Monday, 17 November 2014

Christmas Playlist

Christmas is coming and that means its time to dust off the current playlist.  This is last years, anything I should add?
  1.     The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year     Andy Williams
  2.     Winter Wonderland     Perry Como
  3.     Carol of the Bells     Arthur Fiedler & Boston Pops Orchestra
  4.     All I Want for Christmas Is You     Mariah Carey
  5.     Fairytale of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl)     The Pogues
  6.     Do You Hear What I Hear?     Bing Crosby
  7.     Let It Snow     Dean Martin
  8.     Christmas Wrapping     Waitresses
  9.     Do They Know It's Christmas?     Band Aid
  10.     Happy Xmas (War Is Over) [2003 Mix]     JOHN LENNON
  11.     Wonderful Christmastime     Paul McCartney
  12.     Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy     Bing Crosby & David Bowie
  13.     A Holly Jolly Christmas     Burl Ives
  14.     Frosty The Snowman     Gene Autry
  15.     I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday     Wizzard
  16.     Christmas Is A Feeling In Your Heart     Andy Williams
  17.     Jingle Bell Rock     Bobby Helms
  18.     Santa Baby     Kylie Minogue
  19.     Once Upon a Christmas Song     Peter Kay's - Geraldine McQueen
  20.     Last Christmas (Single Version)     Wham!
  21.     All Alone On Christmas     Darlene Love
  22.     Walking In the Air     Aled Jones
  23.     Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer     Burl Ives
  24.     Lonely This Christmas     Mud
  25.     Baby, It's Cold Outside     Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews
  26.     Merry Xmas Everyone     Slade
  27.     Gaudete     Steeleye Span
  28.     A Winter's Tale     David Essex
  29.     Stay Another Day     East 17
  30.     Keeping the dream alive     Freiheit
  31.     Stop The Cavalry     Jona Lewie
  32.     Rocking Around The Christmas Tree     Mel Smith & Kim Wilde
  33.     Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)     The Darkness
  34.     Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)     Darlene Love
  35.     ’Twas the Night Before Christmas     Perry Como
  36.     Step Into Christmas     Elton John
  37.     I Believe In Father Christmas     Greg Lake
  38.     Santa Claus Is Coming to Town     Michael Bublé
  39.     Jingle Bells (feat. The Puppini Sisters)     Michael Bublé
  40.     The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)     Nat "King" Cole
  41.     It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas     Perry Como
  42.     I Was Born On Christmas Day     Saint Etienne
  43.     Merry Christmas Baby     Charles Brown
  44.     Never Gonna Snow (At Christmas) [Single Mix]     Chris Moyles
  45.     Merry Christmas Everyone (Remastered Version)     Shakin' Stevens
  46.     Santa Claus Is Coming to Town     The Crystals
  47.     Christmas Alphabet     Dickie Valentine
  48.     The Power Of Love     Frankie Goes To Hollywood
  49.     Winter Wonderland (Bonus Track)     Michael Bublé
  50.     Frosty the Snowman (feat. The Puppini Sisters) [Bonus Track]     Michael Bublé
  51.     Sleigh Ride     The Ronettes
  52.     White Christmas     Bing Crosby
  53.     Santa Baby     Eartha Kitt
  54.     Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey     Lou Monte
  55.     Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas     Michael Bublé
  56.     Ave Maria     Michael Bublé
  57.     Hark! The Herald Angels Sing     Nat King Cole
  58.     Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)     Ramones
  59.     Troika     Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  60.     We Wish You a Merry Christmas     The Weavers
  61.     Mistletoe And Wine     Cliff Richard
  62.     Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas     Judy Garland
  63.     Cold December Night     Michael Bublé
  64.     The First Nowell     Pat Boone
  65.     The Twelve Days of Christmas     Perry Como
  66.     I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus     The Ronettes
  67.     Hey Mr. Christmas     Showaddywaddy
  68.     Wombling Merry Christmas     The Wombles

Thursday, 30 October 2014

That song from the Sound of Music

So as I write this I have just uploaded the latest episode of Malifools (#98) and I have to say I think this will be my last episode.

