A Confrontation Interlude

For those of you who may not be aware, Confrontation was (is?) a skirmish game created by Rackham Miniatures, a French company, created for their line of fantasy miniatures.

Rackham minis are by far my favorite - they put everything else to shame.  That said, there are more and more start-ups all the time producing really awesome stuff, including the designers that made Rackham so great.

Confrontation was a religion around here.  It was, and still is (not bad for a dead game, no?) the all-time favorite game for such Strictly Average notables as the Master Manipulator (every store needs one), Little Barrera, and Evil Homer.

So how come I hated it?

(The Gravedigger, and Warrior-Priest for the Undead faction.  Sorry for the blurry pic, but 5 years ago this was widely considered the best miniature I ever painted.  I think I can do better now, but that's probably a matter of opinion.)

I can admit it now: I hated Confrontation.  I didn't enjoy it at all.

I tried to like it, but I played it out of a sense of loyalty to my store.  If that was the game being played, I tried to support the community by playing it as well.  That meant losing 10 bucks each month in our local tournaments, but whatever.

So now we're at a bit of a stall in our local gaming area.  We just spent 6 months playing high-level 40K practicing for Hard Boyz, and then most of us couldn't go because GW scheduled it on the Saturday of college graduation.  That was a let down, let me tell you.  So we're tired of 40K, for the nonce, and there is no point playing Warhammer Fantasy with a new edition right around the corner.  So everyone is looking for something to do for 2 months; thus, Confrontation was broken out again.

I can understand the impulse.  You should see Little Barrera's game room - it's like a shrine to the game.  It's crazy.  It also turns out we were both Ebay bidding for the same miniature, which he won.  I hope I ran the price up on him.

Dutifully, I tried to get excited about the game.  I went to the store last Friday and played Evil Homer...

...and promptly got my teeth kicked in.  I didn't enjoy the game at all.  It was time to either give up or try to understand why.

I spent that Sunday relaxing, with plenty of time to pour over the books and cards.  (For those of you who remember, my Sundays are terrible affairs.  My wife likes to be left the hell alone to unwind, so I'm sent packing to my brothers or my gameroom.  It's a hard life.

Anyway, by the time Evil Homer sent me an email on Monday to touch base with me about the previous butt-kicking, I'd pretty much analyzed what had happened.  Here was my response:

It's not you mate, it was me.  You're playing like you always do, which is at a high level.  It's why I call you my nemesis in 40K, because win or lose you're always my toughest challenge.  I really enjoy that.

In Con though, there's a twofold problem.  The first is I'm not at your level of expertise, and the second is I've not ever really hit my stride with the game.

That said, I did learn quite a bit from Friday's game.  I've been thinking about it all weekend and I came to this conclusion:

1) I've never really tried to excel at Con.  I'd just put together a list and play.  I wouldn't do that with 40K, so I'm not sure why I expected it to work in Con.

2) I needed to put some effort in to more than painting the models.  I needed a strategy and some tactics.

I've spent all weekend studying my book and cards.  I've got 3 different army lists to try out, each with a plan of action.

I'm excited about playing the game now.  My expectations were off on Friday - how was I going to have fun with a bang-together list?

Do you see how that applies to any game in our hobby?  I know most of my readers are here because of 40K, so let's relate it to that.

How much of this Fluff vs Competitive stuff we read about on Ye Ol' Blogosphere have to do with assumed expectations?

One player is setting down for a friendly game with a thrown together list of his favorite models while the other is testing a tournament list he plans to take to the next big event...

...someone's going to be crying in the bathroom with no one to console him, while the other someone's going to feel bad about clubbing a baby seal.

Unreasonable Expectations.  Get that tattooed on your belly as a reminder that most hurt feelings anywhere happened because one two-legged mammal was needlessly thoughtless towards another two-legged mammal.  Your big brain developed as a response to social pressure, does it shrink when you fail to use it to solve such?

I played a game of Confrontation over at Little Barrera's house last night.  I had a blast.


Master Manipulator (every store needs one) said...

I am glad you had a blast during the game last night. There was some great stuff there.

I really do love Confrontation. There are not many other games I have played where specific games or tournaments stick in my head like Confrontation.

Chumbalaya said...

I've never even heard on Confrontation, though I have heard of Rackham. Nice minis, I didn't know there was a game for it.

Expectations are a big factor of how you're going to enjoy a game. Talking it over beforehand solves a lot of potential problems.

Venerable said...

Can you still get the minis anywhere easily?
I've seen a couple of Confrontation posts in the blogosphere recently and have been impressed with the mini's I've seen...

Sorry I know thats not really what the post is about!

Brent said...

Venerable: no worries at all, always happy to help.

Ebay is a big source, and a French site called Ludik's Bazar (google it!) as well.

The old book is really tough to get, but I'm sure a PDF is floating out there.


Master Manipulator (every store needs one) said...

If you dig around a bit there is quite a bit of info out there.

Ebay and Ludik bazar are good sources for minis. Also check out www.confsden.com. They have a lot of the info there. I think there may even be a halfway decent scan of the rulebook there.

There is a small community of the old schoolers at www.dragonpainting.net, as well as the occasional bit of talk on www.conf-federation.org.uk/forum/index.php.

For those that want a quick summary. The game was a nicely detailed skirmish level game. Most of the game rolls were interactive (ie contested rolls) with the individual HtH combats having a additional type of strategy separate from the normal manuvering/shooting stuff. Lots of skills and unlike some games a single skill point can really make a difference.

Hope that helps.

Master Manipulator (every store needs one) said...

Oh..and as a side. Some of their early early stuff is ehh, but the later stuff is some of the best minis I have seen at 28mm scale. Toss that on top of a fairly solid rule set and it equals uber win.

Fleahost said...

So is Friday a Con game night? Is thetre room for me? I am trying to unload my con models and maybe you guys can take a look see. I think I can scare up the old book too. Let me know.

Brent said...

You're always welcome, sir. I have no doubt someone will be interested - didn't Mike post that he'd buy them?

Master Manipulator (every store needs one) said...

I know Mike wanted it. If you want to bring it down I could probably find a home for what you got.

Master Manipulator (every store needs one) said...

Or if want to email me a list I can set something up for you.

Evil Homer said...

Confrontation. Best game ever. Tactical depth, great models, more options than you can shake a stick at, enough factions to support any kind of play style.

Evil Homer said...

Oh, alot of times you can find lots on Bartertown in the misc. fantasy section.

Keep watching they come up fairly frequently.

Evil Homer said...

I actually thought your Black Paladins were much better. Certainly your best paint job of the time.

Brent said...

Well I'll just show that off too!

I've got a blog in the pipe for later today; I'm giving thanks for my adoring public...

Master Manipulator (every store needs one) said...

Yeah they were both solid models. I really have to tell ya though, the quality of Rackham's models helps to bring out the best in painters. I am not sure if it has to do with folks not wanting to screw up a good looking mini or if it has to do with quality of canvas.

I tend to lean towards the second. Not saying anything about your painting ability, but a really nice figure is a lot easier to make look great.

Evil Homer said...

Bye the way, I am continuing to cast for that board we are talking about building. I have cast about 25% of the necessary floor tiles and continue to toil away.

If we can build something from for these skirmish games then great. Almost out of plaster though. Will have to order more.

Gauthic said...

Ok I got my stuff out of my hot garage, thanks a lot, mm(esno) :P


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