Sunday, 30 December 2012

December 2012 - My Malifaux Roundup

December has rolled around far, far to quick this year. I started a contract in April and it seriously ate into my home life, but now as that comes to a close, I suddenly find myself with a lot more free time and a hankering to get some serious Malifaux time in.

That all said a glut of mince pies and time with my family has left this blog a bit neglected in the last couple of weeks, something ill now remedy...

So how did my goal setting for December turn out?

Achievement - Unlocked - Get Kirai crew dispatched to my commission painter

Ok so it was little more than a bit of packaging but its still an important milestone to have finally gotten this one off in the post.

The good news is my crew survived the trek accross Auz and are now in the hands of luke from The Sound of Machines commission painting service. Luke hasn't really started on these yet, but he's established a folder on his Facebook page where WIP shots will be unveiled. Link below:

TSOM Kirai Album

Achievement - Unlocked - Get Nicodem crew assembled
With Kirai out of the way, I turned my sights to my next Resser master, Nicodem. This would have been a relatively small group to upscale my existing minions up, if it wasn't for the need for so many zombies. In the end, I ended up assembling:

Alt Nicodem
Avatar Nicodem
3 x Punk zombies
3 x Necro punks

I still have mindless zombies to make up, I'll do the three official ones, so I'm tournament prepared, but I'll probably end up sourcing another 9 or so, so that I can hoard it up if required.

Achievement - Unlocked - Get Starter Crew Assembled
The recent activity at KRAGS around stated crews and intro games has left me needing a starter crew I can hand to whoever I'm teaching

I rummaged through my pile of shame and decided to sell on the Kaeris boxed set and Iggy to one of the guys at the club, which left me a solid Victorias crew to use as a starter set. I've alway liked the Vicks, they can deal out and absorb a serious amount of damage and there's no denying having two masters can be better than one.

I managed to get assembled the Vickies boxed set, some Ronin and my student of conflict. I'm having real troubles pinning my sword Vicky, but I'm still calling this achievement since they've now seen one game. This might be the first crew I paint myself as I only intend to use it for demos.

Achievement - Locked - Get two brawl sized games in
Not a chance, and I'm worried a about that as there's one brawl as part of the Cancon tournament and I really need to decide which masters ill be taking to that. I need to get some brawls in January to standard chance at being ready.

Achievement - Unlocked - Get 2013 Malifaux Inter Club off the ground
Faux Pas is an interclub league we have going between the KRAGS and Outpost South. The intention is to bring the relatively small groups at each club together through a year of events aimed at rebuilding the Malifaux community.

Achievement - Locked - Get Crystal Canyons board completed
With the best will in the world I planned to get this one completed over my Xmas break and I probably still will, it just won't be before the end of December. We're having something of heat wave and I admit I've done little to nothing on this project. I need to get going on this one as its needed for the inter club at the start of February!

Surprise Faux for December
And then there were the surprised that a month of Malifaux normally brings. I mentioned earlier in the month two kickstarters that any Malifaux fan would want to get in on, sadly the one I backed didn't make to the finish line, something I'd attribute to the timing rather than the quality of the product. Gears and Games promises to return in February with a better mix of products and some more mainstream offerings, I hope they do as I really want some of their boards but I guess time will tell. I continue to resist the Wyrd Through the Breech Kickstarter, more for the sake of my marriage, which just won't tolerate another RPG in my schedule. Lets see if I manage to resist that temptation.

Then there was the release of Yan Lo and Lucas, which just bypassed my defences and had me splurging with 30 minutes of receiving word of their early release.

Lastly on the night before Xmas, as not a soul in the house stirred came the mail from Wyrd that made my Xmas - VassalFaux had been born into the world and with it a promise of brighter future. I'll be dedicating a few blog to that particular addition in the near future.

So what's next?
So what does January hold? Well a whole lot of games that's for sure! I am taking part in a summer campaign organised by our local henchman and this time I'll be packing Kirai.

I'm also flying to Canberra to play against the east coast boys and some of the best talent we have in Australia, and of course I'll be cramming like mad with my Malifaux rule book every chance I get, to ensure that I meet my objective from that tourney. My aim is simple - don't come last.... Sounds simple, but Seamus hasn't been good to me so far, or maybe its just that I'm still learning and most of my opponents have been playing for years, maybe it's the cards. Whatever it is, this is one Ressurectionist, who aspires to be better, and who has hopefully done enough practice and theory hammering to step up his game, just a notch.

Keep your Aethervox tuned in to see how I do.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Back to Basics - Teaching Someone Malifaux

Its been a quiet week on the blog front because I was delivering a project for work. It's all done and dusted now, and I spent my weekend just recovering from the exhaustion and stress that accompanied getting such a grand scale undertaking across the line.

But anyway, normal service will resume this week with a couple of posts I have planned. I'm playing our local henchman tomorrow night, so a bat rep will be available later in the week, but first I wanted to talk about getting back to basics, and how refreshing it can be to teach someone new the game.

Last Friday at KRAGS, I was about to sit down and hammer out a game against Mr Neverborn when a lady came wandering into our club wanting to learn more about a game called MaliFolk. Now trying to contain our amazement, Jon and I proceeded to offer up a seat for her and another new guy who was looking a bit lost. We threw down Raspy and Seamus in a 15 soulstone game that took most of the night but won us some new gamers and them a good understanding of the rules.

