Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Wrap-Up Post

It’s the end of the year. This is a point in time where we look back on things. Reflect. It’s weird that we do that, right? I mean, all we did was go around the sun. But, anyways, that’s what we do, and that’s what we’re going to do in today’s post. Whether you like it or not! Why am I being so aggressive? Have the voices finally gotten to me? Maybe you’re being too aggressive! MAYBE IT’S YOUR PROBLEM!
*gloved hand rests on my shoulder*
Pandora: Calm down, dear. It’s just a Malifaux Musings intro. Nothing to get so worked up over.
Ah, of course. Yes. Nothing to get worked up over. It’ll all be fine. Let’s just talk about 2017, shall we?
*Pandora smiles, while quietly closing her puzzle box behind me*


               The last half of this year brought me the objective of focusing on a faction. I have a terminal case of Magpie Syndrome, which I’ve mentioned before, and it takes a conscious effort of will to force myself to sit with one crew/master/faction for long enough to actually become good at it. To counter this, I used my platform on facebook to post a poll and pass the burden off to you: what do you want me to play? I composed a list of masters I’ve owned for a while but haven’t actually gotten onto the table. The Facebook universe, of course, pointed out to me that polls allow you to add your own choices to the list. Suddenly, I discovered that the public had added Parker Barrows who I don’t own and Collodi who I didn’t particularly like. Well, I guess that made the choice clear, and yet I knew I was going to start cutting if I had to play Collodi over and over again. I didn’t get him. I knew it was going to be hard. And I knew there were other things I would rather play more. Thankfully, Jon volunteered to run Parker and the solution appeared: we would alternate our games, and I would focus on the Neverborn faction as a whole.
Well, the reality is that this isn’t exactly the same as focusing long enough to get good at something. My first couple of games with Collodi  were…painful. I didn’t understand what his role was in the crew. I tried putting Hinamatsu out onto the board and I totally boned her activations and placement, ending in more failure. I was about to wrap up the Collodi experiment entirely after the first few games out of sheer frustration. And then, somehow, getting my ass-kicked by Alex Schmid taught me how he’s supposed to work.
I thought, initially, that Collodi’s purpose on the board was force multiplier/debuff spreader/support piece. I was wrong. Collodi’s role on the board is to murder things. He doesn’t look like it, since his main attack only does 2/3/4. Don’t let that fool you. He’s a machine gunner, and his job is to get pushed into position to shoot whatever model from the opponent’s crew goes too far forward until it dies. That’s it. He has an aura that lets things take a couple points of damage to gain fast. He does have the ability to put personal puppet on things and use My Will at clutch moments to score VP. But that’s not why he’s there. He’s there to kill things. That’s his job, period, and he’s very good at it.
There is a bubble in the crew, but this isn’t a bubble crew. The Marionettes can feel free to run all over the place, and honestly that’s what they should be doing because they’re very cheap activations and, if there are no schemes to accomplish, they should be running around being obnoxious. It takes way too much AP for the opponent to kill them off, but there’s so many of them that they can’t be ignored. The effigies are good at their job, but the Shadow only really needs to do it for the first couple of turns to keep the crew safe on early days and then he can wander off to go do what he needs to do. The Arcane Effigy should be amazing on paper, but mine has literally never done anything in any game. I treat him like an umbrella: every time you remember to bring it you won’t need it, and the first time you forget it’s going to be a downpour. Hinamatsu needs to stay in there until it’s time to attack, because gaining Fast on her is just silly (5 AP on my beater? Sure, I’ll take that.) But it isn’t the most important thing, and she can go do her job without it (I think she’s almost better as a Linebacker, but then again I’m starting to look at most beaters that way.)
The Brutal Effigy is the most important model in the crew beyond Collodi. If the opponent can kill it, they bloody well should, because Collodi can be absurdly reckless with the knowledge that his attacks can heal him back without a whole lot of effort. Also, his little pop-gun is pretty useful to push Collodi up the board. That’s the other thing I didn’t think about, because I never think of these types of tricks. Collodi’s Mask trigger on defense lets him push 3” on resolution, so you either 1) Miss the shot and get a free push or 2) Get hit for, most likely, 1 damage, and then push. I often miss these sorts of things because, honestly, they feel “game”-y and I don’t like them. I wish they weren’t in Malifaux, and it’s one of the things about the Collodi crew that I still don’t find to be “fun.” It’s effective, because every AP you spend on walking is one you don’t have for machine-gunning. But, at the same time, I wish it didn’t have to be there to play the crew to the best of its abilities. Sigh. I’m griping, I know, but this stuff irritates me.


