Saturday, 12 October 2013

Malifaux Tournament Musings

So for me Malifaux M2e season kicks off tomorrow with the wonderful Henchman Lees Malifolk M2e.  I've been looking forward to this for a good while and it starts a nice run of 4 tournaments for me running into the Christmas holidays.

One of the things that M2e has done is thrown up all sorts of new tournament possibilities especially around the scheme pool, but that's not what I wanted to talk about in this post, nope what has been occupying a small part of my brain (some folks would probably say a small part of my brain is all i have) is Master / Faction choice.

Most events that I have ever been to are either single Master (i.e you pick your master at the beginning of the event and stick with it) or single Faction.  Both of these work pretty well with Faction seemingly being the preferred choice as even in M2e some masters are better in certain matchups than others - in fact the whole guild faction seems to be built around this (Perdita being anti Neverborn, Sonnia anti Arcanist etc.)

However it occurred to me that this doesn't actually match how most folks I know build their collection of models / crews.  In my experience its the masters that bring people into the game and folks like building crews that work well with that master, rather than looking at factions as a whole.  So in my case for instance I love McMourning but really the other Resser masters don't do anything for me.  Now I can go to a tournament, declare Ressers and just use McM all the time but what about my other Masters that are in different factions? - Misaki I am looking at you.

What I am thinking about is a tournament where you declare 3 Masters who can be from completely different factions and you have free reign to play any of those masters in any game (no being forced to use all 3 or any nonsense like that)  If only I was running a tournament where I could try that format out?

EDIT - After talking with Joel '300' Henry I thought I should amend the post slightly to make it clear that if you took a potential duel faction master then you would have to declare what faction they were being used as when you signed up with the master, no getting 6 factions out of 3 masters thank you very much :)

Now if I remember correctly the last Malifaux masters used a similar system (it may have been fixed list as well) and that not only posed some very interesting challenges for the players but it also seemed to go down very well with them.

So what do you think?  An idea worth pursueing or trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Catching up

So summer holidays are over and gaming is moving back into full swing again, which means writing slightly more blog entries than I have over the past couple of months.

So whats been happening over the summer?

Well GENCON happened and thanks to my wonderful ninja shopper Dawn (@sassylady1970) I was able to get my hands on some new M2e goodies just a couple of days after the event.  I've talked at length about my thoughts on M2e over on Malifools but suffice to say I am very happy with my purchases.  So much so that I have decided that I will be going to Adepticon again next year for nearly 4 days of Malifaux goodness. 

Of course this means I have to start painting a new crew and I'll be talking about that in future posts.

What else, oh the Zombicide rulebooks for both Toxic City Mall and Prison Outbreak have been published and the first part of the Kickstarter is supposed to be shipping within the next couple of weeks.  Zombicide Season 1 remains a firm favourite within the Marshall household and everyone is looking forward to getting the expansions and wielding the chainsaws again.

Painting continues on my Saga force for the upcoming Sagamath.  I've got 2 points done so far with another 4 in various stages of paint.  Its not until November so I'm pretty hopeful that I'll get it all done, though I do need to get my painting mojo back - I'm just not in a painting mood at the moment and its becoming a chore rather than something that I want to do.  Still if I do get it done then I can work on my Bushido figures (Savage Wave) and my gang for Dead Mans Hand (the Hellcats)

Well that was odd as this sort of turned into one of those essays you used to get at school, you know the 'What I did on my Holidays' one.  Guess that's what I get after not updating for a couple of months.  Hopefully slightly more regular updates from now on.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

New Malifaux Art Part Deux

Another day another slew of Malifaux art from @ericjgames.  Gencon can be fun :)

The new book cover, I wonder if it will be in hardback?

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

New Malifaux Art

As Gencon rushes towards us (less than a month to go) Wyrd, or more specifically @ericjgames is posting pieces of finalised box art as well as other teasers.  For instance he just let slip that this years 'Miss' model (the figure you get free at a $100 spend) will be an Arcanist.  Unfortunately so far I haven't thought of any Rasputina related Miss names - best guess I have seen online is Miss Fire.

Anyway enough waffle, here's the art (think its a pretty safe bet that any box art we are shown means the box will be at Gencon)

An Arsenal box is a faction deck, this one shows the Whiskey Golem

Lilith showing the Mature has been replaced by Barnaby (or whatever his name is)

You have to admit, he does look angry

My favourite so far, putting the Ronin in a different group and on the background changes the whole piece for me.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Bits and Pieces

So yesterdays post brought up a few questions in twitter and the comments so thought I would try and answer them in a second post in 24 hours (something never seen before in the history of my blogs)

The blue foam comes from  Its pricy (approx £55 for a box) but you get a lot of foam for that money.  The 25mm thick stuff that I am using on this board comes in a box of 12 sheets, and each sheet is 600mm square (just over 2' square).  Perfect for splitting with friends or a club.

