Gertfaux in Bristol 2015
Mei Feng and the Arcanists at Gertfaux
Game 1 Mei Feng and the Arcanists vs Molly & The Resurrectionists
Game 2 Mei Feng and the Arcanists vs Rasputina and the Arcanists
Game 3 Mei Feng and the Arcanists vs The Gremlins
Game 4 Mei Feng and the Arcanists vs Ramos and the Arcanists
There is lot's more of this stuff on my Malifaux pages
OK, so the event is entered, the travel is planned (leaving the house at 630am after picking up 4 hours of jet lag getting home at 10pm the previous night..) and Mei Feng was ready to do her ninja-ism all over the West Country by a very parky 9am in Bristol Independent Gaming's excellent shed.
The event was a fixed-master, 100SS pool event, with pre-set schemes and strategies. This was a massive help to a newbie like me as I was able to pre-select a list for each of the 4 (yes...) games and have time to make (probably bad) plans for what I might be doing... of course, prior to seeing the terrain or knowing anything about my opponent, but hey, as I'd only played against 3 other masters ever before, chances were that even knowing what my opponents were using would be useless.
My 100SS List
My 100 SS list was a hybrid of doing things I wanted to do, and fitting in both the Rail Golem and Howard Langston, who are expensive, do similar things but I wanted to use both models as they are really cool.
The emberling is a good scheme runner and is cheap, the Arcane Effigy was a new model and was there to remove conditions, as was Johan (also a great hard-hitting support model, and carrying Bleeding Edge Tech he could sit at the back and fix stuff, and then wade in for a kill if needed). The December Acolyte was intended to be used for a poorly thought through and never-practiced tactic involving harpooning enemies and pulling them 6" towards my crew, Joss because he hits things (and then they are dead), Kang also is hard and helps against undead and armoured crews, the Gamin are unkillable cheap minions, a Rail Worker is a harder-hitting Gamin, the SS Miner is a great scheme runner, and Willie would allow me to shoehorn some really childish Willie gags into this report.
Game 1 vs Molly and the Ressers
The list of Strats and schemes for Game 1 was:
I chose the ones in bold, mainly as I'd played them before, and I failed to reveal Breakthrough because I hadn't played then enough times before to know that this was probably a mistake.
The first game was played on a complete set of Bendyboards.co.uk Western terrain, cluttered but totally unwashed - much like many of the other players. My opponent was Molly The Resurrectionist - a Master I'd never played against but who seemed to do lots of really complicated stuff involving Poison, and who was likley to have some really good minions.
My 50SS Game 1 List
With Bendyboards.co.uk Western buildings blocking many of the lines of sight, Mei's crew were able to shuffle about aimlessly whilst pretending to themselves that they were doing something constructive in this, their first ever competitive game. The game was clearly going to all kick off in the middle of the table around the gallows in the town square, so the Three Big Men (Proxy Joss, Kang and Proxy Johan), accompanied by an irritable Metal Gamin, moved up carefully, like a particularly gothic set of Kray Triplets.
The Question Mark (?) was invented after scientists attempted to measure the speed of a Mei Feng Jackhammer Kick.
Mollys crew was also rocking the Proxy look, with their own sort of Rail Golem thing - I'm still not entirely sure what it was, but it was big and terrifying and looked like some sort of undead monster Samurai thing - almost certainly Izamu the Armour. There was also an itinerant Irish gravedigger, two nice ladies and a flapping dead pterodactyl - so, essentially the back 2 rows of a routine weekday Easyjet flight to the Isle of Fernandos
Mortimer The Incontinent Irish Gravedigger was lurking at the back and the monster undead thing was leading the way for the Ressers, but all 50 points of Arcanists were teeing themselves up for a fight, having realised that Mortimer the Gravedigger bloke had a massive Chatty aura that would prevent me doing any of the things I needed to do to achieve one of my schemes (Distract), so I probably needed to try and win on Headhunter by using Joss and Kang to batter some enemy models to death, and work on the assumption that we'd both get points for Breakthrough
The big zombie monster found itself staring down the alley against Kang, who tapped his whomping shovel ominously. The Zombie thing made the first move - and that move it was a step to the left, then a jump to the ri-i-i-ight..... yes, we had a Dance-off!
