Humble Introductions

Greetings and welcome to my blog – thanks for stopping in. . The content of what I will be posting here will be primarily related to table top gaming; i.e. board and miniature games. However I would expect from time to time for it to drift onto topics such as books, movies and video games. The reason for starting the blog is as an exercise to be regularly writing and putting out content. I hope you enjoy!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Seamus 102 – The Man Himself

Today I actually wanted to spend some time talking about tactics of Malifaux’s finest milliner. You can find some great introductions and unboxing of the Seamus crew around the internet – Bell of Lost Souls has a particularly good one here.

What I wanted to provide is some further tips after a few games with Seamus that I’ve found. It is not a master class but I found these tips helpful for improving my game:

1) The TERROR!!!! – Firstly REMEBEBER that his crew causes terrifying tests and make your opponent flips for them. The number of times that I forget to announce this to my opponent and they are halfway through the flips before we remember this and I end up hand waving the check. Don’t expect this to be a paralyzing a huge amount of the enemies crew but what it is great for is stripping the opponents hand. Combine this with the Belle’s crow trigger and the grave spirit and your opponent will be out of cards.

2) Why won’t he die! - Seamus has Impossible to Wound. This means it’s very hard to do a spread of damage against him. Combined this with his upgrade of Mad Habadashery to reduce damage to 0 on one lucky attack the only way to bring him down is a weight of fire.

3) Stole Stones – Due to the afore mentioned I don’t find that I need to be spending stones on Seamus defence. I accept that they are going to hit me but don’t worry too much about the defence flip unless they have some nasty triggers I need to avoid. Therefore I use his stones for getting suits on other actions – mostly to summon or to push out of combat. Finally using the stones to reduce the damage done.

4) What doesn’t kill him makes him stronger – so if your opponent does manage to get some damage onto Seamus you can still start to have him heal up. Every failed WP duel within Seamus’ aura allows him to heal 2 wounds. Failed Terror test? Healing. Lure? Healing. The Hanged attacks? Healing.

5) Stay on target - The focused action is really good when using Seamus’ gun as it gives you a much better chance of being able to cheat the damage flip and doing cheating in a card to do moderate or severe damage. Seamus won't be able to kill everything but he can pick off a model a turn.

6) Now you see me - The back alley only requires him to start out of line of sight of the enemy - he can pop up right next to them. So a common chain of actions for me in a turn is - Back Alley, Focus, Shoot then use my zero to turn the corpse into a Belle. If you can move somewhere without line of sight then you can move again, with the right cards in hand you can cover the board in 2 AP.

Seamus has two "builds" that can be used depending on how you would like him to play - Sinister Rep - this allows you to have a bubble which gives everyone around Seamus a - to WP this makes it harder for people to pass terrifying tests and Bag o'Tools which make him a stronger melee master. Play with both and see which one you like.

Also worth mentioning is that Cheated Fates Radio have an excellent episode which focuses on Seamus as well – though both hosts seem to have a completely different play style to myself. This is certainly one of the best things about M2E that you can now have radically different play styles on the same master.

Next month I hope to put up some details about the minions and enforcers that I like to use with the Seamus crew.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Reviews and Kickstarters – November 2013

No specific blog post today rather a collection of quick reviews and some kickstarters of note.

Thor 2 – The Dark World

I really enjoyed the first Thor movie; it was my favourite of the Marvel phase 1 movies. Unsurprisingly my expectations were high going into the movie and I did come away little disappointing. There is nothing wrong with the movie, it hits the correct story notes and has some good comedy and action beats as you would expect from a Marvel movie now.

Where the movie let me down was the motivation of the “main” villains. I believe that in superhero movies it is very important to have a strong villain with good motivations. The Dark Elves felt like a bland force of evil, the diet coke of evil if you will. The main motivation seemed to be that they did not like that the property market of the universe had changed leading some checky Asgardians had moved in down the road and refusing to keep their property in a suitable state.

 Marvel paid Christopher Eccleston to wear heavy prosthetics and in the course of the movie spoke approximately 10 lines of dialogue in English. It felt very hard to feel that these where the bad guys who I should hate with such little information. Its little surprise that Loki stole the show with very little else to focus on in the movie.

The chemistry between Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Natalie Portman (Jane) while a highlight of the first movie really was lacking in this movie reducing Jane to being a character in need of saving by Thor diminished how smart the first movie was.

Still a good film but not a great film.

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest

Taking place in a steampunk alternative time line of Civil War America a lone woman attempts to travel across the frontier to reach her father. Expect steampunk engines, 19th centuary gentry and a few zombies for good messure.

At a brisk 400 pages the story moved along a brisk pace. The first 150 pages are essentially designed to set up the later plot points. These initial pages did drag for a while and it took me a bit of time to get used to the character p.o.v during action scenes (she’s a nurse rather than a fighter so a lot of her perspective is as an observer and someone that has to clean up the mess after all the fighting).

It helps to have read the first book, Boneshaker, but not essential. You’ll miss a few nods to previous characters and may not fully understand the nature of the “sap” and what happened in Seattle prior to the start of the book. However all this would add is mystery rather than taking away from the plot.

