Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Terrain: X-Wing boards

I've been building several boards recently for the club and for use at Vappafaux (tickets on sale now by the way).  So the club isn't stuck with a lot more Malifaux boards than we really need, Ben asked me if I could make the other side of the boards into boards for X-Wing.  That's a game that has really taken off in the past few weeks at the club.  Here they are:

These probably took half an hour each to do.  With an airbrush you could make these look amazing pretty easily, however I don't own and airbrush to I had to do the best I could.

Here's what I did:
-Sprayed the whole board black using cheap car primer I got from Poundland.  You need two cans per board.  It's not mega even but it gives it a bit of interest not be too flat.  Let this dry.
-Using white paint (I used household emulsion) and a 2" brush flick paint onto the board to be stars.  I try two methods for this.  The bottom board is flicked the brush at the board which resulted in large blobs.  The top board I flicked the brush across the palm of my hand which results in smaller, finer blobs.  Both methods work but the top one looks better to me.
-I next cut out a circle from a piece of thin card (a cereal box) then used that as a template to paint the planets which I did in either green (household emulsion again) and brown (some brown spray paint I had left over).  A tip would be to use something heavy to weigh down the edges of your template to get a crisp edge to the circle.  Mine was a big ragged and I had to touch it up with black paint and a small brush.
-Once the planets were dry I stipple on a light shade of colour (ratskin flesh for the brown planet and camo green for the green one) and touch up the edges to sharpen it up.

Pretty easy and they look fairly decent.  With an airbrush or a can of purple spray paint I would have added a nebula or gas cloud type of thing across the centre diagonally and then put the stars on top of that.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Malifaux: Tournament tie-breakers

As I've been working on the rules pack for Vappafaux recently, I've been giving some thought to tournament tie-breakers.  In most cases a Malifaux tournament is decided on the following scores:

-Tournament points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw)
-VP differential (I.e. Rewarding you for the big wins)
-VP scored

In a three game tournament like Vappa there's a good chance there will be plenty of people on the same tournament points, meaning that most places come down to VP diff.  But what happens if two players are exactly even on all three stats? This is an edge case but one I need to prepare for as it more likely in a 3 game event than a longer event.  I don't actually have an answer to this yet.

It could just go down as a tied result, but that then may introduce problems with the rankings points and prizes.  At the other end of the scale, a flip off is a totally arbitrary way of doing it and leaves one player feeling robbed.

I'm not sure what else to include here.  There's nothing much else in Malifaux which could serve as a count back since something like how many soulstones you've killed isn't a reflection on how the game works, neither is masters killed.  Time permitting a 20 SS hardcore game could do it since they're decided in 20 minutes but again not ideal.

Any ideas from other systems or Malifaux tournaments?  Let me know in the comments or on twitter @tigerstyle40k.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Malifaux: Lynch Crew Completed

This one has been quite quick in getting done, about 10 days from starting painting the first model:

I'm fairly happy with them.  The Beckoners have come out well, they were nice models to paint.  Jakob and Huggy are not Wyrd's finest hour in terms of the sculpt.  It was pretty much beyond my skill to make Huggy look good.

The Beckoner on the right had to get a new Green Stuff hairstyle in the end as I inadvertently snapped her head off and had to re-pin it and re-build her neck.  It's come out pretty well in the end though.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Terrain: First two terrain sets completed

Vappafaux terrain building continues.  I've finished my graveyard board completely:

As you can see from the picture above, the board itself is based on 9 1'x1' floor tiles.  While this doesn't look quite as nice as a single sheet of wood, this board and setup is for me to use personally at home so it needs to pack up small.  Space is at a premium in our house due to vast amount of crap we have, so this board packs into a space of 1'x1' and less than 3" in depth.

Terrain-wise I've run several test games with the above setup and it works OK.  The hedges and church help to bisect LoS across the board and prevent it being dominated by shooting.

I've also got my ruined village terrain set done.  This one is still slightly in a state of flux as I've not had chance to try this layout in game as yet:

The board in picture is my tile board again, but I have since completed a dedicated 3'x3' board for this (which will live at the club).  It's nothing special just green grass.

Next on the table is my badlands/desert board.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Malifaux: Learning Lessons

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants - Sir Issac Newton

Let me preface this post by saying much of what I am talking about here has been said in one form or another by others, particularly the gaming legend Joel Henry on his blog and on twitter hence the quote at the top of the post.  

I wanted to talk about a game I played on Wednesday night this week against my friend and clubmate Sam and some things I took from that game on both sides which I'd like to apply to more of my Malifaux gaming.

The game was 50SS Squatters Rights with a scheme pool of Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Bodyguard, Cursed Object and Murder Protege generated by everyone's favourite lazyfaux panda @malifauxschemes.

Jakob Lynch (Rising Sun, Expert Cheater, Woke Up With a Hand)
Hungering Darkness (Fears Given Form)
2 Illuminated
1 Beckoner
Mature Nephilim
Schemes:  Bodyguard (Huggy, unannounced), Breakthrough (unannounced)

The Doppelganger I took as she can Interact when engaged, the Mature was there to fly about Wing Buffeting people away from markers and going for Breakthrough.