As for the rest of the faction, I dipped a toe into a lot of crews. I’m really intrigued by Dreamer, mostly because the idea of using Empty Night to push a Bultungin for 2 free attacks sounds amazing and because I haven’t played a summoner before. Plus, I have a feeling that the Dreamer is currently falling into the category of “nobody plays this master anymore because of the nerfs, despite the fact that the nerfs really didn’t hurt him that much.” I really feel like he’s stronger than he looks, and I want to find out in person. Also, I think Serena Bowman is really a lot better than people give her credit. She’s expensive, and the question of whether those points could be used better is real, but I want to try it out for myself. A Mature Nephilim that counts as a Nightmare and can be led around by the crew sounds pretty ok.
As an aside, I’m also learning a lot of that last lesson: Go play the models on the board, because the internet is wrong a lot (this blog included). Malifaux is a very complex game with a whole lot of different models that do a whole lot of different things, and nobody can possibly understand how all of this stuff works together. Most peoples’ opinions of models comes from secondhand opinions rather than firsthand experience. The Mysterious Emissary, I’ve always thought, was a very good model that I liked a lot. And yet, somehow, every podcaster and online opinion I listened to for a long while said “It’s the worst. It’s anti-synergy. The summons are unreliable. Don’t take it.” So, you know, I kept quietly trying it every now and then, but I let it sit aside and assumed I was wrong. Thankfully, I started listening to the Max Value podcast and interacting with Alex on Facebook and twitter, and I realized that “Oh, yes, actually this model’s really good. You just have to be flexible with what you expect and assume that any summons or hungry land markers you get off of it are a bonus.” So, yeah, I guess the lesson is “use the online opinions as opinions, not truth. Only use your own experiences to make your final conclusions.”
Anyway, back to the wrap-up. I also tried Titania with Barbaros a couple of games. Interstingly, Titania didn’t do a damned thing in either game I used her, while Barbaros was the MVP of both games. Go figure. I think that guy is a lot better model than he gets credit for, and I want to play him more. If he was, like, one stone cheaper he’d be in every crew, I think. If we somehow end up playing in the future, expect to see Barbaros, because he’s most likely going to be there. I tried Pandora’s summoning list and it was ok, but the reality is that I didn’t play it as well as I could have and, coincidentally, ran into a hot pile of Charm Warders making my summons die almost immediately. Also, I was sort of looking at the Sorrows as the real purpose of the upgrade, but a recent episode of Max Value pointed out that the Poltergeist is really the gem of that list. I’m excited to give it a try and make people sad. Sad, sad, sad. Beyond that, I only got the one game with Lillith against Alex, and that sort of underscored that I need to play her more, and stick to gameplans. I think she’s a good defensive model, but she’s brittle. She’s a lot like the rest of the faction in that regard, really. Also, I need to stop thinking of Tangled Shadows as an offensive ability. It looks like one. It has the ability to target enemy models. But her low Ca for that action means that, in truth, that spell is much more reliable and, therefore, much more effective, when used to move your stuff around rather than to snatch enemy models to you. Don’t fall into that trap. She’s much better at rooting things, disrupting the enemy with terrain, and acting as an ambush predator to pick off enemies that are exposed.


Speaking of Phiasco and I’s crew building challenges, we played a sort of “wrap-up” game with them on Vassal. This all started back in August with a game between Collodi and Parker, and this was our chance to match them up again and see what we’ve learned.

               We’ve been steadily working through the Gaining Grounds Jan-Mar rotation, and were now up to Standard Deployment-Ply for Information. The scheme pool was Surround Them, Dig Their Graves, Set Up, Recover Evidence, and Public Demonstration. My crew was Collodi with Fated, Strum, and Aether Connection. 4xMarionette, Hinamatsu w/ 1000 Faces, Mysterious Emissary-Conflux of Music, Arcane, Brutal, and Shadow Effigies. Phiasco had Parker with Black Market and Crate of Dynamite, Hannah, 1 Wokou Raider, 2 Librarians, 2 Ronin, and 1 Malifaux Child. I deployed on the right side of our board because I thought it would take away the most of Phiasco’s access to blocking terrain. Everybody was inside the Collodi 6” bubble to start with. Parker’s crew was mostly together, outside of one of the Librarians who was sitting in the upper right corner, presumably to work on Surround Them.

