Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Putting Plans Into Action or Tournament Time is Nigh

With my first tournament coming up in just a few days I thought I'd do something different. Even though several of the people who are playing this weekend read my blog, I'm going to give a run down of the Strategies and Scheme Pools of the tournament and which lists I will very likely be taking. This blog is all about learning, and I think being able to look at my thoughts before going into the tournament and my thoughts afterward (next week's blog) will be beneficial. I have spent all week painting and basing models to get ready for this weekend and realized that I'm coming close to having the whole faction. Now I just have to put them all in action and see how the games play out. Keep in mind, my commitment the first half of this year is to 3 masters: Zoraida, Pandora and Lynch.

Round 1
Strategy: Interference
Scheme Pool: A Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Bodyguard, Entourage, Plant Evidence

So first of all lets look at the Strategy. Interference says specifically: Divide the table into four Quarters. At the end of each turn after the first, a crew earns 1 VP if it controls two or more table Quarters. To control a table Quarter, the crew must have the most unengaged non-Peom models within the table Quarter. These models cannot be within 6" of the center of the table.

There are two ways I can approach this strategy. I can bring tons of guys and try to spam the table as much as possible. This could be accomplished with Terror Tots at 4SS but precludes taking some of my best available models at high point costs. The other option is to try to be as killy as possible and eliminate my opponents models as quickly as I can, giving me the advantage. This plan has its merits and flaws, being that the deck can work against you and if you don't kill a model it will be engaged and not gaining you points. also, putting models out there could end up with them being killed off and also not doing anything for you.

My first thought is that I want Waldgeists, Silurids and Zoraida here. I can use Hexed Among You to set my Geists in my opponent's side of the table and hole up certain parts of the table. They would also be in convenient spots to drop Breakthrough markers. Bringing those means a heavy swampfiend list so bad juju will be coming to the party. He's fun for this scenario as well because just when your opponent thinks they have killed a model to open up control of that side of the board, Juju comes out and smacks them down.

Schemes are a bit trickier to decide on here. Bodyguard is a good one to take with Bad Juju, as he is very hard to permanently get rid of. There's going to be a lot of movement to control board state, so ALitS, Plant Evidence and Breakthrough are all solid choices. ALitS can be very tough to keep though as its the most obvious scheme when you start dropping markers on the centerline.  Tentatively I would say Breakthrough and Bodyguard are going to be my choices here with Hexed Among You placing models in my opponent's side of the board to begin with.
Tentative List:

    Hexed Among You
    Tarot Reading
    Animal Shape

Bad Juju
Eternal Fiend

2X Waldgeist
Voodoo Doll

This list allows me to drop scheme markers, Utilize the voodoo doll and Nurse combo to lock things down. Lure models around the board and Zoraida gets some mobility with Animal Shape.

Round 2
Strategy: Headhunter
Scheme Pool: A Line in the Sand, Distract, Protect Territory, Take Prisoner, Deliver A Message.

Headhunter is a trickier strategy than it looks like at first glance. It says: Whenever a model kills or sacrifices a non-Peon model which it considers an enemy, the Acting model's controller must place a 30mm Head Marker within 3" and LoS of the killed or sacrificed model before removing it from play. Any model in base contact with a Head Marker may Make a (1) interact action with it to remove it from play. Gain a VP if you you have removed at least on Head Marker from play at the end of the turn.

My first instinct is to bring Lynch for this match up. He has the most on the table killing power of my three masters with his Darkened crew. The trick is, getting the Head Markers after the kill. I want to focus on large engagement ranges and tough models to protect the markers so that I can pick them up later. Companion becomes a fantastic ability to have in these situations but unfortunately Neverborn is light on both Companion and Accomplice. However, we do have Pandora with her Incite and Nobody Likes Me conditions. The wheels begin to turn. If I bring Candy and Pandora to Incite models that are no where near a Marker and bring Illuminated and other killy models, I can use Incite to my advantage and force my opponent to activate models when I want them to, effectively giving me control over who gets the Head Markers.  Candy also has the ability to heal things up which denies my opponent even more.

I want to kill things, so Distract isn't a good option here. Protect Territory wants me to hold models back, which means I have to split focus between killing/grabbing head markers and dropping markers/holding scheme markers. Take Prisoner is the real deal though. I simply need to be engaged with it at the end of the game, meaning I can single other models to take out and leave that one alone until the end. Deliver a Message is another fun one to take even if it requires a model's full AP for a turn. It definitely benefits from Fast and (0) movement actions. Luckily I have Teddy and Baby Kade combo to deliver a very angry bear into the enemy Master and both of them are good at murdering things. 

