Seriously, just wow. nBreaker is pretty new to this hobby and has painted maybe five miniatures in his life. To be at this kind of standard already is pretty epic. Miniature number sixteen wins him the Slayer Sword? Place your bets now people!
In what may turn out to be a horrible abuse of the commandment “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy” the 6 Inch Movers once more descended on Servitob’s gaming mansion to avail ourselves of some fun. Having ditched Mrs Servitob to the rigours of choir practice and myself finally having gotten around to some dinner due to a Fast weekend, we packed my car up with some bits and pieces for Malifaux and spent the evening in a 4-player 2 per side mass scrap.
This was the first time we’d played Malifaux to this scale and we also had a new player on each side who were learning the ropes, with hindsight I would not recommend this as the way to teach new players. While Malifaux’s rules are very simple at their heart, everything being resolved via the duel mechanic, the vast amount of special abilities with each of the models takes a little preparation and getting used to. I’d definitely recommend just going with starter sets in the future for showing people the ropes.
Our match involved an all Guild turnout of nBreaker and Gribblin, playing Lady Justice and Sonnia Criid respectively, going up against temporary allies in the form of myself and blog commenter CaRaBuS playing Seamus and Rasputina. We all made a few modifications to the starting crew, Sonnia took her Purifying Flame Totem along with the starter crew, LadyJ dropped a Death Marshall to take Nino Ortega and the Scales of Justice while Seamus dropped Madame Sybelle and a Rotten Belle in order to fit in the Convict Gunslinger and a Hanged. Rasputina decided not to create a third Ice Gamin but took along a December Acolyte.
The two teams had a scheme to achieve between them but we used an activation order for each individual crew, also, all spells could only affect your own crew with the exception of anything that would catch things in a blast of course. Our team flipped for the strategy and ended up with Reconnoiter, we needed a model in each of the four table quarters to claim 4 VPs or in three to claim 2 VPs. Gribblin and nBreaker pulled Claim Jump and we placed a 5″ by 5″ forest in the middle of the table, they needed to own it completely to get their 4VPs or outnumber us for 2VPs. With hindsight the nest time we get this Strategy we are not going to use a forest, it made it a lot harder for any of us to do anything with it, it would be better to try to use a building and some fences or something like that.
We flipped for deployment and ended up with Diagonals, for the number of models we had we decided that this would be horrifically cramped so decided to go with a corners deployment instead, which wasn’t actually all that much better. My only real gripe with Malifaux is that we are playing on a 4′ by 4′ board and even with the number of models we were using it still takes a little while to get close for combat. I know that 3′ by 3′ is the proper size for games at this level but larger is fine if you extend the deployment zones by a few inches, this may be something we test or house rule for the coming engagements. Also, even though this was a game to show people the ropes I am starting to understand why Schemes can be quite important, those secondary objectives can keep you in the game if the primary mission goes up the creek.
I’m not going to go into a blow-by-blow account, we called the game due to time in the middle of turn 5 with the Guild posse holding the Jump despite being petrified to the spot due to fear of the Undead as well as the fact Rasputina had turned the wood into a giant ice-cube using her Freeze Over action. I’ll go over the highlights of the match and then offer my thoughts on the game and the models involved. This was the second time for my Seamus crew but I had a lot more experience with Rasputina and knew what to expect (somewhat) from Lady Justice and her gang. I have never seen Sonnia Criid so knew not what she was capable of.
The first few turns saw me dither about what to do with the Conflict Gunslinger, the whole game was a little cagey to be honest of no-one diving right on it and getting stuck in, I think I need to play more aggressively as Seamus is really tough to take down and can heal himself back quite easily. Moving the Gunslinger back and forth meant he didn’t even get a shot off all game so was effectively a wasted model. The only models of mine that did anything were Seamus, one of the Belles who died and was brought back and the Hanged.