               Turn 1 had the usual assortment of jostling, prepping, and positioning. I saw that the Parker crew was likely going to have to squeeze through some choke points to get to me, so I used the fast M.E. to jump up and clog the one he initially moved towards with a Hungry Land marker. Shadow Emissary buff was spread through the crew to protect them from shooting (though, in retrospect, this was really unnecessary against the crew Phiasco brought.) Hinamatsu sort of cagily redeployed himself to block the surrounding Librarian. At the end of the turn I sent Collodi up to go take some shots at Hannah. She’s pretty resilient to Collodi’s damage (is there an effigy buff to get around armor? Cuz that’d be neat…) but I did manage to use Obey to make her walk through a Hungry Land marker, which was cute.

Hungry Land Markers are annoying.

               Turn 2 Jon won initiative and used a Librarian to heal Hannah and counter-punch at Collodi. She got one shot before I pushed back out of her way. Meanwhile the Emissary moved to go block the other path, forcing Phiasco’s crew to walk through the forests or risk getting chomped. I moved a Marionette to go Ply Hannah for information, which seemed to make her mad, as she then turned around and dropped a Red Joker damage smash that pummeled Marionettes, Shadow Effigies, and the Mysterious Emissary. Realizing how tough of a nut Hannah was going to be to crack, Collodi changed targets to kill a Wokou Raider for Dig Their Graves, using an incidental scheme marker one of the puppets threw down earlier. Phiasco had moved his Ronin to try and either set up an easy kill on a Marionette or had sniffed out my Surround Them and wanted to stop him from going after it. Hinamatsu soaked up some Fast and snatched the Ronin out of the way, knocking him down to her Hard to Kill but falling short of killing her. Parker moved in behind to also cut off the Surround Them and get in a better position to smoke Hinamatsu. The Librarian shuffled down to take advantage of the opening from Hinamatsu’s repositioning. Figuring that he wasn’t going to get another chance for it, he revealed Public Demonstration at the end of the turn to at least score 1 off of it from the Ronin and Hinamatsu.

Really, really annoying. =

               Turn 3 Jon won initiative again and activated the Ronin, stabbing Hinamatsu for a big chunk of damage and then sacrifices it to keep me from killing it for Dig. Parker used his ability to nudge the Librarian along towards completing Surround Them, but Hinamatsu ran her down and killed her first. Collodi used My Will to instruct the Brutal Effigy to ply the other Ronin in the crew for information and then killed him for Dig Their Graves. The Mysterious Emmisary shifted one of his Hungry Land markers so he could walk into it and engage Hannah in melee, as well as creating a running lane for another of my Marionettes to move to the bottom left corner of the board for Surround. Another Marionette ran up and plied Parker, ensuring I scored the strat again this turn.
               Phiasco went ahead and called it at this point, as he wasn’t sure he would be able to score anymore VPs. Assuming worst-case scenario for me, the game was likely going to end something like 6-3, but we were pretty confident I would end up with the win.
               At this time, I’m starting to get Collodi and understand what he does to be effective. As I said, using the triggers for pushes is a pet peeve, and I don’t think the crew will do particularly well in games where the board is very spread out or where the enemy has a lot of armor. That armor problem could be a real bugbear, actually, so I’m going to have to figure out a way around that at some point.
               Phiasco's thoughts on Parker seem to be that he does a number of interesting things, but it’s too hard to get them to work. There’s an expression some Magic: The Gathering players use where you ask what a card asks of you to make it work. All of the TNs, suits, and resources required to do Parker’s stuff makes him kind of sub-optimal. He might be better in single-master environments where his versatility is an asset rather than making him a Jack-of-All-Trades and Master-of-None, but right now he’s not sure how much he’s going to go forward with him. For now, we’ve suspended our “First I play Collodi, then you play Parker” rule. We’ll see how much we see of each crew going forward.


