Monday, July 13, 2015

Seamus' Belle of the Ball: Malifaux at Connecticon 2015!

No, I'm not dead. My gaming adventures are limited to getting kicked around by my friend Brendan at Monday Night Malifaux, and getting kicked around by my son Bobby on Conquest night...but I finally made it to a first since Nova last year, I think? Is it bad if I can't even remember?

Despite being unable to remember my name, the ages of my children, the location of half my miniatures, and my anniversary (I was only not in trouble for forgetting that because she forgot too...), I did manage to get some things painted and got myself nearly on time to Hartford, got checked in at the Con, and went to the game room.

Like last year, the Miniature Gaming was done in the Hilton, a long way away from the actual Convention. This is a big negative for me, as I'd like to be able to take advantage of time between games to actually participate in the convention...wander the vendor halls, get an autograph (George Takei was there this year!!!), listen in on a panel, ogle the hotties. Instead we're hidden away in a side room on the 3rd floor of a Hotel and interacted with literally no one else. Disappointing.

That said, the Malifaux stuff was very well set up. Unsurprisingly the turnout for Malifaux was not great (though I think we had more than the 40k did this year!)'s not a 'mainstream' game (Yet!), CaptainConn is next week, and in my limited experience with Malifaux gamers, two-day events don't seem to be "the thing" like they are in 40k. Pity.

So if I understand things right, we had a fair number of no-shows, ending up at 9 players. My friend Brendan stepped in to get us to an even number. The decision was made to drop the second day's games and do just the 3 games on Saturday. I understand why this decision was made, but I disagree with it. I went there to play 5 competitive games of Malifaux against people I'll likely never get to see again. The opportunity was there to go do 'open gaming' on Sunday, but it's not the same. Still, 3 games is better than none, and off we went!

Part of the sponsorship for this event...I've forgotten the name of the company, so will look it up later as I'm at work and brought none of my notes with me, yes I suck...provided some really gorgeous tables to play on, one a beautiful Japanese setting complete with cherry trees, another a dockyard section of Malifaux including a chapel and graveyard!

Those tables were beautiful and a lot of fun to play on. The dockyard was a bit too busy and cluttered, and even 30mm bases struggled to find places to sit, but it worked and looked below!

I took two Masters with me to play: Dreamer and Jacob. I intended to use Jacob in Headhunter and Reckoning, and Dreamer in the others. As it turns out, only one Master was needed!

Game One
My first game was against Jonah from western Massachusetts. He was playing Guild (which made me sweat a bit...I have very little exposure to Guild stuff other than Perdita, but know that Perdita and Sonnia have plenty of tools to cut thru Dreamer like he's not even there.

The Strategy though was Headhunter, which meant he'd want to get close to me to pick up the heads. The Schemes included Breakthrough, Murder Protege, Assassinate, and...damned if I can remember, neither of us chose it anyway. The terrain was beautiful, but dominated by a giant multi-level Pagoda at the middle of the table.

An incredible table! All the pieces were very functional for Malifaux minis! Turf War would be very interesting here! I wish I'd taken a picture of the interiors of those buildings...they even had the paper sliding doors you'd expect in this time of building! Awesome!

I went with Dreamer (Dreams of Pain and Wings of Darkness), 3Daydreams, Iggy, two Teddies, and Widow with a Cache of 6. I figured he'd have to get in close to get heads, so I had a decent chance of being able to pull off either Protege or Assassinate, and I could summon a couple Madness easy to glide thru the very busy terrain and get schemes down with no issue.

He chose Perdita (Trick Shooting, Badge of Office, and Vengeance Bullet), Francisco (Wade In and Diestro), Enslaved Nephilim, Papa Loco, Latigo Pistolero, Witchling Stalker, and Ryle.

I figured Ryle would be the one that would want to get in close, and he's more points than Francisco, so chose Murder Protege on him, and Breakthrough. I didn't reveal either.

Jonah revealed nothing either, and off we went!

We chose to treat the water as Open, otherwise virtually every part of the table would be Severe!

Perdita and her posse, ready for action!

