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Monday, December 12, 2016

12/10/16 Malifaux Tournament! Blood Bowl WIP! Things!

That sweet Malifaux goodness!

Wow, Ryan... a whole month with no updates, what's up with that?

Sorry folks, although I had been doing lots of hobby stuff I hadn't quite gotten enough material together to warrant an update (at least in my mind!), so I had been holding off on content for a bit. I did manage to work on a post involving some thoughts on the game in terms of strategy much like my AP post, but I didn't quite finish it.

Anyway, what's been going on? Well, for starters last Saturday we had a Malifaux Tournament at the impressive Montag's Games store. We had 8 players in attendance, including a relatively newer player I had faced before in the Henchman Hardcore tournament a while back. 

Below are the table set ups for your enjoyment...

Doug's western themed board, I like the set up and he generally has the same set up every time which is good for its symmetry but not to cuttered

Doug also used his Arena Rex mat for an interesting mat, the TO arranged the terrain and made it the definition of symmetrical

Karl's board featured on a Guild Ball mat, which conveniently marks the center circle for Strategies like Reconnoiter

My board that was featured previously on the blog, although I set it up differently every time

Brandon set this one up very quickly, although I must admit it seemed very interesting to play on

I set this one up very fast, it probably had the least elements but hardly any straight lines of sight from deployment zones

Round 1

Standard, Collect the Bounty
Convict Labor, Take Prisoner, Show of Force, Set Up, A Quick Murder

Yay! I actually remembered to post the entire scheme pool!

Mike getting ready to throw some summons in my face

My first round was against Mike, one of my regular opponents who has made the switch from Gremlins to Ressers. So far he's only used Molly so it was a safe guess that she was going to make an appearance.

The scheme pool looked like it favored my Viktorias. Recently I had been using them a lot with a good amount of success and have actually gotten worse with Leveticus - a discussion for another time. I had recently made a big change in the list and replaced Ashes & Dust and Sue with Aionus and two Winged Plagues. I had only one game with this composition under my belt but felt it was such a good addition that I was confident it could weather the tournament. Collect the Bounty is very good for the crew, and they are now very capable of handling marker related schemes like Convict Labor. Their specialty is A Quick Murder, so I decided to go with Viks for my first game.

Molly peers beside the building at my crew in the open...

Based on the terrain I saw that there were a few bottlenecks to look out for. If I went behind the buildings I'd be forced to come out toward his crew in one, maybe two openings, and those would confine my ability to move around my own crew. He deployed first and set up his whole crew behind the closest building while keeping a lone Flesh Construct on the opposite side to hinder my schemes. I noticed that if he decided to come out between the first two buildings he'd be hindered by some scatter terrain in terms of outright coming toward me, although it's a two way street and would force me to work around the terrain to get to him. If he came out between the second and third buildings I'd manage to have a much safer approach as it would take him longer to become a threat but he'd approach safer as well. I decided to deploy behind my first building instead of in the open just in case the flow dictated that I needed to change the approach. It also benefited me to help with my scheme runners on that side.

The opening turns went as expected, with a slight twist. I assumed he would keep his crew together but the limitations of space and LOS had him split his crew in two and went through both alleys. I brought my entire crew out into the main opening while keeping a Winged Plague and Freikorpsmann on the left to place markers that would go unchallenged during the remaining game turns. My right Winged Plague went to the opposite table edge and I managed to get two markers on the center line with two more creeping behind them - Aionus is able to make all friendly markers move so they can eventually come into play mid game.

Molly then summoned two Students (Viscera and Steel) to swing at Hannah, who promptly tanked them and only took two damage. Viktoria of Blood walked toward them and killed one to ensure that I didn't have to deal with it next turn. To do this, however, compromised my usual positioning and left the Viktorias exposed if they didn't win initiative. It was a gamble I was willing to take, however, as Blood would have positives for Defense and a full hand of cards and stones.

Molly promptly throws bodies at Hannah

Turn two saw the expected blood bath. I managed to win Initiative and went to work. Viktoria of Ashes put up a buff for damage, teleported Blood, and Blood chain activated. She then discarded Oathkeeper and charged Sybelle - who happened to be A Quick Murder's target. Viktoria swiftly killed her, then walked toward the Belle and wounded her with Melee Expert. Although it's not as flashy as usual (like killing 6 models at once) it did the job and scored 3VP easily. 