My first Rotten Belle failed to do anything until she got shot and died, after being brought back she cast Lure on a Death Marshall who failed to resist and walked right towards the Belle and, more importantly, into range of Seamus who promptly shot him and then pounded him to death with spells healing the wounds he had taken earlier. The Hanged floated into the frozen wood and targeted Lady Justice with a Call from Beyond and knocked off half her wounds in one fell swoop, this was after she had stepped foot into the wood which spent two turns frozen, stopping her from moving as well as being affected by Seamus’ Undead Psychosis. The Hanged himself took a lot of wounds and eventually died, even though we realised halfway through combat that he was a Spirit and only suffered half wounds from non-magical sources. The rest of my crew did nothing.
The December Acolyte one shotted a healthy Death Marshall with his Harpoon gun, the first time the Acolyte had been used and had tied up a flank for the majority of the game, his 12″ range proving to be quite beneficial. Nino Ortega proved his worth again by killing a Belle on his own in one turn, I hate that guy. Sonnia Criid unleashed a massive flame burst, ignoring the Ice Pillars that Rasputina had cast and with my nice crew all bunched together did a massive amount of damage across my crew. Seamus healed himself continuously but the rest of my crew spent a lot of time damaged. I need to look at my options again as to what to take. It really was a game of dancing around each other rather than going hell for leather and getting stuck in, as I know how dangerous Seamus is I think I need to be more bold in getting him stuck in to something and back him up with his Belles. I may also drop Madame Sybelle back in for the buffs she brings to the Belles and the board control options. The Convict Gunslinger can do a massive amount of damage but the other team knew this and with my own poor use of the model he did nothing at all which hindered me. I think we also spent too much time trying to deny the Guild their objective before moving towards ours. With the Belles close by they and Seamus can move really quickly across the board.
Although we technically lost due to the time the game was called it certainly was one of those games that leaves me with a lot to think about with how I play and what I need to take along with me. Expect Seamus to have a few different tricks the next time and I am really thinking that I might squeeze in a totem…
During our recent weekend shenanigans when Servitob flopped his Daemon Prince on the table (this time he didn’t get arrested for it either) nBreaker and I decided to scratch our Victorian Horror/Wild West/Steampunk itch with some more games of Malifaux.
We re-enacted our first battle with the Cult of December taking on the Death Marshalls. I dropped two soulstones from Tina’s pool to grab the Essence of Power totem. Luckily totems are on the cheap side for adding to you crew and the +flip on the damage is rather useful when you try to melt people’s faces off with December’s Curse. I’m not going to report on this fight as things went similar to our first game with Tina using Ice Pillars to control the board and then chucking out damage with December’s Curse, however, it was the Ice Golem that finished off Lady Justice this time by punching her into oblivion.
The real event was the following game, nBreaker stuck with what he knew rather than switching to his Outcasts and I cracked open the Ortega family for my first try at the Guild. The one downside I noticed to start with is that family comes to exactly 25 stones, leaving me with only Perdita’s cache to power my soulstone use, as she has a cache of 2 I was going to have to really manage their use for them to be of any benefit.
Rather than give a blow by blow account of the battle I’m going to give a run down about how they perform as a Crew. This was the third time I’d faced Lady Justice and her posse and I’ll say that even though I eventually won it was a much closer battle than we have had previously. I have heard the comparison that the Ortegas are kind of like the Eldar in 40k, pretty powerful offensively but once they start to take a beating they will go down fast. I agree with this to a certain extent but seeing nBreaker chuck stuff at Perdita and watching her survive a lot with her Df of 8 was as relieving for me as it was infuriating for my opponent.
Nino has a Rg 16 gun and this is his greatest strength, I stuck him in cover on one side of the battlefield and let him mow down whatever came his way. He did eventually run out of wounds but he dealt a lot of straight damage as well as using his Headshot trigger to cause nBreaker to discard his Control Cards to prevent stuff from dying. Whether this was a good trade-off or not I can’t be certain (I had the Assassinate Strategy) but forcing your opponent into decisions of this kind can put them on edge enough to hand you a psychological advantage.
I can never remember which one is which out of Francisco and Santiago, one of them bought the farm early on after taking bullets from the Death Marshals, I may have just played him out-of-place, this was my first game with them after all. The one with the paired Peacebringers (I think Santiago) effectively won me the game. I’ll get to this later.
