So I hadn't been doing much in terms of painting or modeling, but I did get to get some good games in of varying tastes.
Last Wednesday I went to Montag's. The regular group had a few scheduling conflicts so I didn't expect to get any games in and went to pick up a few items. To my surprise Karl showed up and didn't have any opponents to play so I decided to get in a game. I didn't bring any of my models though so I ended up using his Ten Thunders. I decided to use Misaki since out of all his models it was the only master I had familiarity with. I also took a Dawn Serpent, Lone Swordsman, Katanaa Sniper and three TT Brothers. It felt odd only taking 7 models but I'd noticed that whenever I make TT lists they're usually on the low end of model count, and Karl even pointed out that it's not unusual in a TT list to end up with that count. He decided to use Yan Lo in the spirit of Masters with little to no experience, so it was like a battle of the wiffle ball bats. He took a Porter, Sniper, Obsidian Oni, Izamu, Komainu, and Toshiro - possibly more but I can't recall.
It was interesting to play as I hadn't played Misaki as TT since I first started playing Malifaux. I've always been under the impression that she was much better as a TT master than Outcast and this game fit under that assumption. We played Headhunter with Flank Deployment, with a lackluster scheme pool consisting of Convict Labor, Show of Force, Public Demonstration, Exhaust their Forces and Hunting Party. I ended up taking Convict Labor, a staple in my playstyle and easier with the TT Brothers, as well as Show of Force - a problematic scheme as my only Enforcer was the Lone Swordsman with Recalled Training, but I felt that he alone couldn't handle Hunting Party for three turns and the other schemes are my least favorite ones. He also ended up taking the same schemes for almost the same reasons.
The highlights of the game aren't glamorous, we both began by using our Snipers to pack some damage in early with his bringing my Sniper down to one wound early. I got the Swordsman right at the center with the Dawn Serpent while the Brothers spread out to place markers. Misaki dove headfirst into the clump of his models that were very close to his deployment zone and Stalked Izamu. On turn 2 she used Recalled Training and destroyed Izamu giving some breathing room for her for a round, and due to the positives from Recalled Training and Misdirection she was holding off almost every attack. The rest of the crew sort of milled about making markers and the Swordsman stayed where he was at to score for Show of Force.
In the end Misaki seemed to have done a good job of distraction and remained there until turn 4. Despite Izamu being resummoned she did a good job of putting on damage. I was learning how important her Stalk action is in terms of timing and targets, as I was using Misdirection when I could to play a game of attrition and resource drain. Although you have to accept the fact that she will never live a full game the trick seems to be making sure she drains as much AP as possible before she falls. This proved invaluable as it left only one model to oppose the Swordsman (Toshiro) and with the right cards he was able to dispatch of Toshiro in a fell swoop - his triggers seem to be a good answer for almost any matchup, it's just tough as it is heavily dependent on your control hand. The Brothers are very good for denial, as it was extremely tough for him to get any damage through on them as with every defensive flip I was managing to increase their defensive measures - on average I was at Df 7 with around two positive flips. He managed to dispatch two of them with Wp duels but it was well after they did their part.
We ended up calling it after turn 4 as he was no longer able to score Show of Force and had no way of scoring Convict Labor. He scored very well with Headhunter though and ended the game 8-4 in my favor.
It was fun running around with a different Faction and Master than usual, and once I feel comfortable or tired enough of Outcasts I will swap back to Ten Thunders for interest. I plan on utilizing two main masters - Shenlong and McCabe. I've had Shenlong for over a year now and have yet to really play with him, but Travis has been using Ten Thunders with pretty good results and made an excellent Shenlong crew that would be hard not to imitate so I'll most likely main McCabe. I got the limited edition Wild Ones crew that I'll want to definitely paint up well and use on the table, luckily he's not a bad master and has great options when used for Ten Thunders. The main issue I foresee is using Mounted Guards, a model I'm not too terribly impressed with in terms of list composition, but I want to use them because their Wild Ones models are too good to pass up. They're right at that price point that makes me want to swap them out for something more efficient, though, or at least for a better beatstick.
