28 August 2011

Visit to the Doctor…

Went up to Tunbridge Wells today to visit  Bull, see how well his recovery is going first hand and check out his new Resurrectionist crew. He looks better than expected but still not his old self just yet – not surprising really. Lots more rest and relaxation and he'll be as good as new, however getting him to sit still for long may be more difficult than it sounds!

We had a good old natter about the game and our crews – the anticipation is building as Bull is getting quite desperate I think to field Dr McMourning for the first time and put some theories and tactics to the test.

It felt only right that we introduce (a recently completed) Perdita to the Doctor, plus totems, so they can get the measure of each other before next weekend's potential face off. However, I don't think McMourning's groupies were too impressed with the new visitor!

26 August 2011

Resurrectionists Are Gathering

More news has come to light about the Resurectionists gathering in Tunbridge Wells. Bull's crew has grown in size to include several Rotten Belles and "Miss Pack" (jammie git).

His prized possession however is the new (proxy) Rogue Necromancy that has surfaced – a very old Chaos Spawn model – to threaten The Guild and Arcanists.

Plans are being drawn up to face this hideous group in combat.

More news as we get it…

24 August 2011

WIP: Perdita Ortega

Hot on the heels of her brother Santiago comes Miss Ortega herself. She's already proved herself in the three or four games she's starred in so far, it was only fair I showed her some love.

As you can see she's not there yet, but coming along nicely – hope to have her finished by the weekend. Then I need to finish off Nino and the Austringer, which shouldn't take long. Then I guess I'm back to the poor old third Death Marshal who has been constantly passed over for paint.

I look forward to the day I no longer have to paint anything brown!

For those people wondering, the base is one of my Boardwalk resin bases with a metal skull added for effect.

21 August 2011

The Ice Man Cometh

Perdita faced off against Rasputina again last night, 25ss, but neither myself nor opponent Fug could have predicted the evening's events.

It was only Fug's third or fourth proper game of Malifaux and he was still getting to grips with his crew, especially given the recent additions – Essence of Power and a Silent One. He'd done his research before the game and discovered he could have several Ice Pillars in place during the game. This became the basis for his tactics.

Rasputina had a Silent One, an Ice Golem, Essence of Power and two Ice Gamin.

Perdita took Santiago, Enslaved Nephilim and three Death Marshals. I purposefully didn't take an Austringer as I wanted to prove he wasn't essential, plus I wanted to test out Obey as much as possible.

We rolled Strategies – Rasputina got Escape and Survive, Perdita Contain Power. This set up a very characterful situation, with all the emphasis on Perdita chasing and taking down Raspy. Fug chose Assassinate and Bodyguard for his Schemes, which further added to the story – in addition he announced them, something we never normally do. I decided upon Hold Out and Grudge on the Silent One. The deployment was standard set up.

I have to admit to being very confident at this stage.

Fug set up Raspy and the crew pretty central on his side of the board. He won initiative for turn 1 and shuffled everyone forward, the Silent One entering the ruined building towards the middle of the table, giving it great line of sight for Perfect Mirror. I had two Death Marshals on the right flank, Santiago and the third Death Marshal to the left and Perdita and totem in the middle. I moved Perdita to the left flank and moved Santiago more central.

Next turn Rasputina continued to move forward, to my right, in a very bold fashion – firing December's Curse at my two Death Marshals, hitting both with the blast (newbie error of mine positioning them too close together). One overpower trigger later both were dead. Ouch!!

I had moved Perdita further out to the left earlier on in the turn and she was looking very much out of the game. Santiago moved to the middle of the board beside a couple of Ice Pillars that had appeared. He was exposed but I was hoping he'd lose a handful of wounds to trigger his extra skills.

Things got nasty from here on in. The Silent One, now at the top of the ruined building, exchanged ranged shots/magic with Santiago – the Ortega getting the better of the exchanges thanks mainly to Perdita and the totem casting (or attempting to) Obey on him. She had now made it to the middle of the board to try and rescue things. A Gamin and Ice Golem had moved to the other side of the wall of Ice Pillars that now split the centre of the board in two, separating the Guild and Arcanist forces.

At the beginning of the next turn Perdita moved, shot out an Ice Pillar, then cast Obey on the Ice Golem who charged Rasputina. Unfortunately he only managed to inflict a single wound before moving back towards the centre of the board and blasting Santiago.