Papa Loco was an oddity for me, I wasn’t sure how to play him but after chucking him out there he is a board control piece. Once your opponent gets wind of the fact that you want him to die he will start to try to avoid the model, you are either going to be taking 5 or 6 damage from the guy when he does eventually go nuclear. I hid him behind a building and he ended up getting shot for a turn before moving into melee with the Judge. This forced nBreaker to try and escape melee to shoot at the old man but he got stopped on one occasion. I spent Soulstones to try to cast Obey onto Lady Justice to get her to charge Papa Loco at one point but failed, if I had have cast this Lady J would have certainly finished him off and a crater would have been the only thing left. It didn’t work but the strategy was there, nBreaker has “the fear” regarding Papa Loco and using him in this way is great and puts your opponent on the back foot reacting to how you are playing thus increasing your options.
Eventually Lady J went for Perdita, some decent flips and a nice control hand saw me survive to chuck Papa Loco into melee range, I then activated Santiago and passed the Willpower duel for shooting my own model, I cheated fate to make sure it hit and that caused Papa to combust taking the last wounds off Lady J and sending her to a KFC family bucket sized grave. Perdita took some damage but her Evasive 2 ability was awesome at helping her walk out unscathed. nBreaker certainly wasn’t expecting me to willingly take out one of my own models in order to complete my strategy.
We fought out the last few turns and it came down to just Perdita and the Judge, both sporting various cuts and bruises, nBreaker needed to kill my entire crew to complete his Strategy whereas the smoking boots formerly belonging to Lady Justice signalled I had already completed mine. Perdita won out and I claimed another victory but there were several occasions that I was saved by a good flip or the use of a Control Card. I feel sorry for nBreaker because he deserved a draw if not an outright win.
I learned that this crew is a lot more fragile, whether this is down to their wounds and Df stats or because it is actually quite hard to cast spells without spending stones or Cheating Fate makes them seem that way compared to my Arcanists I’m not decided yet. However, I am inclined to think that we may be needing more terrain on the battlefield to help cover melee models as they weather the firepower I have on my side to chuck out.
I’m really looking forward to getting another game in, I have some more models waiting to be assembled which should change things around a bit, I still have a lot to learn about this game and I think nBreaker might be looking into changing some stuff around for himself as well. As his crew is designed to fight Undead I think they are going to struggle against Arcanists. I am expecting Sonnia or some Witchling Stalkers to appear soon enough.
Looks like I am finally going to get around to telling the story of our first Malifaux game almost a week after it happened. I said I’d post up my view of how things went and so I will do that. It is also looking like there may be another post this afternoon as I want to get something off my chest.
We played our game on a 4′ by 4′ table, I have modular boards so this makes things easy in this regard. There was a low hill on my left flank well back near the board edge, ahead of it was a small wood with another hill just beyond it on the other half of the field. To my right was a house up near the halfway line with a low wall almost next to it. On nBreaker’s side of the field he had a number of walls and rubble fields that would provide him cover heading up the field.
Deployment was quick after we had rolled for Schemes. We both ended up with Reconnoiter, we would get 4 VPs for having a model in each table quarter (nice and easy with a modular board that shows the split here) and 2 VPs if we could only get into three of the four quarters. As this was our first game we didn’t add any strategies in.
I put one of my Ice Gamin on the far left flank and then deployed almost line abreast with a second Gamin, the Ice Golem, Tina and the final Gamin heading to the right flank. My plan was to use the two Gamin on the flanks to just leg it as fast as they could around the flanks and head for my opponents deployment as he pressed forward to get into my half of the table. I was then hoping that Tina, the Golem and the spare Gamin would be able to hold up the opposing force to net me the greater VPs by turn 6.