               Lastly, I’d like to say a word about Malifaux Musings itself. It’s been a bit of an up-and-down ride for me in Malifaux this year. It’s undoubtedly been a year of growth. If you google “Malifaux blog,” we’re the first thing that comes up, and I’m pretty proud of that. Also, I’ve had the good fortune to be tapped regularly by Wyrd to write for their bimonthly ezine, Wyrd Chronicles. I’ve written a couple of Through the Breach adventures and a few tactical articles, most of which I’m quite proud of. I’m actually getting a little bit of money for my gaming, rather than it just being a drain on my family’s finances every month, which makes me happy. I also managed to put together a draft of half of a novel about my Death Marshal character, Thaddeus Burns. I’d hoped to get more done, but novels are hard.
               On the other hand, I had thought to tap into the massive popularity surge the blog picks up annually when Gencon is rolling around to launch a Patreon campaign. Inspired by a couple of other content creators, I thought that I would ask for only a dollar from the people who read the blog on a regular basis (much like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast) and would offer a monthly raffle of Wyrd stuff as an incentive to get people to chip in. This is what Kyle (aka Khyodee) does for Schemes and Stones, and he has been quite successful with it. Imagine my surprise, then, when we barely got off the ground. At most we had half a dozen patrons, and that number has actually started to shrink! Needless to say, I’m a little bit stumped. $1 doesn’t seem like that much to me, but maybe I’m not offering the sort of content people are specifically looking for. I’ll be putting up some polls in the New Year to try and correct this. But, in any case, for the time being I’ve suspended the raffle (as I couldn’t rationalize continuing it when it was costing me money every month).

               2017 was a tough one for a lot of us, as most of you know. On a personal level, my wife is finishing up her nursing degree. A member of my family had a medical emergency and moved in to live with us. Money’s been tight. Science funding is getting scarcer and scarcer, which has left me evaluating just exactly what I want to do for my career in the immediate future. And, of course, an authoritarian government has seized control, cracking down on a number of groups and individuals we all hold dear (I’m referring to the new Governor-General, of course. Who did you think I meant?). There’s been a lot of struggle, but I’m grateful for gaming and Malifaux specifically for a respite from it. I’m hoping that 2018 is going to be a year of growth, when I’m able to participate more frequently in tournament events and where I can keep Malifaux Musings expanding towards our goal of becoming the best Malifaux resource on the web. I hope you’ll come along with us. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Malifaux Musings 2017 Christmas Special: I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas!

Your humble bloggist has been somewhat slack at the wheel of late. Life's been kind of nuts these last several weeks. Hopefully we'll get back on track for 2018. To make up for it, I threw in a little extra this time. In addition to the standard Mini-Musings, we've got an article on 5 tips to improve combats in the Through the Breach RPG, followed by a Story Encounter themed around a...non-traditional Christmas story. 


-To no one's great surprise, the Sandmen won the Homefront event for The Other Side. As an aside, if you're trying to bet on who's going to win a worldwide event for Wyrd, just figure out where the Neverborn fans, particularly the Dreamer fans, are going and bet that way. It's a thing. Along with it, the Gremlins managed to pull out the victory Malifaux side, so the Nightmare box will be themed around them at Gencon this year. What could it be? Well, my family and I were watching the aforementioned unorthodox Christmas movie last night, and I might have some ideas...

If Phoebe Cates is included in the boxed set, that'd move a lot of units all by itself.

-In other TOS news, an image was released of the Guild models that will be joining their Syndicate for the game, including a familiar face. Looks like Nytemare isn't the only Malifaux resident with an interest in how the war is going Earthside.

-Iron Painter has moved into the fifth and final round. The theme is Snowpocalypse. Best of luck to all the competitors. 

5 Ways To Improve Your Through the Breach Combats!

Through the Breach doesn't always get the love that it deserves, and I'm going to do my best over the next year or so to try and correct that. To start, I thought I'd mention a few tips I use to make combats better for my groups. Enjoy!

1)     Include more variety!
One of the things that I see newer referees for RPGs do is line up a series of encounters where the party faces, essentially, a squad of guardsmen, followed by another squad with a few more guardsmen, followed by even more guardsmen, this time with a boss of some sort. While this horde of faceless minions works great for action movies, if you don’t do something to break up the monotony it can get stale pretty fast. Repetition leads to dull, bored players most of the time. Mix your encounters up. Throw in some other stuff. Maybe that second encounter is with a team of riflemen, and the third features a Riotbreaker or a Peacekeeper. Adding in varieties of opponents helps to offset the monotony and keep your players engaged figuring out what is coming for them next.  

2)     Describe the action!

Way too often, I see combats turn into players and fatemasters quoting numbers at each other. If your players’ attacks keep turning into “I shoot my gun at him. I do three damage,” it falls on the Fatemaster to spice it up. After they tell you how much damage they did, describe the action back to him. “You drive the edge of your saber along his side, gashing his ribcage,” is much more exciting than “you hit him with your sword for two.” If you do it well and are gently encouraging to your players, you’ll notice them start to do it on their own. The critical table helps a lot with this, as they tell you A) where you hit and B) the effect it causes when dealing crit damage, but you can always punch up the narration from there. And the absolute best way of using this I’ve found comes from the Dungeons and Dragons podcast Critical Role. Expert DM Matthew Mercer hands narrative control over to his players when one of them kills the last enemy in a combat or the main villain of an adventure by letting them describe how their character delivers the final blow. The positive effect of this “how do you want to do this” technique is to add some personalization to the action and to give your players a chance to add some characterization to their Fated, by showing if they’re quick, efficient killers or brutal, sadistic monsters that take pleasure in dealing out the gore.