More Ice Pillars had filled the gap and going into turn 5 it was do or die time for Perdita. Santiago was down to three wounds so in full bonus mode. The lone Death Marshal shot out a pillar before Santiago opened up on the Golem lurking on the other side. He exploded, inflicting wounds on the Gamin stood behind him. Santiago then finished off the Gamin, leaving the door open for his younger sister. Perdita moved into the gap between the pillars and charged Rasputina, knocking 5 wounds off her – still 5 to go. Damage came back, taking Miss Ortega down to her last three wounds. The Silent One came out of the building, casting Ice Wind to heal Rasputina and take Perdita down to her last wound.

Turn 6 and everything was held by a thread. I fought tooth and nail, spending my last soulstone, to win initiative. At this point the game should have been in the bag. I activated Santiago and Perdita, then made a game losing mistake.

I moved Santiago around the corner just beyond melee range of Raspy and Perdita. He then laid into the Silent One with his paired guns taking it down and completing my Scheme. Unfortunately I had forgotten the Silent One also explodes upon death, hitting Perdita in the blast. I desperately looked for some way to avoid taking that last wound on my master but there was nothing left. Perdita died, handing Fug his Scheme. Rasputina, no longer in melee, blasted Santiago – dead – she then put up more Ice Pillars. The lone Death Marshal and Totem could do nothing but destroy a pillar on the off chance the game would continue.

Needing a 10 to go to turn seven Fug flipped a 9!

When the scores were added up we had both achieved our respective Schemes and both failed our Strategies. However, because he had announced his Schemes Fug won 4-2.

So, the ice man cometh – whether it's Fug and his icy Arcanist crew or Santiago and his MVP coolness under fire.

Fug announced shortly afterwards that this game summed up why, even as a newbie gamer, he much prefers Malifaux to 40k.
I think I agree!

18 August 2011

Let there be paint

I've been very conscious of the fact that I have done absolutely no painting for over a month now. I've spent a fair amount of time with my painting tray but it's been mostly building my sewer bases for Sonnia – had a whole weekend of that. I've also spent time building some new bits of terrain for my Malifaux board. I've even had a half dozen demo games of Malifaux. However, not a drop of paint has been seen, so I took it upon myself to grab a couple of hours last night to make some progress.

The focus of the evening was Santiago Ortega, who has been a stalwart in the last few demo games. Whilst his older brother Francisco has been flapping about under pressure and not really contributing much (except as a target for the enemy), Santiago has proved his worth with his amazing shooting skills – we've not even seen his increased abilities once at half wounds. So I set to work giving him some pride and making sure he would no longer run around the board 'naked'.

Whilst this was never going to be one of my best painted models, I need to just get some models painted as I'm developing a rather long backlog and my perfectionism is causing me to have to play with more and more unpainted models. Not acceptable.

I chose a slightly different brown scheme for his coat. Regular visitors will know that I have already painted a half dozen brown overcoats, so this time I wanted a change. Still needs a final highlight but I'm pleased so far. Same goes for his trousers. Strangely, he is the first model in my Malifaux collection that has required eyes painting, however, I've just noticed the right eye has been painted too central, so this will need correcting. The skin tones are based around Vermin brown, as is the hair.

Whilst waiting for paint to dry I also applied some initial colour to Perdita's totem – Enslaved Nephilim. I decided I want any Nephilim I paint to be devilish – very much of Khorne – so I'm using my a similar scheme to my Blood Angels. Only managed to get a couple of layers on this little fella but I am already pleased will how this will look when finished.

This little stint of painting has really invigorated me. Hopefully this will mean more posts about painting and more painted models. Bull's painting speed means that he never plays with unpainted models and I refuse to be the one with the bare metal.

14 August 2011

Quick Malifaux update

So given that it's been the best part of a week since the last post I thought I should share the progress over the last few days.

First of all last Tuesday a couple more games were logged against our new gamer, Fug. He's putting together a Rasputina crew and has the basics down. He's currently painting up the Cult of December and has new models it seems every time I speak to him. The two games we played were full rules, Strategies and Schemes which went well. He's starting to learn about the combinations and un-learning the desire to just kill stuff. Hope to have a few more games soon and maybe some photos of his crew.

