Sunday, 30 November 2014

Bale of Hay: Looking Backwards... then Forwards

If you came here wanting to read a blog post by Connor then you will be disappointed as I’m afraid it is another blog post from me this time.

So with the end of the year fast approaching I think most people have a little reflection on the year gone and look forward to next year. So here is mine.

I am very happy with the year just gone having only started playing Malifaux in March 14 and attending my first tournament in May 14. So I have been playing only been playing properly for about 7 months which means I am a baby in reality in the big scheme of things!

I have attended 7 tournaments of varying sizes this year and although not done amazingly well I have not disgraced myself. I think the main thing for me is to learn what everyone else’s crews do to limit the inevitable surprises that lose me VP. But this only comes with experience. For example there are still a lot of masters I have never faced such as Lynch, Colette, Zoraida to name but a few. The one thing I have found now though is that I have started to get a bit jaded playing tournaments with a limited master pool. Competitively I play Neverborn and have pretty much only used Lilith (with a splash of Dreamer) in all the tournaments. She is a versatile master compared to some but still feels a bit samey now and has started to impact on my enjoyment a little.

So with that in mind going into 2015 I am sticking Neverborn in the main but broadening my horizons to explore new masters. The problem I have at the moment is that Lilith has seen the majority of table time so I always tend to favour her in any strat / scheme pool that comes up. I want to get away from this so I have wider options going forward. So early 2015 I want to learn to play Pandora and Collodi. I have recently acquired both of these crews and have a large Neverborn selection to choose from so good to go. There are also other Neverborn models that I now have that have never touched the table such as Lelu and Lilitu so keen to try them out as well.

As well as mixing it up tactically and rules wise it is also going to challenge me on the painting table as I am a bit of a lazy painter so hoping to push on with that too and improve my painting / hobby skills.

I am also excited about playing some doubles if possible and going to team up with a local Elementals mate Pete Rees which should be all sorts of fun! This brings me onto my next aim for 2015 which is to get the Elementals more involved in the malifaux scene. Who I hear you shout!? Exactly my point. We are a small gaming group who play out of the NWGC in Stockport, UK which is the home, hence the name. Our local henchmen is the mighty Aidan Kirk and members include Pete Rees, Richard Humphries and Matt Elliott. Some of which are not that keen on competitive play but I hope can get along to some story encounter and doubles events to start spreading the Elementals love. Aidan also hopes to host 2 Malifaux tournaments next year at the NWGC so that should be good. Finally we have signed up to Mike Marshalls UK “team” league which should mean more games and more fun times in 2015. I really hope this becomes a thing as I love the idea of clubs facing off against each other for bragging rights and a league table thing.

That is all for me for today. Thanks for reading.

Chris H (@cdhay on twitter)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Malifaux Campaign - Mark 2

Months ago I briefed some rules for a Malifaux campaign. I figured with Sunderland games club having a regular group of faux gamers it would be great to have a campaign. I have rehashed the rules so that it fits better with the local scene. With any luck it will help keep players of all interest levels interested. Let me know what you think:

Malifaux Campaign

 In this campaign each crew will be operating its own crime syndicate, from humble beginnings to Mafia overlord. Each player will submit a fixed 50ss list to be used from the start of the campaign. As the campaign progresses, your pool of models will increase alongside your territory. This will be explained further below.

This section of Malifaux is beyond Guild control, they simply do not have the forces to intervene. It has been deemed more efficient to ‘sponsor’ various ‘pillars of the community’ to act on their behalf.  This often comes in the form of sponsoring hits on gang leaders to prevent one party establishing enough power to create a worry. As such, when players are selecting their forces, the player with the least number of territories adds the difference to their cache (this may take the cache above 7, but no more cache may be bought if this happens). These Soulstones may not be spent on additional models and are just to be used in game.

The map is made up of sections. Each of these sections will be either neutral, or be influenced by one of the players. The more sections you have influence over, the more power your crew will have. Each player will have a base of operations, this may not be contested (see below) by opposing players. When you expand and seize new tiles they need to be connected to your base. To be connected there needs to be an unbroken chain of influenced sections between your base of operations and the section. Expansion will be explained further down.

Some map sections will also have a business. This can be anything from mining to whoring. When you have the majority of each kind of business on the map you are said to have ‘monopoly’ of that business. For each monopoly selected you increase the models available to your crew:

Number of monopolies
Total SS of pool
0 monopolies
1 monopolies
2 monopolies
3 monopolies

What it means by ‘pool’ is that when you may select your crew at the beginning of each game selected only from the models in your pool to the value of 50ss. Summoned models don’t need to be included but upgrades do.

If a player has three monopolies, then they have won the campaign.

 As previously stated, as soon as one player manages to claim 3 monopolies, they have won. However, the campaign will only go on for 3 months. If no one has achieved victory at the end of 3 months, the player with the most territory sections wins.

