29 September 2011

Birthday update

So today I turned 39 (years young) and rather than spend my birthday money on new models, which is always the temptation, I will actually be using it to pay for the backlog of models currently sitting patiently on my painting tray (I must be getting old and far too sensible).

Amongst this ever-growing collection there is Sonnia Criid and her entire crew, not to mention 3 additional Witchlings and Sonnia Avatar.

However, the most exciting prospects are my two new proxy models. I purchased a couple of Warmachine solos to stand in as the Exorcist and Witchling Handler (to the left – one character I don't like the artwork for), the latter will require some work – my first Malifaux conversion!!

I have been very busy these last couple of weeks with work, etc. so I'm looking forward to getting back to painting some models again.

Elsewhere in hobbyland I have been developing some terrain elements for the Malcontent project. What is it? No, it's not some overused adult-rated toy. It is in fact an in-progress Ice Pillar which will suit Rasputina no end. The base diameter is 50mm and the pillar itself is just shy of 5" in height, so it is the real deal. We also used it as an Ancient Monument in a game recently and it was perfect. I'm currently contemplating whether to make it hollow or not when I get round to casting it up in resin – it's a big old lump and could end up being (relatively) expensive to make.

With the imminent release of the Rogue Necromancy, Bull brought up the fact that I don't currently have a 50mm Sewer base for him to use when it joins his McMourning crew in October. This also brought up the fact that I don't have a 50mm Bamboo base for my Kirai Avatar either, so more jobs got added to the list.

Hopefully there will be some fresh pics of actual painted models soon!

26 September 2011

Building Avatar Sonnia Criid: part 1

Along with my Book 3, Avatar Sonnia arrived a couple of weeks ago. Given that I am currently fielding Sonnia as my master-of-the-moment I'm very keen to get the avatar built (not least because it is an amazing model).

The model is mostly metal – including the weighty base piece – with a couple of bits in resin. I wanted something solid on which to put the base piece so rather than use a regular hollow plastic base I used a resin one I had. This gives me a solid foundation on which to pin the heavy bit of metal so there is almost no chance it will come off.

I filed the underside of the metal piece as flat as possible and superglued it onto the base. Once the glue was dry I drilled two holes from the underside of the resin base through into the metal. Pins were glued in place and clipped/filed flush with the resin so that the model doesn't wobble when on the table.

I decided that the resin 'swirl' didn't need to be pinned as it had a broad area and wasn't really exposed. This was simply filed and superglued in place. The neck on the otherhand needed to be strong, so I drilled pinning holes at the apex of the ball and socket joint already present. This was pinned and allowed to dry.

The dragon's head comes in two pieces and again needed to be pinned for strength. In the same way as the neck, I pinned at the apex of the ball and corresponding socket. Once this was thoroughly dry I then pinned the back of the head to the neck using the same ball/socket locations.

Needless to say the casting is out quite a bit in all join locations. Luckily with it being all flames it should not be a big deal to add some greenstuff to disguise the joins completely.

In the next part I will be adding the horns and looking at Sonnia herself.

Read Part 2 here

P.S. I noticed recently that I had passed 100 Followers so a big thank you to everyone on that list!!

19 September 2011

Malcontent resin bases preview

For those who may not know, my side project "Malcontent" is due to launch at the beginning of November. It is my answer to not being able to get hold of the gaming accessories I wanted when I started playing Malifaux  – hence the name: Mal(ifaux) content – though naturally they will be useable with other games and miniatures. It will include not only resin bases but possibly counters, scenery and other bits and pieces further down the line.

The general idea is that I make things for my own models and games then cast extras for anyone else who would like them. There will only be a limited number and once the mold is finished there will be no more.

The launch will contain three sets of resin bases – Bamboo, Boardwalk and Sewer. These resin bases are purposefully plain (for the most part) in their original state; I'm fed up of resin base manufacturers creating over-the-top products that struggle to accommodate a model – the base is meant to complement the miniature, not the other way round. With a more plain starting point you can use it as it comes (which I think works a treat after using several already) or you have the scope and the space to add your own additional touches, skulls, foliage, etc and make them unique to you. By adding your own flourishes it also means you can use the same base several times and have each one look different.

By way of a preview to the launch, I have placed test casts of all three sets on Ebay. They vary in quality and some will have the odd bubble or two and/or flash round the edges but you now have an opportunity to get some of the white/ivory test pieces before the official launch of the grey resin in November.

