Thursday, 28 January 2016

Welcome to Malifaux tournament quick run down.

Down in sunny Hockley at the magic land that is Wayland games I recently took part in a small very fun event called welcome to malifaux.

The idea is to run a beginner friendly event for some of the new converts to our fine game.

The rules were three round of forty soulstones with fixed master and a hiring and summoning pool of sixty soulstones. First round is beginners versus beginners and veterans versus veterans.

First up after a spot of breakfast and a tea was round I took Seamus and some other ressers against lilith with a nephilim based list in recon.

I got taken apart by a charming fella called Paul, great start to the day lots of fun moments which mainly involved me missing every attacks. (it shouldn't take 3 rounds for Seamus to kill a terror tot). The game ended with me losing nine to two.

Lunch and two more teas it was time for game two.

This was turf war against the famous girl or many names Claire (Eless, cookie bringer etc) this time Mah Tucket was against the hatter. The rogue necro and gremlin wrestler had a smack down in the middle of the table which was soon joined by sybelle and Mah and leaving just Mah and her massive spoon standing. Seamus jumped about the edges picking off lone gremlins.
Ended seven to five to me but could of swung either way.

Monday, 25 January 2016

2016 Gaming Resolutions

Another year another set of goals. Unlike my real-life resolutions (which were a definitive failure last year) I actually did quite well on my 2015 hobby resolutions. Hopefully the same will be true this year (though not the failing at real life part...).

Last year was heavily malifaux focused and the first year ever that I attended more than 2-3 gaming tournaments in a year. Having attended 13 events in 2015 and qualified for Masters, it was by far the most competitive year I've had in gaming. This year I am going to take a bit of a step back competitively after Masters. Attending fewer events and spending more of my gaming time on other systems (especially Guildball, but also Saga, OGAM, Bloodbowl etc). Malifaux will continue to be my main game but rather than taking up 95% of my time it will prob be closer to 60-70%. Last year I also focused heavily on a few specific masters. This year I plan on being less focused on any one master and spending more time just experimenting with different things. That being said, if I am as taken by a new master as I once was with Dreamer then I will not force myself to play other masters. But it's hard to predict when/if that will happen. Anyway, let's get to those resolutions: Which I've split into gaming and hobby resolutions.

Gaming Resolutions: 
1) Get the Rainbow Badge
Last year my major goals were all about improving competitively and doing well. I also blew away my own expectations and did far better than I ever expected I would. That being said, I don't see myself as having the skill or drive to push any higher. At this point I'm ranked 7th in the UK and the only goals I can think of are aiming to win Masters (not gonna happen) or aiming for UK number 1 (not gonna happen). I just don't think those are goals that appeal to me as I don't think I am good enough player or a committed/competitive enough player to aim for those.

So taking a page from Ben Crowe (King of the South) I've decided to go for the rainbow badge. The rainbow badge is given to players who use all 7 factions at ranked events within a 12-month period. For someone who has only played 1 faction at events, and honestly only 1 master outside of neverborn in total (Viks) this will be quite a change. Heck I've only got one painted crew outside of neverborn at the moment.

That being said I do have my choices for my first three factions down. One will be neverborn (obviously) where I hope to use some of the masters I have painted but haven't taken in an event yet (Zoraida, Collodi, Lynch). Next will be the Viktorias as I have almost everything I need for them finished (just gotta finish a couple Freikorps models and the effigy). Third will be weird as I will taking Gremlin Zoraida. Currently I have never played her and have no Gremlin stuff painted (except McTavish) but between my swampfiends, some unpainted gremlins I will get painted (Burt, Gracie, War Wabbit, Francois) and some borrowed models (thanks Ross!) I should be able to get a decent crew together.

After those 3 I'm not really sure what direction to go on. I will eventually have ten thunder and arcanist crews ready to go as I own Dark Carnival already and am planning on picking up Shenlong at some point this year (and already have Lynch). So those two factions will get covered later in the year. The last two factions are going to be trickier as I have no ressurs masters (nor much of likelihood of picking up one any time soon) and no guild other than Lucius (who is just awful in guild). Anyway, I've got a while before I need to worry about that, and I know I will be able to borrow some models here and there if I need them. But this is kind of my main competitive focus this year as I think it will expand my experience and skills and maybe even make me want to play a faction other than neverborn as my main faction (but probably not ;) )

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Its not you, its me.