To cut it I have been using the score and snap method to get the pieces to the correct approximate size and then a hot wire cutter to tidy up the edges.

Its a hot wire cutter
I got mine from Amazon but as I was working on the board last night I snapped my last piece of wire :( so think I may upgrade to a slightly more expensive model.

Couple of people asked me about the size - its a 3' square, the main canal is 6" wide and the sub canals are 3".  Fortunately I can fit a 3' board in the back of my car so don't need to make it in 2 pieces.

The terrain on top of the board will be moveable scatter terrain but will have predefined places so that when I set it up it will be the same every time, not sure if I will mark those places somehow - black shadow areas perhaps - but will definitely have pictures so I remember how it goes together as one of the things I learnt from the 4M tables is that if you have a lot of complexity then you will forget where it all goes :)

Right, think that about covers it.  Glued some of the sections onto the board last night but have run out of No More Nails so will have to wait a few days before I can pick up some more.  Oh well will just have to paint figures instead.

Its been a while

So haven't written anything on here for a while, not because I haven't had anything to say, but because I was just fantastically busy with the Malifaux tournament I ran last week.  Still that is now in the books, so I am back and this post I want to talk about making custom gaming tables.

One of the things that I wanted to do with 4M was make a set of tables that wasn't just generic scatter terrain on top of a plain board, and whilst I didn't quite get to the point that I wanted, I did get over halfway there.

Lair of December Rasputina Board
However for my next event (Malifools Campaign of Carnage) I want to take the boards to the next level and thought that this blog would be an excellent place to document my progress.

So the first board I will be making originally started out as a dockyard board but quickly mutated into a Malifaux Canals board.  So far I have roughed out the areas of land and started cladding the canal sides in embossed plasticard.  More as I progress :)

Rough areas of land marked out in pen.  Main canal is 6" wide and offset so centreline is on land.

Looks slightly better with the foam laid out to give it some depth.

Started to clad the foam in Wills paving

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Sky is Falling

He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.  ~Harold Wilson

As we rush headlong towards the Malifaux 2nd Edition open beta so the amount of hatred for the announced changes increases on forums and Twitter.  This seems to boil down along these sorts of lines -
  • The game is going to be ruined
  • Its not Malifaux anymore
  • Why didnt they just make the changes I said, then it would be perfect
  • I don't want it to be dumbed down and thats what they are doing
  • Waaah Waaah Waaah*

However now we have a new target for our rage as yesterday Eric J (head honcho over at Wyrd) posted a blog article called Playtesters Lie and frankly it doesn't seem to have gone down well.  Even players who I normally consider sane and rational have been left with a sour taste in their mouths and have taken to the various forms of social media to express this.

The problem I have with this is that IMO Eric actually has it spot on and its something I see all the time in my real life job.  When we give out new pieces of software to folks via our beta program I can pretty much predict which features are going to get feedback from which testers and what that feedback is going to be.  This is because testers will always bias the use of the software to their own internal use cases and feedback will always be focused around that.  Gamers are no different.  We will look at how our masters are affected and our feedback testing will be naturally biased by that.  Eric has actually shown in his blog that he understands this and from a design point of view thats very important.

The other thing that this has knocked on is that I've seen folks saying that the public beta is all just window dressing and nothing will change.   To that I say bollocks.  If that was going to be the case they just wouldn't bother, M2e would have just been presented as a fait acompli at GENCON later in the year.   Will core tenants of the new ruleset change.  No, and if you thought they would you are deluding yourself, you aren't going to be able to rewrite the rules into what you want them to be, if you want to do that go start your own game company.  Yes that does mean that things like the new soulstone mechanics are here to stay.  What I'm certain you will be able to influence are things like SS cost of models, the language used to describe something (hopefully there is good clear robust langauge around LOS for instance) or how interacts on a particular strategy function.   

So will the world end when the M2e beta is released? No it won't (I hope) but its not going to be the same game that you have been playing for the last few years either.  The good thing of course is that noone is stopping you playing 1st Edition as long as you want.  The miniature police aren't going to come around your house and take away your V1 stat cards after all.