When I started down this path I used to look forward to recording every week but now I see it as a chore to be done rather than something fun.  I am coming to dread recording nights and its starting to effect how I see the game itself, which is still something that I love to play.

I came very close to quitting the show before Adepticon this year and changed my mind after so many folks came up to both Conrad and myself and said they really enjoyed the ramblings but I just don't think I can do it any more.

I'm not looking for sympathy or encouragement or any sort of ego boost, those of you who really know me that whilst I might play the 'all about me' persona it isn't actually what I am about.  What I am about is promoting a game that I feel passionate about and building a strong and vibrant community and I just don't think me doing Malifools is the best way to do it.

Hopefully the others will carry on the show without me and I would like to give my utmost thanks to everyone who has come on an episode in any capacity.  You are all stars.

Time to go before I get maudlin

Edit - This decision doesn't effect Fools Daily.  That show still gets me excited to do as it more reflects me as a gamer with a wide range of interests

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Playing 2 vs 2 Malifaux

The first time I ever played Malifaux was in a doubles game at the UK Doubles GT in 2012.  Needless to say we lost (every game) but the whole weekend instilled in me a love of playing Malifaux doubles.

Now interestingly there are two commonly accepted ways of playing a doubles game of Malifaux and they seem to be split on country lines as the US plays one way and here in Europe we tend to play the other.  Both have strengths and weaknesses and both are great fun :)

In general each player will pick a Master and then a crew of between 25 and 35 stones depending on the time allowed for the game.  Personally I like 30ss and 2 hour games.  Most tournaments are mixed master though crews can be picked as normal and the masters have to be compatible with each other, which these days means both must be from the same faction.  If you are feeling brave though you can do what I did at Smogcon and do random doubles where you make up the pairs on the day.  Other general rule that is normally used is that all models in a pair are friendly to each other but may NOT use Companion or Accomplice on models from the other players crew.

The big difference between the two formats is the number of fate decks / control hands used and activation order.

In European Doubles each pair uses a single fate deck and has a single control hand.  Any model on the team can be activated at any time.  This makes the game play far closer to a singles game of Malifaux and can led to some interesting decisions between the two players when to use the big cards (or suits)

Is US doubles each player has a fatedeck and control hand but activation order is fixed.  The team that win the initiative are players 1 and 3 whilst the other team are players 2 and 4.  This order is fixed for the turn and models are activated in strict player order.  This leads to more thinking about activation order but makes fate deck control much easier.

Now I have heard arguments than European format means that a strong player can effectively play the game as if it was singles but in practice I have seen this happen in the US format as well so its not a big concern IMO.

As I said above both versions are really good fun (if I am honest doubles is probably my favourite format) so go ahead and give it a try.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Descent into Filth

It all started so well.  I had my #ToMB purchases all planned out on a nice spreadsheet, knew where I was going to take crew, colour schemes were designed etc.  Unfortunately real life doesn't like things to be quite that organised and decides to sets up situations where you have to change those plans and just go with the flow.

Anyway enough with melodrematic intros, whats being going on in the world of ToMB this month.

Well as I said in my last post I decided to take the crew to Adepticon and thats what I did.  Things went pretty well  (I ended up finishing 3rd in the main singles event) but a couple of liabilities in both my play and my model selection were exposed that I want to eliminate.

The play issues are of course the harder of the two to stop as it comes down to training myself to play a slightly different way but I have at least identified the main problem which is my tendency to try to get everything done (even schemes that only score in turn 5) done in turn 2 or 3.  This leads me to expend AP on getting those completed early on when it would be better spent on other actions.  This was especially apparent in my game against Brad and his Collette led crew.  As all his hitty models had a minimum damage of 3 it was only taking him 2 AP to get through things like the Marionettes instead of the normal 3.  This may not sound much but it is huge.  The ability of a Marionette to jam up an opponents key models and force them to spend more than a single activation killing them is a great thing.  Against Brad I wasn't able to do that and it meant I was on the back foot for the whole game.  Now what I should have been doing is having Collodi give himself Armour +1 so that it would get passed out via the Fated upgrade to the rest of the crew but I didn't react in time and played him in the control manner that I normally do.  This meant models were dying left and right and I had no control over the activations.  This is not a good thing.  So mental lesson to myself is to slow down and don't spend AP setting up schemes that don't score until 5 when you will have plenty of AP in 5 to do them then.

