Monday, March 26, 2018

The Power of KISS


Mini-Musings

The March Newsletter has come out, and it has a lot of interesting announcements. 

-First of all, it mentions the Obsidian Gate Through the Breach event, which is now in progress. 

-Additionally, it's time for the spring sale and the onslaught of alternate sculpts that come with it. This year, there's a Viktorias alternate with an Easter theme that are...interesting. Additionally, there's a slop hauler Bob Ross. So that's a thing. If you spend $100, you get an alt Lazarus. 

-During April, Wyrd is running a painting contest called Creature Feature, where you put together a clearly non-humanoid model and paint it. 


***

Pictured: Not the subject of this article.

              I don’t know about you, but my free time comes at a premium. I have a job. I’m looking for another one once this one finishes up. I have three kids, two of which are in middle school. The eldest is in track and plays the violin. My wife works and is going to school. And I also occasionally sit down and write this blog, as well as articles for Wyrd Chronicles. I’m lucky if I get one whole game of Malifaux in a week, and that usually requires playing over Vassal with Phiasco or my friend Rich, both of whom routinely pound me. If you wonder how somebody who writes a Malifaux blog could make all the mistakes I do when writing about the game, it’s because I just flat-out don’t get to play that often. Case in point: Show of Force has been a scheme since 2017 and is still in 2018. I somehow missed the fact that it only scores if you’re within 6” of the center of the board, not within 6” of the centerline. How has that not come up before now? I have no idea. But it’s kinda ridiculous that I’d never put it together (and I’m now mortified that I have likely cheated some opponents prior to this revelation.)
               Why do I bring this up? It’s not out of some weird need to debase myself. It’s to illustrate a point. When a new crew idea comes along, not everyone has the opportunity to play three or four test games a week to try and learn its intricacies. Malifaux is complex, and there are a lot of models with a lot of complicated interactions you have to learn to master it. Recently, I posted about summoning Pandora, a crew built around interactions between models. All of the models in it are WP based and somewhat suboptimal  on their own, but gain strength through the synergy of the crew. And, when I played it the first time, I played it very poorly. I haven’t gotten a chance to go back and try it again, and I certainly wouldn’t break it out for a tournament, despite the fact that I like Pandora and I think it’d be a cool crew to play. It’s just…honestly a little intimidating. When I only get one game a week, I don’t like spending it in a losing effort, though I should probably get over that. But still, the bottom line is that it’s very rare when I go up against an opponent and am as experienced with my crew as they are with theirs. More often than not, I’m having to learn on the fly, as there’s only so much theorycrafting you can do in your head before the game. And if it’s a really complicated crew with a lot of moving parts, that just makes it harder.
               I’m starting to feel that I should gravitate more towards simple crews. The fewer complex interactions I have to keep track of, the less chance there is that I’ll screw them up. And, to be honest, I think there is something to be said for just playing a crew full of good models that do what they do without a lot of support. The prototypical Lillith crew is one example of this, since it basically consists of the master, some hard hitting enforcers/henchmen, the Primordial Magic, and some other stuff like Iggy or the Mysterious Effigy that provide direct, simple benefits to help the rest of the crew. You can do something similar with Collodi, especially if you have a Bag of Props build that doesn’t revolve around handing out a bunch of buffs to the crew.
And, to risk propagating a stereotype, my other faction is the Guild, who tend to be a bit simpler in and of themselves. There are more complicated Guild crews (Nellie, some McCabe crews), but in general they tend to be a bit simpler to play. I like Perdita, but there isn’t a ton of subtlety in that crew if we’re being honest. One of her best upgrades is Fastest Draw in Malifaux, and all that does is give you a +2 to initiative and a card draw if you lose. The closest thing you have to “synergistic activations” is deciding when to have the Brutal Effigy activate and give her the (0) action buff, and when to have her totem shove somebody upfield. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of activating models, pointing them at the enemy, and pulling the trigger. Simple as that.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things to master with these crews that will separate a good player from a great one, but it isn’t like learning the interplays of a top-end Nicodem crew. And, if I’m being honest with myself, I probably need to stick to something more like that if I want to improve my win rate.
Also, I need to stop playing against Rich. Because he cheats. I don’t know how, but he does.