Monday, June 24, 2013

General Update

"It's been over two weeks since your last post, what the hell have you been up to Bill?"

That's a really good question, and in line with a lot of what I have been hearing lately. It's heartwarming to know there are those who still follow my little corner of the internet and are keeping track on my gaming. Thank you!

So, what have I been doing? On the one hand, life and work have pushed heavily into my gaming time recently. I was in Los Angeles  for work recently, which was my first trip to the area in over 20 years. It was an interesting trip and I was able to squeeze in some time to meet up with Dan Weber (Keltheos) for some amazing burgers while I was out there. If anyone else ends up out that way, check out Grill Em All in Alhambra CA. The burgers were really good and we had a great time catching up on all the craziness. The picture to the right was Dan's meal, I did not grab a picture of my own. Yes, those are Waffles as Buns on his "Chicken and Waffles Hamburger". Yes, those are the Chili Fries. Yes, this place is amazing!

"Bill, we come to your blog for pretty pictures of models and to read about gaming!!"

Well ok then, lets switch gears. Gaming has been really slow for me lately. On the miniature gaming front, I have not gotten many games in at all. Malifaux V2 really killed my regular Tuesday hobby nights. Since the end of Adepticon in April I have only clocked in 7 games in any system, 1 of which was really a demo of Malifaux V2 and not one I tracked. I think it's more interesting to note that my regular opponents over the past 2 years have dropped off my list even among those games I have played. My local gaming group has shows signs of splintering, as I have mentioned in the past. One portion of the group has bought into Malifaux V2 wholesale, and I see them at the store playing V2 on Tuesday evenings. The other portion of the group, who I thought were sticking with Malifaux Classic, have splintered a bit more and are picking up other games across the board. They were the less often opponents to begin with, so I expected the drop off in games, but its disappointing to see the migration overall.

This leaves me with people traveling into the area from out of town as the few people still interested in playing Malifaux Classic. I thought there was a ray of sunshine over this past weekend with a new henchman running a Malifaux Classic tournament. The event was being run about 90 minutes away from me and with a henchman who is trying to build up a new Malifaux community in his local store. I offered up some terrain, packed up my 10T, and headed down for a day of Malifaux, hoping to get 3 games in. I ended up as the only person who showed up to support the event, and the henchman and I ended up grabbing a couple games between ourselves before I headed home.

 I really feel bad for that henchman, what a crappy position to be in. Here is a new henchman who is trying to build a local Malifaux community very close to an area that used to be one of the strongest Malifaux communities in the US. He goes through the process of becoming a henchman and then advertises his first event for over a month. When the day rolls around for his event the only person who shows up to support him is the ex-henchman who is Wyrd's current persona non grata. Not only was he disregarded by his own local community, but he was disregarded by the supposedly robust Malifaux Community that was less than two hours drive away.  I have no way to tell if this is a degradation of the local Northern Virginia Malifaux community or if this is because he was running a Malifaux Classic event, I suspect it is a combination of the two. It is certainly disappointing to see.

Regardless, he and I had a fun time playing the two games we got in. We played a game of GG Shared Land Grab with my fielding a Ten Thunders Yan Lo led crew versus his Resurrectionist Avatar Nicodem led crew. We then switched up to play a GG Shared Beatdown game with my Ten Thunders Jakob Lynch led crew versus his Neverborn Zoraida led crew. Both games ended up in my favor, but I was able to give him some pointers on playing his crews and how to get more out of his models overall. Although he is a henchman, he is also a fairly new player and I really enjoyed seeing him light up as things worked in the game and things clicked for his understanding. We were also able to pick out a couple areas where we both prefer V2 over Malifaux Classic, and talk about those improvements. Likewise, we were able to discuss those areas of V2 that we do not feel are an improvement. I plan to write up another article to discuss some of those areas at a future date (hopefully not too distant).

What about your "regular" opponents?

During 2012 I was able to use my game tracking sheets to analyze my gaming for the year. One of the data points that I found interesting was the distribution of my opponents into three different groups. The first group was made up of 3 players who I faced more than 10 times each, accounting for 28% of my 174 games. The second group was 9 players I faced between 5 and 9 times, accounting for 34% of my total games. The remaining 45 players I faced in 2012 I played less than 5 games with all year. CJ was one of my regular opponents who was in the middle group of players I faced. CJ focused very heavily on Resurrectionists with a dabbling in Arcanists while playing Malifaux Classic. He was a great opponent and we had some really good games.