 Each turn in Malifaux will result in a number of missions being generated. This number of missions is equal to the number of players divided by two, rounding up. E.g. if there were 4 people playing there would be 2 missions generated (4/2=2) but if there was 5 there would be 3 (5/2=2.5 round to 3). Each of these missions will be generated by flipping a card and comparing it to the relevant scenario in the chart provided in the story section of the Malifaux rulebook and flipping two cards for schemes just like in a normal game of Malifaux. Once all missions have been revealed, the player with the least territories may choose whether they want to select their battleground first or last. The other players will then select in ascending or descending order depending on what the other player selected.

 Once players have taken part in the various scenarios, the winner may select a map section to claim. They will also gain loot, further explained below.

When you select a section for your crew to gain influence over you may select sections already controlled by another crew only if it was the result of winning a game over that player. That way players have a chance to defend their territories or avoid risking conflict and not chose the same battlefields as the invader!

Winning battles will also provide loot to the victor’s leader. The type of loot won in the mission is determined at the same time as the mission, so people know what they are fighting over. To generate simply flip a card and compare it to the table below. These only effect your leader and last for one game:

Black Joker
Cursed: This model may choose to reduce the damage by a friendly model within 6” by 1 and take 1 wound which may not be reduced or prevented in anyway.
From the Shaddows: This model may deploy anywhere on the table that is not within 6” of the opponents deployment zone. This model may not take interact actions on the first turn.
Armour +1: Reduce damage suffered by this model by 1, to a minimum of 1.
Prepared field: Any model which charges this model must take damage as if entering hazardous terrain.
Once per game, this model may gain the fast condition at the start of its activation
Select one piece of terrain on the battlefield in your next encounter, after determining deployment zones and who is in which zone, this terrain counts as hazardous for the rest of the game.
Hatred: Select one model in the enemies’ crew. Against this model you get positive attack flips.
Fated: This model prevents one additional damage when using stones to damage prevent.
Distracted: Whilst the enemy leader is within line of sight of this model, the enemy leader may not take interact actions
Companion: This model may activate as a chain activation if another friendly model finishes its activation within 6” of this model.
Accomplice: Another friendly model may activate as a chain activation if this model finishes its activation within 6” of it.
Infiltration: Pick one model in the enemies’ crew, this model has negative attack flips against this model for the duration of the encounter.
Empowered: At the beginning of this models activation it may add one to any of its stats. This bonus lasts until its next activation
Red Joker
Player may pick any after the game

How to train a gaming community

I'm in a really positive predicament. There has been huge growth locally in the Malifaux scene and many new people are trying their hand at cheating fate. The 'problem' with this, if you were to call it a problem, is that we now have a big sliding scale of experience levels.

 Personally I started basically when M2E came out. Since my first major tournament in February, Vappnatak, I have been to 16 events this year. 16! Because of this I have gained loads of experience and become, not to blow my own horn, pretty competent at the game. Donkeys years ago I wrote how I didn't want to play new players with 'kid gloves' on for a variety of reasons. Basically because:

  • It's insulting to the player themselves
  • They'll learn more
 The problem with this, however, is that if you regularly play against them and basically, as it's commonly known, noob stomp, it can become increasingly 'unfun' for the opponent. For me any game is not enjoyable if you do not have any sort of chance and thus I never want my opponent to feel like that. 

 So what can I do to fix this situation? Well one of the obvious solutions for me is to get the newer players to face each other. I'm always kicking about for rules queries but it means that people will have much closer, harder fought and thus more enjoyable games. It's why the Swiss system is so good in tournaments.

 I'm afraid to say this, however, but we don't have enough people so that you can play at the same experience level every time. It also limits, thinking selfishly, my own opponent pool. Even among the players who are not new, there is a variety of experience. For example, Vince, and I hope he doesn't mind saying this, is one of the more experienced local gamers. He started a couple of months after me, couldn't say when, but has played enough so that he knows the rules pretty well. However, I am not sure he has ever beaten me and if so it's rarely. In the same token, however, I don't think he loses to any of the newer players. 

 Another possible solution is to play with crews that I have very little experience in. This way the knowledge I have gained will be limited, to some extent, and still provide myself and my opponent a challenging experience. Obviously, however, there are only so many crews one can take and only so many I can afford so I can't do this all the time. Starting anew with Seamus is great, but I imagine it's just a matter of time until I work out how he ticks and at that point we are back where we started. 

 To be honest I'm at a little of a loss. I love that we have such a rich community and I want to keep it that way and make sure everyone has fun. I don't know if there is anything else I can do to make sure this happens. I'd love some advice from people.

I hope to hear from you about it soon.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

New Crew

I continue my blog post ramblings today with talking about my plans to start a new crew. First of all I just want to go briefly over the why:
  • Som'er becoming a crutch and being predictable
  • A new painting challenge
  • less competitive crew
So what crew am I thinking of using? Here are my thoughts

 I have the Seamus crew already and I really like the models and theme, it's super cool. Who doesn't like undead hookers? It gives me plenty of painting opportunity, bright colours for frilly dresses and green suits, but also stains and rotting flesh. The main problem with this is it means starting a completely new faction and thus a bit of an investment. It is also the favoured master of one of the local gamers, so wouldn't be good for local games.