One of the things I enjoyed most about it was having a central female charter throughout the book who came across as realistic. She doesn’t get sucked into a romance with a male character as soon as he came along and also does not suddenly turn into an action heroine without reason. Also the zombies, it seems you can never go wrong with zombies.


Shadows of Brimstone

This game looks to really hit a sweet spot for me. My main play group is focused around board games and in particular my wife loves co-op games. The theme for me is excellent, as you can probably already tell I do like me a little bit of the wyrd west. Finally Flying Frog Productions are a well-known company to me. There are some lovely stretch goals and other bit to add into the pool of toys as well.

Backing – backing to the hilt!

Battle Systems™ Sci-fi Modular Terrain

I have actually seen this stuff in real life and it looks lovely. However I can’t think of many reasons to use it right now, I’m playing very little 40k and my Dead Zone stuff is already coming with a lot of terrain and has yet to be played. Backing it not would fell like buying it because it would be a good deal rather than because I want it. However if they launch a fantasy set I might well change…

Backing – hand on the hilt

Alien vs Predator The Miniatures Game

So I love the Aliens and Predator licences - both the movies (though obviously not AvP) and the comics. The kickstarter is backed by Cool Mini or Not who have a history of running some really good kickstarts. However the purchase point is very high considering the number of models in the game and it looks like a commercial realise might be available in the future. Not for me at this time.

Backing – staying in the sheath

On honourable mention should also go to Undead Regiment by Dark Hammer Miniatures. I really like the sculpts that have been previously put out by the company but have yet to see them in person. As you can see from the page it’s a Chinese company who are new to the scene. I’ve loved the idea of getting some of these as “conuts as” models for my Malifaux Yan Low crew. I won’t be backing this as I would like to understand if this company has delivered in products before and also due to other financial commitments at this time but I hope they are successful.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A league of their own – Vassal games of Malifaux and planning for the games

Ever wanted to play more Malifaux but due to some real life commitments have been unable to get out to play locally? Well my friend then the good people of Wyrd Miniatures and Vassal have been able to provide a great (and free) tool for you to use!

I won’t go into the detail of how the Vassal tool, mostly because I do not understand it, but essentially it’s a virtual table top that lets you load multiple modules. Each module provides the components required to play a game but you will still have to know the rules, think of it as being given a virtual board game without any instructions.

With the launch of M2E the very wise Jon decided it would be great to organise a series of leagues over on the Malifaux forums. The players have been organised into 10 leagues with 6 players per league supported by an external website to track wins/draws/loses. I decided that it would be great opportunity to get a few more games in and get to know more of the wider players in the Malifaux community.

It also served as a good way of getting some more regular games of Malifaux games played (I only know about 6 players in the local area spread across 2 clubs). This will hopefully improve my games at tournaments so that I wouldn't be spending the first game trying to remember the rules!

So with my hat firmly in the ring I plucked for the Ressers as my chosen faction. 2013 was my years of Ressers and I had been painting up my models all year (I've now nearly finished all of my wave 1 models). Seamus would be my chosen master and I was going to take him for every game during the league. I felt that this would be the best way of learning the rules of the game and the in’s and outs’s of the game without confusing myself with new masters every week.

Through the league I wanted to keep some notes about my planning for each game and crew selection and what I learn from each game.

Preparation is everything (part I of II)

So with Seamus’ maniacal laughter at the back of my mind I began preparation for my first games. My league is the Southgate Station for those of you keeping track.

Round 1 - Jimmy (Neverborn) - Turf War

Pre-match planning –having recently come back from the UK GT and having played the Neverborne for most of my games (yes they all took Collodi regardless of the master/scheme) I was dreading this match up. Also Pandora had been re-balanced and was considered “fair game” to use I was expecting this until Jimmy very kindly told me that he would be bringing the mother or monsters, Lilith to play with. As I had no idea what Lilith was capable with I picked a basic Seamus crew (3 Belles and Sybil) and then added in a canine remains, punk zombie and hanged. How badly could it go?

Post-match musings – some valuable lessons learned in this match. The Hanged – remember to use the Whispers from Beyond, this would have been game winning if I had read it before turn 5. Canine Remains – requires a crow to be able to put out a corpse counter, not such an auto take as I thought. I made a mistake with the punk zombie who attacked rather than delivering a message to Lilith and that body guard requires the opponents model to be at least 6inches from there deployment zone. I still felt I wasn’t getting the best from Sybil, who along with the punk zombie had tied up 2 Young Nephilim and Lilith for 3 turns (however it did require a red joker on a damage prevention flip). However a henchman as a tar pit model feels like a waste of stones.

The game was a draw.

Round 2 – Jan (Gremlin) - Reckoning

Pre-match planning – Another 1st – Gremlins! Reckoning is tricky to plan for as you need to find a good balance between models that have a lot of “staying power” and remaining in control of activations. Against gremlins I was pretty certain that this wasn’t going to happen. The scheme pool drew frame for murder which I presumed would be a good choice as I had not managed to keep Sybil alive for any game yet. I wanted to go for two tactics this game – horror duels for what I assumed would be low WP gremlins and flesh constructs to devour the little gremlins.

