Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dark Eldar arrive

So for everyone who has the new letter delivered to them via email from GW, you already know this news and have seen the following pictures. For those who do not but read this blog, here you go!

The Dark Eldar are here and GW has released the previews of what they are showing off at UK GD this weekend. I would have loved to see these live, but the pictures are pretty sweet.

I do want to applaud GW for doing such a great job keeping leaks from happening. It certainly appears they have closed the gaps in thier information network and are now in complete control (virtually) of releasing thier own information and sneak peaks. Now the question will be, do they do as good of a job getting people excited, and does this increase sales. I have to believe thier sales will be flat or depressed due to the last price hike, but thats another blog post.

Lets look at the Dark Eldar goodness:

First we have the Archon model. I suspect this will be metal. I love how it looks.

The Incubus, which I previewed a blurry shot of the other day. I love this model as well.

The Reaver Jetbikes and new Raider... excellent models!
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I also really like the warriors, the new sculpt is very nice!
Then we close out with the Wyches first, and Lelith second. I expect Lelith will be a metal model. while I think her new model is fantastic, I think I like her old model better. I may use the new model as additional models for Wyche squads. As for the wyches, I originally thought they were mandrakes, not wyches. It makes me wonder what the new mandrake models will look like.



Overall very nice. I am happy I picked up an old Lelith and Drazzar model before they are taken out of stock. I am really looking forward to the Codex although I will probably hold off a little on buying the army itself. Most likely until after Christmas, but we will see.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eldar rolls out with Havarti, Brie, and Cheddar.... and Dark Eldar Teasers

I am Alpharius... no, I'm Alpharius..... Wait.. I AM Alpharius.....
Ok, enough with the bad jokes, I got a game in against the Alpha legion last night during our club GW night at the local store. I wish I could say it went better, even though I got the win. In a surprising but unfortunate turn of events my opponent's dice absolutely hated him. Over 6 turns he easily put over 72 attacks (Auto-cannons, Melta-guns, Plasma, Power Fists, krak grenades) in the same wave-serpent and only succeeded in blowing the weapons off in turn 6. Overall I want to say he rolled at least 10 1's on the penetrating chart to keep the serpent from shooting.

So, lets get down to the lists and the game:

DTP @ 2000 points

5x Warlocks (2x Destructor/blades, 1x Destructor/spear, 1x embolden/spear, 1x enhance/spear)
Wave Serpent (cannon, TL Star Cannon, Stones)
7x Fire Dragons + Exarch (DB Flamer)
Waver Serpent (cannon, TL Scatter Laser, stones)
9x Dire Avengers + Exarch (blade storm/2x SCat)
Wave Serpent (cannon, TL BrightLance, stones)
 9x Dire Avengers + Exarch (blade storm/2x SCat)
Wave Serpent (cannon, TL BrightLance, stones)
Fast Attack
5x Spiders
4x Spiders + Exarch (2x spinner/power blades)
Prism (stones, holofield)

Alpha Legion @2000 points

Lord with a Daemon weapon
10x Terminators (I think)
10x Terminators (I think)
5x Chosen
10x Chaos Marines - Tzentch icon
10x Chaos Marines - Tzentch icon
5x Chaos marines

I do not clearly remember how everything was equipped, although there was a lot of combi-melta and a lot of autocannons. The Terminators all had icons of Tzentch.

The mission was from the Battle Missions book, it was the first of the Eldar missions. This is the mission where the game is played short edge to short edge, with the non-eldar having to set-up their HQ in the middle of their deployment zone. All the Eldar units are worth 2 kp, while the opponent units are 3kp for HQ, 1kp for troops and transports, then 2 kp for everything else. We played on a nicely set-up city-fight-esque board, although the ruins were mostly 2 level ruin bases.