That said, CJ has recently been playing Warmachine as his primary game. I believe he has a Hordes army that he played a bit, but he is moving to Khador and learning the army as his Warmachine endeavor. I have pulled out my Legion recently to squeeze in another couple of games of WM/H with him. Both of these games have been small games of 25 then 30 points. CJ has a limited selection of Kahdor models, consisting of 2 jacks (Destroyer and Juggurnaut?) and a unit of 5 Man-OWar guys with big damn hammers. In our first game he brought this army with pVlad, then brought pIrusk the second time. In our first game I wanted to bring something that CJ would have fun against as he mentioned it was a learning game with his new army. I asked for Jay's advice and put together a list consisting of pThagrosh, a Carnivean, a couple shredders, and a small unit of swordsmen and a forsaken. I thought this would be good for CJ as I could throw the Canivean into his line, he could kill it, then I could bring it back to keep playing. In our second game the game was a bit bigger so I put together a list I was more familiar with. Absylonia, 2 Angelius, a Raek, some shredders and stingers, and two foresaken.

These two recent games really solidified my feelings around WM/H and reinforced what I thought when I played the games earlier. WM/H is a game that I am interested to play because friends are playing it. There are many parts of the game overall that while they are not bad, I am just not a fan of. One situation in particular stood out to me. In our second game I had a chance to make an Assassination run on CJ's caster. This was during turn 2, and while I would probably not actually kill his caster, I had a chance to get the assassination. Even if the assassination failed, CJ would be so severely on his "back foot" in the game that I would have effectively locked the game up as a win for me. The other side of the decision was that it would just simply end the game, where if I did not assassinate his caster in my run the game would become a downhill slide and a complete grind for him. I had to choose between playing a "winning game" and playing a "fun game" where we could play several more rounds and actually play out some type of cinematic battle between my army and his. I ended up choosing to forgo the "winning" move and play out the rest of the game. I still ended up winning, but the game was longer, more enjoyable, and more cinematic because I took the "less winning" choice. This is one area of WM/H I do not like, that I felt was almost never the case in Malifaux Classic.

"Anything else on the gaming front??"

Aside from those limited games I have shifted my focus slightly. Over the past two months I have been playing the XBox, grabbing some board games with family and family friends, and was introduced to a card game.

Starting with the Xbox front, I rented, played, and finished BioShock Infinite. I was originally holding out to purchase this title but when I heard the initial release of the XBox One stance on used games and lack of backward compatibility, I figured I might as well rent it. This gave me the impetus to play through the game in a weekend and it was fun. Overall I think the game is good, but I do not feel like I am missing something by not buying it. I see where the story could go a couple different ways but overall its a pretty linear story. I was sad to see there was only a very tenuous link to the earlier BioShock series, as this really stands alone as a story. Beyond that I have recently picked up Mass Effect 3 and started playing through that. I was able to import my character from ME2 and carry on with the story. So far I am pleased with the way the game is going and the story is certainly engaging.

On the board game front, I have been playing a fair amount of Super Dungeon Explore. My wife and daughters really enjoy this game and we have both expansions for the game (Von Drakk Manor and Caverns of Roxor). Recently my wife and I have had a couple of dinner parties with other couples, and we were able to get in games of SDE with them as well. This means in the past 2 months I have actually played nearly half as many SDE games as I have Malifaux games. In the past two games we have used the Von Drakk manor expansion which introduces a shape shifting Vampire as the dungeon boss, along with a bunch of skeletons, witches, and mini-vampires. In one game I used the Specter of Death that comes with the set as the mini-boss while in the second game I used the expansion Succubus as the mini-boss. As you can imagine, I am nearly always the console when we play. Overall the games have been very well received, although my wife is convinced its impossible for 3 heroes to beat the dungeon. I think with more experience and/or with a more tactically skilled group of players I will end up in trouble. The recent games have certainly pushed my SDE set to the forefront of priorities on getting models painted.

