Captaincon 2017

So if you haven’t been to Captaincon you are truly missing out on a great convention but also some of the best malifaux gaming in the entire country. It’s a nice relaxed venue and even more relaxed tournament that’s not to say the games aren’t competitive far from it these were some of the toughest games I’ve played in years and my record reflects that 0-3-1 on the day. But my opponents were all awesome sports, great opponents and genuinely fun people with which to spend 2hrs locked in intelligent combat.

my lack of malifaux games recently showed and nb is an unforgiving faction to imprecise play. I played collodi into ramos my game one I maxed my schemes but I could only manage to grab 1 head and my opponent grabbed 3 he out raced me for a 9-7 ramos win. Game with was against Jared fantastic game vs his outcast tara list that was a sharp game of wits into my lilith. I rooted a lot of things and we backed and forth staking a claim to a tie again my schemes selection and execution saved me. 6-6 draw.

Game 3 I played into Chef Matt ressers a lovely display of molly and her new best friend Archie. I played collodi different list from game one and lost deployment so I got stuck in a giant sever quagmire gigity. Archie hits like a ton of bricks and again my positioning was terrible this game. I got destroyed 10-6 schemes and I got 3 on 1 and 1 on my other and 1 point of strategy.

Game 4- Outcasts viks into my shooty dreamer list. dreamer puts up a fight I end up losing hard 10-3.

one of the most enjoyable times I’ve had even if it’s my worst tournament result to date. Have to makeep this event as regulary as I can.

fantastic to see familiar faces, old friends and make new ones.


1 down 11 or more 2 go.

December has come and gone and I played a lot of Ironsides in December. My conclusion off of that experiment are that Ironsides isn’t enjoyable enough for me to continue her. She has moments of brilliance but far more moments of frustration mostly that in building lists it comes back to a reoccurring theme with her, 2 gunsmiths and or 2 oxfordians. Go forward make brick shoot out of brick either win or lose based on that. And in looking at her it comes down to a critical failure of what could be her signature ability the engine that would make her go and be thematically amazing and different. Her defensive tricker Good shoot my turn, is ML only, if this simply said anytime she suffers dmg from an attack action, she could then do her dmg and gain adrenaline all of a sudden she is radically better master. But its ML only meaning smart opponents who already have a diversity of attacks in their lists, will simply not hit her with Ml attacks and concentrate on cracking the crew focusing on her late. While I’have had some amazing rounds of dmg output on single and multiple targets, once that adrenaline is spent getting it back up is far 2 much effort and if it doens’t break your opponent the games over. She has no recovery. She’s a boxer and a really sad copy of a shell of what Mei Feng was in 1.5.  I wanted to like I really did, but I like all of her support pieces far better with other masters in arcanists than I do her.

So that out of the way I am changing up the order slightly as I started early in December with the challenge so now I can potentially fit an additional Master into the rotation.

January is going to be Seamus a resurgence so to speak of ressers for me. those familar with this blog can see my book 1 seamus list in all its glory in older post. This look at seamus will be about using a lot of new stuff and going an entirly different direction of seamus for me. Sinister Reputation instead of bag o tools. I feel its important to look at new angles on old things and this is the perfect place to start my new year.

List 1

Seamus — 4ss
+Red Chapel Killer – 1ss
+Sinister Reputation – 1ss
+Spare Parts – 2ss

Copycat Killer – 3ss

Ashigaru – 5ss

Carrion Emissary – 10ss
+Conflux Of Infamy – 0ss

Crooked Man – 5ss

Crooked Man – 5ss

Guild Autopsy – 4ss

Rotten Belle – 5ss

Yin The Penangalan – 8ss

The list itself is what I call a test list, bringing in several new unit concepts together into a list to see what works, what doesn’t and then refine the elements together as we progress.  We have some elements i’ve used a lot namely Yin, guild autopsy, rotten belle and copycat killer. With elements I haven’t crooked men, Carrion emissary ashigaru. Shooty Seamus. Into what on paper appears to be a gunline with control elements in Yin and the ashigaru. I’m looking forward to getting ressers back on the table.

Going Forward Revised list for 2015 Play








August-Jacob Lynch (10T)




December-Mah Tucket


A Little Early but Ironsides Month Begins

Welcome back to the beginning of my 12 months 12 masters Challenge.

I got my first game of the challenge in the other night against my bud and co-host Adam of Cheatedfates Radio on a vassal game. Adam is learning dreamer and we both felt it be a great chance to start my challenge as I haven’t gotten a game with Ironsides in over a year. And this was Adam’s first game using Shooty style dreamer.

In This Post I’m going to go over the list I brought to the game my selections and give some incite into the why the list was designed as it was.