The crew selection issues were basically because I was using my fixed ToMB crew and I didn't have  a heavy hitter.  Sometimes you just need to smash something in the face and unfortunately the Collodi crew I was using just didn't have that.  Best heavy hitter I had was the Stitched and he can be very hit or miss.

So to this end I have decided to use my month 3 purchases to change this around somewhat and will be spending my cash on a Widow Weaver ($12.50) and Teddy.($18)  Yes this puts me in hole to the tune of $4.50 but I can live with Bailiffs coming around.

Now I realize that neither of these are puppets but thematically (to me at least) they both fit in - probably more than the stitched does to be honest - and in 1.5 the Weaver had Affinity with Collodi anyway.

So anyway thats what I'm doing for month 3 along with painting up some new Marionette figures.  Pictures in a later post

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Heading to Adepticon #ToMB

So my original plan was that I was going to take my 10 Thunders over to Adepticon this year but ToMB has sort of got in the way of that as I've been having to much fun playing with Collodi to paint the extra models that I wanted to use with 10T

The other thing of course is that as I discussed on the last episode of Malifools I have sort of lost my motivation with 10T at the moment.  This is mainly because I've achieved everything that I set out to do with them (earlier than I thought I would be able to if I am honest) and as I gamer I am very much motivated by my own internal challenges.  Without them I would never get anything done.

This meandering thought process leads me back to taking my Collodi crew to Adepticon. Big downside of course is that for Adepticon everything needs to be painted and as I discussed in my last entry, I hadn't done any painting on the crew for a while.  Slight problem then.

Fortunately I have a very understanding wife, so for the past few nights (and lunch hours) I have been getting basecoats onto the crew. 

One model however distracted me and I spent a much longer time on it and that was the Brutal Effigy.  I spent a good chunk of the weekend on this one as its just such a great model and I'm very happy with the paint job that I ended up on it
Have a week to go so will be spending my painting time getting more of the figures to final standard but not Collodi himself (cause the figure is a tad boring - anyone got suggestions for a good proxy?)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

ToMB Month 2 - New Models

As I said in my last post month two of ToMB is upon us and with that an extra $25 of virtual cash can be spent.  This has enabled me to pick up a blister of Stitched Together and a couple of effigies.  However it occurred to me that perhaps I should write about why I decided to pick up these particular models, so basically that's what I am going to do.

Stitched Together

One of the things that I have been running into with my 40ss crew is that I don't actually have the ability to kill things inherent in the crew.  Now for many games of Malifaux this isn't an issue but sometimes you will end up playing Reckoning and the scheme pool will be all about Murder Death Kill.  Stitched help out with this aspect of the game a lot :)  Their main attack action is Gamble Your Life which has a range of 6", is Ca 6 and has a damage spread of 3/4/7 .  Yes if you fail the attack then you will be taking that damage flip yourself but if Collodi is making them do it using My Will then you are at positive flips, helping mitigate those circumstances. And lets be honest, if you do end up taking the damage yourself, you could well hit your Hard to Kill and then gain reactivate anyway.  Their (0) action Creepy Fog is also very useful making a 4" aura around them soft cover (negative flips :))  I like running one with a Wicked Doll who can use his healing ability to take the Stitched Back off his Hard to Kill but still having Reactivate.

Effigies - Brutal and Arcane

To me the effigies are what make a Collodi crew sing. Not only are the models some of the best that Wyrd have made (despite being rather large for Ht 1 things) but the fact that they are able to pass their (0) condition to every model within 6" of Collodi (using the Fated upgrade) rather than just him is a huge boost in power.