 He's a master I already own and love. This does make it cheaper but means I don't have a painting project. Once again, however, it's a master that another local gamer prefers. In fact, it's the only one they own.

Ten Thunders
 Jen has painted nearly every other ten thunder master and I could use anyone of these, but not only does this mean I don't have another painting project but it kind of just feels wrong using Jen's models. I haven't painted them and thus they are not mine and I feel some form of investment in the game makes it much more enjoyable. It's probably me just being weird, but that's how it is for me. 

Added to the previous list could be Lilith and Marcus aswell.

Swinging back to the Gremlins, I could force myself to play more with the pig master. It has the benefit of already having all the models, being able to mess around in faction in different games but still be different to Som'er. Not really a new painting project though. Having said this staying loyal to the Gremlin faction really does appeal to me. Equally, however, staying with Gremlins is going to make me want to got for best Gremlin and thus do well in events. It's definitely a preferred option though.

 Earlier in the year, when I was playing neverborn, I fell in love with Lucius. As a character he is so god damn cool and I really liked his style of support master. I did, however, get a little sick of his weaknesses as I played more games and I decided that he needed a rest until I had access to the guild plastics I wanted. With his box set out this has definitely jumped back on the radar. Because I have the old metal I can add bits and pieces a little at a time and try before I buy, but it still gives me a new painting project. I have some fun conversion plans in store for the box. There are some local guild players, but they don't seem to favour what I do in the faction. It also just works better for stories in my head, it's hard to justify squealing pigs in most stories. This is definitely high on the list.

 I got into Malifaux, as many people do, because of Teddy. I played Pandora, mainly because the dreamer wasn't available, as my first ever master but decided after my first event that she was too much a NPE for me. I also never felt like Pandora ever really did much for Teddy or vice versa. The Dreamer is a way I can try and make teddy work for me again. I have some cool ideas for painting schemes aswell, but I do have a fair amount of Neverborn I can play with already. The main problem with the Dreamer for me at the moment is that alot of people on the tournament scene play him already. Him and Collette are possibly the most popular masters and I'd hate to both play against the same master regularly or people get sick of playing 'yet another dreamer'

So I have loads of options and many of them have pros and cons. I am not going to commit to anything, as I said on my last blog post, because I am just going to play with what I personally fancy at the time. It's looking like, however, that I am going to be playing with Lucius or Ulix in the not too distant future.

This is the joy of writing blog posts in advance... That statement is no longer true. I am feeling the pull more and more of Seamus, mainly as a painting project. I have puppet wars which obviously contains Puppet Seamus and I fell in love painting him. You can see what achieved here:

Too many decision

 As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on my ramblings. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

That'll Learn me - M2GT

For those of you who aren't used to my blog posts, after each tournament I try and write down what I have learned from my experience.

First of all, I have learned that Nate Zettle is a freak. How else would he know when the Breach was found for the quiz? Also, wearing green facepaint on almost your whole body gets paint everywhere.

 Seriously though, from a gaming perspective, what did I learn?

 I think one of the things I learnt is that Som'er really is the Gremlin Master for me. In the six games I played the only games I lost were the ones I didn't use Som'er. O.K. this wasn't the only thing that was different about each of the games, I was against some of the best players in the country, but thinking back on the games, particularly the last, I can't help but feel that I would have done better with Som'er.

 It's not just a question of effectiveness. I have tried playing with Zoraida, but, as I mentioned in one of my report posts, although it worked well it wasn't fun. Simply, it wasn't the way I wanted to play the game. Although I still enjoy the other masters a bit more I still feel like they weren't right for me, they didn't click. Ulix is starting to work for me now, so it might be a question of experience, but I have less inclination to power through the learning curve with lots of the other masters

 So the other thing I learnt that is possibly linked with this is that my lists are becoming a little samey and thus predictable. In my game against Peter I am pretty sure he was able to write my list down to a few details and was able to tailor his list to fight that. It didn't give that much of an advantage in the end, but I disliked that the possibility existed.

 I don't think I'll stop playing with Som'er though, I love that guy, he's amazing, but I am beginning to think that I need a change of pace for the new year. I am thinking of starting using a new crew. I'll probably do another blog post on that though.

 The other thing I am starting to think, and this is a little sad, but I am thinking of playing less competitively. This weekend has been loads of fun and I have had some seriously great games, but there have been mumblings and grumblings from others about games that haven't gone so well and suggestions of foul play. I don't want to play a game that's anything like that and I suspect that not playing at the top tables will make that not happen. For me that's really sad, I don't know about anyone else, but if that's what has to happen so I can have fun then so be it.