As I reflect, it's interesting that both Jon and I learnt something new about each of our crews, but I'll come to that, what I wanted to start with is how I went about explaining the game and I'll be researching other posts to see if anyone has tips on training someone new. Why am I writing this? Well I've always found that some people just don't know where to start when trying to explain a game to someone new. They often make the mistake of diving to deep, to quickly, when in reality, the person you're teaching wants two things from their first game, an introduction and a good time.

I'm not saying I have this down pat, I've only taught a few people this game but I do think its worth talking about, so where to start.

I start by asking a simple question - is this the first time you've played a something like this? From that you can immediately glisten the persons experience, and comfort levels. Someone new to the hobby will need an entirely different approach to someone porting from another system and its that first response that gets people opening up, you learn what they have played before, what they like and dislike, and quite often they'll tell you why they are interested in Malifaux.

Lets talk about the person completely new to the scene first. Quite often they find Malifaux because of iconography or budget, or maybe a mixture of both. I start by explaining a little about how the game plays, then the history of malifaux and finally (and this is one I got from Jon), why it is they are fighting.

It's also good to reference systems or concepts they might be familiar with, likening totems to familiars or the backstory of a particular crew to something they might recognise in recent culture or other systems.

Then inevitably comes a bit about budget, what's it going to cost to get into the game, and here you can compare Faux to other systems, where the entry point might be 3-5 times that of a starter crew and a few addons.

Then comes the points where you can invite them to the table. Always sit them down and let them play, rather than spectate. You get far more enjoyment and buy in from a new player by letting them play, this isn't much of a spectator sport after all, particularly if you don't know what's going on.

Once at the table I pull out some of the simpler crews available, no minions above 6 soulstones and keep it to 15-20 soulstones as an absolute maximum sized game.

This is the point where the two types of people converge and you can start to explain the different factions in a little detail, adding a little back story for the two crews.

I tend to play a variant of shared treasure hunt where it only takes one AP to pickup the treasure. I find is gives the non aggressive player something to focus on and the typical wargamer is happy because they can see their opponent coming towards them.

Next up I talk about the deck, show them the different suits and power levels. I always use the standard decks that have the power level printed on them, I think the person has enough to remember without working out the power level. Lastly you explain the jokers, for now just explain it as red very good, black very bad, no point going into the detail until necessary.

I'll then explain the basic characteristics of a character with both players before spending a brief amount of time one-on-one explaining some of the core abilities of the crew.

You'll be tempted to talk a lot more at this point but in reality you've probably talked enough and its time to get down to a game.

Setup a simple game of 15-20 soulstones and leave a couple of soulstones per master to play out the different was the can be used.

I go through the board and explain heights and cover type before the game starts but don't go into too much detail, we just need to note the height and types for them right now, we can get into the detail if they start to use the terrain.

Turn 1 cements deck handling and terminology, initiative, action points and movement. If, like me, you use treasure hunt then the new players will be focused on that objective and in reality little else, that's fine because it cements the fundamentals.

Turn 2 will usually see ranged combat, and by turn 3 someone is usually charging. That then just leaves the exceptions, using soulstones, willpower and counters. I never explain counters until they are used. I once saw a demo where the guy walked through every counter, it was like watching paint dry....

If you're playing the newbie then give them the game or make it a tight loss, don't go for the drubbing. If you have two at the table then a little friendly jostling is fine but let them work it out, offering tactical insights to the looser to help even the odds, should it need a helping hand.

And that essentially is it, except to say that training somebody new is often a revelation in its own right. In our demo game I saw Jon pick up on the Ice Gamin zero action bite of winter and how it combines with Decembers curse. Meanwhile the lady using my crew played the graveyard spirit much more aggressively than I would, causing six wounds over the game and sending him out to pick up that treasure when everything else was otherwise engaged.

Sometimes I guess it takes someone new to breakdown your preconceptions of how a game or character should be played.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Faux-Pas and Club Cooperation

One of the objectives I set myself for this month is to help in any way I can to build up the Malifaux community again. We've undergone some decline in numbers recently because of a general ramping up in the WarMachine and 40k scenes here. Couple this with the FIFO phenomenon (fly in, fly out - resources sector staff fly up to sites, work, then head home on alternating rosters) and it makes organising any events quite tricky.

There's another phenomenon though, one closer to our gaming hearts, which I call our hobby journeys. There's probably 400 gamers here in WA at any one time but what each of us is playing is influenced by so many things, what's going on in our local group, what's hot and not, what kick starters are going off, what's coming up in the tournament calendar and what we can each fit into our daily lives.

My point is that that the journey we start the year on, ,is rarely what we end the year on. This year alone I've gone through WHFB, board games, MTG and through it all there's of course been some Malifaux. Now multiply that up by the number of people in your local group or club and people you used to play week in, week out, you now play occasionally. Worse still for clubs is the issue of organising games. Someone will turn up with something new and either not get a game or could swing the meta towards that game instead. A club has to delicately balance the scales or people don't come back.

It's all about the journey, and how you find yourself at the same destination, albeit fleetingly, and how many others are there along side you. Yeah it's deep....

