31 January 2012
Kirai: painting and avatar building
I'd decided some time ago to go with the colour scheme that is in the book – even bought some new paint before Christmas. I had sprayed all my spirits with white instead of the normal black (to get a more vibrant, light colour) but my first attempts to lay down some colour was very patchy. Maybe should have stuck to what I know.
I used various browns to start with, highlighting with Ochre/White until reaching a pure white. The colour wasn't very vibrant so I washed it several times with Golden Yellow and Gryphonne Sepia to add some depth.
Need to look at the highlights again and bring them back up to white.
Similarly with the green scarf (for want of a better word). I started with a Dark Green base colour, adding more and more Emerald, then adding White. At present it needs a wash to unify the layers and give it some depth.
While all the washes were drying I paid a little attention to Kirai's Avatar which has sat idle in my Mali-bag for a few months now. I had a 50mm Bamboo base completed and cast up in resin over Christmas and had superglued her in the new year. I set about drilling some holes from the underside into the metal to secure the model further.
It still needs a little more greenstuff to blend to model more with the base and then it'll be ready for painting.
We have a painting evening planned for later so with some luck there will be more photos in the next couple of days.
27 January 2012
Rallying the Troops…
So with a (contested) draw and two very heavy losses so far with Kirai there is a lot to think about. As you can imagine I have done a lot of researching and reading about the crew, what seems to work for people and what doesn't. Looking at my own experiences so far my conclusions are as follows.
Kirai herself is a great master on paper. Yes she is vulnerable when attacked in melee, but with a few Seishin to pass wounds onto or sacrifice, together with her swirling ability and Pitiful she can survive longer than expected – though I have managed to get her killed once already. Even with her extra (+1) Intinctual she has far too many cool abilities than I can use in a single turn. I was drawn to her (over the other Resurrectionist masters) for a reason. However, going from a pure Guild beginning, Kirai is like a brand new pair of shoes – it takes time to break them in and make them truly comfortable – but I am determined to get her to work for me.
The Lost Love is another great model, and at 2ss an absolute bargain. It's big trick of saving Kirai's life when she dies is amazing, however, I think this has held me back from using the model to it's full potential – using Magical Extension to cast things such as Chill of Death and summoning additional spirits. I can't think of a reason to not take this model, except to make the game more challenging.
Ikiryo – nothing much can be said about this spirit. It may take a second crow to summon it, which can be a pain, but it's a free model and has great utility. I haven't witnessed its awesome melee ability that I read about – it tends to inflict a couple of wounds then gets battered in the return – but it is one of the bigger hitters available to Kirai so it's not as if I'm NOT going to summon it at some point.
Datsu-Ba has some great utility skills and a fair few wounds, but I have found her next to useless in melee. Being able to give a spirit a free move, together with her healing and ability to summon Gaki have all been useful if not amazing. For a 7ss model I'm struggling to include her after her performances to date. I obviously don't quite understand her, but I don't want her to become another Francisco Ortega who even at 5ss never seems to be good enough for the first team.
Onryo are the grunts and they do as well as can be expected. I haven't managed to get off a Blind to Spirits or Denial of Sanzu – or even Haunt for that matter – which would lift their usefulness no end. I'm unlikely to include them in a starting lineup as they can be summoned (and regularly are) and I really need them to inflict a bit more pain, but I'm not ready to dismiss them yet.
Shikome is the one model that has almost lived up to expectations. I know for a fact that Fugs fears this model which is why he has been quite prejudiced in taking it down recently. I didn't use it very well in my last game – forgetting about her spell tricks – but if you can summon her into combat she can have fun with her new target. I have contemplated getting a second Shikome but am reluctant until I can get the rest of the crew working.
I've had a few brief glimpses of the Gaki in action. They haven't inflicted a lot of damage (a running theme with the crew so far) but they have scared the Terror Tots on a few occasions and as a 'free' model they are great simply as extra significant bodies on the table. For this reason I have no real expectations with them, so time will tell how useful they turn out to be.