With Corner deployment, I deployed with the intention of moving around the Pagoda 'clockwise', getting inside as quickly as I could, where I thought I'd have the advantage in close-quarters fighting. After his first activation, however, we realized that 40mm bases fit on the patio/porch all around the pagoda, but only 30mm could fit inside. That kind of left my Teddys in a bad way.

Fortunately for me, he moved 'clockwise' as well, with some models up on the patio and some down on the ground. I basically held my ground, getting Lilitu and Lelu summoned while pushing Teddy's up just a bit so I could threaten things that were coming around the corner. He shot up one of the Teddies pretty badly, and killed Lelu with his first volleys in turn 2, but I was able to push that Teddy way back with Daydreams, get a couple Madness out, pop Chompy and get a 0-Waking Dreamer in a prime spot.

My gameplan from turn 2 on was to hold my ground, let him come to me to try to collect heads, and kill everything that got close. I kept the Madnesses in close thru turn 3, then sent them sprinting thru the Pagoda to the backfield where they were able to get down 4 Objectives before game end.

My plan worked out well, as he was able to push things up to me and dish out damage, but with two Stitched brought out on turn 3 I had so much 'close in' killiness that he wasn't able to bring anything down, while I dropped Ryle for 2 Murder Protege points and the pile of Web Markers started taking their toll. Turn 3 peaked with him running Loco up in the middle of my mess...I pushed a few things away with Daydreams, then in very fun moment got off Gobble You Up on Loco with a Teddy, Smell Fear killed Loco, both Teddies survived the Explosion, then that Teddy was able to walk over and pick up the head! Beautiful!

Turn 4 he went "all in" as he ran Francisco, Perdita, and the Latigo up close. They put down both Teddies and took a chunk off Lilitu, but a few more Stiched were summoned, Chompy came out in Ten Inch Claw range of Francisco. A few Stitched Gambles and Chompy was able to finish off Francisco, leaving Perdita isolated and vulnerable. My stable of Stitched, now near a 0-Waking Dreamer, went to work and killed her as well.

I ended up killing all but the Enslaved Nephilim by end of 5, and got full points for Headhunter, Breakthrough, and 2 points for the unrevealed Murder Protege. He got 2 points for Headhunter and 2 for Murder on a Teddy, but failed to Assassinate Dreamer...9-4 for me!

Round Two

After a quick lunch (thanks Joanne!!) we settled in to Round Two. I was a bit confused by the Scheme Pool in this one: Turf War with Distract, Cursed Object, Deliver a Message, and Plant Explosives. This is not a pool that's possible, as there's only one "suit" scheme. Regardless, they all play well together, as enemy crew can be expected to be near the middle for Turf War.

My opponent was Will, playing Ten Thunders. He was from the same store as Jonah, I believe he's Inquisitor Wall on the Wyrd Forums.

I again went with Dreamer...I think Teddies and Widow's Webs very quickly make quick work of folks in the Turf. Instead of Iggy I went with a Doppelganger...her plan was to walk over and drop a Scheme for Plant Explosives at a key time. I then had to decide based on Crew whether I was more comfy with Distract or Cursed Object...Deliver a Message was an option too, as Teddy can easily Gobble You Up to get in position and have two AP left, but if the opposing Master wasn't one to get in the thick of things it'd be tricky.

As it turns out, he chose a master that I've never played against but understood his 'trick' a bit...Brewmaster! I have to admit, I panicked a little bit, as he would do bad things to any of these 'up close' schemes. Then I read Fingers' card, and I panicked a lot. No interacts within 6"?! He can just toe in to the Turf and prevent me from doing any Schemes at all! In support he had Sidir, 2 Performers, Wesley, and a very imposing Whiskey Golem.

I have to say, I felt absolutely screwed at the prospect of trying to pull off any of this.

Moreover, the terrain we were playing on (as mentioned above) was very "tight", making pushes and charges very challenging.

More-moreover, I gave him first deploy and got stuck deploying basically "behind" a 2" wall (a dock) that I had to climb to get out of my deployment area. I could have gone in a corner, but that would stick me even farther away from the Turf and give no cover at all.

