Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Divergent Paths p4 and Vassal M2e v2.2

We’re in the last legs of the Malifaux Divergent Paths event, and all in all things seem to be improving for our wayward newcomers. There were some real surprises this week in who won, and I imagine a couple of factions may be scrambling a bit to secure a hold on models they thought were thoroughly under their control. Phase 4 scenarios can be found here.

I would watch the hell out of a Malifaux based police procedural. Or "Better Call Amina." Just saying.
                The Self-Righteous Man is free! Well, more or less. He’s been cleared of his charges, due in part to the timely intercession of M&SU Lawyer Amina Naidu on his side. Now he’s been recruited to Ridley and is studying magic with Sandeep, having gained an interest in the Court Procedure magic used to bind his werewolf spirit. This week’s scenario features a similar idea to the Trickster’s Period 2 Scenario, with a series of Tome markers being scattered on the board. Models walk to the markers, pick them up and, unless they flip a crow to indicate it’s a worthless book, then try to deliver it to the SRM in the middle of the board. So, get your interacting Don’t Mind Me models ready. Additionally, the library puts a “Shh” condition on models that take Cast actions which will gradually do damage to them, meaning you’d probably better find some alternatives or some condition removal (why the librarians are cool with gunfire and swordfights is beyond me.) The Arcanists’ win in week 1 and 3 mean they’re likely at an advantage to end up with the SRM, but I would imagine the Guild could make a good run at it in week 4 and steal him. I’m pretty interested to see how the model turns out as, again, I love the Court Procedure magic style.

I was a little skeptical of the new Dreamer when I first read about it, but this art is turning me around. And, it makes me wonder about things that may be coming in the future...

                The Trickster was making a new friend this week as well, though the Dreamer isn’t quite as wholesome a friend as the Arcanist lawyer. On the other hand, he can wave his hand and create painkillers out of thin air for her, so I guess I can’t blame her. After going on a little pumpkin-smashing expedition, Nytemare imbued her with a bit of his power as a fail-safe incase Titania decides to off The Dreamer. For this week’s scenario, she’s decided to take some of those reality warping powers out for a spin, calling some Malifaux folks together for a fight with a crew that might not be ENTIRELY real. You hire a crew of 60SS, but then your opponent gets to pick two of your non-master models to REMOVE BEFORE THE GAME. You do the same for them, of course, but wow, that is intense! And as if that wasn’t chaotic enough, throw in blind deployment on top of it. Wowzers. The objective is to kill models near the Trickster in the center of the board every turn, and it’s going to be an interesting one. I think it will be key to build a crew of independent, strong models for this one. If your crew needs to have a lot of synergies to function, you’re going to struggle here. Also, you’re almost certainly going to end up playing at less than 50SS unless you build a crew with no models that cost more than 5SS. Gremlins and other spam type lists might be interesting for this, as well as a summoner master to replace your losses. Your mileage may vary. In any case, I imagine the Resurrectionists will be pretty interested in making sure they win this week with her to ensure the Neverborn don’t steal her away (and get the Ancestor trait tagged onto her as well.)

Pictured: not a nice person. Plus, has she always been able to talk to her arm?

                Finally, the kid. Rusty Alice followed a couple of puppets she found murdering a merc back to her hideout and was going to kill her and her teddybear, but Leveticus interceded on the girl’s behalf. He’s taken over her education and put her to work salvaging scrap for him, and that’s where you come in. This board will consist of two scrapyard markers on the outer edge of the board and the kid in the middle. You need to grab the scrap and then carry it to the kid in the center of the board for VP’s. So, again, lots of maneuvering and interacting required here, and crews that form one central murderball are going to have a harder time with this. It’s kind of like an extreme version of guard the stash. Expect lots of Neverborn activity here for the reasons mentioned above for the Trickster. I particularly enjoy the boosts that the kid may end up getting from this week, as they all basically involve her finding some kind of trash that from another Malifaux model that she’s going to adapt for herself, her Teddy, or her little marionette friends.


                Coincidental though the timing might be, I thought I’d walk you through some of the changes introduced with the new Vassal module v2.2 for Malifaux 2e. Ratty released this last week, and it improves things significantly from previous versions (and is very reassuring to those of us who wondered if maybe the module was not going to be updated again.)

                First of all, the puppet art is gone! I know a lot of people liked it, but it’s kind of dated (particularly given that Wyrd has sort of left Puppet Wars behind for the time being.) I think including the M2E stuff is a fantastic improvement! Additionally, the models now start off with all their wounds added to the model rather than having to be ticked on one by one before you start playing (this isn’t necessarily required, but it was considered good etiquette by most players to do this so your opponent could see how much more hitting a model required before it fell over.)

The gang's all here.

                Second, all the models from Ripples of Fate have been added to the module. So all the new crews, models, and…stuff? I don’t know, I ran out of things to put third on the list. But the point is, it’s all there ready to go. No need to wait for the models to be released, and no more throwing out “Generic 30mm base” and renaming it. Good times.

If you look at Asami, you can get an idea of how the new movement arrows work.

                Last, some quality of life changes. You can turn all the auras off with a simple command (CTRL+Period.) If you’ve played on Vassal enough, you know why this helps. You always have that one model with a 12” aura you turned on 3 turns ago, forgot about, and now can’t figure out how to remove or what size it is. The models have been rebuilt and the appearance of the arrow changed to stop them from wiggling so much. Essentially, the token always stays in the same orientation, but when you click on a token to move it there’s an arrow that rotates to show which way it will move. Plus, the Gaining Grounds 2016 strat and scheme cards are now available to be selected (it defaults to the book strats and schemes, but there’s a Gaining Grounds 2016 option in the drop-down to go find it.)

