first time I thought I might have a fighting chance but I was still hesitant to throw away the turtling tactics that had gotten me this far right.
I am very much looking forward to our next war, mabes in a few weeks it'll be all typed up.
 
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Asaf Hamtzany
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I understand why you are this defensive. And maybe I'm spouting nonsense because I've yet to actually play the game, but I got the feeling that your turtling tactics reached the point that they are turtling habits that hurt your chances of success.

It's OK to remember your defense, but why not try to put the other side on the defense? Should your first line of defense really also be your last line of defense?

Anyways, good luck on your next games. And heck, maybe I'll come back here and explain how you were right all along after I'll get a few games under my belt!
 
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Brian Bishop
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Yeps, I'm still a noob and I agree with your thoughts huh.
This game is very compelling to me because it breaks down into little mathematical aspects. It's all about minimums and maximums (yeah, watch me try to explain that...)
If you have a certain amount of resources or a limited amount of orders (four per round), you know you can only do "so much".
It feels like you want to constantly be "doing more" but sometimes, the control is not in your hands, sometimes it's in your opponents.
The math comes in when you're forced to calculate how much you can do, and still live, and can do, and still save. If you didn't spend some of your money in the previous round, having that extra six materiels to "surprise" your opponent in the next round, gives you an advantage.
You're constantly weighing and recalculating as things either go your way or your opponent's.
It's crazy to contemplate but that first initiative determines who has the upper hand, from the beginning.

Contrary to other games, I think the advantages of being the second player far outweigh the benefits of being first (don't get me started on a three or four player game...)
So if I have the advantage from the beginning, if I press that advantage too much, I might lose by a roll of the dice or a bad card draw.
However, if I play extremely carefully, if I have the advantage and manage to keep it by keeping things close to the sweater vest (so to speak), I end up having more in my control and eventually, I can "spend" my advantage whenever I need to, or am forced to.

When you start playing, try to keep track of how much control you have, to freely do what you want, save what you want. And how little control you might have at "some" point because if you can recognize this aspect, it makes you either lose your first fifteen games or become unbeatable for your entire novice career.
 
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Genestealer Patriarch
United Kingdom
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Wow, that's an incredibly detailed write up, well done. I think I'll need a big run up to get through all of it.

One thing jumped out, you mentioned during a strategize order, that you upgraded to the mark of Khorne and the mark of Nurgle combat cards. You can't do both in a single order, even if you have the materiel to spend. You could have chosen either the Khorne pair or the Nurgle pair.
 
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Brian Bishop
United States
Michigan
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Wow Patriarch have we been playin' that rule wrong...
I peeked in the Learn to Play book and found under the Strategize section, "Then he may purchase one order upgrade and/or one combat upgrade..."
This puts a lot more pressure on the Strategize order marker and I can sorta see how that would work. You can only "upgrade" your armies so fast, regardless of how much cash you can throw at your scientists.

I guess that helps 'splain how the Rook beats me so badly, he usually spends his first six on one Strategize eh...

Huge thanks for your input there huh..!
 
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Simeon Genkov
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Also you have the rules for retreating wrong you cant retreat to the place where you were attacked from.
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