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.  ~Author Unknown

*OK possibly I haven't seen the last one, though sometimes it feels like it :) 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

New blog on the block

Just a quick mention for my friends Matts new blog Double Negative Flip where he is going to detail how he is an even worse Malifaux player than I am.  Its almost certainly NSFW - Rebecca once kept a swear chart when I was playing Matt and ran out of paper - but inbetween the frequent Anglo Saxon language :) you'll find a lot of good stuff.  Just keep an open mind.

You can find it at

Friday, 17 May 2013

Tiny little mini men

One of the games I have loved to play over my 30 odd years of gaming is Games Workshops Epic system.  From the very first days of Adeptus Titanicus to the current incarnation of Epic:A its been a game, that whilst not a main system, has always been on the back burner.

I remember very well playing in Oxford GW during the early 90's against Gav and Woody, two of the staff there at the time.  I was using Orks (I always use Orks), Gav had Chaos and Woody Space Marines.  Every Thursday night we would get a couple of games in and much carnage would ensue.  The games would end with cardboard chits strewn across the table, a huge pile of dead stuff and a pint (if I'm honest several pints).  As Miranda would say 'such fun'

So its with some sadness over the last couple of weeks that I heard that GW have pulled the plug on all the specialist games and that you will no longer be able to buy Epic figures direct from them.  As I write this the Ork section of the site has been decimated with only a few basic units left to buy - I never did pick up some of the new Squigoths and I'm sure the other sections are similarly bare.  On speaking to a few other folks its seems that people have approached GW on several occassions to get a license to produce these models but have always been turned down - seems a shame to see such a great system (one of Jervis's best IMO) just gather dust.

However all is not lost, there is a small but passionate Epic community in the UK mainly centred around and a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of Mingeddon, a ruleset designed to let you play very quick games of Epic as a way of introducing people to the game - you can check those out at

Manufacturers are also picking up the ball.  Just today (and to be honest it was what inspired this post) I came across an Indiegogo campaign from Troublemaker Games to create 6mm scifi army plastic sprues.

From the campaign

Hi everyone,
We’re looking to produce some new 6mm scifi army plastic sprues.
Our initial goal is well on its way to being met, but beyond that we’ve got some great stretch goals planned, including more models on the sprues (for the same price – so entry level pledgers will get their boxes upgraded for free if we hit Stretch Goal #1), plastic buildings (suitable for 6mm or 10mm gaming), and with a little extra push, a boxed game…
At the base level a pledge is £22 for 5 sprues seems very reasonable, and hopefully the stretches will mean you end up getting even more for your money.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Malifaux 2nd Edition

So Malifaux 2nd Edition was announced the other day and as part of the hype around that, the game designers did a lot of podcast interviews with the main Malifaux podcasts (including the mighty Malifools :) )
However last night down the club I had a few folks asking me about the changes to 2e as they didn't have time to listen to all the podcasts so I thought this might be useful.
Gremlins become there own faction giving us 7
Each faction will have 7 masters including duel faction masters.
All the existing Henchmen have been promoted to Masters, no more seeing Collodi in every Neverborn list
So far we know

  • Guild - Perdita, Lady J, Sonnia, Hoffman, Lucius (Neverborn), McCabe (10T), McMourning (Resser)

  • Ressers - Nicodem, Seamus, McMourning, Kirai, Molly, Yan Lo (10T),  Tara (Outcast)

  • Arcanists - Ramos, Marcus, Raputina, Colette, Kaeris, MeiFang (10T)

  • Neverborn - Lilith, Pandora, Zoraida (Gremlin!!!!!), Dreamer, Collodi, Lucius (Guild), Jakob Lynch (10T)

  • Outcasts - Leviticus, Viktorias, Von Schill, Hamelin, Tara (Resser)

  • Ten Thunders - Misaki, Yan Lo, Jakob Lynch, Lucas McCabe, Mei Fang, Brewmaster (Gremlin)

  • Gremlins - So'mer, Ophelia, Zoraida!!!!!!!! (Neverborn), The Brewmaster (10T)