Let me pause here to acknowledge what long time readers of my blog may have already noticed. Yes, I have the very atypical (for me) 2 named character cheese in this list. Whats worse, I combine it with a Seer Council on foot, and loaded the whole crew into the same wave serpent. I made this decision based on some feedback from friends (and readers) who will remain unnamed combined with reading the Seer Council article in the Astromag.  I will admit that I tend to be down on this power unit for a variety of reasons, but have not really given it a chance to prove why so many people use it. Based on that decision, I loaded up the cheese and went out to play my game. Overall, they did very little because my opponents dice defeated him more than my army did.

I was worried in the beginning of the game, as I am typically very challenged dealing with terminators. I just cannot seem to crack terminator saves, and even my bulk of fire do not always roll well enough to do the damage needed to knock them down. I deployed first then after his deployment used Eldrads divination to shift 3 units around on the table. This gave me a nice line of fire down the table to start picking away at his units while still claiming cover from return fire.

The early rounds of the game had the Cheese-council headed down the board next to a squad of dire-avengers in serpent. Scoot 7 inches, both serpents shoot into the units. I also had my other squad of Avengers scooting down the other flank of the board taking pot-shots into his army. I was able to pick off two of the three oblit's to doubling out shots where they failed thier saves with 1's. Doom and my spiders saw off the squad of chosen and the small squad of marines. By the start of turn 4 I was ready to get the council stuck into a combined assault with a large unit of marines and one of the terminator squads on my right flank of the board. Doom plus 3 destructor templates plus 3 spears plus 32 bladestorm shots plus 8 spinner shots from spiders left very little for an assault. The marines were reduced to 4 marines and running from the board, and the terminators were reduced to the lord plus 2 terminators. The lord then proceeded to daemon weapon himself to death over the next 2 assault, dies with me only inflicting 1 wound on him early in the game. The other two terminators were dropped to power blade and dire avenger assaults. At the top of turn 5 I was able to get Doom onto the other unit of terminators, and dump the Dragon-breath flamer plus 4 melta shots (dragons) plus a fire prism plus another 32 bladestorm shots to reduce the second terminator squad down to two terminators left, who were then charged by the fire dragons and actually killed in close combat. At that point the game was over, even with a roll to play through turn 6. Final score was 16 to 2, with only one squad of spiders on my side being killed. My Seer council never made it into combat, and the majority of the game was Eldrad using Doom once and Fortune on his own unit each turn.

Couple things I noticed about Eldrard during the game. Over my entire history of playing with Farseer's, I can probably count less than 4 times I have rolled perils. I am fairly successful on two dice with not rolling perils while using my regular Farseers. During this game Eldrard rolled perils (using the 3 dice from runes of witnessing) 3 times. While each was canceled by  the helm (I forgot about embolden), I still rolled perils an awful lot. Now to be fair to the unit, I think this is above average but it still demonstrates why I do not take runes of witnessing.

Overall it was a good game, and to be fair to the cheddar-council I should probably take them at least 2 more times to really give them the opportunity to shine. I am still not sure Eldrard is worth the points, but we will see.

To close out this post, I want to point out something I am excited about. While reading BOLS today, I saw a picture that got me very excited. While the picture is blurry, I love the look of the new Incubi. I did not expect the Incubi to be redone, as I thought of the entire DE line they looked the best. The new models are a little breath-taking for me. I am starting to really look forward to the new DE coming out!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Malifaux Battle Report

The other night was my "normal" Tuesday night gaming night, which has lately been entirely focused on Malifaux games. We had a smaller turn-out than normal last night, but thats bound to happen. I still got in an excellent and very close game against Tim and his 30SS Lilith crew.

First lets talk about Malifaux tables and how ours was set-up. I spent some time last night, prior to the gaming group rolling in, setting up 2 boards as a "test" for the upcoming Malifaux Tournament.  The first board was set-up as a western wasteland, full of cliffs and ravines to paly through. The other board was set-up as a small rustic village with a walled house (using the GW tavern set), a smaller house (armorcast), some ruins (warmachine Cryx mining set), some hand made ruins (LoTR ruins/arcane ruins) and 2 forest bases (GW Forests). This was added together with a couple walls to represent a small homestead out in the forested wilds around Malifaux city. This was the board Tim and I played on.

