So if you're anything like me, your 2016 consisted of a lot of "Oh shit, who's died NOW?!" Seriously. That happened way too often for my liking quite frankly this year. Plus lots of swearing about world events. That also happened far too often.
Buuuuuuut 2016 also consisted of hobby! And events! And flailing! And I'm using far too many exclamation points! (This is why I'm not allowed coffee.)
So I decided to look back at a few highlights of 2016. Let's jump right in with my 3 favourite events of the year, in no particular order of merit;
Malifaux Nationals - I think this one goes without saying really. The largest Malifaux event ever with over 100 players. This was organised by the Lord of Malifaux Mike Marshall (with amazing help from Jen, Lee, Matt and more I'm probably forgetting) and the whole thing ran like clockwork. It was a very buzzy event, the social side was loads of fun (getting Stuart Snares to fulfil his forfeit of wearing glittery clips in his beard was a highlight) and it's always good to see a new venue, in this case Battlefield Hobbies in Daventry. If only my in-game performance could have risen to the occasion. <sigh>
Grumpy Goblin Charity Event - Yet more proof, if it was needed, that the Malifaux community is made up of some very very amazing people. From Dave Hill running the whole event dressed as Radioactive Man (and taking a cream pie to the face) to Joe Wood dressing like a Rotten Belle whilst running a joke crew of Leviticus and 9 Belles (yet still finishing in the top 5, it's definitely broken!) this bonkers, fun and fairly large event raised over £1000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities. I also got to play the lovely Lee Battrick in the first round which was a lot of fun. Hope to see more events at the Grumpy Goblin in 2017.
HoHoFaux - another event organised by Mike Marshall with help from Dave Brown but with the added insanity that is a story event. HoHoFaux was a fun, lighthearted and very festive story event with a surprisingly large number of players. It was one of the few events I was able to convince my partner Rich to come along to and he ended up coming home with the star prize of a very Christmassy voodoo doll. The whole mood was very giggly, I ran Dreamer all day (after all, Christmas is a time for the kids and their toys), played 3 new opponents (including Matt Spooner and my fellow Gremlin pal Simon Matless) and had 3 great games using 3 amusing scenarios written by Mike & Dave. It was also great to see that our winner was the very lovely Jen, who was playing in her first solo event! Go Jen!
There were of course many more events I enjoyed - the Showdown Series at Wayland (especially Spring Showdown where I achieved my first and only Best in Faction prize), Lee's last minute Bending Fate event, helping Panzer run his event on the top of the old Warzone Workshop and stepping in at the very last minute as spare player for John's event down in Bromley and a new 2 day event at Wayland which also raised money for MacMillan - the English GT. I don't think I ever came away from a Malifaux event last year feeling like I'd had a terrible time!
Next up, I'm going to look at my 3 favourite games. The criteria for this category is simply a game that I enjoyed, regardless of the result. So of the best games are ones I've lost!
Ophelia (me) vs The Dreamer (Ben Crowe) at Spring Showdown. While this game resulted in a loss for me, it was my first game ever on the top table at an event (in the final round no less) and my second against Ben. The first game had been fun but a pretty heavy loss for me. This game was just as much fun but what I was most pleased about was the fact that my performance in this game was much better, resulting in a 10-5 loss instead of a 10-2 loss. It's always nice to see improvements and I honestly felt like I'd actually given Ben a game which definitely felt like something to be proud of.
Ophelia (me) vs Rasputina (Dave Brown) at Fall Down. This game finished in a 10-9 loss for me and was very close all the way, as well as being a lot of fun. I started off on the back foot (stupid Frame for Murder) and felt like I did very well to drag it back to a narrow loss. Games against Dave are always a good laugh with plenty of chat so the combination of a fun opponent and a close game makes this a definite pick for one of my favourite games.
The Dreamer (me) vs Ramos (Matt Spooner) at HoHoFaux. So the method of choosing the matches at HoHoFaux was both brilliant and something I'd love to see done again. You were allowed to choose your own opponents as long as it was someone you'd never played before. So I seized the opportunity to play against Malifaux's own George Clooney lookalike - Mr Matt Spooner. The resulting game was incredibly sweary (Matt could NOT flip over the correct components to make his present no matter what), lots of fun and quite a considerable amount of "I have no idea what I'm doing!!!!" (mostly on my part, my first ever game with Dreamer).
