Okay, so a bit later then planned, but I blame Creepy Corridor Andy yesterday who came along to have a look through my doubles from Magic: The Gathering (and went home with several hundreds of cards...)
Which brings us nicely to the idea behind part 2 and being an anvil: know your regular opponents and know yourself!
In the Far Side, and by extension the whole of TSA, we have a smathering of players, each and every one different though some can be classed into the same `sort` of player. In order to have an effective strategy cooked up, one must know oneself, but one must also knows what they usually do.
I always for myself rate players on two points, which I call Tactics and Strategy, or my TS System (which have nothing to do with people being altered in certain parts, thank you very much you bunch of pe****ts).
Strategy: These are the players that come to a table with a plan, a well thought out armylist, basically the guy that is prepared for the battle.
Tactics: One`s improvisation talent to situations developping on the battlefield, and his speed to be able to see it happen and to be able to adapt to whatever is happening.
I know myself, I am not that strong in the Strategy department at all, preferring to put on the table a force based around whatever model or unit I think looks awesome, cool, is my hype of the week, etc etc. The rest of the force is then made up to more or less compensate for those, but this usually cuts into an overal forte as your giving away valuable slots / points / whatevers to your fancies. Tactics on the other hand is where I for myself think I rather excell, being able to make the best from whatever I have and find some way as the battleflow develops to at least make some kind of adjustments to the field of strife. Sure, dice can drop or fall for or against you, but it is a rare day you lose because `you didn`t see that comming`.
So what am I facing then?
Apart from what I call the normal gamer, aka those with kids, families, wifes, and other strange things like social lives, who just turn up with a quick quick cobbled together from the collection force for a game on their `free night`, we kind of have all blends and flavors. Now, I have no problem playing against the above persons. I just `adapt` my own intensity of playstyle to have an enjoyable game for both persons, though it would be a rare day that I actually lose one of those games.
After all, what is the joy in massacring someone not competitive, just playing for fun, haughtily? This will only reduce your number of possible opponents and as such games you can play on a year by year basis. These people are also a great opportunity to try out that strange, or often overlooked because they aren`t really that good, units, who just stand there standing on your collection shelves.
But let`s move to the hard nuts or regular opponents...
First of all, there is Guy, aka Centurion. I`m almost 20 years a member of TSA now (djeezes, time flies), and that means I know and play against him for 20 years now. His painting skills have always topped mine, his forces are far better thought out, but I have a slight benefit in our vs rating. Slight. I call this fella my Nemesis. He is one of those people who`s every forces are a labour of love, but also who rarely changes their make-up. For years his almost identical Centauri fleet has swooped through all opposition, and for years no-one has found an effective counter measure, even though you had a `pretty accurate` idea what he was going to bring. The same went for his Warhammer Tzeentch or Beatsmen forces, or his 40k Khorne or Nurgle followers. He builds a solid core force, and only varries `around their edges` in tuning. I`ll tell you Far Siders a little secret, a kind of gift for bearing with my brabbling all this time: he likes grand swooping, flanking moves.
Bjorn aka Sgt Looney. This bloke is predictable. He entered wargaming walhalla with a Blood Angel force, and ever since in whatever game he plays, he plays Blood Angels. This means, eyes closed and an all out rush headfirst over the length of the battlefield. Don`t expect pinpoint assault or precise pressure on parts of your battleline, expect your forces to be faced with a rapidly closing front all over the length of his battleline. Spread units wide open and prepare to speedbump some of his central units, so the assault comes in piecemeal. The huge viking tattood all over his back should be a dead give-away of how his brain works at the gaming table.
Iwan, aka Crazy Iwan. This guy is an enigma. He paints gorgeously, can stamp armies out of scratch to a battle force in no time, changes forces faster then we change underwera. He can rattle out rulebooks at a speed I can`t even read them... and he fails to bring the theory to the table almost all the time. Iwan has what I call a morality issue. He usually has one or two central units he loves, and starts talking about them as soon as the army catches his fance. The trick is to single those out each and every time, even sacrificing some things in trying to do so, and his morale crashes down at the tableside like snow melts in the Sahara. He throws the game, he loses all intrest, and the victory points rake in. His attitude and love for a game is contagious, but his battlefield motivation is fragile at best.
Wim and Tom, I call them the GW generation. That`s not meant in a bad way at all, these are the types of persons that play like it was introduced by the Nottingham based leviathan, with forces min / maxed at one point to compensate their build in weaknesses. I haven`t played WFB or 40k against either of them though, but it shows through in their gaming style. I`ve been in the tournament scene, I know how they think. I also know I am one of the persons that doesn`t bother by it to much, I just `have to adapt` when playing them, not always succesfully, but I also know some people have issues with this type of wargaming as that is exactly what drove them away from the GW hobby in the first place. LUCKILY we are blessed with the both of them, as they are nice guys and are willing to conceed left and right to make it all a bit less extreme when playing those persons most of the time. You just don`t want to play Magic against them, their decks are scary for returning rookies at the time ;)
Andy and Sven aka the dastardly duo. What to say about those two? Both are buckets of creativity, one with ideas, the other with building stuff. They both joined our ranks at the same time, effectively starting the third generation of the Far Side, and both are cool blokes. No offense though, they aren`t the best the wargamer crop has to offer, hardly managing to win or have a fighting chance in games, but they do bring that kind of attitude to a group everyone needs, the cart pullers in new ideas and games to try out, smoothing out uber competitioness. Is that a good thing or a bod thing? I can imagine they wouldn`t stick with a group if all it was about was win-win-win in a certain game and no flexibility at all in the games played. They are the players that can be lured with an opportunity in turn x, and they forget the plan they had for turns y and z, but they don`t mind it to hard. As long as people don`t bitch about those mistkaes for hours and ends (slight warning / point of attention to certain people hidden here).
So that is it at the moment, my regular opponents and how I see them as opponents. Next time for part 3, I`m going to prove the anvil part with `war stories`, while the fourth and final instalment will be a dedication to a person I never `physically` met but who has shaped my wargame life indefinitly