                So Vassalfaux is back and better than ever. If you get a chance, you should go look Ratty up on the forums or A Wyrd Place and tell him thank you for all his hard work. Use it, go play those Divergent Paths games, and let’s see where these crazy newcomers end up once all is said and done. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Divergent Paths Phase 3

It’s stage three of the Divergent Paths storyline, and things have gotten kind of grim for some characters, and pretty interesting for some of the others. We'll discuss the results further down, but first a mini-game report chronicling my continued descent further into the embrace of the Whisper.

Seamus and Co. Getting Ready for a Gremlin hunt.
I got one more game in with Seamus since last week, this time actually in person! I traveled to my friend Evan (who runs a blog for some weird game called 40k. I’ve never heard of it, but if you have you should go check them out at Facing the Grey Tide.) The Rezzers have been chasing after the Trickster, and the guy I was playing against didn’t really care, so I did my bit for…Grave Spirit and country? I don’t know, whatever. I played against Ophelia in the Trickster scenario, which was a little bit like Headhunter where you picked up Corpse Counters and dropped them off with the Trickster in the middle of the board for VPs. I kind of screwed up and threw Seamus away early on to tie up the back-lines of the enemy crew, but Sybelle and Datsue Ba managed to hold the line against the enemy while my Belles and a Performer I had hired managed to go win the Strategy. Datsue is a pretty sweet hench who will likely be in many of my crews in the future, as she is versatile, brings in some more summoning, and can deal some real damage. I think I’ll throw both Seishin upgrades on her in the future, but she was very strong in this game with just the Spirit Whispers, and summoning a Seishin right up into Ophelia’s face on one turn was pretty critical. Also, the Copycat Killer is insanely strong and aggravating for its cost. It shot gremlins off the board, cancelled out an opponent’s Convict Labor marker, and then held his own against a piglet for the rest of the game. It was kind of silly. I do like the Bag o' Tools for the Scheme Marker drop and the ability to pass out peon, but I think Sinister Reputation might have been more useful in this. Punishing the Gremlins already low WP by lowering it would have been useful, although I did get some good mileage out of the Bag by throwing down Scheme Markers for Detonate the Charges. So, I managed to make sure the lady ended up staying in the employ of the Resurrectionists (much to her dismay...)

For weeks 5 and 6, the Self Righteous Man’s story took an interesting turn. He’d been rampaging in his wolfy form and killing folks until he was caught by a crew of Guild Lawyers, who used their law magic to tie away the creature in his mind and give him back some control. I was delighted to see this, as the Court Procedure school of magic is one of my favorites just because it’s one of the things that feels truly unique to Malifaux. Now, however, he’s on trial and you have to do a sort of shindig Story Encounter where you’re bribing the judge in his case. He’s been claimed by the Arcanists and the Guild on successive rounds. We’ll have to see where he ends up in the end.

The Trickster’s story got…a little dark this week. Doc McMourning killed her again and, when she reanimated, she found that he has removed her skin and given it to one of his nurses. So, that’s pretty rough. I felt a little guilty about that, particularly the discussion of the agonizing pain she is now in constantly, but thankfully the Whispers came along and told me that it’s all a part of the greater plan, so now I don’t feel bad anymore. Thanks voices in my head! Apparently she did finally escape the Doctor’s lab, claiming the skin of a guild guard of some kind and taking on her identity. This week’s scenario is kind of a modified Extraction scenario, wherein you have to bring her painkillers or perform healing flips on her to move her onto your side of the board. You score points for the strategy if she’s on your side of the board at the end of every turn after the first. This one feels the closest to one of the normal strategies, but will have you scrambling to figure out which models in your faction can perform healing flips (hint, Friekorps Librarians are mercs.) 

Finally, the Kid has continued to be influenced by the Neverborn. In addition to her teddy friend, she now has some marionette pals. However, she’s started to want to go find her parents (who are already in Malifaux.) The sinister toys are not so crazy about this idea, and are now going to try and find the kid’s parents and kill them off so she has to stay with them. Again, kinda dark. In this week’s story encounter, you pick a living model in your crew and attach a “possible parent” card to them. If you can kill the other crew’s “parent” you gain VPs based on the station of the model, IE 4 VPs for a master, 3 for a hench., etc. Obviously this would encourage you to hide your parent somewhere in the backfield, however the other side of the strategy is that you gain 1 point at the end of every turn where your parent is within 6” of the opponent’s deployment zone. So, definitely a kill-y game, but one where mobility will be important as well. There will be some tension between deciding between going for the steady points every turn and focusing on the kill. I’m curious to hear people’s plans for how to attack this scenario.

