Last year one our local Privateer Press Pressgangers and his friend in Indianapolis got together and devised a competition between our two cities to collect canned goods for our local food pantries, with the city donating the most cans per player to take ownership of the Harvestthrall Trophy.
This event, dubbed “Foodmachine,” featured interesting twists on the typical Warmachine rules to help encouraging food donation – in addition to having the entry fee replaced with a required can donation by donating additional cans during a match a player could have a number of effects on the game such as generating extra Focus points and re-rolling his or his opponent’s dice.
After the success of the event Privateer Press provided coverage of that event in No Quarter Magazine and promote the second year of the event nationally. In 2007 the Foodmachine event, organized on the Harvestthrall web site, featured nearly fifty competing local communities across the globe.
On November 11th St. Louis held our second annual Foodmachine event at Gamer Ground. This year’s event drew in an even dozen players and a fair faction spread. We did have four Cygnar players, though, which was surprising since that faction is usually relatively underrepresented locally. There were also a pair of Circle players and one of almost every other faction, including a player who brought Magnus’ Agenda. The only faction not to get any lovin’ was the Trolls, which was unusual given their popularity here in St. Louis.
As for myself, I found out I could make this event late on the Friday night before the event, so had to quickly throw together some lists. Usually I put together lists for both my Legion of Everblight and Protectorate of Menoth forces and decide right before the event starts which I’ll be playing. This time I was in a rush to build lists after a last-minute trip to the supermarket so I decided that since I was playing the Protectorate in the Call to Arms league I’d go ahead and play Legion for this event. So to cut down time even more I decided my first list would be the one I used in the local Stampede! event.
I knew I either wanted to run Thagrosh or Lylyth for my second list and decided to go with Thagrosh, the warlock I was more comfortable with.
- Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight
- Blighted Archers x9
- Blighted Swordsmen x9
I had gotten used to the first list and was rather comfortable with it, which is part of the reason why I wound up running it all day. The Thagrosh list looked to be a little more rounded but I enjoy using the Angelius and Raptors – not to mention Saeryn – so much that I stuck with them all day.
In addition to the Foodmachine rules for spending cans, we continued the tradition of having a trio of new “for fun” scenarios celebrating the season and the event. Each round featured a different gimmick and we played past assassination, letting VPs determine the winner of each round. However a player had to win by 3 VPs – if there wasn’t a 3 VP spread after the end of the last round, another was played. This definitely wasn’t something that would have worked at a more competitive events but everyone kept with the spirit of the day and made sure to play out any tiebreaker rounds (which there were only a few) as quickly as possible.
Round 1: The Obelisk
The first round of Foodmachine St. Louis 2007 was an ode to the oft-maligned Cream Corn. Each table had a strange cylindrical yellow obelisk placed at the center. Any warlock/warcaster who had the obelisk in their control area during their control phase could pull an extra d6 focus/fury that turn – warcasters would simply generate the Focus while warlocks could either leech it if it was available or just generate it freely, like Thagrosh’s Athanc.
If the opposing warlock/warcaster had the obelisk in their control area as well they could contest the focus/fury draw. Both warlocks/warcasters would roll a d6, and the higher roll would immediately gain d6 focus/fury, even if it wasn’t their turn. However if the rolls were tied both warcasters/warlocks immediately suffered a POW 12 Slam directly away from the Obelisk.
The randomness of this scenario made it a ton of fun. Although the first round I was able to generate Fury uncontested (Saeryn’s 14″ Control Area reached the center of the table while Stryker’s 12″ Control Area did not), after that the threat of the slam – which actually did happen at the bottom of turn 2 – was always a danger.
As mentioned above my opponent brought Stryker to the table, fielding the following list:
- Junior Warcaster
- Field Mechanics
- Stormsmiths x3
Given that only 3 of the 11 models in my list were on small bases, the Hunters were going to have to be something I payed close attention to. By going first I was able to move up field quickly using the forests and the obelisk as cover to get into position for a round 2 charge from the Raptors. Even though a couple Arcane Bolts had killed one at the bottom of round 1, two were able to destroy the Lancer (after the Seraph missed) before using their post-action move to engage the marshaled Hunter. That jack could destroy the Raptor with a boosted to hit roll, but I rather sacrifice one in melee than lose the leader to an armor-piercing round.
I knew I needed to use my speed to keep away from the Arcane Shielded Ironclad but after a tie on the focus-roll slammed both casters back, doing only 4 points to Saeryn but 8 to Stryker, I decided to try to render it inert by going for the caster. Stryker had stood up after the slam and advanced, but had run out of focus. I was able to get 2 Raptors on him on the charge and they finished him off. After that it was just a matter of time against his casterless forces.
Round 2: Food Drive
The second round of our Foodmachine event featured a twist on the standard Killing Fields scenario. Instead of spreading out three control points along the center of the table, three piles of five counters were placed spaced out along the center line. Each counter represented foodstuffs which the opposing armies were trying to collect. For each unit of foodstuff brought back to a player’s deployment zone, that player would gain 1 extra VP.
A model could sacrifices its action to pick up a foodstuff (a warrior model could carry a single foodstuff while beasts and jacks could carry two) and once carrying one he could advance, run, or attack normally, but could not charge, slam, or trample without dropping it. If a model carrying a foodstuff was knocked down, or if a beast carrying a foodstuff frenzied, the model would be forced to drop any foodstuff it was carrying. Whenever a model dropped its foodstuff, the counter would scatter d3″ away from him using the scatter template.