For those of you that don't know I am the Henchman at Dark Sphere in London. I've been the henchman there for about a year and a half and in that time I've run two leagues, three tournaments, a handful of hardcore games and a shed load of demos and intros.

I along with the Dark Sphere regulars have built up a huge player base at the club and I'm really proud of everything we have done so far.

So whats the next step, the plan going into 2016 and beyond?

The truth is for me not much as I've decided this is the end of my time as a Henchman. I still enjoy the game just as much as ever and I enjoyed everything I did to get the club to the point its at now but I don't think I'm the person to take Malifaux at Dark Sphere onto the next step.

Please excuse the rambling nature of this post I have mixed feelings about this post.

When I started as a Henchman I was very hands on (not in that way) lots of demos and getting to know the new players, bringing people into the group and getting the word out. The way I did things was the right way for the situation. To put it another way I work like a Captain not a General. A Captain leads and a General orders and after a group reaches a certain point it needs orders to keep it moving.

I can see two ways to go forward as a club either stay as we've become now large, irregular group of players or we step up and become something bigger. Now I could stay and do either of those but staying as we are when I know I could push us forward would frustrate me and pushing the group into something bigger while satisfying would require a mind set that I don't want to have to be in in my leisure time.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Story (Event) Time!

One of the things I'd wanted to try since starting to play in Malifaux tournaments was to play in a Story Event. What's a Story Event? Well I'm glad I pretended you asked me that. Ahem.

A Story event is essentially a tournament with an emphasis on either an overarching story or theme that links all of the rounds. It's also less focused on who can score the most tournament points as the winner is often the person who completes the objectives laid out in the narrative. Examples might be that you get points for finding the treasure, killing the monster guarding the entrance to something or successfully rescuing the princess from the castle. Although if she's anything like Princess Peach she'll be in another damn castle entirely.

I had wanted to go along to the Story event that the lovely Dave Brown was running at the Colours Wargaming Show but sadly family commitments had scuppered that idea and there had been something of a dearth of story events that I could get to. So once I heard the mighty Ben Harris was planning something of a bonkers Christmas themed story event just after Boxing Day I was hellbent on getting there - even if it meant I had to persuade the other half to drive. And then play Malifaux in a room full of people he didn't know. My powers of persuasion were about to be tested.....

To cut a long story short (too late) I did manage to convince Rich that he would have a good time - and if he didn't then he never ever had to go to an event again. So on a fairly dull and drizzly Sunday, just after Christmas, we headed into the wilds of the Midlands in search of our venue, Warzone Workshop in Northampton.

The venue itself was very nice - as it's in a shopping centre the amount of space is a bit limited but the stock selection was nicely varied, the upstairs gaming space didn't feel cramped or claustrophobic and there seemed to be plenty of ways to arrange the tables in order to give everyone enough space. The staff were very friendly and kindly provided some free food for lunch as well as having a small fridge with drinks - but as the store is in the town centre then there's no shortage of places to buy food and drink. Would definitely be up for visiting again!

The event itself was a lot of fun and being a story event there were some neat twists thrown in for each round,as well as the scenarios themselves being pretty funny.  

Thursday, 14 January 2016

2015 look back and look forward to 2016.

It is now 2016, a golden age of something etc etc.

I'm going to start this year by looking back at last year and seeing where things went right or wrong. The easiest way to do this is to look at my plans and goals for 2015 and see how I did.

2015 plans for world domination.

First up I had my henchman plan.

This mainly revolved around building the London community, which I think I'll call a success. There were eight tournaments in London in 2015 compared to maybe one in 2014. Top players made the trip to London repeatedly to compete and we put up a challenge for them.
The various London clubs have also started to mingle and chat more which hopefully will lead to bigger plans in the future.

Now I can't take credit for most of that but I had a goal and it was hit so I'm taking it as a win.

The plan for this year is to take a step back and encourage more people to try their hand at running events, if I can do it anyone can so its time a few more did. I still want to run a few bits but I also what to see what other people can do.

Next up plans as a player.

Monday, 11 January 2016

2015 In Review: New Years Resolution Results

Well it's 2016 now. Time to set some gaming resolutions for the year. But before I do that, it's time to look back at how I did on my 2015 resolutions. You can see the original resolutions here, and how I was doing at the 6 month point here. Now let's see how I finished the year. For ease of viewing I've colour coded my successes in green and failures in red.

