30 March 2012

The Genius That Is Gael Goumon…

Lady Justice – Malifaux

Just a quickie Friday afternoon post, as you've already had a bonus post this week!

As I've mentioned in the past, it was the miniatures that drew me into Malifaux to begin with. Lady J and Perdita were the two that caught my eye initially, and my loyalty to The Guild was secured (for a while at least).

Perdita Ortega – Malifaux
What I hadn't realised is that most of my favourite Malifaux miniatures were done by the same sculptor. Gael Goumon is a very talented individual who, as I'm quickly learning, is responsible for some of the most recognisable gaming miniatures in the industry, not just the ones he did for Wyrd Miniatures.

Colette Du Bois – Malifaux
I strongly recommend a visit to his website – Mandragore Miniatures – when you get the opportunity and have a look through the news section and his gallery. This guy knows how to sculpt boobs!

Rasputina – Malifaux
Next week on the blog should involve more painting of Francisco Ortega – another one of Gael's miniatures – and maybe even a game of Malifaux.

29 March 2012

A Newbie Guide: Malifaux – The Guild

“Make no mistake, the Guild exists for one reason and one reason only. There is talk of justice and peace, but these are secondary concerns, byproducts of their primary interest. The Guild exists to maintain the production of Malifaux Soulstone above all other things. The citizens abide by Guild law because it offers some amount of protection, but no one is confused about the way this force exerts its hold over the City and its resources.”
Malifaux Official Website

Yes, I'm going back to The Guild faction after my foray into Resurrectionist territory with my recent Kirai crew. Given that upcoming posts on the blog are likely to be Guild-orientated, I thought it might be wise to give an overview of The Guild troops for the uninitiated.

My first Malifaux master was Lady Justice and her Death Marshals. It was simply a case of how in love I was with the models – they blew me away and drew me into the world of Malifaux.

From a fluff perspective she is the calm authority of the Governor General, lethal in combat with her Greatsword. Her Death Marshals are trained in necromancy but forbidden to use it, and this knowledge twists and corrupts their appearance. They use their enchanted pine coffins to imprison enemies and expose them to horrific visions.

Game-wise Lady J is a melee monster, capable of taking down (almost) any model in a single round of combat. Her abilities are quite straightforward and buff the crew around her, making her an ideal master with which to learn the game.

The other miniature that drew me towards Malifaux was Perdita Ortega (it's not a boob thing, honestly). The rest of the models in this set I could take or leave, but she oozes attitude.

As the teenage head of the family, Perdita is something of a celebrity. She is a fast, gunslinging specialist and the family support this ranged theme. Every one of the family members can shoot well – even old Papa Loco throwing his sticks of dynamite as he goes.

In-game Perdita is another easy master to learn, and can seem overpowered in smaller games. She doesn't have much synergy with the rest of the crew and tends to work a lot in isolation, mainly due to how fast she can move – the others just can't keep up. She is not indestructible though, and if not supported will suffer.

The next crew in my Malifaux journey was Sonnia Criid and the Witchlings (sounds like a rock band). On this occasion it was her in-game abilities that interested me rather than the models in her set, though I've always felt that the Witchlings looked like Victorian Sith Jedi.

Sonnia heads up the Witch Hunter division of The Guild and she walks that fine line familiar between Light side and Dark side, straying a little too often for her superiors. The Witchlings are former witches who have been brainwashed and reprogrammed to hunt the very people they used to be.

Potentially the strongest all-round master The Guild has to offer, Sonnia is deadly against magic users – even having line of sight through terrain when facing the strongest casters. She has decent synergy with the crew around her, capable of turning wounded friends or foes into fresh Witchlings – very useful if you're running low on troops.

The C. Hoffman box set was a recent Christmas present from my friend Bull. I have to confess that I have only built and undercoated The Guardian so far for use in a Perdita crew, but the rest of the constructs set will be seeing the light of day – I look forward to test driving this crew first hand.