So those were my 3 favourite games but as I mentioned above, I don't think I ever walked away feeling like a game of Malifaux was totally terrible - there were some where I ended feeling frustrated with either my performance and/or luck but it was never the fault of my opponent and I'd happily play any of them again.
For the final category, I'm going to look at the three funniest things that happened in a game of Malifaux in 2016, either to me or my opponent.
Mancha Roja hits things quite a lot. I'm cheating here because I've actually combined two funny moments featuring the same model. Mancha Roja proved to be something of a star in the early part of the year (although McTavish is now giving him a run for his money) and saw a small revival at Nationals. But his two moments of sheer glory came in 2 games against Neverborn. First up was against Ritch Keeling's Dreamer crew when he went toe to toe with Teddy and proceeded to take him out with a lucky Piledriver to Paralyse him (thank you Df3!) followed by a nice little Finisher to take Teddy off the board. Mr Keeling's reaction was rather amusing as well:
"Well I guess I'll discard the two cards then to keep him on the the board."
"Nope. He dead."
This was also the game where I demonstrated to Ritch just exactly how amazingly broken Rooster Riders were (damn you 2017 errata!) by sending two of them through his crew like feathery pinballs of death and mayhem. The Hooded Rider will never live down being mauled by a chicken then finished off with a wooden spoon wielding Gremlin. This game is also my honourable mentions for best game of 2016, really fun and ending in a very close win for Ritch using Chompy to streak across the board and score all his points for Undercover Entourage!
His second moment of glory was against Shaunie's lovely Titania crew where he proceeded to have no respect for the monarchy by walloping the Queen of the Fairies in the face with a gremlin. Not sure there are many folks who can say that!
The second funniest moment came at Nationals in my final game against Chris Donaldson's Lady Justice. I hadn't been too confident at the start when Chris announced that he'd been learning how to play Lady J from Ben "SMASH EVERYTHING WITH LADY J" Harris. Oh. Joy. Turns out that the game was pretty close all the way and characterised by a "Ah fuck it, what's the worst that can happen?" attitude from both of us. This was never made more clear when Chris decided that my Ophelia (after killing Lady J) HAD to die that turn.
Ophelia & Lenny were engaged with Francisco, who had already activated that turn. So in order for Chris to achieve this aim of killing Ophelia, he had to use one of his shooty minions (I forget which, it was the end of a very long weekend!) to shoot into combat & hit Ophelia 3 times. A pretty long shot but hey, what was the worst thing that could happen right? Well apparently the worst thing that could happen was Chris not only managing to hit his own Francisco 3 times in a row but finally managing to Red Joker the damage on the final flip, killing poor Francisco stone dead. It was even funnier when you look at the cards he flipped and managed in one turn to flip a 10 for Lenny, 11 for Ophelia and a thirteen for Francisco. At the end of the turn, we both had our heads down on the board, crying with laughter. It was THAT kind of moment.
Last but not least I think I need to mention a moment that, while funny for me, was probably less amusing for my opponent. It was the first game of the Nationals and I was playing against Rich in a game of Collect the Bounty. He brought a sword to a gunfight (or maybe I brought a gun to a swordfight who knows) by pitting his Viks against my Ophelia. Turns out he'd also brought a Grenade Launcher to the fight by bringing Lazarus, who menaced forward on Turn 1, only to get shot off the board in 1 activation by Ophelia. Oh, free Rams from Lenny, how I'm going to miss you. Yes you were overpowered as all hell but damn if you weren't fun. So yes. 1 pile of scrap metal at the top of the game. Lovely and started a trend as I made it my personal goal to kill every damn Lazarus I saw that weekend. I did it too, 3 games on Day 1, 3 Lazarussesesese and 3 piles of metal for the recycling centre. Fun times.
So those are just some of the highlights of my forays into events in 2016. I didn't really set myself any goals other than to try & improve overall and this has been a mixed year for that. From winning Best in Faction early in the year to being voted one of 3 Best Sports at the English GT and then down to my fairly lacklustre performance at Nationals. You'll also notice I've not touched on any hobby or painting I did in 2016 - that's a story for another time!