Viktoria, in some deep doo doo but worth it

Mike then concentrated on killing Blood while he had the chance, but it took a ton of resources to do it. Between Blood having stones, cards and a positive flip to defense it took almost his entire crew, including Molly's new summons like another Student and a Punk Zombie, to bring Blood down to a few wounds left, and she was finished by a Necrotic Machine of all models, who flipped the Red Joker on damage just when it was looking like Blood pulled off a miracle and lived.

Because of how much it took to dispose of Blood Mike wasn't in a good position anymore. I had the freedom to place markers down for Convict Labor which gave me AP to spend on mopping up the portion of his crew that was further up the field. He was also in a bad spot since his summons were further back than he'd like now and no longer had the buffer between my crew and his master.

His lone Flesh Construct was doing his best to deny markers on the left, but I had placed three or four in the area and would be impossible for him to deny with one model. Instead of attacking him I just attempted disengage strikes and would walk away just to place yet another marker. Aionus tied up the other side while placing markers and moving them around, all the while handing out Slow to the Flesh Construct on the right.

In the end I had only lost two models, which were both of my Viktorias. I didn't kill too much in terms of significant models but I had locked down my VP while denying his - he ended up taking Convict Labor and Set Up and it ended up 8-2 in my favor. If we had went to turn 5 I may have gotten full VP, but I doubt the differential would have been any different.

Round 2

Flank, Interference
Convict Labor, Show of Force, Leave Your Mark, Frame For Murder, Set Up

Doug from the illustrious Guslado Games

So for Round 2 I was paired against Doug and his infamous Sandeep list. I learned a ton from our last encounter, but then so has he. I decided to use the Viktorias again even though he knew their trick, I figured having Aionus and the Winged Plagues will help me with schemes. The table was a bit of a choke point with the way the fence was, luckily Doug gave me deployment and I picked the not-so-damning corner. In hindsight I probably should have picked the opposite corner, being that the building was bigger and would hide me better while denying him a hidey-hole. I chose Convict Labor and Leave Your Mark, although in the end it would prove to be a bad choice.

It started off fairly well. I moved my Winged Plagues to the flanks to place markers, with one ending up on top of the large building in safety. The one on the right however died very fast to Cassandra and a Mage. The Freikorpsmann walked toward the north side of the board and placed a marker, and Hannah went up the middle. The Malifaux Child put up the damage buff.

Doug learned from last time and split up his forces a lot. One the fence-side was a Mage and Cassandra. The middle had Sandeep, and the far side had two Mages and Joss.

Due to the placement of his models I heavily debated if I should do a turn 1 charge with Blood. I figured I'd be able to get the two Mages and Joss in Whirlwind, but knew that once it happened Blood will be gone. Figuring I wouldn't have another chance at it I decided to go for it and slung Blood to kill them. It turned out I wasn't able to get the third Mage into range like I thought and only managed to kill Joss and one Mage - and Joss was the target for Frame For Murder. That's when it all went downhill.

Sandeep then summons the Banasuva to kill Blood, who managed to stay alive at one wound.

Ashes joined in on the fun and the two summons were killed, but Blood now had Burning on her so she was going to die.

Doug used the remaining resources to do damage onto Ashes and get her off the field. He got her down to almost dead.

Meanwhile I spent a lot of brainpower trying to figure out how to get out of this mess I put myself in. I managed to move the Malifaux Child in range, had Hannah walk up to Blood and use the Child's healing ability. But not having the cards in hand it was a gamble - I'd be relying on flipping either Moderate or Severe to heal enough to live. Of course, a Weak flipped and it wasn't enough to stem the tide. Doug's remaining resources managed to get Blood and Ashes down to one wound, which killed them once Burning took place.

Not much to say after that! It went downhill extremely fast. If Blood had managed to get that other Mage in Whirlwind range then my Winged Plague would have been free to run his schemes, but since I didn't the Winged Plague had to be exposed to try to get in range for Leave Your Mark and died. I also should have picked my schemes better, because Frame For Murder would have been a sure shot on Viktoria of Blood, which would have closed the differential much better. The reason I didn't take it was because every time I take it against another player of ours he avoids killing her at all so it left a bad taste.

Needless to say it was pretty demoralizing for me, and unfortunately I let it affect my following game.

