The Icon, It Mocks Me

It has been awhile since I’ve made an entry and I didn’t really have any lofty goals of “I’ll blog every week” or whatever, but I didn’t think I’d go three months. I mean, there’s a lot of things that I’ve thought about writing about. I’ve taken pictures thinking “I’ll use that in my blog”, but I just don’t get around to it. To be honest, the free time I do have lately, is usually spent on my community building efforts in some way. Which is what I’m writing about…

I became a Henchman for Wyrd in February, I believe, and ran my first tournament in March. I had 8 wonderful people come out and that alone gave me the drive to push forward. I’ve run two more tournaments since then and had 20 players at my last event. I was expecting 22, but 2 had to drop unexpectedly. Still, I was floored.
How did we get from nothing to 22 in six months?  This game. It is growing in popularity and each person playing is pulling in another person they know or even just someone who saw them playing a cool looking game and having a good time and that alone is creeping up the numbers. And the timing is perfect. With so many people disenfranchised with their other games, they are looking for something fun to play that isn’t going to break their wallets. They are ripe for the picking. I also work very hard sniffing out every person playing even remotely near us. If I find out someone is playing Malifaux within driving distance (yeah, 5-6 hours is driving distance in my mind), then I’m reaching out to them and trying to gauge interest in getting together to play some games. People are interested in talking to other people outside their stores and getting together periodically to play in larger events and see how other people play or how they measure up. Are they just a big fish in a small pond, or are they a Big Fish?  Southeastern Malifaux Players Group is at 100 members. It is definitely accomplishing what I had hoped with pulling the various small areas together. 

I also try to put on a good tournament. Something that’s fun, thematic, has decent prize support with fun shinies for the winners of the category and great terrain. There’s not much you can do about the actual backbone of the tournament. You’re playing Malifaux, likely running Gaining Grounds, likely using the scheduled format of strategies for that rotation. I don’t use random schemes, however. It’s a trick I picked up from my buddies Joe Girard and Adam Helbling. I look at the strategies and choose my schemes to give players a challenge. I can’t make life too easy on these guys. We’ve had some interesting combinations with the deployments as well, but I’ve had good feedback…and some good natured groaning. I’m also experimenting with formats. For example, my next tournament is coming at the end of our Campaign, so I’m running it as fixed master rather than just fixed faction, to see how players handle limitations. I also wanted to be different with my prizes. I wanted actual trophies or even just tin cups for first place rather than a crew box or model x, as I know from experience that I don’t recall which models I won at various events I’ve attended, but the trophies we won for Cake Match at Adepticon are proudly displayed on the wall and my dog tag is on my Malifaux bag. I also wanted something other than the usual 1st, 2nd, 3rd place bit. So I came up with four standard prizes I would give. First, of course, last (or the spoon award), and MidTable Mediocrity, in honour of where I most likely end up at big events. I also wanted to encourage the painting and hobbling aspect, so decided to always have a best painted award.  I was extremely lucky to have the amazing Austin Thompson of Brush4Hire do my trophies for my last event. Since it was bigger we added 2nd, or So Close.  They were amazing! And I always give a new fate deck to my spoon winner, since they obviously need one. 

Having great terrain is important to me. I LOVE terrain. I have a LOT of terrain and I keep buying MORE terrain. My collection puts most LGS to shame. I can’t help it-I see a cool table and I want to make something similar or I like a crew and I want to make a table for that crew. I’ve been to tournaments where terrain is pretty light and it can make a big difference in how I play. I don’t want that to be a factor in my tourneys. And I also insist on nice, cohesive, themed tables. Nothing is more jarring to me than a sci-fi building next to an old timey saloon. If I don’t have enough terrain for the theme, it waits until I do. So I’ve been building and painting a lot of my stuff in recent months to make sure I have enough terrain for my tables to meet my criteria and also to switch things out a bit so my players aren’t playing on “that old west town” again… I have come up with a cool mining table, a doable swamp table until I can build the one I’m dreaming of, a couple western boards (including the Latigo compound), the obligatory Dreamer board, some Asian themed tables that are always getting additions, an ice themed table, and some desert type terrain. I have plans for a scrap yard and a better swamp and I’m working on a graveyard and a factory now. Those two I hope to debut at MACE, if they aren’t finished by my October 10th tournament. I have so many things to build still….and paint. It’s become a lot easier with Mats by Mars. A new soil mat was released this week which I promptly ordered. It solved a lot of problems I was foreseeing with my graveyard board and my fear of it being too static and dull. Love those guys! 
So that’s where my time is spent outside work and why whenever I see the WordPress icon on my phone or iPad I think, I should really do that, and then don’t. But it’s been a great wild ride. We have 3 stores within an hours drive of my house that we can game at 3 nights a week, and seem to be hitting an average of 5 games per night at each store. That’s a fantastic turnout for a dead scene just last winter!  I’m hoping to keep the momentum up and take into Charlotte in November for MACE, where we are officially bringing Malifaux to the first Con in the Southeast. There will be 3 days of events and demos and hopefully with Cool Mini in attendance, also stock of Malifaux crew boxes! Now to get back to building more terrain….