After that game the owner Guy proposed a game of Krosmaster Arena 1.0, which I had to oblige because that guy never plays games and I just had to witness it. He's said before that this is his favorite game and has the entire range for his personal collection. I've always liked the components and presentation of the game and even borrowed it a while back to read the rules. The models are excellent and come pre-painted in a very good example of work, I just didn't like the rules presentation as it doesn't have the rules organized in a traditional way - rather, the rules are presented bit by bit via scenario tutorials. I'm not a fan of this as it creates a hassle to find rules during play, and usually segments different parts of the same rules between basic and advanced rules sets.
We played a game of 4 vs 4. The mechanics themselves are simple enough to understand, and by the end of the game you definitely get your head wrapped around the strategies needed to win. I only had a few issues with the game, as a lot of the mechanics tended to add weight to the game but could have probably done with streamlining to eliminate that bloat. An example is their AP system, which is used for every action in the game from movement to attacking and collecting. The system almost requires for you to track the model's AP with dice or a similar method and just added fiddlyness to the game. I understand the need for this as there are so many things that you can do, but this can add analysis paralysis to a vulnerable player and makes it harder to see how your actions in your team can synergize with one another immediately. The dice system was also a bit tougher to understand as it's not in the traditional vein of random resolution. The end game is also kind of anti-climactic as it can end suddenly depending on your rolls, and generally killing one model can be all it takes to bring about a win or loss.
Overall though it was a fun experience, however it was definitely one of those games that you'll have to power through your first few games to get the full experience out of it. Personally I'm a fan of games that get going right out of the gate and are easy to grasp and explain to a first time player. This may not be one of those games, but it can hit the spot for some gamers who are looking for more crunch in their arena styled games - it's just not something I'd recommend for a player looking for a light or at least more understandable experience. The components, though, are definitely one of those elements that warrant prospective players to look past their first rough tries as there is a very good game beneath all those layers and the excellent models will have you coming back for more.
Lastly on Saturday I met up with Mike to get some other games in and hang out. We ate at a darn good Indian restaurant (I've never had Indian food before and it didn't disappoint) and started with a playtest of the new updated rules for a game that's in development.
Overall the game flowed much smoother than before, of course there were a few speed bumps but that is why we're playtesting it in the first place. I was super stoked to see that my suggestions from the first playtest got through in the update! I've never been able to take part of the ground floor development in a game and it's very exciting.
You can see from the picture above that I used the Battle Systems Kickstarter terrain. I absolutely love this stuff, although my use of trees was testing Mike's patience on a hilarious level. Pretty terrain isn't always the most functional...
After we playtested the game Mike indulged me in a demo for MERCS. I used the same 2x2 board set up and we played a 3 vs 3 game with me playing the FCC House 9 and giving him the KemVar. I had forgotten my rule book but it's easy enough to recall most rules as the game is very intuitive. It was a quick and bloody skirmish but his KemVar easily overcame my House 9. The KemVar camouflage can be a tough uphill fight without the right resources and the low model count can definitely make it harder, but I knew that going in. KemVar is a good faction to give for demos as it is more forgiving in terms of cover and helps ensure that the new player doesn't lose models too fast, it also is a good challenge to try and overcome as a more experienced player. Their Heavy is a devastating model once he's in the right spot and it is crucial that you get rid of him fast. The smaller board also plays very well into KemVar's strengths as when they close the distance their melee capabilities come into play. Overall it was a fun day and I got to have my MERCS fix even if it was out of pity (ha!). I really wish this game was more visible, it's a great light wargame and alternative to more of the dedicated games out there.
Anyway, this small update turned out a bit more wordy than I anticipated. Hopefully soon I will have more substantial material for you, but with the holidays coming up it may be a bit sparse from time to time. I'll try my best to keep things interesting!