But anyway I was at the Skulls tournament a few weeks ago and the subject came up about how to promote the game again and get more involved. One of the guys from another local club suggested alternating a monthly malifaux night between our two clubs (Outpost South and Krags) and with a bit of positioning with our respective committees and buyin of our henchman, Faux-Pa was born.

The intention is to keep everyone on the same path by making sure there's something different about the game each month. It's alternated between the two clubs, so as not to favour one location or group, and each month is something different.

Hopefully this'll go someway towards building up the community again, only time will tell, but nonetheless I thought I'd share what we're trying here in case it can be of any use to you guys in promoting this awesome game in your neighbourhood.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Wyrd Birthday Sale & Insane Mornings

When the Wyrd newsletter appeared in my inbox this morning, I almost completely missed the contents, something I blame on the absence of coffee in my system. I usually download my mail, and whilst that's coming down the wire I wander off to my local forums. I was browsing what's new in the painting scene when my local henchman posted up about the sale. Yeah, yeah I thought, I'm getting to it, and then went and made myself a coffee.

As the caffeine seeped into my veins and my addled brain worked up to the state of barely functional, I got a text message. Someone was brave, most know to leave me alone that early in the morning.

"Did you order Yan Lo yet?" flashed at me from the screen. This got a confused look from me. That set isn't due to be out for months. Had I gone into hibernation - maybe missed summer in favour of few extra z's from the comfort of my mattress.

Slowly the realisation struck that something was different with the world this morning. I slurped my coffee and let my pre breakfast brain consider the possibilities. Hibernation, an alternate reality and some form of time dilation were considered, as was breakfast, and all the time my hand slowly and meticulously typed out a reply to the over zealous texter.

One word was all I could manage - "What" - I didn't even have the enthusiasm to add the question mark.

"Wyrd Sale - buy it, buy it, buy it now..." was the reply...

Alright let's have a look....

Wyrd is having a birthday sale... lots of oldies but goodies being re-released..... And then like lightening striking there it was... Yan Lo and Lucas McCabe released early.

And that's how I went from thinking I was making a dent on my pile of shame to hurtling into our bedroom, waking the wife (never a good idea) and sending beagles flying in an effort to get to my wallet.

JUST TAKE MY MONEY - just bill me already, now by some miracle of technology beam the order contents into my hands so I can tear open those boxes and ogle my latest plastic crack before it inevitably gets banished to my pile of shame.

My momentary insanity aside, I was left wondering what exactly the "sale" component was, before the more pressing thought that I'd run out of coffee overtook me.

And then the texter did it again....

"Have you seen the new Trek movie trailer yet". And the world moved two steps to the left and the insanity took me once again....

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Malifaux Battle Report - Seamus vs Jacob Lynch

Pre Game Amble
So last week at KRAGS, Mr Neverborn sidled over and asked me for a game vs his new crew. It could only be Jacob, since Mr Neverborn, like me, is a creature of habit. At the time we were seeing off some of our longest serving members and friends, and I was playing in an epic 8 way robo rally game (a great board game modelled on the tv series Robot Wars). We postponed a week, but here it finally is.

I've never won a game against Mr Neverborn and despite a weeks notice I hadn't had time to prepare (to much work ATM) so I dreamt up an all-comers list, which has a bit of everything, to see how various minions and traits do.

Strategies and Schemes
30ss core encounter
Standard deployment
Shared Distract
Stake a Claim

We both decided on identical schemes just to keep it simple whilst we brokn in this new crew.

Crew Selections

Seamus and Avatar
Madame Sybelle
Graveyard Spirit
Canine Remains
Crooked Man
Night Terror

6ss cache

Mr Neverborn
Jacob Lynch
2 x Illuminated
2 x Depleted
2 x Beckoners

4ss cache

Pre Game Theory
My pre game theory was going to be light. I knew nothing about Jacob or how he played, so I focused instead on my all comers list.

I'll drop a dog for a dead doxy or a belle as required.

I'll play face of death on Seamus in turns 1&2 to meet his manifest requirements and assess whether to avatar as the game develops.

I'll try out both the drowned and crooked man ranged spells to work out what is more effective, and try to get the drowned in close to see how effective his slow to die schinanigans can be against this particular crew.

The belle will sit in the backfield for some lure and I'll probably keep Sybelle linked with the spirit near Seamus on bodyguard detail.

I had heard I could expect some card management schinanigans, so I thought I'd keep my soul stone cache high, in case I need to offset a diminished control hand.

The Game
Turn 1
Jon won initiative and over three activations doubled walked up two Illuminated and Beckoner to the centre of the board. The Beckoner managed to give my Belle brilliance but it dissipated at the end of the turn. The rest of his crew took a circular route, with a depleted on each flank and Jacob sitting in back field trying some card management.

I just generally shuffled forward, linked Seamus to the spirit and maybe over reached Sybelle in her eagerness to get into a punch up with the illuminated. She was 2 inches in front of the rest of the minions but I figured I could launch her into combat next turn or see how well she stood up against the illuminated if they tried to charge her terrifying.

I kept Seamus in the backfield casting face of death and double walking. For good measure, I also put out trail of fear to extend his terrifying affects.

