The Battle for Prospect

Well at least I’m consistent.

Yesterday we had a Malifaux Story-themed event, hosted by the Clapham Wargamers Guild. They had put loads of effort into the preparation and it really paid off.

The day ran really smoothly. Terrain and table setup was fantastic. And there were lots of great little touches – such as having a reference card on each table describing rules for all terrain elements.

The only thing missing was time. More on that later.

It wasn’t actually a tournament, so there were no prizes for winners and losers (thankfully). Instead the games were all tied together by a narrative, based around the re-discovery of a Malifaux town called Prospect.

The town had been mapped out, and terrain on all the game tables had been laid out correspondingly – with Industrial wastelands at the top tables, and the town itself at the other end of the room.

This was a really nice touch.

As for the games. In summary, and consistent with my abysmal performance in the Cross tournament last year, I lost all my games.

This time around though I felt somewhat cheated, or at least the results didn’t reflect how well I actually felt I played. The thing that really penalised me I think was the short game time. Two hours for a 30 soulstone matchup just isn’t enough for me. And with my generally defensive play style – in which I am aiming toward the long term completion of my objectives – if the game is called at the half way point, I am unlikely to have achieved much VP wise.

Hey ho. Sounding like a case of sour grapes there Maxy!

Anyway, that griping aside, here are summaries of how my three games played out.

Game 1 – Establish a territory in Prospect (vs Lady Justice, 30SS)

Strategy: Shared Claim Jump
Scheme: That One’s a Keeper (McMourning had to get body parts from Lady J), Breakthrough
Terrain: Heavy woods, with some standing stones
My Crew: Chihuahua, Sebastian, Mortimer, Belle, 2 x Necropunks, Convict Gunslinger

My opponent was quick off the blocks and charged his Peacekeeper forward. It did some damage but I mobbed it in the woods – killing it with the Belle, Seb and McMourning.

Malifaux Story Event - Game 1I sent my Necropunks around the southern edge. Keeping them out of trouble and ready to make a late game dash to the enemy deployment zone, for the breakthrough strategy and to thwart his Holdout.

There was a bit of a set to around the central Claim Marker in which I forgot that those bloomin’ annoying Witchlings explode when they die. Bye bye Sebastian!

Unfortunately, we were both playing rather slowly and we only got to play out three complete turns.

My Necropunks hadn’t quite reached the enemy deployment zone. McMourning had managed to summon his Flesh Construct pretty early and it had ambled into the table centre. Crucially though, it failed to kill off the Death Marshall – my poor last damage flip meant he was left on one wound – so my opponent had numerical advantage over the central claim marker as time was called.

Result: 0-4 loss (at end of turn three)

This was an unrepresentative scoreline I believe. I felt I played quite well (Sebastian’s mishap notwithstanding) and felt in good shape on the table. So suffering a zero VP loss was a rather bitter pill.

Game 2 – Explore the environs (vs Perdita, 20SS)

Strategy: Shared Reconnoitre (four corners)
Scheme: Death after Death (end game with more models than I started with)
Terrain: Town outskirts
My Crew: Chihuahua, Sebastian, Mortimer, Belle

My confidence took another knock as I was setting up for the next game. One of the event organisers – a respected and seasoned McMourning player – came over and told me that he usually lost to my next opponent. Joy!

I had a pre-planned scheme in mind for this game, something I rarely manage to do. In this case, I picked a deliberately low model count crew and was going for a summoning strategy with McM and Sebastian. It was a nice idea, and could also tie in with the Reconnoitre shared strategy we were playing (scoring for having more models than your opponent by table quarter).

However I was stymied by having a much more open terrain setup in this game and facing a Perdita crew with plenty of ranged firepower. There was nowhere to hide and anything I summoned was likely to get gunned down as soon as it came into play.

My opponent played aggressively, with Francesco flanking and providing ranged cover as the rest of the crew – Perdita, Santiago and the Executioner – rushed forward toward my deplyment zone.

I held back hoping to summon stuff. I got a Flesh Construct out but there was no cover and with Perdita bearing down on me I had no choice but to engage.

Malifaux Story Event - Game 2A big melee ensued wherein I killed his Executioner twice, but each time it managed to kill one of my minions with its Slow to Die and heal itself up entirely. Funnily enough my opponent was surprised to learn that this was how his rules actually worked. Damn my honesty as I pointed out that he could probably heal himself up and we called over a referee to clarify. We totted it up and I did something like 22+ points of damage to it by game end.

The tide of battle went against me there as my minions were depleted and he remained at full strength. McMourning fell to Perdita’s gunfire eventually and, despite a valiant last charge for VPs from Mortimer, I got tabled.

Result: 0-5 loss

An indicative and fair result that time. Terrain didn’t favour me, but my opponent played very well and made good use of his crew to control the table. I got indecisive with McMourning at one point and should probably have charged him straight in to the melee, though I was worried that he’d have been picked apart by Perdita.

Ironically for a McMourning player, I feel like I was clinically dissected in that game!

Game 3 – Expand the boundaries (vs Marcus, 40SS)

Strategy: Turf War
Scheme: Army of the Dead, Stake a Claim (unannounced)
Terrain: Industrial Zone
Event: Srapheaps (any model could scavenge for scrap from the scrapheaps. Big whoop!)
My Crew: Chihuahua, Sebastian, Mortimer, Belle, 2 x Necropunks, Convict Gunslinger, Bete Noir

Last game of the day and it was the big one, with 40 soulstones per side. It was another slow one as my opponent was unfamiliar with many of his minion’s abilities. But by that point we were both playing for pride (ours was the losers table) and were just determined to have fun.