Lady Justice's Crew                          Lilith's Crew
Lady Justice                                       Lilith
Judge                                                 Primordial Magic
Executioner                                        Mature Nephilim
Austringer                                          Young Nephilim
2x Death Marshals                               3x Tots
7 Stones                                              7 Stones

We flipped a shared Strategy, "Contain Power" with the primary goal being to kill each-others masters. We both forgot to choose schemes, so this ended up being a down-and-dirty grudge match between Lilith and Justice. The game started out well, with "Standard Deployment" and I got to set-up and chose the side with the houses and ruins. This gave me room to hide my Austringer, and set-up a nice line out of the remaining crew, leaving myself some killing ground. Tim set-up on the far side of the forests, and we flipped for initiative.

I want to take a break at this point to mention a couple things. I have noticed that a strong starting hand can really kick the game off for Lady J and her crew. Being able to box Lady J on turn 1, then hold a decent set of cards in hand gives you a nice cushion to play into future turns. Lady J's crew does not have a quick way to cycle through cards, so being able to hold some high Rams for Critical Strikes, and some mid-range masks for the Judges Bullets and Blades helps a whole lot. I imagine having a couple high crows in hand for the executioner is just as helpful, to trigger decapitate. I like to add that holding high masks may be more helpful, as not only can this augment the judge, but can help trigger Lady J's onslaught by cheating out of hand. Without 2 or 3 of these cards, the game becomes a bit "touch-and-go" from my experience.

So, jumping back to the game, my starting hand was very average, with the only real highlights being a decent card to allow me to box Lady J, and a mid-range mask for the Judge to cast B&B. I grimaced a bit but proceeded forward hoping for the best.:day J went into the box, and the crew moved forward.

Overall the game turned into a fair blood-bath between the crew. Some of the highlights start with a scrum over one of the stone walls, with Judge, Executioner, Mature Nephilim, Young Nephilim, and a Tot all in combat. Executioner got the charge and landed a critical triggered blow on the Mature Nephilim. I had drawn the red-joker in hand and cheated this into the damage flip, dropping the clearing the mature off the board. Unfortunately, the black blood and swirling melee turns following left the executioner dying, and his slow to die strike on the Tot missed due to a timely cheat by Tim. No "Love the Job" returns for the executioner, and he left the game as the first guild casualty. Lilith and a Tot managed to meneuver around one house and make thier way into the combat, clearing out a marshal and the judge, with only Lilith leaving that combat. This left the newly unburied Lady J alone on the far side of the house, with no way to make it to Lilith. At the start of turn 4 the table was down to a stand off with the Guild having Lady J, 1 Death Marshal, and the Austringer facing Lilith and tot. The tot chased down the Austringer, who was unable to take him out before going down. Lilith took a red-joker damage shot from the death marshal, which left her hurt and at a soul-stone deficit vs Lady J. Due to earlier damage and healing flips Lady J burned, Lilith was at 2 stones vs J's 3 at that point.

This is where I started making mistakes. Lilith was able to take out the Death Marshal, Lady J took out the tot, and there were both masters facing each-other down approximately 8 inches apart. End of turn flip to see if the game goes on, and the flip pushes the game into another turn. J has 3 wounds remaining, Lilith has 2 or 3 wounds remaining and it comes down to initiative. I pull a full hand of 6 cards and end up with a range of 13 through 6, with a high mask that could be used to trigger riposte. Initiative is flipped and I flip low against Tim's 12. I lose my mind and burn a stone to try and flip a 13, instead flipping a 1 and still going last. Lilith charges, I flip for a defense and cheat "not my mask" then burn a stone to make the attack miss. Stupid move as I should have cheated the mask and made gone for the riposte instead of holding out for my turn. Soul-stone flip still does not make the attack miss, Lilith flips for dmage and the red-joker comes up. Game over Lady J.