Turn 2
I wanted first turn but when I flipped a 2 and Jon flipped an 11, I saw no point trying to reflip. Using the Beckoner accompanying the Illuminated, Jon double lured in Madame Sybelle (12") and gave her brilliance. Not liking how this was going, I tried to call a belle for some reinforcement but failed, so instead I flurried Sybelle against the nearest illuminated. Well against defence 8, suffice it to say I only did 3 wounds and no triggers. Sybelle was looking very exposed.

Jon activated the two illuminated over the next two activations and before I knew it Sybelle was dead. In hindsight, maybe I should have gone defensive stance and focus called a belle, to put up a wall. I also forgot her terrifying ability, a stupid mistake. Sybelle only really went down because I had really poor cards and Jon had given her brilliance.

You can see at this point Jacob has just sat in the backfield cycling his cards and generally denying me mine.

Turn 3

Turn 3 and once again Jon wins the activation. The Beckoner this time turned her attention to my canine remains and despite some pretty good resist values that pooch was off and running towards her. He didn't get into range of her brilliance, which was something, but then Jon moved in his depleted in his second activation to stroke that pooch into an early grave. A disturbing scene...

In return my crooked man moved and placed a shafted marker, my belle then lured an illuminated on to it for 3 damage.

My drowned used a small thicket of trees for cover and hit the depleted on the other flank but couldn't damage him.

Seamus finally moved up and shoots the other illuminated for 4 damage. He then summons a belle into the melee range of a freshly moved up Lynch and goes avatar. I figured at the time I'd hold lynch in combat for a turn with the belle, long enough for Seamus to kill the illuminated and then go avatar on Jacob. It was a reasonable sound plan that almost worked...

Turn 4
Turn 4 and once again Jon got first activation. I was beginning to wonder if Lynch was manipulating my deck shuffling between rounds.

Activating Lynch first and then the depleted on the right flank, my summoned belle went down to a brilliance related slaughter. Her slow to die action lured the drowned in nearer to Lynch, a tactic I now realise I shouldn't have been able to do with the drowned special rules.

Avatar Seamus finished off the illuminated and decided that was the point to go after Jacob. I backed him into a corner, pulled out gargantuan growth and smacked him around a bit. I think I did 4 wounds and Jon had no soulstones left.

My night terror really should have taken off for my claim jump at this point but instead I charged a Beckoner hoping I could blind her and stop some of this lure madness that was going on. He got into contact but her defensive trigger put pay to my attacks and it began to look like this girl had a thing for animals, after first luring the dog in and now playing with the birdie.

The original belle and the crooked man went after the Beckoner and Illuminated Jon had sent towards his claim jump. I could see them slipping behind me so I tried to undress the illuminated to make the crooked mans job easier. It didn't work and my crooked man got a couple of lumps on the Illuminated but not enough to stop him getting into contact with his claim jump.

The drowned tried for rip tide twice on lynch and failed.

Jon moved up one of his depleted to occupy my belle, meaning I had only my crooked man free to move.

Turn 5
In the last turn of the night (it was getting on for 1am), lynch made his escape and treble walked clear into my deployment zone. His illuminated in contact with the claim jump moved round the building, putting some mortar between him and the crooked man.

I moved Seamus into contact with my claim jump, figuring at this point it would be a 6-4 loss to me.

In his two activations however Jon progressively lured Seamus away from the claim jump and then out of his half of the table using his Beckoners.

above:Seamus lured away by the pretty girls

Below: epic run by Jacob clear into my deployment zone and the illuminated hunkering down to avoid my crooked man.

The Result
Sum up & lessons learnt
8-0 loss to me, damn you Avatar Seamus for going after those pretty Beckoners! It seemed like a fitting end for him though, he does have a thing for the ladies....

What a game, there is nothing like going up against a new master! It's really challenging to go up against a crew you've never seen in action before. The result belies how tight the game was, it was only some last turn movement schnanigans by Jacob, an illuminated and a Beckoner that dropped the result from a 6-4 loss to me, to a straight 8-0, a painful lesson in turn 5 tactics. We didn't make it the full six turns, which makes me wonder what Seamus would have done with those gals.

I can't believe I lost every activation to straight flips. I missed two good opportunities to put some pain down on Lynch because I just couldn't get first turn. Then when I did get him in Avatar Seamus's melee range he skipped out of the big boys grasp like a bar of soap in the bath. He's certainly a slippery critter and there was me thinking I had him with Seamus's wicked ability. I'm wondering now if staying in normal form and using his No Escape ability would have stopped Jacob skipping out, I must find out if that ability applies to pushes.

On the whole I'm reasonably happy with the performance of my crew, but loosing Sybelle in turn 2 was a blow.

I won't be taking a single night terror again and particularly against this crew, it just didn't serve me well.

Next time I'd be tempted to try the canine remains Bette Noir combo on this crew, given its heavy reliance on luring and brilliancing things for the kill, having Bette pop up and knife whoever in the back might help combat things.

I'm not sure taking avatar Seamus was a good move, his lower willpower really didn't help the situation and those two soulstones saved could have helped with some resist duels. Nor was focusing so intently on Jacob, that guy knows how to duck and weave!

