Friday, April 26, 2013

Misaki vs. Lillith 25SS: A funny thing happened on the way to the supply wagon depot...

Yesterday marked the first round of our campaign conducted through the local game store. Misaki and crew made their way to the game store and lined up to play against Lilith and her crew of vampire-demon Nephilim things. The organizer of the campaign wanted us to include special terrain with the games, so after flipping that I would be playing supply wagon again (opponent had Escape and Survive) we flipped and saw that we were also going to be fighting over some mysterious effigies in this game. So, between the relic counters for campaigns, the effigies, and my supply wagon, there were a number of featureless black disks sitting all over the damned board, which looked somewhat like this.

Ten Thunders Crew

Neverborn Crew
Primordial Magic
3x Terror Tots
1xYoung Nephilim

With diagonal deployment and the rules for the various markers’ placements, things ended up pretty equivalent between us on the board. I set up at the bottom right of my triangle, flanking the wagon with Misaki and Yamaziko and placing the Archer on the roof of the building in my DZ to give it good firing lines on the middle of the board. The Nephilim squad hides back behind their building in their DZ. Tuco, then, deploys from the shadows behind the building to my bottom right. We flipped for initiative, and the game began.

My opponent won initiative and basically split her crew in half, with some going clockwise around her building and Lilith and one tot going the other way with the Primordial Magic. Tuco ended up moving towards my crew pretty early in the turn and breaking the “no attack” effect from deploying from the shadows, which suggested to me that the opponent was not extraordinarily familiar with the speed of a Misaki crew, a lesson that was learned when the Mistress of the Ten Thunders moved into him and dispatched him pretty handily with an assist from Yamaziko. The tots did a lot of sprinting up towards me. I used the Torekage to throw some smoke up and get in position for a second turn flip with Misaki. The archer and Shang poised themselves up on the roof for next turn shooting.

Second turn saw the young Nephilim barrel towards my Torekage, coming up just short of charge range. This was a shame, as the Torekage then flipped with Misaki (who has a 2” melee) and killed him. She was then swamped by tots who, while not really able to do much damage to her, were going to lock me in place for the thing I was afraid of from the minute I drew this opponent, a beating from Lilith. Both from reputation and my own experience, I know that Misaki won’t survive a protracted melee combat against multiple opponents, particularly when is arguably even more smashy than she is. I moved Yamaziko up to try and lend some back-up (though she failed to do anything significant this turn.) One of the tots, knowing the potential damage output of the Ten Thunders Archer,  sprinted towards him but didn’t get the mask it needed to run all the way into melee. He was then rewarded with an arrow to the face. Shang flew to the top-left corner from me to go sit on the relic marker and maybe snipe the primodial magic. And it’s at this point that Lilith did something unexpected, pushing some of us out of place with earthquake and hanging back from melee. I didn’t really understand why until the closing phase when, since I forgot to put someone in place to defend it, when the supply wagon went merrily chugging forward to the middle of the board with no protectors.

Lilith smiled a wicked smile.

She won initiative and walked up to go smash my wagon to flinders (I love that word, even if it did mean I just lost 4 vps.) She only had one AP left, and was worried about getting pecked by the archer, so she cast transposition to flop him and Misaki, leaving the archer in melee range of two tots. I’m not sure how I feel about this move, as she couldn’t have done anything particularly offensive at this point, and it did move the archer out of the way of shooting twice at Lilith, but my Torekage was right there to bail him out and it freed Misaki up for a diving charge on the Mother of Monsters. The Torekage was, admittedly, the Kill Protégé target for my opponent, so it did put him in range to take a shot at finishing him off, but still it was a mixed bag of effects. The tots didn’t manage to hurt the Torekage to any great length (I was relatively impressed with his resilience, to be honest. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, given that he is a ninja and all.) Shang went up for some totem-on-totem violence and scratched the eyes out of the P.M. And then, the big moment…diving charge from Misaki on Lilith. First attack…misses and leaves me with -2 CB. Second attack…misses. This looks very bad. Final attack I only manage to stone my way to a tie. I flip my three cards for attack…and the second card in is the red joker. Red Joker + Severe damage flip leads to 12 damage for Lilith, and that is one dead vampire lady.

Misaki dropped into a cool ninja pose.

Next turn Yamaziko uses sweep off of her Yari to drop both terror tots, and my opponent was tabled. We called it and let me spread my people out to claim as many markers as I could, and I won 6-0 after getting both my schemes and claiming the mysterious effigies. Cuz, you know, who needs strategy points, anyways?


I always feel a little off playing games against opponents who clearly don’t have the same level of experience as I do, particularly when things are going my way on flips. I don’t enjoy just stomping an opponent into the ground, and I tried to help her out whenever I could without compromising my game for the campaign’s purposes. I’ve also resolved not to injure models with no upgrades in the campaign, as my first experience in the practice game could have left me with a very gimped crew going forward.

