03 February 2011

Claim the cemetary - and nagging about the rules

Played a game of Malifaux today here at my place, my buddy came over to try out his new Arcanist gang led by the character Rasputina. I put together a gang from my trusty Resurrectionists to make the opposition.

Before I go any further with the report of the game I just have to tell about the complexity with the factions.

All the individual characters and units have numerous special abilities, stats and triggers- there are possibly well over 300 different combinations of all kind of rules, abilities, stats and triggers within those units that make up the 5 factions. So unlike many other games that I happen to play - I realized this problem and naturally kept myself to one single faction in order to master it as far as I could. I picked the "Resurrectionists" since they are everything I usually don't play with, them being undead, close combat oriented and in many cases are numbers over quality oriented. Since each faction in the core rulebook start out with 3 different "masters"/characters to pick from (a master is the leader of your gang) and each master offers a completely different playstyle things get even more complex as you have to learn the strategy for each master- and how his/her abilities work with the units in your faction.

I think I've learned to play my faction quite well, getting to know the strength and weakness of my 3 masters. My friend on the other hand has 3 gangs IIRC for 3 different factions and he keeps trying out new stuff all the time, probably giving me the upper hand in knowing my units better.

Anyway, the 3 masters for Resurrectionists are:

Nicodem the Undertaker: Very defensive character, no really strong offensive spell. He ends up being the best master imo because of his ability to boost the undead units like a MF, making them harder to wound while making their attacks hit easier. He can also raise new units like crazy, and can raise zombies effortlessly from all the corpses within a wide radius from his position.
I have won most of my victories the last 4-6 times I've been playing thanks to this master.

Seamus the mad hatter: Has a crazy good ranged attack with his .50 cal pistol. It can kill many units in the game with one single shot, and there are many mid level units which can be slain if you are lucky drawing damage cards. He has the ability to raise new undead hookers "Rotten Belles", other than that he isn’t too hard to figure out, good shooting, decent hand to hand fighting ability.

Douglas McMourning: This crazy coroner is the combat monster beast of the Resurrectionist masters, he is also damn good at healing both himself and friendly models. He is best used when placed in the thick of it so that he can attack (and heal himself while inflicting damage to the enemy) each turn. He suffers greatly when attacked from far away. He has a few decent spellcasting abilities but he should really stick to slicing people open with his surgery tools.

Back to the game, to challenge myself a bit and not be the boring asshole who plays safe and with a winning combination all the time I thought I would put together something completely different. And something that was probably against my good judgment as well. In retrospect there were two flaws with my gang.

1) I had the wrong master for this gang as I couldn't heal or raise new units adequately ( a biggie playing Resurrectionists)

2) The composition of the gang was halfassed. Weak defensive units mixed with 2 brutish models, 1 good Master and one good unique character.

Seamus the mad hatter
Sebastian the Morgue assistant
2x Rotten Belle
1x Flesh Golem
1x "Outcast" Desolate Engine (f***king hell this one was expensive at 13 soulstones in total, 1/3 of my gang cost).

Seamus is pretty much a Jack of all trades, I intended to use his pistol to shatter the small minions of the enemy gang before charging in and slicing up the weak mid level units.
Sebastian is always a safe bet, might seem a bit expensive but he almost always cashes in at least his own cost but he often kills in excess and does it good.

Rotten Belles are mainly meant to draw enemies closer and out of cover with their "Lure" spells.

Flesh Golem is tricky to use and should be aided by a healer because the defense value sucks. He is quite good at dishing out damage in close combat though.

The wildcard was the Desolate Engine. Never used this before, I thought I would give it at try because it sounded a bit "cool". This ended up being my 13 point handicap.

First of all, the Desolate Engine has the worst kind of defense stat. It lost over half its wounds to ranged attacks. Furthermore this piece of shit unit loses 1 wound each time it's activated! Something I had overlooked. It is literally falling apart. It's not even near as good as the Flesh Golem, and it is more expensive. I ended up so disappointed and pissed off because of this unit it was very close that I wanted to quit playing. Might seem childish but I was so furious at the shit abilities and un-playability of this unit that I literally parked it in one corner and ignored it after turn 2 and onwards. Didn't activate the shit or cared what happened to it.