The drowned did well, his slow to die action literally doing 2 damage on 4 of Jons crew when he died and the anti lure that they would bring to the crew means those Beckoners can shake their booty but they wouldn't come a running.

Where I continue to struggle however is in summoning replacement belles. The lures kept me from dropping the dog and my control hand rarely included the high crow I needed to raise. As usual when I throw a stone at the rise, I failed, which just adds insult to injury.

Oh well, you live and learn - or not if you're a Resser.....

Monday, 3 December 2012

More spirits hit my assembly table

I was thinking I'd finish my Kirai crew assembly last month and get straight onto Nico. I've been hanging out to play punk zombies and Mortimer. I think they'll both pack a punch in my Seamus crew that's currently missing, but then I started looking at Kirai tactica and suddenly two more Gaki and 2 more night terrors were being purchased and squirreled in the door, under the misses's nose.

Gaki in particular look like they are going to be very useful in my Kirai crew and so I decided I'd need at least two more. I went looking for four, but I'm pretty sure I can convert up some if push comes to shove. I've had to use the Wyrd Asian garden bases this time round, since I've now used all of the bamboo bases that I bought from
Malcontent (aka Dark Templar) many moons ago. I really should have bought more.

Maybe I got unlucky with the asian bases, but I didn't expect to have to file off a good three millimetres to get the base insets to fit. Hopefully the 40 and 50mm bases will be more accommodating. They certainly have some fantastic details.

The two Gaki needed to be rushed out because I'm sending my entire Kirai crew off for commission painting. This time round I'm using some local talent. Keep an eye on Disco Volante's Facebook page for some updates on how they proceed. I'd did my best with a few bits from a friends vampire counts bits box to convert up these two dupllcates. Ultimately though, and because I'm far from a green stuff master, I just managed to reposition the arms. I either switched out the arms provided, or cut off the shoulders and put on some VC replacements.

The night terrors might languish on my pile of shame for a while but I definitely need these for the GT next year, so I can flock hop objective markers or just blind that elusive sniper.

One things for sure, I'm going to have to get that photoshop session in soon, so many duplicate sculpts...

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Malifaux Kickstarters - RPG's and Game Boards

Just when I thought it was safe to venture back on the Internet , I stumble upon a thread in one of my local forums that lists every Kickstarter type project currently on the go.

A willpower duel overtook me, but like a play thing for Zoraida, I was drawn in and before I knew it, more money was leaving my account.

Through the Breach

Wyrd have decided to crowd source funding for their latest offshoot, a Malifaux RPG called 'Through the Breach'

There's no denying that the Malifaux world offers plenty of opportunity for conspiracy and a good RPG. I think the important thing is that Wyrd have taken the important step of divorcing the RPG from the events and characters of the table top game. Therefore you're not going to see Lady J and Seamus bumming around in the same warband, but that's not to say your band of merry adventurers have to be from the same faction, in fact it would make for a spicier campaign if they did have different, hidden and often conflicting agendas.

Whilst I hovered on this for a long time, I ultimately decided not to commit to this one at this stage. I play in a long running Star Trek RPG and I would love to run another Dark Heresy campaign again next year. I'd also like to see how far this expands the Malifaux fluff and what options are available for play before I commit.

Games and Gears

Games and Gears looks to the brain child of a few London gamers trying create a cheaper and more versatile range of GW's battle board. Cast from ruggedised plastic, you are buying 12" square tiles that can be locked together using plastic fasteners. The effect is a modular board that can be bought or expanded from 3x3, 4x4, 4x6 or even 4x8'.

The initial tranch of boards includes cobblestone and desert settings that struck me as perfect for Malifaux. I'm already considering whether to update my crystal canyons board to be based on one of these puppies and I can see my Arcanist rail yard looking very nice on a blend of the cobblestone and field boards.

Three 3x3 boards set me back just over $320 Aussie. But when you consider that one GW board would have cost that much, it seems like a fair deal.

This Kickstarter also advertises itself to the RPG market via some felt lined equivalent boards. Perfect for that Through the Breech encounter, some will be planning with the release of the Malifaux RPG.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

November 2012 - My Malifaux Gaming Roundup

I always planned November to be a bit light for my Malifaux addition. I have my wedding anniversary in November and work has been absolutely crazy this month, nonetheless as I look back on what I wanted to achieve this month and I think I've done fairly well.

It was really important to me not to loose the enthusiasm or momentum built up in the lead up to the tournament, so I set myself a few lofty goals with that in mind.

At the start of the month I set myself the goal of:
- Writing a blog post every three days
- Getting in four games throughout the month
- Get my Kirai crew assembled
- Get my Crystal Canyons board completed
- Finish reading the book 4 fluff

Achievement - Unlocked - blog posts
Yep I managed one on average every three days, I have upto six on the go at any one time, believe it or not, but bringing them to fruition can be delayed by sourcing pics, and finishing them on the busy train!

Achievement - Unlocked - play four games
I'm unlocking despite not really playing four games because I also got in couple of good theory hammer sessions with Mr Neverborn as well and when we go at it, it tends to play out turns at a time, trying to unlock the combos or try out some different tactics. That said I managed three games, as follows:

Game 1 vs Von Schill - Loss
A complete and utter fail for me. I just wasn't aware of some of Von Schill's nasty tricks and my luck was atrocious. Twice I've flipped reconnoiter or treasure hunt vs a slaughter and I can see my opponents rubbing their hands each time. I need to think more carefully and consider how I approach a slaughter orientated opponent or I've got to remember I have the option of re-flipping.

