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.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Back from Templecon 2015

Stolen from Ian with zero regrets

So, I'm back from Templecon, held every year right outside Providence in Warwick, RI. At six hours away, it was quite the haul. Trish and I went together, and it worked out well. Having a SO to go back to at the end of the evening made it a far different experience, for sure.

A variety of henchmen ran the events, with people trading off so that everyone could play in their favorite events.

I arrived late Thursday, and barring a 5 am fire alarm at my hotel (pro-tip to the person smoking at the pool at that time of the morning: those fire alarms are no joke), it was a good night's sleep. The next day (Friday), I rolled in at 11 for the Story Encounter, were I was blasted off the table in most instances. I just couldn't gain any traction at the event, but I still had a good time. The stories were interesting and varied, and played to an attacker/defender role that I'd like to incorporate into the Nova's Malifaux narrative.

Friday's Henchman Hardcore was great. We abandoned the 4 minimum rule, and so I played Ten Thunders Filth: Kang leading Ama w/Recalled Training and Izamu for Great Justice!

We did three rounds with me tying in rounds one and two (though I should have won two, but I was stupid). Ama was a star player in all three rounds, and should have won me round two (I "Promising whisper"ed a model to move to be killed by Kang, rather than telling it to go off out of the turf war area). Ama definitely won me round three by doing that exact same thing to the other player's Teddy. It's not often you can win Hardcore with just Strat points, but I did it.

On Saturday, we had a single model shootout called the Quick and the Dead. You could take any model, as long as it had an SH projectile attack. I was a bastard, and took Tara. Little did I know exactly how awfully good Tara was at a single model vs single model competition. As she was a master with six AP and a bury attack trigger, as soon as she hit you, and you failed that WP flip, you were buried. She was like an assassin. I felt awful, but I also won, so... Yeah.

After that, there was some lull time between that and the Gaining Grounds tournament at four. Someone wanted to play a practice game, and I got to pull out my Kirai crew. It was fun spirit slinging again, and I'm glad to see that I hadn't lost the zen of playing her. I barely needed to look at her cards, which was comforting. Sadly, we had to call the game to start the tournament.

Who are two models I finished that got used this weekend?

The GG had 24 preregistered, 2 on the wait-list, and finally, 20 participants, so I'd be pretty pleased as a Tournament Organizer.

Round one was Extraction. I took Von Schill, as the player I was playing against was relatively new, and was using Guild. I assumed there would be a lot of shooting, but it seemed she was using models that her friends were letting her borrow, so it was somewhat of a hodgepodge list.

Ali was using Lady J, Sadir, a watcher, some death marshals, a stalker, and an austringer, I think.

I took VS w/ Shirt, Survivalist, and I Pay Better, Libby with Oathkeeper, Strongarm Suit with Oathkeeper, 2 Trappers, and Two Friekorpmen.

I took Assassinate and Frame for Murder on the Strongarm Suit. I placed my Trappers out on the flanks, where they had clear shots on everything (not much cover on the board), and formed up the Freibubble in the center to take the marker. Ali set her stuff up on the flanks, and kind of hesitated on coming in to the center. She got two models up there, so she starting gaining points, but I ended up picking people off pretty quickly. She moved Lady J up aggressively, but I was able to Strong Arm Suit her off the board, leaving me with just Sadir as an option to kill the Suit for full points. Sadly, it was not meant to be, and the Suit survived. 6-5, my favor.

Round Two took me up against Raul in Reckoning against Marcus. He also took a Cerberus, Joss, two Waldgeists, and a Soulstone Miner.

My list was Levi with Pariah of Iron, Unnatural Wasting, and two Waifs, a Deso Engine, Miss Step, Rusty with From Aether and Desolate Soul, and a Trapper. Assassinate was on Marcus and Frame for Murder was on Miss Step.

Raul moved his Cerberus right up on my right flank, threatening a next turn assault, or so I thought. The rest of his crew played cagily, and moved center with Miranda in the center, giving + flips to def to most of them.

I moved towards the lower center, and waited for him to blink, but to my surprise, Raul brought Marcus down to Alpha the Cerberus, and take on the Deso engine for a Murder Protege run. It was all going so well for Raul, until he forgot the Cerberus got + flips to damage as well. By the time he realized it, it was already into the next activation, and so the Deso engine lived on to slaughter the Cerberus and regain some lost health. I hit Miss Step and Rust with Levi's shooting cast to move them into position to take on Marcus after all his stuff  had activated, so I was able to hit Marcus with the flurry from Miss Step. Sadly, the effects alll passed along to Waldgeists, and I had to hit Miss Step with Rusty's reactivate and wiffed against Marcus for that due to his ++def flips from Defensive and Miranda. As I got initiative, I flurried against the other waldgeist and I took that down quickly, leaving only Henchmen and Masters on the board, and Miss Step at 1 wound. Raul activated Miranda, she did her thing and shape changed into a Cerberus. I took Rusty's turn and gave Miss Step Reactivate again. The Cerberus leapt and took her down, giving me two more points, not the full three I was hoping for. Marcus activated, punched Joss, made him a beast and Alpha'ed Joss. Joss took the Alpha Turn, and moved next to Rusty. He then took his normal turn, and punched her dead. I then charged Joss with the Deso Engine, and took him down to one wound. Then, Joss got reactivate (since Alpha isn't a reactivate), and punched and paralyzed the Deso engine. I had some activation screw ups the next turn, but it came down to Joss taking down the Deso engine for three VP, and me killing him for Frame for Murder, and all in all, netting Raul six to my five VP, even though I had Marcus right next to Levi, and all I needed was for it to go into one more turn to get assassinate. Oh, well.  5-6, Raul's favor.

I'll finish this up tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Painting and a Tournament!

I've gotten more than a few models ready in the past few days:

All these have been for Templecon and Adepticon after that. I'm nervous, as I haven't practiced enough with the majority of my Outcasts to truly get a feel for them. I might just work with the ones I do know (Tara and Von Schill) so that I can feel comfortable/be in the Zen of playing. In other words, I'll play with what I know well so that I can be thinking about the game/strats/schemes, rather than how my models work. Levi might see table time, but that depends on my mood.

In other news, I'm the henchman for Bel Air Games, going on for six months now. I've run a league there, but I've never run a single day event/tournament. Well, as of 2/21/15, that's about to change. We're going to have a three round, 50ss Gaining Ground Tournament. We're relaxing the painting requirement, due to this being a new store/group and all, but the terrain should be awesome, the place is well stocked, and a Miss Ery is up for the prize pool for the top placer.

Here's a FB event notice for you if you'd want to join in!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On the Workbench

I'm working on Hannah, and I've almost got her finished. I need to get her flesh, and her yellow/gold elements done, but I think for the most part she's done. I hate the gaps, but... I've got Vallejo's plastic putty to help with that in the future, but unfortunately Hannah isn't going to benefit from that. Templecon is coming in 13 days, and I've got Levi, 3 Hollow Waifs, and a Desolation Engine to finish up before then. Wish me luck!