Friday, July 10, 2015

Nova Terrain Day Tomorrow!




But, seriously, we're painting up some terrain tomorrow at the Nova Open HQ.

9033 Westerholme Way
Vienna, VA, 21182

All are welcome, refreshments and good beer provided for those helping with terrain.

Welcome to Malifaux!

Hello, refugees from the Age of Sigmar. I know, I know, it's cold out there for those that love tactical combat, combat that depends on position and out-maneuver. You're lost, you feel alone and abandoned, and just plain scared. Well, may I suggest you take shelter in a little place called Malifaux?

Yes, Malifaux doesn't have those serried ranks that you love so much, and perhaps it seems that a skirmish game can't really replace that. How can 7-12 models replace those 100's of models that you've lovingly painted? How can a single master replace your lord on a griffon and his trusty mage companion, or your giant Nasgash figure? I'm here to tell you it can't.

Wait, what?

I'm not going to lie to you. Malifaux isn't that game. It can't replace those giant ranks of men and huge centerpiece models, at least not in the way you think. The giant ranks and flanks game is Mantic's bag. They're your option for giant model mashes, full of pageantry. And, to be honest, Kings of War looks like a fine game. Go try it, and let me know how it goes. Genuinely, please. I'd love to know. But we were talking Malifaux, and what it brings -pun intended- to the table. What Malifaux does like no other game that I know is combine balance, complexity, simplicity, and probability in ways that should make other gamers salivate.

Simplicity and complexity in the same game? It seems contradictory, I know. But to someone like yourself, who is used to 3-4 dice rolls to resolve a single combat action, Malifaux's duel mechanic will seem refreshingly simple. A model attacks another model by flipping a poker card and adding its attack value; the enemy model resists the attack by flipping a card from its poker deck, and adding that model's defensive value. Whoever gets the higher number wins, and ties go to the attacker. The attacker increases the chances of getting high damage by winning big. It's a really simple yet elegant mechanic. There are no buckets of dice rolled three times, it's one and done.

Given that the duel mechanic is simple, where does the complexity come in? Much like the old Warhammer Fantasy game, complexity is found in the units involved and their rules. Each model has a variety of abilities and actions to take, some offensive, some defensive, and others meant to win the game/buff or debuff friends and foes. Each unit has a different feel, from the gibbering horror of the Insidious Madness to the unsubtle face smashing of the Ice Golem. Models support each other through themed characteristic traits, and thematic crews tend to be playable at higher levels. Remember that simple card duel from a paragraph ago? Those duel results can be modified by triggers, which means that in the right condition, if the right card suit shows up in your duel, you get a bonus rule applied to the duel's result, like extra damage, being set on fire, or any other effect. It's just another small layer of mechanics, but it adds so much depth to the game.

But what about positioning, you ask? Where a unit moved to in Warhammer, and how it moved was crucial. In Malifaux, the majority of scenarios and objectives are position based, and movement tricks are more likely to win you a game than sheer killing power. Position and maneuver might be even more important in Malifaux than it was in WHFB, as Malifaux units often have auras of buffs and debuffs that can make a mistake in placement quite costly. And unlike WHFB, where the large nature of the game forced a side to move/shoot/cast/fight, in Malifaux, the turns have a back and forth chess feel, as players activate a model, finish its actions, and then have the opponent do like-wise., There's a much greater back and forth, and the decision to choose who activates which first can be crucial. There's a great deal of tactical thought that goes into who goes first in a round, and poor choices can put you on the back foot.

But I spent so much on custom dice!

But what about the dice? Yes, that's a point of pain for many of us, reared on dice in games since we were wee lads and ladies, and it's tough to embrace that change, I know. Believe me, I understand. We all love our dice. But we also know our dice can betray us. They are fickle masters. There are always more ones to be rolled, my friends. And that's the beauty of Malifaux using a poker deck with a hand of cards. You draw six cards a turn. If you don't like your flip, you can (once a duel) replace the card flipped from your deck with a card from your hand, discarding the card you didn't want and replacing it  with the  card from your hand. There are only four ones in the deck. There's only once negative trump card. You can manage your luck in ways which Warhammer and 40k players can only dream about.

Malifaux isn't a total replacement for ranks and flanks, but it is a game that scratches the need for a balanced, tactical, thinking person's game.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Upcoming Malifaux Events

July 11th - The July Nova Open Terrain Day

Terrain Building and shenanigans at the Brandt World Headquarters at

9033 Westerholme Way
Vienna, VA 21182

Come drink cold beverages and have lunch with the terrain masters of the Nova Open, and paint, paint, paint your way to terrain mastery. RSVP at


July 18th - the Nova Open Foundation Charity Tournament and BBQ

DATE: July 18, 2015
PLACE: McLean, Virginia.
SPACES: Limited and first come/first serve: First 32 40K players & First 16 Malifaux players guaranteed. After that, we’ll start a wait list.

It's food, music, and wargaming fun in the spirit of the original pre-Nova event. I know we're running out of space, so go to to reserve your space today.


July 25th - Bel Air Games Nova Open Prep tournament!

Yes, there's a lot of Nova Open to this update, but it's a tournament that will be running the first three rounds of the Nova's schemes and strats. If you want to get some practice in before the big event, this is the ideal time to do so. Fabulous prizes await!