So what I have learnt? I have learnt I need a new direction and new goals for the next year of gaming. This probably seems really negative but I am really happy both about the GT itself, I had loads of fun. I am also feeling positive about Malifaux, I am still in love with the game. I am just going to take a new direction with it. I intend to attend story events as a priority, for example. We'll see though, I am not going to be making mass promises and pledges. I intend to do what I want and have fun, this is just my thought process.

 I hope it was interesting regardless.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Bale of Hay - Triggers

 I am going to disrupt my normal follow up blog post of 'what I learned' with a post from Chris about triggers. Yesterday episode 99 of Malifools got broadcast and this is one of the topics that came up, so it seemed important to time this as close as possible with the show.

 Anyway, enough rambling from me, here's Chris:

 So I was just wondering what peoples views are with regards to etiquette when divulging triggers to your opponent. Now I know according to the rules you may just have to declare triggers after winning a duel but for some reason that doesn't sit right with me.

 For me, the trigger someone has usually plays a big part in my decision on whether to cheat or not so I am sure that goes for others too. There have been millions of times where I could have cheated, but didn't, only to find out they have a trigger that will paralyse me or some such disaster. So is it up to me to ask my opponent in every attack if they currently have a trigger and what they all are in case they then cheat fate after. I would imagine this would get quite annoying for my opponent and it is also not their fault about my lack if knowledge.

 I have had a few times myself where I have won a duel, declared a trigger and then my opponent say they would have cheated fate if they had known (I have even once not used the trigger because of it). That makes me feel bad and I hate thinking I have won or got one up on someone just because of their lack of knowledge. So with that in mind I always tell my opponent what trigger I have BEFORE either of us have decided to cheat fate so they can make an informed decision. Is that just naive of me and putting me at a disadvantage? I would be interested to see how it is done at the top tables and if it varies between person like opponents I have played so far.

 One other benefit I have also found with my approach is that it often means my opponent follows suit which makes things open and transparent all round so thanks for those that applies to.

 Finally what are people thoughts on allowing opponents to use triggers they have not declared or retrospectively go back and apply a trigger? I don't want to sound gamey but it really makes me uncomfortable as it often would have changed my own actions if they had said at the time. This happens more often with those triggers that have the suit already built in so usually go off whatever. I just don't feel it is fair when a duel is finished and I take the required damage and then someone says, "oh by the way my trigger has killed you as you have no cards, and I draw a billion soulstones and I have assassinate in the pool etc etc". Would you call someone out for that and not allow them to do it as they didn't declare the trigger at the right time? Again how is it done on the top tables? Would the likes of Joel, James, Greg, Mark allow this (only names those I know so others up their don't take offence!)?

 Just been thinking. Toodles.

Chris Hay @cdhay

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

M2GT Day 2

Here is the second in a 2 part blog post detailing my games in the Malifaux GT.

 I return to York Garrison after a a decent amount of sleep, unlike some, and decide that now is the best opportunity to paint myself green. The costume really was last minute, but now that I have been named officially unofficially as Malifaux 'Enforcer' many at the club deemed it absolutely necessary that I dress up as Lenny. Well, I guess most of them didn't have to look at me for the day!

 Anyway after a bit of a shake up in the tables to make sure people aren't playing the same opponents again, I end up playing another new face. Mr Pete Wright.

I'll hold my hand up now and say I was a little nervous going into this. I only knew Pete from twitter and he says himself he has a bit of a temper (I don't know how else to put this). A joking comment made by Lee about him flipping the table if I won did nothing to settle my doubts though. Pete is, however, a really nice guy. He was really friendly and we had an absolutely fantastic game. If you are reading this Pete, you give yourself too much grief. I think we had a cracking game and I really enjoyed it. You are a great opponent.

 Anyway, onto the actual game itself. It was Squatters and I too the following:

+Family Tree
+Liquid Bravey
+Dirty Cheater
2 Bayou Gremlins
Slop Hauler
Burt Jebson
+Dirty Cheater
+gun for a lady

Pete took

+make people a beast
+put beasts on negatives
+trail of the gods (+3 walk, +2 damage, melee expert)
+4 cards when she turns into a cat
Blessed of December

We both took entourage unrevealed on our masters, though I think we both guessed what the other had taken! and breakthrough announced.

