Monday, 24 October 2016

Analysis Paralysis and Tournament Fatigue

Not really any point to this article, just wanted to share my thoughts and talk about one of the reasons I haven't been blogging as much in the last few months (though personal reasons have contributed to that as well).

When I first started playing Malifaux 2 1/2 years ago (give or take) I only had a very small selection of models. Basically all the Nightmare models and a Hooded Rider conversion I made. This made deciding what to play very easy as I just didn't have many models to debate between. I later added silurids, waldgeists, terror tots, illuminated etc, but was still sticking to one Master (Dreamer). I liked to mix up his limited upgrades rather than solely playing Summoning Dreamer. When I started playing competitively in earnest in 2015 I began to expand my collection more to the point where I had a pretty solid setup of models, which I felt covered all the schemes/strats pretty well. However, I was still only playing Dreamer so there was only so much to think about. This was also probably the peak of how much I was thinking about and playing Malifaux as it was the only game I was playing at the time and I was getting a game a week in pretty consistently.

However as I started doing better at events I noticed that one major weakness was holding me back, my inability to win in Reckoning. Therefore I decided it was time to bring on a second Master to compliment Dreamer. By this point I'd played a few games with Viks (who were actually the my second masters) but obviously I couldn't take them in an event with Dreamer. I decided on Pandora as I always thought she was cool and as a damage oriented brawler she proved a perfect counterweight to Dreamer. By the time I got her into an event I had been playing her locally for a month or two (and had been playing Malifaux for over a year) and felt pretty confident with her. I did so-so in my first event running both masters, but did think it was a good combo and I focussed on those two for a while. At a point though I got tired of smashing everyone locally, so I decided to try some new masters in casual play (while sticking with Pandora and Dreamer in events). However none of the Masters I played really called to me the way Dreamer, or Pandora to a lesser extent, did. I gave Lynch, Zoraida and Lilith a good run but only really felt that Lilith was worth taking to an event. I did take Lilith to a fixed master event and used her Nationals but she still felt a distant third to the other two.

After a year of fairly competitive play and a good showing at Masters I was feeling fairly burnt out by competitive play, and this combined with a busy personal schedule early in 2016 to mean I attended far fewer events that in 2015. One of my resolutions for 2016 was to try out more Masters and Factions to try and reignite my passion, but I think it actually may have had the opposite effect.

I've always tended to focus on one army in previous games I've played (Tyranids in 40k and Lizardmen in Fantasy) and attempts to get a 2nd force in these games always tended to die out, though I blamed this more on hobby exhaustion and constant rule changes invalidating my plans more than anything. This year I've taken 4 different factions to the 4 events I've been to and played 13 masters in 5 factions including casual play. I thought this would reignite my passion for the game, but if anything the lack of focus has seen me drift more and more into another system which has grabbed my attention, Guildball.

I've now played in 3 Guildball events this year and sad to say have enjoyed them significantly more than the Malifaux events I've been to. Part of this is due to the relative simplicity of the game making it a less mentally gruelling day. Part of this is likely my own self-imposed pressures to do well in Malifaux compared to Guildball. But I think the biggest part of it is the fact that in Guildball I only play one Captain and the game itself limits the decisions you have to make in list building during an event (with just two subs). I have found the sheer simplicity of these decisions to make the whole experience a lot more relaxing.

I am still really enjoying Malifaux as a casual game, but it doesn't dominate my thoughts the way it did last year and my eagerness to attend events remains much lower than in 2015. The mixing up masters and trying new things works really well for me playing a game every week or two, but not when I have to decide so many things at an event. So I think next year, rather than trying to try a ton of different stuff at an event, I may go down the path of running a really small model pool for one (new) Master and see how that goes. I've got Mr Cooper and Shenlong (two masters I've loved the rules for since the beta) awaiting there time to hit the hobby table and I think either of these Masters could be exactly what I need for running an elite list that has tons of tricks but can run close to set list.

On the other hand it may just be that I am past the point where one game can hold my attention the way Malifaux did in 2015, where I played in more tournaments than I had in the rest of my life combined for the game systems I played prior to Malifaux. Guess we will have to wait until next year to see..


  1. Sad to hear Malifaux is moving a bit down the list, so to speak. But I can imagine how it feels. I play a lot less often, but am constantly busy with Malifaux; reading stuff, building models and lists, etc.
    For me I recently decided I needed to focus on some other hobbies as well as I was too busy with it, so to speak.

    But on the other hand I am going to UK GT in three weeks, and really hyped for that! Still have to decide on what to bring and looking forward to getting my ass handed to me :) Are you there as well? And playing competatively or more for fun?

  2. Sadly not going to UK GT this year as couldn't make the finances work. Have one more tournament this year and then plans are to spend rest of year trying out models I haven't used enough (Aionus, Wave 4 proxies, Crossroads 7, some Mercs) with my NB Masters before I try a new faction to start next year.