The league member who red jokered the “injury” for one of his Death Marshals, on the other hand, may be a different story…

I did, however, screw up completely with protecting the supply wagon. What a dope. I honestly told her, after the game, that if the Red Joker + Severe hadn’t come out on that Lilith attack, there’s a better than even chance that she could have taken that game. 8 defense blooooows. Now I know how people felt trying to attack my Perdita back in the day. And, worse, Lilith drops your CB after the first miss with her vanish ability, leaving me swinging at 5CB against 8 defense with another soulstone user. After the first two attacks missed, I was almost expecting to lose Misaki at that point. I was very much baled out.

                My upgrades after the game had the highest barter card come back at a 9. As I only got to 5 guild scrip (stupid supply wagon…mumble mumble…) I can’t buy a ronin to up my model count, so I used the 9 to buy ranged expert for my archer. Should make him even more capable of shooting things very dead. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Campaign Trial Run

While I was in Omaha on Sunday, I sat down with my friend Jon Goulbourne for a quick run-through game to get an idea of how the Misaki crew I'm planning on using for the upcoming campaign will operate. We cobbled something vaguely resembling terrain onto a board, lined up, and went after it.

My Crew:

Opponent's Crew
Sonia Criid
3x Witchling Stalker
Samael Hopkins
6SS (I think)

My strategies and schemes: Supply Wagon, Stake a Claim, Kill Protege (Sam Hopkins)

Opponent's Strategies and Schemes: Treasure Hunt (Old version), Stake a Claim, Frame for Murder (Sam Hopkins)

Well, that's annoying.

I decided not to get silly about this and just throw into the opponent's crew while leaving Yamaziko to protect the wagon, as her big threat range makes protecting the thing pretty straight forward. Shang would circle around the board to go claim the terrain towards the back of my opponent's half. I mused that our two crews might just wave at each other as they walk past each other. That didn't end up happening...

Early on, I moved forward with the Torekage and swapped him with Misaki for the free 5 inch move. The archer and Shang moved towards the left flank. Jon split his crew up a bit, with one stalker moving towards my right to eventually head towards the claim, the Watcher flying up to go get the treasure from on top of a building in the middle of the board, and Sonnia, Sam, and the remaining stalkers going to my left to go mix it up. Misaki then went, bounced up the board, and proceeded to gut Sam Hopkins and get Sonia and the stalkers into melee with her as well. Sonia puts up inferno, swings at me a few times with her sword, and (this ends up being critical) blocks me off from the crew by dropping flamewalls behind Misaki. Second turn ends with the Torekage unburying on top of the middle terrain, in prime "swap with the archer so he can shoot the treasure counter" position.

Jon wins initiative on the third turn and picks up the counter and high-tails it with his Watcher. I forget that he loses fly and the increased movement, but don't care because putting the treasure counter on top of a building was kind of harsh anyways. The torekage swaps the archer up to the roof, and I reflect on how neat it would be to have companion to make it so the archer could fire now. Also, I remember that Sonia put up Inferno last turn, and ask how many wounds Misaki took from that because I'm a nice guy. Jon says 3, spends another turn not hitting me, recasting inferno, and blocking Yamaziko from healing Misaki. I then gleefully murder Sonia, at which point Jon says "That's fine, I'm good with mutually assured destruction."

I give him a confused puppy dog look.

He then informs me that Inferno goes off and does 6 to everything around Sonia. So that's a dead Misaki, a dead Stalker, and a dead Witchling.


Then one of the remaining witchlings climbs the building and puts the archer into melee. This also annoys me, but I manage to succeed at disengaging despite having a negative twist and plunked the witchling for 3. Later on, Yamaziko climbs to the top of the building and drops that witchling, freeing up the archer to chase down the fleeing watcher and shoot him full o' holes. Given that my Torekage was running to my claim and Jon's was well hidden behind his, we decided the game was pretty well sorted at that point. So, 8-4 victory for me.

My concern was that we were flipping for the injuries as the game went on, and the Misaki and Sonia both flipped a 10+. We didn't see what injury we were going to end up with when we were finished, but we were slightly concerned at the fact that both our masters are pretty combat intensive.

Lessons Learned: Misaki will kill things dead. Then she will die. This is the way of things, unless one plays smarter than me and doesn't throw her at the enemy's whole stupid crew.

Archers kill things dead. This is not news.

When I can get companion Ten Thunders on my Torekage as an upgrade, it will be very useful.

Don't kill Sonia when she has cast Inferno, unless you plan on getting exploded for 6.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Some previous posts

Here are a couple posts from my old blog that had to do with Malifaux.