*apologies for lack of pics… WordPress crashed when I tried to add this time 😦

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Hobby Resolutions Update

If you’re reading this you may be wondering if you missed my post regarding my hobby resolutions. I wrote one…IN MY MIND…when I was thinking I should start blogging and just hadn’t done it yet. So, no, you didn’t really miss it, though I’m sure it was by far my best post yet. 

Last year my resolution was to paint more than I bought. I have no idea where I ended up on that one as I forgot to keep track. I did get quite a bit painted, and though I did still buy a lot of shiny, I didn’t buy EVERY SINGLE MODEL THE MINUTE IT WAS RELEASED as I had been wont to do in the past. So, I’m thinking that even if I hadn’t achieved my goal, I may have been around a break even point.  

This year, I went for a different sort of goal that will likely be more on going, possibly for many years, as I have a very large amount of Malifaux models. I decided that since I had already devoted myself to playing Guild and learning the faction for the past year, that I would stick with it, painting up all the models in the faction and playing each crew to determine how I like them. I had painted and played Perdita and Sonnia in 2014, and had McMourning painted from Resser days of 1.5. That just meant getting 4 other crews painted, one of which was done as my ToMB project. Sounds easy enough. 

I use Mako’s model tracker in Excel since it’s so easy to just add the models you have with the drop down menus and it has soul stone costs added in already. I just have to add how many I have of each model and how far along it is (untouched, built, primed, part painted, done mainly). It then tells me what percent painted I am per faction and as a whole. Seems easy enough, until I realise that with duplicate crews (metals and plastics) and proxies of models (a Warmachine model in place of the metal Peacekeeper), I have 120 Guild models, or 630 soulstones worth, not counting masters (I have 4 Perditas, for instance). It’s no wonder I have outgrown my Breach Bag AND my Malifaux bag. Faction as a whole I have 629 models (45% painted). I think. I’m not sure I’ve checked in everything I’ve recently purchased. So, yeah, I have a ways to go. 

So, back to my resolution. I’ve managed to get all factions painted up to this point. I’ve played every crew except Lucius and McMourning. I’m also pinning down my playstyle, an unexpected bonus. Maybe more on that another time. I have the plastic McMourning set left to paint, but I want to do something different with his arm. He shouldn’t be walking around with a head I don’t think, so I’m stuck. I also have my last Perdita crew left. My all female crew, with alts for Francisco, Nino, Pale Rider and Lone Marshal. I already did two female Austringers and have Santana and Miss Terious for the crew. Then, unless the new Peacekeeper arrives to keep me from having to build the metal one, I will actually have the faction finished. 

What’s next? I haven’t quite decided. I originally wanted to go into Ten Thunders as I love Lucas McCabe so much, I don’t want to stop playing him. But I’m thinking of painting up my Outcasts so I can try to get Von Schill, Lazarus and Hannah done and maybe entice my son into playing more. He played a couple games with me in play testing, but he’s eleven now and a huge fan of war history. Anything military appeals to him, so I’m hoping Von Schill might pique his interest more. Then I can happily paint my Ten Thunders and have another gamer in the family. 

So.  I’m sitting at 89% painted for my Guild. Time to go work on those last 13 models. 

  

Hoffman…all about that metal

I finally got a couple games in with my Hoffmen crew!  The first was very disappointing. To be fair, it was a 30ss game and I adjusted my nice 50ss crew that I had planned to play, down to 30ss when the new guy I was playing told me he only had a box set. I didn’t give it enough thought and probably could have built a better crew than I did, especially with Squatters Rights and corner deployment vs a fast crew like McCabe. 

And as it was a new player, playing my favourite master, I couldn’t resist pointing out all the cool tricks he was missing with McCabe, which of course didn’t help me much. Hoffmann’s card is text heavy and very timing intensive. I was probably paying too much attention to his game than mine at that time, so I chalked that up to being a good henchman and decided to try to get a game with Hoffman with a more experienced opponent. 