 The game started with an agressive advance from Pete to get the markers quickly, whilst my crew turned into more dudes and got healed and the Bayou's bimbled around. Once Pete had gone Gracie marched up the fielding, getting trixxie to grab a marker, Burt to kill a silurid and herself to inneffectually charge the blessed. A skeeter launched himself onto the marker unclaimed by the silurid. The blessed in the next turn leaped to charge Burt but failed to kill him. pushing into combat with another gremlin. Marcus killed the skeeter who was blocking the silurid from claiming the marker and then got back into cover. The slop hauler charged the blessed and made it defence four, which meant the couple of Bayou Gremlins and eventually Som'er charged and killed it (though I unfortunately failed to turn it into a pig). The began the long grind between Burt and Waldgeist.
 Both Burt and the Walgeist flailed inneffectually at each other varying help from trixxie, a slop hauler and Myranda. Som'er shot the second Walgeist and cheated in the red joker for damage to kill him in one go and take significant damage from Myranda. Marcus by this time had rocketed into my deployment zone, ruining the gremlins who were dawdling there. The Silurid on that flank returned to try and block trixxie from claiming one of his markers, but gracie moved her with saddle to disengage. Myranada was not killed and turned herself into a cat, but equally was unable to kill Som'er. Marcus put more than enough markers for his breakthrough and the other pair of Bayous planted mine. With the loss of the marker at the end, however and without the models to kill mine I managed to sneak a minor victory. Which I think was 9-8 or 9-7 (I can't remember which turn the marker was lost!)

 So I was now on 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. I could still be in with a chance of that coveted 7th place and the big hat! One more game stood in my way, however...

The announcement was called and I thought I was playing Joe Taylor. I had messed up and I was actually playing Joe Wood. Which made 5 of my 6 opponents that I had not had the honour of meeting before. He was going to be using Guild and Criid in Turf War. I don't really having any experience against Guild other than Hoffman, but vaguely knowing this meant explosions, but decided that I did not want to take a crew to specifically fight that. I instead chose:

+Dirty Cheater
Whiskey Golem
Bayou Gremlin

This really was a mistake on my part. I had about 3 games prior to this with the Brewmaster, so wasn't the best choice for the last game, and the little experience I did have said that he did not like being shot... which is what Guild, especially Sonnia, does. You can see where this is going...

Joe took:

+stuff including summoning from dead stuff
Witchling Handler
Brutal effigy

I took deliver a message and plant evidence revealed. he took plant evidence with breakthrough unrevealed

 I am not going to go to in depth with this game because, too put it bluntly, I was shot off the board. Most of his crew simply took cover behing a large water wheel and buffed Sonnia, who then shot things off the board. A couple of stalkers moved onto one flank to plant markers. I did manage to obey fingers into the cluster and deliver the message with reckless and put loads of markers down for plant evidence. But Joe simply did not even try to score on turn 2 and the removed all my models from the table by turn 4. Turn 5 he had just enough ap to remove all my markers to deny my plant evidence which made the final score. 9-5. Brutal.

 So at the end of the day I am on 3 wins, 2 losses and a draw and that places me at 23rd, the worst in the North East! This did leave me a little dissapointed, but I later learnt that Joe is high ranked player and that even if our scores were reversed that I would have only come 8th, so not good enough! I did, however, have an absolutely cracking time and some really fun games, so big thanks to all my opponents. I even managed to walk home with a trophy, this is for the best display board at the event! Massive thank you to all the sponsors, who made sure everyone went home with some truly terrific stuff. I got a Whiskey Golem sent over from Wyrd, some soulstone poker chips, and a measuring device and crate from the lovely bendyboards. I would also like to thank the TOs for putting on such a wicked smooth event.

I really had a great time, I can't wait until next year! Tomorrow look I'll publish my contentious 'what I learned' post. Until then.

M2GT Day 1

Wow, what a weekend! I am absolutely exhausted after attending what was the biggest Malifaux event in the world ever! By some freak of chance this also is my 100th blog post! Thanks to everyone who has the patience to read through my ramblings and who have helped Mr. Hay get his blogging thang on. I am going to split the report into multiple posts, however, because it's so long. Sorry about that.

  I'm sorry this has taken so long for me to write up but there was loads going on at the event, so it took a while, and I had stuff to sort out at home. I am also sorry there are no pictures to go with this, I went with the best intentions to get some but either forgot or felt like I didn't have the time. However here is a picture of me revealing more flesh than anyone ever wanted to see 'wielding' the UK no.1 player Joel Henry.


 Going to the event I really had one major goal. I wanted to reclaim best in faction on the rankings! It's been my goal for a while now, as people who have been keeping up with this will no doubt attest, but it's a seriously difficult one to achieve. Mr. Rob Smith, along with being a really nice guy and an absolute mess on both mornings, no offence intended at all, is a cracking player. He wasn't taking Gremlins to the event so it was worked out that I needed to place 7th to snatch the big hat.

 Of course there was a large amount of the best players in the country to stop that from happening!

First on the list was the mighty Paul Campbell. If you have never had the chance to meet him he really is a cracking gent and a stellar player. Me and Paul have played against each other a few times now. The first leading to me being tabled in reckoning and the second leading to a strong win in Recon to me. This game was to be a mixture of the two with turf war.

I took the following crew:

+Hunting Bow
Old Major
+Corn Husks
The Sow
Hog Whisperer

Paul took something along the lines of:

Yan Lo
+command the graves
Yin the Pangalangalangalangalangalan
soul porter
ten thunder archer

The draws had been announced before and I suspected that Paul would be using Yan Lo so after a bit of research (it was the master he had tabled me with and I didn't want it to happen again!) I knew I had to jump on Yan Lo as early as possible. Thus I took assassinate and revealed protect territory. Paul took power ritual and protect territory revealed.