So, there’s two of the new models that, one could say, it will be difficult to pry away from their current influencers. The Rezzers and the Neverborn have won the Trickster and the Kid the first two weeks respectively, so as long as they maintain par there doesn’t seem to be much chance of stealing them away. However, the Self Righteous Man has been split between the Arcanists and the Guild. If I had one complaint about this event as compared to Nythera last year and Dead of Winter from back in the day, it’s that there’s no data available (that I’m aware of) for the other factions’ progress on any of these models. That makes organizing an attack sort of difficult and, in all likelihood, if someone else wins one of the two already locked up models this week they’ll just be handing an ability from their faction to the faction that’s already winning anyways. For instance, if the Rezzers win the Kid this week, Seamus gives the kid his hat. That’s nice and all, but the kid’s probably ending up with the Neverborn anyways, so why should we work to give the kid our hat? As such, if you’re from one of the three factions that hasn’t won any of the models yet, I have to think that your BEST bet is to go after the Self Righteous Man. Neither the Guild nor the Arcanists have managed a commanding lead on him (presumably. Again, we have no data.) So, Outcasts, Ten Thunders, and Gremlins, channel your inner Duran Duran, get hungry like the wolf, and go get that guy. For the other two, we'll just keep pressing our current advantages. Or do like I do, and just play games and be thankful that you got to get your cards out.

Later, folks.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Paths Diverged in a Wood

I'm a little late on this, for reasons mentioned below, but the  Divergent Paths event has started for Wyrd Miniatures. It runs through the fall, ala the Nythera event from 2015 (though without the Through the Breach component,) and chronicles the efforts by the factions to recruit three newcomers to their sides. There are story encounters the groups play to try and earn favor with them, and the factions that win the most times in the week influence the character and the story in some way on the subsequent weeks. When we reach the end, the models will be assigned to factions based on who scores the most influence over each and will be added to an upcoming Malifaux book accordingly.

In week 1 and 2, the Fancy Man was won by the Arcanists and, as such, Marcus and Co. have afflicted him with a form of Lycanthropy. The Trickster was killed and resurrected in the morgue by Malifaux's favorite doctor, who is now using her to fetch corpses for him. And, the kid has been recruited by the Neverborn after a Teddy saved her from Witch Hunters. Where things will go from here is up to us.


So, I think I made it clear that, after Gencon and the release of Ripples of Fate, I was pretty psyched for Titania. I bought the boxed set. It was first on my painting table when I got home. I may or may not have been playing test games with her several months prior. I was IN baby, declaring my allegiance to the Autumn Queen wherever I could do it.

And then nothing happened.

I don't know if it was burn-out from being involved in the testing. I don't know if it was just a post Gencon "I've been thinking and blogging about nothing but Wyrd for the last two months," fatigue. I'm certain that not having games of Malifaux to play had something to do with it as well. As such, when the Divergent Paths event started, I found myself not exactly sprinting to Vassal to get another game in with Jon. I've got the Queen painted, but I haven't done anything but prime the others. So, when I finally ended up with an evening to get in the aforementioned Vassal game, perhaps it should be no surprise that, when it came time to declare my faction, I turned on her and her Neverborn companions like a heel turn at Wrestlemania.

I didn't hit her with a chair, but I would have if necessary.
Sometimes you care about winning games and completing objectives, but sometimes you just want to watch the world burn. Nobody embodies this idea better than the Mad Hatter of Malifaux, Seamus. He's my favorite master in the game in terms of the means by which his flavor is translated to the tabletop. Back Alley is just amazingly flavorful and, oh yeah, also pretty darned good in the game. Just when you think you have your strategy set up and ready to launch, suddenly Seamus pops out of a dark corner, cackles at you, and unloads his stupid-big gun into the back of one of your minions' heads. It's beautiful, and it's oh-so-satisfying. I had previously used Sinister Reputation with him and not been overwhelmed by it (not necessarily underwhelmed either. Perhaps just whelmed.) As such, I decided to bust out the Bag o' Tools this game, particularly given that we were going to be focusing in a smaller area on the board.

Plus my Seamus has a Jack o' Lantern. Can't beat that!
A Seamus crew is typically more resilient than it should be (8 wd hard to wound Belles are just silly.) And that Lure thing is supposed to be pretty good too, or so I hear. As such, two of them are nearly an auto-include, along with their pal Sybelle. I've waxed back and forth on the cathouse madam in the past because I've felt that she doesn't carry her weight (not a fat joke) in melee. But, she does have a pretty solid ranged attack in Shriek that blasts, and I think maybe she's better in the backfield as a shotcaller for the Belles than in front mixing it up. For the rest of the crew, I wanted models that could stand up pretty well on their own, given that I often have Seamus teleporting around the board and causing trouble away from them. Towards this end, I decided to try out an idea which I'd heard online, which I call the Triangle Offense. It revolves around placing Unnerving Aura on three solid anchors that move together, forming a triangle of "Don't stand here" for the enemy. Towards this end, I put in Yin (whose main ability in the game is not dying) and the always charming Anna Lovelace, who already has her own disruptive auras and who provides some much needed card draw for the crew in the form of Rush of Magic. Toss in a nurse for flavor, and we've got a crew.