So all the effigies have very similar stat lines with Df 6 being the standout.  Only 4 wounds but with
Hard to Kill, Armor +1 and the amount of possible healing in a Collodi crew this hasn't proven to be a problem for me so far. They also all have Accomplice which helps massively with controling the flow of a game, especially if you are out activating your opponent which is very likely with a Collodi crew (lots of 4ss models)

 The main reason for taking Effigies though is the awesome tactical actions that they tend to bring. As mentioned above, they all have a (0) action to give a friendly master within 8" a condition.  So for example the Arcane has the following


which means that you are either doing a load of extra damage during the turn (you have the Effigy go early on) or you are draining your opponents hand out of cards.  Now image that all the models that were within 6" of Collodi at the time you did this (including the Effigy itself) have that condition.  Pretty good isn't it.

Now obviously to get the best out of the Effigies and the Fated upgrade you are making a little Collodi bubble which against certain blast heavy crews (Rasputina and Sonnia spring to mind) can be a bad thing. However with a good read of what can be hit by a blast marker together with exploiting the fact that most of the Collodi crew is Ht1 you can mitigate that quite a bit.

SO Arcane is in for both Burning and the excellent condition removal (which with My Will effectively gives Collodi condition removal) and the Brutal for his (0) which enables a model to heal 1 damage when damaging an enemy model.  Again great for taking models off of Hard to Kill.

Well think that's probably it, will be trying to crack on with painting this month as I would like to take the crew to the Heartfaux tournament in May.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

ToMB Month One Roundup

So month one of ToMB is coming to an end (I think it actually ends on the 16th) so it seems like a sensible time to do a round up of where I have got to with Collodi so far.

Well painting wise I haven't made any more progress since I did a couple of prototype models a few weeks ago.  Basically I got distracted by finishing stuff up for Adepticon and a couple of other games that I have been playing (Dead Mans Hand & Fists of Kung Fu) so painting hasn't been high up my list of priorities.

I have played several games with my 40ss crew and have only lost once so far - that was to Lee with his Hoffman crew - though I got my revenge against him when he used Lynch.  Obeying Mr Graves to beat the crap out of his own crew was excellent fun :)

I've learnt some interesting lessons as well to take into month 2

  • Vasalisa, whilst important isn't the be all and end all, so be careful of the resources you use to keep her alive
  • If I am using the fated upgrade having Collodi gain either Focus or Defensive is a great way to give it out to the rest of the crew for a single AP
  • Wicked Dolls work best in pairs, so from now on I will only be taking 2 in my initial crew
  • Don't forget Strum the Strings, Fast would have won me the game against the Hoffball
The other thing I have done is juggle my spend around for month 2 slightly so that I get an extra effigy (Brutal)

This means I now have

Collodi, Vasalisa, 4 Marionettes, 3 Wicked Dolls, 2 Stitched, Brutal Effigy and Arcane Effigy

which is very solid indeed,

Monday, 10 March 2014

Malifaux Rankings

Rankings have become a way of life within various gaming communities and Malifaux is no different so with the recent demise of Rankings HQ it was obvious that something would step into the breach (pun certainly intended) and fill that void.  It wasn't so obvious that I would end up doing it but there you go!

What this has meant is that over the last couple of weeks I have been working on and off on the replacement and its now ready to go.  Its not very pretty, as I am an engineer, not a UI specialist but its functional.  Take a look for yourself at 

The point of this blog post isn't to just say look at the new shiny though but more to talk about the underlying functionality that hopefully folks will be able to build on.  What this means is that there are a series of API functions that I have built the UI on top of, that are freely accessible by any other developer who wants to build something on top.  For instance I am working with a friend on building an iOS application.

So what APIs are available - note all responses are in JSON and if you send an invalid request you should get a 404

Rankings -You can get the current list of ranked players with positions etc.  The endpoint for this is

Player Record - This returns all of the requested players events (current and older).  Endpoint is<playernamewithnospaces>  e.g.

Event Record - This returns all of the players who where at an event.  Endpoint is<year>/<eventnamewithnospaces>   e.g.

You'll notice that everything is in a nice REST format - I had to go and learn mod_rewrite for this so that was fun.

