Tuesday, 10 December 2013

084 - The MaliBlog List

As the first step in re-vitalising things around here (which might even culminate in a complete theme re-build if I get the time) I've gone through my Blogroll and deleted a few links to blogs that were no longer relevant. Quite a few of the places I was linking had moved on from Malifaux long ago, and were either not posting at all, or posting stuff that was nothing to do with Malifaux. Some of them had even inexplicably started blogging about 40k! They've all gone.

In their place, I've scoured the internet for some of the new blogs on the scene. It certainly seems that Malifaux blogs are now "in", and all of a sudden everyone is getting involved, which can only be a good thing!

Here's a small selection of the newly added:

Justin Drawing Dead - Justin Gibbs

Not only does Justin offer obligatory reading in the form of regular glimpses behind the curtain of the M2E design process, his "off-topic" posts also make for interesting reading; his recent Hunger Games posts being good examples.

The Philosophy of Uncertainty - Joel Henry

Joel offers up a mix of deep insight on Malifaux and general gaming strategy (and being among the top competitive players, he knows his stuff), and creative hobby projects. His Goldilocks themed Lilith crew is just right, and has to be seen to be appreciated.

Black Swamp Bayou - rgarbonzo

A new blog celebrating the new faction on the block, the Black Swamp blog started off recently with a post asking the question on everyone's lips - "What *is* a Gremlin anyway?". Recent posts have focused on getting the most out of some of the new Gremlin masters.

Workbench Warriors - Richardb

In his brand spanking new blog, Richard is going to be charting his hobby progress as he gets started in Malifaux. His first post showing his step by step Bayou bases is nice inspiration for anyone looking to move away from resin bases and inserts.

Carrion & Hodgepodge - Ana Polanscak

Not generally a very wordy blog, but contains plenty of picture gallery posts showcasing some of the new Malifaux plastic range painted to an incredibly high standard. Something for us all to aspire to!

With such a healthy blog scene at the moment, I'll be keeping an eye on all the above blogs, along with the multitude of others in the list you can see on the right, and I'll be highlighting some of my other favourites in future posts.

Monday, 2 December 2013

083 - Year of the Rainbow

Wow- my last post was July? Really? And only 9 so far this year? That’s unbelievably shameful.

I’ve just returned from a nice holiday feeling plenty refreshed and excited to get back to playing this lovely game of ours. Hopefully if I get writing now I can get some blog-mentum going through into the start of 2014.

First let me preface this post by giving due credit to everyone’s favourite penguin-onesie wearer Mr Craig Johnson who came up with an idea on Twitter a couple of weeks ago:

Simple and elegant – six words that encompass an entire year of buying, modelling, painting and gaming. I love this idea, so I’m mercilessly stealing it and dubbing it Year of the Rainbow.

Richard of York gave battle in vain.

Guild 10T Outcasts Resurrectionists Arcanists Gremlins Neverborn.

(Yes I know there’s no Brown/Gremlins in a rainbow, but since all the others work, and Gremlins are only pretending to be a faction anyway, we’ll all agree to let that slide…)

Taking seven factions to seven events is going to be a bit of a stretch in terms of hobby time. In theory I'm already over half way there. Model-wise I can currently field reasonably flexible crews for Guild, Resurrectionists and Neverborn, I could let Lynch represent Ten Thunders for once, and I have an Ophelia boxed crew that I could use at a punch for Gremlins. No Outcasts or Arcanists though, painted or otherwise.

In practise though, I don't want to just stick with the same metal crews I've been taking to tournaments for the last couple of years - so I'm going to want to buy new stuff, and with me being on a plastic only diet from now on, my options (at least towards the start of 2014) will be more limited.

Also worth noting that getting to seven events over the course of the year is around double what I achieved in 2013, so hopefully I'll find myself with a few more free weekends. Looks like the first event of the year will be Vapnartak in early February, which gives me two months to settle on a crew and paint it if necessary. If I'm strict with myself and stick with the order of the rainbow colours, I'll be needing a Guild crew.

Anyway, now that I have an excuse to buy new toys, it’s time to start planning which Master(s) I want to use to represent each faction…

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

082 - Wyrd Postage Rates

With GenCon only a month away, we're all getting a bit antsy to hear which new toys Wyrd are going to make available for us to order online while the convention is happening. We know that the Malifaux M2E book is going to be available, and that many of the first wave Masters' boxed sets will be up for grabs, but we don't know which ones, with the exception of Nightmare Tara.