Ironsides- Toni is a master that is unique, when you start reading her card you notice she introduces a new condition to the game called adrenaline+1. What is adrenaline well on the surface its a reverse poison that heals a model with adrenaline by 1 at the end of a turn and then reduces by 1. Ironsides gets an adrenaline for every enemy model within 2″ and Los of her.  Okay so far we have a master that as soon as you read her first ability you get a sense that this master wants to be upfront. Then you see Hard to Kill. Then you come to her defensive trigger Nice shot my turn. This ability on the surface is just odd, she is the only master in the game that wants to be hit and damaged, so that she can then retaliate. Now the restrictions on this are ML attacks only, So Ca, Sh, that happen to be close attacks no dice. And that is where the ability on the whole really falls short for, its corner case which will get to, it has uses but its not a defining aspect of what makes her usable.  Finally we come to the true gold of Ironsides’ card Hand Picked Men. If see nothing else on Ironsides card look at handpicked men, this ability is the aspect that we are looking most to exploit in the list I am building for her. Essentially handpicked men is a 6″ aura that let’s friendly M&SU gain plus to attack and dmg flips if they are at less then their starting wd values. Doesn’t matter if your casting, shooting, Mling be in 6in aura of her be damaged, and you get plus to your attack and your dmg flips. Okay so that so before I leave the front of the card were going to look at 2 key stats on the front card- 14 wds yes she has as many wds as Lady J or a resser master. And DF5 again a stat that is begging for df trigger to go off but no suit built in. She is a master that wants to be in the action and get hit on the surface. Both of those things are well typically stuff that gets you killed. Well discuss this aspect of her more fully in a separate post.

The Back of the Card or as I call it Adrenaline Junkie.

We flip to the back of Toni’s card and we see something akin to the first time I read Mei Feng’s Card in 1.5 malifaux. Many moons ago Mei Feng was a chain attacking super villian, she still has remnants of that now Ironsides is a direct flash back to a slightly more complex system because the chain relies heavily on adrenaline. Brass Knuckles. The meat of her attacks will be Brass Knuckles attacks because they are 1 ap Ml7 attacks, the dmg spread is where we start to question our lives 2/3/4 dmg on a master. Okay I love Ml7 Ram and then I really dislike this dmg spread on a ml master for a couple of reasons. 1.) ML requires you to get up close and personal so ml masters need to be able to kill what their in ml with before the same happens back, 2/3/4 spread on average isn’t going to do that. If we put an average minion around 7 wds ironsides is going to struggle to drop it with this attack. Okay why does this attack exist as it does surely their is a reason. Their is and it comes in the form of the two triggers, Ram Crow- Which gives her +1 adrenaline after dmging. and Ram/Ram which says reduce your adrenaline by 2 which gives her a free 2 inch push and then a free (2 )action attack. Which Brings us to (2) Uppercut here we have an action that is master Level 4/5/7 Dmg spread gives out slow and a built in trigger to lower your adrenaline by 2 to take a (1) attack action for free whats’ the catch- Well its base ml4 that goes up 1ml for every adrenaline on her at the beginning of the action to maximum of +4 or Ml8 effective stat. So here we see that her intention for dmg output is to combo the attacks together to be an over 3 general ap master in output. The rub is how do you generate enough adrenaline to fuel this combo and how do you do that consistently? We then come to another action on her card and I think this action will be one that requires some serious table time to explore. 1 action You Looking at me- ca7 vs wp you target a model it is pushed its charge value toward you then if able it takes a ML attack against you with double negative on dmg and no triggers. Okay so this ability this ability Plays again into her DF trigger specifically. The intention being you take a little bit of dmg the problem is, double negative flips invite 2 potentials very readily. The red joker which we can work around thanks to an upgrade but more devastatingly the black joker. This is going to strike people as odd but Ironsides df trigger needs me to actually be damaged. get her free dmg flip and then gain adrenaline. So what do we actually have here? We have a spell that could maybe sorta fuel adrenaline and setup targets for the following turn. or the start of a chain. Or we have a way to have ironsides pull crew along for the ride. Its an ability I’m going to playing around with to see uses and how consistent a solution they can present.

So as we look it Ironsides is on her card a jumble of potential corner case abilities that come together to form her. She runs on adrenaline which is a condition that is very risky for herself to produce. She has to be activating surrounded by enemies to gain big chunks of it. She has to be hit, and hit back to gain more of it, She then uses it to fuel dmg output that frankly other masters in the same faction can do far easier. Base line her best most unique ability what I’m building around is the consistent and controllable Hand Picked men.

