Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cowboy's & Demons

My year in gaming continues. I rode out to Columbus with my friend Sean. We were going up for a local Malifaux tournament at the Guardtower, a friendly local game store (FLGS). Before I get too deep in, this is not a review of the tournament, the Guardtower, or Malifaux. That said, everyone was great, if this were a review, it would be glowing. I enjoy getting to spend time gaming and I have wonderful friends to do it with. Sean is one of those people I truly enjoying hanging out with and welcome his addition to any event.
For those of you who don’t know, Malifaux is a miniatures games. It’s a cross-genre, skirmish affair with small numbers of models. What genres you ask? *Deep Breath* It’s western, steam-punk, gothic, Lovecraftian, Victorian, fantasy, folklore, hillbilly, comedy, horror, wuxia setting. I’m pretty sure I got them all. The game takes place over a series of five or more rounds where two players take turns activating and using one of the figures in their crew. We use a deck of cards as a randomizer to determine the outcomes of actions such as shooting guns, casting spells, resisting the terrors of the world, or causing someone to dig up a useful dead body. Each game revolves around a mission with set goals. They also include a list of five side missions that each player may secretly choose two of to gain additional points from. Over the course of the game both players attempt to complete their goals while stopping their opponents from completing theirs. Points are awarded for how successful they are and, as in most cases, most points at the end wins.
There are seven factions in the game each with dozens of different models. For the purposes of this tournament we were to choose a faction for the entire tournament. We could bring with us any models that would be legal for that faction to play. After being assigned an opponent we would tell them what faction we would be playing. Then decide what models we would be using from the ones we brought. I brought the Guild. Basically the Pinkerton’s meet the weird west. They’re a totalitarian bunch of douchebags who have managed to get some fairly heroic people to work for them in order to defend the populace.
My first game was against Patrick; he was also playing guild. The mission was interference. It involved dividing the table into quarters and controlling as many as possible. The side missions were all about getting to the middle of the table or onto my opponents side. For this reason I chose Lady Justice, an undead hunter, as my master, the games term for leader. Lady Justice is a hand-to-hand monster and quite capable of ripping an entire crew to shreds with a little luck. I backed her up with a number of equally focused models that would do well in a melee. Patrick chose the Ortega’s. The one crew I’d hoped he wouldn’t. The direct counter to Lady Justice in the Guild are the incredibly shooty Ortega clan, a family of demon hunters.
I did okay for the first two rounds but the early loss of my executioner, high value target and the picking off of several of my smaller models led to an eight to zero loss. The match went well and despite a shellacking in the points I think I held my own pretty well. I was able to contain him for most of the match and take out several of his smaller models that he used as a shield for his more valued ones. The use of long range attacks from Austringers, a type of falconer, kept my crew pinned and weakened for much of the match. Still Patrick was a great opponent and a lot of fun to play against.
In round two I faced John and his Outcasts, a collection of mercenaries, outlaws, and independent horrors. John chose to take his crew from the third group and used Jack Daw, the animated and angry body of a man hung by the neck till dead. Jack and his crew of animated convicts, murderers, executed, and tortured were a challenge. Knowing that I was going up against Outcasts and that several of the masters in that faction have access to undead, I had once again chosen Lady Justice. In this mission we would be fighting over the center of the board; another factor in my Lady Justice decision.
This was a close game, scoring three to five in my favor, mostly due to an unfortunate placement by John in the last round. In the first round I got extremely lucky and managed to take out one of his high cost models. I was able to use my forces to get in a couple of long range kills against smaller models. Though John was able to thrash into my team with fairly decent abandon. In the end it was a bloody victory that came about by John accidently placing his leader too far from the center to get credit for one of the mission goals. It cost him three points and the win. It was good for me, but I’ve been in his shoes and it sucks to see that. It had been a great game with a fun opponent marred only by an unfortunate win.
In the final round I played Max and his Neverborn, a faction of demons and horrors. The mission was headhunter and involved killing members of the other team and then collecting their heads from the ground. It was going to be an intense and bloody fight with both teams having to move in on one another. For this I chose Ortega’s. As stated before they are a family of demon hunters and as such are able to deal a bit more efficiently with the special rules many of the Neverborn have.
My opponent Max chose, Lilith, a blender with legs. Lilith is a Hand-to-hand master with a couple of nasty spells in her arsenal. Her ability to summon forests was particularly useful. I took Nino, a long range sharpshooter who can rip a model to shreds. Unfortunately, there was a forest in his way for most of the game. Even with that, I never felt like I was out of the match. I think I was able to keep up with Max in his kill streak that was leveled against me. But he was better able to control the battlefield and get the points than I was. It was a good solid win by a player who just did a much better job than I did.
Max ended up beating me ten to zero, both ends of the maximum number of points. He was still friendly and I don’t think he ever felt like he had the game in the bag. I believe I gave him a good game, I just wasn’t able to score the points I needed to win. Despite the trouncing, Max was fun and engaging the whole time.
All in all, I had a fantastic time the whole day. I loved getting to play with each of my opponents. The looks of all the models put out for the painting competition were fantastic to look at, including a beautiful Ten Thunders army that got put out. I won a door prize, which was nice. I have a Whisky Golem to use with my Gremlins crew.
It was a great day and if you ever find yourself in the Columbus area and looking for a FLGS to hang out in for a couple of hours I can’t say enough good things about the folks at the Guardtower. Thanks to all of my opponents, even the ones I didn’t play against. To the tournament organizers, thanks to you as well for a fantastic day. Sure I lost a lot, but I had a good time.

Now I need to plan my March gaming event. Perhaps I’ll try a D&D adventure league game, trying an online roleplay session, or even something new I haven’t thought of. Any suggestions?