Another weekend, another couple of games of Relic Knights - our games went a little more smoothly this time around as, with a couple of games under our belts already and some time spent devouring the rulebook. Our games today were thirty five points a side, with Cerci Speed Circuit (me) squaring off against the Noh Empire (Sprog). We weren't using proxy models this time, so we both got to appreciate the size difference between the regular Noh Empire troops, who are bloody huge, compared to the slim humans making up the Cerci side.
Our first game was a quick reminder of how important positioning in the game is and the dangers of tunnel vision - Sprog focused heavily on dispatching my Royal Wrecker, which was busy trying to trek across the board to fulfil my secondary objective. While he didn't have the damage to easily take it out, he moved units around to try and push the mecha away from the table edge and back the way it came. With almost everything focused on this task, I spent a few activations moving units into position to place secure tokens on the enemy objectives, which was my primary goal. While the objectives you have to achieve in each game to score points are randomised, each faction has it's own flavourful bonus objective - Cerci Speed Circuit's faction objective it to complete one of the other objectives before you use up your deck of cards. Basically, whatever the primary or secondary objective is, you've got to do it quickly. Sprog, I think, felt that he had to try and slow me down, which isn't too hard to do - every time my units are attacked, they draw cards, which are then spent or discarded, bringing me close to running out of cards in my deck. With the primary objective being worth five victory points, the faction bonus (Lap Time) being worth an additional two, I was only one victory point shy of achieving the eight points required to win. Cerci seem heavily focused on achieving objectives rather than trying to win a straight-up fight, as their stuff feels a little bit pillow-fisted, especially compared to the Noh Empire units.
The second game was won by Cerci again, although this was probably the jankiest (is that even a word? Nope.) victory so far. Sprog was plagued by poor hands of cards and, with the fighting taking place in a fairly confined space, it was difficult to ensure good lines of sight from the knight to the cypher, so poor hands couldn't be mitigated with large reserves of esper. I ran my Knight - Suicide Queen - hard and aggressively at the start, drawing a lot of attention. I almost lost her, where it not for the timely intervention of a Pacer, who gave the Knight most of her lost health back. With a lot of attention going the way of Suicide Queen - so much, in fact, that I despaired after a few turns that she was in serious trouble - my other units were given the space they needed to chase up the objectives and win the game on the sly. I'll admit that I was incredibly lucky with some of my flips and, crucially, Sprog had very few turns where his Knight could really work at full effectiveness.
I'm going to try assembling my Black Diamond force this week, so we've got something different to try next weekend. I'm very glad that I picked up Cerci, as their inability to perform well (or at least, reliably) in a straight-up slugfest pushes me into playing an objective based game where I feel I can take the initiative. I think that Sprog had a good counter strategy for the second game, as he realised I needed to get to his primary objective and went out of his way to make it difficult for me to rush in straight away. I thinkthe counter to Cerci's objective running will be a combination of bunkering down, blocking with bodies and using ranged attacks to whittle down the deck as quickly as possible. Certain scenarios are going to force the Cerci to move to certain places, where they can be caught out. I've certainly learnt to be afraid of the Noh Berserkers, and the Renderers mean that I've got to be careful regarding the positions of every model I've got on the table. Suicide Queen is a lot more powerful than I think I initially gave her credit for; her initiate abilities make her quite tricky to take down, her high speed lets her get where she needs to be early and her cadre ability turns the cadre into an effective tar pit. Also, speed. Did I mention speed? She can cover eighteen inches in a single activation; that's half of the standard 3' x 3' board! That is crazy mobile.