The List

50ss Crew

Ironsides — 6ss
+Frontline Leadership – 2ss
+Warding Runes – 1ss
+Iron Determination – 1ss

Mouse – 4ss

Arcane Emissary – 10ss
+Ironclad Conflux – 0ss

Gunsmith – 7ss

Gunsmith – 7ss

Oxfordian Mage – 6ss
+Blood Ward – 0ss

Soulstone Miner – 6ss

Soulstone Miner – 6ss

Okay the Upgrade package is again designed around keeping Ironsides up, and fueling her adrenaline through passive means in Frontline Leadership. Frontline leadership says when a friendly model in six takes dmg from an enemy attack i can chuck a card to gain an adrenaline. Basically because were going to have models near her getting bonuses anyway we might as well punish the opponent if he wants to attack them.  Warding Runes basically counterspell on Masters is very strong, she is no exception. With Blood ward she becomes condition immune while within 10 of the oxfordian. Iron determination- basically we make the red joker an opponent flips against ironside a null card. They have to discard it and reflip. Making a 14 wd model that is also your master immune to the red joker is pretty dang solid for a 1ss. Also because her aura is what were valuing the most, we want to keep that aura up, which Iron determination allows us to trade adrenaline for healing.

This is running a bit long so I’ll hit the rest of the crew in a separate post.


12 Months 12 Masters

And Were Back…

So after much soul searching I realized that next year with no Adepticon for me, my first kid on the way and life in general. That sticking to another faction for the entire year wasn’t going to realistically happen. So I am instead going to go back to my roots a slight bit. No I’m not going ressers, but I am going back to using Single master, however I am only using said master for a months worth of Time. That’s right Folks 12 masters one for each month of the year, that regardless of matchup, strategy and scheme pool I’ll be dropping for that month.

The idea is to let me deep dive each master on this list to see where they are strong, where they are weak and what I can do as a player to mitigate the weaknesses we might find. The other beauty of this system is it lets me adjust my painting schedule as needed and will help get all of the grey out of my bag and all the unbuilt stuff built.

Okay so what we know so far, Joe is taking a single master each month starting in January for the next 12 months. Playing the master of the month in every game for that month okay Joe what’s the list?

January-Toni Ironsides

February- Hoffman






August-Jacob Lynch (10T)




December-Mah Tucket

So In a year I’ll have had games in all 7 factions with single masters in them for a month. The goal is prior to the month starting to detail the boxset of each of this masters and go over some basic strategy on each of them. I look forward to this challenge next year.


Neverborn and me an unexpected Journey

So as 2015 starts to draw to its conclusion and an entire year of neverborn has been played by me its time to start taking stock on me and the faction in my first dedicated year with it. As a year goes I got a fair amount of games in with the faction over 50 but tournament games the only event I was able to attend that I got tournament games at was Adepticon this year. I went 2-3 with the faction with an overall differential of -2 and 34/50 Vp on the day. That was within the frist 5 months of the change after the previous 2 years of resser experience in m2e and 5 years in 1.5 prior with ressers. Looking at my overall with NB I have struggled with them my win %is around 45% for games tracked on the year. And I’ve been looking deeper recently as to why my winning with them is so low compared to my relatively high mark in ressers. I’ve identified a few key things that are pain points between myself and the neverborn. So I’m writing this blog with the intention of using it to better articulate my struggle in the hopes it might help, either someone else, myself or at least to help me vent a bit of frustration as I decided where to focus in 2016 be it continuing with NB or moving to a different faction.

The Bad

1.) Not an Attrition based playstyle- Neverborn aren’t built for the long game, their idea of attrition is take and run. They aren’t a get stuck in faction, if they get stuck in they are dieing and our models don’t trade well. This is entirely counter to my base programming in m2e from my foundation knowledge base of Ressers. Ressers do play the attrition game probably better than any faction in the game. Often with ressers its about grinding and overcoming, with Neverborn its about lightening war, Taking models without offering a trade. This transition has been my greatest struggle as at my core my playstyle tends towards attrition style heavy trade game that NB just don’t play well.

2.) Knowing the Models like the back of my hand.

I haven’t played ressers in a little over a year and I can still tell you most of their stat lines and abilities cold. I don’t nearly have this level of inherent model understanding on the neverborn side. I can say its much today a year in than it was a month in or 5 months in but its still no where near the understanding I have not only of the stat cards but of the relative ability of a flesh construct vs nearly every other model in the game. In terms of taking a hit, chance of retaliating back, which triggers to actively try for and how many ap that model will remain upright on average above and below average flips. That level of understanding just isn’t fully developed in my neverborn game yet and its hindering me.  Knowing the right model for the right job is critical and my level of understanding in ressers vs NB is night and day.

3.) The Masters and the Enforcers are the backbone of the Faction.

Neverborn as a faction are highly defined by 2 sets of models their Masters who can manipulate the game state more than any other factions on the whole and a stable of Enforcers who tend toward the upend of the power curve for the game. This means our crews can often be defined by high priced but highly efficient models. Contrasted heavily by minions who tend toward the higher offensive output to lower defensive spectrum generally speaking. This is in high contrast to previous experience were minions made up the backbone of the faction with everything else really built to play to the minions strengths.

4.) Neverborn are an active faction and I am a reactive player at heart.