As usual, Wyrd will be including a limited edition "Miss" model with every order over $100 which, for those of us thinking about combining orders with our friends to minimise postage costs to the UK, presents us with an interesting dilemma. How much does it cost us to split up the orders into $100 chunks?

I spent half an hour on the Wyrd online store yesterday putting dummy orders into their system, to try and work out the best way to combine orders. I used the Rail Crew boxed set ($35) and the Storm of Shadows book ($30) as a best estimate of the size and weight of the stuff we'll all be ordering next month, and input various multiples of these into the checkout, noting the UK postage cost for each combination. The results were interesting.

The top green table shows the postage cost for multiple books and multiple boxed sets. The dark green indicates an order that is valued over $100, so would qualify for a free Miss model.

The 2nd table shows how much the postage goes up for each book you add to a single order. For example, my local gaming group will want at least 5 books, and the table shows that for each book you add to the order after the first one, it costs an extra $11.60 in shipping. This table should be read by going across, from left to right.

The 3rd table shows the same thing for adding extra crew boxes. You can see that adding an extra crew box to your order will cost you an additional $2.60, *except* if the order doesn't include any books, in which case your second and third crews do not cost any extra. This table should be read going down, from top to bottom.

The interesting part of the tables is the top left of the second table. You can see that if your order contains boxed sets, adding a single book to the order will cost you slightly less than $11.60. It's not a massive difference, but worth noting.

The lesson we can take from this?

If you don't want books, but you want as many Miss models as possible, group your crew boxes together in threes. Your first Miss will be effectively free. Your second Miss will cost you $4, and your third Miss will cost you only $3. Seems like a bargain to me!

If you want books, don't group them together in a separate order to the models. If you do, each book will cost you $11.60 shipping. Admittedly, you only get a very marginal benefit by grouping a single book in with 1 - 3 boxed sets, but it's worth taking. If you do this, your orders will probably be in groups of 1 book & 3 boxes, saving you $2 on each book. It's not a lot, but every penny helps right?

DISCLAIMER: Wyrd have the power to alter their postage rates for GenCon. If they do so (and I have no idea if they will or not), all of the above becomes irrelevant.

081 - Monkeefaux & Breachside Brawl Tournaments

Note: This post was written over a month ago, and I was intending to write up my Breachside Brawl tournament games in the same post, but never got back to it. I'm throwing the post up now in case anybody is interested in reading about some of my last ever M1E games.

Sorry for the prolonged quietness here - the release of the Malifaux 2nd Edition beta files has meant that I've been spending precious lunchtimes at work pouring over the new details rather than blogging. Shame on me. I still haven't had opportunity to get the new rules on the tabletop (soon to change I hope!), but I'm feeling very positive about practically everything I've seen so far. I'll be back with some more detailed musings soon.

Order of today, though, is to give a quick rundown of a tournament I attended last month.

I was very much looking forward to making the trip to York for Monkeefaux. Despite the organiser Guildmonkee's attempts to label it something else, the name seems to have stuck. I took my Perdita crew along, after pulling together a 70ss pool of Guild models which basically consisted of everything I have painted for the faction.

Game 1 - Shared Land Grab vs Dave Chandler (Mei Feng)

This was my first time I've played against Mei Feng (and against Dave) so I was wary straight off the bat. Not only that, but most of Dave's crew were unfamiliar to me, being predominantly made up of Union Miners and Willie. I'd have probably played a cagey early game until I'd worked out what she might do, however Dave took that choice out of my hands by launching Mei across the board using Railwalker in the first turn in an attempt to take out his Kill Protege target. Although she succeeed, this left her exposed in the middle of my entire crew, and a Family alpha-strike in turn two almost managed to take her down. Only liberal use of soulstones managed to keep her on the table, at which point Dave remembered that he'd selected Bodyguard for his scheme and regretted the whole thing. The Miners showed up and so began a bit of a scrap just outside my deployment zone. The Guild's raw damage output prevailed, with Mei limping away and my survivors chasing her down and spreading out for strategy points. A final charge from Perdita across the table and up a cliffside saw her get a bead on Willie (my Kill Protege target who'd been hiding all game) and take him out with the final card flip of the encounter.