Overall a great game, but I still need to work on making good tactical decisions on when to use my triggers, stones, and cheating the right cards.

So my final thoughts:

I really like this guy. His 5 soul-stone pricing is "just right" in my opinion, although some folk think he is under-costed by a point. He comes with a critical strike trigger which is nice, but requires a ram to go off which the Austringer does not come with. On the other hand, his Raptor has a CB of 7, which is very nice and fairly high for a non-master. Add to that the fact that the raptor does not need LOS to attack and he really works. His damage is not incredible, in fact its very average for Malifaux ranged weapons. He does have a 12 inch range attack however, which can be increased to 18 inches by spending (2) AP. He also has a cool ability called "deliver orders" that allows you to "pseudo-companion" another model within 24 inches. This is very situational with the crews I have run, but can be nice.

Lady Justice
I really like Lady J, and so far she is the only Master I have been playing with. After a series of games I am starting to get the hand of her tricks and how she works. She appears to be a very straight forward Master, and she probably is and I am just a slow learner or bad tactician! My expierience is really pointing to Lady J operating as an assassination model, being able to really destroy 1 opposing model before she goes down. Anything she does after taking out that first model is really a nice to have. To date I am fairly certain that barring a terrible draw, Lady J has the capability to murder (in 1 cycle of combat) and other single model in the game. The trick then becomes how do you get her to that key combat? This is where the Lday J in the box trick comes in.

In this combo a friendly Death Marshal starts in melee range of Lady J, and on the first turn he puts her in the coffin, burying her. At this point Lady J chooses to fail her will-power checks at the end of the turns, remaining buried until the Death Marshal is in position for her to jump out and whack something. In the awkward case where the Marshal dies first, or is taken off the table another way, Lady J jumps out before the Marshal goes away and hopefully is positioned to take advantage of this. The challenge to this combo is the required 8 of crows or better in hand on the draw.  Without that, be prepared to start moving your crew forward and positioning as tactically as possible.

Comments / Suggestions / critiques??

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dark Eldar, a 40K Game, Inspiration?

To be fair, this was owed to the community yesterday, so it counts as old news now. Regardless, I can happily say that I look forward to November and the upcoming Dark Eldar. I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but the Dark Eldar are the other army I used to play regularly, and I loved them to death. Basically, the three armies I have warmed to most in 40K are Eldar (of course), Dark Eldar, and Tyranids.

Now the dilemma that is about to land in my lap is this. Years back (right after the Wood Elves were released) I had a discussion with my wife about the models I have in the house. I had just seen the Wood Elf line which had been "completely redone" and heard that Dark Eldar would be getting the same treatment from the same sculptor. This was an exciting prospect for me and I decided then to sell my 2000 point Dark Eldar army with an eye toward picking up the new DE when they were released. Well, now they are on the horizon of being released. Exciting, I would say so. I am particularly excited to see what new toys they get in thier codex along with seeing what exiting new sculpts are released.

On the down side, I have a fairly massive High Elf fantasy army that is clamoring to be built. Add to this the remnants of the DTP that I am trying to push myself over the line to complete (more on that below). Adding another $600 - $1000 purchase of Dark Eldar to the mix does not necessarily inflame my imagination. That's disappointing to me, as I really thought I would be more excited when this time finally came. Regardless, I will wait to see what November brings, and more importantly wait to see what the future second wave may bring.

That brings me to my most recent game. As many of you may have noticed, my playing of GW games has decreased drastically in the recent couple of months. I played a game vs Neil from the 11th company podcast at the NOVA open, and have only just gotten another 40K game in last night. Last night was the "kick-off" of our local GW gaming night at our new store, Huzzah Hobbies. I had the chance to play against local Ordo NOVA founder Sham and his Necrons. Now Sham has not played 40K in about a year, and this was my third game of 40K since the middle of June. Fairly even odds if you ask me......