Arcanists only have 10T Duel Faction.  They are doing something different with Arcanists that they haven't explained yet.
Two models are removed from the game.  Minion Misaki and Minion Hamelin
Model cards will be moving to a standard size so that sleeving them rather than lamination becomes possible.
Public Beta on May 31st until Mid July
Phase 1 will be out for August at Gencon (October for those not buying off the Wyrd store) - will cover original masters plus 3 Ten Thunders crews and 3 Gremlins.
After Gencon public beta test of the remainder of masters and models.  This will end at the end of the year.
Feb 2014, Malifaux 2.0 is Tournament standard
Faction Decks will be released in 2 waves to cover all models currently in game with the 2 exceptions listed above.
Game Size
Standard games are now 41-50 SS but this doesn't mean more models on the table - see below.
Crew changes
Default cards are streamlined and have less abilities on them.  This makes it easier for demos and new players to come into the game.  To keep things interesting for the vet players, models can spend soulstones on upgrades that give them extra abilities.  Seamus's Hat for instance.
Models are all split into new classes.  This determines the number of upgrades and AP they have

  • Masters: 3 Upgrades, 3AP

  • Henchmen: Judge, Sybelle etc. 2 Upgrades, 2AP

  • Enforcers: Executioner, Ice Golem etc. 2 Upgrades, 2AP

  • Minion 1 Upgrade, 2AP

  • Peons 0 Upgrades 2 AP, new name for Insignificant models

Rules changes
Pre-measuring is allowed
Spells have a target number, but are now normal duels like ranged attacks
CA value is built into spell description rather than being a specific stat. Helps with the tricky model balancing act.
Red Joker on damage now does Severe + weak damage. Red Joker prevents opponent from cheating when used!
Drain Souls is gone, woot
Avatar manifistation is still in flux, but they all manifest in the same
way (using cards to reach a target number) and now cost a variable
amount of SS
Strategies are now all shared and there's less to pick from (but better balanced).  They are very similar to the ones in gaining grounds 2013 in that VPs are calculated every turn.
are now worth more VP (4). The players generate a pool of
schemes that they will be able to pick from for that game. Pool of 5 out of 19. Unrevealed schemes are more important as they are now worth 3VPs other than 4VPs. No more
picking those easy ones for every pickup game (yes that does mean Sabotage arcanist players)
Models can take a (1) action to drop a scheme marker.  You can do this even if you don't need them for the scheme to just mess with you opponents head :)  Line in the sand is now a scheme.

  • During an attack, you spend a soulstone to add a positive flip or a suit. You no longer add a second number to your total.  Means you can cast a spell using that high tome and add a crow via soulstone.

  • When defending, you can spend a stone to get a positive flip and give the attacker a negative flip to damage

  • Prevention flips are the same, Healing Flips are gone (shame for all those slow to die folks :) ).

  • When you draw your hand you can spend a stone to draw two extra cards and then discard down to the normal hand size.

  • Initiative can still be reflipped by using a stone.

Edit - Added Brewmaster to 10T and altered the Arcanist duel faction information
Edit - Added info about cards moving to a standard format
Edit - Added the fact that Drain Souls is gone

Monday, 21 January 2013

25SS Malifaux on Vassal

I don't know about you but there are many things that I like about living in the country, but when the snow decides to come down you are pretty much trapped in the house until a nice plough comes along.  This is especially true when you have a rear wheel drive car thats about as much use in the snow as a pair of rollerskates. On the plus side though, it does mean that your significant other doesn't make you go shopping or clear out the garage, which meant that I was able to get a couple of games of Malifaux in over Vassal this weekend.

I have a tournament coming up next month at Tabletop Nation so thought I would get a couple of practice games in.  As this event is aimed at new players it has some interesting crew creation rules.  Basically you get a starter box, a totem, a blister and if you can summon, an extra summoning blister.  Games will be 25SS

For reasons that I'm not entirely sure of, I've decided to take Rasputina with the Essence of Power, but haven't nailed down my blister choice, so I used these games to try out a couple of things.

First game was against @leebattrick and his Dreamer Crew.  Strategy was Shared Reconnoiter and I took the straight boxed set (so 3 Gamin and an Ice Golem)  Rasputina proved to be an absolute beast, lobbing Decembers Curse out with abandon and pretty much destroying Lees crew singled handed.  However Chompy survived on one wound and did what Chompy does killing Raspy and denying me Bodyguard.  Game ended up 3-2 to Lee.

The Golem didn't do very much other than get killed, though I did learn about his excellent defensive trigger, well worth cheating a tome in for.

Second game was against and his Pandora crew.  This time we played destroy evidence.  Now in this game I broke the crew hiring rules as I didn't realise that you were constrained by the physical models you get in the box - I assumed that they were just defining the models you could take - and took 4 Ice Gamin with a Silent One.  Sorry Mark.  It turned into a very tough game that ended 1-0 to Mark (he got the neutral evidence marker)  Silent one was pretty decent, but I was hampered badly in this game with speed.  The Raspy crew is just so slow :(

So that leaves me with trying a Blessed or going outside the Cult of December meme and taking something like a Mechanical Rider.  Need some more practice I guess, got plenty of time to decide.