Now for some links:

The-Dark-Templar Ebay page
This is where you will find the auctions

Malcontent Gallery page
Photo examples of the resin bases in use

Newbie Guide to Resin Bases
My recent post for anyone new to using resin bases

Again, thanks to Bull for his support, his painted examples and for being my hand model in the tutorial.

18 September 2011

A Newbie Guide: Resin Bases

I've decided to start a series of tutorials for newbies – not necessarily newbie gamers, just newbies to the topic under discussion. These tutorials will be written purely from my own gaming/modelling perspective and experience so may not be the best or most effective, but will hopefully explain things in a simple and digestible way.

I've recently noticed a handful of people, some who have been gaming for a quite a while, have avoided the use of resin bases for their models. I always thought this was due to just not liking them. However, I have since discovered it was because they didn't know how to use them or were afraid to try and end up wrecking them.

As some of you may know I have created a series of resin bases, specially themed and cast up for each of my Malifaux crews. These will shortly be on sale to the general public after I received several enquiries about their availability. This tutorial will show how I prepare these bases and the models, and the process of sticking model to base. My gaming buddy Bull was following my instructions while I photographed him, so this is actually all his work!

Before You Start 
Please be mindful that resin dust can be very harmful. You should wear a dust mask whenever filing resin. You should also ideally wear gloves or certainly wash your hands before eating (or picking your nose). I would also advise not filing in the kitchen area or anywhere that food is prepared – this might be difficult if like me you live in a small house or flat, but the risks should not be ignored. I also like to wear safety goggles when drilling, just in case. You're going to struggle to continue with the hobby if you go blind from flying debris.

Continuing the "Safety First" perspective, please be careful. Drills and scalpels can slip and cut/stab fingers, allowing metal and resin under the skin – not nice! Don't rush things, take it nice and easy and you'll have no problems and no trips to A&E.

I would recommend washing the base in warm soapy water. Mould release agent is used when casting up resin bases and can leave a residue on the surface that may impede or affect gluing and/or painting, a quick wash with get rid of it.

Preparation: Bubbles
Because I don't have vacuum casting facilities at home there is an increased risk of bubbles in my bases. When you do find one there are a couple of options.

First of all you can fill them with greenstuff or, if really small, superglue. Once the filling material is dry, give the area a quick file to reshape accordingly.

The second option is to turn the bubble into damage, depending upon where it has appeared. In the case of the pictured base, I simply used a scalpel and file to reshape the bubble so that it looks like a bullet hole, axe damage, rotten wood or some other form of destruction.

Preparation: Underside and Edges
The bases are usually cast face down, so what will become the underside of your base may not be completely flat. As part of the preparation process I sand the underside of all my bases before sticking. I use a light circular motion over a piece of fine grade sandpaper and get the base truly flush with the work surface. I tend to do this outside as it can create a lot of dust. Keep a close eye on the base and make sure you don't sand the base down unevenly – you'll struggle to recover from that.

In addition it's also a good idea to whizz a file around the edges of the base to get rid of any unevenness or lines

You should never just glue your model straight to the base without pinning – it's a complete waste of time for something that will be transported and handled as much as a gaming miniature; it will usually fall off the base with the slightest knock and ruin your lovely paint scheme. Again there are two options, both of which I use on a situational basis.

First option is a more traditional pin. I will clip the tab off the bottom of the model (if it has one) and file the underside of the 'feet' flat so that it will sit flush with the surface of the resin base (or as flush as possible). I will then try holding the model in different positions on the base till I find one that works the best. I then mark the feet positions on the base in pencil and file away any obtrusive resin elements so that the fit is as flush as possible.

Once this is done I use a hand-held hobby drill (pin vice) to drill into the model – I don't use an electric drill for this as the drill bits invariably break. I use a drill bit that is a tiny bit bigger than the brass rod or paper clip that will be used to actually pin the model. This allows a little bit of wiggle room when you're actually sticking the model in place if the holes don't quite match up. If the model has two feet (rather than a single large area) I will pin both feet to anchor the model completely.

In the example above, the Seshin model only has a single 'foot' so I only use one pin. Once done I glue a length of brass rod into the hole, leaving approximately 5mm or a quarter inch protruding. Now I can drill a corresponding hole into the resin base, going all the way through more often than not.

