Showing posts with label Gencon 2016. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gencon 2016. Show all posts

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Other Side of Gencon

                One thing I’m surprised hasn’t gotten a bit more coverage in the weeks after Gencon is the pamphlet they slipped into the shopping bags regarding the upcoming army scale game, The Other Side. It has a handful of images I haven’t seen anywhere else and some details regarding the game itself. I thought, perhaps, I could share them with you.
                As we know already, The Other Side is a combat game featuring larger scale armies battling earthside against an invasion of creatures from Malifaux. From the Ripples of Fate fluff, we can infer that the cause of this invasion is a general disruption of the aetheric barriers between Malifaux and Earth caused by the Governor-General’s failed attempt to become a Tyrant. The year is 1906, and a blazing light has appeared over London, portals to Malifaux through which aquatic creatures are pouring en masse to invade Earth. They’re opposed by the forces of The King’s Empire, aka British troops that are defending the city from the Gibbering Horde. These two forces will be included at the launch of the game in the Battle of London, with others being introduced later. The pamphlet’s a little vague on the details, but presumably the rate of their inclusion will depend on the success of the coming TOS kickstarter and could feature the Cult of the Burning Man and the advanced steampunk armor and weaponry of the African nation of Abyssinia (one individual from the latter is responsible for building the Infamy, Captain Zipp’s stolen skyship.) The ultimate goal of this, according to Wyrd, is to plunge the Earth into a true World War, so this is likely just the beginning of the possibilities for future allegiances.
                Mechanically, the game will be played on a 6x4 table with scattered, light terrain. It will keep the alternating actions format from Malifaux and will still feature players trying to complete objectives that will lead to ebb and flow of the battle. Rather than the traditional morale rules from most games (IE your unit fails a test and runs away/has something bad happen to them) TOS will feature Glory, where your troops are inspired to greatness by things happening in the game. Every unit’s stat card will have a normal side and a glory side. When certain conditions occur on the board a player flips them over and the unit gains better stats, actions, and abilities. Additionally, armies will have Stratagems they can use during the battle to represent lines of supply, hovering zeppelins, and magical rituals that are activated by the commander at strategic portions of the game to give your side an advantage. At the beginning of the game you’ll select your allegiance and choose a commander to lead their company into battle. You still hire your troops after you know the mission, so you can still customize your force to the scenario.

                Perhaps most welcome of all to those who have fallen victim to the curse of Yan Lo’s beard, all models from TOS will come preassembled and ready to play. Models will be placed together on movable bases to allow small fireteams to act independently during the game. Models are 32mm scale and “highly detailed”. Their stats in the game are represented on stat cards that include their abilities, and actions are resolved via the Fate Deck as per Malifaux.

A happy group of vict...I mean players.

                As for the convention itself, I had a great time (as expected.) I’d never had the opportunity to run RPG games for conventioneers, and it was truly fantastic. The Hooded Rider, sadly, never managed to escape from the parties of adventurers who came to fight it. Between the teleportation spells of my pre-gen character and the chain spear of the Peacekeeper all my players managed to repair and bring with them, as soon as Hoody decided to make a run for it, it was usually too late. However, I did have a very satisfying time chopping one of my players in half anime-style in the final game of the convention.

Final statistics:
Fated Killed: 2
Red Shirt Mercenaries Killed: 22
Highlights: 1) Mary the channeler teleporting Leshe the corrupted Waldgeist 30 yards away and the party then spending the rest of the combat pelting him from range as he ran back, killing him before he ever got back to melee. 2) Mary teleporting the Doppleganger that tries to integrate into the party next to the Peacekeeper and then ordering it to tear the thing’s head off. 3) Cutting Johnathon in half with a 21+ flip on the severe critical table. 4) Having the players construct a litter for Captain Daughtery that they attached to the back of the Peacekeeper in one game. 5) Having Mason (author of Bad Moon Rising and current writer for TTB) come by after each game session to see how the players did. 6) Obviously, meeting so many cool people and playing so many cool games.