Mei Feng begins to regret being so reckless

Game 2 - Shared Line in the Sand vs Ant Hoult (Yan Lo)

The first time I'd faced Yan Lo in the hands of somebody who wasn't testing him out for the first time, I expected Ant to be able to use the guy to his fullest potential and he definitely didn't disappoint. With Toshiro and 3 Ashigaru advancing on one flank, I quickly understood what his plan was going to be - he would advance onto two of the strategy markers and use the Ashigaru to prevent anybody getting close. The combined shooting from Perdita, Santiago and Nino (and a luckily relatively sparse terrain board) meant that I'd killed the Ashigaru before they got close enough, and Perdita's speed allowed her to start capturing markers in Turn 2.
Toshiro summoned up a couple of new Ashigaru, while on the opposite flank Yan Lo laid some smack down on a Death Marshall and Francisco. My Immune to Influence Watcher proved useful in holding a marker against a Belle who was unable to Lure him closer. Yan Lo had powered up through all the surrounding carnage, which meant that he'd gained enough abilities to charge Perdita, kill her, push to Nino, kill him, and then activate a trigger which gave him multiple hits on Santiago. I'd been feeling relatively comfortable until that point, but suddenly most of my crew was dead or dying.
With some incredible luck, though, I managed to squeak a win despite losing both of my schemes. Fortunately for me my deck had been flipping very well the whole game, and despite some poor control hands, I always seemed to land on the required card (including not flipping a single weak damage on Ashigaru, who have additional mitigation against it, all game)

Game 3 - Shared Beatdown vs Nathan Chennery (Viktorias)

This was going to be painful. I've never managed to beat the Viktorias before, and here I was on table 2 in a strategy that plays to all their strengths. I had a couple of secret weapons though: Lucius, and Papa Loco. With the addition of the Executioner and an Austringer my small elite crew was complete. Lucius would be great in Beatdown due to being a high cost soulstone user that is difficult to target (negative flips on all attacks). Papa Loco's ability to blow himself up would come into its own since he wouldn't count for strategy purposes if killed in this way (and neither would any of my models caught in the blast).
The Viks darted up one flank in cover and were ready to strike in Turn 2, were it not for Lucius and his Issue Command ability, which sent 4 Austringer shots at them and forced them to retreat to lick their wounds and count their remaining soulstones. Lazarus advanced up the centre and became engaged with the Executioner, while Perdita grappled with Johan on my right. In waded Papa Loco, who detonated himself in a massive explosion, killing himself, the Executioner, Lazarus and a Ronin in an almighty BOOM! The only survivors were the Viks, Perdita, Lucius and the Austringer. With hindsight I should have sacrificed the Austringer using Lucius to gain reactivate, because the Viks barrelled around the wood terrain my gun/bird platform was hiding behind, and picked off the Austringer in one turn and then Lucius in the next (damn those paired swords bypassing his negative flip defense!!). These two kills were enough to pull the game back to a draw, and a well fought one at that.

My final standings for the day? WWD put me in 3rd place for my first podium finish in two years of tournaments, so I was very pleased with how the day worked out!

Friday, 17 May 2013

080 - Checking In

Once again, it’s been a while - sorry about that!

Malifaux 2.0
I don’t need to tell anybody that Malifaux 2.0 is looming ever closer. Only 2 weeks to go until the open beta starts and we get a flood of information – not only the new core rules but the cards for a significant proportion of the range will be revealed in their M2E form. I can’t wait.
The announcement of the new edition has thrown a bit of a spanner in my Malifaux plans for the year though, primarily because I’ve suddenly lost my motivation to paint metal models, now that I know that many of them will be replaced by new plastics. Therefore everything I said a couple of posts ago is kinda moot.
Instead… Mei Feng will be pushed to the top of the pile and be the first plastic box set I work on, which should give me something to play for the next few months. I’m really really hoping she’s included in the Ten Thunders section of the first book, otherwise I won’t be able to play her in M2E until September…
If she isn’t though, that won’t be an issue. Pandora and Seamus will come back out the case for beta testing and I’ll be doing my bit to make sure that the former hasn’t been nerfed *too* much as a reaction to her perceived current OP-ness, and the latter doesn’t get *too* powerful in an attempt to compensate for his perceived current lack of power. I’m excited to see how both my favourite Masters look in the new version, and don’t want to see them lose any of their current character.

I applied last week to join the ranks of the Henchman, and was pleased to be accepted. Getting involved in organising events in the local area, and building interest in the run up to the new edition is going to be a lot of fun, but challenging at the same time. As well as a bit of work at the local level, I’m starting to gather some thoughts around running a tournament at some point in Q3. Watch this space.

On the very same day that my Henchman application was accepted, I managed to pull a 3rd place result out of the bag at the recent tournament in York, using Perdita in all three games! Talk about a good day in gaming! As my first ever podium finish I was incredibly pleased, so I’ll try to throw up a post with some brief battle reports next week.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

079 - How to Bake a Cactus

Yes, you read the title correctly...