Kang tried his best, but with an impenetrable aura of Horror pervading the market square under which all of Kang's powers were blotted out by one aura or another, and where every attack needed to be teed up with another card first, the Whomping Shovel did plenty of, erm, whomping, but Izumu was able to use his (0) action to heal every time he was damaged... and so, with a hop to the left from the Monster Zombie Izamu the Armour, then followed up by a devastating attack (to the ri-i-i-i-ight, with a samurai sword) off was lopped Kang's head.. which turned completely flat, lost all its hair and facial features and rolled back slowly towards the Resser team... oops! The Ressers then conjured something that was already dead out of thin air and threw it at Mei's crew (probably a Rotten Belle?) - there was hand to hand action with people who's hands were falling off due to being rotting and, erm, dead. Messy
During this game I also deployed my set of brass "DBX" measuring sticks, bought from Products for Wargamers over 100 years ago, the appearance of which caused a wave of mass panic, amazement and general fainting to roll like thunder across the entire competition floor as people schooled and brought up in the pre- and post-pubescent world of GW gaming stared on in incomprehension. Hearts sank as Malifaux player after Malifaux player gazed upon his or her own now desperately inadequate DIY-store-bought tape measure in the shame-faced realisation that their entire lives up until this point had apparently been instantly reclassified as simply a sad period of practice in inadequacy, and that they, the cool kids with the space lazers and the monster battle tanks and the flying ninja dragons with real burning eyes had, in fact, been missing out, and that the sad, button-counting beardy gits from the world of Historical Wargaming were many, many years ahead of them in the "oh, here's something I can buy for my hobby" stakes all along - and now, when applied to a game like Malifaux where measurements are really important, and having more cool toys than your opponent is even more important, it was time to man up, face the shame and consign years of wasted GW-gaming to the dustbin of history.
As this realisation dawned, grown men fainted (clearly not as a result of avoiding food for too long...) by the score, and the sound of ponytails hitting the floor reverberated across the gaming centre. Moments later the entire Bristol area 4G network crashed as the PFW website staggered under the weight of traffic from Malifaux players all over the UK rushing to invest in their own sets of 7", 6", 5", 4" (x2.. it's a DBX thing.. trust me), 3", 2", 1" and 40mm (OK, it's a unit of measurement called a "Barker", just ask one of the people at your local club who doesn't own any heavy metal t-shirts and who drinks real ale and they'll sit you down and tell you all about it - trust me on this one too) brass - not aluminium, as that'd not be steampunk enough - sticks for use at the next tournament.
Whatever that thing was, it failed to last very long at all as Johan walked up and did a big Dutch thing with his big Dutch hammer... the Emberling, which was also supposed to be helping people keep being on fire, and running schemes in the enemy backfield, then enacted his third task - moving immediately after a friendly model, and nipped across and picked up a head.
Molly, her big (rather wounded... but also rather good at healing) Izamu the Armour Ninja robot, a ghostly odd looking woman and Mortimer the Incontinent Gravedigger were now all crammed together - an ideal target for Mei and her ability to keep flipping cards and kicking people until possible the end of the game...
Carry On follow that Western Paradigm through the Breach
Mei decided that enough was enough, and this silliness needed to stop. She raised herself up in a steam of indignation, formed in the fire of miners and railworkers revolts against the railroad's Guild masters and, erm, pirouetted forwards balletically as she prepared to do some card-intensive smiting against what by now she suspected was a big empty suit of smelly old armour.
Mei jumped in, and ninja-ed away furiously, kicking to the right, left, front, back, upside down and upside yer head ...
