Ramos and Pandora, You’ve Got Mail

James and I had a game of Malifaux last weekend and I’m sorry to say my full battle report has fallen by the wayside.

Instead of doing a full turn-by-turn write-up, and in order to catch up, I’ll just give a game overview minus the tactical maps.

Crews and Setup

The thirty soulstone matchup was Arcanist master Ramos and his arachnids versus Pandora and her Neverborn manifestations of woe. Crew lists as follows:

Ramos (James, with Steve as tactical advisor)
Johan, Renegade Steamfitter
Brass Arachnid
4 x Steampunk Arachnids
Sabretooth Cerberus
(4 soulstone cache)
Schemes: Grudge (on Teddy), Sabotage

Pandora (me, with Mark as tactical advisor)
Baby Kade
3 x Sorrows
Convict Gunslinger
(5 soulstone cache)
Schemes: Stake a Claim, Kidnap (unannounced)

Again, James had put together a marvellous terrain spread using his papercraft buildings. I took along some trees so we could add in a bit of foliage and ended up with a town square section in the centre of the board.

How it Played Out

Neverborn AdvanceNow, before we get down to the detail, I must state that both sides played some significant and dubious rules “misinterpretations”.

So we’ll just have to claim we were playing using house rules!

We flipped standard cross-table deployment and a shared strategy of Deliver a Message.

The first couple of turns featured the usual forward advance, with Ramos and his mechanical arachnids scuttling down the east flank. Johan made his way toward the central building to take cover, and the three-headed Sabretooth leaping forward to make a quick sabotage attempt.

Foolishly, I advanced too quickly with Pandora and it suddenly dawned on me that the Sabretooth could potentially achieve a major VP haul by sabotaging and delivering all in one turn before leaping away. If it were to happen it would almost definitely be game over, points-wise.

Johan in the Town SquareLuckily I remembered part of Pandora’s cheese in that any model targeting her must first succeed at a willpower duel.

Phew! It’s a specialty of hers and, a couple of fate card flips plus a soulstone later, she had faded away from the sabretooth and it took a few wounds (thanks to lurking Sorrows) for its troubles. This led to some (probably justified) whining from my opponents when they realised just how difficult the “deliver a message” strategy was going to be against the tricky Neverborn master.

The Sabretooth Cerberus did manage to get its sabotage scheme though and leapt back toward the safety of the Arcanist deployment zone. If it could survive the round then those VP were safe.

Cue, rules misinterpretation #1 (otherwise known as cheating).

I pulled off an audacious chained incite (0) action against my own minions to slingshot Pandora halfway across the table and kill the sabretooth. Little did I realise that the pacify action could only be used on enemy minions.

In my defence, I think it was that way in the first edition rulebook and stat cards. She has been errata’d to make the cheese a little milder.

Hail of BulletsAcross the other side of the table, a tussle played out between Kade, Teddy, Johan and some arachnids. Johan dealt with Kade and I made a bit of a mess with Teddy as I advanced him into a vulnerable position out in the open, having misread the effects of a spell which I thought would give him a charge at Ramos’s Arachnid Swarm. Instead he was taken down in short order.

Johan fell shortly afterward, probably due to self inflicted injuries from Pandora’s Self Loathing spell. Having a great big scary hammer is not something to boast about when Pandora’s around.

Then my mercenary Convict Gunslinger stepped up and laid down a furious hail of bullets to seriously damage the arachnid swarm. I think he triggered off about seven hits in one awesome round of shooting. The arachnids had armour though so each shot did minimum damage and they weathered the bullet storm.

Eventually they went down too and both sides were left with just a few models each. I had Pandora, the Gunslinger and a Sorrow. Ramos was left with a brass arachnid I think, plus his ability to summon more as needed.

By this time though, James had sussed out an effective way of inflicting damage on Pandora, by way of self-detonating his arachnids and summoned electrical creations for area-effect explosions. This tactic was used to good effect as I had foolishly grouped my remaining minions together and they were taken out by an exploding electrical creation.

Pandora FallsRules misinterpretation #2 – James had been summoning these electrical creations as a (0) action from Ramos, when actually it should have been a (1) action. Oops. There were at least a couple of occasions where Ramos did a double move before summoning one of these exploding creations “danger close”.

Anyway, as we reached the final turn, I had to make a last dash with Pandora in the hope of stealing a victory with my Stake a Claim scheme. Ramos had the measure of her though and sent an explosive creation round to blow away the last of her health. No soulstones left to save her, she fell.

Ramos almost forgot his own sabotage scheme. But it turned out to be too late for him to complete it anyway, as a fate-flip signalled that no more turns remained.

The Dust Settles

Revealing completed schemes it turned out to be a 2-2 draw.

I had succeeded at my Kidnap strategy by killing three secretly nominated minions, and James had taken out Teddy with his grudge. That and the shared failure to deliver the message meant we had achieved 2VP apiece.

It was an interesting tactical matchup, although I definitely had an advantage with Pandora and the strategy selection. Being so difficult to target makes her a tough draw in a number of strategies.

She’s also pretty painful to play against for many reasons. She is very fast (though not quite as fast as we were playing her) and has an unconventional way of causing damage, which can soon overwhelm unsuspecting opponents. Also, as she does a lot of repeatable zero actions, her activation can get a bit bogged down and take a while to resolve.

I like playing her. I love the theme, and the models. And I certainly have more success with her than McMourning these days.

I must look into that.

~ by Max Von Deadlock on May 18, 2011.

8 Responses to “Ramos and Pandora, You’ve Got Mail”

  1. Double move then summon creation is fine on Ramos as he has casting master.

    In fact one of the nastiest things I have found to do with Ramos is the Electrical Creation Bomb


    Even without activating all 3 Creations you can get 8 damage from activating just 1.


    • Heh. You had me worried there that I was the only cheat in the game. Luckily I’d got it wrong (see James’s comment below) and the bombs were moving twice.

      Nice article by the way. I fear them more now. I don’t like explody things and have fallen foul of Witchling Stalkers in a similar fashion.


    • Groovy, didn’t realise they weren’t unique any more, I have v1 cards and have been slack about checking errata. Might have to pick up a couple more…


  2. You misinterpreted my misinterpretation! It was the creations themselves that were doing a double move then exploding, and the exploding which is a (1) action, and I thought was a (0).

    Also missed Renegade Steamfitter Johan off the crew list.

    Good fun was had despite the errors. We were obviously “playtesting rules variations” 😉

    Agree that Pandora’s explosion of actions took as long as the rest of your crew put together. I am a bit dubious about playing Colette for the same reason – she’s very complicated and tricksy, I think she would play slowly.


    • Fixed the crew list. Ta.

      Winter had me worried there that I was the only cheat and we’d have to retrospectively hand you the win. Nope, you definitely cheated.

      I think I could play Pandora quicker. It’s just the two times I did a big chain were game critical moments and I wanted to ensure I got it right.

      I still shouldn’t be worrying about that at this stage though, and just making mistakes as necessary to learn. Teddy’s mixup was a good example. Oops, he died. I’ll know not to do that again.


  3. Oh, and Cerberus couldn’t have delivered and sabotaged in one round, that would have been another, ahem, misinterpretation. But he did sabotage as a consolation after he failed to deliver the message but survived a brutal assault from Pandora and Sorrows.


    • Yeah, it was across turns wasn’t it? We had a critical initiative flip as I recall which allowed him consecutive activations.

      Little did he know how slippery Pandora would prove to be 🙂


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