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.” 

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

Friday, August 12, 2016

Ripples of Fate review: Ten Thunders

So I guess we saved the best for last... (debatable but I feel I must represent!)

Without further ado...

Asami's upgrades
- Feigned Weakness.  1 SS  In my opinion this strikes me as a trap.  It allows you to summon a model if your opponent ends the turn with more VP than you.  It will come in with flicker +2 and the bigger the difference in VP, the bigger the model you can summon.  If you have schemes that score end of game and you are close to 100% certain you can score them this is a bargain for 1SS but in a tournament differential is a thing so ceeding your opponent VP to use this ability is generally not a good idea.  But it is totally a play style decision.
- A Heavenly Design.  2 SS gives Asami a 0 action 6" teleport and a 10" aura that when a friendly model is sacrificed place a scheme marker into base contact.  It should be noted when flicker ends the model is sacrificed so this is going to be free VP for the summoning she is going to do anyway.
- Grasping Strands. 1 SS gives her an aura 4" that reduces the number of attacks generated for enemy models by the charge action by 1.  Also grant a trigger to Reaching Tendrils for a free Ml after succeeding.
- Nefarious Pact.  2 SS after she activates draw a card.  More importantly 10" aura where friendly models can chose not to end conditions if an action or an ability of an enemy model would require you to do so.  I don't see a ton of condition removal in lists.  That said you can either hunt those models or take this upgrade and not worry about the summoned oni being 1 shotted.
-A Fate of Mortals.  2 SS.  Any Oni model can take this upgrade.  once per turn if your opponent scores 1 or more VP, 1 target friendly Oni gains flicker +1.  Also a 10" aura if a friendly Oni minion kills or sacrifices an enemy it may draw a card.

Amanjaku- 3SS peon totem-  insignificant, disguised, manipulative 13.  a 1" Ml for 1/2/3 and plus damage = to your opponent VP upto +2.  flay trigger.  A Ca action that lets you increase the value of a condition by 1.  And a 0 action that requires  a TN and a suit to put up an aura to put Sh on a negative within 6"  Not sure how I feel about this totem but when I get the set I will put it on the table before I reserve judgement.

Ohaguro Bettari- 8 SS henchman - The Bird and the Snake, Enemy models with in aura 6 may not declare Df or Wp triggers.  Squeel all you want gremlins... it will do you no good.  Drawn to Essence, may chose to place into base contact with models that summon in within aura 6".From the darkness, May charge regardless of LOS and ignores models and terrain during the charge.He has a 2/3/6 Ml with flay, and 2 other triggers.  Ploughed Over if you win do no damage, push the model 4" away and then charge a different target, once per activation.  Or after succeeding place a corpse marker into base contact with the target. He has a 12" cast to place a condition that stops the model from charging.  And he has 2 zero actions, 1 makes a oni at range 6" to take an interact, and the other turns on a 4" aura to add masks to Ml for oni... sad illuminated but still solid (auto flay??? yes please!).  I'm kinda mad I didn't buy this box just to have this guy at gencon.  But I can wait for release.  Also has a 1SS upgrade for eat your fill.

Yokai - 5 SS minion  - plus flip to charge attacks.  Starts with flicker 5 if you hire him. Gets the option for an extra flicker +1 on summon.  And if he is still on the table after flicker and poison is lowered you may place it within 3" not in terrain. Ml for 2/3/4 damage with flay and 4 other triggers.  And he comes with 0 action to lower flicker by 1 to take a 1 interact with a heal trigger.  Don't know if I would hire these guys but I might try it just see.  But odds are I won't have stones to hire them anyway.

Terracotta Warrior - 5 SS minion - I'm going to say I was on the fence about this guy but he has a little bit of versatility.  Thousands Strong, if this model suffers damage from any source other than something that targeted it it may place a card from your hand on the bottom of your deck to prevent the damage.So if you get a bunch of crap cards this guy can potentially go into overdrive.  Armor +1, Unimpeded.  A 1/3/5 Ml with a trigger for +2 damage to you and the target.  It has a Ca to place a condition on non Terracotta minions or enforcers where you can misdirect the damage to this model and end the condition.  And a 0 action to change upgrades that cost more than 0 to other upgrades.  You have to pay stones if the new one costs more.  I will be running this tomorrow just to see what in all I can do with it.  This guy is more utility than most minions so it plays into some of the things I like to do.

Sun Quiang - 8 SS enforcer.  4 abilities on the front of the card.  Thirteen Measures, enemies that activate within 4" must past TN 12 Wp duel or gain slow.  Don't mind me. Absolute Sincerity, when this model activates all models in pulse 4 heal 1 damage.  King of medicine, when a model within LOS suffers damage you may place a card at the bottom of your deck to push up to your walk toward the model.  If you push at least 3 you may take a 1 interact.  He has a weird Ml which is Rg 6 or close 1 no damage track but 4 triggers, tome discard all scheme corpse and scrap marker within pulse 2 of target, Ram (built in) heal or deal 2 damage, Crow hand out the adversary condition, Mask after succeeding vs an enemy place the target within 6 of its location not in terrain.  His tacticals are a 1AP Ca A Recitation of the Essential Formulae which activates an aura that makes enemies within 4 count as a peon.  His zero Study targets a scrap corpse or scheme marker, place a friendly scheme marker then discard the target.  This guy is going to be very annoying for the opponent.