The background story speaks of a frail man stricken with polio, who travels through the breach to Malifaux with his heroic brother Ryle. The transition to the 'otherworld' had terrible effects on the brothers, stimulating Hoffman and giving him terrific synergy with machines. Ryle on the other hand had a complete meltdown and became something of a monster.

This crew seems to play as a real unit, with Hoffman in the middle pulling all the strings. More then any other crew, he is the heart and soul. He is able to use abilities from nearby constructs as well as buff them. He can also sacrifice constructs to suit his needs.

The final character to look at is Lucius Matheson. He is the Governor General's secretary, and quite a nasty piece of work by all accounts. Lucius is a henchman rather than a fully fledged master, with more of a lieutenant status than someone who leads outright. Having said that you can take him in place of a master, giving you additional soulstones to spend on your crew – however, he is not as powerful as a master and that is where the balance is struck. This box set has been gathering dust for some time, but I'm looking forward to painting some of these quite unique models.

From what I can glean from book and web, Lucius works best with Guild Guard, the footsloggers of the faction – he buffs them and vice versa. His starting crew also contains C. Hoffman's brother Ryle, now a minigun-toting psycho.

The starter boxes are, of course, interchangeable and there are a host of additional Guild troops that you can bring in to boost your crew. I will go through some of these options in a future post when I talk about selecting a crew for a game. I just have to wait until my next game!

For anyone wanting to learn more do visit the Official Malifaux website, or alternatively the Malifaux wiki Pull My Finger is a great source of information.

To be continued…

28 March 2012

Thinking About The (Gaming) Environment…

Malifaux by Wyrd Miniatures

No game again this week, due to having some guests staying at the house, so I was thinking about what to post in lieu of a battle report (I've noticed a blogging schedule of Mon/ Weds/ Fri developing).

Back when I started my interest in Malifaux, almost a year ago, I wanted to create the perfect gaming board on which to play. I had been totally blown away by the Victorian London-esque environment that was the abandoned city of Malifaux. The accompanying artwork only managed to ramp up my enthusiasm for creating something spectacular.

I created my gaming board as a cobbled crossroads, lifting the idea from Gangs of New York and the Five Points at Paradise Square. I had plenty of ruined 40k buildings (that would stand in on a short term basis) to flesh out the area and develop the height. I harked back to games of Necromunda and the multi-level gaming arena games would be played on, the result being a very ambitious office block project that stalled mid-build.

The most notable side effect of my intense Malifaux interest was an increasing obsession with lamp posts, the more classical and ornate the better. I photograph lots of lamp posts and street lighting wherever I went. Even Bull got in on the act, emailing me photos from all over the place whilst on his travels for work. I designed several options for steampunk versions of Victorian lamp posts on the computer with the intention of building a master and casting up the components in resin to fill my city streets.

Lady Justice – my first and favourite Guild master
My first Malifaux crew was based on cobblestone bases by Fenris Games (I couldn't delay building and painting my fledgling Lady Justice crew while I made my own bases) and things got very exciting.

So what happened? Why did this fantastic vision evaporate?

Two things happened.

First of all, having been a freelance graphic designer up to this point, I got a full time job. This meant I couldn't just taken random afternoons off to build terrain, paint and blog. My hobby time was suddenly restricted to evenings and weekends… and I wasn't very enthusiastic about doing stuff in the evening after a stressful day.

Kirai – Resurrectionist master
Secondly, I actually started to play the game. I learned how to play my crew, learned about its shortfalls and wanted to expand the range of models I owned. These new (gunslinger) models would look out of place in the city and on cobblestone bases, so I created my own bases and the Malcontent project was born. This took upon a life of its own during the latter part of 2011 and the beginning of this year, to the detriment of all other things hobby related – hence me calling a timeout. I went back to the painting and playing, now having my buddy Fugs as a weekly opponent. I had my new Kirai crew and an escalating pile of unpainted miniatures as my powergaming mojo reared its head again, causing a purchasing frenzy as I tried to gain the upper hand with new models.