Neverborn are a momentum faction, they want to set the game tempo and really dictate the flow of the game. Neverborn don’t react to what the opponent is doing they instead act and force reaction upon the opponent. They favor an active aggressive style. That’s not to say the faction is mindlessly charging forward quite to the contrary it means the faction plays best when it forces the player to react to various threats its presenting. By Contrast Ressers tend toward a reactive game, allowing the opponent to punch take that punch and then Judo chop them on the ground on which they will smoother the opponent over the next 2 turns. Neverborn instead are looking to combo their initial punch in such a way as to continue pounding the opponent into the corner. Not giving them the moment to regroup and counter. This above all has been where I’ve failed to wrap my head around what neverborn want to do the most force reaction capitalize on momentum and continue the relentless march to 10vp.

5.) Neverborn as a Faction I”m having trouble identifying a solid Answer/s to the Outcast Questions

Neverborn seem to have a factional issue with the questions that Outcast posse  with Masters Like Leviticus , Hamlin and Jack Daw. If you guess the opponents master drop incorrectly the match up game can be fits. This match up issue is a key point of frustration for myself personally and an area I’m trying to solve for.

So I’m sure your reading this if you’ve made it this far and going Joe if your having those problems why not just go back to ressers and 2 what has kept you going with NB with these problems.

The answer to number 1 is I don’t want to go back to Ressers because fundamentally ressers are playing a different game than the rest of the factions for the most part. And that is okay but it isn’t what I want to play going forward. My year separation has really allowed me to grow a lot as a player and there are many things I truly enjoy in neverborn far more than I do in other factions.

The Good-

1.) I enjoying playing far more neverborn masters than I do Resser masters.

On the whole I enjoy every neverborn master and feel they each hold a unique niche within the faction. By contrast resser masters are often powering the same list slightly differently while this provides variety its more pick your favorite flavor or 2 and go from their. I have quite enjoyed the style diversity that I get in neverborn masters and playstyles they offer to me.

2.) Doppleganger makes me truly happy.

One of the greatest gifts to the neverborn faction has been this mimic with Ill omens and the ability to copy non master one actions. 7ss of versatility and the ability to enable my love of aggressive playstyle that relies on initiative control. Truly a crutch but a versatile one and worth staying in the faction for.

3.) Sense of Discovery and level up that I was missing.

Neverborn offered last year a chance to totally step out of my gaming comfort zone. A radical playstyle shift attrition tank to glass canon. And a chance to learn the game essentially anew with a faction I hadn’t previously played, tested or owned. They offered last year a reset button and this year they offer the prospect of continuing to skill up. I get to learn lots of new things every game with Neverborn something that just wasn’t happening with Ressers.

4.) Dreamer maybe the most fun you can have on the table.

As far as masters go their has only been one other master in the game I have enjoyed as much as Nicodem and his Name The Dreamer. Dreamer is a complex support caster who summons and has interesting modes of Play. In both Dreams of Pain a recent addition to my dreamer playstyle and in my favorite Restless Dreams or shooty dreamer. He offers me some unique gameplay challenges and always regardless of game outcome I have fun seeing what I can get him and his crew to do in that game. Dreamer captures my imagination like few other models in the game and by doing so strengthens my desire to play Neverborn.

5.) Neverborn attack the game sideways

Neverborn tend to attack the game from unexpected angles. Be it wp based attacks, amazing speed, or tricks this faction attacks the game differnet than most other factions does. And that rewarding puzzle means its hard to get bored of the faction.

So as I reflect on a year of Neverborn I see that my pile of unpainted neverborn is shrinking and my unpainted and unassembled horde grows for Ressers, Arcanists and 10t. And I’m torn on my 2016. Do I begin the learning process over again with 10t or a dive into arcanists. Do I go back to the Green Banner and continue our relentless recruitment drive. Or do I stay with the Native’s of Malifaux for a second year. Take the lessons of year one build on them and see what I can achieve in 2016 as a Neverborn player in my second year with the faction.

So many choices till next time.



Slow on the Uptake! A Malifaux discussion on the merits of my favorite condition

This is a first attempt to formalizing something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. Namely the impact of various conditions on the board state in a game of malifaux 2nd Edition. This post I’m dedicating to perhaps the condition that I enjoy giving out the most but taking the least that being the “Slow” condition. Let’s delve into the wonderful world of slow and its impact on the game as a whole.

To truly understand the mechanical impact of “Slow” we need to understand the mechanic that this condition interferes with, that being how Action Points, (AP) are generated. Typically a non Master model will generate 2 general AP a turn a Master will Generate 3 AP a turn. The :”Slow” condition reduces the AP a model generates by 1 at the start of their next activation. So on a non master you are reducing their ap from 2 to 1 and reducing on a master from 3 ap to 2ap. Additionally slow removes the fast condition.  So what does 1 ap mean in the grand scheme of the game?