Battle Reports from 3 Games

Report from a tournament I ran a while back

Inaugural Post: Thoughts On The Wyrd Chronicles 5 Campaign System

One of the things my lovely fiancee pointed out is that my other blog, Geekland, probably loses readers based on how niche my thoughts on Malifaux ultimately are, given that it's not a game tons of people play. I occasionally forget that this is still a bit of a sub-pocket game, given the amount of brain power I typically expend on it. As such, I thought I would organize my Malifaux stuff into it's own blogger feed, so those who look for my bi-annual thoughts that just have to get posted to Geekland don't have to slog through Malifaux info. 

A gentlemen at our FLGS (Gauntlet Games) is going to run a Malifaux Campaign using the campaign rules printed in the most recent issue of Wyrd Chronicles, allowing for your crew members to acquire injuries and upgrades as the game moves along. He's planning on running it as a one-game-per-week campaign, much like is suggested in the article, and pair us up to have us play individually and see how this thing turns out. Now, I entered the Miniatures gaming world thanks to a little game called Blood Bowl (thanks, Jon Goulbourne) and one of the hallmarks of Blood Bowl is the League system where your players grow and change as you play games and eventually your team modifies itself to become quite different than what you start. The new Malifaux campaign system contains a very similar style of game, and I love the idea of that. My concern with this system is the notion that, should things go horrifically wrong in a particular game, you can easily get left with, like, 2 models alive in your crew, no master, and a 6 SS minion to lead you the rest of the way. Now, that would take some horrifically poor luck, but it's not impossible, and the fact that a 25 SS crew is going to have a pretty low model count means you can be pretty vulnerable to things going that way in a hurry. There is, however, a mechanism built in to correct for this by giving you a refund in "Guild Scrip" or the cash to buy new minions, based on the relative sizes of your crews. I would feel better if there was a way to buy a new Master if you lose yours, but cest la vi, it's a game and we'll see what happens.

So, since this thing is firing up, it's time for me to think about who I'm going to use for this campaign. As a henchman I generally try to do what I can to improve diversity in leagues, so I tried to get a feel for what others were going to bring out for this shin dig. Two players were running a practice/warm-up game for it and were playing Neverborn on Neverborn, so that crossed my most familiar faction off of the list (drat.) Another player was leaning towards running McCabe as Guild, so there went my first love, Perdita (double drat.) No one is currently planning on playing Resurrectionists, but my biggest crew in the Ressers is Kirai and some folks pointed out to me (rightly so) that your typical Kirai crew is going to behave rather strangely in this format, since you're only going to have Kirai and the Lost Love survive most games, and boosting them up would be moderately pointless (relic hammer for Kirai! Woo!) So this leaves me with Collette, an interesting crew that I don't know that well, and....Ten Thunders.

A bit of back story. When Storm of Shadows (Malifaux Book 4) came out, I was excited by the new models but not over the moon about the Asian faction. I don't know why, exactly. It's just not one of the themes that has ever really tripped my trigger, despite the fact that I've developed (what I think is) a relatively good method of creating bamboo bases on the cheap using spaghetti. As such, early purchases for me in the book 4 era involved getting Lynch (woo Neverborn) and McCabe. Then, during the Winter organized play event, I needed to play a game with a different faction and picked up the Ten Thunders with McCabe as master to play against a Misaki led crew. And...Misaki gutted McCabe turn one, and then I spent the game playing movement tricks and blowing things right the hell up with my TT Archer...and discovered how sick the crew can be. Then, shrouded in secrecy, I went out to go purchase the Misaki boxed set and assembled it. 

If you look closely at the painted crew, you can actually see the drops of shame mixed in with the paint. 

As such, I'm going to give the 10T a run (I'm trying out all the abbreviations to see which one I like. It isn't that one.) If nothing else, I'll want to get some practice and learn all I can to prep for Gencon tournaments and what-not. My initial list will look like this:

Ten Thunders Campaign Crew 
Ten Thunders Archer

My rationalization is that, if you're playing a TT crew, you are doing so to include Torekages and do the Tore-flop, so you need at least one ninja-guy. The Archers are maybe one of my favorite parts of this crew, as they flat-out kill things dead, so one of them is going in. I want to test Shang to know whether I feel he's worth the points, so in he goes, and Yamaziko adds some much-needed healing and area-denial to the crew that should help out in missions and preventing loss to attrition during the course of the campaign. My concern is that, typically, a crew will include a hitter minion to back up Misaki, but at 25 SS you have to make some cuts, and I think this is the best way to go for a crew in a campaign format. Misaki will just have to carry the water on her own. 

I'll be updating this as the campaign moves along, to allow for reflection and analysis on my strategy and campaigns in general.