And that's how things stand at the moment. We've missed two consecutive weeks of gaming which has allowed me to do some more painting as well as take a step back and assess how things are.

New models are always tempting

Where to go from here?

I thought about buying a brand new crew, having played Kirai for three months now. As much as this is always appealing for a gamer, the prospect of collecting a ton of fresh metal didn't make sense given the backlog already in residence.

I have decided to let things travel full circle and over the next few weeks will be going back to The Guild faction to finish off the models I have, learn to play the FOUR Guild crews I own more effectively and draw a line of some kind under my first year of exposure to Malifaux. I don't have to buy any new models as I own everything in The Guild faction (aside from a handful of book 3 models).

However, this won't mean an end to the purchasing (sorry wife) as Flames of War has caught my attention and I quite like the idea of having a starter army of Germans again (I had a reasonable collection of Germans back in 2005 and sold the lot) just in case the opportunity arises to have a game – I blame the Angry Lurker after his recent battlereports from that era.

In addition to this I want to pick up rulebooks for some newer games such as Hell Dorado, Freebooters' Fate and Secrets of the Third Reich to name just a few. I like to read alternative skirmish rules and have a small collection of books already.

Inspiration is everywhere
As for the terrain, I'd like to develop my Victorian cityscape but at a more manageable and sensible rate – bitesize chunks as the revision manuals always say. My plan is to have a stunning environment to play Malifaux in as I love the character of the game. Salute 2012 is on the horizon and I want to go there with a sensible shopping list to aid in this venture. We will see…

26 March 2012

A Newbie Guide: Painting Miniatures part 3b

Read part 3a here

So, if you remember, last time I had a decision to make about whether to leave the coat as it was or work into it more.

It's me! Of course I worked into it more!

I took some more of the Devlan Mud wash and painted into the shadows. Once thoroughly dry I added some fresh Bleached Bone highlights followed by tiny white highlights.

I also took the opportunity to paint up the patches on the back of his coat, using various browns and highlighting with the Bleached Bone.

Next I looked at the skin. I wanted Francisco here to at least look related to his sister Perdita, so chose a similar colour scheme. I base coated the areas in Bestial brown, which is a much warmer brown to the Burnt Umber used earlier. At this point I would normally paint in the eyes, but Francisco has such small, dark eyes I've decided not to bother. I mixed in some Vermin Brown and then started to highlight with Bleached Bone. I will go back with a wash of some kind before a final white highlight.

Francisco's jeans were next on the painting list. I painted out the brown overspill from the coat with Black before basecoating the area with a Black/Fenris Grey mix. I highlighted this up with increasing amounts of White before giving the area a Blue wash.

Lesson to be learned here – I was too quick to give the model a blue wash, not letting the highlights dry thoroughly. The result was a complete obliteration of the crisp lines and a muddy blue colour covering the entirety of his jeans. Must remember to give paint time to dry thoroughly.

I went back later with some final White highlights.

You can probably see the process I use now, applied in various areas and with a variety of colours. I will continue to paint Francisco here and give a final update once complete.

I hope you have picked up some ideas for your own painting, and of course if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

23 March 2012

A Newbie Guide: Painting Miniatures part 3a

Read part 2 here

We've come to the part where paint actually finds its way onto a model. I'd like to point out that the stages covered in this post took approximately an hour, spread over the course of Thursday evening and Friday morning. I pretty much rushed through it in order to post something today (Friday) so under normal circumstances I would spend longer. I also noticed that there is a mold line down Francisco's right side that I missed (and will annoy me forever) but as a gaming miniature it will do until I feel overwhelmed to go back, file it off and repaint.

The following stage numbers refer to the diagram found in part 2.

Stage 1
As mentioned in part 1 of this series. This is fundamentally the undercoat stage.