The Hanged is a model with a lot of potential to me. Unfortunately he got blown off the table on his debut so couldn't contribute much. In the second game he attempted to cast Beyond the Grave several times against both Lilith and Taelor. Without any negative flip mechanic already in place he was never likely to actually get the spell off, but it did cause Fug to cheat and use soulstones to ensure such a devastating spell was prevented. Combined with his Terrifying, this model has become a threat yet to deliver on his potential, but the threat is there – it's only a matter of time and circumstance before he delivers.
Insidious Madness is a model that has not been fielded yet. He is pure utility and could either be a roaring success or a puddle of dead snot on the battlefield and a waste of 4ss. The combination of the negative WP flip aura and Terrifying could become very useful. Combined with the rest of the crew – The Hanged especially – there is the potential for a lot of hurt. He is currently a favourite for the next outing, to test some of the theory.
Other models that I have considered include:
Jack Daw, who combines some of the threat of The Hanged and Insidious Madness but who will also have a steep learning curve. He's expensive and has a few too many random abilities that could blow up in my face, making him unreliable (which is the point of the character, let's be honest).
Convict Gunslinger is an all-round solid model. Fugs knows his abilities having fielded him regularly for months so will fear him. I can turn him into a spirit for extra depth and survivability and he gives me some ranged options. He's not very in keeping with Kirai's spirit theme but may be a useful addition, for a while at least, giving me some breathing space to sort out the rest of the crew.
So, where to go from here?
I've decided to take a week off from gaming next week. One game a week is actually too few when you're trying to learn a new crew – you build up the excitement and theory all week then if you make a mistake or two and it blows up in your face you have to wait a whole other week until you can try again. Despite this, breaking the losing cycle can be as easily achieved by taking a rest as anything. I hope to get some models painted in this time so that I can take some more photos without being totally embarrassed and it will give time for the pre-game giddiness to subside and hopefully be replaced by a confident calmness and clear thinking.
25 January 2012
It's a Knockout…
…8 …9 …10 …YOU'RE OUT!
That is the sound of my patience with Kirai and her spirits leaving the building – haha!
Another thumping last night by Lilith, largely thanks to some bad decision making on my part and increasingly poor cards is making me wonder whether my gaming skills really are that two-dimensional and I should go back to the simplicity of the Guild.
Fugs and I both flipped Destroy the Evidence, so Fug suggested making it a Shared Strategy. This effectively added a seventh evidence token in the middle of the board worth an additional VP. We flipped for deployment and got corners, meaning we were both barely 12" from said central token.
I was distracted by the bright lights and decided I could summon Ikiryo on top of the central token and give myself a small headstart. Destroy the Evidence is a strategy that Kirai should breeze through with her movement tricks so getting an early lead would be a bonus. Problem is I forgot that summoned models are slow when they arrive, meaning Ikiryo didn't have enough general AP to interact. It also meant that (being H3) he was an easy target for Lilith's Transposition. That's exactly what happened – the Cherub stepped up and Transposition-ed Ikiryo with Lilith. Lilith then interacted with the token to claim it and moved off to the side. Ikiryo was battered by the new addition to Fug's crew – Taelor.
End of turn 1, I am down 1 VP already not to mention 4 wounds on Kirai and a handful of cards.
|My semi-painted master|
The tempo of the game was such that Fugs could move around the board with little to no fear of any reprisals. I set an alpha strike in motion once Lilith had moved on to another token and left Taelor alone. She was having a field day against my spirits, killing them in a single hit. Her high WP meant I was struggling to do anything back.
Kirai summoned Ikiryo and Shikome into base contact with Taelor, forgoing a heal to cast her (0) action that would produce a Gaki should Taelor die. I had The Hanged waiting to cast Beyond the Grave and halve Taelor wounds before the big hitters went in. Up stepped the Lost Love to cast Chill of Death giving the target neg flips against spirits – the combination of these elements would be devastating. As expected he flipped poorly, I cheated to ensure I had the correct suit and soulstoned for a boost to take it out of Taelor's reach – I flipped a 1. That effectively meant that Taelor could defend everything that I threw at her by cheating (not that she needed it as Fugs has amazing flips with this crew). In return Taelor killed Shikome and Ikiryo (for the second time this game) and I had to give up the two remaining cards I had.