Lets take a look at the lists:
Dead Tau Project - 2000 points
Farseer (guide/doom/spear)
Autarch (WJG, power sword, fusion gun, madiblasters)

6x Fire Dragons + Exarch (Flamer) + Wave Serpent (scatter lasers, cannon, stones)

6x Rangers
6x Rangers
9x Dire Avengers + Exarch (dual shuricat, bladestorm) + Wave Serpent (Bright Lances, cannon, stones)
9x Dire Avengers + Exarch (dual shuricat, bladestorm) + Wave Serpent (Bright Lances, cannon, stones)

8x Warp Spiders + Exarch (dual spinner, power blades)
1x Vyper (missile, cannon)

2x Prism (stones, holofield)

Sham's Necrons - 2000 points
Lord (various stuff but no shroud)
11x Immortals
18x warriors
18x warriors
4x destroyers
4x destoryers
2x Monolith

Overall this game was an exercise in my dice punishing me for playing Malifaux, and his dice rewarding him for a return to 40K after a year. At one point Sham even made the comment that he may have sacrificed a goat prior to our game. The game was a standard book mission, spearheaed deployment and kill points. We played out the game, ending with Sham winning 5kp to 3kp. A couple highlights of the game:

Sham set-up everything minus the monoliths at the start of the game, keeping the monoliths in reserve to deep strike. I set-up the rangers in some buildings, and my prisms taking cover between some ruins. Sham then proceeded to steal the initiative.

Sham deep-strikes the monoliths in on turn 2, both of them coming in. 1 drifts into a ruin and immobilizes itself, indicating to me that things might look up. I proceed to get 1 squad of avengers, my warp spiders, and my fire dragons in on turn 2. My vyper did not make its reserve roll until turn 3, and my autarch dies on turn 4 keeping the Farseer and Avengers out until the automatic turn 5 reserve deployment.

My serpents make multiple twin-linked shots with rolls of 3's for the first roll, and twin linked rolls of 1 and 2. My avengers unload on one squad of warriors, bladestorming for 32 shots. Math hammer says that 32 shots with no cover should hit 50% (16 shots), wound 50% (8 wounds) and necrons should save 50% (4 wounds). Results are actually hit with 27 shots, wound with 14 shots, Necrons save 13 shots, and WBB the 1 that fell over. Shams dice loved him.

Overall we had a great game, and I did enjoy myself. I believe Sham had a great time as well, although the game had some incredible highs and lows throughout
So I want to write a bit about being inspired and how important that is to our hobby. I am not sure exactly when it happened, or even what happened to be fair, but lately the DTP has just not inspired me. I originally (a couple months back) thought that the Malifaux models were grabbing my attention but would be a "short term" distraction. My thinking was that I was going to paint them up, get a couple crews together to play with, and it would be a nice "pallet cleanser" to getting back to the DTP and completing the project. That is not what seems to have happened. Maybe its that I am getting to the end of the DTP and just not looking forward to my next project (whatever that may be) but that thought doesn't seem to fit perfectly either. Its disappointing, but for whatever the reason is, I am just not inspired by my latest Eldar models any more.

Now, this is the strange part of this whole feeling. I look at the models and I still go... "Damn, that's going to be a cool model!". I still have ideas on what I want to do that should inspire and excite me such as my winged Seer Council, the challenge of painting my harliquins, and my Titan and Phoenix! I am even still pushing through with painting, as the multiple drybrush layers on my titan base and a primed titan attest too. Overall, its just a very blah feeling of no inspiratino when I sit down to paint. As an example, lets take last weekend. On my painting tray I have 2 Night Spinners, my assembled and primed titan, my titan base, and a fogeworld Phoenix flier. I sat down and fired up my air-brush this last weekend and started working on the night-spinners and the phoenix. I ended up spending several hours pushing myself to stay interested in painting these models because I felt driven to complete them, but just not excited about them. The titan base came out pretty good, although it still has some work to go. I also reached a point where I thought my Phoenix was at a "table top" standard, although not where I would want to bring it eventually. After dinner that night I showed the flier to my wife and her first reaction was not really positive. As she pointed out, the quality and "messiness" of my painting was a set-back of painting level by almost a year. Now, this is fixable, as none of the work was such that it cannot be fairly easily touched up. What shocked me (and I do agree with her) was that:
  1. I had missed the errors when I thought I was "done"
  2. That it was so tough for me to paint such a cool model that I have been looking forward to
I want to ascribe this to being burnt out, but I am still inspired by other games. While I am not as "rabid" about getting my new malifaux models done, I am certainly excited about painting more up. I also got to look at a new game Jay and I will be demo'ing for the podcast, Ex Illis, and those models were fantastic! Just looking at the sprues ignited my imagination for demoing the game. I jut cannot put my finger on what is discouraging me about the GW models.