Stage 2
I've given the coat a thorough covering of the brown/black mix. I've not concerned myself with being particularly tidy with my painting, more a case of making sure the paint is in all the corners it needs to be. At this point I'm using a decent sized brush – a number 3 if I remember correctly.

Stage 3
The pure brown stage is done as a couple of thinner layer, using the same sized brush, leaving only the deep recesses in the stage 2 colour. Again, not too worried about being tidy around the non-coat areas of the model.

Stage 4/5
These two stages tend to merge into each other as I apply several layers with a smaller (0) brush. From now on I'm using very watered down paint and building up highlights slowly to the point where I can't go any lighter.

Stage 6
I'm now using pure Bleached Bone, again with a lot of water, almost to the point where it's just water. I tend to run the brush along the raised edges of the model first then build up more subtle highlights around other areas using fewer layers or even more watered down paint – in fact it's just water with whatever paint residue is on the bristles.

Stage 7
The wash stage is done in two parts. First of all as a thin wash over the entire brown area, painting it on with the brush rather than drowning the model and letting the colour pool. This layer should dry in seconds. I then go back in with slightly darker wash and paint it into the lower areas, creating deeper shadows. To be fair the camera hasn't really picked up on it, but to the naked eye you can see the difference straight away.

At this stage I have a decision to make. I like where this is going and may just apply a final highlight, or I may work more into it adding lighter highlights (and darker shadows) before declaring the coat complete. It is a gaming miniature after all so may not warrant the attention and time of other models.

Stay tuned to find out what happens next…

Read part 3b here

21 March 2012

A Newbie Guide: Painting Miniatures part 2

Read part 1 here.

The plan

As you can tell from the image above I have racked up a lot of experience painting brown clothing. Because the long coats are usually the largest area on the models I tend to do them first. Our miniature of choice for this project, Francisco Ortega, has a similar long coat which I intend to paint brown, inline with the rest of the family. I will use a similar colour palette to the one I used for Santiago Ortega (above, two pistols and ginger hair) which I have illustrated below.

To simplify my painting process I have laid it out visually in a step by step process. Take into account this is an over-simplified process – there are often in between steps and I will make decisions as I go (for example, I may throw in an additional wash of Sepia to tweak the overall colour, plus I've recently started to paint darker shadows back in later on in the process). However, it offers a good starting point.

Step 1, which is illustrated as pure black, is basically the undercoat covered in part 1. As you can see I build up the colour until I have a pure brown, then move onto the mid-highlights each time painting less and less of the model.

Once I reach the pure Bleached Bone highlight I will usually wash the entire area in Devlan Mud to unify and deepen the layers so far. The process then begins again, rinse and repeat, this time with Bleached Bone and White. Once I'm at the pure White stage I may stop, if I've had enough or feel it's all working nicely. Sometimes, however, I need a stage 12 – another wash, followed by re-application of the final highlight – to boost things a little.

I use this same process with everything I paint by simply substituting the colours. By starting with black and finishing with white when I paint, I have a set of miniatures with a uniform look, even if they are totally different colours. This is great for my crews in Malifaux who are by nature individual characters.

Tools for the job?

I used to use Games Workshop products exclusively, for no reason other then I was only buying their models and it was easy enough to pick up paints and brushes at the same time. I quickly learned that I didn't like some of their stuff (superglue) but the paints and brushes have always served me well. The shift into Malifaux, together with greater exposure to some fantastic blogs, lead me to try Vallejo paint. I'm slowly expanding my collection of these and have recently moved to Kolinsky Sable brushes which do hold and maintain a point for far longer. Unfortunately, my lack of quality maintenance (it's the genes!) means they don't survive any longer than GW's cheaper alternatives.