After taking the initiative flip I got to go first, the one problem with the Cult of December is that both Tina and the Ice Golem are slow, with a Walk of 3″ and a charge of 6″. Charging would end my activation so most of the time I was using two walk actions. However, with Tina being a Casting Expert she gets an extra action point every turn to be used for casting. You would not believe how much of a bonus this is, it may be just one action point and you may have to use it for casting but it is an amazing ability that allows far more mileage out of the Master. While our first two turns were maneuvering each turn I cast Ice Pillars, this places two 50mm pillars of ice anywhere within 12″ of the caster. Although they can be destroyed this allows you to channel your opponents by creating your own terrain. If they do get destroyed (they block line of sight) then they shatter and leave behind terrain that will slow the enemy (and you) down. If you are primarily ranged like Tina is then slowing down your foe is a good thing.
Eventually we closed together, the Death Marshalls, Lady J and the Judge were all converging on the middle of the field in turn 3 and I had my one Gamin still running left, one running right and my “main” force sitting in the middle so that they could move either way to secure the home quarters depending on how combat went. The one problem with writing this report is remembering the exact order in how things went but I’ll go through it quite quickly as that is how the game went once we got to this point. Through using the Ice Pillars Lady J was a little ahead of the rest of her force, with no ranged options to go on I closed up with Tina and decided to see how her offensive casting had gone. I had used one walk action leaving me with one general action point and one casting action point from her Casting Expert(+1) ability. So, off I went with her nuke spell its casting cost was 14 so I flipped and got a 7 iirc. I then used a soulstone to boost it and got a 12, with my cast of 7 I easily had the 14 I needed and then some. With the suits from the extra Soulstone flip I also had the requirements for the Overpower trigger. nBreaker failed his resist duel and I flipped for damage, it was moderate so dealt 4 damage to Lady J, then we resolved the second casting due to Overpower. This also went through with moderate damage, leaving the Guild’s Undead killer with 4 wounds remaining. I still had my last action point and cast the same spell for a third time, showing an amazing display of consistency I cheated fate on a low card and got this cast off as well, no Trigger but another moderate damage flip sent Lady J dropping to the ground with a severe case of chill blains. I was amazed that she went down so quick and so was nBreaker.
Over the next turn the Death Marshalls plinked the Ice Golem for a load of damage, even with his armour nBrekaer managed to get some Triggers off with reduced him to one wound. Tina managed to do some damage through her spells and I got to use the ranged options from my minions to throw some stuff around but it didn’t amount too much damage overall. I used the one Gamin to screen Tina from too much reprisals and continued to run the other Gamin along the flanks. The Judge got into position in turn 4 and charged into the Gamin and Ice Golem. He did some damage but didn’t kill anything, next the Death Marshalls sought to finish the Golem and passed their Willpower duel to fire into combat. The Golem was hit and killed, which meant he shattered and the damage from this finished off the Judge who had been taking ranged beatings from the Gamin and Golem.
Tina then proceeded to chuck spells at the Death Marshalls and the blasts from a Severe damage flip finished them off in turn 5, leaving just one Death Marshall alive, hanging on by a thread. nBreaker conceded at this point and we shook hands on a battle well fought.
I had lost the Golem but that was it. I look forward to our next game now we know what we are doing, I imagine things will be much different now we have a clue how the game plays.
Last night I had a (brief) opportunity to sit down at the modelling desk (also known as the dining table) to start on my Malifaux stuff. By start I really mean assemble as I won’t get any time to even consider painting until the weekend and even then only if the weather is compliant to allow me to basecoat what I have ready. As I’ve been waiting for such a long time for all these pieces to arrive I thought I’d give a run down of my first impressions of the items I have received.
The obvious place to start therefore is with exactly what I ordered in the first place. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts Malifaux uses cards rather than dice as the mechanic for you to succeed or fail and the game itself has numerous factions you can represent on the tabletop. You can band the factions together as Guild, Arcanists, Resurrectionists, Neverborn and Outcasts. Each of these factions has three starter boxes that you can use to kick off your collection. Nearly every single one of these boxes sold out when the game was released to an unsuspecting public, hence why some people have been experiencing vast delays in getting their hands on their loot.