Add into this the upcoming tournament series going on through the end of the year. I have felt fairly ambivalent about registering and competing in these tournament. Now, this feeling I ascribe almost entirely to the popularity Malifaux has gained locally and the amount of Malifaux I have been able to play. I am regularly getting in 2 games a week on our Malifaux Tuesday's at the local store.  I am also preparing to run a Malifaux tournament myself, which I am fairly certain is influencing my opinion about 40K tournaments.

Ah well, I am hoping that I will get back on the horse soon. I am confident I will be able to push through and maybe this could be as simple as an after effect from the overwhelming amount of family and work stress going on lately.

As a note, here is whats "left" in the DTP:
  • Revnant Titan
  • Phoenix Flier (with swappable weapons)
  • 2x Night Spinners 
  • 4x Winged Warlocks (Seer Council on Bikes)
  • 9x Swooping Hawks
  • 2x Swooping Hawk Exarch
  • 8x Harliquins
  • 1x Harliquin Troop Master
  • 1x Harliquin Shadowseer
  • 1x Harliquin Death Jester
  • 5x Striking Scorpions
  • 1x Striking Scorpion Exarch
  • 5x Fire Dragons
  • 1x Fire Dragon Exarch
  • 10x Guardians (probably storm guardians, modelled as corsairs)
  • 1x Farseer on Jetbike (chapter house)
  • 1x Warlock on jetbike (chapter house)
  • 1x Autarch on jetbike 
This will leave only support weapons and shining spears missing from my Eldar force. As neither of these really interest me, they will be on the back burner to add later on.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Mongoose Blog

I want to send out some support to a great new blog by Dan, one of the locals I play Malifaux with. The picture to the right is his new Kiria crew which took 1st place in a recent painting competition during our Tuesday Night Malifaux.

Check out his blog, and read how he regularly kicks my ass in Malifaux......

Monday, September 6, 2010

Back to 40K

I spent time tonight working on my 40K projects. Let me tell you, a Titan required a lot of pinning, even when you only pin half the areas you think should be pinned. I used more glue than I probably should have (or perhaps less pins than I should have with the glue) so I will need to be careful to not drop him.

So far I have the legs positioned, various sections of the body glued and pinned together, and the head I will be using (Knight head) primed. I am going to paint that first while working on the rest of the model.

A Revenant Titan is a horribly intimidating model to build. Add to that a large amount of resin cleanup due to trimming of the gates and shaving off a variety of mold lines and it makes it a tiring model. There was at least 2 times tonight I thought to myself that it would have been better to pay someone else to assemble and paint my titan. Perhaps for my next titan. Overall it is coming together well and I am fairly certain I will be happy with it.

I also assembled a series of weapons including the under-slung pulse laser/bright lance for my Phoenix, 2 pulse lasers for my falcons, and a bad attempt at the twin-linked star cannons for the Phoenix. I have the entire Phoenix together as well, ready for priming once the green stuff dries. Along with that I have the 2 night-spinners together and primed, waiting for an airbrush. Not bad for a night of work.

Oh, and since I did not mention it, the titan is big. No, really.... its big.

Friday, September 3, 2010

MORE Malifaux? Seriously?????