Dry fit the model onto the base to ensure a good match before adding any glue. Adjust if necessary and when happy apply superglue to the underside of the foot and into the hole in the resin base. Hold both model and base firmly for 10(ish) seconds then leave to one side to dry thoroughly. Take into account that, if you drilled all the way through the base, superglue is likely to drain out of the hole and you can end up gluing your base to your tray or table – beware.

An alternative option that I use when models have very narrow or fragile feet is to clip back the tab underneath the model until only a triangle remains under each foot. I file any sharp edges off these 'pegs' to aid fitting. I mark the position and size of the pegs onto the resin base in pencil and use an electric hobby drill (it's quicker than a hand-held) to cut out the required areas with a larger drill bit. Throughout the process I will constantly dry fit the model until it sits snuggly onto the base, with none of the peg showing.

Whichever route you choose, once glued into position and dry, greenstuff will often be used to fill any gaps and re-create any elements of the base that were cut away unnecessarily.

And that's it. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask them. Similarly if you know of a better, or alternative way feel free to comment.

Want to know more about these bases?

I would like to thank Bull for being my hand-model and guinea pig for the day!

14 September 2011

Euro Militaire show this weekend

I discovered this week, quite by accident, that there is a military model show on this weekend in my own back yard. I'm hoping to squeeze a visit in myself, just to see what's there, but I've got a busy weekend planned already.

The Euro Militaire show is at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone on this Saturday and Sunday – Adults £10 on the door or £14 for the weekend. For more information see the link below:


13 September 2011

New Malifaux Website!!

It seems Wyrd have launched a brand new dedicated website for Malifaux. Haven't had chance to explore it fully myself but go look now!!


11 September 2011

I won a competition!

John Lambshead over at John's Toy Soldiers blog ran a caption competition last week.

I discovered yesterday afternoon, after returning from a family day at Leeds Castle, that I had in fact won said competition and the above prize "Into The Hinterlands" co-authored by John himself.

I would like to say a big thank you to John, and highly recommend a visit to his blog – not only does it plot his current gaming experiences and projects it also highlights beautiful places around Kent, which is my county of residence also!

09 September 2011

A Newbie Guide: Malifaux – part 1

I appreciate that not all the visitors to this blog play Malifaux. This post is aimed at those visitors who are intrigued by Malifaux but haven't taken that final step or don't know where to start – hence I'm keeping it purposefully simplistic. The Malifaux regulars can have a read too and see if you agree or not with my appraisal and jump in with the comments.

Maybe you've heard the name or seen some of the models. Maybe you've read a blog or two, maybe even seen a demo game. Bottom line is that your interest was peaked and you want to know more. What's all the fuss about? Let's start with the very basics.

Malifaux is a 32mm tabletop miniature skirmish game from Wyrd Miniatures. It's described as a Steamvictoriohorrorwestpunk genre, so make of that what you will.

The Background Story…
Not wanting to rob you of any reading pleasure I will keep this as brief as possible. Think alternate earth late 19th century; a group of power hungry magic practitioners manage to rip a hole in reality, creating a breach to another world. This reality is deserted, no signs of life but plenty of signs of former human inhabitants, not least in and around the city of Malifaux. Long story short, the influx into this new world begins as people go in search of their fortune. The natural, demonic, inhabitants of Malifaux are not happy at this increase in the living and the fighting begins. However, thanks to the increased natural magic in the air and naturally occurring 'soulstones', mere mortals can become powerful sorcerers once through the breach. This thirst for power, magic, soulstones and wealth is what underpins society in Malifaux as well as being the catalyst for all the conflict.

The Players…
The game comprises of five different factions to represent the various interested parties.

The Guild
They are the law, preferring quality to quantity in their crews and (for the most part) direct damage over spellcasting.

The Ressurectionists
The Ressers are all about the undead, summoning additional models to bolster their crew numbers.

The Arcanists
A faction full of fragile spellcasters, backed up by constructs and beasts.

The Neverborn
The monsters of Malifaux, they focus on speed, deception and willpower-based abilities.

The Outcasts
Mercenaries, groups and individuals who don't fit in with another faction.

The Models…
The miniatures are the thing that drew me into the game – Perdita Ortega and Lady Justice if I recall correctly. They are pretty unique and let me tell you, after years of churning out space marines, they are an absolute joy to paint. You will only need around 5 or 6 models to start a crew so you can spend the time and attention that their beauty demands.