Post-match musings – well you know what assumptions make out of people? I completely forgot to run any Flesh Constructs and also barely got any horror duels out as the Gremlins focused on the Belles for VPs. Also Jan turned up with a really elite crew so had about 6 models in total many of which where HT 2 or greater – so much for my planning! I still managed to get a win, mostly due to a little bit of last minute luck. Best moment of the game was after throwing Sybil at the Whisky Golem to die realising that Jan had body guard on the machine and having Sybil chasing it round the board trying to get it to kill her. The Hanged really game into their own and where able to add where able to offer some very nice “board control”. The combo with Sinster Rep on Seamus is fantastic.

I managed to creep out a win for this round.

Round 3 – Ole (Arcanist) Squatter's Rights

Pre-match planning –  Ole wanted to test Collette from the wave 2 beta. Again I had no idea what to expect so concentrated on my tactics. The scheme pool was uninspiring so I needed to think about how I was going to get maximum points from that. I decided I would have 2 parts to my crew – Seamus and The Hanged who would be trying to disrupt the enemy as much as possible and Belles and Mortimer to be interacting with schemes and accomplishing Protect Territory and body guard.

Post-match musings – As it turns out this worked pretty well mostly due to finally getting the hang of Seamus and some mistakes on Ole’s part (which he realised shortly after making them). The Hanged ended up being pretty useless during the game but I always like to have him around as a threat. Mortimer was excellent due to the corpse generation and fresh meat and I didn’t miss Sybil at all.

Another win for the mad hatter.

I will write down some notes and thoughts about the reaming 2 games in a month or so as well as my impressions of the Vassal league. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

The new(ish) kid on the block – The d6 of why you should try Kings of War

So inspired by the lovely folks over at Beasts of War I wanted to put up a blog post about Kings of War. This was an interesting article to try and write – I had fulling intednedn to write about the Vassel League of Malifuax that I have been playing about this week but I felt like I wanted to a challenge. Full disclaimers - Mantic are one of my favourite companies out in the market, I just like the way that they do business!

Mantic have a few games on the market now – the leading game by some distance is DreadBall which despite outwards appearances is not Blood Ball in space. Yes it’s a sports miniatures game with fantasy races but it’s at that point that the two games agree to go their separate ways. Mantic recently finished a hugely successful kick-starter of Dead Zone which will hit the stores at the end of 2013 and they hope will see a similar pick up of interest. Seeing as there is already one fan pod cast out for the game they are probably not likely to be proved wrong!

However it all started with Kings of War. Both the first range of miniature’s that the put out (as you can see from the now slightly dated looking elves) and the first kick starter (which I backed despite already having a massive Mantic Undead army).

You can scoot over to Beasts of War to see some wonderful coverage about the models, background and see a 1st game in progress (which proves just how fast and fun the game can be). If you’re not sure about looking at it here are 6 great reasons that you should give Kings of War a look:

1.       Growing from good to great – it’s a new system and has had a few supporting books realised for it already adding new item and armies to the growing world. The way that Mantic are building the game it will continue to grow and offer challenges building to be one of the best games available in the market today. Mantic are demonstrating a “build it and they will come attitude” and are keeping building to game to bring people on board.
2.       Values for money – just take a look at the basic purchase to see that you get a good return for your price. In a market that is increasingly pushing towards treating the plastic crack that we all know and love to be a luxury item it’s nice to know that when my son wants to start an army I won’t need to sell an organ to finance it. 
3.       An open modelling system – due to the fact that the size of all the units have a “foot print” you can really make each unit look very dynamic. I’ve seen some wonderful “counts as” armies as well as being able to work with other companies models (such as Avatars or War). It’s a lovely mass battle system to try out if you would like to combine models from multiple manufactures into an army.
4.       Tournament play – I don’t have enough time to speak about the pros and cons of tournament play today, however the fact Kings of War is aimed for tournament play offers 2 advantages for any gamer. Firstly it tries to make all of the armies balanced so you don’t need to worry about your mate turning up with the newest army list and smashing you into the ground because the company wants to sell more plastic. Secondly it’s built to play in under two hours, so that you can get a game in an evening and then kick back and discuss the battle with your mate.
5.       Easy to learn, tough to master – the game is pretty easy to pick up and learn. With the way units operate with each other – such as moving through units and special rules there is still a lot of space for tactics. There are some areas Mantic could help the community with such as unit cards and developing some more characterful rules but with luck these will come in time.
6.       Initial Investment - You don’t need to invest any money into the game to start. The rules are free from the Mantic website as are the army lists. Happen to have a fantasy army sitting around that isn’t seen as much play as it used to due to a new rule set? Then why not fit it into the KoW rules and see how it plays!

So there are my d6 points of why to give Kings of War a try – at some point I would like to put up my d6 things I hope to see from the system in the future.