If Mei Feng Jackhammer Kicks you, even Google won't be able to find you.
Deadly Lethal Ninja Assassin
Molly's cohorts were battered and bruised, and some of them were pushed away through a wall into the nicely modelled interior of a Bendyboards.co.uk Western building. But, no one died...
With the big hitters moving up for some Arcanist Hammer Time (no, no musical interlude here - thank god), the Ressers struck back, and Isuzu the Monster Truck squashed pool Mei rather dead.... The game then speeded up to a degree which with my still limited mastery of the rules and my need to not rip my opponent off by stalling meant that I didn't manage to take any more photos. But, Mie's team lost, Molly's team won, mainly because of Molly's ability to pass Distracted to my guys whilst I was unable - due to the Chatty Aura - to do the same back to them. A loss, but not a humiliation, and against a very cleverly constructed opponents list as well.
Post Match Summary from the Mei Feng
After this reverse for the forces of Socialism, Resurrected Imperialism is surely now intensifying preparations for a further assault on the MS&U's ideological infrastructure, probably under an umbrella of Chatty Aura and in the region south of the Breach. In concert with the intensified preparations made by these raisers of the dead for a predatory war in the cliched lands of spaghetti-western dual-use (Dead Man's Hand anyone..?) scenery, The Resurrectionists ability to deny all of my abilities, heal themselves when badly hurt and prevent my forces making any interactions meant we ended up exerting every ounce of energy in the Wild West in order to prepare the ground for scoring just 2 ouf of the three Schemes and Strats.
Despite the stench of laser cut 3mm MDF pervading this town, the recently Undead legoins under Molly have created the military, political, economic and ideological conditions at home in their graveyards, and the diplomatic conditions between the Guild and everyone else, to allow them to foster the supremacy of all pro-Undead forces in all regions of The Breach. The Resurrectionist propaganda about a "Resser-Arcanist collaboration" belied reality, and any apparent relaxation in respect of their approach to clamping down hard on drug cartels clearly stem precisely from the tactical ability of this carefully engineered crew to further Molly's policy of aggression on the eve of all out cowboy on ninja war. The Breach is now approaching the critical moment of decision between survival and extinction and must rush preparations for resisting the Neverbon and saving the Living (and thoe who are sort of living but have bits of machinery attached to them also). We are certainly not against preparation; what we are against is the doctrine of protracted preparation and the frivolous, dissipated and gluttonous life of Guild and military officialdom, all of which imperils my dearest MS&U; but unless I quickly read every card in both books I fear I may yet continue to be badly surprised by the tricks of my enemies this weekend.
All things come to an end, except the pain from a Mei Feng Jackhammer Kick.
Game 2 - vs Rasputina
Game 2, and at least this time an opponent who I had a vague idea what they did. Of course, I've never played with or against Rasputina, but I do own two of the models....
The list of Strats and schemes for Game 2 was:
I chose the ones in bold. The Rail Golem was a good candidate for Bodyguard, as he needed to hang back a bit in the early turns before being committed anyway in order to give him time to get sufficiently on fire (yoiks!) to do any real damage, and then he also had an ability to do multiple walks as well.
Mei also had a multi-walk ability and a long engagement range of 3" complete with a push-everything-away-3" combat action after which she could keep herself in combat. Rasputina was fielding a Mech Rider - again something new for me, but I knew from the forum it would probably be in my backfield towards the end of the game, so it was the target for Take Prisoner. The crew then had as many Metal Gamin as I could fit in, so as to hold a table quarter or two for Reconnoitre, an S/S Miner to contest another quarter and a December Acolyte to do something involving dragging enemy models around and out of their corners that I had failed to think through properly in advance and would no doubt struggle to make work
My 50SS Game 2 List
The deployment was the always-amusing Corner, and so my team, sorry, crew geared themselves up to make like an American Football offensive line and Blitz towards the other corner on my side of the board, shedding impossible-to-shift Gamin as they went. The middle of the board had a ruined castly that was clearly a refugee from some previous edition of WHFB (before they brought in the amendment that rendered castles (not bought from GW) which were between 8" and 8.25" tall, painted grey and guarded by non-canonical open source intellectual property design pattern angel statues as only able to provide cover"-1"), and lots of very difficult to see past hills. The enemy had a big ice monster, several forward-deployed Acolytes, an evil Mech Rider and a Wendigo - surprisingly few models for this Scheme.