I've been experimenting with Fimo sculpting this week, with the aim of building something for my Watcher to stand on. I've seen a few people in the past use the lamp post from the Wyrd Victorian base accessories, with their Watcher perched on the very top, and I always thought it made a nice characterful base for the model, if a little precarious and top-heavy.

Wanting something more in keeping with the desert-y themed bases I've already used on the rest of my Guild, I figured that a cactus would be just right, and set about trying to find manufacturers of plastic or resin cacti. The first thing you realise when searching for companies that sell plastic or resin 28mm cacti is: pickings are very slim indeed.

Pegasus Hobbies do a decent range of small and medium sized cacti. Although the plastic is poor quality (it feels like the same kind of plastic they make those cheap christmas-cracker prizes out of), I find with a lick of paint they are fine for sticking onto bases as decoration. Definitely not large enough to stand a Watcher on top of though. Another site (which I can't now find a link to) sold groups of resin cacti that from the pictures looked poorly detailed, and which also came with a resin "area terrain" piece for them to stand on, bumping the price above what I wanted to pay. I finally found what might have been an ideal cactus on an aquarium website and ordered one, only to be told that it was no longer in production.

There was nothing for it but to buy something squidgy and have a go and making my own. I've never really sculpted anything beyond filling gaps and touching up conversions, so to make something from scratch was a bit daunting.

I built an armature out of a few paperclips twisted together, wrapped it in Fimo Soft, and scored lines into the putty from top to bottom to give it some texture. One difficulty I found straight away was that it's difficult to keep the lines defined, because when you turn the cactus over to texture the opposite side, your fingers would be smoothing out the texture you already applied! If anyone has any tips for not smudging your own sculpting while handling Fimo I'd happily receive them!

Duly sculpted, the cactus went in the oven to harden. 20 minutes later, finding a funny smell in the air throughout my house, I rushed back to the kitchen to find it filled with noxious gas, with the cracked, blackened and charred remnants of my cactus sitting on the baking tray.

It turns out there's these things called..... "Farenheit", which as far as I can tell are just numbers they put on packaging right next to the Celsius temperature, purely to confuse people. It further turns out that baking Fimo at 230ºC, rather than 110ºC (230ºF!) has the unfortunate side effect of rendering your oven completely useless for food preparation for at least 7 days (unless you happen to enjoy chips that taste like burned plastic...)

Back to the drawing board. For my second attempt, I Iad the bright idea that, in order to prevent me from smudging my own texture lines, I would finish the basic shape and then bake it for just a couple of minutes to firm it up slightly before texturing it, then finishing off the bake afterwards. Turns out this doesn't work - even after only 3 minutes in the oven (at the correct temperature!), the Fimo becomes crumbly and unsuitable for scoring lines in. I scraped a few chunks off the second version before giving it up and going back to the start for a third time. We live and learn.

And it was, as they say, third time lucky. I took extra care with the texturing, baked at the correct temperature, and ended up with a nice little spot for my Watcher to perch and survey the battlefield. I just need to get some paint on him ready for a tournament at the weekend, as I'll be giving my Guild their first competitive outing, and I know he'll be worth his weight in gold in those objective-based strategies!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

078 - 2013: Year of the X

I decided at the end of last year that I would be retiring my current Masters from competitive play in 2013. That means no Pandora or Seamus, and probably no Neverborn at all. They've served me faithfully (although not particularly effectively recently), but it's time for a change, and they'll be missed.

I'm therefore left with a tough decision of what to progress for the rest of the year... Due to a complete lack of focus I've managed to get several projects half completed but not enough of anything to make a complete crew. My choices basically boil down to:

1) Gremlins
I'd intended to get a Gremlin crew completed for the GT 2011 (I know!!), but it didn't materialise and 18 months later most of my Gremlin models are still unpainted. I did dabble in the green-stuff at the start of last year, and even took Ophelia to a tournament (where she got total 3 pastings out of 4 games, but let's not go in to that again) back in March, but never got around to finishing the faction off.

2) Guild
I'd had a Perdita boxed set knocking around for quite a while, and finally got it painted last year, along with a couple of additional minions, but I've only ever used them in games once or twice. A couple of reinforcements would be all it would take to get them tournament ready, and the skeleton of an Ortega crew is fully painted already, so I have a base to build from.

Latest work-in-progress
3) Arcanists
I've wanted to get a Rasputina crew done for a long time, and I painted an Ice Gamin as a test piece recently, and really enjoyed it. I have most of the crew bought and assembled, but there's a lot of painting to slog through before they're tournament ready. Mei Feng and Kaeris are also appealing, giving me some nice expansion options.