Terrain proves a massive inhibitor to Ulix because he needs open spaces to push his large based pigs around thus when I won the deployment I grabbed the side with slightly less narrow passages and deployed first.
 The first turn had all my pigs get pushed quite some way forward whilst the soul porter made Yin and Izamu push forward. All the pigs get reactivate and old major pushing the boat out by walking and pushing Gracie forward, easily now in Izamu's threat range. Izamu gets to grips with Old Major and red jokering damage against him! His archer also gives Gracie slow, removing the threat of her now stocked up on rams. Yan Lo also takes a swipe at Old Major (it may have been him who red jokers, or it was a while ago now!) and harvests some Chi giving himself impossible to wound. The unmolested sow now makes a charge on Yan Lo, however, and takes him down to one wound after using her reactivate! At some point the hog whisperer is killed, I had to place him far forward to make way for the pigs in the small gaps.

 Turn two sees me finish Yan Lo with the Sow to score full for assassinate, but with her last action I think I make my first major mistake as she moves to engage the rest of Paul's crew. I had intended to engage the archer, forgetting that Toshiro can push with the right trigger, and what I should have done is put a scheme marker down or move back to get a charge, and all the bonuses, next turn. Old Major and the Sow take a beating, Old Major surviving through soulstones and healing from Ulix but the Sow dropped due to poison at the end of the turn. The Pangalan puts the negative WP doo dad on Gracie, flipping a thirteen so there is nothing I can do about it.

 In the next turn I set everything up for a charge with Gracie on Yin, forgetting that she is terrifying so I have to avoid doing that to begin with. This gives Yin the chance to drag down Old Major so that Gracie does not get the positives from charging and has no way past mass of viscera. The game is basically lost when the archer flips a severe on negative flips and kills Ulix! He might have got him anyway, but I was saving cards for when he had flipped less. This meant all the piglets had to charge and thus couldn't act defensively or run schemes. I was forced to try and disengage with Gracie from Wicked Yin... to no avail. The piglet I sent to interupt Chiaki's run on power ritual was killed by the neice herself so she could freely put her markers down. This meant that the final score was 10-7 to Paul.

This was an absolutely fantastic game and I really enjoyed it despite the result. I always have a good time when I play Paul, we can play in a competitive manner and still feel relaxed and enjoy ourselves, it really is great. At least that's what I think anyway.

My next opponent was Bennet wielding ressers. I was a little concerned by this game because all my practice for stake a claim recently had been using Zoraida who I had recently decided was not a master that I enjoyed using. Instead I fielded the following:

+Family Tree
+Dirty Cheater
+Liquid Bravery
3*Bayou Gremlins
2*Slop Haulers
Old Major

Whilst Bennet had (roughly):

+loads of upgrades
Dead Rider
2* flesh constructs
2* Necropunks

I took Vendetta with Francois against Sebastian and Breakthrough. Bennet took Make them suffer and Breakthrough. We both announced the latter.

 So the game was a little crazy but mainly involved me mass summoning Bayou Gremlins and then Launching them into his half of the board with the Piggapult. I was able to wait until the majority of his models had activated when I did this so he could not react immediately. Old Major Delivered Francois into range of Sebastian and I did something a little unusual for me. I used Francois' gun. It was effective. In the first activation of turn 2 I killed Sebastian and placed a claim marker! McMorning tried to retaliate but flipped absolutely abysmally with his thrown scalpel. From then on he simply was not able to keep up with the number of claim markers I was throwing down in his half of the board. In order to try and fix the root of the problem his crew ran towards my corner fairly rapidly, but I was actually able to use the slop haulers to kill the necropunks and Francois, due to cheating in the red joker for damage, killing the rider. I may have had some bad luck myself, Som'er black jokered every turn from the third, but Bennet's luck was truly woeful. Still he did manage to get his breakthrough markers down and get McMorning to dissect a lowly Bayou Gremlin leading to a 10-4 victory to me.

Well this is loads shorter than the previous report. This is because Bennet's luck was appalling so there wasn't really much back and forth. I am also quite conciouss that this is getting a little long now! I think I just need to say, however, that this is not a short report because it was a bad game. Bennet is a really nice guy, his laugh is infectious and he kept a smile on his face through the grit his deck was ramming down his throat. If there was a best sports for the weekend then Bennet would have got my vote.

Next up Lunch! Jacket potatoes all round, which I was pretty chuffed with. Good carb stodge with the option for easily mass cooked extras (beans and chilli) makes a lot of sense and was pretty tasty. Jen also returned from her trip round York, which was cut short by the rain which is a shame. She had managed to get splashed by traffic so was not in the best mood, but everyone was really friendly and had a great time whilst there despite her sogginess. She was very happy with the generosity of the TOs aswell so I would just like to thank them for giving her some swag despite her not having a ticket. Stars.

