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Monday, July 21, 2014

Puppet Wars and more Warmachine practice

Today's my birthday! Yaaay!

On Friday I received my gift in the mail of Puppet Wars: Unstitched. I've wanted to get this game since I first saw it around a year or so ago. The models look superb, the gameplay seems solid and it's all based on my favorite game (thus far) of Malifaux!

I started piecing it together on Saturday and finished yesterday. The models were a cinch to put together. They even gave the models pegs to use as pins to the bases and have pre-made holes in the base so you don't have to put in any effort to have them stable! This is a relief since a lot of these models are standing on small pegs for legs, and in the case of the December Acolyte just sharp points.

Of course I had to go and be complicated to make pretty minis and decided to put them on resin bases within 30mm bases as opposed to the 25mm base they come with. It was definitely worth the extra effort as the plank inserts make them look amazing and fully emerges the model into the idea that they are puppets fighting in an attic. I got these resin bases from Full Borer Miniatures, and he's great with the casting time and communication. Give him a shot for some excellent work. He is even open to custom jobs, but you'd need to discuss details with him - and if he's doing that for you I'd suggest putting in a tip for his great effort.

So I assembled them, drilled a hole in the resin insert, glued the insert to a 30mm base, and finally glued the models to the base. They look fantastic and are extremely solid!

So Kristy and I played a game last night. Overall the mechanics are solid and the rules are quite clear, other than not being able to identify when you shuffle the deck. I couldn't find anything on the ruling and assumed that you only shuffle when you run out of cards, which seems logical considering you don't go through many during each Animation Round. 

What I like is that it is Malifaux Lite, essentially. It streamlines all abilities and attacks to use a mechanic based on flipping more cards rather than doing math (i.e. + and - flips become a single target defense and multiple flips to beat that). I also love the fact that you can discard as many cards as you want to add suits and you pick the highest numeric value of it all.

We both used lists that were pre-made in the rules, with my wife using Lady Justice's crew and I used Seamus'. Gathering from that one game I've seen how annoying it can be to play against a Seamus crew, especially if his control hand is filled with Crows. However with the mechanics of using a poker deck the more Crows you use the less you draw in your hand later on, which makes this an awesome mechanic to create balance. I noticed that I would take hardly any damage at all and be filled with Crows, then over the next round all I drew were the other suits and would only have the crows left over from my previous (if any). This would force my crew to use dodges rather than damage prevention or other abilities, and I'd be forced to rely on flips (which have a reduced chance of getting a crow since I used them all) or save the one last crow I have to ensure I get an ability or damage prevention off.

She was just getting the hang of tabletop gaming, and although PW:U is a board game it is essentially and streamlined TTG, and that takes getting used to at first. She didn't utilize the crew's abilities as much since she was just getting the hang of the system she missed out on a lot of their strengths. She realized that she needed to get rid of Seamus rather than attack the pawns and Misaki a bit late, and didn't realize she could use the Austringers to do so. She also didn't know that the edge of the board was wider than she thought since it was darker than the rest and harder to see. We're going to be using the same crews until she's used to how they work before we switch things up.

Overall it was a blast and it's a great and simple system to understand. Once you get through one complete Animation Round the rest is a cinch.

This weekend I also played several games of Warmachine.

I played a small game of battle box against Christian's legion using my Cryx. This would be my first game using Cryx so it was a brain buster. Although I knew of several combinations for the box set implementation is always tougher than theory. I found it difficult to do what I wanted, which is cast Crippling Grasp on the caster first or second turn. In theory it shouldn't be hard, but it always comes down to a single roll that requires average dice, so there is a great chance of failure. Failure also meant being down 4 focus with nothing to show for it. I did, however, learn to use her feat in conjunction with crippling grasp, that way it is easier to hit and be less wasteful with focus. I just have to remember to use it, and make sure that I am within range to do so.

Another thing I realized is that you are left using a lot of resources for a single maneuver. It sometimes took one arc node running (1 focus), then 3 focus for Parasite, 1 for Magic Boost, and you're only left with giving less than max to your Slayer to finish the model off. It takes quite a bit of forethought to make it work, and all the while your models are left open to counter attack easily.