I found myself playing Seamus in the Divergent Paths' scenario regarding the Wolfman running around and rampaging. It was a bit like Extraction, except you scored by having scheme markers within 3" of the marker at the end of the turn, and the marker occasionally leaps at you and tries to kill you. Fun times. My crew was this:

Seamus: Red Chapel Killer, Bag O' Tools, 4SS
Sybelle: Not too banged up, Unnerving Aura
Anna Lovelace: Unnerving Aura
Yin: Unnerving Aura
Rotten Bellex2
Copycat Killer

Schemes: Covert Breakthrough, Show of Force

Jon was playing Yan Lo (who I keep trying to call Shenlong. Also, before you ask, yes he had successfully attached the beard, so he deserves the T-Shirt.) His crew had the Emissary, Terracotta Warrior, Oiran (Yan Lo was carrying her upgrade,) Lone Swordsman, a Ten Thunders Brother, and the Soul Porter. The board was the End of the Line map hosted on Before We Begin's website. It's unbalanced and I won the toss and snatched the bottom left corner. Sybelle and the Belles spent most of the game in the building, alternating between Luring and Shrieking at models outside. The Mysterious Emissary and Lone Swordsman fell victim to some early lures and Seamus Back Alleying. I had some pretty solid luck on turn two with my hand and attack flips (two "With a Flourish" triggers on the swordsman in the same turn=no hand for Jon.) In the end, I was well on my way to tabling the other crew at the end of turn 3, and we decided to call it a win there.

As I said, I enjoyed Seamus quite a bit, and I'm thinking I'll play him more in recent weeks. Sybelle as a backfield supporter worked better than I expected, but it does mean maybe she's not as good of a point on the triangle as I wanted. That said, the Triangle itself  actually did tick a few wounds, so I think there's something there. The nice thing about it is that none of the triangle points are completely vital (Sybelle might be close, though,) so I can fiddle with them. I've heard good things about using Datsue Ba to summon Seishin, who can then teleport off to Seamus wherever he is and provide him some support. Or there's always throwing in Hannah to bring the wonder twins (I know, they're sisters not twins, I don't care.) Double Rush of Magic is probably pretty good, if you're into that.

I don't know that I really did much for the Rezzers in Divergent Paths, since they seem to be going after the Trickster, but I guess I played spoiler (which is more or less what the Hatter would enjoy anyways.) I think I'll definitely give him some run in the future. Maybe through Halloween? We'll see.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

(Also belated) Gen Con

     -Gen Con-
For me this is the first thing on my calendar every year (11 years in a row and counting).  I get to hang out with friends from college and play games for 4 days?!?  Yes please.  So the expense is kinda skewed since I would be there even if I wasn't playing Malifaux.  For those of you considering Gen Con it is something you should find a way to experience even if its just once.  They did just raise their 4 day badge to $90.  The hotels within walking distance run about $200 a night or more but if your willing to commute 15 minutes most of the outlying hotels are reasonable but then you are paying for parking downtown as well.  I think there was a $50 4 day parking service offered but I defeated parking previously and again this year so I ignored the details.  I'm spoiled on downtown hotels so I will more than likely always spring to stay close.  Opposed to some conventions (the pop culture/media based ones) this one is is run on event tickets.  So if you want to do something you get a ticket and you don't have to wait on a line for hours (other then if seating matters but 45 minutes early is generally a good seat for shows) they cut tickets at capacity and then they run a separate line for generics in case there are no shows and they have room.  I think the airport isn't too far (20-30 if I remember correctly) if driving isn't feasible. It sounds like a lot of money but if you take a few friends to share a room you can split most of the expenses.  And as Adam has said previously you can always sign up to volunteer.

On to the Malifaux events!  All the events were well run by Joseph Girard aka. Cheated Fates Joe.  (Please forgive me if I misspell anyones name)

I was busy during the Enforcer brawl so I missed out.  I was going to play in the 16 man tourney but I was at BK Faux when tickets went on sale and when I got to a computer they were sold out.  I didn't want to jump in with generics and spend time waiting and end up not playing.  I wasn't in any condition to play anyway so that worked out.  Next year my job ought to be stable and I will buy tickets for all of the Malifaux as soon as they are on sale.

I did play in the henchmen hardcore.  It was kinda an on the fly thing since Adam and I had to crash it on generics.  As such I didn't take any notes but I play that format just to meet people.  Some people play it competitively but I don't think it will ever be something I take serious as the game balance was not designed with this format in mind.

So the Malifaux Open was capped at 32 but I don't think everyone showed up (as will happen at Gen Con).  I ran Jacob Lynch for all of my games (surprise I know).  I do a quick highlight reel of these 3 games and then I will jump into Tyrants.  If you want pics, Cheated Fates Joe promised me he would put some up (I assume they are on Twitter somewhere).

Round 1 - Guard the Stash;  Convict Labor, Leave Your Mark, Show of Force, Mark for Death, and Public Demonstration.  Corner Deployment.  James was my opponent and he ran an awesome McDonalds themed Molly crew.  I wish I took pictures but my phone was busy crapping itself (I finally upgraded so future blogs ought to have better quality pics).  I pulled out a win 3-2 at the end of turn 3.  I'm pretty sure I had CL, LYM and I don't think I asked what his schemes ended up being.  He also has a side project I will plug later on.

Round 2 - Turf War;  Convict Labor, Take Prisoner, Hunting Party, Search the Ruins, and Neutralize the Leader.  Standard Deployment.  I played Paul who was relatively new to this game but he knew what he was doing and put me on me heels activation 1.  He took Raspy and like a newb cake I deployed in a line on the line not in cover so he hit me with from the shadows, ice mirror, 24 points of damage to my models.  Somehow he failed to kill anything with the opening salvo and that's where it went horribly wrong for him.  I went through my whole deck turn 1 and flipped the black joker for damage twice.  I also flipped it for damage turn 2 and turn 3.  He had Raspy and laughed at his black jokers.  And despite all that I managed to win 10-5.  My Low River Monk was healing like a boss with the new upgrade and a lot of his stuff was in charge range turn one.  He only needed to park one acolyte close enough to blast me but I guess he underestimated my charge range or something.  He did play very well for having only played a few games.

