Friday, August 1, 2014

Malifaux - Vassal game: Jacob vs. Marcus

A really short mini-batrep from a Vassal game against Brendan last night! He wanted to try out the Molemen, I wanted to try out Jacob some more, so we hooked up on Vassal and Skype and went at it!

I play Soccer on Thursdays...I'd expected to be home a bit after 7, but my son met two girls there after soccer, and went off to flirt with them. I didn't want to interrupt, so let me practice his game. We ended up not getting home until quarter after 8...I was supposed to be online with Brendan at 8! Grabbed a quick bite, quick shower, sent the kids to bad, and fired up the game! We didn't get started until well after 9...I'm always late :(

So, having started as late as we did, we didn't finish until midnight. So not only was I a zombie when we played, I'm a zombie now while writing...this is just highlights and tidbits from the game, not a play-by-play. Sorry!

Deployment flip was Corners. Strategy was the Black Joker for Stake a Claim. Scheme pool was Distract, Power Ritual, Protect Territory, and Frame for Murder.

I really am shaky on how best to run Jacob and the drug-addicts, but wanted to get a feel for how things went together. I figured with Corner deployment and Power Ritual sending Tots to the corners for easy fast Scheming would be a solid play. I knew I wanted to be in his face, particularly with the Illuminated, so chose Frame for Murder on one of them.

So with those in mind, for crew I chose:

Jacob Lynch (Woke up with a Hand, Wanna See a Trick, Endless Hunger)
Hungering Darkness (Addict)
2 Beckoners
2 Illuminated
2 Terror Tots
and a Doppleganger

I really had a hard time fitting in what I want in this crew. I really wanted a third Illuminated but I really wanted two Beckoners. I could have used more Tots, but would have had to give up a Beckoner. I ended up with a little bit of everything. Not terrible, but almost seemed like too much support and not enough schemey or fighty.

Brendan's crew was led by Marcus, with Myranda helping out again. He had the usual suspects with Cojo, Sabertooth Cerberus, and Rattler, along with two Molemen and two Gupps.

Neither of us revealed any Schemes.

I won the deploy flip and chose to deploy first in a corner that had a Train in front of it, Ht 4 and Ht 2, giving me lots of cover to hide behind (though I don't know why...he had no guns!).

First turn was a good one for me, he ran a Gupp down one of the table edges, but within 18" of the Doppleganger. She Mimic'd a Beckoner's Lure, and Lured the Gupp twice. This set up a charge from an Illumianted, which killed the Gupp. I didn't get the Ace of Masks this turn, but was still able to cheat in some Masks to get both Tots far in to the corners, while Jacob himself placed a Scheme near my own table corner.

Brendan made good use of the Molemen, placing Schemes all over as he moved up to the middle. The Molemen's (0) action was great, allowing him to get in to midfield right away. Then Cojo was able to move up and consume many of those Scheme markers to gain Defensive +107 (or something like that).

We both had a misplay though, as we both thought the Stake a Claim action was (1). He had put one down with a Moleman that had walked to the centerline. I'd set up my guys to walk over the centerline on turn 2 and drop them. So, major gaff, particularly by me as I had fewer movement tricks to make up for it.

Turn 2 I was really conservative, particulary with Hungry. Pretty much my whole Crew was hiding behind the train. I got Schemes in both corners, and did a whole lot of nothing. He did about the same, though he got his Claim down on my side of the table and went up 1-0.

Turn 3 I was still really conservative...I don't know why. I took some long range shots with the Beckoners and Hungry trying to annoy, but failing to engage anything left him free to get a Gupp in a corner where he threatened my Scheme Marker. I ran a Tot up there to engage the Gupp to keep him from being able to remove my scheme. I got my own Claim down on his side of the table with a Tot, and ran an Illuminated over to place one next turn. I did manage a long-range shot with a Beckoner to get Brilliance on Cojo, and my sucker Illuminated charged him, taking him down to his 1 from Hard to Kill. The Addict upgrade made the Illuminated absolutely terrifying...without even cheating I was able to do 12 points of damage total, only Hard to Kill kept the big ape standing. The point, though, wasn't to kill Cojo, but to encourage Marcus to come over and kill the Illuminated so Cojo could go kill the Beckoner or Terror Tot!

Marcus didn't, though. He did charge, but he hits like a girl. Boo.