1202 Agora Dr, Bel Air, MD 21014
(410) 776-3491

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tournament at Bel Air Games rescheduled

Just a note, we're holding the new Tournament on 3/7/15.

Sorry about that, but the weather couldn't be helped.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Just a reminder: Tomorrow is Bel Air Game's 50ss Gaining Ground Tournament.

Bel Air Games
1202 Agora Drive, Suite B
Bel Air, MD 21014

Doors open at noon. Cards start flipping at 12:30pm. We'll be playing for three rounds.

There will be a Miss Ery as part of the top prize! There will be a prize for the best painted crew, but painting is optional! Beginners are welcome!

The store phone number is: 410-776-3491

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Game Four of Templecon will never be written about.

I realize that I'm never going to really write a battle report of Templecon game four, not because I lost or anything, but merely because enough time has passed that I've forgotten all the salient details. It's the perils of having a mind like a steel trap: rusted, broken, and catching nothing. And I have no pictures of the game, so it's kind of a moot point.

Suffice to say that Corey and I had a great game, I ended up winning by a decent margin, and I took 6th in the tournament, which is the best placement I've had at an event so far. I'm fairly pleased, and that placing brought me back into the top ten in the US Malifaux Rankings.

But all that's a moot point, because time and tide wait for no man, woman, or nephelim of indeterminate gender! And I'm running a tournament! And not the Nova Open, but one held locally! It's this weekend, in fact!

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Game three of Templecon

My Two All Stars

The last two games were playing a master which with I wasn’t familiar: Jack Daw. But the tables I was to play on featured something I don’t usually encounter, namely Hazardous Terrain. And as Joe Girard mentioned in this month’s Wyrd Chronicles (out today!), Hazardous Terrain adds a whole new dimension to your games. It was a dimension that dear old Jack is more than interested to explore, as he is a master of positioning and pushing, with the ability to maneuver his and his enemy’s models via Writhing Torment.

The first game put me up against a Leviticus crew in a game of Headhunter, one of the 2015 Gaining Grounds scenarios. Essentially, every significant model that dies due to enemy action drops a head marker, and a (1) interact picks that head up. There are other rules, but the nitty-gritty doesn’t matter, and I trust you, gentle reader, to be capable of the research needed to delve into the strategy’s finer details. Needless to say, engagement ranges factor into your ability to interact, and it’s tough to collect scalps when a Teddy is trying to eat your face. Speaking of Teddy, I was facing a finely tuned Leviticus crew being run by “Jesus Ian.” Our battleground was a town square  with large buildings on the flanks, a central gallows, and hazardous terrain in the form of choking smoke.

I took Daw with Writhing Torment, Betrayer, and all the Curses, Ama no Zako with Oathkeeper, Lady Liegia, 2 Drowned, 2 Crooked Men, and, last, but not least, Jaakuna Ubume.

Ian brought Levi, with Pariah of Iron, Rusty Alyce, two Waifs, Abominations, a Teddy, and possibly more, but since I have no pictures (round times were short), I don’t recall.

It was Standard Deployment, Head Hunter, and I took Breakthrough (undeclared) along with a declared Plant Evidence. Ian took Line in the Sand declared, and Breakthrough undeclared. As for my choice of schemes, it seemed to make sense. I know Daw isn’t that kill-oriented, but is the great wall of frustration. Crooked Men are great at protecting and accomplishing schemes, and with Hazardous terrain built into the board, Drowned seem ideal. It was my plan to hook left with Daw and the main crew, and send a Crooked Man and Ama on the right flank to accomplish schemes as a team. To that end, I moved most of my models hard left at first, drawing Ian towards that side. When it came to my second to last model, I activated Daw, cursing Ama with the Guillotine curse. That, of course, does nothing to a Henchmen like Ama, but it does provide her with a permanent Tormented Characteristic. So, she was able to push an additional 3 inches on her initial movement, moving her an amazing 15 inches on the first turn. Ian played Levi brilliantly, using the Teddy with its Regen 2 as a card draw engine and using the soon to be disposable aboms for the same actions. Second turn saw Ian with a summoned Desolation Engine, and ready to tear the heart out of my crew. I had gotten lucky with some lures, and I ended up killing off Alyce before she became too great a threat, but with a Teddy and a Desolation Engine in my face, with a Drowned and Jaakuna already dead, things were looking grim.

It was at that point that I realized that Lady L is amazing. She does so much by denying the enemy the ability to cheat. Terrifying goes from being an annoyance to being an actual threat. Card drawing doesn’t really matter. Lady L and Jack’s terrifying shut down the Desolation Engine and Teddy both. It was great. I was able to get the Firing Squad curse off on the Engine, and I was able to push him around, mostly into the hazardous terrain and out of combat. Levi moved to my right to attempt to kill Ama, but I was saving high cards, and she escaped wounded, but otherwise functional. The Crooked Man on the right also was dropping and protecting markers with his zero, as was the crooked Man on the left, who was sneaking around a building and was unable to be assailed. The Lady/Daw bubble just absorbed a ton of flips, and kept upright because of the no cheating lock down. Because of Daw’s and the remaining Drowned’s melee range, Ian had no way of picking up heads, and I was able to push out of combat, after forcing the Engine to abandon ideas of killing me. I picked up a head marker with a Drowned, dropped scheme markers enough to get my six, and had enough movement with Daw to kill one of his scheme markers for Line in the Sand, denying him the points.

It ended up 7-5 in my favor.