One AP means the difference between charging and walking, between delivering a message or not, between dropping a stake a claim marker or not moving twice or not. In other words slow reduces the options your opponent has on that turn. Now in the grand scheme of a game assuming you have 7 non master models and 1 master models your base turn 1 AP will be 17AP in that turn 7×2=14 and 1×3=3, 14+3=17. Now Lets say you get the opportunity to activate first this turn and your master has an ability to slow enemy models. And lets for ease of math assume your opponent also has 7 non master models and 1 master with a pool of 17AP at the start of the turn as well. You activate first with your master you utilize his 3AP to slow and dmg 3 of the non master models in your opponents crew. You have actively used 3Ap bringing your remaining pool to 14 and you have reduced your opponents AP to 14 before he’s been able to activate a model. But another way you have taken 1 models Activation, to reduce the effectiveness of 3 of your opponents activation’s.  But another way you and average AP per model of 17/8=2.13ap  this turn your opponent will now have an average of 14/8= 1.75ap.  Yet another way your master took away 1.5 total activation’s worth of AP way from your opponent. Only if he could have killed a model in 2 ap would the effect on this turn ap wise to have more mpact. If it required all 3ap to kill your actually less effective for the turn than the 3 slows however their is argument that the gain over the course of the game is greater. But will assume the master wouldn’t’ be able to kill any one of the models he targeted.

Now lets look at it in a game state lets assume were playing Extraction or TUrfwar scheme pool distract assassinate, cursed object, spring the trap close deployment. Okay so how does slowing 3 of your opponents models affect the actual game. Let’s say your opponent is playing a heavy melee focused list with supporting shooting elements. How does having 3 slowed models effect them in this scheme pool. Let’s assume Your opponent revealed no schemes. You selected cursed object and assassinate you also revealed nothing. So you slow 3 of your opponents melee threats removing their charge threats and reducing them to single walks this turn. In this situtation you have removed what your opponent was attempting to capitalize on by removing charge from his tool belt. This also means your able to gain more board space. Again think of the example above you are both deploying 12″ up the average walk being 5″. A model being able to use only a single ap can be 17″ up the board the model with 2 ap can be 22″ from their board edge. when you consider that the board is only 36″ long that’s a significant spacing advantage over your opponent. Now lets look at from a dmg potential standpoint, we’ll look at one of my favorite models, the Mature Nephlim. A mature nephlim has a base dmg spread of 4/5/6 so assuming he hits twice your minimum dmg incoming is 8. Now that same mature slowed your minimum dmg is 4 typically not enough to kill most undamaged models where 8 is often enough to do the trick. So in that example the slow can save the model from death.

So how does Slow compare with removal of opponents activation via removal i.e. just killing an activation a turn. Raw math incoming for purposes of this we will assume that turn 1 neither side can remove or slow an opponent. We will assume that through some combination be it a master or a combination of minions that 3Ap a turn are used to slow the opponent we are equaling assuming that one model is being removed every turn after the first.  We are assuming in both examples the players are facing equal skilled opponents. Also assuming each game ends on turn 5

Okay the vaccum examples

Slow Again assuming baseline 17AP a turn

the Slow giver will remove over the course of turn 2-5

4×3=12 AP

Okay Vaccum example

Removing model a turn after the first 17Ap A turn

Ap removed turn 2=2

Ap removed turn 3=4

Ap removed turn 4=6

Ap removed turn 5=8

20ap removed

So on the raw data we see model removal to be more effective, now the question is the  AP exchange equal. It costs me 12 ap over the course of the 4 turns to remove 12 ap from my opponent. Now this is just raw ap not accounting for what we’ve stopped them from doing. Now the question is can you remove a model a turn in less than 5 Ap and 2 activation’s. Sometimes you can but sometimes you can’t or by doing so you are limiting your ability to score points. So why show the numbers for both. because were about full discussion and disclosure.

So malifaux being a game of Activation efficiency and AP effectiveness. Why is slow my favorite condition? Quite simply its the removal of options from the opponent. When you play melee focused crews something I really enjoy if you couldn’t tell beings my favorite factions are NB and Ressers two melee first dmg dealing factions slow is like a silver bullet. Because it denies what melee focused crews relies on, the charge. Charging is one of most AP efficient actions in the game because it is effectively a 3Ap action that costs you 2 general ap generally. Why 3 Ap because in a charge you move your charge value, so you get essentially a free move Ap often larger than your standard Walk in a melee focused crew. Then you get 2 1 action close attack actions for a total effective ap of 3 at a cost of 2. So if I slow a melee model in charge range to my models i have effectively cost that model not 1 ap but 2ap. This is where the real value of slow occurs its in the ap denial of actions in a very efficient manor. If I can be in a situation where my model that can slow has both of its ap and 2 targets in range to slow them. Means for 1 activation and 2 ap I can limit 2 of my opponents activation effectiveness. I spend an activation to remove an activation I have only limited one activation that turn. Again always depends on game state but sometimes having 2 models doing nothing of note for a turn is better than removing a single model. So don’t dismiss Slow as a condition, see how you can use it to make your opponents activation’s less effective and yours more effective. Because malifaux is a game of resource management if you can limit your opponents resources you are gaining an advantage.


