Friday, April 6, 2012

Loving the Lurkers: Part 2

Making a Lurker List is never an easy task; you have so many elements such as:
  • Lurkers
  • Upgrades to Lurkers such as Demagogue/Queen/Etc…
  • Weapons, Spells, Armor and Skills
  • Artifacts (From Strange Aeons Magazine)
  • Scene’s of Horror
  • Mob Rules

Wow! That is enough to drive a player mad! Wow! Where to start? Seems a little daunting eh? Unlike a Threshold list you will always have the same list unless you are limited in your model selection (or just plain lazy). Plus, you are in the spotlight to whip out a villains list as the Threshold player relaxes and waits for you to slap something down on paper.

 Let’s break this down into elements to consider while making your Lurker list, we already touched on the Command Structure for a Lurker List and now on to the meat of the list building.

Part 1: The Scenario dictates some elements you must have.

This is the hard part sometimes to building a list is the scenario. You have to look at the Lurker goals in the mission and how you can achieve them with what you have in your collection on hand. Often you will be asked to have at least the same number if not more models than the Threshold which can restrict your point expenditures. Also, some scenarios will also limit your pool of what you can take for the current game.

A good rule of thumb here is that say you have to have one more Lurker than the Threshold team, so you look at the total of the team (for this example we will use 15) and so you know that you will need at least 5 Lurkers and on average each Lurker will be about 5 points (give or take). This should help to quickly narrow down choices for your list.

Part 2: Economics of list building.

The best way I explain to people about building lists for any wargame is to think about it from an economic point of view.  If you are wasting points on a list, you will find that you are not getting the most for your investment. Think of each Build Point as money instead, cash (not credit here boys and girls) and when you go somewhere to eat you may look at that Dollar Menu for something cheap and filling but not as tasty as the premium things on the menu (or at least by their standards). Do you buy a bunch of cheap stuff and fill up? Or do you eat the slightly better food (perhaps healthier) instead and enjoy the flavor instead of the filler option.

Purchase what you are going to use and just that. Don’t go nuts and buy something because it is there or won’t have a huge impact to the game. If your list is full of undead and one cultist, taking the Plot Point Drug Crazed would not be a good deal. If you had more than one cultist, well it becomes a bit more reasonable to purchase once you get to 3 or more as it makes the cost impact not as painful.

Keeping a list lean means you have more room to perhaps add another Lurker, upgrade to a better Lurker or add another option onto something that would be more useful in the game. In Strange Aeons you usually are working with small point scales that can be eaten up quickly after a few models are selected so points are at a premium for you. Pick your purchases wisely.

By a simple case of balancing your costs you will come up with the right amount of Lurker’s for the game. Otherwise you may end up in a game with not enough or too many models on your side.

Part 3: You become the Storyteller or Writer.

This is the point of the article where I talk about being a “fluffy bunny” or “a hard core gamer” when you looking at your list.

The fluffy bunny will take things that make sense to the scenario, weave into a story that you could discuss or even write up in an after action report. A good example would be taking a Mad Scientist, henchmen and undead to round out your list. Now, would a demon work in the list? Yea, but it would be a little out of place without some type of explanation.

The other side is the hard core gamer. You want to put that powerful list out there and wipe the Threshold team from the board, you want to win. Well, we all want to win don’t we? Nobody likes to lose a game, but it is a fact of life. You be dammed that it doesn’t make sense or not, you just want to kick some ass.

There is always that middle of the road sometimes, but often you may find your list going one direction or the other. Sometimes on purpose and other times the models you purchase may dictate what you can put on the table. In any case, put what you will have fun with on the table and what the other player will have a good time playing against. Nothing more annoying than playing a list that is frustrating and the game is not enjoyable. We all have had those games, avoid them if you can.

Part 4: Balancing your list

When you are building a list factor in the balance of everything as a whole that would include the requirements of the scenario, what you have on hand to use and what you would want to put into a list.

Keep in mind that a good well rounded list is going to have ranged ability, hand to hand options and a leader to be able to keep the Lurkers moving in the game. A heavy shooter list will be weak once the Threshold players close in and engage in close combat and your list could quickly fail you. The same goes for a heavy hand to hand based list, you could risk being shot apart quickly by a well built Threshold team ready to handle threats at range. Sometimes using a Plot Point could give you a cover saves but is it worth it to take that risk? Look at what you may be up against and plan accordingly.

Part 5: Making Quick Pick Lists

I do this with several types of miniature games and make it easy to pick what you want to add to a list in a fast and efficient style.

Write down a list of models and options you would like (or may tend to want to use), sometimes a model may have more than one “package” as I call it as you may want to add things as you go.

Here is an example of a Cultist with a Rifle:
BP 2 Package: Cultist (1), Rifle (1)
BP 3 Package: Cultist (1), Rifle (1), Dex to 4+ (1)
BP 4 Package: Cultist (1), Rifle (1), Dex to 4+ (1), Lighting Fast (1)
BP 5 Package: Same as 4, add Hollow Point Bullets (1)

Now when you are trying to figure out what to plug into your list you can look at your points and go, well BP 3 Package works the best or well, I could drop this and add the BP 4 Package to make for a 2 shot sharpshooter.

This is an easy thing to do, as you can quickly go through your collection and setup a few packages for each model making it easy to just plug-n-play to save time. After all, we all would rather be throwing dice instead of making lists right?

Part 6: Bringing it all together

Hanibal from the A-Team could not have said it better! “I love it when a plan comes together!” There is nothing better than beating some do-gooders that want to foil your plans to ending the world. HOW RUDE OF THEM! So, it’s time to pull this all together now.

  • Look at the Scenario and any limitations or requirements you need to follow.
  • Select a leader model that can give you the option of Command.
  • Consider any outside elements like Mobs and Artifacts as they will factor into the list building.
  • Select your list and try to keep balance and budget in mind. Make sure to have the Quick Pick Packages on hand to make list building faster!
  • Round out with any leftover points.
  • Go kill some Threshold Agents! 

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