I also bitched and moaned because I felt that the “Charge” action was completely retarded (and far from how I remembered it should work). Forcing models to “charge in a straight line” not allowing any deviation by half an inch to “wheel” around an obstruction or friendly model just made me really tired for a at least half an hour. I can’t believe how stupid that rule is, or the wording in particular. At one point I could have charged an enemy model engaged by a model of my own, and wheeled around maybe a few millimeters to get into contact – but could NOT. What I COULD was to “charge” and hit the opponent from over the shoulder of my friendly model standing engaged with my intended target. I refused to do so because I felt it was the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard of. Can’t remember this ever being an issue in any previous game however…
At the back of my head I had a previous conversation with fellow gamer Widgren when talking about “law students” as opponents in miniature wargames – and them being the perfect opponent since they never questioned the rules or tried to think logically beyond what was written – which to them was equal to the law. Silly if you ask me, but maybe such a mentality is the optimal state of mind when playing miniature wargames where the rules are written in a way overlooking lots of logical factors.
The opposition then,

Rasputina (master), had a few good spells but never really got into the thick of it until the last turn which made it hard to judge her usefulness compared to other Arcanist masters. Relies more on spellcasting then anything else really.

3x Ice Gamin (these are really good with shooting attacks and they cause 2 damage to anyone within 2” upon death).
1x huge Ice Golem, really really hard to wound this SoB! Better to stay away or lock it up with some cheap trash unit-

1x Sabretooth, again a good unit, it has the ability to attack 4 times as long as it has more than half its wounds left. In Malifaux this is REALLY good. It is however admittedly not that hard to kill this unit if you get to strike back. In my opinion this unit would be best used to hunt down weak low/mid level units standing alone. Or to chase weak masters without any hand to hand abilities (like Nicodem).

1x December Acolyte, didn’t get to know this unit too well either. He didn’t do much damage, and didn’t have any particular abilities that really stand out among other Arcanist units either.

The game was about claiming the cemetery in the middle of the board. We measured from one particular tombstone to get an even area which one should occupy with models at the end of the game. As the game started I pretty much knew I was in deep shit at the end of turn one. Realizing that I had only 1 ranged attack in my gang (Seamus .50cal pistol), the Desolate Engine falling apart and taking damage like crazy from Ice Gamins range attacks. And not having anyone to really heal my units became an alarming error on my part. I knew I had to take out those Ice Gamins at long range not to take any unnecessary damage killing them up close. I also started to feel that I would have a really hard time against that Ice Golem and the Sabretooth tiger. Kinda sacrificing my Flesh Golem to tie up the strong enemy flank I used Seamus to wipe the weaker flank. He pretty much killed 2 Ice Gamins and the December Acolaty single handedly but this also made him fight far away from the main battle where his skills would be more needed to tip the balance of power in my favor. I raised 1 new Rotten Belle as my Flesh Golem was slain, Sebastian rushed up and managed to kill the Sabretooth but he was also killed soon after. Leaving me with 3 defensive Rotten Belles , the useless Desolate Engine , and Seamus tied up and too far away to help out.

In the end the battle dragged out long enough so that only Rasputina and the Ice Golem remained in play. I had 1 Rotten Belle locked with Rasputina, Seamus and The Desolate Engine. With 2 models each inside the “victory point” area the main objective of capturing the cemetery ended a draw. I won only because I had successfully completed my secondary goal of keeping my master alive until the end of the game. Announcing this to the opponent gave me 2 points. Which was enough to win the battle even though it was a tactical disaster and sloppy gaming on my part.

Malifaux is in the end a really good game, especially if you like small scale skirmish and want to avoid dice (you use cards instead to generate results). It does have a couple of flaws however that keep me annoyed. And it is really hard to really get a good idea of exactly all the factions and units work.
I hope to write a rule overview of this game during this month as well, just like I did for Secrets of the Third Reich, Incursion, Combat zone, Strange Aeons and This Very Ground.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...