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Old December 27th, 2014, 05:13 PM
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Re: Wargrounds of Scape (WoS) - discussion thread

Cage Match by Dignan

When I first considered this map for judging, I was extremely skeptical. The Thorian glyph jumped out to me in particular. In the end, though, I was pleasantly surprised. I agree with most of what caps said in his nomination post. The map has a pretty interesting and often fun dynamic.

Thorian was clearly carefully chosen for this map. Without it, ranged squads would be extremely dominant due to the easily defended high ground each side gets. With it, thereís an interesting dynamic in games between range (or ranged normals, anyway) and melee, or range and range. Obviously Thorian is ignored in all-melee contests, but Astrid keeps the middle in play. When games on this map work well, they work very well - Iíve had a couple really good games on this one.

The biggest issue with the map is the two single-spaced dips in the road to level 2 - and, to a lesser extent, the two double-spaced dips on the other side. What these dips do is create a very clear ďyours and mineĒ quality to the sections of level 3 road in the ring. Because of the many blockers and obstacles on the map, it can be extremely difficult to outflank an army that hunkers down on its high area. (The single-spaced swamp water dip on the sides next to the glyph exacerbates this issue by making outflanking still more difficult.) This problem is much worse for double-spaced figures, who canít even use the road to engage an opponent on that key map position. Instead double spacers have to drop down to an extremely vulnerable level 0 spot, and will often be hit from height on 3 sides the next turn.

I had one particularly distressing game on this map where both me and my opponent played melee armies and we basically had a starting contest across the single-spaced gap until I made a run for it, attacking up around an initiative switch. Most games were not that bad, but overall I saw a pattern where, despite the desirable glyphs and the road ring that would seem to suggest ease of movement, the map would often clog up with one side attacking up at the choke point in the road.

And while I think Thorian makes a lot of sense on this map in many games, the difference between having a ranged special attack and not having one can be as critical on Cage Match as it is when playing against Deathreavers or Mezzodemons. Armies with a Major or Dragon or Kaemon can be at an enormous advantage on this map. Thatís not really an indictment of the map, per se, as much as itís an indictment of the Thorian glyph; itís a very matchup-dependent glyph in addition to being very powerful, which is a tough combo to work with.

In the end, when I think about judging a map like this, I think about its place in a tournament map pool. My biggest concern is how much this map alters matchups. At a few tournaments Iíve been to, including a few Gencons, there has been one map in the pool that had kind of a notorious reputation among the players for throwing games one way or the other. Having some maps be more melee friendly or range friendly, or unique friendly versus common friendly, is perfectly fine, but in the end this map just seems a bit too extreme in the way it alters things.

Itís possible that Iíd be willing to approve this map if it were either just the Thorian swing or just the dips in the road that I was worried about. But collectively, itís too many red flags for me. Itís a map that Iíll certainly keep in my back pocket for playing games where Iím not worried about those particular issues, but itís not a map I can give a wholehearted thumbs-up for general tournament use. No to induct.
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