The game staggered on in the same vein for another turn. By this time Fug had 4 VP to my 0. I called the game mid turn 4 as the clock chimed 10pm.
The inevitable (weekly) post mortem got me analysing why this crew struggles so much and why it seems incapable of doing any damage – the number of wounds I have inflicted in 3 games can be counted on one hand.
|My multi-coloured Seishin|
If the games had been a little closer, more contested, then I could be quite content that it was part of the learning curve. At present I'm providing no real challenge to Fugs who can move around the board at will with Transposition (which I don't seem able to stop as I have no decent cards in my hand to cheat, or need them for other things). As fast as I am summoning spirits he's killing them. With the introduction of Taelor (and soon the twins) who negates all of the advantages the spirits have, I'm losing models at a faster rate with even less ability to stop it.
The danger is that these beatings are so demoralising that I'm starting to lose enthusiasm for the game and for painting the models. I could go back to The Guild but that would be defeatist, plus I've invested too much money to put the Spirits all on ebay for half the price I paid for them. I could buy bigger models – Dead Rider, etc. – but that doesn't solve the inherent problem. So I've decided to take a week or two off from gaming, do some painting, and get back to the craft side of things that I enjoy and will feed my interest.
As much as I think playing a single game a week is not helping my development – the excitement builds all week for a game then you lose 8-0 with nothing new learned – I feel (as does my poor wife) that a break will be good. I don't want to field another unpainted crew, and that in turn should provide more eye candy for the blog.
The sting of the defeat is gone now but I'm not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, or a way to turn things around; with things set to get more difficult when Fugs introduces the twins shortly I need to find a way to break them. Let the research begin…
19 January 2012
How much terrain?
This is a question that has been in my mind since starting Malifaux. With Necromunda back in the day you had the terrain provided for you and that was pretty much that. When we first started playing Malifaux we had very little appropriate scenery to use, so the early games were quite sparse and led to ranged experts such as the Convict Gunslinger ruling the roost.
As time has crept by and our terrain collection has expanded, we've seen the table get more and more crowded, to the point I'm wondering is there too much terrain on the table now? The photo of Tuesday night's game above is actually quite open by our standards.
Scouting around blogdom on a daily basis you see photos now and again of other people's games and gaming tables. Above is a photo from Bill's DeadTau Project blog, below a photo from Sholto's Incunabulog. Both tables have significantly less terrain than our own weekly layout, with some quite open spaces with nowhere to hide.
So I'm going to throw the question out to you viewing folks – how much terrain do you use?
18 January 2012
We'll be back…
Kirai; Lost Love; Datsu-Ba; The Hanged; 1x Desperate Merc; 4x Seishin
I was looking forward to unleashing The Hanged's abilities, the potential is amazing. I was also going to try the "Datsu kills Merc and replaces with Seishin and Gaki/Onryo" trick in turn 1 to gain an additional model immediately. However, this Ressers deck doesn't seem to like me much (must be all that time playing as The Guild – it can smell the starch) and my opening hand was pretty awful and devoid of any crows or masks.
Turn 1 was a bit of a shuffle and killing aforementioned Merc. Kirai summoned an Onryo who shot up the right flank, and a Shikome who shot across to the left flank to chase down my Grudge target – a Young Nephilim. The Hanged moved across to sit on the Line in the Sand token nearest the board edge, to prevent Fug's from interacting with it.
Can anyone guess what happened next?
Earthquake is what happened next! Fug's saw my error (or rather lack of intel, as I had missed the fact Lilith had the ability) and pushed both the Onryo and Hanged off the board, and almost took Datsu-Ba as well.
That sweet move put me well and truly on the back foot – 13ss worth of models gone in a single move – and set the tone of the rest of the game. Kirai swirled over to the Shikome, with most of her spirits following, but I was struggling with a lack of crows in my hand and couldn't summon Ikiryo. Even when I got my spirits into combat they seemed unable to do more than the odd wound or two. Fugs on the other hand could seemingly do no wrong and was battering my crew with little effort. By the end of turn 4 I had only the Shikome (on 5 wounds) and an untouched Onryo left. Kirai had been killed (having initially survived an absolute onslaught of attacks and swirled away to recover) and Lilith had only lost a single Young Nephilim.