Most of the crews within a given faction cross over well, so it won't be long before you expand. One attraction of this game is that a crew box set costs around £20-£25 so it's not a massive investment to expand your gaming experience. It is possible to collect an entire faction for as little as £250, which is amazing compared to other game systems, and will give you great flexibility and a massive pool of models to choose your crew from.

The Card Mechanic…
The Fate Deck. This is one aspect that makes Malifaux almost unique. After years of rolling handfuls of dice and cursing the gods of chance it was strange to be flipping a deck of cards to determine shooting and combat results.

The other unique aspect is the Control Hand which you deal yourself at the beginning of each turn. You can use these cards to alter the results of a flip from the fate deck that you don't like, be it combat, spells or willpower tests. This allows you the opportunity to, in effect, cheat and stack the result of a given situation. Then add to the mix the Red and Black Jokers – Red is very good, Black is very bad – so even the most carefully laid plans can go awry or knockout blows delivered from the most unexpected source. Be under no illusion, even with the ability to cheat fate, the gods of chance are equally fickle with cards!

How Does It Play?…
I'm sure there are more experienced and literate individuals who could explain it better than I can and coming from a GW-centric gaming background I have a limited pool of games to compare. This is the best way I can describe it.

Imagine playing a cross between Necromunda and Mordheim, with crews comprising of only special characters – some very powerful. You're playing on a 3x3ft table, using cards instead of dice and gems or counters to represent your soulstone pool. That doesn't come close to describing Malifaux in full but it puts you in the right ballpark. The big difference is it's not about killing your opponent's crew, it's about achieving Strategies and Schemes – nothing else matters. You can finish the game with no models left on the table and still win big. As a former GW (and occasional Warmachine) gamer this seemed a very alien concept to me, and the most difficult lesson to learn.

Learning the basics (the card mechanic, movement, combat, etc.) is quite easy and you can quickly play the game at a superficial level. However, more so than any other game I've experienced, Malifaux has a great depth that will take years to discover fully and master. The character and/or spell combinations alone open this game up to many levels of play. You only (usually) activate one model at a time before your opponent gets to go, so you have to carefully consider activation priority and your opponent's likely counter.

Another plus point is if you play 28-32mm wargames already you won't need to buy any specific terrain, the bits you already own will work a treat. Yes, you may want to build a unique wild west or swamp board at some point, but to get started you already have the bits needed – terrain, tape measure and counters (we even use dice for wound counters).

Who Plays This Game?…
I've noticed three distinct type of gamer drawn into the world of Malifaux.

First of all you have the general gamer who will have a go at pretty much everything and anything; the type of person who has an army/crew for all the games out there and is not hung up with any particular system, genre or company. They like variety and to try new things and the Malifaux system is pretty fresh thinking.

Then you have the gamers who have their main game, be it 40k, Fantasy or WarmaHordes. They play Malifaux as a secondary, as a way of taking a break from the big battles. They may get quite into the fluff and the nasty combos but nothing will pull them completely away from their first love. The complete change of scene and cheap entry cost seem to be the big draw here.

I've noticed a lot of gamers – myself included – who have discovered Malifaux at a crucial time in their gaming life, when they have become disillusioned by the rules/cost/development of the big, popular games and games companies. Malifaux takes them back to a place where the game and the gamers were important – the game itself is still in its infancy, relatively speaking, and has not been tarnished by the demands of big business. The community surrounding Malifaux is a big draw too and these individuals will often end up becoming champions for the cause, promoting Malifaux at every opportunity.

There is also a fourth group of individuals who have been attracted by Wyrd's flagship game and that is gamers' wives and girlfriends. Alas, my own wife balks at such thoughts, but stranger things have happened!

Generally speaking it appears to be the cheap entry level and beautiful miniatures that will initially appeal. The easy to learn rules system combined with the depth of play takes over once you start gaming. It won't be long before you want to buy another crew, then another. The relatively cheap cost of the crews means that you can do this, even alongside a massive 40k or Warmachine army.

The only negative that I've seen people mention, though it's not an issue to me, is the fact that you can't develop your own characters (yet) as they're all pre-defined.

Where To Start?…
I think it depends on what drew you in. I bought some models as that is what attracted me first. I also bought the original Malifaux Book 1 (pictured at the top of the blog) which was fantastic for background information and stats of all the initial characters. Alas, the rules section of this book has been superseded by The Rules Manual so if you're not into the fluff go straight for that instead.

If you're not ready to spend any cash just yet you can still glean information and background from the internet.