Game 2 vs Mei Feng - Loss
A closer game where my Ressers did a fair bit of killing and resurrecting but some crucial flips cost me the game. I have to identify a way of stopping the card burning tactics crews tend to use against Seamus, and it'd be good if he survived a game!

Game 3 vs Jacob Lynch - ???
I played this one last night and will be posting a batt rep shortly. Up against a new crew in the hands of Mr Neverborn. It was a very tough game but at least Seamus survived (and that's all I'm giving away at this stage)

Achievement - Unlocked - Kirai crew assembled
Kirai and crew came together quite nicely near the start of the month. In fairness I had most of the crew already assembled, a herculean task given the bamboo bases I'd insisted on using. What was left were two Shikome and two Gaki. I thought that Kirai and her avatar in particular had needed some love but the Shikome and Gaki tested my pinning abilities and almost broke me. It put me off assembly work for a few days that's for sure, but then I started reading some tactica articles and before you know it I've gone and bought more Gaki, Night Terrors and have an Insidious Madness on back order.

Achievement - locked - Crystal canyons board completed
Painting those Gale Force 9 crystals was an arduous tasks, I'm not sure what it was but those puppies drank the paint. The project only really turned round when the badlands terrain arrived and I suddenly had enough for two boards. Sadly though, work as a Consultant has had to come first and three weekends of work meant I only got some of my crystals painted. I'll post up some wip pictures next weekend when I get my first weekend off...

Achievement - unlocked - Finish reading the book 4 fluff
I love a good story and I've been meaning to go back and reread all of the fluff but for now I was content to read book 4. I always read the fluff first for some reason. The stories didn't disappoint, the first couple in particular were very dark.

So on the whole not a bad month, and with book 4 giving the Ressers some love in December, and Santa (or more accurately Kickstarter) promising more Malifaux goodness, I think its going to be another good month for achievements and a bad month for my pile of shame...

Friday, 30 November 2012

Local Malifaux campaign - Rolling Thunder

Awesome news today from our local henchman in the form of a summer campaign or Rolling Thunder as he's called it.

At three rounds, with fixed master at 30ss but all from the same 50ss cache. It's short, sweet and a little tailored towards us newbies. Mr Neverborn has already grumbled because its fixed master and will mean he has to stick with one crew for the duration. I'm not so worried, I debated using Kirai but with Cancon around the corner I think it's safer to stick with what I've got.

There are no restrictions this time on what schemes can be used, so I'm expecting to go up against a lot more faction schemes and without the duplicates restriction, everyone will pick and play to their favourite schemes.

I think my 50ss cache is going to have to focus on what I know:

Seamus, The Mad-Hatter -- 2 Pool
Seamus, Avatar of Dread [2ss]
Grave Spirit [1ss]
Madame Sybelle [6ss]
BĂȘte Noire [9ss]
Canine Remains [2ss]
Canine Remains [2ss]
Crooked Man [4ss]
Crooked Man [4ss]
Dead Rider [10ss]
Night Terror [3ss]
Night Terror [3ss]
Rotten Belles [4ss]

Summoned models don't count so there was little point bulking out this list with belles or doxies. I really wanted to get drowned into the list and Onryo would have been fun but a 50 soulstone cache is smaller than it sounds.

Round 1 starts in January.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Ultra Combo - Night Terrors Flock Hopping

I've been hearing a lot about night terror flocks at tournaments recently, and in particular how they are winning Ressers the objective based games, so I sat down with Mr Neverborn recently and theory hammered out their benefits. Straight after, I decided I needed to up my flock to four strong and here's why.

Keep in mind I'm the 'Aspiring' Ressurrectionist for a reason folks....

When it comes to maneuverability, the greater your flock, the further you can move. In a standard deployment you're looking at 24" of open ground between you and your opponent, assuming both of you setup on the 6" line.

With objective based missions you want to get a minion with the action points into contact with the objective, so you need to transport or push a minion around. Several methods have come to light for me over the last few months. There's the belle slingshot and the dead rider two step, but both are relatively short ranged transports. They'll get you to the centre of the board, but what happens when you want to get into your opponents deployment zone in turn 1? Exactly how can night terrors help and how many do you need?

The night terror flock seems to work on the guiding principles that they are fast moving at 6" per walk, they're spirits and have flight so they don't really have to worry about terrain, and they can flock together as a zero action. Flock together is a 6" pulse zero action that pushes all friendly night terrors into base contact with the active model. It requires multiple activations to pull off, and you have to ensure the active member of that flock doesn't get beyond the pulse's range. Here's how it works.

Activation 1 - activate Night Terror, move 6, flock together then move a further 6.

Activation 2 - activate a second Night Terror, move 6 and if there are more Night Terrors to activate, then flock together, or move 12 and flock the original model into contact.

With two Night Terrors you can move 18" in two activations
With three you can move 18" and have a single ap available.
With four you can move 24" and have a single ap available.
With five you can move 30" and have a single ap available.