                I have to say, given the opportunity to volunteer for Wyrd again, I would leap at the chance. Not only was it a lot of fun, but they really take care of their helpers at the con. You’re sacrificing your time, obviously, but if you’ve been to Gencon for multiple years you know that, eventually, you start to get a little burnt out when you’re all-day every-day doing convention stuff. This is the first Gencon I’ve been to when that didn’t happen. I was still fresh and excited to play my final session of Bad Moon Rising on Sunday (though I’ll admit my voice was not.) I also did a couple of sessions of demoing Malifaux for new players in the miniatures hall, which was also enjoyable. I do wish that people would show up in a better mood and slightly less drunk when they come for demos in the evening, but for the most part people were interested and excited to learn the game and it definitely passed the time in a hurry. That would be reward enough, but getting your badge paid for and getting reimbursed by Wyrd for, essentially, playing games all con long was really top notch. I can’t recommend it more highly to people who are thinking about volunteering next year.

This lasercut wood deck box was one very surprising bonus.

                The only cost is, of course, that you don’t have as much time for gaming. The only tournament I played in was a henchman hardcore on Friday night which was a last minute impulse entry. Ultimately, I should probably have just gone home to bed, as I was playing with Jon’s Hungering Darkness and a crew I threw together just before the event (having never actually played this format previously.) Pro tip: Df3 Hungering Darkness has a hard time in Hardcore. I’m not crazy about the format in general, as the short game times essentially turn most games into an exercise in who can alpha-strike the other crew’s henchman faster, but that could be just sour grapes on my part. Maybe with a bit more time and effort put into preparation I would do better. In any case, I finished middle of the pack, handed my models back to Jon, and went off to bed that night with knowledge of a new format, so I suppose I can’t complain.
                Most importantly, the reason I went was to go see people I don’t see otherwise. Most of my gaming friends live in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. I moved away three years ago and, since then, have only seen them when we go back for Christmas to see my parents. They’ve since moved away themselves, so there is now no other time when I’ll meet up with them other than at the convention. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it back next year and keep the tradition going. Additionally, I met up with Nick and Victoria Hrenda from my Malifaux group in Lincoln. They’ve since partnered up with other henchman in Omaha and the Midwest and grown the community into something huge, and I like to think I at least played a little part in getting the ball rolling for that. They’re a great group of people who were members of the Through the Breach podcast and have orchestrated their own large-scale tournament in Omaha. Plus, I got to meet a lot of members of the Malifaux community at large, including Mason, Aaron, Nathan, and Eric. Excitingly for the future, I also met Dawn (Sassy Lady) who runs the Southeastern Malifaux Players Group in North Carolina. Hopefully I’ll be able to make my way to some of her tournaments someday soon.
                So, I think that wraps up the Gencon coverage. I’ll certainly miss having a new topic to post about regularly (and the additional traffic to the blog.) I’ll admit, I was surprised at how popular the review posts were and I’ll be committed to doing more like that in the future. Towards that end, I’ve added our blog to Patreon as a way of covering expenses for future books, conventions, etc. I know Jon’s enjoyed writing up tournament report posts, and hopefully we can start offsetting some of his travel costs to keep those coming. And, of course, books and models also cost money. If you enjoyed the reviews and think our little blog is worth a dollar a month, we’d love to have it. Just go to and sign up as a patron. We don’t have a ton of rewards designed yet, but in the future we may work our way up to premium content in the form of strategy and tactics articles, fiction set in the world of Malifaux, and organizing Vassal leagues and/or Vassal Through the Breach campaigns to keep things growing.

              If you missed them, here are some links to each of the review articles for the factions in Ripples of Fate: Guild, Neverborn, Resurrectionists, Arcanists, Outcasts, Gremlins, Ten Thunders

Monday, August 1, 2016

Gencon Countdown

               About a year ago, my darling wife was in Indianapolis for non-Gencon related reasons during the convention, and went to dinner with some of my friends form Nebraska. We used to go all the time, but budgets had prevented it from being a possibility in more recent years. Meanwhile, I was at home watching the BoardGameGeek livestream showing stuff that was premiering at the show with the sad Incredible Hulk music playing in the background. I was fine with this. I wanted to go to Gencon, but as a younger professional with a family sometimes sacrifices have to be made. However, my wife decided while she was in Indy that next year I was going, no matter what. And, as it is now the week of Gencon, I am excited and incredibly grateful that its almost time to make it happen.
                Part of why I can do this is because I volunteer with Wyrd whenever I’m there. I recommend doing this for people that want to attend but can’t afford it, as they cover the cost of my badge and let you work for booth credit and goodies as part of helping. In previous years, I had run demos of Malifaux in the event hall and the exhibit hall as well as working on the floor of the Wyrd booth, but this year I’m in for something quite a bit cooler: running a Through the Breach Penny Dreadful for convention-goers! I’m very excited, as GMing for RPGs is probably my favorite form of gaming and I've never gotten a chance to run at a convention before. I’ve even been fortunate enough to be able to help design the pre-generated characters that I’m then going to do my damndest to kill horribly.