I'm sure I will be adding more to this as I go - makes sense to me to add an API to handle the scheme generation that @malifauxschemes uses but if you have any requests just let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

MCC - Picking your crew

As we enter March the Malifools annual campaign event (this year called Malifools Campaign of Carnage) is heading towards us faster than I really want to think about. This week I put early bird tickets on sale for folks that supported 4M last year and next week the general tickets will go on sale.

So because of this I thought I should let folks know about crews are going to work.  At last years 4M event you picked a faction and commited to that for the whole weekend.  The problem with that system is that it made balancing forces very difficult as you needed equal numbers per faction.  This all became a bit much work and because I am a lazy so and so I decided that I needed to do something much more simple this year.

One of the things that I have noticed in M2e is that there are a lot more people playing a particular master rather than a particular faction (something that I've personally always done but which didn't work out so well in 1.5) and I thought that I would run with that idea for MCC.

What this means is that each player will commit to up to 3 Masters that they will play over the weekend (you can choose less if you want to but duel faction masters will have to declare a faction as well) and will have free reign over which master they are using per game.  This of course means that we can end up with mirror matches (no I am the true Viktoria) and multiple people using the same master at the same time.

The problem will come if one of those players gets the master that they are using killed or captured (more on that in another blog post) because not only will it remove the master from play for the person who had the misfortune but all other players using the same master as well!  Fisticuffs behind the bike sheds if that happens I guess.

I'm sure it will be very rare for a master to die :) but it might be a good idea to have some masters that aren't so popular in your toolbox.

Next time I will talk about how the whole event is going to function overall and some insight into the how the teams are going to be picked.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

ToMB - A little colour in your cheeks

So the ToMB challenge is officially underway and now that Smogcon is over I've been able to get my paint brushes out again and play about with some colour schemes for the Collodi crew.

Just from my reading of the background and the looks of the models I knew that I wanted them to be nice and bright (none of the darkness that you often see in Malifaux paint schemes) with bold contrasting colours.  This means that they should have some of that mythical pop on the tabletop which always helps garner the odd vote in painting contests.  I also know that whilst I was going to do a decent job on them, I wasn't going to end up painting them better than a decent table top standard for two reasons

  1. Time constraints of getting them all painted within the month just meant that I wouldn't have the time I wanted to spend on them
  2. They are the old metal models, whilst very nice I know that I am going to be painting a plastic Collodi crew at some point in the future so I didn't want to blow my whole wad at the first time of asking (phnar phnar)
 My original colour scheme thoughts had centred around me painting the whole crew like 40k Harlequins which would be a real test for my painting skills - though if I could pull it off the whole crew could look stunning - but in the end I decided to go for something that would still look good but could be completed in a far quicker time.
So I present my first two teaser models.  Both are still WIP but they give you a good idea where I am going with the crew and how the colours are going to work together.

Thursday, 13 February 2014


So a while back I wrote a simple little Twitter Bot that, if you sent it a tweet, would respond to you with a random Strategy and set of Schemes.  The bot proved pretty sucessful with several tweets a day being aimed at it.

Over the past few months I have continued to make improvements to it here and there and today rolled out another couple.

However it occured to me that we now have Malifaux players that weren't around when I first created the bot so I thought I should put together a simple set of instructions on how to get the best out of it.

In all cases there is no need to actually follow the bot.

Case 1

Just send a tweet to @malifauxschemes.  You don't need to put anything in the body and it will respond with something like this

Case 2

Send a tweet to @malifauxschemes with the hashtag #ggn where n is a number between 1 and 7 and the bot will respond with the appropriate GG2014 Strategy and Deployment.  n is the round that you want to pick.  So sending #gg4 will be the 4th round.  The bot automatically determines the correct month.

Case 3

If you send a tweet to the bot with the hashtag #vassal in it it will randomly determine a map for you to play on as well.  However with the advent of the M2e module this map list is currently out of date. Needless to say, once the Vassal module is updated and the breadth of maps is back, I will update the bot again.

Hopefully that gives you enough information to use the bot and have fun through the breach.

