Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Critical Engagement 2017 - The Breakdown

What the hell is Pete afraid of? 
So what does it all mean? Well not a lot really, but we had a bloody brilliant time.

We had 20 players turn up on the day (including myself as the odd man). Unfortunately we had 2 drop outs in the week before and one no-show on the day (mentioning no names Hawk Sean!!! [Dan edit; you clearly mentioned a name there, Hawk Sean. Right there. It says Sean. Sean, of the Hawk. Seanus Hawkimus. SeanbotXX6k. Sean The Russian.]).

We set up 10 beautiful tables, with ALL custom scenery painted - no bare MDF in sight! A huge thanks to everyone who contributed to the team effort to get it all looking pretty and an extra big thank you to Betty for all the scatter terrain and bunkers.

The day ran extremely smoothly with hardly any rules queries [Dan edit; most came from Hawk Louis!]. The only arguing and shouting coming from the human fog-horn known as Pete; luckily he had his inside voice on!

Below are the final standings. These are slightly different from the day as there were a couple of errors spotted in post-production. The main one being that we gave Joe the 3rd place prize instead of Amit - Doh! But with Joe being a good sport he is giving up his prizes and passing them on to Amit. Stephen managed to retain his Critical Engagement crown and walked away with a whole host of prizes, including the coveted DeepCut Studios mat which was used as our filming table on the day.

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that I (Mr humble and modest) actually scored more points than the Champ, but don't read too much into it. Apart from the first game (which was random) I was paired with a mid-low placed player so that I didn't interfere with final standings and results. I could run through all my games, but really there is no point. I did, however have to work extremely hard for each point I scored as my list contained only 1 unit of Infantry (plus a Corrupter) and had 6 AA shots (4 minders and 2 Harbinger Mini Arc Casters).

Dan: Hold Up, It's a take over, bitches! With the tournament featuring a duo of fully original and two already tweaked and tested missions I wanted to butt it and relay some general feedback, in case you gorgeous readers fancy playing them at home!

Bunker Strike
Bunker Assault meshed with Surging Strike, where the FP closest to your opponents deployment zone is worth 3 VP to you (2 as normal to your opponent). We know it works well (we would say better than the original), so not much feedback here. If this variant became tournament standard it would be no surprise or bad thing.

Civilian Extraction
This was the most unique of the missions and got the most feedback, which I fully expected. Some complained that it was stupid (100% of which were those who lost, and perhaps didn't read the rules properly) and some said they really liked it (funnily enough, 100% of those who won). I think the mission works, but there will be tweaks, and these are:

  • Removal of -1 VP for losing a Survivor Objective; it rubbed people up the wrong way, and I understand that. I don't think it is necessarily a bad mechanic, it can just punish people sometimes.
  • Addition of second Critical Location; both to be 6" from the centre and straight along the middle of the board, towards to the players deployment zones. Will perhaps change them to score like Flight Zones (turns 3 & 6) but that requires further testing.
These changes should put it in place to work in 1500 points, although the SO buildings may have to become bunkers due to demo.

Forward Air Base
Another shiny new one with a unique selling point, Flight Zones. Also corner deployment (all in readiness) with buildings along the central line, which allowed access to a players closest building in turn 1. Literally only had a single moan from a player who (self-admittedly) brought far too little AA with him, so I writing this down as a success, and I believe it will scale nicely to 1500 points.

Military Complex (WMD)
The first custom mission we ever penned, as far back as 2014 and originally called Backbreaker. Military Complex as normal, but you can only extract the central objective of your opponent players edge (for 3 VPs, rather than 2). This works and is a great variant to MC and Targets Of Opportunity, and has even started to be used in other tournaments!

We also ran some gnarly custom Scatter Terrain rules over the weekend, and I'm happy to report that I had no complaints or criticism! Well, expect from Alex, who failed to destroy an A4/8DP piece with his entire army, including a Thunderstorm. If you have Scatter Terrain at home to use I fully suggest adding it to your board, as it adds a real depth to your warzone. 

Anyway, that's all, back to Mike!

Mike: Here are some pictures of the winners and losers

Our best sport, Mr Bryan Parke - his first ever
Dropzone tournament. He won 2 games!!

Best Painted: Our flamboyant TechBoy with the lovely PHR

There can only be one... wooden spoon... Well done Kanan!
Had a smile on your face all day!

Top Scourge player and 3rd overall, Amit

Top UCM player Dave - also most distracted player
(listening to rugby during first game = 18-2 loss to me)

Top PHR and second overall, Ed

Top and also bottom Shaltari player, Joe

Top Resistance player, Steve
Champion Steve, winning by 1 point from Ed 
Special OB prize to the highest placed non-OB member: An OB Wannabe T-Shirt. Expect to see this all over town!

Hope you have enjoyed the coverage of the tournament, there will (hopefully) be 4 full length game vids uploaded to you tube at some point in the future... TECH BOY!!!

Joe even said he'd do a tournament write up... Satan called, it's getting chilly down there!

See you all soon!


  1. Only 5% of the armies were Shaltari? You guys scaring them off or something?

    I'm looking forward to the videos! Thanks in advance!

    1. An even weirder stat is that 55% of the field were UCM players! Hogs aren't nearly as efficient at 1k as they are at 1.5k.

    2. It's been my experience that UCM tends to be incredibly popular, they just also tend to clump at the bottom half of the rankings.

    3. Dan, that is a weird stat, almost as weird as your maths.
      40% Ucm

    4. @Major Awesome: You need to make a pilgrimage to Croydon and show them how it's done!

  2. The winner has leet killpoints...

    Why is it that of two big tournaments I have seen the rankings of, UCM has in both cases clustered at the bottom? Is it really that imbalanced?

  3. I'm confident that it's because the UCM are portrayed as a 'starter' army, where really PHR and Resistance are better suited to it. I always look at UCM and think 'you're so good!' but it does take an experienced hand to guide them.

    1. You can say that, but I really think the UCM do need some sort of help. They're perennially clustered from the midfield downward, Mike being the obvious outlier. They have a lot of good units, but their Exotics are terrible vis-a-vis all the other factions, so CQB is very problematic.

      It would be great if we could see some more experienced players giving UCM a try at "majors" to see if, indeed, it's newbie syndrome that causes them to cluster around in the lower ranks...

    2. I think the "starter" army thing needs to die a quiet death. I'm honestly not sure where the "starter" army portrayal is coming from, as the other army in the 2 player starter is not having anywhere near the same problems.

      I agree with JD that the main problem as I see it is the lack of good options when it comes to dealing with infantry in structures. Praetorians are underwhelming at their price point, and Fireblades have too short of a threat range to pick up the slack.

  4. Post some terrain pictures!