The Age of Ultr…Collodi

Welcome True believers been a bit since I’ve written because well I’m not good at the whole do this once a week thing. Well I have started playing a few games with a master that I had zero interest in before I played him, that rascally robot Collodi.  I feel he fits the Ultron theming of creation fullfilling a twisting of its purpose and hating the world that rejected it. Both seek vengeance and have deep seated daddy issues. To that end I have painted my collodi crew in this style themeing.

Again with the standard wyrd twist

The Rest of his copies “marionettes” and Widow Weaver

Embedded image permalink

Okay So the crew I’ve been starting with collodi is a hyper themed crew. Again I know I’ve talked before about starting a master and the way I typically do it is start with the entire boxset and add some bits to taste to just see what the basic crew is wanting you to do.

The List

Collodi- Fated, Breathe Life and Strum the Threads

Vasilisa- A Friend to Talk to

4x Marionettes

2x Wicked Dolls

2x Stitched together.

and A Brutal Effigy.

This whole crew is puppets and can take advantage of strum the Threads. As well as his fated ability. The brutal effigy provides healing in the form of his condition that collodi can give to all friendly puppets within 6″ of him when he get its. And The stitched do the heavy lifting bolstered by Collodi and Vasilisa ap. The marionettes do a surprising amount of work for the crew as do the wicked dolls. As they die Collodi replaces them with either Marionettes or wicked dolls. Again this is the starting version of the crew I see a lot of potential with collodi and pretty much any minion that we have access to in the neverborn faction. I see a fairly aggressive play style very possible with him. Provided you do a better job of keeping personal puppet up on models within 6″ of him.

Until Next time their are no strings on Me.


Is this the Real life or it is Just Age of S….Fantasy?

Greetings true believers, this will be a departure in a bit as I’m going to be talking about a game system that was just recently released and what we can learn from it from a design perspective.  I was never a Warhammer Fantasy Player I was firmly in the pew pew laser 40k camp until I fell of love with GW business practices and found other amazing games. Most notably malifaux, now that doesn’t mean I don’t keep up on the old 2 letter network. Or have interest in additional games, as many know I have many systems I enjoy and I love looking at design choices.

So Age of Sigmar (AoS) is honestly a design route I never thought I would see GW go. Not just burning the old World and old Fanbase to the ground, but from the business decisions involved, many of which I actually agree with I know shocking. The big one, the rules are free both the base games rules and the army updates for all existing armies from the previous game.  So GW who found a way to charge you for a water cup, are giving the ability to play this game to anyone in the world who has access to an internet device completely free. As you could simply put down bottle caps or scrapes and paper and play through it, or use your existing miniature collection to play the game without GW receiving a dime. Again same GW that wanted 8 bucks for a water cup, free rules for what is a brand new game to replace fantasy.

Okay so know we have to ask the question, Why would a publicly traded company who’s very business is the production of miniatures and accessories for those miniatures and by extension rules to play with those miniatures give away and again just going by say 8th editions prices US give away to every person on the planet $600+ dollars in rules for free?  That is a business decision that I’m sure was heavily debated inside the board room and I’m sure that several had heartburn over. So we come back to why?  The reason lays in the fact that understands it has to win an audience for the first time in 25 years, the move is an acknowledgement of market pressure and the first self assessment of the company that may show some true positive change within the company in the last 15 years.  The advantages to a free ruleset are first and foremost to broaden market exposure for your product. People are more likely to try something if there is :”no cost” to them.   AoS is free to try for anyone veteran or brand new player, or and perhaps most importantly a person that owns some citadel miniatures of the fantasy variety.  That hasn’t been engaged with a GW product in years, that has openly complained about business decisions, and that has complained about rules costs. The barrier to entry for AoS simply isn’t there on the surface, GW is saying here are some rules to play with these miniatures if you like them we have plenty of more stuff for you to buy and enjoy.

Age of Sigmar is GW first wholecloth rules set since Lord of The Rings. A system they developed separate of their long standing IP and traditions within each game. Make no mistake if you suddenly removed Tanks from 40k and massed shooting it is no longer 40k, just as if you removed Giant blocked infantry formations and flanking you no longer have traditional fantasy. AoS is also the first ruleset GW has produced since major competition has existed in the marketplace for them. GW has very much woke up in a world as Microsoft where another major and several minors companies have been eating share and while still the general default option for gamers their is real choice within in the marketplace now. GW realized it could no longer continue to patch the same game, and instead had to create a new ruleset to help it better compete with “modern” game design. Age of Sigmar was the result.