Your first stop should be the new Malifaux website.On there you will be able to see photos of all the models currently available – and order some if the fancy takes you. The community area – Wyrd Forums – is a fantastic resource, especially for newbie gamers, where you will find the answer to almost all your rules queries. I cannot praise Wyrd (and the gaming community) enough for this; people are friendly, helpful and supportive no matter what your playing/painting level.

Within the resources section of the Malifaux website you will find lots of interesting stuff, not least a cut-down PDF version of the Rules Manual and up to date versions of the Book 1 character cards. There is also a crew creator application on there to help you build your crews.

In addition to this fantastic resource you have the fan-made Malifaux Wiki – PullMyFinger – which has been an essential resources for playing (and writing this article!). You will find a lot of background and gaming information and advice there.

I'm going to leave it there for this entry. Please feel free to comment if you have any questions or indeed disagree with my thoughts, or have betters ways of describing the game.

07 September 2011

Sonnia Criid Sighted

As anyone who knows me will understand, I hate playing with unpainted models. I don't like playing with undercoated models much more, but some paint is better than none. I just don't understand why you would own these beautiful models and not want to put some colour on them.

So, when I decided to use (unpainted) Sonnia Criid in this week's game versus Fug's Cult of December crew you will appreciate how excited I was to get the third of my Guild masters onto the gaming table. Not only did she have no paint, her huge Runed Blade was sitting on the painting tray (to be added post-colour). I was really looking forward to the battle of the elements – Fire vs Ice.

No in-game photos this week – I would not do Sonnia the indignity of photographing her running around Malifaux streets effectively in the buff.

30 soulstones (definitely this time), the crews were as follows:

Essence of Power
2x Silent Ones
Ice Gamin
Sabretooth Cerberus

Sonnia Criid
Purifying Flame
Samael Hopkins
2x Witchling Stalkers*
2x Death Marshals

*My Sonnia box set contained two of the same Witchling and when pinning them to their bases the leg of one of the duplicates broke off, so he is currently in surgery. I have also ordered backups!

I flipped Plant Evidence and took Hold Out and Bodyguard (nice and easy!), Fug flipped Reconnoiter, re-flipped Contain Power and took only one Scheme (Bodyguard) for the extra stones. Diagonal Deployment.

I split my crew into two – Sonnia, totem and Sam to the right, Witchlings and Death Marshals to the left. Raspy and her crew shuffled around on the edge of her deployment whilst the Cerberus moved down the flank to my far left.

The game played out with Fug being quite cautious in the early turns and me making a few little mistakes throughout (the perils of a brand new master). As things progressed and my teams moved forward, Fug sent a Silent One to confront each team with Raspy, the totem and Gamin sitting centrally without committing to either side.

The Death Marshals got into some bother taking a lot of damage, Fug was trying out some Silent One spell combos – even giving one Marshal Frozen Heart and turning him to a statue – opening up lots of possibilities, even if for little gain. Spotting the danger from the encroaching Cerberus (who seemed consistently unable to cast his Leap) a Witchling charged him, inflicting 4 wounds and depriving him of his extra heads attacks. He then died in the return attack, exploding in the monster's face inflicting a further 2 wounds. The big cat was finally taken down by a Death Marshal who had staggered across the street on his final wound. Meanwhile, the frozen Death Marshal killed the Silent One, then the totem, before Raspy finished him off.

On the right flank, Sonnia's team got tied down by the other Silent One. Instead of taking decisive action to take her down quickly I only half committed and she came back from near death to kill the totem and Samael. Sonnia finished her off then took cover behind a wall and healed herself, with still less than half wounds remaining. She retained full line of sight to Rasputina (who had committed to this flank now) thanks to her Magic Seeker ability. Raspy sent the Gamin around the wall to face Sonnia in combat. He did no damage and was hit twice in return by her Runed Blade (forgetting to end her activation with his trigger Sub Zero after she hit him the first time!). Instead of doing damage I managed to trigger Deconstruct on both occasions and Fug decided to discard cards rather than let him die. Sonnia blasted the Gamin with her last AP, the Gamin was left with only 1 wound and Fug with no cards in his hand. Raspy chose to shoot the Gamin with a blast of December's Curse, which caught Sonnia and killed the Gamin. The exploding corpse inflicted additional wounds which were mostly avoided with a prevention flip.