Round 3 - Reckoning;  Convict Labor, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Inspection, and Covert Breakthrough.  Flank Deployment.  This happened to be a round 3 rematch from Origins against Jay.  He took Pandora.  He beat me at Origins and we officially tied here at 6-6 but Wyrds boards measure 37" (mistake made by whomever framed the boards) and when we did the final measure with the TO my extra scheme marker I dropped because I had nothing better to do ended up being a millimeter out for the win because we measured as the board being 36".  I'm happy with the result either way as the game was well played and I had fun.  More importantly placed well enough to make the cut for Tyrants.

With a little bit of work I can go track down the pics and do a more in depth report on these games upon request.

Tyrants was an 8 man qualify to play single elimination bracket.

My first opponent was John Hartigan.

The lists;
I took:
Lynch with Woke Up With a Hand, Rising Sun, and Recalled Training
Huggy with Recalled Training, and Peaceful Waters
Lone Swordsman With Recalled Training
Yin with Smoke Grenades
2 x Illuminated
Ten Thunder Brother
Low River Monk

He ran:
Pandora with Voices, Depression, Wings of Darkness
Nekima with True Mother and Rapid Growth
Primordial Magic
Stitched Together
3 x Terror Tots

Reckoning; Convict Labor, Take Prisoner, Leave Your Mark, Covert Entourage, Search the Ruins.  Flank Deployment.

With a diagonal center line Convict Labor is somewhat easy to do since there generally a corner your opponent will ignore.  I deploy where I have the option to split my force and clear a path for the scheme runner or press the center reacting to what the opponent looks to be doing.  And also with Flank leave your mark is normally very easy to do.  Conventional Neverborn wisdom is Doppleganger + Covert Entourage = profit so I kept hat in the back of my mind.  Three of the schemes use markers so I just had to wait to see where they were going and move in to mitigate VP.

With all of that the game came down to a turn 2 charge by Nekima on Lynch.  I was going to SS prevent all 3 attacks and all I would need is one of them to be a moderate and sf she flips 3 weak damages I had a chance.  I think I prevented 5, made him cheat 3 times so it cost him 6 damage (and he didn't charge within 2 so no black blood).  I managed to heal him up with the Low River Monk next activation and took out Nekima the activation after that.  Stitched can be scary but I don't fear them with Lynch's card cycle.  Later on Pandora did manage to land Paralyze on Lynch but then I just had the monk charge in and remove it. The doppelganger copied Huggys Ca tentacles and beat him to bury and Lynch got him back on the table pretty quick.  End result I took this game 9-0.  Normally Reckoning is hard to score but it just lined up where I was able to score it three times.  John believes he went in a turn too early and should've put a couple wounds on Lynch before applying Nekima.  All in all it was a pleasant, well played game.  I know the result doesn't reflect well played but that's not how I measure how the game is played.  He knew what he was doing and fate could have swung the game his way.  I tend to try to mitigate my deck as much as possible but I don't control his deck in any way.

My second Opponent was James Hanrahan.

I ran the same list (which in hindsight was a mistake).

He took:
Sandeep with Arcane Reservoir Enlightened Soul, and To Behold Another World
2 x Metal Gamin
Joss with Imbued Energies
Howard with Imbued Energies
Rail Golem with Imbued Energies

Head Hunter; Convict Labor, Show of Force, Hunting Party, Neutralize the Leader, Frame for Murder.

So while I was selecting schemes it occurred to me I had very little idea as to what Sandeep does for a crew.  I read his rules and I knew he could take academics and models could cast his spells (which I mistakenly thought was limited to academics but this wrinkle didn't impact the game in a way I couldn't manage). I read that he could summon Gamin but two things happened here I didn't account for.  I failed to make the connection that the totem is almost always worth summoning, and why would anyone summon gamin to potentially cede 3 points for hunting party?  I generally shy away for Neutralize the Leader because that requires my opponent to cooperate and play in a manner where that is feasible.  Frame for murder would be easy enough with Huggy telling Joss to kill my patsy.  Yin might have gotten me Show of Force but I was already behind not knowing what to expect and I didn't need to lose Yin when I wasn't expecting to.  I like to tar pit with him when I'm not afraid of whats attacking her but there were too many variables and Convict is generally easy if I'm not going up against summoning.  So I went with Convict and Frame on the female Illuminated.  And I need to put defense triggers on Lynch when NtL is in the pool or play him from the back.  I'm still refining the core list and its options and I'm chomping at the bit for the terracotta warriors.

So the first thing I did was run my patsy up into hard cover.  He ended up killing her with Sandeep pretty early so I didn't need to obey Joss to do it.  Huggy melted the Rail Golem.  I got lucky and had my illuminated kill Howard and only ceded him 2 points for frame.  He got to Lynch for 3 points and normally that isn't a bad thing but I need to learn to play more defensively with Lynch and not use him as another hitter.  Or at the very least change my approach.  I also failed to put a performer in the list as I intended and Thunder Brother Steve black jokered the dance of the heavens and cost me a point for Convict.  I made many mistakes in this game so I can't really pin it on Steve.  It was a well played game and I enjoyed playing James.