Each of these factions also has a colour associated with it, Burgundy for Guild, Blue for Arcanists, Green for Resurrectionists, Purple for Neverborn and Yellow for Outcasts. Due to the card mechanic of the game you can use any set of cards, however, Malifaux has its own suits, Rams, Masks, Tomes and Crows, as well as two Jokers. So, if you want to use a standard set of cards you need to remember stuff. Therefore when I grabbed my stuff I partook of the Guild and ordered the Ortega set and a Burgundy Fate Deck. I thought adding the deck would save me marking up cards and also be more immersive for the game too. There are a lot of cool models though so deciding on factions you like might be a tough decision, also, even though you can use Outcasts as a faction on their own they can be recruited as mercenaries into other factions, although there are certain restrictions on this.
So, onto the review of the loot. first up we’ll go with the Fate deck. When this arrives it is pretty much just like a starter deck for Magic: The Gathering that standard card deck box that everyone is familiar with. (I really should have taken some photos to spruce this post up). The cards themselves feel high quality and are plastic coated card, each suit has their own pictures on the cards as well as the typical distinctions for face cards. They are a very snug fit in their box and I can imagine that they would wear like normal cards after continuous use so I’d recommend protectors of some sort but once you do that there is no way they are ever going to fit back in their box so you’ll need another way of keeping them together. I imagine the universal holding tool (an elastic band) may fulfill this purpose but in my opinion it has a chance to crease the protectors and the cards inside so I’ll probably evict my long dead Magic deck out of its cosy box to throw these bad boys in there. On the back of the cards is the Malifaux logo with a stripe of the faction colour through it, hence you can match decks to what you’re playing but I’m sceptical if I’d buy other decks if I branch out into other factions just to colour code things. I have a deck, that’s going to be good enough for me. If you’re getting into the game I’d give them a thumbs up, they are quite evocative of the universe.
Next we’ll take the meat and veg of the game, the models. Wyrd have, over the years, produced a number of really nice models. I’ve thought about picking stuff up as I’ve seen things but have never had a proper use other than wanting to paint them and that’s not a good enough reason. Just speak to Servitob or Gribblin about my painting. Yet now there is a game and things are organised into box sets to start things off, well, who am I to dodge a good looking game with some sweet models? So, Ortega set. First impression really was being impressed by the packaging, sad I know, but I have to say that from the moment I cracked open the packing envelope I was surprised with the packaging. The box is actually a lot smaller than what I was imagining. Maybe it’s due to the fact I’ve been indoctrinated into Games Workshop and, to a lesser extent Privateer stuff, but I expect boxes to be a certain size and was therefore impressed that Wyrd had packed their stuff into so small a box. If my wife was a gamer she’d be enjoying their “greeness” for using less packaging, but she isn’t so I just thought it was cool. Opening the box and every single figure is individually wrapped in its own little bag with the base and other components for that model in there. No foraging for stuff and wondering which model it belongs to here, you open a bag, empty it out and put it together, no inadvertently gluing to wrong arm or leg to someone. The models are packed between two foam inserts to protect them from the rigours of long distance transit and the cards for each figure are collected into another insert between the foam and the box.
The models are very well cast, not much flash on them at all, I need to do a little filing on Perdita’s hat but other than that I can’t see anything needing much cleaning. I’ve already put two of them on bases before I went on to do other things last night. The surprising thing about the cards is that they are booklet style. I was expecting things like Warmachine or Hordes but each one is folded giving all the basic rules and stats for each model. You’ll still need the rulebook to make sense of it all and I may have to cut them in half and add them into a card protector sheet so I can keep things altogether like I do with my Warmachine/Hordes stuff. I’ll be using tokens I think as well rather than marking cards or protectors. I’ll have to do a painting review at some point and model some photos, I am also aware that I wanted to do a painting Space Hulk article as well… looks like I need to pull my finger out and get stuff undercoated. Hopefully this weekend should provide the opportunity as I am looking at getting some free time at the moment.
Overall I’m very happy with my purchases and the quality of the things I have so far. I’ll see if I can tempt anyone else to give it a try as I am sucker for skirmish style games and Malifaux is different enough from my usual fare to get me excited in all kinds of new ways.