Turn 4 I cheated initiative...Brendan flipped a 13, and I cheated a 13 to force a reflip. I love the Doppleganger! On the reflip I won the Initiative...and decided to really push Marcus to act on the sucker Illuminated by activating him first and finishing off Cojo.

Marcus did try to set things right and kept on beating that Illuminated, but he hits like a girl and the Illuminated was fine. The Sabretooth did kill him off though, then jumped up and killed my Terror Tot. This freed up the Gupp to place a Scheme in the corner. Hungry finally commited to that corner to take on the Gupp and the Cat. He tickled the Cat a bit, and killed off the Gupp. Jacob finally got brave enough to come out from behind the train, and killed a moleman that was going around placing Claims. Sadly this was bad, as it was his Sucker for Frame for Murder, so I handed him 2 points. Sigh. He got another point for Stake a Claim (he had 3, I had 2).

Turn 5 I had the Doppelganger in a nice spot after a double walk where she'd be able to remove two of his Claims and replace them with 1 (still on my side), making us even. I had a plan getting another one, but I forgot it while doing it and failed. He won init and ran Marcus down to the Doppleganger and did Law of Meat on her, preventing her from taking the (2) Interact. Most of turn 5 was focusing on killing Marcus so the Doppelganger could save me a Victory Point. First a Beckoner put Brilliance on him; then the Illuminated that was left charged him (through Lava! Cool!!) and took a big chunk out of him. Jacob then stepped up, did Final Debt for 5, leaving him with one wound, and 52 Pickup, revealed an Ace and finished him off. My last Terror Tot dropped a Scheme in his deployment corner, and that was the end of the game.

So, having focused more on being cagey and making good killing moves, I ended up losing only a Tot and an Illuminated, and he was left with just Myranda and a very damaged Sabertooth. But sadly, killing the enemy efficiently is not the way to win.

He revealed Power Ritual (we both took the same Schemes!), and got 2 for that one. He got 2 for Jacob killing the Moleman. And he got 3 for the Strategy.

I got 1 for Frame for Murder, 3 for Power Ritual, and none for the Strategy, for a heart-breaking 7-4 loss. Boo!

Lots of post-game thoughts here. First, I loved his Molemen. Their (0) action doesn't require a flip, they just go. Dropping Schemes all over is pretty easy. The Gupps are a bit faster overall, but require that Mask. It occurred to me that Gupps would actually go pretty well with Jacob, for the same reason Terror Tots do...use that Ace of Masks to get the Leap off, then pick it back up. Tots are overall faster, but the Gupps can get unengaged and are a wee bit tougher.

I made poor choices for this Strategy. I needed more fast things to push across the centerline early to get Claims down. Dreamer with Daydream spam would allow pushing things up to mid-line right away. Madness could do the Power Ritual pretty well. Dreamer overall probably better crew for this.

My Scheme selection was probably poor for this too. I think I would have been better served doing Protect Territory with some Depleted instead of the Tots. Push to mid-table, Scheme and Claim, and kill as he came to me. Or at least, if taking Frame for Murder, get the Sucker in to the fight a lot quicker than end of turn 3!

Instead I split things up, played un-aggressively until late. Seems like Jacob's boys want to be in the shit as quick as they can, but I didn't do that. Tots running Power Ritual was fine, but I think I probably should have focused more on Power Ritual and Stake a Claim by taking more of them...losing a Beckoner would have been fine, as I got very little mileage out of them and the Doppelganger tended to hang back with them mimic'ing them anyway.

Which then brings up the bigger question that I don't quite have my head around yet...what does Jacob and the Darkened do better than Dreamer? What Strategy/Scheme pool would I want one over the other?

I'm new enough that I don't have good answers yet, but my instinct is that Jacob is better at killiness and survivability, which Dreamer has far more activations, summoning what's needed, and well...I don't know.

Since I'm kind of mentally preparing for Nova, I kind of have in mind that Reckoning and Turf War will be Jacob territory, while Recon and Stake a Claim seem good fits for Dreamer's crew. Squatter's Rights seem like either could do well, so would depend on what Schemes go along with it.

Also, Doppelganger is pure gold. We both got the vibe that she was pretty under-costed. She's tough to deal with (Manipulative 14 and decent Wounds), cheating the Initiative, potentially crazy high damage output with Mimic, or complete toolbox really with Mimic letting her do anything anyone else can do. I can see those 7ss making it in to every crew I put together!

So another great game of Malifaux that's definitely proving itself to be my game of choice! Thanks for another great game, Brendan!

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