The larger your flock, the further you can move, but the more activations it'll take to get you where you're going. The more activations, the more obvious your strategy. And that does seem to be the downside.

The upsides seem to be that it's all happening in turn 1. If you can score objectives in turn 1 then you can turn your attention to other purposes in turn 2. The relative strength seems to be in the flocks survivability. With hard to kill and spirit, your Night Terrors are going to be harder than average to kill, and as your opponent shoots or casts near you, you can always move closer using the 'Attracted to Noise' ability.

Lastly, and often in conjunction with attracted to noise come a trio of actions that can render your opponent unable to retaliate. These come in the form of the spell 'night falls', which will debuff their ranged attacks and the triggers 'cold darkness' and 'blind' which buff a terror attack or temporarily blind them.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Malifaux terrain - A little barnyard of horrors

A funny thing happened to me today. I was generally being an arse because after working all day yesterday, my other half wanted to drag me out to a DIY store to buy flowers for our garden. If you combine shopping and flowers then my enthusiasm for any project is going to plummet to an all time low, and it was only because she promised me lunch that I went along. I tend to get cranky when I don't get any hobby time and whilst the extra money that working the weekend is good, I wasn't really listening as my wife tried to talk me into buying a 1500 litre rain tank.

As we went to walk away on the long drudge to the flower section (seriously who puts rains tanks and the gardening section at two different ends of a DIY store the size of Texas) I got called back by my misses. "These are good, would they be any good for Malifaux?"

Wait - what just happened? Is this some kind of trick... Be strong.

I turned around avoiding the eager gaze of some old boy who'd setup a second hand book and video stall in front of the store. Instead my eyes looked to my misses and then to the owner of a stall who I had completely missed, registering only the smell of trashy paperbacks and hideous colours the kids clothes someone else was trying to pedal on the stall the other side. Sandwiched between these two stalls sat Neil an elderly guy with a glue gun, an assortment of lolly sticks and coffee stirrers and clearly far, far too much time on his hands.

Neil might have said g'day, he might have told me his life's story, I wasn't listening for my eyes has settled on his wares and I knew in that instant two things. Firstly this man was some sort of lolly stick artisan and secondly my wallet was about to spontaneously leap into my hand and pay whatever this man wanted, for here right in front of me, was a selection of Wild West style buildings that were the perfect look, size and style for Malifaux.

Ok so maybe not completely to scale but they looked better than putting 35mm minis against 28mm buildings do most of the time, and Seamus and Miss Peaches look pretty happy on that porch.

I left with Neil's phone number, a lighter wallet and a million ideas what I could get him and his collection of wooden sticks to do next.

Now to make space on my pile of shame and come up with some twist to make that innocent farmyard a place where the masters of Malifaux might have reason to duke it out. A little barnyard of horrors if you will.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Malifaux Battle Report - Seamus vs Mei Feng

Making up for my dismal and rather surreal weekend of work, I decided to sneak in a game at one my local clubs last night. This wasn't to well received by the Misses, but brownie points are meant to be squandered and she knows, from my track record, that I need the practice to get ready for Cancon and the GT next year.

Pre Game Amble
This was my third game against Mei Feng, so I had some idea of her tactics and I wanted to try out some different models that should give me some advantage in the fight.

This was Chris's first outing with Mei Feng, that said he's a very experienced player, and so I figured the odds were at best 50/50.

I think Mei Feng's greatest weakness is she doesn't have any magical weapons and only she and Kang really have any real attack spells. Most of her minions work on the basis of gimping up their defense or normal attacks. You're also generally facing a 50/50 split between living and construct models, allowing for some terror raising possibilities right off the bat.

It struck me that Kirai should do well against this crew, but I'm still getting my head around how she plays. I decided instead to test the water by taking a spirit in my Seamus crew and seeing how things went. I wanted to try a drowned specifically to see if it did any better against a Rail Gamin, but when I got there Chris put down a crew completely devoid of them. Doh!

Strategies and Schemes
Encounter Size : 25ss
Deployment : Standard
Strategies : Shared Treasure Hunt
Opponents Schemes : Stake a Claim, Bodyguard
My Schemes : Framed for Murder (Drowned), Bodyguard

Crew Selections
Graveyard Spirit
Madame Sybelle
Crooked Man
Rotten belle

8 SS cache

My Opponent
Mei Feng
3 x Rail Workers

5 SS Cache

Pre-Game Theory Hammer
Avoid rail walker movement schinanigans by snipping any rail worker or gamin that looks like its being pushed forward for that purpose. Try and cut off Mei Feng so she can't retreat, if she sticks her head out.

Link up Seamus for some extra protection from the graveyard spirit.

Try the drowned out against anything.

Try out some terror tactics with Seamus.

Use the Belle lure to net me that treasure in turn 1.

The Game
Turn 1
Chris won initiative and double walked up a rail worker. I activated Sybelle and a belle with the intention of luring a belle onto that treasure. Sybelle doubled walked but then choked the call belle spell with a black joker. The belle walked and the cast lure on Sybelle to pull her back in a little and avoid getting her killed in turn 1.

Chris moved up the Emberling and blew steam before rail walking Mei Feng up to do 2 wounds on Madame Sybelle and then hightailing it back behind Kang.