After the game it is natural for me to ask myself and sometimes bounce ideas off others what I can do different.  In speaking to Joe I mentioned I wonder how this game would have gone had I taken Hunting Party instead of Convict that I scored 0 on in the first time ever.  If this came across as I felt like I was cheated I didn't mean for it to.  There are masters in the first to books I haven't seen on the table yet so really this isn't too far different had I instead I played Kirai for the first time.  There was discussion about Gencon allowing the book 4 masters and Nova not allowing Book 4 with the exception of Aionus.  I don't want to stir that up here.  I came to play and have fun and if I win great and if not I get to meet new people and learn from players I haven't played before.  I'm happy with my third place finish and if fate is on my side I shall do better next year.

And now for the side project.  If you have the foam that comes in the model boxes lying around give it to someone going to Adepticon and have them come find me.  Or if you happen to be at an event in Ga or NC you can just give it to me in person.  I will forward the foam for the mystery project and I will let you in on the secret for a foam donation.

Until next time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

(super belated) Origins wrap up

I know this is very late.  I can make excuses but the bottom line is I need to do a better job writing my experiences down in a timely manner.

So without further ado...

This is an annual game fair held in Columbus, Ohio in mid June.  As far as cost to attend, if you are there for all 5 days the full event badge is very economical at $55.  I had my brother buy this badge for me as a birthday gift and I happen to have friends that live in Columbus so this was somewhat easy to put together at the last moment.  I think the Malifaux event tickets were between 4 and 8 dollars so this trip was relatively inexpensive for me.  Where Adepticon is focus on miniature gaming, Origins is more in the vein of what GenCon is but on a much smaller scale.  It's on my calendar for next year but it's fighting for time off work.

The Malifaux events were well run by henchmen AJ Miller and Bill Tegeler and supported by Wyrd onsite.  I played in the Enforcer Brawl, Henchman Hardcore, and the 50 SS.  They also had a story encounter on Sunday but I was driving home.

-Origins Enforcer Brawl-
Before this event I have never played this format.  So for those of you who have yet to play this format I will post the rules and give you my general thought on the games.


Each player selects one Enforcer and attaches one Upgrade to it.  The upgrade must be something the Enforcer could have attached at the start of a normal game considering it faction(s)..  (Leader only Upgrades may not be selected, for example.)  The Enforcer must be one with a Cost which may be hired (no Coryphee Duets, for example.)
The game is played on a standard table.  Each player flips a card to determine deployment order; the player who flips highest deploys first, followed by the second highest , etc., until each player has deployed their Enforcer.  If to or more players are tied they flip off amongst themselves.  Models may be deployed anywhere on the table which is more than 6' from another model.
Play proceeds for 6 rounds.  Each round, all players flip for initiative: the player who flips highest must go first, followed by the second highest, etc., until all players have gone.  Flip off amongst those who tie.  If a model receives reactivate, it receives a second activation at initiative -1.  (if multiple models Reactivate, they flip to determine who goes first).
Before the game assign a suit to each table edge.  On the player's initiative, if they have no models in play or buried, they must flip a card which may not be cheated (reflipping jokers).  The player places a new copy of the model they chose at the start of the Brawl (including it's upgrade) within 6" of the board edge corresponding to the suit flipped and then proceeds with their activation as normal.


Players have a hand of 4 instead of the usual 6.
Any Action, Ability, or Trigger with the word summon are treated as if that Action, Ability, or Trigger were not printed on the models card.  IE no summoning of any kind.
When a model is buried, it may chose to be sacrificed instead (in which case it counts as sacrificed by the model which forced it to become buried).


At the end of 6 turns the player with the highest Victory Points wins.  Players score VP in the following manner.

-3 VP for each opposing model killed or sacrificed.  A player scores 4 VP instead if the model they killed or sacrificed had a higher Soulstone Cost (including the cost of the upgrade) than their model did.
-1 VP for dealing 1 or more damage to an undamaged enemy.  A player scores 2 VP instead if the model cost more SS.
- -3VP for each time the players model is killed or sacrificed.
-there is a clause for variant scoring which was not used.

So with these rules in mind I started round 1 with the Lone Swordsman w/ Recalled Training.  I know there was another swordsman w/ RT, A lone Marshal, and I think a Rail Golem.  Since I was tied for cost with 2 other models I played cat and mouse instead of Leroy Jenkins.  Example was I had the other swordsman engage me after I had gone that turn and he reactivated off me after I reactivated off something I had killed.  I did have RT running but I was probably out of cards so I couldn't guarantee killing him so I pushed out of engagement and double walked making it impossible to hit me.  I finished that game with 10VP and the next highest was at 2.

Everybody changed models for each game.  I ran Yin w/ Smoke Grenades and Bishop w/ Oath Keeper. I finished middle of the pack the next two games but no one made up the difference from game one so I took first place.

My approach to this format was almost an equal mix of what points can I deny as well as what I could score with the focus on denial.  If I didn't have the cards in hand to ensure I would kill something I would go for first blood.  I'm thinking I might give the hooded rider a go since I play this format to meet people and have fun.  It's not something I will spend a lot of time plotting and scheming because there way too many variable you will never control.  I could show up and everyone at the table decides my model needs to die.  A far fetched scenario but what actually happens could fall somewhere on this spectrum.

Next I played in the Henchman Hardcore.  I didn't bring the key model because it was on my paint table and I forgot to pack it.  I'm fairly certain the official rules can be found on Wyrds resource page so I won't rehash that.  The list...