My painting/construction tray

As for other items, I have limited space available so everything has to be compact. I use a ramekin for my water and the plastic lid from a Pringles tube as a palette. Why not use a proper palette or plate? I do on occasion, but when I need to clean my lid-palette I just turn it inside out and peel off the dried acrylic – no water or soap required. I don't use any fancy mediums or other liquid to mix in with the paint – I'm from the North so like things straightforward and that all seems very frilly and unnecessary to me, I just use paint and water. Having said that, I am quite intrigued by the wet-palette concept and can see a real use for this. Maybe one day.

Next, we may actually see some paint!…

Read part 3a here

19 March 2012

A Newbie Guide: Painting Miniatures part 1

Scales of Justice - one of my first Malifaux miniatures


This series is dedicated to Anne of Anne's Attic blog who recently painted her first gaming miniature. She was rather unhappy with her first attempt and asked her viewers for feedback. Naturally the comments were all positive as she had actually done a pretty fine job for a first timer. It made me remember how I felt when I first started painting miniatures and the unwarranted frustration that I could not get close to the models I saw in magazines (long before the internet and blogging).

My first minis – flat colour only

I'm not a great painter. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with the quality of the models I produce and, blowing my own trumpet, they are usually better than 'gaming standard' (whatever that actually means). However, I am no expert; I have never entered/won a (serious) painting competition; I have never had lessons or been employed to paint. I have my painting style, it suits me and produces results I am happy with and a lot of gamers I know admire.

Yet, I have a daily battle with my genes. I have one parent who has a definite "that will do" attitude to everything in life, putting tools down once the minimum amount of effort required has been expended. My other parent is a perfectionist, to the point of obsession. I have inherited both of these aspects, so fight to navigate a middle ground in everything I do. When it comes to painting this usually means I'm slow to finish anything and I'm rarely completely happy with the final product, but I'm learning to cope.

Painting Blood Angels

In the last couple of years, since starting my Blood Angels, my painting has improved. Learning to blend shadows through to highlights on all that red armour (as well as reading lots of blog posts) helped me develop my technique to get results that I liked. Once I moved onto Malifaux I decided to do away with metallic paint and try the NMM (non metallic metal) route. This built upon what I had learned with the armour, with mixed results to this day. I am constantly looking to improve, but that is not what this article is about.

The Executioner – with NMM blades and backpack

Yes, this article is about going back to the beginning. If I was coming into the miniature painting scene a complete newbie I want some help. As I mentioned earlier, I'm no expert but I will demonstrate how I go about painting a given model and if the newbie painters can get anything from it then it will be a successful series. The more established painters may find this all very familiar or frown at the techniques I employ. Whoever you are, get out of it what you can.

On to the painting…

The miniature in question will be Francisco Ortega, member of The Guild in Malifaux. Due to his mediocre showing in games he has fallen to the back of the queue and now spends his time as a proxy Desperate Merc for which I don't yet own a model.

He was clipped from the metal tab at his feet and pinned to a resin base as described in my Newbie Guide for resin bases. Mould lines were filed and gaps filled with greenstuff. He was sprayed lightly with Chaos Black spray from several angles to make sure the paint didn't clog the detail. Once thoroughly dry I took a brush to him and gave him an all over coat of diluted black, to fill in the missed bits and make sure it was even colour all over.

Next, we move on to some colour…

Read part 2 here.

14 March 2012

Kirai meets the Twins…

Tuesday game night was cut short again due to me being on family chauffeur duties to and from the train station.

Having initially indicated the need to borrow Guild models again, Fugs turned up with his salvaged miniature case containing (still unpainted!) Lilith. He hastily stuck a one-armed Lelu onto his base and we were ready to go (he wasn't buying my idea that Lelu only having one arm meant he lost Melee Expert ability).

The Neverborn lineup consisted of Lilith, Cherub, Taelor (yay!), Lelu & Lilitu and a Terror Tot. Fugs flipped Treasure Hunt (which incidentally has not come up before in 12 months of gaming) and chose Bodyguard and Assassinate as Schemes.