I also played a battle box game to demo it for a new Retribution player (whose models I showed earlier). He grasped the concepts well enough and is eager to learn more.

The next day I played a practice game against Reuben's Butcher list. I wish we had a steam roller packet to practice scenario, but it was a quick pick up game so we just did standard assassination. I personally saw it as a grudge match, since every time I've played against pButcher I have been unable to kill him. Sure, I've won a few via scenario, but I've never personally assassinated him.

I used my Gorten list since I've been playing Mercs a lot recently. If I weren't locked into a list and saw Butcher as a potential enemy list, this would definitely be my ideal matchup. In the past when we've played I've always had an uphill battle against his Butcher, since I use troll brick and Ret have an issue with high armor. My Gorten list has enough tricks up its sleeve to deal with most lists, and it seems like on paper I'd be able to deal with the butcher.

It started off smooth, although he did a stacked flank of skirmishers to my left which I left hardly anything to defend with. Since I deployed almost all my force to the center and right, he counter deployed his two units of Eliminators and 2 Manhunters opposite. The only things deployed directly opposite to these skirmishers were Thor and his Basher, and technically a Gunner and Driller (they were deployed on Gorten's left).

He ran his skirmishers up my left and walked his remaining forces as far forward as possible. I countered by free advancing my Basher to confront the skirmishers (a slam then his Flak Field would be more than sufficient for those low ARM models), but realized I was too short to pull it off and instead ran to engage the Manhunters. The rest of my army advanced or ran forward to prepare for round 2.

To counter the Basher he charged it will all his available skirmishers and destroyed it. He knew that the flak field was too dangerous to leave alone, however I didn't expect to see 6 solos take it down so easily. I expected it would live to flak field once, which was all it needed, but it died too quickly. The rest of his army cautiously advanced. His Beast 09 was forced to do nothing since Eiryss D Bolted him and the ATGMs knocked him down with Thunderstrikes.

On my turn I countered his skirmishers by running up my gunner to engage an eliminator and a Manhunter. It's funny at this point because Reuben always says, "Interesting..." whenever I try something he didn't see before, which he promptly did when I ran the gunner to engage. I then had Gorten cast his AOE spell on the gunner (back strikes help make it accurate, although since he was engaged it was still tough). The gunner came out lightly charred though the other two couldn't handle POW 14s. Since I was directly in front of the remaining skirmishers and the AOE was centered on my gunner he couldn't charge it since the template would kill them, and he couldn't charge anything beyond it as well. This held off the skirmishers for that crucial turn.

Gorman di Wulfe got a lucky black oil deviation and instead of hitting just the Kodiak he drifted onto the Butcher and his War Dog as well as the Kodiak! It was exactly the thing I needed to dominate the game. Gorman died next, but it was a glorious way to go down.

He couldn't do much in response, just set up his skirmishers for next round and pick up his jacks. Every one of them got knocked down or Black Oiled. Two of them were marshaled and thus couldn't do anything about it, one was D Bolted again, and the other had to give up his move or action. The butcher just clutched onto his Focus as he was unable to do anything else and moved away from Gorten.

The game ender was next. I moved Gorten into range, casted a rock wall in front of him, and popped his feat. I moved all enemy models in range toward my table edge to bring the butcher closer and his skirmishing flankers further away from counter attack. I didn't have the foresight to see his other models ending up engaged with my Hammer unit, but a quick aiming Thunderbolt shot pushed them all out of the way. I ended up shooting Eiryss' D Bolt into the Butcher to get rid of that pesky Focus and had the weaponmaster Hammers charge the butcher unguarded. They made quick work of him and the game was over.

Overall it was great practice. My army worked out exactly as I planned and I even got to implement a few combos I only thought of previously and had never got to use, such as Gorten's AOE to deny low ARM infantry. Most of all I finally got to kill the Butcher and end his tyranny.