Complete except for the hands, and snow on the base

After ruminating, cogitating and digesting the above for a while, I've decided to set myself the following goals:

A) Get the Guild tournament-ready in time for an event in March. There are two tourneys happening relatively locally (one Harrogate, one Sheffield), and I'll be able to get to just one of them, and I'm hoping to be able to paint enough additional minions for Perdita to be a viable Master choice

B) Post-March, get to work on Rasputina's crew, with a view to taking her to a tournament in the summer. There's a lot of work to do, and I've decided to really pull out the stops on the crew painting-wise, so this could be a challenging goal.

C) Take the Gremlins to the GT, or another tournament towards the end of the year. This is another large project, but I really do want to give the little greenies the table time they deserve.

Three crews in a year I hear you say? It can't be done! (Well, apart from those of you who paint a crew a week. Or 5 crews in a week....). It might be a little unfocused, but what was it they say about the "spice of life"...?

Thursday, 7 February 2013

077 - Vassal-faux (aka "Guild Riflemen are broken")

At the end of last year, Wyrd launched an official Malifaux module for Vassal, enabling everybody to play online games of Malifaux in their underpants from the comfort of their computer chair. Naturally, enthusiasm for this new way of playing the game is high, and organising a game of Malifaux is now as easy as popping onto Twitter and requesting somebody to join you in a Skype call. No need to drive to the local club or further away, and no pesky models required!
Last week I got my first look at the new toy that everybody is raving about and I have to say I'm impressed. I spectated in a game first to get the hang of what all the buttons do, and a couple of evenings later got a chance to try it out myself.
Following my game, here's the pros and cons of Vassal-faux as I see them:
a) No models required
This manifests in several ways. You can now test out new additions for your existing crews without having to buy the models first, and decide whether you really need them or not. You can try out a completely new crew every game if you like, making Vassal an ideal toybox to play about in. If you're not big on the hobby side of the game, you can even play without needing to paint a single figure.
b) Battle report friendly
Vassal allows you to save screenshots of the battlefield, making reporting on the battle afterwards so much easier. I took screenshots at the end of each turn in my game, and you'll find a short summary of the game, largely in picture form, at the end of this post. I realise you could do the same thing with a real game using a camera, but it's not nearly as easy, or as clear for the reader to follow.
c) Pausability
Need to go to tend to an emergency? No problem! Save the game and continue another time once disaster has been averted.
d) Accessibility
Possibly the biggest pro, is that with Vassal you're not limited to playing the same bunch of local players, but can instead challenge people anywhere in the world. Yes that's right! All that international trash-talk from both sides of the pond now has an outlet!
a) No models required
Yes, this is also down as a pro, but to me, playing Malifaux (or any wargame) without figures seems a pointless endeavour. A large part of my enjoyment of the game comes from seeing scenes and conflicts playing out in front of me, and small circles with names written on them does not have the same appeal as fully painted crews on evocative terrain.
b) Range
Viewing the game in 2D form takes away the players' natural ability to judge distance, potentially penalising some actions. On the flip side, there's no way of preventing your opponent pre-measuring anything they like by putting a ruler up against the screen.
c) Too many windows
With separate windows for the game board, the two fate decks, the side board and the chat window, the screen can get very cluttered. If you have two monitors you'll be fine, but for the rest of us that don't you either have to keep clicking between the various windows, or set up your screen in such a way that things are zoomed out and you can squeeze everything on. I managed the squeeze, but was frustrated to find that the configuation settings would not remember my set-up and that I'd have to resize everything afresh every time I used the program
Battle Report -Shared Supply Wagon
Me - Perdita, Nino, Santiago, Francisco, Guardian, Austringer (Stake a Claim, Assassinate)
Adam - Lady Justice + Avatar, Executioner, 3 Guild Riflemen, 5 Guild Hounds (Stake a Claim, Breakthrough)
Adam's plan was clearly to group up the dogs and run them all into my deployment zone to ensure they were significant and claim his two schemes. I figured that Justice would have to come at me, and that with concentrated effort I could take her down easily enough. My stake a claim was the cactus in the centre, close to where the Supply Wagons would both be ending up. Santiago and the accompanying Guardian had escort duties, and I was trying the Guardian for the first time after reading that they could be an effective pairing. 
The pictures below show the position at the end of each turn.
Turn 1
My Austringer took up position hiding in my building, and Francisco moved to cover the right flank from the approaching dogs. Everything else shuffled forwards.
Turn 2
I advanced Santiago and the Guardian, but in my inexperience missed out on switching on the +Armour buff. Lady Justice dived in, and with a hand full of masks managed to put out at least 6 attacks through Onslaught that killed both models without breaking a sweat. So much for trying out the pair! She was also in easy striking range to take out Nino next turn. The Austringer sniped one of the Riflemen, and Francisco became embroiled in a melee with two dogs.
Turn 3
Lady Justice layed down the smack on Nino, but this left her exposed to Perdita who took 9 of her 12 wounds in a soulstoned fuel round of shooting. Francisco took down one of the Hounds, while another three dogs sneaked around on my left flank. At the end of the turn, the Executioner charged Perdita, but was unable to damage her.
Turn 4
Winning initiative, I took a chance and moved Perdita into melee with Justice. Luckily she was able to finish the job and put down Adam's master. Francisco continued to face down the remaining dog, and the Austringer also found himself facing canines in the form of three sneaky Hounds who surrounded him and prevented him escaping. The surviving Guild Rifleman fired into the melee between Perdita and the Executioner. Perdita's high defense was enough to protect her from the first shot, but the second shot hit the Executioner, and using the trigger "Two Birds..", he was able to do a splash damage onto Perdita for 3 wounds, bypassing her defense altogether!
Turn 5
Perdita and Francisco both finished off their melee opponents, as the Executioner and Hound finally succumbed. The Austinger fell to the very first Hound attack, and the group separated - two advanced to claim both of Adam's schemes, and the other moved to protect the now vulnerable wagon. Francisco ran back towards my deployment zone, hoping for an extra turn to be able to stop the hounds that were currently scoring Adam 4 points.
Turn 6
Left with a difficult choice, I activated Perdita first. The hound was protected by the Supply Wagon, so she had to move to kill it (preventing it from attacking my wagon, which was on 1 Wound), and then move to claim my Stake a Claim objective. Unfortunately this left her no spare AP to attack Adam's wagon. The Guild Rifleman stood nearby then proceeded to pull out his knife, and gut Perdita (I Black Jokered the defense flip, and she took 5 wounds!) My hand full of high cards proved useless in saving her, and she was out of Soulstones from her duels with Justice and the Executioner, so down she went - the Rifleman had killed her single handedly.
Turn 6 proved to be the last turn, so we tallied up to find that Adam had won the game 6-2.