Yamaziko W/ Misdirection
the Lone Swordsman W/ Recalled Training
Tengu (who will be a Low River Monk now that wave 4 gives it a 0 upgrade to heal)
Kominu (who I wanted to be a Rail Worker for HTK and Implacable Assault)

The idea was to discourage charges with brace yari.  Yamaziko has a cache 6 so stoning to misdirect onto the Kominu/Rail Worker or damage prevention depending on the average incoming damage.  Im torn between the Tengu and Low River Monk because regeneration on the Swordsman ticks twice if he has a chance to reactivate but in practice order of operation tends to require the swordsman to go before I can get regeneration up so then healing is more efficient.  And having condition removal is not a bad thing either.  I think there is something here in this list and with a little practice I should win some games.

The Quick and dirty results for Avatars of Origins

I can post a skeleton battle report on any or all of these upon request.

Round :1
I played vs. Resser Tara.  I won 7-4.  I scored 3 for detonate with Yu and wandering river style. Got 2 for convict labor (because we didn't get to turn 4) and 2 for the Strat.  I denied him the strat once and he got 3 for Frame for murder (typically i will cede these 3 points, hope for 2, and not alter my game plan)  I don't think he ever told me what his other scheme was.

Round 2
I played vs. Neverborn Lilith.  I won 8-3.  I got 3 for the strat (got to turn 4) 3 for Breakthrough and 2 for Leave your Mark.  He scored 2 for the start and once for Hunting Party.(I took an anti Hunting Party list to discourage him selecting it but he felt he could get to my trap I hid with Lilith in time).

Round 3
I played outcast Von Schill.  I lost 6-7.  I tried my hand at Occupy Their Turf and it turns out if you divert resources, you are not as efficient at the start.  I score 3 for entourage and 3 for occupy.  The first time I failed to score at all on collect the bounty (i did destroy another strongarm suit with Huggy turn 1.  He really hates those things).  He got entourage with Von Schill and 4 for the strat.

All in all I enjoyed playing my opponents and would gladly play any of them again.  

Until next time.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Previously Released Models to Aid the Queen

So, here’s to Titania being out and her information being available to the public, and here’s to not having to tiptoe around what I write about her anymore. Rejoice! The Queen is Risen! She is Risen Indeed!

                As previously stated, I’ve been amped for Titania since her first appearance during the Nythera event, and I’m anxious to get her on the tabletop to see her in action. I do, however, have some ideas of models from the Neverborn faction (and a mercenary) that work well with her. So, I thought I’d throw together a quick post to discuss some of these.

1)      Performers- I think you’re going to see these mercenaries hired into many Titania crews in the future. The Venn diagram of Performers and Dopplegangers overlaps in several areas and the ladies of the Star Theatre don’t bring Ill Omens, so there’s definitely some competition there. However, the reason you would want to take one of these is the Tactical Action “Seduction.” For the cost of a 7 out of your deck, you blow up a scheme marker (note: not necessarily yours, though you’ll have no shortage,) and every enemy model within 3 of it have to perform a WP test or get a double – to Df and WP flips for the rest of the turn. As someone who’s been on the receiving end of this in the past, I can tell you that this is not a lot of fun and your model is not likely to survive the turn at that point. Now, as people who have played a Terrifying crew can tell you, the real reason for forcing a large number of simple duels on the opponent is to drain their hand cheating to pass them, so you won’t want to count on the enemy getting the debuff, but either outcome will help the crew immensely. Give them a close look, and help me figure out how to make a proxy with a donkey head to represent Bottom from Midsummer Night’s Dream.

2)      Sorrows- This crew creates a lot of incidental WP duels. All of the Wicked Silence attacks go after WP. Any enemy models that activate in base to base with a scheme marker take a WP test. A New Harvest, An Audience with the Queen, Curse of Autumn…you get the idea. Lots of WP tests to potentially trigger a Sorrow. Their biggest weakness is that they’re fragile, and Titania offers them some protection by being able to tank for them. They’re worth looking at closely.
Teddy's the one on the left

3)      Teddy- I mean, he’s Teddy. He’s pretty good anyways. But the thing about Titania is that she doesn’t in and of herself deal a ton of damage. If you’re in a game where you’re going to do some smashing, you’ll need to hire one of the Neverborn’s big hitters to do the heavy lifting. Nekima is kind of the gold standard for this (and she’s a perfectly acceptable choice,) but I like the synergy of Teddy’s Smell Fear combined with all of the incidental WP duels for 2 stones less. One of his weaknesses is typically his lack of speed and low defense. Titania can push him around with The Queen Has Risen and can, again, soak up blows for him. I think Teddy can do some serious work in this crew.

4)      Barbaros- There’s a lot of buzz around including B with T to give you a pair of tanks rather than just one and, in fact, overlapping the two auras to punish models for attacking at all (you have to attack Barbaros because otherwise the action fails, and you have to discard 2 cards because you didn’t hit Titania, plus any additional damage Sorrows might inflict.) I have to confess not having tested this personally so I can’t really speak to its efficacy. It seems good on paper, though.