So the Positives of AoS, yes I believe there are several gems in the design. Age allows someone to field what they own no restrictions. Now I already hear you screaming at the keyboards “thats not balanced” correct it isn’t balanced but no where in GW ruleset did it say x makes for a balanced game. This lack of restrictions isn’t for the long time Warhammer player, or the tournament player, this is a specific design choice that is about allowing a brand new hobbiest to play the game from their first purchase to their last purchase without having to make a choice. This is what I call a little johnny rule, its the getting started is easy anything you buy you can play rule. To really understand it you have to go back in time to the first time you discovered miniature tabletop gaming. Maybe you walked into a GW store like I did in a mall, or you had an older cousin or brother that showed you this game with all this cool stuff that they had acquired over time. And maybe you got super excited for the game and you bought some stuff and you got it built and you started painted it and you came back to find someone to play and the first thing they said to you was how many pts and you added up all your stuff and it was 614 pts of tomb kings and the other person was like the game isn’t even playable til 2000pts. So know as little johnny I’m no longer excited for this game, your telling me I have to buy almost 4x as much stuff to even play this game I was all excited for this is dumb and little johnny goes and plays something else. Or little johnny waits and keeps saving and building till he hits that 2000 pt mark only little johnny isn’t little anymore and instead of getting johnny hooked early and feeding that addiciton by giving him fun games he can play. You’ve made him wait til he gets that full army and your opening yourself up to a lost customer. AoS solves that problem, if you like something you can buy it and field it. Awesome for new players a horrific rule for power gamers but its design intent is to allow new players to grow with the game naturally and to allow for diverse model sales it is not designed as a balancing mechanic. AoS is not intended to be a tournament game out of the box, you can’t view the game as a 9th edition, AoS is an entirely new operating system that happens to use Citadel models from their old fantasy range while they build up the range of his new game.

Other positive mechanics AoS has streamlined combat for faster resolution and more consistent resolution. Gone are the 2 hit and to wound charts and the armor stacking. instead the rolls are right on the scroll what the unit needs to hit, what they need to cause a wd and if they reduce someone save. Also on the card is what the basic save is of the unit. This makes for very rapid combat resolution and for very easy rules explanation. Additionally the rules for Shooting and physical combat are the same you just read your stat line and go no real math involved. Again this lowers the barrier to entry for a new player to miniature games in general not just GW style games. Movement was also simplified along with the removal of ranks and flanks again lowering the barrier to entry for this game. Rules that lower barrier to entry typically are strong rules.  They updated all the rules for previous released models those that didn’t receive direct rules upgrades were given a rule that they counted as again all available for free.

Negatives of AoS it seems on the surface to be a 4 page quick start ruleset without calling itself that. That’s not to say  I think you’ll see rules that one would recognize as a 9th edition fantasy with flanks, and ranks and wheels. But I think AoS is a ruleset screaming for scenarios, a way to balance army construction for veteran and more competitively minded players, and perhaps most importantly a suggested game size. The very same positives are also major negatives for previous fantasy players simplicity to what was always hailed as the thinking mans game of GW I can see where players are upset by it.  The calls of how dare you 40k up my game and such I get I understand.

But I’ll leave you with this. I am a former GW player I never played fantasy, the barrier to entry were too high for me. AoS has me for the first time in 8 years wanting to give the game a go, and because of the free rules I can at no cost. I may hate it, I may love it or It may be a hmm that was nice don’t think I’ll play it again. I’ll have some more thoughts with a game or 2 under my belt.

But as far as army balance and construction, I think what you’ll see is those will come through the battalion scrolls. Essentially GW has taken the concept of theme lists and put them into the game. For those unaware a theme list is a list that contains a certain set of specific model choices, if those choices are selected than  you receive additonal rules bonuses. This is exactly what the battalions scrolls do, they give you a shopping list of models and say if your army contains all of this, you get these bonuses. To me this is the ideal way for GW to balance the game going forward. GW saying yes you can take whatever you want, but if you play exactly this set of models, you get additional synergy that taking something else doesn’t give you access to.So they incentive you into making certain list choices and purchase choices. This also limits the number of model interactions they have to monitor within the game from a balance perspective. And they can do that very simply if they come out with a tournament pack that essentially says all official Gw tournaments you select a single battalion formation as your army. Now from a balancing standpoint they just have to make sure each battalion formation is on more or less equal footing with the other formations. Its a lot less work to balance say 5 set forces for each army than the bliions of combinations that would exist outside of those predetermined lists. The side benefit to battalion only tournament design, is you can make sure every model in your range is part of at least one battalion force again forcing model sales through the design, again that is one of those shareholder benefits not exactly benefit to the player.

More to come as I delve into Orgors in the AoS


New Year New Faction! Into the The Neverborn

So as 2014 fades into our collective memories and we prepare for the glory of new year. I have decided to take active steps to change factions in 2105 and focus solely on the Neverborn. How this will be different from other failed attempts? Well first off the Ressers are physically coming out of my bags, I won’t have them for casual play and they won’t make the trips during the con season. That spot is going solely to the Neverborn.

Why Neverborn?