Elsewhere a couple of the Ortegas were undercoated and the sewer base masters were completed and moulds made. Today I did a first round of resin casting, with mixed results. By the end of the session they were looking pretty good and this evening I started to base up my Sonia Criid crew on them (above). Unfortunately I discovered too late that Witchling legs are very fragile, so there is some greenstuff work to do to repair the damage – not least create a peg-leg for the poor chap whose entire limb snapped off!

09 August 2011

In Need of a Doctor…?

Some of you may have heard me mention my gaming buddy Bull. I joined his gaming group just over 10 years ago when I moved to Tunbridge Wells, just 5 minutes round the corner from him. Since then we've clocked up hours of gaming and even longer talking about gaming; we've been to tournaments and to gaming shows – the works. A couple of years ago I moved away to Folkestone and soon after got married. Bull did me the honour of being my best man for the day and utilised our rich gaming history as the linchpin of his best man's speech – many guests had never heard of the hobby let alone that I was involved in such seedy things. Since then, even though I live a good hour away, we get together a couple of times a month to log a few games of Malifaux.

He sent me an email last week to say he'd been under the weather a bit and hence not been in touch. I discovered that his 'under the weather' was in fact something much more serious, life threatening even, and that he had pulled through the immediate danger thanks to his positive nature and sheer willpower. Needless to say he's given a lot of people a bit of a scare – he's the type of guy who has more friends than Facebook could ever hope to cope with and he has been best man/godfather too many times to remember. A lot of people love this guy.

As part of his recuperation it was thought that a spot of miniature painting would help. Needless to say, in true Bull style brimming with enthusiasm, within a couple of days he has assembled and painted his new Malifaux crew – Dr McMourning and his sexy nurses – as if some twisted dream during his recent hospital stay had come to life. I have no doubt that I will be on the receiving end of the Doc's shenanigans very soon so I had better prepare myself.

So, here's to you Bull – Gentleman gamer, generosity and positivity incarnate. Get well soon sir.

07 August 2011

More DIY Malifaux bases…

Some of you may remember my previous post about my Malcontent project, creating bases and scenery for Malifaux. Two months has almost passed since that post and things have not been idle. I have been testing my resin casting process to erradicate (as much as possible) any bubbles given that I don't have the facilities or space to use a vacuum chamber of any kind. Things have now reached a point where I am happy with the process, more to come in a future post.

This post is to give a sneak peak at the next few bits in production. You saw the Boardwalk bases in the original post, this was swiftly followed by a set of Bamboo bases (pictured above right after the devastation of the mould-making process and below showing the first few test pieces) which were designed for my Kirai crew.

This weekend a new set has been added to the ever expanding range – Sewer bases for my new Sonnia Criid crew (below). The photo shows them as of 5 minutes ago where the bulk of the construction is complete, just a few bits of greenstuff required to finish them off.

Stay tuned for more info…

04 August 2011

Wyrd Gencon Releases… My Perspective

I have to hold my hands up and say yes, I was one of those geeks who kept checking the Wyrd website every 5 minutes yesterday to see if they'd added the Gencon releases to their online shop. Needless to say it happened at some point last night while I was out so only saw it in all its glory this morning – or I would have if the website wasn't sooooo slooooow. Not a good start to the weekend's madness if the website can't handle 400 visitors at once, while the bulk of the US was still asleep.

I got so swept up in all the pre-Gencon excitement and was going to order this, that and the next thing over the weekend until my sensible chip kicked in and I realised how daft (and expensive) the whole thing was for someone living in the UK. I've decided not to order anything and wait until the models are naturally released here. Let's be honest, I've barely played 10 games of Malifaux so I'm hardly up to using avatars.

I thought I would give a bit of a perspective on all the models available this weekend, or at least the ones of note, starting with the models that will impact me directly.

Lady Justice Avatar (pictured above)
I was very nervous about this model. The miniatures being shown on the forums were quite hit and miss and I was dreading Lady J being a duff. When it finally did come to light I have to say I was pretty pleased. The concept is fantastic; the ram and crow are ludicrous – too big and rather comical; Lady J's stance looks a bit odd but all in all a reasonable model. I will without doubt be purchasing this at some point although I may have to alter the crow and ram, scale them back a bit.