Closing Thoughts
I think my mistake was in not addressing the group of 3 Hounds earlier, but this was largely down to being activation starved. The three models (Santiago, Guardian, Nino) that I lost to Lady J early in the game were intended to tie up the centre, and without them Perdita was forced to do the job herself. rather than being able to run around doing what needed to be done. She performed admirably, but she wasn't able to track down the dogs as I'd first intended - I'd have only needed to kill two of the three to prevent them being able to claim the objective, and Francisco did a great job of holding up my right flank and stopping any dogs getting through. Oh and Guild Riflemen are filth. Nuff Said.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

076 - 2012 Resolutions Review

So, time to see how I measured up to the resolutions I set myself at the start of 2012…. Brace yourself for disappointment!

1)       Paint 60% of my Malifaux collection – FAIL

Currently I’m sitting at 46% painted, which is less than I had this time last year! I’ve drastically neglected the painting side of the hobby in 2012, and I’d be surprised if I painted more than 20 models all year. This has to change.

2)       a) Keep Objectives front of mind, b) Make every activation count, c) Keep a record of all games – SEMI-FAIL

My performance in the Rankings in 2012 left a lot to be desired. This was partially down to attending only two ranked events, and partially down to performing poorly in both of them. I don’t feel that my ability at the game has improved over the last year. I’m still making silly errors that usually cost me the game, and I’m starting to realise that at a competitive level these errors are reliably exploited by my opponents. I have tried to apply a) and b), but I don’t feel that they have led to an improved performance. As for c), I do have a full record of all my games which shows me that for the year I have 19/2/23 W/D/L record. Winning almost half my games gives one picture, but my main two Masters for the year, Pandora and Seamus, have only a 31% and 33% win record respectively.

3)       Complete construction of a gaming table & terrain collection and use it to run demos at an event – FAIL

My scenery project stalled early in the year, but I did attempt to revive it shortly before Christmas. I didn’t manage to run any demo games in 2012, but I have signed up to run a demo table at Vapartnak in a fortnight (albeit not on my own board)

4)       Blog Progress – FAIL

I’ve neglected this blog for two long stretches in 2012, which is partially due to reduced play time. Without getting regular gaming and painting time in, my motivation to come here and post has taken a hit. My web-browsing time/attention has also been eaten into by other interests that have developed in 2012. Also completely lacking has been progress update blog posts, which I put down to increased participation on Twitter in 2012, where progress photos and feedback come much more naturally. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think I could use the two formats in combination in a more effective way.