My second game went much better. I played 50ss against my husband, my most worthy opponent of the past many years. Since he actually can play Hoffman, he helped coach me through the crucial timing of Hoffman’s shenanigans. I enjoyed Hoffman more that game and being able to share stats among the crew is truly awesome. I’d like to play him more, to see how I really feel about him, but so far I don’t see him being in my top list of favourites. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a theme playing out when I’m in the game like I do with “Indiana Jones” McCabe or theater-owner-by-day-spy-by-night Colette. 

At least I am achieving my initial goals: my models are getting painted and played and I’m getting a better idea of the types of crews I really enjoy and a better handle on my playstyle. All in all, it doesn’t really matter, I guess, because even after 4-5 years of playing, I still love this game!

 

New additions to the Hoffman gang
  
Old Hoffbots
  
Hoffbots on a hunt for Neverborn
  
Yikes!! ( don’t worry, he lived to scheme on!)
 

So You Want to Be a Henchman

I shared a little about my start in Malifaux and how I amassed my rather large collection. When I started playing, I was brand new to war gaming. Not new to the concept; Paul played 40K when we met and one of our outings was to Games Day in Chicago to see lots of GW players with their big armies, big tanks, big orky things, big, big, big everything.  I loved the models. I loved the terrain. I even liked painting and building. But I wasn’t ever going to play. No way. 

One day Paul came home from Adepticon, where he went to go see masses of 40K armies playing in Chicago, and mentioned that he had seen a new game being played. It looked intriguing so he picked up the rule book and liked the fluff he’d read. He thought I’d like it. It used a lot less models than something like 40K and, oh-girls played.  Now, I don’t have a thing about being the only girl, but I do have a thing about feeling stupid in front of people who aren’t very forgiving or supportive. Which was another reason I would never play 40K.  These guys seemed pretty serious and didn’t have time for a beginner like me.  

So, flash forward to my first demo.  Perdita vs Seamus. It’s surprising I actually wanted to play after Perdita companioned her entire crew to shoot my crew practically to death before I had a chance to do anything in return. I just remember thinking “how boring” to sit through all those activations and do nothing practically but flip cards in my defence, not fully understanding why.  Yet another reason why I will never play 40K?  Anyway, after many games of Seamus vs whoever Paul is playing at the moment, I felt a lot more comfortable and he felt I should get out to the stores. We had just moved to NC and didn’t know the scene very well.  Our nearest LGS didn’t seem to be playing, so one day we did the grand tour of the Triangles game stores. We eventually found one that had an active Malifaux scene with a henchman. I decided to start playing there on the Thursday nights I wasn’t working. I would be going by myself since he was still in IL working and trying to sell our old house.  It was a big step for me.  

I played at Game Theory and had a great time.  I even attended my first tournament there. I was very nervous and even though I was still pretty new and going against some really good players, they were very welcoming and didn’t make me feel awful about coming in second to last.  I didn’t feel bad about it either, like I thought I would.  I had a great time and was just happy I actually scored points. I actually drew one and lost two.  After awhile, life got in the way, the henchman we had couldn’t come anymore and we got a new henchman. He started going to another store, one that was closer to us, called SyFy Genre. I liked that because I could then play once a week, rather than every other week.  Thursday was at GT, Tuesday was at SyFy Genre. Some guys did both, most didn’t, but I guess it was about this time that people started drifting anyway. 

SyFy Genre eventually moved to another location for more space and renamed themselves Atomic Empire. The retail space alone is almost the size of the old store and the gaming space is Nirvana! We loved it. Our group was still dwindling and I had pretty much quit going to GT at this point. If anyone bothered to show up on Thursday, they more than likely just wanted to talk or play something else, so it was pointless to get a sitter to go out those nights. Our last tournament at AE, which was fun, but was so small, our henchman had to play.  That was right after book one released in m2e. We tried showing up for game night for the exposure to get people into the game, but the edition change, life, etc had bled our group down to just the henchman, me and Paul when he was in town. Eventually, we let it go too.