Lady Justice Alt
I have always liked the illustration in the front of the Rules Manual so it was quite pleasing that they used that as the basis for the new sculpt. I have to admit I don't like the paint scheme used to demonstrate the model – the original green that was leaked onto the forums looked good. It is highly likely that I will purchase this at some point but I love my original Lady J, so no rush.

Dead Justice
When the dead Lady J illustration appeared on the forums and the general consensus was that this was her avatar I was freaking out big time. The idea for this box set is fun but I never saw it seriously as a development of her character. The sculpts are very cartoon-like which makes for a great limited edition set, even if there is a whiff of Privateer Press about them. I will not be purchasing this.

Perdita Alt
This was the model that I was hanging on to see before ordering online or not. When I clapped eyes on it this morning I was pretty devastated – one of the worst models in the collection so far. Take into account Lady J and Perdita were the two miniatures that attracted me to Malifaux – they oozed sexy and dangerous in equal amounts, were delicate and vulnerable at the same time. This sculpt has lost everything I love about the original Gael Goumon Perdita sculpt. It's cartoon-like in a similar fashion to the LE box set; she's covered up all her bare skin; she's waving her pistols around like she's never used them in her life, or is completely pissed; she appears to have no neck and put on quite a few pounds from the delicate teenager of the original. So much could have been done with this model in terms of dynamic movement. Very very poor – absolutely gutted – I will not be purchasing this.

Sonnia Alt
As the third female in the list of Guild masters it was inevitable that I would purchase Sonnia at some point – currently on order. I'm not a fan of the original sculpt so the fact that this version comes from the illustration seen in the Rules Manual is great. My only concern is that in the above photo she looks a bit ugly but I'll reserve judgement till I purchase the model. Her avatar is fantastic, very iconic, and is definitely on the shopping list.

Other models I love
Many of the alt sculpts have come from Rules Manual illustrations it seems, which is great in theory as they are fantastic. The reality can sometimes be less impressive but with the Ramos and Rasputina alt sculpts I think Wyrd have hit home runs – cracking sculpts and whilst not on my shopping list per se, may end up on my painting table just for the experience.

Never a fan of the original Pandora – may be the sculpt may be the paint scheme – this alternative hits home big time. More dynamic, sexier, more intimidating. Love it.

The artwork for the Zoraida avatar was quite frankly stunning and a bit of a shock. I don't feel the final model quite matches up but it's by no means bad. Maybe if I ever get into Neverborn I would look at this more closely.

I also like the Seamus Avatar. The Mr Hyde concept is fantastic and very much in keeping with the Seamus character. Detest the alt sculpt as this has gone off on a tangent somewhere.

I noticed that the Kirai avatar is not now available at Gencon. I can only assume there were production issues. I love the concept in the illustration leaked so far so am looking forward to seeing this model in the flesh.

Now you're just being silly…
When I heard that the Nightmare release for this year's Gencon was Teddy I got quite excited. I don't play Neverborn but the original Teddy was so iconic that the concept of a nightmare version was very intriguing and filled with so much potential the mind boggled.

Unfortunately, what we got was…well, something akin to a rabid meercat …simples!

All the charm and cleverness of the original is gone – it doesn't even look like a teddy anymore!

This was definitely one instance where my reaction was "Really??!"

Following close behind this fatally missed opportunity is the Marcus alt and avatar – Really??!

Final thoughts
I have to say on the whole I'm rather disappointed so far. Don't get me wrong, I'm amazed at the volume of models being produced and Wyrd have a very healthy relationship and dialogue going on with their customers and fanbase. For that I applaud them. However, I do worry that in an attempt to outdo themselves they have actually taken a step backwards in terms of quality of sculpts. The models released with books 1 and 2 of Malifaux have been for the most part stunning and, whilst we've only seen a snapshot of the models for book 3, I do hope the quality for book 3 is as good. Maybe it's because the original sculpts were so good and so we're walking on hallowed ground – like George Lucas and the Star Wars Special Editions and Prequels. Let's hope things don't go all Jar Jar!

I would love to hear other people's perspectives, especially if you play Malifaux, and how these new models will (or not) impact your gaming.

02 August 2011

Gaming Update: Malifaux & 40k

July ended with a late flurry a gaming, which made a pleasant change from the painting and constructing.