I took my usual team of Kirai, Lost Love, Datsue-Ba, 3x Seishin, 2x Insidious Madness, Desperate Merc and Canine Remains. I managed to flip Contain Power and took Hold Out and Stake a Claim to complement.

Turn 1 was pretty routine. I managed to get quite a good control hand with 4 cards over 10. However, my team weren't singing from the same hymn sheet as me and I managed to use my entire hand getting them to do my bidding. The Canine was unable to wound the Merc (!) and in return was killed, creating a Seishin and Gaki as required. The Terror Tot had sprinted to the Treasure counter and was sitting quietly in base contact with it. I summoned Ikiryo on top of the Treasure but was unable to outright kill the Tot. The Gaki moved up to support Ikiryo. I summoned Shikome who shot down the board to attack Lilith, the Neverborn master spent 2 or 3 Soulstones to prevent the incoming attacks/damage.

Turn 2 saw Ikiryo kill off the Tot, pick up the Treasure and move slowly towards my line. Taelor turned around and charged Shikome to relieve Lilith, unable to quite kill her. Lilith finished off the bird before moving up to support the twins. The twins jumped into the woods, Lelu charging the Gaki, inflicting a couple of wounds and stacking enough poison counters to pickle the battered spirit. Lilitu made a melee strike against Ikiryo from full 4" range. I swirled the Gaki out of danger, replacing it with Datsue, who proceeded to inflict only weak damage on Lelu. The Gaki was then sacrificed to give Kirai a boost, before she brought on an Onryo.

Turn 3 saw Fugs Transpose Lilitu with Taelor. Lelu battered Datsue-Ba, inflicting 5 wounds and 4 poison (meaning the poison would kill her as soon as she activated next). Lilitu moved up and hit Datsue for another couple of wounds. Afraid that I would swirl and sacrifice again, Taelor hit Datsue, killing her (and giving me a new Seishin). She attacked the Onryo with her remaining Strikes, inflicting 4 wounds.

In the meantime I had moved up an Insidious Madness and cast its negative WP aura and summoned a Shikome into base contact with Taelor and the Cherub. Ikiryo pulled my lone Seishin towards the combat before turning and striking Taelor (now on negative flips to defend with WP) inflicting a handful of wounds. The Seishin Empowered the Onryo before being pulled back to Kirai's side. The boosted Onryo also struck Taelor inflicting more wounds. Taelor's Hard To Wound ability meant that most of my damage flips were negative which was a pain, as was her Hard To Kill. Enter Shikome who took Taelor's head off with her first Strike, before turning and killing the Cherub then getting a Strike in against nearby Lilith, who again had to use a Soulstone to protect herself.

At this point, the end of Turn 3, we had to call it due to time running out. Technically Fugs had 2VP for Bodyguard and I had 2VP for Hold Out but it was very early in the game – Turn 4 would have been make or break for both sides.

I learned a lot about the twins. I learned if you want to kill them you have to do it outright as they can heal even 4 or 5 wounds at the end of every turn – that can be very demoralising. Having taken down Taelor with a combined attack I'm confident I can take down one of the twins at least with a couple of Shikome and Ikiryo. I do love the Insidious Madness. They don't always contribute fully but they are fast on their feet (if they have any) and the negative WP aura makes life a lot easier against these big Neverborn hitters.

09 March 2012

A Malifaux Campaign…ideas

 Initial thoughts…

Aside from the models (and the welcome absence of dice), it was the "character-driven" aspect of Malifaux that peaked my interest. I've always enjoyed the longer term investment involved in campaigns and games like Necromunda, and the prospect of doing something like this with Malifaux has been almost too much to bear.

I have been a regular visitor to the Wyrd forums for a year now, looking for help or info relating to Malifaux campaigns but with little return. There are the odd story-driven strategies but nothing to really get your teeth into. But I've been lucky enough to have a game a week so the prospect of a campaign seemed miles away and over time disappeared into the background.