I called it, Fugs winning 8-0, the ferociousness of the defeat making me feel bruised and battered for the rest of the evening. I'm not a good loser (at least not after such one-sided games) so of course the post mortem started within seconds of the game finishing and continues this morning.
I've done a lot of reading up on Lilith as this was obviously a flaw in my preparation; in my arrogance I thought I had the measure of her. I've learned a lot of things, such as she needs to discard a card when using (2) Whirling Death, gains a card when she damages a model (discarding a card if it isn't killed).
EDIT: Just read that when she uses Whirling Death, Lilith has to hit her own models too if they're within the 2" range.
I also have a lot of questions, such as Transposition – is LoS to the target models required? This doesn't usually matter as Lilith has Master of Malifaux and ignores terrain effectively. However, when her totem (who doesn't have MoM) is casting Transposition does it need LoS to the targets? This would have made a difference to the game last night.
EDIT: According to Spell Basics in the Rules Manual:
"Spells require LoS to their targets unless otherwise indicated in their description. Spells affecting more than one target do not affect targets outside the caster's LoS."
The knee-jerk reaction is buy more/bigger models (it is the 40k way) but I think I'll stick with what I have and concentrate on painting (they are desperate for colour as you can see above) and learning with them rather than concocting a new killer list.
I had to remind myself that I have played precisely 3 games with this crew and it is very different and more complicated than the Guild crews I'm used to, there are bound to be mistakes and a learning curve. Whilst Fugs has only played 1 or 2 games more with his new Lilith crew, it is a more straightforward crew and he has just reached the point where things are clicking into place. He played very well last night – possibly the best he's played so far – so there's no taking that away from him.
So there we are. Kirai goes back to the drawing board to rethink things. I still have a second Hanged model, plus Jack Daw and Insidious Madness (not forgetting Kirai's Avatar) to come on as subs at some point, but my thinking is to stick to a lineup for a few weeks and see if things turn around.
This must be what it's like to be a Premiership manager!?!
16 January 2012
Hands down star of the show so far has been Shikome – fast movement, solid on offense with some nice tricks and triggers, plus manages to hold on when attacked (if not just summon a new one!).
Datsu-ba on the other hand is yet to find her place. I've read a lot of blogs/forums with people raving about her so I'm probably not seeing it yet. She has a lot of potential so I'm loathed to drop her from the starting lineup (plus I can't summon her in). After a few days of contemplation I've decided to try something a little different for her.
In the opening turn or two I've been activating and passing (usually) with my Seishin and totem to out activate Fug, and then summon all the big hitters in at the end of turn knowing there are no reprisals to come this turn. Datsu usually spends this time lounging around with not much to do, so I've decided to give her a job.
Based upon a trick for Sonnia Criid that I learned from Bill at Dead Tau Project – using Desperate Mecenaries in your starting lineup to then kill and summon more expensive Witchling Stalkers – I'm going to drop a Seishin from the starting list and replace with a Desperate Merc (same points cost).
On turn one Datsu goes to town on the Merc and finishes him off with her funky spell that (if it kills the target) turns them into a Gaki or even an Onryo with the trigger. Making sure this happens within 8" of Kirai means that I lose a Merc, gets turned into a Gaki with a corpse counter in the pocket, and Kirai gains Seishin number 5. This basically means I get two (low priced) models for the price of one and will take my crew count up to 10 before summoning Ikiryo or Shikome.
I also intend including The Hanged for the first time to see what he can do. I may take some photos this week, although I warn you now there are no painted models…yet.
11 January 2012
Malifaux 2012: Game 1 – Kirai vs Lilith
I was rather excited going into this game, after our taster battle on Sunday. We'd had a glimpse of the possibilities of Kirai and her spirits and I was expected Fugs to come back with a game plan.