A fortnight ago saw me play a couple of games of Malifaux against Bull's Viktoria crew. He's starting to get the hang of them and combos now infiltrate his tactics. The first game, against my Lady Justice, introduced Nino and the Austringer to the Guild ranks who both played their part if not stunningly so. Their ranged threat alone did most of the damage. The Guild moved across the board en masse in order to achieve their Stake a Claim strategy as well as sympathetic Schemes. A close call but Game 1 to The Guild.

Game 2 introduced Perdita in place of Lady J and also saw The Executioner in place of a couple of Death Marshals – not the best choice given a Strategy flip of Reconnoiter but it was more about fun and trying out new models. I didn't fancy my chances to be honest so decided to protect the objectives for the Vikki's Destroy the Evidence Strategy and frustrate them rather than go out to achieve my own Strategy from the off.

The first main talking point involved the Vikkis slingshot to get Sword Vikki in melee with Nino and The Judge. The cards were cheated to get the trigger so both Guild members would die in the same activation. Alas at the crucial moment Bull flipped the Black Joker for damage and the whole move fell apart – Nino survived by the skin of his teeth, Vikki was then dispatched immediately and the game had been turned upside down. The Guild started to move around the table to complete Reconnoiter and the game was on.

Next talking point involved Taelor charging Perdita but, thanks to her (0) Action, Miss Ortega got to shoot at the incoming hammer of death! A chance flip of the Red Joker for damage saw Taelor on her knees and only alive thanks to her Hard To Kill ability. Damage was avoided and Taelor was dropped soon after. Perdita managed to survive a late exchange of intense fire with the Convict Gunslinger (and no soulstones left) before the Outcasts were wiped out to the man. Game 2 to The Guild …but only thanks to the cards!

This last weekend saw my first game of Warhammer 40k in over a year and the first game fielding Chaos in 5th edition. I was facing a newbie Necron army, my opponent only having played half a dozen games ever. I took my Bezerkers supported by a couple of tanks and some Obliterators. We rolled Capture and Control and Dawn of War. The game ebbed and flowed and I felt under little to moderate threat given my experience versus that of my opponent. I knew my Chaos Codex was broken, however, what I hadn't anticipated was the fact that 5th edition is …awful. Add to that the fact that I am a little rusty and the game devolved into a war of attrition. I had purposefully ignored the Phase Out rule to make it more of a game but was slowly starting to pay the price.

Carefully manoeuvring my Armour 13 tanks when charged in combat only for the attackers to hit the rear armour (what a stupid rule**) left me vulnerable and undermined my strategy across the board. Despite some rather naive tactical mistakes my opponent was pushing me to the limit and I was convinced come turn 4 that I could not win outright. The latter couple of turns saw us beat each other to a pulp (tomb spiders…grrr) and I eventually stole in to defend my own objective. A quick calculation saw that the Necrons did indeed Phase Out and the game was won. Having less than half a dozen models left on the board didn't feel much like a win I have to say.

Contemplation in the aftermath of the game did nothing to improve my lack of enthusiasm for GW's flagship sci-fi game and the one-dimensional aspect of play (compared to the subtleties and combos of Malifaux) made the experience seem rather flat. No doubt the Chaos codex didn't help but it's just not doing it for me.

Having said that I have committed to play again as my new local opponent dips his toe in the water and expands his Necrons. I already have an alternative Chaos lineup in mind to try and improve things – I even got briefly excited at the prospect of resurrecting my Dark Templar project, but let's not be hasty, it soon passed. In return my opponent has purchased a Malifaux crew – Rasputina – and this coming Friday will be his first foray through the breach with a handful of demo games. He's quite excited at the prospect of only having to paint 5 models!

** I have to say there were two rules that really annoyed me whilst playing. The first, as mentioned above, was the fact that all close combat against vehicles now hit rear armour values. Anything other than Land Raiders and Monoliths are so vulnerable now and can no longer be used as blocking mechanisms which, for a close combat army, is quite key. The second rule of no use to anyone is the wound allocation – what a load of rubbish! If your missile launcher or melta gun guy bought it in a firefight surely one of his comrades would pick up the special weapon and effectively take his place. Not only that but it complicates and slows the game down no end. End of rant, guess I'll have to find a workaround.

To be continued…