Third game I lined up vs someone I know from twitter and skype but have never met in person, Peter Siddaway. I took the same crew as last time but changed Old Major for Gracie and dropping liquid bravery. Peter took roughly

Mei Feng
+Anti armour
+loads of triggers
Kanakakakanakanakananakan sniper

Pete took Murder Protege on the Gracie and Breakthrough a secret. I took Breakthrough announced and Plant Explosives a secret. First turn the sniper killed the Slop Hauler. This meant I drew the mask I hadn't got in the card draw (even after stoning) that I needed to summon... but I still black jokered one of the flips! Pete's emberling dropped scrap, which Toshiro turned into a giant robot cat. At this point he has run out of cards so Mei fails to rail walk three times. Leaves on the track I'm afraid. I have sent Gracie with Fran to go deal with the sniper, but Fran red jokers damage and causes 6 to himself, after stoning, and only 5 to the hard to kill sniper! To rub salt in the wound, the sniper then shanks Fran and kills him! A plucky Bayou Gremlin who had been fired in the previous turn by the piggapult kills him however. I begin mass placement of scheme markers for Breakthrough. Mei launches herself across the board and near kills gracie. A rail worker is taken down to his hard to kill by random bayou gremlin shots and a scheme marker placed nearby to capture both Mei and the worker for plant explosives... only for the Tengu to remove it! That was a nasty surprise! The rest of his crew fans out so that he has three models in each section, more than I can stop him with anyway. The next turn sees Mei kill Gracie for Murder Prot. The wounded worker dies. The other worker engages my Bayou Gremlin to try and stop breakthrough... but getting to close to one of his previous markers. I dash out with a couple of Bayou's to place enough markers needed for plant explosives. I deny him a point this turn for recon. Although the Tengu devour more markers than I have ever seen, with some help, I still have enough bayou gremlins to ensure I get 3 for breakthrough. The game is lost for me, however, when Mei Feng charges a random Bayou Gremlin and gets blasts from her attacks, flipping moderates and 2 successive negative damage flips, killing four models in one go and loosing recon for me! It makes the final score a 9 all draw.

 In all honesty I was a little disheartened by that game. Losing the win a the last minute threw me. Having said this Peter was a gent and it was a good game.

 My last game of the day was reckoning. I'll be honest and say that I can't remember the guy's name who I played. I was pretty exhausted at this point. I did write down my crew, however:

+Liquid Bravery
+Dirty Cheater
Mancha Rocha
Gun for a lady
+Dirty Cheater

and he took, though I didn't write this down so this is roughly

+expert chompy and dreamer
+more stuff I think
stitched together

He announced line in the sand and took frame for murder on the stitched. I took Frame for Murder on Francois and Assassinate because the Dreamer only had 3 stones

In the first turn I went hell for leather and killed a stitched (though he forgot to get out kiljoy, who I had forgotten was in his crew!) with Francois and charged the Dreamer with Mancha, who passed wounds onto teddy. in the next turn Fran killed teddy, releasing kiljoy and then companioned Mancha to attack the Dreamer. Kiljoy attacked Fran, who understandably squealed away and then through a chain at him. My other models failed to do much damage to the madness' who had begun dropping line in the sand markers. Though Gracie did kill one to grab my reckoning. In the next turn Kiljoy killed Fran for Frame. Mancha smashed some bells out of the dreamer, who failed to summon chompy because of his lack of cards and poor flips. The rest of my crew then wails on the dreamer to kill him and get all the points for assassinate, having killed the couple of summons he made with redirected attacks to get reckoning. At this point there is very little left other than killjoy... who tanks likes a boss. With a combination of black blood and some pretty brutal damage he manages to drag most of my crew to a few wounds left and heal himself back up. His last insidious madness doesn't want to carry on putting markers down because he is pretty sure he'll just get shot so just hides. On the 5th turn I finally kill kiljoy and take out his last model meaning I win the game 8-4

Now a large number of us migrate to the brewery. It was a decent enough place, we all tucked ourselves into wherever we could and had loads of banter and fun. There was an issue with the buffet not really providing enough food for the people who went, unfortunately, but the quiz was loads of fun. Big thanks to David Brown for running it. At the point where we are kicked out of the brewery Jen is feeling pretty Ill and Nate tired so we decide not to join the migration to find another drinking ground and just go try and find the hotel, which was a bit of adventure because the road it was on was closed and Nate's satnav wanted us to drive on turnings that didn't exist.