When Wyrd launched their shiny new Malifaux website that included the above interactive map the idea of a map-based campaign reared its head again and I've been getting quietly excited at the prospect again. I do have very limited opponents at present but it could add a little depth to the games we do play.

The main criteria is that it has to be simple. The map adds something visual to study when not playing, which I always liked. There needs to be some kind of advantage to owning territory – a desire to capture more, or specific territory to receive a bonus or two in upcoming games. The idea of weaving a story or vague plot of some kind into proceedings would be good and should hold people's interest – grudges are starting to develop between specific characters already in our games (damn you Taelor…) so this could be developed.

The other big, big thing is there needs to be an end. It needs to have a natural arc and not drag on and on until everyone has lost interest.

We also have a variety of masters, not all the same faction, so this needs to be taken into account also:
 I own Lady J, Perdita, Sonnia, Hoffman (still boxed) and Kirai.
Fugs has Rasputina and Lilith
Bull has McMourning and the Viks.

Aside from my Guild collection we have one master from each of the other factions so not really able to go down the faction route.

My question to you viewers is – can you think of anything else that needs to be considered? Any advice of tips for running a small, long-distance campaign?

To be continued…

07 March 2012

Perdita vs Kirai

It was quite a strange feeling facing a master you consider your own; a master you've learned inside-out and have great affection for. Last night my Kirai crew got to face Perdita for a totally different experience to normal – Fugs didn't have his models with him so had the choice of any of my Guild army.

Everything is a little bit of a blur. We had a very small window of opportunity in which to have a game last night, so we flew through it. Despite Fugs not playing any Guild models before, he had faced them often enough so knew their potential.

He flipped Reconnoiter for his Strategy and took Kill Protegee and Perdita's specific Schemes. His final choice for crew consisted of Perdita, Enslaved Nephilim, Abuela Ortega, Papa Loco, Watcher and 3x Witchling Stalkers.

Sneaky, sneaky guild

I flipped Turf War for Strategy and decided upon Stake a Claim and Grudge (Papa Loco). My crew lineup looked familiar – Kirai, Lost Love, Datsue-Ba, Desperate Merc, Canine Remains, 2x Insidious Madness, 3x Seishin. The Guild opponents have quite high WP, Perdita being Immune to Influence so I would not need the Insidious Madness for the usual negative WP flips (though this was still viable). I decided to include them for their low cost and speed. If I could get them into Fugs deployment zone they would provide a strong distraction – if he didn't kill them he would potentially be handing me 2VP on a plate. I had chosen a wood near his deployment zone for Stake a Claim, and Papa was the obvious choice for Grudge given the damage he could do to my grouped spirits.

I was both confident and wary going into this game, knowing the enemy models as I do. As luck would have it the cards were largely on my side, getting the Black Joker in my hand in the first turn as well as FOUR crows and a mask. I did only have one card higher than an 8 but that was not so much of an issue early on.

Kirai, flanked by her bodyguard Seishin, surveys the battle

The game started with me doing my summoning and the dog and merc continuing their 'Looney Tunes' style beating on each other. I managed to summon Ikiryo (for no reason other than I could and I wanted to lose the summoning Slow in time for turn 2) as well as a Shikome who homed in on the Watcher who was perched on top of a building in the middle of the board. He died, much to Fugs disappointment, and the rest of the Guild shuffled forwards.

Turn 2 saw Papa Loco Obeyed forward into the ruined warehouse, he then moved forward to just a few inches away from (which was a mistake by Fugs who should have Obeyed him a second and even a third time into position, leaving Papa his activation in tact). Perdita lurked in the background covering the warehouse in case of any intrusions.