Oh yes that is Summer Glau as a terminator.  Well frankly why wouldn't you.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Tale of Malifaux Bloggers - Initial Purchases

Its all a bit confusing for me this #ToMBs lark.  Not sure if I am supposed to be posting stuff now or not.  Well I will anyway and just get shouted at after the fact.

So as I said last post I have decided to play Collodi, mainly because he is a very different style of master to my other two main ones in Misaki and McMourning.  Of course it wouldn't be fun unless I put some restrictions on myself so I will only be taking models with the PUPPET characteristic as I just don't see him working with things that he can't control. This basically means that I can take all the Effigies and from the Arcanist faction I can get Mannequins and Coryphee.  Just probably not this month :)

Which of course brings up the thorny question of what to buy and when.  Well thats what Excel is designed for isn't it?  Yes I went and built a colour coded spreadsheet to detail my month on month purchases, keep track of the overall budget and generally make me look like a sad loser.  I didn't put any pivot tables in it though.
Anyway, what does this paragon of spreadsheets say.

Well for the first month I get $60 to spend and I can see no better way of spending it than on the Collodi boxed set ($37) and a proxy for Vasilisa ($13) which gives me $10 to carry over to next month.  These are all models that I will pretty much use every game I play with him so it makes an excellent core to the crew.  I might not put all the Wicked Dolls and Marionettes on the table to start with but chances are I will be summoning in as well.  Wonder if I can use the scrap counters before Ramos does?

Models ready to be build and based.

As I already had all the models that I needed I was able to just go ahead and get them cleaned up and based.  Unfortunately with the wonderful weather we are having here in the UK at the moment I haven't been able to get them undercoated. 

And here they are built based and ready for some undercoat action (only 4 pins in Collodi!!).
The trickiest model to source was of course Vasilisa as she was the one model in the crew that needed a proxy from the outset.  Fortunately I have a big list of alternative model suppliers and I found this beauty in the Tale of War Range.

She is called Lissete, Puppet Angel and is a really lovely model, perfect for Collodis new Henchman (Henchlady?  Hench Puppet?)   I especially like the Jack in the Box that comes with her.

All of this puppet goodness weighs in at a whopping 31 stones.  Mmm, not so good that.  Still with some upgrades and cache it should be good for some 40ss games and I'll probably have activation advantage, at least to start with :)

Next time I'll talk about the potential colour schemes and perhaps even get some basecoats on a model.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Tale of Malifaux Bloggers - 0 Day Post

Like many other Malifaux players I have been sucked into the madness that is the Tale of Malifaux Bloggers (ToMB) - if you have no idea what I am talking about then you can check out Dave Chandlers blog where he explains it all like only he can - but basically its an x month project where each participant keeps a running blog that talks about how they are getting on with building, painting and using a new crew.

So first of all I needed to decide what crew I was going to do.  This was not an easy process.  Originally I decided to do Pandora as I really like the new plastics but the more I thought about it and the more I read her rules and talked it over with existing Pandora players the more I realised that I didn't want to play her, which as I had already picked up the new boxed set was a bit of a kick in the nuts.

What to do?

Now as mentioned on various podcasts (like the most excellent Malifools) I had been thinking about playing the puppet master himself, Collodi, at some point this year.  In 1.5 I wasn't his biggest fan as he broke to many fundamental rules of the game, which, combined with his henchman status, meant that he could be horribly abused if desired. Fortunately for me though, in M2e he seems to be on a similar power level as everyone else.  He is also a very different type of master from both McMourning and Misaki so would present a different gaming challenge, something that I was relishing.

The big problem was that I didn't intend to paint up his metal version, thinking that I would wait for the new plastics that are bound to be along at some point.  However with the failure of the Pandora experiment something was going to have to give and it turned out to be my resolve to wait for the plastics.

So Collodi it is.  My current plan is to paint up the crew to as high a standard as I can and then auction the whole thing off for charity when the plastics are out.

Next time I will go over my initial crew choices and discuss some colour scheme thoughts, but until then, stay frosty.