In the days of 1.0 right after the launch of the game, I first came in contact with it and I was torn between a strange man in a Tale Hat and the wonderful joy of a woman holding a box looking after some young charges. I debated for weeks after getting the book about who to start with, and ultimately the look of the other masters in the resser faction won out. When Spencer and I went to adepticon and were exposed to warmachine and to malifaux at the large con his interest was peaked and we began to play malifaux locally. He went toward the neverborn and I stayed fast to the ressers. Throughout 1.5 I stayed true to the ressers but always kept an eye toward the born.

2.0 marked a dramatic change in the fortunes of both factions. The neverborn lost a step or two in there overt power level and the ressers gained a few ultimately setting the two on very equal footing. And with the launch of the plastics my bag began to fill with neverborn goodies and I have been playing them quite a bit in 2014. That said I had faction hopped a lot in 2014 with Ressers going to adepticon, and myself playing 10t and arcanists in the only local events I got to play in. But casual games playing a lot of ressers. Now over the time period since Gencon I have been playing a lot of purple. And I have decided in 2015 from a competitive standpoint I will be representing the Neverborn.

The fact they play so differently from the Ressers is really the draw for me. There is nothing quite like the minions and enforcers they have in Neverborn compared to the ressers. It allows me a totally fresh approach to the game I love and lets me evaluate problems entirely differently. It also allows to collect a part of the hobby that was tougher on the resser side as I owned the faction in its near entirety.

What Masters will you be focusing on?

Lilith, Dreamer, Pandora and Lynch are the primary focus of the year with a toe in Zoraida and another in Lucius although I feel there games are very similar. I feel with the 4 primary I have enough diversity of play-style and crew construction to keep me from being in a rut something I was approaching with Ressers. Lilith is a control master with a strong dmg spike and excellent movement shenanigans. Dreamer provides me with some summoning and support as well as playing the game having to worry about my master but also wanting him in the fight. Its the sort of puzzle I’ve been wanting to solve and have enjoyed my time on the table with him thus far. As an older brother the lure of Pandora essentially saying quite hitting yourself and her asking very interesting questions as well as doing damage over time really has put her high on my list. I also feel as she is the master of WP that attacking a stat like that in indirect ways presents very interesting problems to my opponents. Lynch is a gambler, and a great spike dmg master he has some very neat card manipulation and kinda of does the indirect support. Huggy helps complete his skill set and provides some alternative control. Zoraida is the odd ball, she attacks the problems of the game so differently and has such a different hiring pool that she presents a bit of relief should I get bored at all. Lucius presents similar differences in hiring pools, as well as offering some interesting options to the neverborn in general.

Goals for the Neverborn in 2015

I have delusions of grandeur but if you don’t dream big, its hard to achieve your goals. I plan to be at 2 major events this year, if time and finances allow it will be 3. Plan is Adepticon in March and Nova open in September. At adepticon my goal is to be top 10 finish in the Masters. If I can achieve that I will be exceedingly happy. I’d love to qualify for Nova but its a new faction for me and I’m still learning it and I’m not sure I can get to the comfort level of saying I’m going to win it. I do think I can get to the top 10% in the time I have with the practice I already have in. And at Nova I want to place in the top 10 at the national championship. Locally its a bit harder, I am the areas main henchmen and most of the events that are around I’m the person running them as such I don’t get a chance to play. There is word that a few others are stepping up in the area and this should let me compete locally again. And I’m looking to make a few other events perhaps in Indiana or Ohio should they present themselves.

From an additional goal standpoint I want to place in at least one tournament this year major or otherwise. That would match what I did last year placing 3rd in a local event with of all things Arcanists. And I want to be 100% painted by Adepticon with the faction.


Ironsides Potential Crew requiring a bit more Testing

Arcanists Crew – 50 – Scrap

Ironsides — 7 Pool
+Frontline Leadership [2]
+Imbued Protection [2]
+Iron Determination [1]

Mouse [4]
Gunsmith [7]
Gunsmith [7]
Johan [7]
Silent One [6]
Soulstone Miner [6]
Soulstone Miner [6]

This crew is focused exclusively on taking advatage of hand picked men and exploting little fun bits like using mouse to set up the plus flips for the gun smiths while also moving them. Having Ironsides run up and force mousing to run up and because he has no melee attack not be able to hit her. Having the soulstone miners potentialy take a turn to just give a soulstone to the master in exchange for plus to attack and dmg for the rest of the game, oh and exploting johans group hug healing along with the silent one healing did I mention mouse also comes with a heal.

Upgrade Package
Front Line Leadership attack my stuff and iron sides gets adrenaline, and ironsides get really awesome with adrenaline, also the aura from that zero action is really annoying to opponents.

Iron Determination-Yes I am a fan of insurance others are not, but negating the red joker is a must on a master who’s whole stick is hit me and watch me murder you after I take the punch. The zero action heal cannot be underestimated but realize when you do this there is a cost associated namely your giving up offense for staying upright and that is often okay.

Imbuded protection-One of the major compliants with Ironsides is why is she df5 she would be awesome as df6, and well with this 2ss upgrade she becomes df6 stop crying.