Now I previously talked about playing Maifaux on Vassel and I have to say that with practice it does become a lot more intuative - especially once you learn the control keys.  Movement was a lot easier this time and now I know how to kill models and leave counters automatically etc. the games flowed a lot better.  I still find estimating ranges exceptionally difficult, in fact in both games we sort of came to the decision to effectively play with pre measuring, using the handy auras as the measures.  Perhaps some sort of scale measure down the sides of the map would help with that?

Niggles aside though, it was a much better experience and I'm looking forward to getting some more games in - but its not as good as playing a real game :)

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Historical Babysteps

So last time I got to talking about how I was slowly being drawn back into the world of historical gaming, firstly by SAGA and then larger games via War and Conquest.  Since then my W&C rulebook arrived - a very nice piece of work it is as well and I've decided what force I wanted to play.

Originally i thought about expanding up my existing Anglo Saxon warband into a full army, but the problem with that is I know I will never ever get it painted.  There is only so many times I can paint 'warrior with spear' after all. So I needed something that would offer slightly more variety in figure choices, as well as satisfy that painting urge.   After spending some time going through the various historical manufacturers websites I had a decision - Early Crusades.

I've always wanted to paint an army with a decent amount of horses in it and given that the figures could double up as Normans in SAGA this seemed like a good job.  I had a quick discussion with some friends who know about this sort of thing and they both pointed me in the direction of the Perry Miniatures website, so off I went.

Of course just dropping the cash to buy a 2000 pt army wasn't going to happen - need to sell some of my older WHFB stuff first - but I could make a start and pick up enough figures to do a 6pt SAGA warband.  This would enable me to paint some up and perfect techniques without thinking that I had masses of figures left to do before I had something playable.

So I ended up by 12 Cavalry, 16 spearmen and 12 unarmoured archers which will enable me to field 3pts of Hearthguard (mounted of course) 2 pts of warriors (probably split 12-4) and a pt of levies.  I also bought the command pack shown in the picture above and some casualty figures to use as fatigue markers.

Now I just need to wait for my Renedra order to show up with all the bases and I can at least get them based and undercoated. I should be having a game with them in a week or so at a new club that I am attending so I need to get them all assembled at least by then.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Call of Historicals

No this isn't going to be a post about what it was like to game when I was younger while H G Wells was writing his set of rules for playing with toy soldiers - true fact - but is instead about how the hobby often takes you on circular journeys.

Many moons ago GW set up a subsidiary to produce historical games using the familiar warhammer ruleset.  Warhammer Ancient Battles as it was know was a pretty big hit, with many warhammer players branching into historical's for the first time - myself included.  In fact I got so involved that my name appears in some of the early supplements in that infamous 'thanks to' section, and unlike Conrad, my name was spelt correctly :)  However WAB was not without its issues, not least the slow release of supplements for periods that I wanted to game in, and when I moved to America my interest in it died.  I ended up selling my Early Imperial Roman army (never sell figures if you can avoid it) and thought that my flirtation with that type of gaming was done.

However I still read a lot of historical fiction (Bernard Cornwall et al.) and when Saga was released I dallied with the idea of picking up a warband, though a lack of opponents meant that it remained just an idea.  Still it was a good one, get some historical gaming in, in a period that I am particularly interested in - the Dark Ages - and not have to many figures to paint up, maybe 30 all in all.

As always in life things change and I now find myself in a place with lots of historical opponents, many of them who are already playing Saga, so I took the plunge and picked up the rules and a warband.  Still as I said, not that big a painting commitment - and to be fair, they are still all unpainted at the moment.

Then War and Conquest came along!

Written by Rob Broom, founder of the Warhammer Players Society (so basically creator of the independant tournament scene in the UK) ex GW Historical Head Honcho, this is a set of ancients rules that whilst owing a lot to the ground work set by WAB, ploughs its own furrow to create a really fun set of rules.  And that fun set of rules, coupled with the fact that a few of my really good friends are playing it, has dragged me back into the world of large battle historical gaming.  All I need now is an army.

So last night I spent far to much time going around the historical miniature companies websites looking at ancients figures and thinking, mmm I really wouldn't mind painting a roman / greek / viking / crusader army.

Its the mid 90's once again :)