3)     Location, location, location!

This one probably doesn’t need as much explanation to the miniature gamers that make up the vast majority of the Through the Breach playing population, but the terrain in which a combat occurs can make a huge difference in increasing its memorability. A fight against Jacob Lynch’s Hungering Darkness is going to be scary, but it’s made that much more intimidating if it happens in a storm sewer on the edge of a rushing torrent of sludge headed out to one of Malifaux’s rivers (especially when he starts compelling your drug-addled minds to jump in for a swim.) Bandits running down your wagon is a pretty standard wild-west encounter, but the most memorable versions of it usually involve the stagecoach driver getting shot and killed, causing the horses to run out of control while your characters try desperately to fend off their attackers and stop the carriage from going over a cliff. How much more epic is the final struggle of the Lord of the Rings between Frodo and Gollum that it happens on the lip of a giant pool of magma? The knowledge that one wrong step could lead to certain doom will always ratchet up the tension!

4)     Don’t be afraid to be cruel but fair!

For people that are new to roleplaying games, the first time you take the helm and serve as Fatemaster you’ll be tempted to go one of two ways: crush your players underneath the weight of your killer encounters or try and protect them by fudging dice rolls and shifting things in their favor. The former is just you being a hateful kid frying ants with a magnifying glass, and will likely end with you not having any more players. The latter is harder to do in this game, since everything happens off of the same fate deck and no actions get resolved behind your Fatemaster’s Screen, but you can always nudge down the damage on an attack or a creature’s acting value to help your Fated out in a pinch. And I’m here to tell you: don’t. Don’t do it. If the encounter is fair and things are just not going in your players’ favor, let them struggle. Let them fail. Besides creating D&D and, more indirectly, roleplaying in general, the thing that E. Gary Gygax is most famous for is being an absolute killer Dungeon Master. You’re not the players’ friend when you take your seat at the head of the table, you’re the referee. And, trust me, they will remember the game more fondly if it feels like they had to overcome real challenges to succeed. The best DM I ever played with was an absolute bastard who once had a possessed NPC throw my character’s five your old child OFF OF A CLIFF IN FRONT OF ME, and believe it or not that isn’t the worst thing I’ve seen him do during a game!
               Now, to temper that message somewhat, I don’t like that DM because I’m some kind of masochist who enjoys being punished at the RPG table (I enjoy that sort of thing in an entirely different context…I’ve said too much.) I like him because the stakes feel real. His monsters are REAL monsters, who REALLY have evil intentions and will cause the characters REAL harm if given the opportunity. If you screw up, there will be no grey-bearded wizard flying down from the sky on a deus ex machina to bail you out. You’ll deal with the consequences, no matter how dire they turn out to be. However, his games are not inherently unfair. Challenging? Yes. But not unfair. Just as often, we’ve mopped up his encounters faster than he’s expected because we rolled well or did something he didn't expect.
                 In Through the Breach this can be a real issue, as the damage system and low numbers of wounds for both Fated and Fatemaster characters can make combat very swingy. A Red Joker for damage at the right time can spell disaster for a character who was otherwise succeeding valiantly, and as a Fatemaster it is up to you to recover from it. Red Joker for damage, followed by a 13 on the critical table? That character’s in bad shape. Sometimes you get unlucky. That’s combat for you. I promise you, however, even if they never tell you this to your face (and possibly curse you for being such a jerk), they will appreciate a game more where they feel real danger than one where it feels like they’re always buckled into their seatbelts with an airbag ready to deploy in case of emergency.

5)     Run with your players’ ideas.