So at the end of the first day I am on 2 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw. Not a bad showing, overall. I also had an absolutely fantastic time. The next day, however, was both to prove make or break for my gaming but also was when I was to face the world green and belly out. Sat tuned for the next blog post for more!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Bale of Hay: Gallery of Nightmares

Chris is here again, this time to tell us about a cool story encounter. Hope you all enjoy:

Hi Everyone (hope you are not getting bored of me yet),

This week me and a good friend of mine Matt decided to move away from the uber competitive style of match-up that so often now takes up our Malifaux time and try one of the story encounters from crossroads. I think it is good to do this once in a while to inject some fun back into the game and to have a less brain intensive game for a change. I so often find myself focusing on tournament style games that it can start to suck the life out of games (and make them a bit samey) after a while.

So as I am always drawn to the Neverborn fluff first, because I wanted to play my themed Hamelin crew and because I have access to all the dreamer models too (as you may have seen in my earlier LegoFaux post) this story encounter seemed like a good place to start.

The story is about coming across dreamer in the middle of the forest and him going a bit mental creating a gallery of all the gruesome things he is imagining doing to you!

So in a nutshell you take it in turns to place a "painting" marker anywhere on the board at least 6 inches away from a table edge or another marker. During the game you can then do a 1 interact to turn the "painting" into a random nightmare from dreamers crew to join your crew (BJ Teddy controlled by opponent, 1-4 Alp, 5-8 Madness, 9-10 Stitched, 11 Lelu, 12, Lilitu, 13 Coppelius and RJ Teddy). You scored 1 VP for this strategy either by turning a "painting" into a nightmare or for killing an opponents summoned nightmare, up to a maximum of 4 VP.

Schemes were selected by Matt to try and fit into the strategy. So we had:

Power Ritual
Murder Protege

Factions specific scheme
Rezzer - Score 2 VP at the end of the game if there are 2 corpse markers or 2 undead in each table quarter, 3 VP if revealed.
Outcast - Strange one as no VP available but gives you 4 more soulstones which presumably is supposed to help you achieve your other VP points or deny the opposition.

My list

Outcasts Crew - 50 - Scrap

Hamelin -- 7 Pool
+Sewer King [1]
+Survivalist [1]
+The Plague [2]
The Stolen [2]
Crooligan [4]
Crooligan [4]
Crooligan [4]
Nix [8]
Obedient Wretch [4]
Rat Catcher [6]
Rat King [8]
I took distract and power ritual announced.

Matts list
Resurrectionists Crew - 50 - Scrap
Nicodem -- 5 Pool
+Love Thy Master [1]
+Undertaker [1]
Bete Noire [8]
Canine Remains [4]
Canine Remains [4]
Mortimer [9]
+My Favorite Shovel [2]
Punk Zombie [7]
Punk Zombie [7]
Rotten Belle [5]

Matt took the rezzer specific scheme announced and distract too.

We played on a suitably foresty board to reflect the scenario. See pics.

The game actually was really close and ended up with a 10-9 victory for Hamelin and me. It was looking like a 10-10 draw for a good while until the last few activations of the final turn. By turn 5 I was out-activating Matt by about 3 models due to him not trying to kill that many things due to having distract. This is rare for me with Hamelin as only every seem to have Hamelin himself left at turn 5!

This meant that at the back end of turn 5 I had the advantage as Matt was fully activated and I still had a rat king, Hamelin and an obedient wretch (wench) left to activate. The rat king and obedient wench had distract on them but my only 2 models that did as Matt had helpfully killed the other 2 models with it on earlier in the turn. Therefore I used the rat kings first AP to kill the paralysed obedient wretch and then his second AP to sacrifice himself and turn into a rat catcher and rat thus removing distract from both. This meant Matt failed to score distract that final turn which proved the decider.

Overall it was a fun game and provided a bit of light relief. The strategy actually didn’t seem to do that much in the course of the game and was scored pretty easily (I think Matt had all 4 points turn 2). So we were a bit underwhelmed with the story as not sure it added too much. Matt did manage to summon a stitched, an alp, coppelius and a madness and I summoned a madness and a stitched so that added something unusual to the crews but that was about it.

I think Matt did really well to even score 2 VP for distract as Hamelins crew is a nightmare to score distract on. With Hamelin and Nix being Nihilists meaning they can choose to not take conditions (distract being one), the vast majority of the rest of the crew being rats (which are peons which you can’t distract), rat catchers being able to interact when engaged (so don’t need to disengage to remove distract), rat kings and obedient wretch being able to sacrifice themselves (therefore removing distract) and finally usually being able to out-activate crews (leaving your distracted models to activate at the end after the opponents crew are all out) means that it is nigh on impossible to get it off. In my list the crooligans were about the only models that you could reliably distract. So I commend Matt for that.

I think the one thing it did do though was allowed us to both throw off our competitive list building tendencies and both go for themed crews and just play for fun.

So although this particular strategy story encounter was a bit underwhelming (it may have been different if some Teddies had popped out!) I would still encourage people to give them a go if you are feeling a bit jaded from playing the normal strats and schemes and want to just try something a little different.

We will be trying a few more story encounters I am sure so will report back when we do!
Chris @cdhay