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Crash the Boards 2 - Boards without Risk

Crash the Boards 2 -  Boards without Risk

Hello again folks, and apologies for the time between posts. Making regular time for a blog is hard. And that’s before Imperial Knights and the Ashes keep me up way past my bedtime.

Anyway, welcome back to the second part of my special on Boards and suggested deployments for Zarbag’s Gitz. In part one I looked at the six boards that contained lethal hexes. Lethal Hexes have turned from inconvenience to resource since the printing of Calculated Risk some months ago; and if you’re running that card, you probably need to limit yourself to those six boards*. If you aren’t running Calculated Risk, you can cast your eyes a bit wider. Not a lot wider, mind you.  It’s something of a curiosity, but Boards appear to be as susceptible to power creep as power deck cards, objectives or fighter cards, and I suspect that even if you’re not playing Calculated Risk, there will be a number of times where you’ll select Boards with lethal hexes anyway.

*If you win the roll and your opponent places a board with a lethal hex, you could gamble and drop a board without one, but I’m not sure this is wise.  Perhaps if you absolutely need to take The Soul Refractor.

 Without further ado, let’s conclude this look into the remaining Boards for Season 1&2 just in time for Beastgrave to dump another 4 on us. Sigh. I’m feeling like Sisyphus, but instead of a boulder, I’m pushing a little stack of cardboard rectangles..

Shyishian Stardial.
Description:  Two pairs of adjacent starting hexes and a somewhat central blob of three blocked hexes. The inherent uselessness of a sundial that's meant to work at night makes this worthy of the title Renovator's Dream. 

The starting hex nestled in the blob makes for a  good hiding place for a Tome carrier. Two pairs of adjacent starting hexes gives some options to lever Scurry. Longboarding gives 4 Hidden Paths capable starting hexes, and no-one on the front line
The blob is going to be annoying. If you play Gitz like I do, you’ll place a premium on the ability to move laterally. Starting hexes are somewhat dispersed, especially when the blob is factored in. Lastly, if you get squared up, at least two of your fighters will be on the line of scrimmage (to borrow a Bloodbowl reference), which isn’t really where Gitz want to be (also true in Bloodbowl). 

Suggested Set-up:

Here I’ve assumed you’ve lost the roll, mostly as it’s one of least bad options among these six boards.

Drizgit is pretty key here, adding some disincentive to rush Snirk and Stikkit; Gobbaluk is also in position to charge anyone who gets into Range one of Dibbz and Prog.  Zarbag can either stay reasonably safe for a while or sally out and try to get that Cleave working , depending on the matchup. Snirk is in position to be either
Shadowed Stepped or Hidden Path’d into the fight.
Verdict: Solid if you get to place the board, tolerable if you don’t 3/7 Starting Hexes.

Soul Refractor
Description:  A trio of blocked hexes. One set of adjacent hexes.  Starting hexes in 3 of 4 corners.  Ideal as a weekend getaway or Post-Brexit fallout shelter. 

The lethal hexes will seriously cramp the style of Thundrik’s Profiteers and Farstriders. Also gives protection to anyone stood on an objective in or around the triangle.  This is a board that I would keep in the kitbag even when playing Calculated Risk, it’s just that handy against ranged warbands. 
Blocked hexes again hamper lateral movement/redeployment, as well as objective placement. Dispersed starting hexes gives minimal opportunity to use Scurry out of the gate.    

Suggested Set-up:

I’ve again assumed I’ve lost the roll, and as such have set it up in the worst configuration I could think of.  Drizgit shields Snirk while allowing Bonekrakka to support Prog (a bit),  and leaving Gobbaluk able to sally out to the midline if needed.  Redcap and Stikkit have something of a paddock ahead of them to fire arrows into. Zarbag or Prog can use Hidden Paths if needed.

Picking this board when you win the roll is a strong option too. Being able to point the two 'horns' of the triangle at them, while shielding all but one of your fighters, is money. If you get the opportunity, this can be a good one versus Godsworn, who'll try to flank

Verdict: A definite ‘horses for courses’ Board. If you see Farstriders, Profiteers or Mollog, strongly consider. 6/7 Starting Hexes.

The Cursed Oubliette*
Description:  7 starting hexes on a board with absolutely nothing else on it.  Two starting hexes are even next to each other.  Plenty of grazing land for stock.

Nothing to interrupt a wild ramble through your own territory.  A concentration of hexes in the middle gives you a solid position to work from. No ineligible hexes (apart from the standard 7) means you can toss objective tokens around like so much confetti.  Snirk can spin to his heart’s content. 