Yasunori - 12 SS enforcer. This guy is kinda a rider as far as stats go but that's where the comparison ends.  He does come with armor +1, stubborn, flight, scales of heaven once per turn, when this model suffers damage draw a card.  He has a 3/4/5 Ml with plus to attack that has 2 once per activation triggers for a bonus attack, 2 suits for 1 and the other 2 suits for the other.  A cast to make any minion take a 1 AP attack action with a trigger for bonus damage equal to VP the models crew has up to 3. And he has a 0 action to look at the top 3 cards and put them back in any order. With Asami if you give this guy fast and use recalled training you can charge for 1 AP with a 12" threat range and if you kill that model in 2 to 4 attacks you can charge a second target with 2 plus the remaining unused triggers.  This guy is going to wreck 2 models and then probably die if he is in the thick of combat.  But he will soak up AP to remove so still worth it.  He is not as scary with other masters but still needs to be dealt with.

Fuhatsu has a 0 SS upgrade to get +1Wk and a 2/4/6 Ml.  Odds are I still won't buy this model.

The Peaceful waters- Grants the Low river monks a Rg 6 heal flip if they are within 12" and LOS of the model with the upgrade.

Equality - once per turn after the opposing crew scores 1 or more VP do one of the following:draw a card, place a scheme marker in base contact with this model, or heal 2 damage.  I don't see myself taking this upgrade to have it, but I might use it to draw a card or 2 then flip it to something else with the terracotta warrior.

Death contract- comes with a decoy card, both don't count vs upgrade limit, play both face down, and if you kill or sacrifice the model the model that killed it must discard 2 cards or 2 stones or be killed..

Let me know if I need to fix anything since this is not really a strong suit of mine.  I will go back and update the Arcanists when I return from Wandering River Style.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ripples of Fate Reviews: The Guild

1.       The Printing Press: This is a pretty boss totem. It’s a mechanical press on arachnid limbs Nellie constructed and animated with a soulstone carried by her father. Its protectiveness has led her to suspect that it may have a portion of his soul inside. It has Arcane Reservoir+1, which is always a good thing. Df5 and WP6 are pretty strong for a totem, especially paired with Armor+2. Models that are pushed or placed in base contact with impassable terrain within 8” of it take a point of damage. Its melee attack hands out slow, which is awesome, and deals a little bit of damage if the target is already slow. And, for a (0), it can hand Nellie some evidence and let her go immediately after it as a chain activation. Very good. Don’t know why you would leave home without it.

2.       Phiona Gage: She’s a union worker who suffered a terrible accident, was denied work, and is now held up by Nellie as an example of the Union’s corruption (despite the fact that the Guild caused the accident that injured her in the first place.) She has ok defenses for a henchman, hard to kill, and goes up to 7 DF when she’s in terrain. Unimpeded helps make it so you’re essentially never going to want to walk her in the open if you can help it. She gets a smell-fear-esque free attack on enemies that fail a WP duel outside her activation. Her pick-axe does pretty solid damage and gets a + to attack versus models that have already activated (which Nellie can set up with Incite from one of her upgrades.) Probably one of her most defining abilities is calling up a 50mm stone pillar of hard cover blocking impassable terrain (we all know Adam likes summoning terrain.) And, finally, she has a Francisco-esque ability to jump into melee with someone who is engaging one of her friends and then push the friendlies away while gaining a free attack. She’s a pretty solid henchman who would be used all the time in some other faction. In this faction she has to contend with Ryle, Francisco, etc. in this point value slot so we’ll have to see how she measures up to them.

3.   Allison Dade: Hurray for Through the Breach characters in Malifaux! Dade is a reporter from the backwater contract town of Innocence who survived the chaos there and has relocated to Malifaux, joining the staff of the Tattler. She’s a monkeywrench henchman designed to basically screw up whatever the opponent is trying to do (very Lois Lane-ish.) Before she activates she penalizes enemy models for declaring attacks near her, and after she attacks she heals her friends when they attack, so deciding when to activate her will be important. She’s manipulative 12 and can gain fast by discarding a card whenever the opponent gains VP. Nice. Her attack hands out slow, deals damage if the target is near a guardsman, and has a trigger for each suit that hand out a variety of debuffs (Discard a scheme marker or take damage, push a target away, discard a card or take damage, or push a friendly into melee with the target.) She can put a condition on enemies for a (0) action that deals damage if they declare an attack action, and her tactical action forces an opponent to either discard a scheme marker or show you their hand. She seems incredibly annoying.