Rasputina (Arcane Reservoir, Black Joker is Red Joker, Super Ice Mirror)
Ice Golem
3 Ice Gamin
2 December Acolytes
Schemes:  Line in the Sand (unannounced), Murder Protege (Mature Neph, unannounced)

I got off to a really bad start when I lost the Mature and Huggy on turn 1 due to some bad positioning which Sam punished me for, quite rightly.  This then developed into one of the closest games of Malifaux I've had for a long time.

I wanted to pick up on some things from the game in the way we both played and how they relate to things that Joel has talked about in the past on his blog and on twitter about being a better Malifaux player.

The best laid plans
My plan for the Mature Nephilim went out of the window by the end of the first turn (it was probably a half arsed plan anyway).  That meant I needed to re-focus and re-plan what it was I was doing.  The Doppelganger had to switch away from the Squat markers and on to getting Breakthrough leaving Lynch, Beckoner and the Illuminated to get my Squat markers and guard them.

Mr Henry's Lesson:  Have a plan but be prepared to change it.

Don't ease up
After the first turn, Sam was destroying me.  He'd killed Huggy (who buried) and his Murder Protege target.  My crew was reeling, on the ropes.  What did he not do?  Let up on me.  I was battered but he didn't stop pressing his advantage.  His crew moved up to the Squat Markers and started to lay his Line in the Sand markers.  He pressed home his advantage, eventually leading to Lynch getting killed by a December Acolyte and most of my crew being mopped up.

Mr Henry's Lesson:  Don't ease up off the gas.
My Extra Lesson:  December Acolytes are awesome.

Play to the last flip
Related to the point above, both of us played hard to the last flip of the game.  Turn 5 I was down to Huggy, Doppelganger and 1 Illuminated.  Huggy was alive but on less than half wounds, denying me a VP.  So last turn Huggy spent hitting the Doppelganger and trying to heal himself up to get VP.  Sam spent the last turn trying to get my Squat markers flipped and throwing an Ice Gamin at Huggy to try and getting him either dead or more wounded (which he did).  Both of us played hard down to the wire.

Mr Henry's Lesson:  Want it.  Push yourself to win.
My Extra Lesson:  Remember Huggy has a trigger to heal 2 wounds...

I had Bodyguard on Huggy who I foolishly got killed on the first turn.  With some effort on turn 2 I managed to Lure over the Wendigo and Lynch made it Brilliant and killed it bringing Huggy back.  Hooray!  Just needed to keep him alive now for the VP.  With that in mind, what was the first thing I did?  Charged him back into Sam's crew to attack a December Acolyte.  I iz dumb.

I didn't focus on what was important:  scoring VP by keeping Huggy alive.  I realized this quite quickly and was lucky enough to win Initiative on the next turn (yay for Doppelgangers) and get Huggy to safety.

Mr Henry's Lesson:  Focus.

The conclusion of the game was a surprise, neither of us genuinely knew who had won.  It shook out as:

Me:  Squatters Rights: 3VP, Breakthrough: 3VP, Bodyguard: 2VP
Sam:  Squatters Rights:  3VP, Line in the Sand:  2VP, Murder Protege: 2VP

8-7 win to me.  A close finish and a result that was very much against the run of play in the game.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Malifaux: Jakob Lynch's Upgrades Part II

An angry tadpole

Following on from my previous post about Lynch's upgrades, let's look at the last three of Jakob's upgrades:  Expert Cheater, Woke Up With A Hand and Wanna See A Trick.

Expert Cheater (2SS)
This does two things:  Friendly models with LoS to Lynch can cheat face down and gives Lynch the Squeal trigger (push 4" after taking damage).  Both great abilities and both worth taking.  Cheat face down means you can play mind games with your opponent, potentially drawing high cards out of their hand even if you've only cheated a low card or a moderate card.  The Squeal trigger I have used once as generally speaking Lynch is trying to avoid getting himself hit in the first place.  He's usually towards the back of his crew anyway and he already has a Df/Wp trigger you can use to discourage people from trying to hit him.  So while it's handy to have Squeal it's by no means an auto-take.

Woke Up With A Hand (2SS)
I love this upgrade.  If you activate last you draw two cards which is cool and well worth doing especially in early turns.  I generally find I want Lynch to activate late anyway as by that point my other models (Huggy and the Beckoners) have hopefully spread some Brilliance round he can take advantage of and wreck some face.  Drawing two cards helps power the second ability on the card:  Final Debt.

Final Debt is Ca7, Rg 10, target model with Brilliance takes damage equally to the number of cards in the Lynch players hand.  Now, combine that with activating last and drawing two cards, plus Lynch's Ace in the Hole ability, plus his (0) Pay Up and it's not unusual to have 6-8 cards in your hand.  You can really, really hurt something with this Attack Action.  It's also his longest ranged ability, and it also lack the Gun icon so it can be cast into melee with impunity.