That brings me to the card game I was introduced to. It had not occurred to me until after I picked upt he starter set that I originally saw this game at Gencon 2013 and disregarded it as not something I was interested in. The game in question is Android: Netrunner by Fantasy Flight games, and it has picked up a lot of traction at my local store Huzzah Hobbies. My wife and I were going to try this game out at Gencon 2013 but ended up giving up the seats at the demo to friends of ours when we saw it was a 2 person game. It did not look like something we would be interested in, appearing a little too much like Magic to me and being a little too much SciFi to my wife. When Netrunner started to make in-roads at the store following Gencon, I still was not moved to try it out. Another of my local Malifaux opponents and a friend, John, urged me to try the game out and he offered to teach me. He had mentioned repeatedly that it was a game he thought I would enjoy, but John is pretty laid back so he did not put any real pressure on my to try it out. The decline of Malifaux games left me in a position where I decided I would let him give me a demo and see if it was interesting. To my surprise I was hooked after only a single demo game, although I was not excited about building my own deck. The game play was enjoyable and the LCG aspect of not needing to collect random cards was nice. I was further surprised when after picking up a starter set and building 2 decks (1 corp and 1 runner), I convinced my wife to try it out. We played through a game and had some fun learning the game. After the first game last week I did not expect my wife to really be interested, but appreciated her willingness to try. Imagine my shock when I got home from being out all day on Saturday and she tells me she really wants to get another game in and learn the game more. Apparently Netrunner has wormed its way into her brain and she is genuinely interested in the game (at least on the playing front). I am certainly planning on building on this interest more, as I watch my family move even heavier into the gaming world!

"What about the Podcast and other plans Bill?"

I will finish up this rambling with a couple thoughts bouncing around in my head. Gamers Lounge is still on Hiatus and I am not decided either direction on bringing it back or shutting it down. I still have plans to do 1 or 2 episodes of Gamers Lounge to talk about Malifaux V2 and my impressions on it. Andrew Weakland (Adepticon 2013 Master of Malifaux winner) has offered to come on and talk about it, and he is a fan of V2. Spencer Stevens (Cheated Fates Radio host) has also offered to come on and talk about it, and he is not a fan of V2. I have only gotten 1 game of V2 in since the public beta has released and I am not at the point currently where I feel I can fairly discuss the game overall. A single game certainly falls short of my 6 game goal for understanding a new Master in Malifaux Classic. In addition, I would like to offer my opinions on V2 with as little additional influence from my overall stance with EricJ, Mack Martin, and Wyrd in general. Those are two different things that each contribute overall to many of my recent decisions.

That brings up another interesting point. I have been tracking the Wyrd forums and the progress on Malifaux V2 regularly. I have a whole lot of thoughts on what I am seeing there, and unsurprisingly they differ greatly from the proclaimed views of Wyrd management. I have considered that there may be some interest in spending time on a Gamers Lounge episode talking about what happened to me and what my situation is. I am unsure who the proper co-host for that type of segment would be, and also unsure on how appropriate it would be. At the end of the day, I am one person who has his own opinions and had my own measure of success for acting as a Wyrd Henchman. Apparently I had some level of influence, as I am still seeing the ripples of my actions across the Malifaux community in the responses to my choices. In addition to those ripples, I am more than happy to be open about my view on things and why I made my decisions (as I am very comfortable with myself on those). On the other hand, I am not confident that the community at large would receive my comments in a positive light and I certainly do not want to feed the figurative internet-trolls more fodder. It something I am still considering and have not come to a decision on yet.

And then there is the fan based update to Malifaux Classic. Wait... whats that I said? Yes, I am considering putting in work on a community update to Malifaux Classic with how I feel the game should have been updated. I envision this as something along the lines of how Epic40K was handled when GW abandoned the game and the community took over keeping it alive. I am still unsure where I want to go on this front, as it is a fair amount of work and I am unsure of how it will be received. I have some pretty strong guesses on how Wyrd will respond, but I am more concerned with the community as a whole. One of the largest barriers for me is the lack of interest in my local area. I would probably have this well underway at this point if I knew I could get games in locally. Unfortunately the local group has splintered (see above) and I am still waiting to see where things go. Only time will tell what happens on that front.


  1. Loads of interesting comments there Bill, if you'd like I'd love to work with you on actually creating a Fan-Built Malifaux Classic edition.

    1. Thanks for the offer, I am pretty sure if I move down that road I will need all the help I can get! There are certainly a lot of rumblings out there and the project is certainly interesting to me.

      On another note, I have been casually tracking what your putting out for Crypt's!. I wish you well and look forward to seeing that develop.

  2. As far as Fan Based Upgrade for MalifauX 1.5 is concerned - it is a great idea. First step on this road will be to gather scattered Followers of MalifauX 1.5 in one place to see how strong is this community. I am very curious how big percent of MalifauX players do nor embrace M2E to the point they will quit or still play v1.5 - my first guess is about 30%.