4.       Field Reporter: What can I say about these guys that Joel Henry and the Schemes and Stones folks haven’t already drooled about? 4SS earns you an unimpeded, disguised, manipulative 12 minion that can function as a scheme runner. They’re woes, which is odd since Pandora doesn’t get an upgrade to hire them (maybe some time in the future, fingers crossed.) Their attack action does nothing on its own but has an array of triggers including dealing damage every turn, slowing, giving a – to attack actions, or pushing the model 5” away. They can hop to enemy scheme markers and discard them with the same AP. And they can ditch a card for Reference the Field manual to let them choose the trigger on their attack. For the cost, these guys are pretty solid. Joel’s suggestion of taking Embedded on Nellie and hiring four ronin and three of these guys seems really aggravating, to be sure.

5.       Death Marshal Recruiter: These guys are basically what you think they are-Death Marshal veterans that go out into the world to find new Death Marshals. We need “Lady Justice Wants You” recruitment posters. They have DF/WP 6, 7 wounds each, and hard to wound 1 to help keep themselves alive. Apparently the soft life of a recruiter has caused them to forget how to finish the job, but they can now discard a card to keep friendly Guild Marshals within 4” from dying. If you can keep one of these near Lady J, they can keep her alive. Additionally, they can discard a card to target something that is buried. His recruiter’s sword has the ubiquitous critical strike built in to go with the 2/3/4 damage spread and can, with a tome trigger, use Glimpse the Void to bury the target. He also has a Peacebringer for…reasons. He can push 5” towards enemy targets with a (0) action and can, with a trigger, pass out attacks to another friendly model engaged with the target. Additionally, he can use a (0) to give a friendly non-leader model Guild Marshall for a turn. Shame it doesn’t last for the rest of the game like Shotgun Wedding, but there’s probably something exploitative about that. Still, I think they’re pretty solid, and the ability to keep Lady J or The Judge alive for the cost of a card means they should at least merit consideration.

6.       Witchling Thrall: These guys are rogue spellcasters that Sonnia gives…special attention. They’re 9ss minions that sit on a 40mm base and are essentially berserker dudes. They have 12 wounds and impossible to wound, so their defenses probably don’t matter (5/5 for reference.) They automatically pass Horror duels, regardless of the total and can, once per turn, take a melee action when a model places a scheme marker within 4” of them. Said melee attack does 3/4/6 damage and can choose between a pair of built in triggers to either heal the thrall for 2 if attacking someone with a WP 6 or more or force the opponent to discard a card if WP 5 or less. They have a range 8 Ca that adds a little more blast damage to a Sonnia crew and can push all damaged models with a trigger. Finally, they have a (0) action Yank the Chain to push into base contact with a friendly model. The last bit has a crow trigger you have to take if possible which results in your making a melee attack against the friendly model, so you have to be careful. They seem like they can do some hurting, so expect to see some play, particularly in strats like Collect the Bounty where high damage minions are at a priority.


Nellie: Guild Funds give Nellie more things she can do with her evidence condition at the end of her turn, allowing her to dump evidence +2 for healing, Evidence+3 for giving a model Hard to Kill until the end of its next activation, or dropping Evidence+4 to gain 2 soulstones. The last will likely never happen and the third is only situationally useful, so the heal seems like the most frequent. You also gain a trigger to df/wp that gives her more evidence and gives her the ability to let you count a death from conditions near you as her kills for strat and scheme purposes. Embedded is the infamous “hire four mercs and don’t pay the merc tax” upgrade. It also puts a couple of triggers to add more utility to her Hot off the Presses attack. I like the Misleading Headlines upgrades, which gives her the very powerful Incite (0) action and lets her lower her evidence or discard cards to pass activations (no more out activating us, jerks.) Probably the upgrade I would use most frequently is Delegation, which gives her a Tactical Action to pass out Fast to friendly models and, at the cost of lowering her evidence, place a scheme marker in base to base with them or heal them. Finally, there’s a Journalist upgrade that makes all other journalists within aura 8 have an attack trigger, transparency, to drop scheme markers after succeeding.

Generals: Phiona’s upgrade gives her a + to damage flips when hitting models which have already activated, emphasizing her “activate me late” modus operandi. Captain Dashel gains a (1) ap cast action resisted by Wk to summon a Guild Guard in base to base with the model (a resisted summon spell? Weird) and puts a couple of triggers onto his pistol for critical strike or a tome trigger to discard an enemy scheme marker and push the target. The Executioner gains Ready to Work which gives him +1 wk and the ability to discard the upgrade when it declares a charge and take it for (1) ap. Curfew may as well say “take this when playing Gremlins,” as it allows you to give slow to all enemy models which haven’t activated when your crew has no one left to activate. It costs you the upgrade and a soulstone, but taking away that advantage for a turn could be pretty helpful I’m thinking. Numb to the World may as well be a Papa Loco upgrade, as getting to ignore conditions and being able to discard a card to keep your opponent from Obeying him to explode would be very valuable to him. Otherwise you'll have to chose if its worth the cost to protect your big beaters from these. Finally, A Debt to the Guild is the Guild’s answer to Show of Force. If the model with the upgrade is killed or sacrificed, you add a Soulstone to its pool. Also, once per game the model can draw a card at the start of its activation and deal an additional point of damage with all of their attacks. You don’t discard the upgrade, so it stays in play for the game. Nice.