Try to read the title and not start a CCR song in your head. I dare you.

                The module I’m running is called Bad Moon Rising. It was written in response to some feedback that combat wasn’t dangerous enough in the game, and as such this is a module designed to be quite deadly. I thought that it was a fine choice for a convention game in that the original convention games of Dungeons and Dragons were designed by E. Gary Gygax for tournaments and were intentionally designed to be treacherous, deadly, and sometimes borderline unfair (I’m looking at you, Tomb of Horrors.)

Pictured: Just a door. Probably.
                If any of my readers happen to be players in my games, I look forward to meeting you and then trying to murder you. Please be sure to introduce yourself as a Malifaux Musings follower, and maybe you might get a little boon in exchange. I want this to be a no-holds barred, Fatemaster versus the Fated throwdown. If you survive to escape, I want you to feel like you've really done something. So bring your A-game kids, because I'll have mine.
               The characters I’ve built are a mercenary company from a contract town who are responding to a call from the Guild to disrupt a Neverborn invasion of one of the Quarantine Zones in Malifaux. Their leader is an overseer of a failed contract town, trying to rebuild his fortune and make remake his name. His long-time companion is an old campaigner, son of a Texas Ranger, and adventurer with arthritic hands who is looking for one more big score before he retires. One is a convict laborer with a power for channeling sorcerous fire. One is a deadly lady bandit and gunslinger with an old connection to a member of the party. And the last is a gravedigger who occasionally speaks with his very special shovel.  This group of misfits, plus a handful of other nameless mercs (the redshirt company) will venture into what they think is a simple sweep and clear operation, and will rapidly find themselves in over their heads trying to save their skins and protect Malifaux from an ancient evil. I've been painting frantically to get the crew (and one of their antagonists)  ready as well as a few Malifaux models to play with Titania. Right now all of the slots in my games are full, but its always possible that people will drop or fail to show up so feel free to check in with me at the Marriott Utah room to see if a slot opens up or, if I got a group of five people, I could possibly be convinced to run it for you off the clock (bribes are always appreciated.) I’ll be keeping tabs on the blog of various statistics from the game (number of people killed in a particular encounter, number of times I’m cursed out by my players, number of times I make someone cry, etc.) So, look forward to that. Or, you know, look forward to posts about what’s in Ripples of Fate.

*walks away*

                What was that? Oh, yeah, the other Malifaux Musings news from Gencon. You might not have seen my various posts on the topic, but there’s this new Malifaux book coming out. Ripples of Fate? You may have heard of it. Anyways, we know who the new masters are and what they can do, but we only know the names of what comes in their crew box, and we know nothing of the rest of the new models in RoF. I’m going to do my best to change that (and, perhaps, drive a few online book sales for Wyrd in the process) by going through the factions individually (ok, probably in pairs) and discussing the models. I’m not going to tell you everything about them (because otherwise why would you buy the book) but I’ll give you the general idea of what’s coming and my quick (probably inaccurate) take on what they’ll do on the tabletop. And the best part is: YOU GET TO DECIDE THE ORDER! Just go here and vote in this poll. The leaders at the times when I’m writing the post get spoiled first, the rest have to wait for the next day (I do occasionally want to go do things at the convention, guys. Games won’t play themselves.)
                Finally, the contest. Who knows if anyone remembers, but I mentioned in my last post that I was going to give people the chance to win some prizes from Malifaux Musings! To do it, all you have to do is find one of the writers from the blog (myself, Mr. Adam Rogers, or the roving reporter Jon Goulbourne) and play us in a game of Malifaux or Through the Breach. If you mention that you’re a blog reader and we write down your name and email address, congratulations! You’re in the drawing! You have a shot to win…something that we get from the con. I don’t know for sure what it’ll be yet, and it’ll probably depend on how many entries I receive, but I have a strong inclination to include this year’s Miss Model since I don’t play Arcanists. We’ll see, but it doesn’t cost you anything to enter and you get a game out of it, so come and find us!

                Until later this week, happy playing and rejoice! For the Queen is risen!

She is risen indeed!