    1. I am also curious to see where the community goes overall. I have my own thoughts and suspicions on if/what are the differences between the claims of support and what the support really is. I suspect you may be right with your 30% number, although I really wish it was higher. Gathering all the Malifaux Orphans together in one place is a great start... now if only a place like that existed..... :-)


  3. I would love to hear your thoughts on your experiences/decision to leave in a podcast. I'd also love to hear(here or in the podcast) more detail about your thoughts re: this statement:

    " I have been tracking the Wyrd forums and the progress on Malifaux V2
    regularly. I have a whole lot of thoughts on what I am seeing there, and
    unsurprisingly they differ greatly from the proclaimed views of Wyrd

    I want you to know that I find your insights and thoughts to be insightful, rarely spiteful, and helpful. While I may not agree with you on V2(And I urge you to find someone who is at least neutral, if not positive to cohost the V2 discussion) I agree that there are a lot of problems with it, and hearing your thoughts helps me to both playtest better, and play better, regardless if it is M1E or M2E. (For the record, I like both, and fully expect to get games of both in into the foreseeable future.)

    1. Fair enough, I certainly do not look for people to agree with me often. One of the nice things about having a blog is that it's my platform to pontificate and its under the umbrella of my own opinion. I do plan to pursue an article on the topic you quoted above. It's finding the time to sit down and write that article that is really keeping it under wraps currently. Lot's of little things going on and only so much time!

  4. I would also be intrested in hearing your thoughts and opinions regarding this all. I have not always agreed to what you guys have said on the podcast, but I won't argue with that it is a truly great and enjoyable podcast to listen to. And it will be greatly missed.

    I do support v2, but do notice that things seems to have got out of Wyrd's hands somewhat.
    I do like to be part of the Beta and playtesting, but do feel that what is said on the forums are mostly by the loudest voices. And if a lot of playtesters in the open beta do say something regarding a model and it's rules, yet a change doesn't take place, it would be intersting to get a reply from Wyrd or their in-house playtesters as to why this is not considered. Apart from the weekly update, there's not really an exchange of communication between Wyrd and the playtesters.

    And I don't really know if their choice of releasing the rest of the models in one big second wave to be a good decision. The huge influx of new models this close to the first wave of beta might cause a lot of problems. A lot of recently set balances and newly set rules might be uprooted swiftly once again.

    Wow, this reallt turned into a rambling :/ sorry bout that.

    Thanks once again for a truly great podcast.

    1. Given how difficult it has been to balance the much smaller number of models, (and these were the less complicated ones to begin with) I really don't see how they can possibly succeed with the others all at once.

      Honestly, I feel like a lot of people are really doing a lousy job on playtesting, and at least partially blame this on Wyrd. People are only testing models in a very narrow range, and are doing a lot of theoryfaux complaining without having evidence behind them.For instance almost nobody has posted a battle report over a storyline encounter or a 25-SS encounter, and when people say something "oh the game isn't balanced for that." I'm not sure they can say they aren't balancing just for competitive environment players(tournament and such) over friendly games, given where the emphasis is.

    2. I have some of the same concerns, especially seeing how things are progressing currently. I do not think we can make a true call on the success of the Beta until at least the end. Then again, we can certainly guage how we feel the progress has been based on the last 4 weeks of work. I certainly have worries about how the larger bulk of the more complicated models in the game will be "balanced" along with just general concerns about how they will be updated. It's really a shame that there are new developers and the people who brought Wyrd and Malifaux to this point have been kicked to the curb.

  5. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on a fan based update of Malifaux classic!

    1. There may or may not be rumblings and rumors already out there. I am sure things will get louder in time.

  6. I am definitely looking forward to hearing your thoughts on several of these subjects.

    Especially interested in contributing to a Fan Based update to what is now being called Malifaux Classic (I have more than a few ideas that I wouldn't mind throwing your way).

    Though I share the sentiment that not all of V2 is horrible it is very far from an "improvement" on what we already have (and I would consider it a very large step backwards).

    For my own part I think the exodus is much more wide spread than the company is leading on. Sure there may have only been four Henchman that left in a fairly public manner, but I am sure there are plenty of others that have gone quietly (that aren't being counted). I have also noticed more than a few of the more prominent posters have disappeared almost completely (really concerned about three in particular).

    1. I expect that the exodus is about what is reported currently. I also suspect that there are many Henchman who are waiting until Gencon or after to officially resign. Strike that, I know there are henchman who are waiting for Gencon to officially resign. There is also the fact that Wyrd does not do a good job of decommissioning non-active henchman, so it's actually easier to stop acting as a henchman than it is to officially resign.

      That said, there will always be people who want to volunteer to be henchmen for Wyrd. Just like there will be enough people who want to play V2.