This one ties in a bit with the previous entry, but it’s really about working with your players rather than against them. The real magic of an RPG comes from the interplay between the encounters you create and the ideas your players devise on their own. All of the best stories from tabletops come when the characters wander off the route you had charted for them and come up with something you never anticipated. At the base level, playing a roleplaying game is very much like participating in an improvised theater scene. Learning the basics, particularly learning to “Yes, and…” or “No, but…” the other players’ ideas can increase the enjoyment a hundred fold. If your players ask a question like “Is there any rope nearby?” it probably means they had a creative idea they want to try out, and they need you to give them permission to put it into action. In those circumstances, even if I had absolutely no intention for there to be any rope handy when I wrote the encounter, if I can rationalize it for the setting where the combat is occurring, I try to do it. IE: You’re in the middle of a Knotwood forest. Sorry. There’s no rope…but maybe you can use a vine?
Of course, the standard caveats apply. If it doesn’t really fit with the theme of what you’re trying to create in your game to allow someone to use a Mind Control Magia to force a Cerberus to shove its heads up its butt (you can laugh, but watch a game with comedian Brian Posehn and you’ll probably hear something equally silly before the game is over), then maybe you’ll have to step in and do something to discourage it. Maybe the creature just gets stuck trying to twist and contort in an odd shape for a round, until it shakes it off and realizes how ridiculous its being and goes back to mauling you to death. But, again, don’t just say “No.” Work with your players. They’re as much a part of creating that vaunted story and theme as you are, possibly moreso (they do outnumber you, after all.) If they’re trying to play one kind of game and you’re trying to play another, then maybe you need to find your way to some kind of middle ground.
Hopefully, these tips will help people improve their Through the Breach combats, and help you create memorable games your players will be talking about afterwards.


So, as alluded to previously, I watched Gremlins with my kids yesterday. I like to throw in something Christmassy to honor the season (here’s a link to my version of the three ghosts from A Christmas Carol. I’m still particularly proud of the Ghost of Christmas Present.) This year I decided to try something new: a story encounter. 

               Is it fair or balanced? Probably not. Have I playtested it? Nope! Does it make sense that these Gremlins aren’t friendly to models from the Gremlin faction? Definitely not. But here it is anyways. If it’s chaotic, that’s sort of the point, right? Hope some people have fun with it.


It’s Holiday time in Malifaux, but some mysterious creatures from the Three Kingdoms have gotten loose. Stop them before they spread havoc throughout the city!

Special: After both crews have deployed, both players take turns (staring with the player who deployed first) placing 6 30MM Mogwai markers on the board. Mogwai markers must be placed within a piece of terrain on the board, and may not be deployed within 6” of either player's deployment zone or another Mogwai marker. Any model may make a (1) Interact Action to push a Mogwai marker 4”. Any push performed by a Mogwai marker stops if it comes in contact with a model or impassable terrain.

At the end of turns 1 and 2, after both players shuffle their discard piles back into their decks, players take turn activating the Mogwai markers. Select a marker and flip a card from the fate deck, resolving them as described below.

Ram: Yum, Yum!-Push the Mogwai marker 4” towards the nearest scheme marker. If the                    Mogwai marker ends the push in contact with the scheme marker, remove it.
Crows: Bright Light!-Push the Mogwai marker 4” away from the nearest model.
Masks:-It's singing. It does that sometimes.-The model nearest to the Mogwai marker draws                 a card.
Tome: Don’t get it wet!-Immediately place 3 Mogwai markers within 4” of the Mogwai                       marker that was activated.
Joker: You let him listen to the Aethervox?!?-Make a Sh: 4 / Rst Df/ Damage 2/3/4 attack on               the nearest model.

At the end of turn 3, players take turns (starting with the player who won initiative) placing a Gremlins! special model on a 30mm base in base contact with each Mogwai marker on the board and then removing the Mogwai marker. Gremlins! special models have the following stat line and do not count as friendly to any model other than Gremlins! special models. Any duels performed by the Gremlins! special model are performed by the player activating the model, and any resist flips are performed by the owner of the model doing the resisting. 


Df 5 Wp 4 Wd 4 Wk 5 Cg 7 Ht 1
Reckless: At the beginning of this model’s activation, it can suffer 1 damage to gain one additional General AP.
Unimpeded: This model ignores penalties for severe terrain when moving.

Attack Actions:
(1) Scratching Claws: Ml 5/ Rst: Df/ Rg: (Claw) 1: Target suffers 2/3/4 damage.
Triggers: Mask-Maniacal Cackle- After resolving, this model immediately takes this action again on the same target or another legal target.
Ram-Yum, yum! : After resolving, push this model 4” towards the nearest scheme marker. If it ends in base-to-base with the scheme marker, discard it and heal 2 damage.
Crow-Where’d it get a gun?!? : After resolving, the closest model that isn’t the original target of this action suffers 2/3/4 damage. 
Tactical Actions:
(2) Time for dress-up!! (Ca 6. / TN: 10) Gremlins! special models within Aura 6 are treated as having the Disguised and Manipulative 12 abilities.
Triggers: Mask: They’re watching Snow White. They love it! - Gremlins! special models within Aura 3 cannot be the target of actions from enemy models and cannot be pushed, buried, or placed.