I somehow swallowed down my panic, and just focused on playing turn by turn. I had no clear idea in mind how I would be able to score points, but I figured he'd have a hard time getting me out of the Turf so I could at least keep the points difference down to a minor loss.

I did pretty standard summoning stuff at start, with Lelu and Lilitu being summoned, and everyone else just climbed up on the dock ready to jump down in to the turf.

Second turn he decided he wanted to kill a lured it over to him. So I pushed him backwards to safety. So he lured him again. So I pushed him again. And again. And kept him safe! Giving up on the Teddy, Sidir started shooting at Widow, and got her down to just a few wounds left, so she dropped a web and ran behind the wall back in to my deployment zone where she'd heal back up from Dreamer and stay safe. I started spamming Stitched at this I realized something:

Stitched can kill the hell out of stuff from outside the Brewmaster's 3" Drinking Contest range; and moreover, I could block LOS to Lenny with either my or his models (using pushes) and not be prevented from performing Interact actions!

So I was able to do exactly that, get Doppelganger in to a spot where Sidir blocked LOS to Lenny, and she dropped a Scheme for full 3 points on Plant Explosives. Sadly for me he was able to lure a little Daydream to his side of the table, along with the tug-of-war Teddy, for full 3 points for Plant Explosives also. Moreover, he handed that Teddy a Cursed Object, going up a point there while I had none.

I summoned more Stitched, and started focusing on out-activating and killing things in the Turf. Stitched and Teddy were able to drop the Whiskey Golem before it even got to swing, which was very helpful!

Gorgeous table, but very cluttered! Looks like Pink Teddy just got done beating up Fingers, who ran away to the top right!

I think he made a key mistake here, moving Fingers far enough away from Brewmaster that I was able to get a Teddy on him, and between Smell Fear and a single attack I was able to push him pretty far away, but he pushed himself out with his Defensive Trigger to prevent me getting in the killing blow and keeping himself unengaged.

With activations on my side I was able to push myself in to key spots with un-poisoned models and get a few Cursed Objects down and thin things out a bit.

Midway thru turn 5 we realized we were already way over on time. We clarified with TO that we should not start a new turn, and I spent a fair amount of time coming up with a plan to pull out a win. I had to ensure at least one model stayed alive with an Object on it; I had to kill all but one model in the Turf (at this point he had Brew, Sidir, and a Performer left in there), and I had to get the Cursed Object off a Teddy (who had high poison and within Drinking Contest range). I also wanted to kill Fingers, as just in case the game did go another turn I wanted to prevent any models from making a dash in there.

There was a LOT of activity here, including Lelu getting some hits in, Dreamer going crazy with Empty Night, clearing poison off two models, pushing the Cursed Object Teddy out of engagement, and pushing the other Teddy to kill Fingers. Cursed Object Teddy was able to remove his Curse, I hung on to a card to allow Doppelganger to pass her Drinking Contest duel and give a cursed object out, and the Stitched all combined to work on killing Sidir...

my last Stitched activates, Sidir has 1w left. Gamble Your Life fails, the Stitched only takes 3, not enough to get Reactivate. I'm out of cards, will has some in hand...I assume he's saving a high card...I flip a 9 for the attack, for a 15 duel total...and Sidir can't beat it! Will has no cards in hand. The damage flip (which I'm sweating hard, as I'd had to reshuffle deck and had Black Joker in there still!), and get him! Sidir goes down, leaving just Brewmaster in the Turf, and a Performer holding a Cursed Object...while I had no models holding a Cursed Object!

Will got 3 points for Turf War, 3 points for Plant Explosives, and 2 points for Cursed Object: 8 points
I had 4 points for Turf War, 3 points for Plant Explosvies, and 2 points for Curse Object: 9 points!

What a game!

