Defending the Gate 2012: Debrief

Only three weeks late…

Who went? How’d it go?

1 comment to Defending the Gate 2012: Debrief

  • Gawin

    There were two types of scenarios that we ran at DtG, one which I will refer to as the Crystal Scar and the other that I’ll refer to as Rugby (with swords). Teams were selected with the previously mentioned (here and on rapiernet) method of lining everyone up and having them step forward for a list of melee achievements. This method seemed to create some fairly well balanced teams.

    The Crystal Scar:

    The field was a loop of paths in the woods. Dante placed 5 flags approx evenly spaced around the loop with a resurrection point between each set of flags (5 flags, 5 rez points). The rez points could be used by either team. Control of a flag was carried out by having someone hold your team’s color into the air. The victory condition was to have one team hold all 5 flags simultaneously.

    The battle made for pretty decent amount of fighting in small (3-4 fighters) groups, but nobody completed the victory condition. Teams got close on several occasions (held 4 flags) but never all 5. There were about 15 fencers/team, so obviously taking flag 5 would have been a 15 vs 11 fight assuming only 1 fighter at each of the other flags. To further complicate this, communication was difficult, as the central area was nigh impassable and visibility to the rest of the field was non-existent. Dante commented that night that the teams seemed to be fighting to not lose rather than to win. I think the design of the scenario led to fighters being scattered around the field in small groups for whom “capture all the flags” isn’t a realistic goal, while “make sure I’ve got my flag (or one of the nearby flags)” is.

    For example, our team’s plan was to form pairs and for each pair to attack one of the 5 flags, leaving a few fighters to be a roaming goon squad. I was paired with Vittoria and I chose to go after flag 3 (based on my pre-knowledge of the field, flag 3 was positioned next to some downed brush, making it approachable from only one side). We started at the rez point between 2 and 3, but quickly discovered that the other team had sent 3 fighters to take flag 3 (Alric, Tassin, some other guy) and 3 (Lily, a northern FS whose name I forget (Robert?) and ?) to take flag 2. At lay on, it quickly became apparent that nobody on our team was even trying to take flag 2. We captured 2 and 3 several times, but each time, they were able to send 4 fighters to retake our flag while leaving 2 to guard the other. From a strategic standpoint, we were operating on the basis of attempting to deny them one of the flags as much as possible. Rejoining our team didn’t really make sense, as the two of us were effectively occupying >1/3 of the other team (and some of their heavy hitters) by threatening those two flags.

    The two adjustments I’d make to the scenario:
    1) There wasn’t really any momentum, which resulted in the battle lasting for an hour and left some newer fencers hanging out holding one of the flags (4) for like half the battle without really getting to fight anybody. Because the rez points were so close to the action, there wasn’t really a tangible benefit of killing anybody, as they had to walk maybe 15 ft to rez and come back. Having a rez point for each team located outside the loop (like the real Crystal Scar) would have helped with this I think.
    2) As mentioned above, with 15 fencers/team, a sizable chunk of the team was busy holding onto flags. Perhaps the number of flags should be reduced for the number of fencers, or not require constant possesion. I think not requiring someone to actively hold onto the flag would have allowed more fighters to get to fight more.

    Rugby (with swords)
    We fought this in the power cut that leads up to the parking lot. There were two endzones with rez points at the back end. There was a stuffed “egg” that was used as a ball. No forward passing was allowed, if the ball touched the ground or the carrier was killed, possession was transferred to the other team. The battle was fought with single swords only. The ball carrier was not allowed to run.

    The starting positions of the battle were determined by a “champions fight” which Alan won for our team, but then we promptly chose to fight *facing* into the sun (which was at a low enough angle to actually be a problem). It took a little while for the teams to figure out that they needed to provide a screen to move the egg up field and actually advance rather than fight in a line across the middle of the field. There were lots of turnovers. The other team scored once and then we didn’t manage to score before we ended. There was also some fairly poor calibration, which I’d wager was due to the melee being a “momentum game”, people being used to having an off-handed device to protect themselves from having several sword pointed at them, and fighters simply being tired by that point in the day.

    The rugby (with swords) was fun, but honestly not a terribly stand-out scenario in my mind. It might have been best to play Rugby first for better calibration and to build a little bit of teamwork, communication before going into the woods.

    All in all, it was a good event. Dante came up with some interesting scenarios and I got a lot of fighting in. The team selection method seemed to prevent the problems that were present in the NUtT teams and isn’t terribly complicated. The Crystal Scar was a lot of fun and really introduces some novel melee situations that we don’t usually see. It really broke up the usual “two rez points with three flags across the center of the field” concept.

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