Flash forward to this year. I started seeing some postings on the forums asking if people were playing in the area. Wow! Paul and I had just been playing at home for so long, we had sort of given up on “other” people. It gave me an idea though. What if we could reach out to these little pockets of players and scrounge up a scene?  What if people started showing up at the LGS again and we did recruit new players?  Wasn’t GW changing all their games again?  Seemed like a good time to recruit. So, I started a Facebook group. I’m a member of Mid-Atlantic Malifaux group, and though North Carolina is a Mid-Atlantic state, we are not considered as such for the purposes of that group.  We have travelled to Virginia for tournaments before and would hope that they would be willing to do the same. I called my group the Southestern Malifaux Players Group, targeting the area of the U.S. that doesn’t get much love anywhere due to its small gaming scene in general.  Today we have 48 members from Kentucky to Virginia to Florida, including one esteemed Aaron Darland from Wyrd itself. 

With that I decided to “just do it” and get my henchman application in. No one had seen or heard from our local henchmen in ages, so I decided not to worry about toes because somebody had to do something. I submitted my 2 painted crews, mentioned my Facebook group in my application, got my LGS (Atomic Empire) on board and submitted it all to Justin. I was approved in 10 days and am now a shiny new henchman. 

We had hooked up with some new players in Cary, about 45 min from us at a store called Gamers Armory. It started with 3 people who all work together and play together, but they seem to be picking up people rather quickly! I believe last count has about 5-6 regular players there and a couple people asking for demos. It’s exciting! We’ve been trying to play there on Thursdays and Tuesdays at my store to increase exposure for AE, and hopefully get more players in Durham. 

I threw some feelers out and got some good feedback, so I had my first tournament this past Saturday at Atomic Empire.  I posted it in my group so I had exposure to players in other areas for those willing to travel, as well as the Mid-Atlantic group, the forums and A Wyrd Place. The store also has forums that I will be using since I heard that a lot of players use them, and the store has an events calendar as well.  I was happy with the turnout.  I had 8 players for my first event; 3 locals, 2 from Wilmington and 3 from Atlanta. Paul was my ringer, there to help me, but ready to play if there was an odd number. I didn’t want anyone to have to get a buy. I had to take the buy at a tourney in Virginia once and it was a bummer. Driving 5 hours to sit out a round. I didn’t want to do that to anyone, even if it was easy points. Field of Dreams, so named because I decided “if I ran it, they will come”, went pretty smoothly and everyone seemed to have fun and enjoy themselves. In fact, we’re all looking forward to our next event. And some exciting things happened! One of old players came in and is going to start playing again. Paul gave a demo and another guy stopped in to buy a crew box to build and bring in Tuesday to play. Two Warhammer fantasy guys are pulling out their old crews and looking to play some more. Comments we got in the group from the pictures I posted from the event was that more people wished they could have come. I hope this means the next event will be even bigger. 

Watch out, UK!  😉

   

      

 

This Game I Play

Malifaux. I’ve been playing the game since around the time book 2 came out. Colette was the crew I wanted, but understood that until I got the game down, I would probably never grasp her. So, I went for some crazy mad hatter action and some undead women of questionable intent. 

  

Seamus wasn’t exactly a top tier master in first edition, but I stuck with him as I enjoyed the fluff and his play style. I will admit to using his avatar when it came out, as he sort of needed it to make himself more competitive. I also had other crutches, like Von Resser, to help him out. I didn’t win a lot of games, but I did ok, and learned the game.  I had by then, of course, collected other masters of the faction which had seen some table time, but none as much as Seamus.  

Eventually, I had my Colette crew painted and ready to go for a whirl.  Once I played this crew, it was magic.  I loved the tricks, the popping up here-then there, the surprises, the way the opponent thought they had you-and didn’t. I had intended to play more of the faction, much like I had with Ressers. I even bought and painted a Mei Feng crew. I received my Kaeris crew from Justin Gibbs in a miniature exchange and painted it. I played with Kaeris a few times, but nothing clicked with me like Colette. I played her as a mostly showgirl themed crew and didn’t do too badly. 

  

By this time, I had a pretty sizeable collection of models even if I wasn’t playing anything else. I had added Neverborn, Guild, Outcasts, Gremlins (a faction even if they weren’t) and the beginnings of the fledgling Ten Thunders. Most of this resided in boxes in the hobby room or possibly in my Breach Bag. I had no interest in playing anything other than Colette. I had even purchased a second crew to paint in a different theme. Maybe someday…

Then came Playtesting. Paul and I were closed beta playtesters for the new edition of Malifaux. It was a very cool experience to see how the system worked to get the models balanced. Book one wasn’t a big deal for me.  I even played Seamus a couple of times.  I thought his new Back Alley shenanigans was pretty slick, adding a lot to his flavour of being Jack the Ripper-esque. Belles have always been good and giving them pounce was amazing.  Since book 2 models weren’t available, I had to figure out what I wanted to play while we waited. I touched on several crews until one week Justin assigned everyone one master to focus on. I got Perdita. I fell in love with Perdita. I knew a little about her-Paul played her a bit in 1.5, using her in my demo game. I remembered him using companion to use all his crew to decimate me and how boring it was to wait my turn. But that had changed (thank goodness).  