I can't remember any other miniature game making me sweat and work as hard as this one did! Will was a tremendous opponent and that crew was horrific to deal with. Once I figured out that I could block LOS to Brew or Fingers with pushes I felt I had a big piece of the puzzle on how to pull it off, and it worked out! I also kind of figured out that while Brewmaster is very control-oriented, he had very little things in his crew that actually killed things...once the Golem was gone, I had no worries about losing models, and just focused on getting points (something I tend to not be very good at as I still tend to play more of an attrition game than I should!)

Hands down my favorite game of Malifaux ever! Thanks Will!

Game Three

Sadly I was too pooped to thing of taking any pictures of this game...sorry...

The TO told me as we return from dinner (a nice Shepherd's Pie from an awesome Irish Pub) that I'm currently in third based on TP and Diff, and I was paired up against the #4, a guy who was 1-1....Dreads from Houston, TX! I'm very jealous of Dreads' really. I'd love to be able to do that with my hair! Dreads had flown up for the day in hopes of winning a ticket to the Nova Malifaux Championship...he was clearly a pro, who traveled around to tourneys, and I was again in a panic! He was playing Neverborn, and was a Dreamer player too, which kicked up my panic a little more (I tend to think one of the greatest assets one can have in a competitive miniature game is for your opponent to not know what your stuff does very well...I enjoyed that in my last two games, but not in this one!)

This was another really bizarre Scheme Pool: Flank Deploy, Bounty Strategy, and Make Them Suffer, Take Prisoner, Outflank, and Vendetta. Not a single 'suit' Scheme in there. Weird!

I'd originally intended to take Jacob for this round, as I thought he'd do well in the Strategy, but with this Scheme Pool...hell, I didn't know what to do. Outflank I very much dislike...easily blocked, hard to 'hide' what you're doing, and have to reveal for full points. MTS is ok for Jacob/Hungery, but not so much for Dreamer/Widow. Vendetta I very much dislike, as once it's revealed your opponent can prevent more than 1 point for pretty minimal effort. I didn't like any of them!

I decided I liked working with Dreamer more than Jacob, so went with the Iggy crew again. In hindsight Iggy was a mistake here, as I had another model in my stable that would have worked out much better for me...

Dreads chose Lilith (with Growth, Living Blade, and Beckon), Barbaraos, Mr. Graves, Hans, two Young Nephilim, Primordial Magic, and an Alp. An Alp, I thought? WTF?

I've only played vs. Lilith once before, that opponent not being a high-end competitive player. It was a tough game, but it focused on lure/push tricks to cause damage and conditions. This was something different!

Time to choose Schemes, and I turned my brain off COMPLETELY, and chose/revealed Line in the Sand (more on the brain off part of that later...) and Take Prisoner on Hans (I intended to summon a Madness to hide, look like doing Outflank, then run over late on last turn and engage Hans).

He did not reveal anything.

Things started really well for me. I summoned my usual Lilith and Lilitu, moved Dreamer so he'd be "safe" from Hans behind a large building, and started shifting towards a corner. The first two turns saw him push Lilith and Barbaros to mid-table (on opposite side of building where Dreamer was hiding), while the Young moved aggressively to the other side of the building. With a flurry of bad cards, one Young was attacked by both of my Teddies and lived...that Young then happily ate Lelu, and turned in to a Mature on his next turn! Yikes! Luckily a Teddy went crazy on that guy, killing him before he could do any damage. The other Young was Lured by Lilitu and killed by the other Teddy. To ensure the kill I discarded my last card to get Flurry, which wasn't needed as Teddy did good work and dropped the Young in two Hugs!

And here's where things get bad...

...Dreads confirmed I had no cards in hand, cast Tangled Shadows on Dreamer, and pulled me over the building to be chopped up and bashed up by Lilith and Mr. Graves. I had no cards in hand to pass that attack off to a nearby Nightmare, and no way to get any Nightmares over to that side of the building quickly. To add insult to injury, there was now an Alp in the middle of my crew, while I didn't fail any of those Wp duels, that was a damned good trick. Ah! That's what the Alp is for!

Dreamer lived thru two activations from Lilith, but Graves finished him off. I was in a complete panic and messed up some things...I think I could easily have saved some Stones that I'd used to prevent damage, and use those stones to Summon some things that I could have passed the attacks off to and lived. Instead I lost Dreamer, and went down the tubes quickly.