With no cards of consequence in my Turn 6 hand and no soulstones left I was struggling to get my offensive magic off, despite being in a fantastic position. Instead Sonnia shuffled position slightly and cast the firewall to restrict Rasputina's movement. Miscalculation on my part left a marginal line of sight position open to Raspy and she took it. In desperation I discarded almost my entire hand to Counterspell her blasts.

End of Turn 6 my remaining Witchling and Marshal had tagged 3 pieces of terrain between them on the left flank (staggering around with only a wound left each), on the right Raspy was stood on one side of a wall with 7 wounds left, Sonnia on the other with 2. If the game went to Turn 7 activating first would make or break the result. It didn't – Fug flipping a 9 for the third game in a row – and Sonnia came away 6-2 winner.

Fug has got quite a handle on his crew, especially the Silent Ones. Now he has two they are becoming an issue rather than an annoyance. The Cerberus had a rather anonymous start to his career, but this was largely due to the fact I knew his strengths and had contingencies to deal with him. His cautious start and positioning throughout meant he neither disrupted my plan nor stole in to prevent Hold Out late on. New-model syndrome for sure.

Talking of which, Sonnia missed out on lots of spell prevention tricks. I forgot that Advanced Counterspell includes friendly models within 3", so she could have prevented a lot of damage from the Silent One and stopped Sam from dying. She also needs a lot of soulstones, or hold on to ANY tome cards as she is very dependent on these. We also missed ending Sonnia's activation after hitting the Gamin late on – this too could've had quite a significant impact on the game.

The game certainly boiled down to a close final turn. Fug is really starting to enjoy the game now he's seeing some success with his crew. I now need to consider him a genuine opponent – no longer a padawan learner!

06 September 2011

Parcel Arrived!

A parcel was waiting for me when I got home from work today. I placed an order at the Wyrd online store just less than a month ago – I needed new v2 stat cards for some of my Ortegas as they had come with v1 and weren't up to date. Something else appeared to fall into the basket before I got to the checkout…

03 September 2011

Perdita vs McMourning – Practice Run

Today was the debut performance for Bull's Dr McMourning crew. This was very much a beginner's game as Bull hasn't played in a good six weeks and was fielding an unfamiliar crew to boot. Fair play he had done his research and had his opening sequence of hacking up dogs and slicing chihuahuas bullet-pointed on a piece of paper.

For whatever minor role they would play in this game we flipped for Strategies and chose Schemes. Perdita got Contain Power and so I chose Hold Out and Stake A Claim in support. Bull flipped Line in the Sand and chose Stake A Claim and a Ressers specific Scheme. For anyone interested the crew lineups were as follows:

Enslaved Nephilim
2x Witchlings Stalkers
2x Death Marshals

Dr McMourning
Zombie Chihuahua
Nurse (Miss Pack)
Convict Gunslinger
2x Rotten Belles
4x Canine Remains

Not much point going into details about the game as it ended up being more of a practice – there were several incidents where we could have, and should have, done one thing but ended up doing something else to see how a new model worked or the impact it would have on a given situation.

Some of the highlights included:

Perdita Obeying one of the Canines who turned on the Nurse and tore 5 wounds off her. To avoid any reprisals Perdita then shot the dog.

Mc Mourning finally managed to summon the Rogue Necromancy who was then shot to bits by Santiago. Hanging onto its last two wounds the Necro was jabbed by the Nurse with a Booster Shot so he would go nuts when attacking Perdita in melee – Perdita had the intention (and the cards) to Obey the boosted Necro to turn around charge McMourning or kill the Nurse. However, as mentioned, I decided not to do this so we could see how nasty the Necro was in combat.

Later on in the game the Belles were Luring people left, right and centre and McM got an amazing turn moving across the board, Slinging his Scalpel at a Death Marshal then moving in for the kill. The second Death Marshal was Obeyed into melee with McM in order to Pine Box him next turn – the doc escaping via another Lure from his Belles before the trap could be sprung.

We called the game at Turn 5 after I had won initiative and activated Perdita, Santiago and the Nephilim. Perdita killed McMourning and Santiago was Obeyed into a position with full LoS to the wounded Belles and Gunslinger. The balance had tipped in favour of The Guild. At this point I had managed to achieve my Strategy and one of my Schemes quite by accident and Bull had a Scheme (and had ignored the Line in the Sand, haha!). However, today wasn't about final scores.

Good game, it has to be said – despite the 4 hour timespan. Bull has got a bit more of a handle on his new crew and I got a glimpse of what they can do. We went back and practiced his opening turn with the Chihuahua and Doc so he got that right and bagged his 8 Body Parts. He seemed a lot happier and very excited at the prospects of his Ressers.