3 Activations into Shadespire and Chill, and Snirk gives you this look..

Limited option to Scurry in round 1. Nothing to hide behind.
Suggested Set-up:
Assuming a lost roll, I’m quite happy to hand over this board.  Drizgit is Snirk’s bodyguard yet again, while Prog and Zarbag loiter for Hidden Paths or Faneway Crystal.  All of the archers are in good position to attack without needing to charge.

Verdict: Concentrated hexes and plenty of options for placing three objectives without putting too many guys at immediate risk make The Cursed Oubliette a good choice for when you lose the roll. 4.5/7 Starting Hexes.

* I’m sitting here feeling inordinately smug about being able to touch type ‘Oubliette’ correctly first try. Blog goals.

The Mirror Well
Description:   Another 7 starting hexes on a board with absolutely nothing else on it.  Two pairs of adjacent starting hexes. Hot-tub and Entertaining Area.

Again, all the comforts of an empty board, but this time with two pairs of scurry friendly adjacent starting hexes.  All hexes relatively close together.
Nothing to hide behind. 
Suggested Set-up:
This can be very good if you win. An offset deployment allows most of your fighters to sit reasonably far back from the enemy, while still having lots of room for objectives and decent scurry opportunities.

Verdict: Simple but highly effective. 

5/7 Starting Hexes.

The Shattered Tower
Description:   Who shattered the Tower? I bet it was Dibbz. Another 7 starting hexes on a board with absolutely nothing else on it.  Two pairs of adjacent starting hexes.

Great potential for defensive play. The chokepoint that can be created is among the tightest possible. This can be made even tighter, by using the set-up below, but switching the positions of Drizgit and Stikkit. Enabling you to fill out the wall with Squigs; which are a sustainable building material. So there's that.
Very limited Scurry options, you may also struggle to find enough decent spots for objectives if you're forced to place 3 (for that reason I'd not suggest it as a reaction Board)
Suggested Set-up:

It's that time again, where I troll MAGA folk by using their chant, but we really are going for building a wall. Dibbz and Prog are the unlucky ones as they so often are. If you're fighting against Mollog, I'd consider throwing Zarbag to the wolves, and switching him with Prog. Using Zarbag as a front man is something I've been meaning to try, basically to lever his extra wound and his extra starting defence. I'll get back to you with how it works out. 
Snirk has ploy options to get into the fight, so his position shouldn't seem so unreasonable,  but even if you can't find any of those, a scurry and then a reasonable spin and he's in the thick of things anyway. 

Verdict: Very good at what it does. If it had a lethal hex, I'd be all over this thing. 

5/7 Starting Hexes.

Katophrane's Reliquary 
Description:   The OG Aggro Board. (Yet) Another 7 starting hexes on a Board with absolutely nothing else on it.  Quiet neighbourhood is putting it mildly. 
To be Frank, there's not a lot here for us. As an offset board, it seems decent enough, but then so many others are. You've got the natural bonuses of a blank board - unimpeded movement and objective placing options, but overall, it seems just a bit bland.
Exactly what attracts Aggro warbands (eg, large numbers of starting hexes close to the edges), makes it unattractive for us to use unless we can choose the orientation.

Suggested Set-up:

Here I've made a wonderfully tight little ball in the middle of the park. Not entirely by design, but by way of the starting hexes falling the way they did. A more cautious set up might be to switch Dibbz and Drizgit, but I feel that leaves Snirk a little exposed. Otherwise, a fairly standard setup pattern for me - Dispersed archers, protected power pieces, Prog questioning his relevance, and Dibbz questioning his choices...

Verdict: Not much to see here. Literally and figuratively.
2/7 Starting Hexes.

Overall, as I mentioned earlier, if you're taking Calculated Risk you probably not going to take any of these too often; but there are some instances where missing out on scoring that one objective could be worth the cost. The Shattered Tower and The Soul Refractor both strike me as boards that have utility, and I would certainly consider them.

If you're not taking Calculated Risk, you might still want to read over the boards in Article 1, as they do seem to have a little more potency generally. Shysician Stardial and The Mirror Well have promise as fairly generic boards.

Avoid the Katophrane's Reliquary 

So that's all for the whistle-stop tour of the available real-estate in the thrumming metropolis of Nightvault and the tumbleweed filled suburbs of Shadespire. Hopefully quite soon I'll be back with Part 3 -  a cheat sheet for which boards I'd use when.

Till then, keep piling up that glory, and may the English wickets tumble mightily and often!




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