This threat was a little close to home and I had Datsue-Ba Guide my Gaki (who was Slow due to summon) through the wall next to Papa. Perdita charged in but, thanks to some solid Defensive flips and a Corpse Counter, failed to kill him off. Kirai summoned a second Shikome into base contact with Perdita and the first Shikome moved in to attack the Guild master. Despite multiple plus flips on the attack the combined Shikome attacks failed to wound Perdita at all, although Fugs had expended most of his control hand and a Soulstone or two. The Gaki hit Papa for no result, then I moved Ikiryo through the wall and hit Papa a couple of times for 4 wounds or so. I was a little underwhelmed by the result but was still in a commanding position.

The turning point of the game

Turn 3 saw me win initiative, despite Fug flipping an 11. Ikiryo punched Papa who exploded causing all kinds of chaos, inflicting wounds everywhere and killing the Gaki. Perdita, intent on revenge, turned and killed off one Shikome then inflicted more wounds on the other. The Shikome was swirled away for healing, being replaced by Datsue-Ba who only managed to inflict 1 wound on Perdita. Another Shikome was summoned into melee with Perdita, and it was pretty much over. Perdita dropped leaving the Guild master-less. In the mean time, all this carnage had refilled Kirai's Seishin count and wounds.

We finished off turn 3 and, with a few minutes remaining, dived into turn 4. Abuela blew a few holes in Ikiryo but failed to kill him. On the other side of the warehouse wall two of the Witchlings had engaged the Onryo, with wounds dealt out on both sides. The wounded Shikome then moved in and finished off one of the Witchlings, who inflicted additional wounds all round when he exploded.

At this point, half way through turn 4, we had run out of time and we called it. The two Insidious Madness were sitting pretty in Fug's deployment zone, well out of reach, and the Guild had lost their master. Kirai was in a 6-0 winning position, with 2 more VP easily achieveable. The Guild survivors had a potential 2vp and another, somewhat unlikely, 4vp possible but the game was essentially over.

The birds just keep coming…

The Kirai summoning machine had achieved another victory – I'll take them all. Despite the fact that Fugs was playing with a crew he didn't know, I was quite pleased with the way things went. I had a plan to achieve my VPs and that went pretty much as hoped. Whilst I don't think I learned anything new about Kirai (aside from Datsue really is all or nothing) my gameplay was nicely underlined and I felt confident in my decision making. It was a very pleasant change facing a different master, but the signs are that Lilith will make her return next week, with the Nephilim twins, so that will be a totally different challenge indeed.

05 March 2012

Painting Update: Seishin

Last week I managed to squeeze a bit of painting into the evenings. Given that I have five of them to paint and had already put base colour on three, I decided to paint up my Seishin.

I made the decision to paint all five Seishin a different colour, for no other reason than so I could identify them individually. Playing Kirai's crew can be a real test on your concentration levels, so I need all the help I can get. Given that there are only two sculpts – I decided not to convert any myself – this seemed the most logical (and instantly identifiable) route to take.

As you can see they are not quite finished yet. I have to add some detail to the faces, wash the Bamboo base with a little brown and tidy off the black base edge. I also intend to add a final white highlight to the foot of each Seishin, then blend it into the Bamboo so that it looks less stark and as if they're rising through the floor. How successful this is we will see.

In addition to these guys we have Datsue-Ba and one of the Shikome at various stages of paint, plus Kirai and Ikiryo to have detail finished. With a bit of luck there should be some more painting time this week …and blog posts to follow.

01 March 2012

New Desperate Mercenary

I've been proxying the Desperate Merc for my Sonnia and Kirai lists for a while now. I didn't see the point in buying the model since he was not on the table for more than a turn, unless things were going badly. However, I finally decided to buy the poor fella in (for the stat card if nothing else) and he's been sitting on my paint tray for a couple of weeks.

I'm at a point where he's reaching the front of the painting queue when I spot the above model – entitled Troll Potion – on the Cool Mini Or Not website and I had found his female equivalent. The model arrived from the States earlier this week and the poor desperate merc slid down the paint queue again!

Since holding the model in my hand I have become much more appreciative of the official paint job for this miniature – she is so delicate and the detail so small!

Expect to see her in battle reports very soon!