This round I fought my round one opponent’s brother who brought a Magnus’ Agenda force with him.
- Renegade x2
As much as the Legion army relied on its high Defense to help protect it, if my forces got knocked down by the Renegades’ Obliterater rockets I was in for some trouble. To that end I decided my first goal was to try to take those out as quickly as possible. After we both spent a turn running forward, Saeryn’s feat turn let the Angelius take out one Renegade’s rocket and movement with a lucky Thrust attack and two Raptors wrecked the other Renegade. Strafe plus Blight Bringer made the Trenchers run as well.
My opponent used his feat to pull his forces back without giving up free strikes (from the Raptors, Nephilim, and Angelius that had engaged his heavies) so he could shoot and charge next round, so I fell back as well and started taking food back to my deployment zone. A couple turns later the game ended and my foodstuffs combined with and jack and trencher kills gave me the win.
Round 3: Football
After everyone had finished stocking up on foodstuffs it was time to break out the Grinder for an old fashioned game of Football. Each table had a Grinder placed at its center, and an army would score 3 VPs if it could get the Grinder completely within their opponent’s deployment zone. Instead of the rules for controlling the Grinder in the Grind rule set, we used a simple ball-moving mechanic. In addition to being thrown or slammed (and treated like a larger than large sized base for both), any model could push the Grinder. Small-based models could push it at 1/2 speed and medium- and large-based models could push it at full speed.
This round I was finally paired up against a my first (and as it turned out only) Hordes opponent of the day – a Skorne force led by Hexeris.
- Lord Tyrant Hexeris
- Cyclopse Savage x2
- Ancestral Guardian x2
- Cataphract Arcuarii x6
- Praetorian Swordsmen x6
- Praetorian Venators x6
I won the initiative roll and elected to go first, which quickly revealed how cheesy light cavalry were going to be this game. Their first move put them in contact with the football and with an 18″ move they were guaranteed to score a goal in another turn, two if they swung wide to avoid the Praetorian Swordsmen.
Most of the game was spent with the Seraph and Angelius picking off Death Marched Acruarii from over 5″ away and Saeryn keeping them debuffed with Breath Stealer. The Venators CRA’ed the Nephilim and the Seraph but the Forsaken sent them running in terror after a couple rounds. The Raptors worked the ball away from the Praetorian Swordsmen and in for a goal but also used bow and sword to take the unit out, netting 5 VPs on their own. Although I wasn’t able to get to Hexeris, the Savages, Ancestral Guardians, and Swordsmen were all dead and I had scored a single goal, putting me over the top on VPs for the win.
Round 4: Assassins (Tiebreaker)
After three rounds it was getting late and there were only two undefeated players left and the rest of the placings had already been decided. So while I faced off against the Protectorate player in the finals everyone else was given the option of playing for fun, getting some league games in, or just heading out. Looking at my opponent’s army, I was already feeling like I was in trouble.
- The High Reclaimer
- Knight Exemplar Seneschal
- Wrack x3
- Holy Zealots x10
- Monolith Bearer
- Holy Zealots x10
- Knights Exemplar
Twenty firebombs, a handful of weaponmasters, and Vilmon. Compared to the 11 models in my whole army, I knew those AOEs were going to chew me up. On the bright side we both came to the table with roughly the same number of cans of food left to donate, which meant the game wouldn’t just be decided on re-rolls.
I spent the first couple rounds advancing the circling away from the flank he had put both the Monolith Bearer and the Knights Exemplar on, picking off what I could with bow and dragon breath. My opponent knew I had the speed to keep flanking him so he gambled and decided to try to bait me. He left the High Reclaimer and a Devout around 14″ back from my lines and surrounded in smoke, with a little room to get line of sight to them.
With half the Zealots being Greater Destinied that turn I didn’t have much of a choice and decided to go for it. The Raptors advanaced and shot some of the non-GD zealots to make a bigger hole, then fell back out of the way. The Seraph moved up and Slipstreamed the Nephilim closer, then Saeryn feated (covering the entire army), advanced, slipstreamed the Angelius, and cast Massacre on both beasts.
The Nephilim made it to the High Reclaimer, Saeryn’s feat stopping the Devout’s defensive strike before it could be made. The Nephilim got one good attack on the Reclaimer, bringing him down to half life. Then the Angelius charged, killing a Zealot to trigger Massacre and Ravenous to move into position to hit the High Reclaimer with his free extra attack. I only needed a 8 to hit but boosted, hoping to roll so high that forcing a re-roll wouldn’t be worth it. I did, and then boosted the damage. The game became a ballet of can-donating.
“I killed him.”
Can. Reroll. “He’s alive.”
Can. Reroll. “No he’s not.”
Can. Can. Reroll. “Yes he is.”
Can. Can. Reroll. “No, he’s not.”
This went on until my opponent had run out of cans and I was left with two – not enough to buy another reroll. My last damage roll had left the High Reclaimer with a single point of health left, but the Angelius still could still be forced two more times.
Buy. Boost. Hit.
Victory for the Blight.
The Foodmachine event was a lot more fun than I had expected. I was worried that the can mechanic was going to cause some of the matches to devolve into a game of who donated more but that never happened. We raised a ton of cans for a local food pantry and had a good time doing it – not a whole lot more you could ask for out of the day
The store owners were walking around throughout the day taking pictures. You can find them all here.