Thats right, another Malifaux related post here. This time its a bit more interesting (I hope) as I am going to write a bit about my thoughts on running a Malifaux tournament. Those of you who are now rolling your eyes, have no fear, I am actually running a tournament and will be discussing my thoughts that went into putting together this tournament.

So, I should first put a plug out there. I will be running a Malifaux tournament in Ashburn VA on October 2, 2010. This will be a 4 round tournament, with 4 awarded prizes (more on that later). The players pack can be grabbed here.

So lets move on to my thoughts on why I decided to run a tournament, thoughts on how this came together, and some of the decisions I made in relation to running the tournament. See, Malifaux has not only pushed its way onto my personal painting tray and eaten into the DTP, but has also made incredible headway eating its way into the psyche of my local gaming scene. To feed that Malifaux interest (addiction) we started a Tuesday night Malifaux night at our new FLGS. This has been going strong, with a regular attendance of 12 players and spikes up to 18. Our local group is also seeing additional migration from some of the regular GW players. Based on this interest, I have been involved in multiple conversations on what types of Malifaux events we could put together and that the community would be interested in. After a fair amount of discussion (and because I am a control freak AND impatient) I decided to jump in and put together a tournament.

Size and Structure of the tournament?
One of the first things I needed to figure out was how to structure the tournament and what size tourney I wanted to run. Lets tackle the size thoughts first.....

Malifaux measures the size of a game by the number of Soul Stones (SS) to be spent putting together your crew. You get a Master to lead your crew for free, and then spend a certain number number of SS on your crew, with each model costing a different amount. Starter boxes are structured around a 25SS game, and as such this is commonly understood to be the basic level to play the game at. Many players seem to advance pretty quickly to the 30 or 35 SS level based on what I have experienced along with what I have read on the Malifaux boards. Based on this, my initial thoughts were to run a 30 SS tournament and at the start, I was pretty comfortable with that. I reached out to the wider Malifaux community and had some discussions on my tournament ideas, and got some very insightful and influential feedback. Based on this feedback, I ended up shifting the crew size for this tournament down to 25 SS. One of the largest influences for this was based on the number of new players in my local area and community who are still learning the game as a whole. Making this tournament "newbie friendly" became a fairly strong motivator when I made other decisions as well.

That brings us to the "structure" of the tournament. Wyrd has set forth a system for use in setting up a game that breaks down to the following steps:
  1. Pick a size (size of your crew)
  2. Pick your faction
  3. Select a location and Set-up terrain
  4. Choose Deployment
  5. Select Strategy (whats the mission?)
  6.  Pick your crew (including your master)
  7. Select your Schemes (your personal extra missions)
  8. Deploy
What I am focusing on for the structure side are steps 2 and 6, which decides how your crew is put together. Strictly using this system allows a player to pick their faction and crew each round of a tournament, allowing them to play a separate army based on the strategy (mission) they are playing. Now, based on interviews, it sounds like the game creator's intention is for factions to be picked per tournament, so a player would choose one of the 5 factions before showing up at the tournament. This still allows a player to choose from up to 5 different "Masters" based on the strategy they are playing to. I feel this really sets up a situation where "He who has the most" is in the best position to win the tournament.

Personally I am not convinced this is the best idea for tournaments, although I understand the business mechanics behind the decision. Most importantly, I did not want to set-up a "newbie friendly" tournament that had this mechanic. I originally wanted to provide some of the flexibility the system is built toward, so I had 2 ideas on how to accomplish this. The basis of both these ideas is that each player would come to the tournament having chosen 1 Faction and 1 Master, which would be used throughout the day. At that point, one of these two "Crew Creation" methods would be implemented:

Dual List

Ok, so its Dual List not Duelist..... The dual list idea is to allow each player to show up with 2 lists created, using the same master in each list. This system mirrors the one used by Privateer Press for War Machine and Hoards tournaments. Each list would be built to the specified SS total (25 in our case) and at the beginning of each round the player would choose which list is used. The method here allows the player to build 2 lists that provide him/her flexibility to cover different scenario types.

