Once more unto the breach went Team Scotland. Once more would we face a nation we had previously played in years past; this time it was Romania whom we took a draw from at last years ETC. Its seems that this year not only are we fated to play previous opponents, but ex Soviet Bloc ones at that ;-)
Last years match against the Romanians was one of the most enjoyable for Scotland; great opponents both in terms of gaming and sporting attitude. This year was certain to be no different with Coman "the always stoned" once again leading the Romanians as Captain.
WARNING THIS IS A BIT OF A LONG BATREP...
Mission - Relic & Emperors Will
Deployment - Dawn of War
As I said Coman's army was significantly different from that of Jiri's in the previous battle; Rune Priest with Runic Armour, 4x 10 Grey Hunters with 2 Plasma and Wolf Standard, 6 Long Fangs with 5 Missile Launchers, 2x Vindicators with Dozer Blades, Company Command with Master of Ordnance, Sly Marbo, 30 man Blob with 3 Autocannons, Vendetta with Heavy Bolters, 2 Griffons, Aegis Defence Line with Quad Cannon.
The reason I say it is significantly different is the number of large blasts Coman's army could drop on me, and in particular the 2 Griffons which have the potential to snipe out key models with impunity (IMO they are one of the best vehicles in the game right now for this). I was going to have to deal with those 2, and then the Vindicators, not to mention the Rune Priest who rolled up Perfect Timing for one of his psychic powers, as soon as possible.
So turn 1, it is Night Fight, and off I go... except I don't because Coman siezes the initiative and what happens next is VERY painful indeed...
|THAT WAS PAINFUL!|
|Me deep in thought....|
My second turn is short and sweet. I blow up 1 Griffon with the Attack Bike, whilst the Bike at the Quad Cannon moves off it and away from the Grey Hunters taking a pot shot at the Vendetta which actually knocks a hull point off it. One of my remaining Bike squads snatches the Relic up and starts to move away from Coman's army towards a nice and large LOS blocking ruin in my bottom right. The other 2 remaining squads shoot at Marbo but the crafty bugger goes to ground in Area Terrain for a 2+ cover save and survives**, with me then failing my subsequent charge rolls to assault him. Lastly the Black Knights and Command Squad take some more long range pot shots from around the corner of the Biker Bar, killing yet more of Coman's Grey Hunters (he kept failing all his 4+ cover saves).
|My bikes did a 'Brave Sir Robin'|
Turn 4 and we realise we are rapidly running out of time in the round; but both me and Coman agree to keep playing to the end of the 5th turn even if we go over the clock (barring a ref telling us to stop that is). Coman's Vendetta arrives, dropping off his platoon command on his home objective and sniping yet more of my bikes with the super accurate Lascannons. Otherwise the rest of this turn sees little happening apart form he starts to move his bubble wrapping Blob Squad forward towards the Biker Bar and my Objective, with the surviving Grey Hunters behind.
|Thankfully my Black Knights are better|
Turn 5; Coman takes stock and I realise I forgot to deal with someone in my last turn; Marbo... he moves up, charges the 2 guys holding the Relic, and slays them both with rending hits! COCK! and stupid Neil for forgetting about Marbo (in my defence he was hidden behind a massive wall). Well at least I have some bikes nearby that could zoom over and take the Relic in my turn....
|But I have only had 4 turns!|
Whilst I am happy with taking 10 points after that murderous seize and first shooting phase from Coman, I was NOT happy with the ref's attitude. He threatened to card me and Coman if we didn't stop immediately. Which is against the ETC rules that stipulate both players have the right to play an equal number of turns. Now sure we did over run; but the problem there lies in (A) once again the draw for the round being published exactly when the round started, therefore once again denying teams the 1hr for lunch and pairings, again due to teams over running and a single guy doing data entry for 224 players. This meant that again teams were starting their pairings late into the round because everyone wants at least 10-15mins to work out their match ups. (B) Through no fault of his own, but because Coman was the Romanian Captain, the ETC rules pack says that ALL rules or game queries/disputes MUST go through the Captains first, before being escalated to a judge. This meant that Coman was continually being pulled away from the game by his fellow team mates to answer or adjudicate other games. Which obviously had a detrimental effect on how much time he took in his game.
With regards to the first point; there are many simple solutions to this issue with the most obvious being implementing some kind of online score reporting system; similar to that used in Sweden, so that players report their scores in online, which cuts out manual data entry (it is 2013 for christ sake) and speeds up the whole process. Whilst regarding the second point, Captains should only be involved if it is a serious issue. Otherwise the refs should be the first point of contact so as to free Captains to get on with their own games.
But all that besides the thing that pissed me off the most; being told to stop playing immediately or get carded, when several games on the top tables ran on for more than 20mins - when I asked about this I was told "but those are important top table games..." So my game, myself and my opponent are not important and only there to make up the numbers? I raised this issue with 2 of the Chairmen later that night, and received apologies but it still didn't change the fact mine and Coman's game ended on a low because of an overly zealous referee.
Oh well what can you do? At least the rest of the game was a blast and Coman is one of the best people you can hope to play in 40k. Onto Sunday, day 3, and round 5...