Round 3
Corner, Stake a Claim
Convict Labor, Hunting Party, Exhaust their Forces, Neutralize the Leader, Occupy Their Turf

So for my last game I was paired against Travis, another regular opponent and Malifaux genius. We played on the Arena mat. Unfortunately with Corner deployment I realized that no matter what cornern I ended up in I was extremely bottle-necked. As I deployed my models it sunk in even further as I could already tell this was not going to be a good game for me.

With Exhaust their Forces in the pool and Stake a Claim needing models in enemy halves I decided with Leveticus, although in hindsight I probably should have stuck with Viks. I chose Convict Labor and Exhaust Their Forces, which I realized recently that Flesh Constructs are actually really good at. I need to start forgetting about Convict Labor when it comes to Corner Deployment, I'm just too far to do the normal strategy I usually do.

I hadn't taken a lot of photos during the game, mostly because it was a terribly awful game and I was already worn down from my last defeat and let it get in my head. He used Asami and was much better equipped to be walking around in forests than I was. He managed to get Neutralize the Leader on turn two, and was getting Hunting Party every turn. I only got two points from Exhaust Their Forces and nothing else. It was bad. On top of that my flips were awful, and my control hand rarely saw anything above an 8 even after spending stones. It ended 10-2 and we were done with an hour left in the round!

I felt bad that I didn't give Travis a good game but in the end it bumped him up to second place so he probably wasn't complaining! Doug ended up winning (again, damn you!) and Karl took third.

Lesson's learned, really. I need to re-rack my brain on scheme selection and really approach every scheme as valid rather than sticking to the same ones repeatedly - not that I'm saying that there aren't any staples, just that I need to reevaluate how I approach them.

In the end it was fun but brutal on the psyche. Luckily the end of the year is approaching and the new Gaining Grounds packet should be out - it should be enough to revitalize my game and is definitely exciting. 

After the game we had Indian food for dinner and went back to Mike's for Board Game Night. We ended up playing Camel Up, which is a surprisingly fun game about gambling! We also played King of Tokyo which was cool too, and ended the night with Cash and Guns, a fun party game.

Blood Bowl WIP

So a few weeks back Guy, the owner of Montag's, commissioned me to paint a copy of Blood Bowl in exchange for a copy for myself (I may have done some coercing...). From the moment I saw the new Orks I knew I had to get my hands on a copy, and they looked like an absolute blast to paint. It took me a good four hours to assemble and cover up the bases - they have a slot to insert the ball, but it's not something Guy (or I) wanted. I finally was able to set aside some time on Sunday to start the painting process. I had to do an assembly line in order to get them done in a timely fashion, even though I hate assembly line painting.

The first foundation of Red is placed...

Guy wanted them to have the same paint scheme as they do on the box but gave me the freedom to paint in how I'd like within that range - a good thing, as my particular style doesn't match that of GW which is a rather cool one. I'd been brainstorming on how I wanted to approach the work and decided on using a technique I'd used in the past for red with a slight twist.

Over a black primer coat I sprayed Vallejo Gray highlights and color blocking. Because this "undercoating" process is used under a coat of red I had to go more overboard than usual to ensure that the red is readable in the end. Once the gray was done I used Vallejo Red Ink and sprayed several light coats over the gray. It starts off as a light pink at first but over time and several layers the red starts to show, and it is really rich. Unfortunately it looks a lot different under the light than it does in normal lighting conditions and is actually a lot darker than I'd like.

New! Now with Orange! (Also, it looks a lot more orange than it really is in this light)

I decided to add another layer of highlights with Vallejo Fiery Orange. I was worried about this step as I hadn't used orange to layer over red in quite a while on this scale and was afraid it wouldn't look good. Luckily it worked out, and it creates a really cool sheen on the armor while still reading as red. Had I took the more realistic route it would turn out much more of a pink tone, maybe less so with a Flesh Tone undercoat. I plan on knocking down the gloss finish with matte varnish tonight to see if I need to work more on it.

Up Close...

I really like the way they turned out, but I'm afraid that they are too dark and subtle to pop. I'm debating on pushing the contrast further, by shading with Burnt Umber and adding in another layer of Gray/Orange. I'm also debating on the skin tone, as I initially thought I wanted them to be more of a olive green rather than the yellow green that they traditionally are painted as. We'll see, but in the mean time I will continue to update my progress and get it done as soon as possible!