Side Board

The side board idea comes from my background playing Magic the Gathering. This idea would be for each player to come to the tournament picking 1 faction, 1 master, and then 35 SS of models. At the start of each scenario, the player would construct a 25SS list from that set of models to use in that scenario. This allows the flexibility of having extra models as a "Side Board" that can be swapped each round to fit the needs of the scenario.

Overall I think both of these achieve the same ends in only slight different way, and both provide the flexibility built into the original Wyrd rule-set without the mechanic allowing "He who has the Most" to have an advantage. I also prefer the method of picking 1 faction AND 1 master before the tournament over just choosing the faction. I think this provides an opportunity for players to master the play-style (including strengths and weaknesses) of 1 master, and limits the potential of "mirror matches" in a tournament.

The final method I used for tournament structure was to use a fixed 25 point list for each player. This really brings me back to my "newbie friendly" approach, as I expect a fair number of players at this tournament could be playing with just a starter box. In the future I will implement one of the above systems, possibly trying out both in different tournaments and seeing what feedback I get from the attendees.

Strategies (also known as Scenarios)
In the new book, "Malifaux: Rising Powers",  there are 5 strategies set out as "Core Encounters". To quote,
The Core Encounter chart is designed for players who wish to play a more competitive Encounter. These Strategies represent the core causes of conflict in Malifaux, and you will find that each faction has the tools available to accomplish them.
 I decided for my tournament I would go with 4 scenarios through the day, and ended up picking 3 of them from the list of Core Encounters. A big motivator for this decision was that I would be providing counters for those strategies that required them. I ended up choosing strategies that had a limited (2 or 1) number of counters required. Truly this was a resource decision more than anything else. In the future, once I am able to build and paint additional counters this will not be as much of an issue. I also chose a strategy that is not in the core list, but that I felt was one that all crews could accomplish.  In the players pack I wrote out the details for each strategy, and how victory points were scored. I made some minor changes to the strategies where they made sense to me. Some of these changes were to only allow bonus VP when a player was already scoring VP as opposed to bonus VP on a 0VP score. I also added in some conditions around models which are considered "insignificant" as this trait seemed (to me) to be negated or minimized due to the scoring in certain scenarios.

In a game of Malifaux, each player chooses 2 Schemes to add to their strategy. These schemes can be kept secret or announced at the start of the game for extra VP when accomplished. Due to the "newbie friendly" nature of the tournament, I reduced the number of schemes per game to 1, and ruled that a scheme could not be repeated through the tournament. This means that each player will play to 4 different schemes by the end of the tournament. My decision to keep schemes instead of eliminating them completely was due to my belief that they provide important flavor to the game. I made the choice about repetition based on feedback from other tournaments. I believe that some schemes are easier to accomplish than others, and wanted to make sure these "easy button" schemes are not taken repeatedly and thus reducing tactics and generalship.

Other Thoughts
 I am expecting not only constructive and positive feedback to how I structured the tournament, but also criticism and critique. I am preparing myself to take all feedback in a positive manner, with an eye toward improving the system for the future. I keep reminding myself (and offer this as advice for others) that no one else had stepped up to run an event or tournament prior to my doing it, so some of the criticism may come from people who are just complaining and not willing to step up to improve the system or do it themselves.

I do believe that some of the scenarios may be tough for some crews simply because there is an amount of "Rock/Paper"Scissors" involved in the game. In addition, some of the strategies may mean playing to a draw on the strategy, and winning through schemes. I believe this is the deeper level of strategy that true masters of Malifaux will need to master. Those who play the game and stay at the "easy to learn" level will persistently grumble and eventually could lose interest in the game. Malifaux (in my opinion) is a deeply complex game that only becomes richer as you transition to the more advanced "but hard to master" level of the game. Hopefully my approach to this first tournament will engage the new players who are at the EtL level while giving a glimpse into the deeper HtM levels to come!