We had it in spades, and both agreed that it was our best game of the day.

It was another fairly open terrain table but this time we were both fielding melee crews with a gunslinging minion for ranged backup.

The first key battle was the Sergio Leone style showdown between my Gunslinger and Freikorps Henchman Von Schill in the open central plain. Von Schill easily got the upper hand there – with extra manouverability and a couple of extra inches of range. My Gunslinger, severely wounded had to retreat back behind a hill for cover.

Another grudge was between the Shikome and my Rotten Belle. The flying harpy declared the Belle as her prey and set about taking her down. As she advanced, she cast a Guarantee Fate spell which meant the Belle had to be within 2″ of her or suffer wounds at the end of the turn. The Shikome got eviscerated by an enraged McMourning shortly afterward and the Belle had to die as a result.

Marcus, his eyes firmly set on his treasure objective, cast his Wild Heart spell and took the form of a Fox to spring forward to grab the marker from the central ruin and started to carry it back toward his deployment zone, with a Moleman nearby as bodyguard.

More beasts in the form of Cerberus the three-headed Sabretooth and a giant Razorspine Rattler advanced and a melee quickly ensued. Sebastian got killed by the Sabretooth and Bete Noire appeared, drawn to death. Before she got to activate though the Rattler bit her with a venomous strike and she died of the poison upon activation.

McMourning decided that it was time for action and turned into the razor-toting killing machine he should be, killing both the Shikome and Razorspine rattler in one turn I think.

Meanwhile, my Necropunks had advanced again to toward the opponent’s deployment zone, where Von Schill had retreated to guard. Marcus’s totem Jackalope chased down the Gunslinger in hiding and finished him off. That rabbit was dynamite! However, Bete was drawn to death again and reappeared, this time killing the Jackalope with ease.

McMourning, on a rampage, ignored the nearby Sabretooth (which was target of my opponent’s Framed for Murder scheme) and charged Marcus instead. The Arcanist master switched places with the nearby Moleman who was brutally butchered by the Doctor. Importantly the bait-and-switch forced Marcus to drop the treasure he was carrying.

Von Schill killed one of my Necropunks, but the second managed to stake a claim on the northwest scrapheap. VPs at last!

Then, as mere minutes remained, with a wounded McMourning facing Marcus, it fell to a critical initiative flip. Win it and McMourning could probably take down Marcus but more importantly heal himself back up. Lose it and the Doctor goes down.

I flip a seven and my opponent a two. I’m winning initiative. Soulstones are discarded and he re-flips to an eleven (damn!). I have no choice but to throw in my last soulstone and re-flip

…a ten. Disaster.

As predicted, McM is taken down and time is called moments later.

Result: 2-4 loss (at beginning of turn four)

Again, we only managed to play three full turns. But a lot of cool stuff happened and we had a great time.

In Review

Hmmm. Played six, lost six, in tournament play so far. Not much to say beyond that I am clearly not a very competitive player!

At least this time I feel I played a bit better and possibly deserved some better results.

I’m also glad that the last game was such a good one as that really was a silver lining to what could have been a somewhat disappointing showing.

Finally, I must again point out how well organised the whole event was. Thanks so much to J and JPS, and all at Clapham Wargamers Guild for their efforts and hospitality.

Now, I must get back to what I do better: painting 🙂

Prospect certificate awarded to our team, for coming last!

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~ by Max Von Deadlock on March 13, 2011.

8 Responses to “The Battle for Prospect”

  1. I love the concept behind this event, and think this is the way I would like to see Malifaux events go locally. Narrative-themed days where each game contributes towards the overall story appeal to me much more than W/L events, although those have their place, and their fans. Thanks for the write-up – much food for thought.

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    • It was a great way to host a Malifaux event. It’s a game which really lends itself to narrative play.

      I’ve actually understated the story stuff to some extent. At the start of each game we were given an envelope containing story setup for the encounter. Second round envelopes differed depending on the result of the first round, and so on.

      We also each had a secret event envelope we could open in one of the rounds. Unfortunately my one was to do with special terrain which didn’t really affect our game.

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  2. Great report and glad you enjoyed the day.

    The conclusion I’ve drawn is that Malifaux isn’t a game that works in a strictly timed environment as each model does something in most turns. It’s not like warhammer where you march a unit in 30 seconds and that’s it.

    I would love to give you a game at either club with no time limit in the future.

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  3. Sounds like you had fun, which I guess is the main thing. I’m not a fan of competitions, so I like the idea of the narrative event, it would make me far more likely to attand.

    I do think Malifaux is a game that takes longer than 2 hrs, and some strategies/schemes require the full 6+ turns to play out fairly. I think I would rather play two 3hr games that I had a good chance of finishing instead of three 2hr games where I am likely to get timed out.

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    • For me, three hours is a more realistic play time for a 30-35ss game. I’m not the fastest player, though I’m getting quicker as I become more familiar with: a) what each model can do, and b) what they should do.

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  4. Great write-up as always, Max!
    Don’t worry about gaming performance, I finished down on the bottom end too, but the day was fun!
    I found the times all right, in the first and second games we just managed to finish turn 6. The third game (40ss) however ended mid turn 5 unfortunately. Still there were people finishing their games half an hour- forty minutes early every turn, so I guess it’s just us being slow.

    Looking back the only weird thing I can find is the reconnoitre strategy for 20ss games where people usually have 4-5 models to start with… But since it was shared it came out equally difficult for everyone.

    All in all it was a great day and our team got the wooden spoon, which means there’s only a way up from here. 😉

    Like

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