My 2013 Resolutions are along the same lines.

 1)       I’m going to be retiring my current main crews for 2013, so this will drive me to *have to* paint a lot more this year. I’m therefore going to take another stab at my 60% goal by the end of the year. I also want to win a painting prize this year. My current work in progress crews are probably my best work to date, and I've been told that I usually miss out on Best Painted awards by only one or two votes. This year I'm really going to push the boat out.

 2)       My gaming resolution will be to take three different Masters to tournaments in 2013. And by different I mean completely new Masters I haven’t used in a competitive setting before. I’ll be aiming for mid-table placings, rather than the lower positions I’ve been achieving recently, with a stretch goal of finishing in the top 5 for at least one event. I believe this to be a realistic and achievable aim.

 3)       I *will* finish my gaming board this year! Blog posts will follow soon to show the progress I’ve made so far.

 4)       I’m going to put aside some designated time every week to work on this blog, which will hopefully mean that there won’t be the same long gaps in posting from time to time. On Twitter, I will aim to post something with the #MiniatureMonday tag on a weekly basis. They may not be finished models (although it’d be nice if they were!), but at least they’ll be work in progress pieces. This should tie back to my painting resolution and improve my motivation to get through my pile of models.

See you back here again - same time next year!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

075 - GT 2012 Round-Up

So after another period of neglect at the end of last year, it seems I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. I’ll try to bash out a few posts in the next couple of weeks and get up to speed with all the recent goings off in the Malifaux world.

 I did start writing an in-depth post about my game results from the GT in November, but only got half way through and now I feel like it’s too long ago to fully remember the remaining games in the same amount of detail. Therefore here’s a condensed tournament report, although it’s probably a bit late for anyone to care any more….!

Pandora vs Misaki (Ian Brocklebank) – 25ss Treasure Hunt

My first experience of playing against anything from Storm of Shadows, and Ian was also relatively new to Misaki, so the game progressed slowly. I think we only got to Turn 3 before time was called, and through copious use of the Downburst spell in that final turn, Ian had made sure my models were far enough way from the treasure for Misaki to be able to leap in and pick it up in the final activation. I was disappointed that we didn’t get into subsequent turns, because I felt my crew was in a better position overall (Pandora had taken care of a few minions and Misaki was in the centre relatively unsupported) and later turns might have produced a different result.
Score: Loss 7-2

Pandora vs aSonnia (Matt Ledgerwood) – 35ss Slaughter

I made several silly mistakes in this game, starting as early as crew selection, where even though I had a feeling I’d be facing Sonnia, I steadfastly stuck with Pandora (and hired some handy blast-able Sorrows to boot!). Tuco took out a Witchling early on, but ended up getting turned into a Witchling himself who then provided a handy target to bounce further blast markers onto Pandora. When Sonnia fulfilled her manifest requirements (in a single turn!), I realised how much of a hard counter to Pandora she is, and I lost my Master by Turn 4 after getting chased around a bit by some Flame Pyre markers. On the other flank, Lelu & Lilitu were gunned down by two Austringers and several Death Marshalls before they even made contact, despite a terrain heavy board. This will be the last time I underestimate a gun-line crew. Matt played excellently though, and I look forward to another run-in at future events.
Score: Loss 8-0

aPandora vs Pandora (Rich Baker) – 40ss Claim Jump

Mirror matches are always interesting to play, because often they mean that your Master’s main advantages are perfectly countered by your opponent. They usually make for very cagey games as nobody wants to make the first move and leave themselves exposed. In the case of Pandora, their competing aura’s meant that even casting Pacify with Pandora was risky, as at the end of the duel *somebody* would be losing a Wd, and it might be you! Rich brought several models that I rarely use myself, including Teddy and Iggy, and both crews pretty much demolished each other piece for piece until there were few survivors left to contest the Claim. Luckily, I’d brought the Avatar of Insanity which comes paired with Candy, an extra significant model, who swung the model count in my favour in the final VP tally.
Score: Win 6-4