As a caveat to this game it should be noted that we've decided to spice things up for 2012. Instead of defaulting to the same "easy" Schemes (Bodyguard/Hold Out) each week we've made a ruling. You're not allowed to take the a Scheme you've already had in a previous game until all the Schemes in the book have been attempted. This means you have to pick and choose your Schemes carefully.
We went for individual Strategies for this game. Fugs flipped Line in the Sand and took Steal Relic and Breakthrough as Schemes. I flipped Escape and Survive and took Stake a Claim and Breakthrough.
Don't have photos or a full battle report, but will run through the highlights – it was a battle royale and a half.
Kirai first turn was a disaster due to a very poor hand of cards, nothing was summoned. Lilith attempted to switch an Onryo with a Tot, but didn't have the suit.
Lilith and the Mature Nephilim headed over in in my direction and I moved my entire crew to the other flank (to where Datsu-Ba was skulking). Lilith's response was to move full shift into my deployment zone just over 12" away from Kirai.
Despite my plan to not engage, I devised an alpha strike of sorts to deal with Lilith. Can't remember the details but it went something like this –
The next turn (Kirai won initiative) Shikome finished off Lilith (Ikiryo died from the Black Blood wound) then charged the Mature Nephilim who was nearby. She did a couple of wounds on the big man. Kirai then swirled the Shikome with Datsu-Ba and healed the wounded bird for a couple of wounds.
The Mature attacked Datsu, but used Knock Aside on her and charged the Shikome, killing her. Next, the Seishin cast Empower Spirit (or whatever it's called) on the two Onryo in front of the Mature Nephilim and Kirai cast Spirit Food (meaning if killed the Mature would turn into a Gaki) before summoning the Shikome back. The Shikome killed the Mature in revenge, creating the Gaki and freeing up the Empowered Onryo. My crew was getting bigger.
Fugs had interacted with all but one of the Line in the Sand counters and I was still in my deployment zone. The game ebbed and flowed again up to the last turn.
Shikome defused the other counter then used Nimble to try and get within base contact with my chosen terrain piece – half an inch short. Damn.
I used my remaining activations to get 8" beyond my deployment zone to achieve my Strategy. Only Kirai didn't make it but it meant that I didn't have 75% of my starting number safe so only scored 2 points not 4. Never has half an inch mattered so much, twice in one game. Damn.
Very exciting game, was absolutely knackered afterwards, and sets up the next game nicely.
Round 2 in a week's time, with the distinct possibility of new models on both sides (and maybe even some painted… and photos!).
09 January 2012
Spirits in the Material World…
Yesterday was noted by the first game of Malifaux of 2012. I did well, I think, to stick to my rule of only Guild in 2011 and held off playing my Kirai crew (that I've had for some time now).
It is 2011 no longer so I jumped straight in, throwing off my Guild allegiance and fielded Kirai's Ressurectionist spirits against Fug's fledgling Lilith crew.
All I can say is wow – you can do all the reading you like, but it doesn't prepare you for actually playing the crew in a game. It was always going to be a slow affair, and we had limited time, so the game lasted 4 turns.
Strategy was Shared Contain Power. Fugs chose a couple of Neverborn specific Schemes (including one that involved Blood Counters, before he realised that Spirits don't drop any kind of counter). I chose Grudge and Kill Protegee, on the Mature Nephilim and a Younger. My opening crew consisted of Kirai and her Totem, Datsu-Ba, Shikome and five Seishin.
I won't bore you all with details at this stage. I had a vague plan, but it didn't last long. I was amazed at how fast Kirai can be – I even allowed Lilith to switch her at one stage. She managed to fly around the board with ease. Kirai won the game 4-2 but it wasn't representative of the game – we both stumbled around the new crew and played to learn.
I have to say though that, whilst yesterday felt like riding a train that wasn't quite on the tracks properly, the possibilities for this crew are very exciting. I already have some Hanged and Gaki waiting in the wings, with Insidious Madness and maybe even the Dead Rider on the wanted list.
With another game booked in for Tuesday this week I have a lot to think about. I was quite overwhelmed by the crew yesterday, so I may reduce the variety of model and abilities I have to remember in my opening few games.
Any Kirai veterans who want to throw any gems of experience into the ring please do share.