The rest of our crews just doubled walked to close the gap. I linked the graveyard spirit to Seamus for some protection.

Turn 2
I won initiative and with an Emberling blocking my path I figured Id kill that and try to alpha onto that treasure again. I flurried Sybelle but only managed to take the Emberling down two wounds. I then called my belle up but decided to place her for some protection on Sybelle rather than place on the treasure. Seamus shot a rail worker and when that failed charged him, killing him with a bag of tools strike. As a zero action I tried for arise but failed to get it off.

Mei Feng and Kang retaliated killing the foremost belle, and injuring Sybelle again. Seamus took 3 wounds from Mei Feng's trigger attack before retreating again using rail walker. With little to target the crooked man tried but missed a second rail worker and the drowned got two wounds off against Kang.

I burnt a soulstone increasing Seamus defence against a parting steam burst from Mei Feng.

Turn 3
Chris wins the initiative despite me burning a soulstone and heals Kang before shoving coals in Sybelles face. He then punches her for good measure, reducing her to 2 wounds. In retailiation a belle tries twice to get Kang to undress but fails, which means Sybelle has her work cut out for her and can't do more than score a couple of wounds on Kang.

Mei Feng in her most aggressive moves of the game goes hard at Seamus doing 8 wounds despite burning two more soulstones. Crucially she doesn't retreat because her crew are out of position. Seamus in return smacks her for 3 before getting slit jugular off and forcing Chris to discard his last two soulstones.

The crooked man is able to get a severe cave in off and kill another rail worker, which helps Seamus with his dwindling wounds.

Turn 4
Chris again wins initiative and blows steam on Feng to deposit burning tokens on almost all of my crew. She bounces away leaving Seamus on 1 wound. She gets into contact with the treasure and sends Kang and the last rail worker forward to block the limited alley I have to the objective.

With Sybelle and my belle bouncing off and then being eradicated by Kang in hand to hand, Seamus summons another belle, and focus shoots the rail worker, taking him out but leaving Seamus relatively weak and undefended, with no soulstones left.

Turn 5
Chris wins a critical initiative flip.

Kang goes toe to toe with Seamus and kills him. Mei Feng picks up the treasure and tries to stumble off. A belle lures her into dropping the treasure and my crooked man and drowned again bounce off of Kang.

Turn 6
With Mei Feng uninjured but unable to pickup the treasure Chris high tails it over to the cemetery he'd called for his stake a claim and nets himself a total of 4 VP'S. I bounce again off of Kang doing some damage but with Seamus dead and my drowned still very much live, I've scored zero. I tried to make it to the treasure but I simply didn't have the AP's to pick it up.

The Result
4-0 loss to me. Chris got off both his schemes but my lure made Mei Feng drop the treasure, stopping it being a 8-0 defeat for me!

Sum up & Lessons Learnt
In hindsight the graveyard spirit is a waste against Mei Feng, most of her abilities bypass the protection that the spirit provides.

Kang is a tank! He needs to be taken down early as he can heal wounds automatically up to the turn number, so in turn 5 he can heal 5 wounds!

Watch out for rail worker slow to die actions, their retailitory kick can kill a wounded minion.

I've got to stop announcing bodyguard on Seamus, it makes him a bullet magnet!

Maybe I shouldn't of announced frame for murder and I should have chosen a weaker minion, a 5 wound spirit was a dumb selection.

That's why I'm the Aspiring Ressurrectionist I suppose!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Product Review - Gale Force 9 Badlands Terrain

After reviewing GF9's crystals recently I wanted to offer a different insight into their products, in case I left you with the impression all of their goods are poor quality.

So to finish out my crystal canyons board I was looking to create some rock pillars and spires, my homage to badlands national park. I was researching hot wire cutters and expanded insulation foam when up came these beauties in flipboard.

I debated for a while but in the end decided to take the plunge, despite my experiences with the crystal terrain, reasoning that at the least I could sell it on if it was really bad.

The day arrived when they finally delivered and I tore open the boxes like a kid under a Christmas tree.

The results were surprisingly good. I'd seen a you tube video and the rock colours looked very washed out. I'd resigned myself to giving the rocks a couple dry brushes to add definition, but as I pulled the rocks out they didn't appear to need any. Better still the sand around the bases had been picked out neatly in a complimentary and contrasting colour. There didn't appear to be anything to do, this truly was a battlefield in a box.

I looked over the bigger pieces first which appear to be made of a semi hollow resin, they're pretty solid and well based. They have some good shading and a few highlights, generally on the edges of the plateaus.

Next came the smaller rock formations, you get 7 in a box. Again there was that same level of detail, everything was good, everything was as I had hoped.

To cover a 3x3 board with just this type of terrain, you'd probably want both the big boxes and a couple of the smaller rock formations. With the mix of terrain I have planned for crystal canyons, maybe a little less but having those three or four sets would give you some variety.

My only gripe is the packaging, the sort of polystyrene that crumbles and cracks the minute you look at it, this was never going to be suitable for long term storage and is going to need to be replaced if its going to be making journeys to and from my local club.

All up this product gets 4.8 out of 5, loosing only a few points because you'll have to insider storage and transportability and because a little dried grass applied near the base would have left me with nothing to do.

If you ever wanted a desert board, this terrain is a great place to start.