Pandora/Collodi vs Zoraida/Collodi (Ade Mills) – 30ss Destroy the Evidence

Another mirror match of sorts – we both chose Collodi and we both chose the same schemes! Neither of us wanted to commit Collodi to capturing objectives too early, as it would open that player up to a hefty retaliation. Ade’s Collodi pounced on my Tuco who was guarding an evidence marker and wiped him from the board, but that allowed Pandora to strike and kill a couple of the Marionettes, hampering his further movement. I kept Pandora back to deal with Collodi (although in my enthusiasm to chase him down I forgot to stand her on an evidence marker which he snagged in the last turn for 2VPs! D’oh!), and sent the rest of my crew forward to try and score Breakthrough. Unluckily for me, Zoraida managed some impressive casting of Repulsive in the final turn which meant that I was forced out of her deployment zone, and with the final cast of the game Ade clinched a narrow victory.
Score: Loss 6-5

aPandora vs Seamus (Wesley Decloedt) – 40ss Recon

It was nice to get another game against another person I’d not met before – Wesley had come from Belgium to attend the tournament. Unfortunately due to a misunderstanding of the terrain rules for woods, his mis-deployed his crew behind a large wood (thinking he could step into the back of the wood and cast Lure through 8 inches of trees, as I believe you can in Warhammer 40K) and it hampered his movement, forcing him to come at me in two waves. Seamus over-extended himself, and got sent packing by Pandora and Lelu, but a timely Copycat Killer swap saved him from dying early. Having placed Kill Protégé on Tuco, Wesley spent most of the game trying to Lure him closer, only for him to Regenerate and run away again every activation. I think Wesley expended a little too much effort trying to nail down Tuco (who eventually fell in Turn 6), but by that point I had spread out enough to claim more quarters than his survivors. Once again, the last minute extra significant model of Avatar Candy came in very useful for an area capture game.
Score: Win 5-3

My final result was therefore 2-0-3, with 6TP and -10VPD, putting me in 40th position out of 54 players. I have to say I was disappointed with my placing, but the score reflects my performance on the day. Too many silly and preventable mistakes!

My game performance aside, it was an excellent weekend, packed full of fun - I got to play Malifaux against a few new people, the extra-curricular activities put on by Jo were top-notch. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the GT2013 to anybody with a weekend to spare!

I should also mention that I was pleased but surprised to win the fancy dress competition against some excellent costumes. Thanks to everyone that shouted loudly for me! It just goes to show that when it comes to fancy dress, having a brilliantly made and accurate costume isnt as important as making yourself look as ridiculous as possible!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

074 - Kickstart-onomics

As I write this there are only 8 hours left for Wyrd's kickstarter for their in-development roleplaying game Through the Breach.

I've been on the fence about whether or not to pledge since the project launched at the start of December. The initial rewards were less than overwhelming, and I think overall feeling towards the project in the Malifaux community was lukewarm, but Wyrd have done a pretty good job of adapting, and the last few weeks have seen additional rewards added to all tiers, and a couple of extra stretch goals.

In short, it's a bit more tempting than it was before!

Here's a look at what swag you can get your hands on at each pledge level, roughly converting the dollars into proper money:

2 Softback rulebooks
Fate Deck
Santana Ortega

+ 4 sprues of character models (each will build 3-5 minis)
+ Limited Edition Freikorps model
+ Screen & Character Sheets
+ Hanging Tree boxed set (possibly)

+ Fate Deck
+ Wicked Doll Plushie
+ Hardback double rulebook
+ Hanging Tree

I'd ruled out pledging at the top level from the start - there just isn't enough in there for it to appeal. I'm not interested in the doll, and I don't need additional rulebooks.

The jump from £50 to £100 is interesting though, as you get a fair few extra miniatures. However I still didn't think it worth pledging, for me at this level, because of one of the main extras is a limited edition model that I probably never use.

That changed last week though when a friend agreed to contribute towards the kickstarter if he could have the Freikorps model and one of the plastic sprues. That makes the rest of the stuff in the 2nd tier much more reasonably priced indeed, and as a result I've pledged at that level.

I'm also confident that I'll be able to sell on Santana who, whole being a lovely model and all, is nevertheless unlikely to grace my table if I kept her (I already have Santiago anyway!). She won't be worth as much as she was pre-kickstarter, as the market will be much more saturated come September, but she'll surely be worth at least as much as the other Miss models.

I'm not a roleplayer currently, but I'm willing to give the game itself a try, and even if I only play it a couple of times, the books will be packed full of new fluff, art, and information about the Malifaux world. When you consider they'll probably retail for £45 for the pair, adding another £20 on top in order to get a Fate Deck, a pile of sprues, a possible Hanging Tree, and a Miss Terious (because I pledged $1 early on) isn't unreasonable at all.

It's not the *mountain* of goodies often associated with gaming kickstarters, but it comes in at below retail price if you sell on the limited editions, which surely can't be a bad thing. And on that basis, you have only 8 hours to get involved yourself!