1) End the year in the UK top 50 (Malifaux Rankings)... End up in the Neverborn top 10.
This one was locked in pretty early in the year. I wasn't really sure at the start of the year how good a player I was as I had no real tournament experience. I did far better this year than I expected and ended the year as UK #7 (having climbed as high as #5 at one point). Although the new rankings site doesn't have faction rankings any more I was in 3rd for neverborn for pretty much the entire year and would still be there (trailing far superior players Greg Piskosz and Mark Elwood) if is was up. All in all I couldn't be happier about my results this year.

2) Use someone other than Dreamer in a tournament game
At the 6-month point I had completed my first event where I used someone other than Dreamer, taking Pandora for two games. By the end of the year I had used 3 masters in a tournament, having taken both Lilith and Pandora to fixed master events. In the end my breakdown for 2015 tournament games (which will have it's own more in-depth article later this month) was 37 games with Dreamer, 8 games with Pandora and 5 games with Lilith. Still very heavily weighted towards Dreamer but I still completed this goal.

3) Only use painted models in tournaments
Objective achieved! This was much tougher earlier in the year when I had a small selection of models and was missing key pieces like Doppelganger. The last 6 months were pretty much a breeze, though I am looking forward to trying out some new models next year that are currently still unpainted.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Malifaux Nationals - Sunday

Second day of the Malifaux Nationals and I hadn't collapsed from exhaustion, drinking or excitement. Calling that a win, I threw myself back into the fray for the final 3 games.

My first game was against a new face - Alessandro who was running Sonnia Criid. Not a Master I'd faced before on the table but the strategy of Turf War seemed tailor made for her - everyone grouping up around a single marker just begging to be incinerated with blasts.

Sadly for me that was exactly what happened. In hindsight my crew selection was simply not geared to deal with the sheer number of blasts that Sonnia was able to churn out. I decided to run Hamelin for the game, thinking he'd be immune to any Burning that got tossed around but I failed in not selecting Nix with his Hollow upgrade - this would have given him a (0) that allows all friendly models within 5" to be immune to all damage from Pulses, Auras and Blasts.

I did have some success in the game though and a high point was Hamelin Obeying Papa Loco to walk into the middle of the Sonnia crew and basically explode. While this didn't do a massive amount of damage it was still a pretty funny moment in a game that otherwise didn't go at all my way.

After that loss it was onto game 2 against a rather familiar opponent, Tim Brown. I'd played Tim twice before Nationals and each game, while ending in a loss for me, had been very enjoyable. The Strategy announced for this one was Reckoning with Close Deployment. Given I know Tim plays Gremlins pretty much exclusively and he knew I was bringing Outcasts, we both had a pretty good idea of what the other was going to produce from their case. Although a Pigapult in Close Deployment? Bad Timmy bad!

Sure enough, Tim ran with Ophelia and I couldn't resist bringing out the Viks, despite the fact that I knew Assassinate was in the pool and it was certainly a scheme Ophelia is more than capable of achieving. The temptation of being able to have the Viks right up in the opposing side of the table bringing stabbity whirlwinds of death was simply too much for me to ignore!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Musings on events

So there was an interesting discussion on A Wyrd Place the other day about prize support in competitions. While it was mostly focused on the types of prizes that could be provided it brought out a couple of different views. In particular some players were of the view the prizes should be awarded to the winners, while others (myself included) were of the view that tangible prizes like models were better allocated in another manner.

This got me thinking and it reminded me of this fantastic article. It is about Netrunner (another great game) but it raises some valid points about how organised gaming tends to focus on the competitive aspect of gaming to the point that competitive players expect that events should cater for them. The reality is that people play games like Malifaux for a variety of different reasons. Not everyone is in it to win tournaments and play super competitively. Now, I am not saying that competitive players are bad or wrong. But at the moment they are heavily catered for, case in point having a look at the UK Calendar there are already 21 Malifaux tournaments in the first quarter of next year. Now obviously you could not enter all of them (quite a few take place on the same day as each other) and they will vary in levels of competitiveness but you can hardly argue that competitive players are missing out. Hell, even Wyrd supports the competitive side through the Gaining Grounds supplement.