What I love about Perdita is how simple she can be and how complex she can get. There are a lot of buffs and interactions with other Family models that make crew building make you want to stick with Family models. And there are a lot of Family models to choose from. You can also marry one in with Abuela to sweeten the deal. Perdita’s stats are one of the highests in the game and she has an answer for just about everything all in one upgrade. And she looks good doing it.

  

During playtesting of book 2 models, I jumped right into Colette. I quickly became discouraged by others’ comments of “so broken last ed” “must make sure she’s nerfed” “broken broken broken” “nerf nerf nerf”. I was sure she would end up unplayable at that rate but everyone argued with me and I didn’t want to get into all that, so I took a step back. I was too emotionally invested to work on Colette and hear what others hated about her. So, I vowed not to even look at her during testing.  I took to Molly, since I liked her when no one else did. Looked at McCabe a little, who is now my favourite master. 

I still haven’t come back to Colette, as from what I’ve seen, she’s rather good and still a lot of fun. I had decided during Playtesting that it was time to do something about my mountain of metal that was being converted to plastic. With duplicate crews and some proxy themed crews or models, I’m in the neighbourhood of 600+ models (upwards of 3100ss).  Most of it is built, barring a few of the newer plastic crew boxes which I’ve recently acquired, and primed waiting for paint.  My spreadsheet shows that I am 44% painted and that’s surprising when I look at what I have staring at me.  

My goal is to finish painting my Guild faction and play the models I have. I am at about 79% there. Three crew boxes to go and I’m finished, I believe. Once finished, I can decide to keep/get rid of any crews and then move to another faction.  While painting that faction, I will play the crews so I can get a feel for them to help decide what to keep after. Hopefully I can refine my collection. And someday it may be manageable. In the meantime, I’ve plenty to do as Wyrd has plans to keep releasing cool models that I of course, want to buy and paint. 

So that’s my journey, mostly. Not the little details like all the trips to Adepticon or GenCon or the smaller tournaments I’ve gone to, but just how I came to where I am I guess. Maybe more on those someday. For now, I’ve got Hoff’s metal gamin on the table waiting for love…

TOMB2 Hoffbots Fill Out a Faction

I had been considering starting a hobby blog and TOMB rolled around again, so it seemed a good time to jump in.  I had to think about what I wanted to do for my TOMB entry. I have tons of Malifaux to paint and play, as do a lot of people I know, but I had kind of started the year with some loose goals in mind.  I wanted to finish painting my Guild faction completely before I moved on to another faction. 

Coming out of plat testing M2E, I was playing Perdita pretty heavily and starting to pick up Sonnia for a couple of games here and there. I also loved that one of favourite Resser masters was now dual faction (sneaky, trixie McMourning!) and I wanted to get to the man on a horse himself, Indiana Jones, er, Lucas McCabe.  So I decided to stick with Guild for awhile and finish the faction out. 

 For completeness sake and the fact that constructs are good, my lovely husband got me the Hoffman box for Christmas. It was the last Guild master I needed and since it hadn’t been built or painted, I chose it for TOMB.  



I try to paint on my days off from work, which is only about 2 days, and lately that has been difficult as the weather has kept the boys home over 2 weeks and I’ve been playing teacher (not my skill set!).  I finally got a good 2 days of painting in and with a paint scheme I thought was incredibly simple, managed to paint 12 models! That is landsmark for me, as I am detail oriented, hate when I mess up, and get fixated on models when I try to “batch paint”.  

I painted Hoffman and his Hoffbots in a weathered brass scheme, so really only required 3 colours:  the brass, a silver and the verdis I used for weathering.  Of course, being constructs also helped.  Faces tend to trip me up still. I also managed to repaint my older metal models in the same scheme so they would match. They had previously been done in my Guild red color scheme which I no longer liked having done this.







Next month I will add more constructs. Hoffman has a lot of synergy with his metal friends.  Maybe I’ll actually get to play with him and get these guys on the table.  I’m sure some of them will find their way into other crews, at least!  I’m also thinking of possibly painting my Ramos crew similarly as some of his crew can be taken by Mr Hoffman.  We shall see…  Until then, there’s more Guild to paint.  About 80% there (darn duplicates!)

Sassy