Wanna See A Trick (1 SS)
Lynch's cheapest upgrade.  At the end of his activation, you can discard any number of Aces.  For each one discarded an enemy model with Brillance takes 2 Dg per Ace.  I've had games where this has been very useful and others where it's been useless.  It does give a couple of things:  A way of dealing with something you've dropped to it's Hard to Kill value with your other abilities or something you don't just have the AP to finish off; and a way of getting an extra bit of range or need some extra movement to get LoS against a non-Briliance target i.e. (1) Walk, (1) Walk, (now within 6" of the non-Brilliance target), (1) Play for Blood (target take 2 Dg and gain Brilliance from auto-trigger).  Activation ends, discard Aces as required.  Quite handy in the right circumstances.  The drawback is that it drains your hand of Aces which are insanely useful to you in this crew (I'll probably blog in the future about Lynch's Ace In the Hole)

General Upgrades
As I mentioned in my previous post, I've only used Lynch as Neverborn so I don't have any direct experience with the 10T upgrades.  For Neverborn, Fears Given Form is good on Huggy to draw out additional cards and potentially cause some damage.  Post-errata, I wouldn't bother with Nexus of Power on either Huggy or Lynch.  Pact, Stone of Tyrant Echoes and Aether Connection I can't see myself taking either.  Two are Leader only and Lynch's own upgrades are much better, and Pact is only there is you really hate the Black Joker.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Malifaux: Jakob Lynch's Upgrades Part I

My newly painted Jakob Lynch

Jakob Lynch is my new favourite Malifaux master.  Yes, I know I said I was going to stick with Pandora, but I've wanted to get a Lynch crew for ages and when the opportunity arose to pick up one at a good price on Twitter I went for it.  You can see him painted in the picture above.

I played quite a few games with him now and I can say this:  he is really good.  Really, really good in fact.  What I wanted to talk about in this post was his upgrades as I think they are all pretty viable choices for Lynch.  I've been playing him as Neverborn exclusively, so I'm mainly writing from that perspective.

Let's start with the first big choice you're probably going to have to make:  Rising Sun or Endless Hunger.  These are both limited upgrades so you're only going to get to take one, and unless you're doing something way off the beaten Lynch track you will want one of these.  Both of them affect the Hungering Darkness (hereafter known as Huggy).

Rising Sun
The infinite Huggy upgrade.  When Huggy is killed, he's buried and can be brought back to life again (unburied) if an enemy model with Brilliance is killed within 6" of Lynch.  I've been using this one a fair bit recently, especially since the 1st November nerf of Nexus of Power.  It goes well with schemes like Bodyguard or Entourage where you may want Huggy alive at the end of the game.  I've found combining this with Fears Given Form on Huggy and then using him as a nuisance model can also be quite effective.  Huggy is only Df3 but he is Wp6, 7 Wd and Incorporeal so it takes a bit of effort to put him down.  Throwing the resurrecting Huggy into the enemy crew and bogging down models with him can be effective.

Rising Sun is an upgrade you want to auto-take if you know you're facing masters who can ignore Incorporeal.  Heavy casting masters like Rasputina, Sonnia and Pandora will wreck Huggy, as will things like Viktoria of Blood with the Mark of Shez'uul.

Endless Hunger
This upgrade makes Huggy Terrifying (All) as opposed to just (Living) and gives him Casting Expert.  Both his attack actions are Ca actions.  This upgrade really beefs up Huggy into more of a damage dealer and more importantly gives him an extra action where he can use his attack to spread Brilliance to more models.  However, once he's gone, he's gone and you can bet your opponent is going to be putting some effort into sinking Huggy.  That additional AP does means that he's got an extra chance to hit and get his Drain trigger (built in) to heal 2 Wds.

With the recent change to Nexus of Power, Endless Hunger is less attractive to me than Rising Sun, but it has it's place.  For example, if the scheme pool has Frame for Murder in it I might take this upgrade and put my FfM on Huggy and then throw him into the enemy master.  He's got more AP to do some damage and spread Brilliance and if he dies, then I've scored some VP.

So that's our choices for Limited upgrades.  I would definitely take one of these unless for some reason you've elected not to take the Hungering Darkness.  The final upgrade I want to talk about in this post is Addict.

This upgrade must take on Lynch or Huggy and gives friendly minions within LoS a + on Attack and Damage flips against models with the Brilliance characteristic.  In wave 1, this covers Illuminated and Beckoners.  Both of these have decent Ml/Ca stats (6 generally) so don't particularly need the buff but for the Illuminated it does make them even more deadly against Brilliance'd target.  That's nice, but they're already pretty deadly against Brilliance'd targets so you may not really need this buff.  The other problem is that this takes an upgrade slot of Lynch so you're likely to put this on Huggy who may well not be around for the whole game anyway.  Not a bad choice, but there are better ones I think.  In a Lynch mirror match, I'd want this though :)

In part 2, I'll cover off the remaining 3 upgrades and talk a little about general upgrades.