Note that if I'd had the Effigy, then Dreamer could have used the Push from the Condition to react to the Tangled Shadows, push in to the building he was next to, and be completely untouched and fine.

I tried to keep in the fight with a nice Teddy barrage on Barbaros that failed to take the big demon down, leaving him at one wound. Barabaros and Lilith killed that Teddy. A number of attacks later and a Madness I'd summoned finally brings Barbaros down, but it was too little too late.

I had Widow, Lilitu, Iggy, a Madness, and two Daydreams to deal with Hans, Graves, and Lilith. I got two Schemes down on the Centerline...and here's the REALLY bad part...and had myself convinced that's all the Scheming I needed to do, so stopped trying! If I'd played just a tweak smarter, I had great opportunity to get the other two Schemes down, but I did some wasteful things (Iggy set Hans on fire to make him think I didn't have him as Take Prisoner target; Widow did an Exhale Terror on Mr. Graves for no reason and to no effect, Madness did nothing at all one activation, as I was just moving once to make sure I was within 14" of Hans...) but instead had it in my head that I needed 2 for 2 and if revealed got 1 Breakthrough. So brainless! I blame the Sheppard's Pie!

I danced around a lot, avoiding getting everyone engaged and maintaining some mobility until the end of 5, when I ran the Madness through a building to engage Hans. I flipped for game end, thinking I had him easily...he had only 1 point for MTS and 2 for Vendetta on a Teddy...but the game went on.

I won initiative, and all I THOUGHT I had to do was keep Lilith from charging the Madness and I'd win. He wanted to get Hans away from the Madness, and kill the Madness or a Daydream for MTS. I used the Madness to push Widow thru Lilith's forest, dropped a web next to her (making two webs within 3") and got off the Seize Prey on her, paralyzing her! He got Hans away from the Madness, and shot it hoping to kill it, but did 3 damage, Incorporeal for lives! And I don't remember what Graves did, but it was effectively nothing. The Madness walked over to Hans, and the game ended!!

Dreads has 3 for Bounty, 2 for Vendetta, and 1 for MTS for total 6...

I THINK I'm at 1 for Bounty; 3 for Prisoner, and 3 for LITS for 7 and am SO Psyched to have pulled that off with the brainless play with Dreamer!!

Then Dreads corrected me, I only had 1 for LITS, so lost 6-5!

While it was disappointing to lose, I had a tremendously fun game! Dreads was a real pleasure to play, super talented...I really liked how he kept his heavy-hitters unengaged and took advantage of my mistake with absolute perfection. I very much feel that if I'd not lost Dreamer at that point, the game was mine. As it was, I take a tremendous confidence boost from having made such a horrible mistake (remember what I said about not knowing what your opponent does? I'd completely lost focus on him having Tangled Shadows!), losing Dreamer, and still playing well enough to have such a close tight game...and giving myself opportunity to win, but I simply didn't focus on LITS and played based on a wrong assumption there!

So since the final two rounds had been cancelled, that was the end! I was a complete zombie at this point (the final round didn't start until 8pm, we were finishing after 11!) so missed the name of the guy that won all three of his games, but I'm sure James will post it on the Wyrd Forum. Congratulations to him!

I ended up tied on W/L with Dreads; and tied on Diff with Dreads; but pulled out Second Place on Points (those two 9-point wins saved me!!)...the prize support was INCREDIBLE! Little prizes were raffled off thru all the games, including a very fun 'straight razor' that's actually a measuring tool! I won Lucas McCabe box all painted beautifully by one of the sponsors (wouldn't it be nice if I remembered who that was? I suck!), a gorgeous piece of terrain (I think the sponsor was Plasticraft?), a nice brush set, a pretty wooden deck box, some tokens, lots of grass tufts, and an awesome airbrush!

Thanks to James for a well-run event! Thanks to Jonah, Will, and Dreads for three incredible games and a great way to spend a Saturday!

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