5)      Mysterious Emissary-  Here, at last, is a master I think can really synergize well with the ME. Titania crews aren’t built around speed, necessarily, so they’re less likely to leave the Emissary behind when rocketing up the board. Titania can fly over the hazardous terrain Hungry Land markers, and the ubiquitous Hard/Impossible to Wound makes it less likely to do serious damage to your models if they wander into one of them (though it also makes you more likely to hit a Red Jokered 6 damage. Thankfully, that happens to me every time anyways, so it’s no big deal to me.) The generic Mysterious Conflux gives + flips to attacks for any minions within 4” of the Emissary, and it’s likely that you’ll have at least a few of those between the knights, performer, and/or sorrows. Speaking of the Knights, their challenges can pull people through the hungry land markers. And, the Emissary summons Changelings out of scheme markers which, again, you’re likely to have a couple of those on hand. I think the big tree-man definitely has some potential in a Titania crew.

That’s all I’ve got for you right now, but let’s hope I’ve got some more on the tabletop (or Vassal) experience for next time or, failing that, at least some pictures of painted models. This is my project for the next several months (she is the Autumn Queen, after all.) So tune in for updates in the future. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Shadow and Void: A Death Marshals Story-Prologue

“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep…And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good,” – Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 1-4.

“Trouble is, God forgot to ask the Darkness for permission first…” Death Marshall Burns

                He didn’t see me when he stepped into the office. The remainders of the rain ran in rivulets from the wide brim of his hat, dribbling down his duster to pool on the smooth knotwood floor. He pulled the gloves from his gnarled old hands one-by-one, tossing them carelessly at on the floor beneath his coat rack. It wasn’t until he’d finished removing his soaked garments and turned, probably already tasting the amber whiskey waiting in the flask hidden in his desk, that he caught sight of me in the orange beam of light streaming in through the window.
                “Christ, Burns!” he shouted, his back slamming back against the doorframe as he reached for the gun at his belt, “What do you think you’re playing at? You’re lucky I didn’t put a hole in your…” he drifted off as I leaned forward into the light, letting it fall on the maimed remains of my face. “Holy…what happened to you?’
                I smirked, or at least I tried. I suddenly became acutely aware of how many muscles it requires to create that facial expression, and how many of them I was now missing. The right side of my face angrily grimaced at him, the bottom row of teeth showing clearly through the ripped away portion of my lip and cheek. “I found the Butcher, Tom,” I replied, the hard B slurring slightly. “He didn’t go quietly.”
                His eyes widened, working through this new information. He ran a hand through the thin, gray hair on top of his head before finally scratching at the sandpaper stubble on his cheek. “Shouldn’t you be in a surgeon’s office?” he finally said.
“I suppose,” I answered, “But I’ve already been and went. There ain’t much they can do for me. The wound’s torn so bad that, even if I had the missing bits, the docs wouldn’t be able to sew ‘em back on. Besides,” I chuckled, “I didn’t feel like digging in the bastard’s belly to get them back.”
“Well, hell,” he finally answered, nimbly stepping past that particular mental image, “If you killed the bastard, then it sounds like reason to celebrate to me. You’ve been on his trail for, what, two years now?”
                “Three,” I growled, “He dropped fourteen bodies in all, that we know. Fifteen, now, I suppose.”
                Tom crossed the room, pulling open the drawer to his desk. He pulled out the amber bottle and two glasses, laying them out on the table and pouring us both a finger’s worth. He slid one across to me and we held them up into the beam of gaslight. “Well, they can rest easier now,” he said, “Well done. How’d you find him?”
                “The bastard really was a butcher, if you can believe it,” I replied, “The most recent victim, a girl from Ridley, had a receipt in her pocket from his shop.” I tossed back the drink, wiping away the trickle that leaked down my right jaw in irritation. “I showed up at his place near the Howling Slums last night and took him down.” My voice drifted off for a moment, remembering the horrors I’d found in that butcher shop, but I shook my head to scatter them. “Kind of hard to believe it would end that way, after all this time, with just some stupid screw-up.”
                Tom shrugged. “Sometimes we just get lucky,” he said, “Though in my experience, a lot of the time, these rippers want to be caught so the truth of their story can get out. Nothing makes them crazier than when the newsbills get the details wrong, you know. Why, I interviewed a man once who spent twenty minutes haranguing me for the amateurish way his crime scenes were photographed. Did I ever tell you about the Howling Slums Strangler?”
He stood up, pouring himself a second glass and swirling it thoughtfully as he started to pace towards the door. I could see the telltale signs of one of his lectures coming, and I moved to interject. “That’s the peculiar thing, Tom. They didn’t get any of the details wrong with the Butcher. Just this morning, the Tattler published a story speculating that the Butcher was taking the girls’ meat for use in food, based on the style of the cuts. Sure enough, there was hamburger in the cold rooms of this guy’s shop that…well it wasn’t beef. Thing is, we never released those details regarding the state of the victims’ bodies. How did they figure that out, do you suppose?”
                Tom shrugged again. “Who can say? That bloody Cochrane woman has a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. Maybe she heard something, or found some clue we missed?”
                “Or maybe she had a source,” I answered, voice turning to ice, “A source who knew who and what the Butcher was all along.”
                Tom’s footfalls suddenly stopped, his back stiffening. His free hand dropped down next to his holster before the ugly click of the hammer of my Peacebringer echoed in the silence.
                “How long, Marshall Vinton?” I growled, “How long have you been a goddamned Resurrectionist?”
                Tom craned his neck back, the fingers of his gun hand relaxing as he scanned the water stained ceiling for elusive answers. “Sometimes it seems like only a few weeks,” he finally responded, his voice haunted. He lifted the glass, taking one last pull of the liquor, and then gave a dry, raspy chuckle.

                “Sometimes it feels like all my life.”