As for me, I got more practice in with my master-of-the-moment. Santiago didn't do much, though would have contributed more had the game continued. The Witchlings (my Sith Jedi) got into combat and managed to have a little more impact than Wednesday – though not much. I think it's because I haven't finished painting them yet.

01 September 2011

Perdita vs Rasputina – Take 2

So after Rasputina took down Miss Ortega a peg or two last week, anticipation had been building for this week's 30 soulstone rematch. Fug has acquired some new models and splashed some paint on his icy master. In response I had finished painting Perdita and had added a couple of undercoated Witchling Stalkers to the mix.

The Crews

Enslaved Nephilim
The Judge
2x Witchling Stalkers

Essence of Power
Silent One
December Acolyte
Ice Gamin

For Strategies Fug flipped Distract and decided to take (and announce) Hold Out and Bodyguard for his Schemes. I flipped Slaughter and took Hold Out and Breakthrough, similarly announcing them thanks to some sound advice from Wrabbit37 after last week's game.

Deployment was standard set up, Raspy had her crew central again with Hans to my right, supporting the infiltrating December Acolyte. I divided my crew into two teams – Perdita, Nephilim and The Judge to my right and Santiago and two Witchlings to the left.

The game did not quite pan out as expected – I think both Fug and I were not totally on our game and the whole thing felt like a bit of a slog, so I'll keep it short.

I decided to go for it from the off as I had to get my crew into Fug's deployment zone to prevent one of his Schemes and complete one of mine. Perdita ran full sprint to the right behind some rocks, out of sight of Hans but in full view of the Acolyte. I had managed to get both Jokers in my Control Hand so felt I had some influence over the situation. As anticipated, he attempted to fire his harpoon at Perdita to pull her into view but I got off my Quick Draw response, cheating the Red Joker and taking him out of the game with a total of 9 wounds inflicted. It was a bit of a bloody nose for Fug so early on and he struggled to rally from then on as indecision and lack of direction took over – he was mostly reacting to my game. Elsewhere the rest of my crew moved up whilst Hans moved back to the centre of the board to support Raspy.

Following turn same thing, I moved up and Raspy consolidated, exchanging a few shots here and there to little effect, except the loss of a Witchling who had bared his backside to test out Reflect Magic only to not achieve the trigger.

I then saw an opportunity to get Perdita into melee with Raspy, so I took it, charging in and slapping 4 wounds off her. The response was unsurprising but caught me off guard – having not thought through my actions completely – the Ice Gamin moved into melee and the Silent One move over to drop spells onto the growing crowd. I attempted to shoot Raspy in melee with Santiago but only managed to hit Perdita – TWICE! Luckily I managed to cheat the shots down but for two turns I was out of cards.

I had overstretched Perdita and the rest of the crew were struggling to get up in support. The game became all about Perdita surviving the incoming attacks and spells by any means possible. Healing flips only managed to negate a single wound and her damage see-sawed dangerously close to death. This would be an all or nothing game for both sides.

Eventually The Judge made it to melee in support, having avoided a Headshot from Hans, and Perdita took down Rasputina. The trick was now not to die to exploding Gamin/Silent Ones. She took the Gamin explosion on the chin – one wound left – and Obeyed the Silent One out of melee so that The Judge and Santiago could shoot it, cheating down the Disengaging Strike to make sure Perdita was well clear of any exploding corpses. With the Silent One having activated first she was no longer a threat should the shooting fail to kill her. It didn't and she exploded, missing Perdita's crew.

At the end of Turn 6 Fug only had Hans left, who had given a decent first performance in spite of awkward initial deployment. I had lost the two Witchlings but everyone else was pretty much in Fug's deployment zone. Rasputina hadn't really had the opportunity to get going. Aside from taking down a Witchling via Perfect Mirror and casting a set of Ice Pillars she had struggled.

Final score 8-0 to The Guild.

A harsh result on paper given how close it came but a lot of lessons to be learned on both sides. Perdita had taken out Raspy, Acolyte and a Gamin but MVP for the Guild crew was actually the Enslaved Nephilim, who had accompanied Santiago across the centre of the board, achieving Obey several times to give the big man extra movement and shots – although he did resist on one occasion with a Red Joker flip. Idiot!

Next up… McMourning's debut this Saturday.