At the end of every turn (including turn 3) players take turns activating Gremlins! special models, starting with the player that won initiative, until all Gremlins! special models have activated once.

Victory Points

At the end of every turn after the second, if a crew has no Gremlins! special models on their half of the board, that crew scores one victory point.


Merry Christmas, to those that celebrate. Happy Holidays to the rest. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Atomic Empire 12/2/2017 Tournament Report

I travelled south to Durham for the Treacherous Ties Tournament hosted by Sassylady, admin of the Southeastern Malifaux Players group, last weekend. The planning for this tournament had been going on for a while, as Phiasco and I played in it last year, took second, and had a lovely time. I don’t get to go to all that many tourneys, but I’d set aside time for this one. We were going to play Ten Thunders as we had done previously. I’d painted Gwynneth Maddox, a Terracotta Warrior, and a Ten Thunders Brother to take them out for a spin. Our team name was Sex, Drugs, and Malifaux because were basically just trying to cram as many Illuminated into a list where Maddox was spreading the Brilliance around. I was even going to blacken my eyes in and wear a suit, to cosplay as Lynch. It was gonna be great.
So, of course, the tournament format changed the day before.
Too many partners flaked out at the last second, so Dawn changed it to a standard single-faction individual tournament. Then, they changed strats and schemes to 2018, so I could go ahead and toss any of the thought I’d put into pre-building crews in the dumper as well. And, of course, when I asked Phiasco if he was ready to redesign his stuff on the fly for the tournament, he texted back “Yep, I should be good to go for next weekend.” Because he had his days mixed up. So I was going to be there by myself…

But on the plus side, at least the weather was super dreary...

I considered skipping, as Atomic Empire is three and a half hours away and my main reasons for attending were now gone, but I’d been chatting with Dawn about the tournament, had set aside the time, and had made a plan. My wife said “Don’t you need to go for your Malifaux blog?” So, with that permission, I rolled out of the sack at 6:15 to make the drive to Durham and play Malifaux. I figured that it would, at the least, be a good end to the all-Neverborn fall season I’d been undertaking.

Round 1 was played on a carnival board. It was standard deployment supply wagon with the scheme pool Guarded Treasure, Dig Their Graves, Undercover Entourage, Search the Ruins, and Take one for the Team. I played against Kemp, who brought the Brewmaster, a Whiskey Golem, Thunders Emissary, Wesley, some Akaname, and a Tanuki. I thought the action might concentrate in one area, so I brought Titannia with Pact, Behold, and Audience, Barbaros with Thousand Faces, the Mysterious Emissary with Titannia’s conflux, Doppelganger, a Young Nephilim (cheap bigger based model to push the cart), and a couple of Changelings. We set up on opposite flanks and pushed our carts more or less unopposed into the other side of the board. Combat was joined as the Whiskey Golem, who I had underestimated in terms of sheer killing power, stomped over and punched my Emissary to death. Titannia went in to hold him up, but the rapid healing ability of the golem in a brew crew meant he could outlast her. Thankfully, I was able to reroute Barbaros to go finish him off and start holding points. I was using a combination of Changeling and Dopp plus Changeling and Barbaros to score a couple of points for Guarded Treasure, while scooping up a handful of the Scheme Markers that Titannia had dropped while fighting the golem for Dig Their Graves. Finally, it came down to Chiaki tossing my wagon back over the center line while I tried to find a way to get a Changeling to do something meaningful to score me another scheme point on the last turn. He couldn’t get free to drop a marker for Barbaros to pick up Guarded Treasure. He couldn’t get close enough to an Akaname to kill him with his own attack. I was beginning to think a draw was inevitable, but Kemp pointed out that I could hop the Changeling within 3” of the Thunders Emissary and copy his attack to blast the Akaname, killing him for Dig Their Graves and scoring me the point to win 6-5.

Round 2 I played against Alex Schmid. You may know him from his Youtube videos, here. Or, you might have known him from this.