Straight away, Rasputina unleashed a very obvious in retrospect attack, which if I'd only bothered to do even minimal research on her i would have anticiapted - the "I do my Master attack from the position of one of my December Acolytes" thingy, unleashing walls of ice that even a well prepared German motorist in a 4WD Audi would struggle to deal with - these blocked the Rail Golem from doing too much, but also made my theory of taking the bottom two corners much easier to work on, as it was now pretty much all I could do.
The Mechanical Rider was moving like greased lightning on the back of a big mechanical horse... and in many ways, that's exactly what it was, but probably without too much, erm grease. It had already raced to the back of the board, and surprised my forces by pooping out an Ice Gamin - again a very superficial reading of the models card had left me with the impression that it couldn't do the really cool stuff until later in the game... but moving 3 feet and then crapping out a very angry a frozen midget with a bad attitude was pretty high on anyone's list of cool things to do, so clearly I had underestimated the Rider...
With both of us struggling a little with both the terrain and the rules, the game moved relatively slowly and suddenly the end of time was in sight - with only three turns clocked up. I was by this time scoring heavily for owning 2 wuarters, and contesting one more (my SS Miner had been joined by a Metal Gamin, and they were proving hard for the Frozen Heart boys and girls to dislodge from one corner, whilst my massed legions of railway workers were outnumbering the Rasputina crew comfortably in two other corners).
With the clock ticking down, the Rail Golem dispensed with it's rather insignificant store of Burning and lumbered forward to make sure it was at least 8" from my own deployment zone to allow it (him?) score for Bodyguard. With those points in the bag, then Mei Railwalked and jumped her way into contact with the already-activated Mech Rider to claim points for Take Prisoner as well - a great win for the Arcanist Railway Crew !!
Post Match Summary from the Mei Feng
Deep Frozen Imperialism may have been temporarily halted in their preparations for an assault on the MS&U ideological infrastructure in this hill-infested region south of the Breach. In concert with the intensified preparations of the Undead Molly, now Rasputina's attempt at a horse-borne predatory war in these cliched lands of proto-Tolkien decaying church-facsimiles has foundered against the simple mathematics of greater numbers in a game where greater numbers count for everything.
All attempts at the subjugation of the MS&U have been halted at a single stroke -- the Chill-Cabinet of defeat has opened up agains and accepted Rasputina's pastel-hues infantry willingly back to sleep amongst the fronzen peas and Arctic Rolls that make up the military, political, economic and ideological conditions needed for their deep-frozen genesis. After this victory the diplomatic conditions now exist between the Guilds and the pro-Undead forces in all regions of The Breach for us to strike hard, and strike now for Union Freedom !
The tremendous presence of the Rail Golem smashed at a stroke the Rasputina-inspired propaganda about "Neverborn-Arcanist collaboration" and showed a certain relaxation in respect of their keenness for ice over fire. The Breach is now approaching the critical moment of decision between survival and extinction and must rush preparations for resisting the Neverborn and saving the Living (including those who are, well, only sort of living but have bits of machinery attached to them also).
We are certainly not against preparation; what we are against is big shaggy ice monsters and gamin-pooping metal horses in an unholy alliance - and today we proved that their frivolous, dissipated and gluttonous life of military officialdom does naught but imperil the MS&U; such things actually help the enemy and - as today - must be quickly swept away.
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