To be continued…
06 January 2012
Flying out of the door…
I have to admit it's been quite a whirlwind so far this year in regard to my Malcontent bases. Having only re-posted them on Ebay on New Year's Day, the 30mm Bamboo are already virtually sold out and the 50mm Bamboo are half way there too.
It has been obvious for some time that with Wyrd's Kirai crew models and the Bushido miniature range expanding that the Bamboo design was quickly becoming the most popular design I have.
With this in mind I've decided to expand the range sooner than originally planned. I'm currently planning to create an alternative set of five 30mm bases to compliment the current set, as well as adding three or so 40mm bases and possibly an alternative 50mm base.
In addition to this there will shortly be a 50mm Sewer base, with 40mm ones to follow.
I have to say that it's all very exciting, but at the end of the day this is not a business it's a hobby – I don't make any real money out of it – and everything has to fit around daily life. This does mean that things take longer than I would like, but from the feedback received so far people are appreciating the attention to detail and care taken with the bases. I'll keep making them as long as people are buying them and/or I still enjoy it.
Have a good weekend!
05 January 2012
Goodbye 2011… Hello 2012
Let's be honest, I've not managed to post anything of much value here for a couple of months. The main reason is my six-month cycle (I have a natural intense enthusiasm period for any interest that lasts about six months then naturally burns itself out no matter what I do). This happened with 40k a while back but didn't return, it happened with Malifaux back in October and is slowly coming back. The problem is I get so into a given game or project that it can only burn itself out over time – the candle that burns brightest and all that.
During this burnout period I have been playing a lot of Warcraft, the Deathwing raids especially, getting some very decent gear along the way. I've also purchased Starcraft 2 and started the campaign missions, like meeting an old friend you haven't seen in a while. There's also been a lot to occupy my mind in life generally over the last few months, that I won't go into, and jobs around the house in the run up to Christmas visitors, etc.
Despite a perceived lack of interest in wargaming in general, and Malifaux specifically, I have not been idle (recently at least). Fugs purchased the Lilith box set a month or so ago and we've had a couple of games with her as my main opponent, which came as a shock to the system after so many games against Rasputina. The first game I tabled Fugs in 4 turns, which is not unexpected as I was using a Perdita led crew that I know well whilst he was still learning about his new models. The next game I made a few changes and got tabled myself in 4 turns - oh how fickle the Fate deck can be, not a decent hand of cards all game whilst Fugs got the Red Joker at least three times (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!).
So that's what's been happening. At the moment I am dipping my toe back into the gaming/painting water. After some great feedback and mounting enquiries about my Malcontent bases I have pulled my finger out and got a 50mm Bamboo base cast up. I had sold two before the mold was even dry, such was the interest!
I also have some ideas for new base designs, as well as 40mm and 50mm versions of current designs.
On top of that I have been painting! At present Papa Loco sits on the painting desk alone, but Avatar Sonnia will be undercoated today and I have an entire Kirai crew drying after a WHITE undercoat (something new for 2012, never used white before).
Whilst in no hurry to burnout my new found, if delicate, gaming mojo I have also embarked upon a bit of terrain. I bought the Citadel wood just before Christmas in answer to a lack of greenery on our gaming board. Not a very challenging build, I have devised a way to weigh down the trees so that they stop falling over every time you so much as look at them. I hope to add an additional wood with trees currently residing in a box in the attic. This should give us a decent balance between solid and obscuring cover during our games.
As for the rest of 2012, I have not distinct resolutions or plans. This year will be a big year one way or another on the domestic front, so games and hobbies –as important as they are– will have to be flexible. I would like to break the 6-month burnout cycle and 'plod' more throughout the year both with the hobby and the blog. I'd like to paint more miniatures this year; 2011 (April) started with a bang and then tailed off rather dramatically. I'm hoping to maintain the weekly gaming with Fug, supplemented by a few more games against Bull – been way too long. Being a stats geek I'd quite like to track painting and gaming progress, like Bill at Dead Tau Project. It would be nice to compare year on year stats.
Best wishes and luck to you all for the coming year, both in gaming and life in general… oh, and the impending end of the world (so I'm told).
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