*psst* he's the name at the top

So, yeah, an uphill fight, to say the least. First thing I did was start setting my models out while he was still list building, which is a rookie mistake. We were on a swamp board with lots of open terrain, and I joked about how that would be critical to all the shooting our two Neverborn crews were going to do. Because, again, I’m dumb.
The strat was Ours! in Flank deployment. I don’t remember the scheme pool, because it didn’t matter what schemes were in there, because I got housed so hard. He played Collodi with Fated and Strum, a Changeling, Mysterious Emissary, Freikorps Trapper, Brutal, Shadow, and Arcane effigies, and some Marionettes. I had Lillith with Beckon and Wings, Dopp, Nekima, Graves, 2 Depleted, and Changeling. I had intended on using the Depleted to tie things up for Hold their Forces and for Tangled Shadows bait. I was having a grand time pushing things around by copying Graves’ show you the door ability, when I learned what happens when you push into range of a pair of Changelings standing next to Trappers. Hint, it doesn’t end well. I thought my best chance was to try and pull Collodi out of his crew and send my beaters into his backline to try and smash them up while he wasn't there to buff them. Unfortunately, that left Lillith to deal with Collodi on her own, which she doesn’t do well with a WP of 5. Nekima and Graves got tangled up in a pile of Marionettes who would then push out of range to let the snipers shoot Nekima to death. It was basically a shit-show. I called it after t3 because I was obviously not going to get anywhere. For a little extra salt, in Alex’s battle report he said I seemed like a newer player, which I think he meant to be kind. To be fair, that’s definitely how I played. Feels bad, man.
We chatted afterwards for a while (turned out we had some time on our hands, haha *kill myself.*) and he’s a nice guy. He gave me some Collodi tips that I’ve since put to good use. We’re facebook pals now. You should go chat with him and listen to his Youtube videos or listen when he makes guest appearances on Max Value. You might learn something (without having to get pummeled 10-1 first.)
All Lynch wanted was to take his friends for a nice night of dealing drugs at the fair, but then...rats!

Aaaanyways, Rd. 3 was next. Knowing I was well outside any shot at winning anything for this tournament, I decided to have some fun and get my Gwynneth on the table (I did take the time to paint her, after all.) For this game we were playing corner deployment Symbols of Authority with Punish the Weak, Dig Their Graves, Inescapable Trap, Take Prisoner, and Vendetta. I knew my opponent was playing Hamelin, and Plague Pits basically meant “Get your scheme points, cuz you’re not getting anything from the strat.” He had…Hamelin stuff. It was basically a theme crew with no Benny Wolcomb. I don’t remember. They all kinda die and recycle anyways outside of the master. Clint was my opponent’s name, and he was playing Hamelin for the first time (to be fair, I've never played against him, so we were on equal footing). I took Lynch with Cheating Bastard (!) and Wings, Huggy with Malifaux Provides, Maddox with Thousand Faces, a couple Illuminated and a couple changelings. We set up across a carnival from each other and deployed our Symbol markers in triangles with the point aimed towards the opponent.
I was, basically, hoping to bait him forward into the kill zone and take his crew down there while sending Illuminated and Changelings to go run strat. Against Hamelin I figured there would be no shortage of easy things to kill for Dig Their Graves and Punish the Weak, so I took those schemes. Cheating Bastard would hopefully help me spit out scheme markers to help complete the former scheme. It…kinda worked. They flooded forward into the kill zone conveniently, but Nix managed to jam me up by blocking pulse effects (like Gwynneth's Come Play at My Table). Also, he doesn’t take conditions, so no making him Brilliant to deal with him. Basically, I was not going to be killing that stupid dog. I did, however, pick off a bunch of his weaker stuff to get the job done from a killing standpoint (though, Hamelin obeying Gwynneth to remove the Symbols marker she was defending was a bit of a low point.) I did realize that I could turn 1000 faces into Fears Given Form and walk Maddox into the middle of a cluster of stuff to make Hamelin sad, but he responded by Obeying me to walk back out. Sad face. Unfortunately, my attempts at running around the flanks were foiled by Wretches throwing rats at me, tying my dudes up and preventing me from scoring. Worse, I cottoned on to the fact that my opponent was setting up for a Vendetta on one of my Illuminated and building Blight through the roof on him to get it done. Thankfully, I managed to get that Illuminated out of there and save him from being killed by a small child. I scored six from the schemes and 1 from the strat for still having markers left at the end of the game. I managed to hold my opponent to three VPs, so I won 7-4.

2-1 isn’t a terrible record, but with a diff of -5 I only ended up at 6th out of the 11 people present. Still, a day playing Malifaux is better than most other days, so I had a good time. Also, I picked up some pointers on how to play Collodi properly and made a new Malifriend, so that was a good use of time.