Monday, October 26, 2015

The Great Terrain Debate: The FSA Meta Big 3!

Greetings all!  SeerK here to talk terrain.  That is Terrain for Firestorm Armada.  I might even mention terrain in some of the other games I play for reference, but I am mainly going to be discussing the current meta of Terrain in Firestorm Armada.  As it stands there are 3 distinct terrain metas out there.  The Canadian Meta, The European Meta and the Lansing Meta.  I wanted to touch on all three and give a breakdown of what makes them unique.  I may not fully understand all of the nuances of the Meta's I have not played in, but I wanted to give my opinion on them and maybe offer a different outside perspective on them.

Adepticon is right around the corner and the web cart goes live on November 23rd.  The Schaumburg Prime Offensive returns this year.  We have 32 initial spots with room for more if the demand is like it was last year.  I wanted to really be preemptive and plan better this year.  I also wanted players to be in the loop so they are fully briefed and battle ready for the tournament.   So here we go, the "Big 3" FSA Meta's.

The "Lansing" Meta 

The Lansing Meta is one that I can speak about at great length, as I am in this meta.  Terrain is about 25% coverage of the board and the areas for the Debris fields and asteroid fields are usually around 5 to 9 inches long and or wide.  Terrain is placed per the book with no element being within 8 inches of another.  People have commented that the terrain looks rather dense, but it is a true 25% coverage.  It is generally friendly towards Tier two heavy lists, which is what the players in the Michigan (Lansing) area tend to run.  It is not overly friendly to lists that have lots of Tier one vessels generally, unless you are use to the layout.  We still go Tier one heavy, but lists tend towards Tier 2 vessels giving them most of their bulk.  This kind of layout can also be good for Tier 3 ships because of their speed and ability to manoeuvre. The main point players make about this meta is the apparent lack of fire lanes which handicaps long range fleets.  I usually reply, that the number one Dindrenzi player on last years war log is from here and regularly lays waste to fleets.  There are most definitely fire lanes for long range ships.

The Terrain  density factors into  the points level that is played most commonly in our area and some other areas.  We usually play in the 900 to 1200 point range with tournaments at 900 or 1000 points.  The can be challenging for newer or inexperienced players.  You must carefully consider deployment and movement at this points level and terrain coverage.  There is an

The Terrain we use makes movement and strategy very key in winning a battle.  Fleets with a numeric disadvantage or lacking in areas can use the terrain to try and make up for the shortcoming.  On the inverse Admirals with superior numbers or fire power can make use of the terrain to herd ships into the fire lanes that are present.  I have always considered FSA to be a thinking mans game, that is, it requires thinking several moves ahead and adjusting for your opponents reactions.  I think the terrain is a product of this line of thinking.    I have always said FSA is won in the movement phase. Careful deployment and being mindful of your movement in this meta is essential.

The "Canadian" Meta

 "A Canadian table is composed of a small number (3-4) of medium to large terrain pieces as opposed to a large number (7+) of small terrain pieces" 

From the Jaded Gamercast FB Page

The Schaumburg Prime Offensive was a true North American Championship.  We had participants from across the country and a big contingent from Canada.  A pair of rather vocal members of that community had some criticisms for the terrain at the Schaumburg Prime Offensive.  You may know they ad the Jaded Gamers, Nathan and Lange, of the Jaded Gamercast Podcast.  The Criticism was very understandable given their meta.  The "Canadian" Meta is of a lower points level on average.  They tend towards 800 points or less with Terrain that is less dense.  It has about a 15- 20% coverage and the areas tend to be much larger, making it appear that the table is more open.  It is very friendly towards tier 3 squadrons.  They can use their speed to traverse the outskirts of the terrain very quickly and begin the attack while the larger vessels play a game of hide and seek.  You have very clear lanes of fire for capital ships.  The main point of contention between the "Lansing" Meta and the "Canadian" Meta is that the former lacks lanes of fire for long range fleets where the later does.  From the Lansing perspective, the Canadian style of terrain favors long range fleets and basically is a waiting game of who exposes themselves first to fire, while the tier 3 vessels duke it out.

The Group here in Michigan has played with this kind of coverage on a few occasions to experiment with different metas.  This kind of terrain with our play style made games pretty short for us.  There were bold attacks and whoever got the first clean shot found themselves winning from that point on in the game.  It also saw our local Tarakian player playing keep away while he blasted ships on the other side of the large fields with Gravity weapons.  Nothing like having your flagship dragged through an asteroid field you can't shoot through. It was a very unique experience and a meta that is very different than ours.

Courtesy of Dan Bird of Slayer Games
The "Euro" Meta

Europe, more specifically the U.K., is the native home of Firestorm Armada.  Spartan Games is based in Somerset U.K., which is in the south western U.K. for those of you not familiar with it.  Firestorm is played all throughout the U.K. and mainland Europe.  I am being very broad and general with Europe.  Club gaming is the norm in the U.K.  Here in the United States most people play at game stores. There are local clubs and such, but not like gaming clubs across the pond.  Gaming clubs over in Europe actually are a club for the purpose of renting a space to play games.  Real Estate, taxes, the general costs of running a business are higher so Game stores are not as plentiful, at least ones with a ton of extra space to play games in. The Gaming clubs form their own house rules and micro metas. They compete to out do each other with grand displays and in tournaments at conventions like Warfare in Reading and Salute.

The Euro Meta seems to be varied, but generally has a 15-20% coverage with terrain areas sized similarly to that of the "Lansing" Meta.  They like well appointed fleets and lots of SRS bombers from all the reports I have read.  Terrain does tend to be lighter than in North America and field size appears to be on the small to medium size.  Fire Lanes are very present.  Long range weaponry and SRS can thrive here, but not in an overpowering way.  It does appear less dense than I am use to.

There are your "Big 3" of the Firestorm Armada Metas.  We will be talking more about this in the coming days on the Podcast and on here.  Adepticon Primer missions will be posted in the next month and we will be hard at work getting everything ready.  The results of the Polls for points level is also in.  It looks as if the community has overwhelmingly chosen 1000 points.  So The Schaumburg Prime Offensive will be getting bumped up form 900 to 1000 points.  We are also adding a Planetfall Tournament!  The latest episode of Firebase Delta is not up yet, but I did mention it there first.  We will be doing a small 2500 point tournament on Friday of the convention with the Schaumburg Prime Offensive on Saturday.  Stay tuned for details!

That's all for now, until next time crush the Alliance and as always.......