Tenative List:
    Fugue State

Baby Kade
2X Illuminated
    Fears Given Form
    Best Behavior

This list as all the killing power I want with some control options. (and even the control models can murder things pretty well)

Round 3
 Strategy: Collect the Bounty
Scheme Pool: A Line in the Sand,  Assassinate, Power Ritual, Breakthrough, Plant Explosives

This is the game that Lynch will shine. Collect the Bounty gives you points for each enemy non-Peon model that you kill or sacrafice during the turn. The player with the most points gets a VP.  So here I want to murder as many models as possible, which is what Lynch is quite good at doing. It should be noted that killing models too quickly can cause you to run out of points. Taking a model or two each turn while denying your opponent points is the best strategy. I'll wanna take Rising Sun upgrade as it makes the Hungering Darkness not count for points on any turn but the very last, IF it is still buried. Illuminated are good here too as they are tough to take down with Armor 1 and Regen. Stitched Together look like a good option as well as they have the potential to do lots of damage and have Hard to Kill. This is also a good time to try out Black Blood Shaman on Depleted and Iluminated though I have to be careful as a model killed by Black Blood from their own attack on my model doesn't count towards the Bounty and I lose potential VP.

Schemes for the round definitely point to Assassinate, as I am wanting to kill all the things. The rest are harder to decide on without knowing the terrain set up. Though I would probably lean toward Plant Explosives, and getting it off early as chances are models will be clumped together.

Tentative List:
Jakob Lynch
      Rising Son
       Expert Cheater
      Woke Up With a Hand
Hungering Darkness
      Fears Given Form
Hooded Rider
Black Blood Shaman
Stitched Together
The Illuminated
The Illuminated

This crew gives me lots of solid killing power and is fairly sturdy. The Hooded Rider gives me the
potential to catch up with my opponent's faster models and tow another along with him. I will have to be careful with Lynch though, as he isn't the most resilient master and Assassinate is on the table. Playing safe is the key here.

That's 3 rounds with a tentative plan to deal with each. It should be noted that any of these possible lists can change when I get to the table dependent on a couple things: terrain and my opponent's declared faction. However, I think it is beneficial to have a plan of attack going into the game as I am able to set up quickly and make informed choices based on what I already know. Granted, anyone reading who is also going to the tournament is able to see my thoughts and plans ahead of time, but this blog is for the benefit of learning and I'm willing to take that risk. After all, the bottom line of tournaments is have fun.
Next week I will be doing a breakdown of the tournament and how things went. I am arming myself with a notebook to take extensive notes. I have all my models painted and ready. My game accessories (counters, cards, and markers) are ready to go. I know my crews pretty well, and I plan on getting a good solid night's sleep before the big day.
Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate.-- John Fox.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Grain of Salt or How To Take Advice

I first started hobby gaming in 1994. I was 14 years old and was introduced to the entire world of games by my older cousin and his friends. I was the tag along kid, eager for any extra minis or magic cards they would throw my way just to get me off their backs. I didn't have rules for some of the games they played, so my friends and I would make them up in the best way we could.
At the risk of sounding like THAT old guy, you know the one, in those days we didn't have internet. Well we did, but it was mainly confined to local servers and had very limited access. The wealth of information that we have today simply wasn't available. Tournament results were learned about in monthly magazines, along with ideas for lists and various ruling questions. Otherwise, we were on our own to discover new things about the games.
Flash forward to today's world and the sheer amount of information available in seconds is purely astonishing. You can be in the middle of a game and look up a rules question on a forum as fast as your fingers can navigate the screen. Blogs, Social Media, Forums, YouTube videos and Wikis allow anyone and everyone to access not only all the information about the game but opinions as well. In the overload of information, advice and opinions how does a new player sift through it all? I'm glad you asked.

The first time I heard the word metagame was in the early 2000s while playing Magic: The Gathering. Metagame is quite simply a term used to describe the popular strategies in a community. It can mean your local LGS or even a global metagame. The meta is what is hot at the moment and represents the Thing to Beat.
In Malifaux we are strangely lucky. Every crew is pretty finely balanced to produce lists that are possibly more powerful than some but by no means dominant. It is one of the first games I have played that truly has a "Play what you want to" attitude and means it. There isn't a single Master that is considered to weak to play competitively and there are only a few that could truly be called Top Tier.
When jumping into a lot of games, if you consult the wisdom of the internet you will see statements like "Don't play X, they are terrible" or "Play Z and win, don't worry about the rest." So far, I haven't seen this attitude in Malifaux. Anything and everything has a possibility of achieving victory and player skill is the largest factor to taking home tournament prizes.
That being said, there are still some tough crews and match ups out there. The internet will give you some great tips on beating the masters you find tough, but ultimately it comes down to two very important things. Play More Games and Try New Things. Spend some time to find out what makes a crew work. Is Nicodem your problem? Remember he needs corpse tokens to pump out undead. Is Perdita the issue? Remember that she can't shoot what she can't see.

Metagaming can lead to some interesting situations. We know what a person has won with in a tournament almost as soon as the tournament is finished, if not sooner, these days. Results are posted, streamed and Tweeted in real time. Instead of the isolated communities of players from the 90s we have a global awareness of what is winning across the world. It seems easy to just latch on to what the top players are running and go with their choices, after all they did win.
There's a huge danger sign right here that should be flashing, especially in the case of Malifaux. In a game where lists are built most times at the table itself simply copying a list or strategy is locking you into a play style you may not completely understand or need. In top tier tournaments, players who are very serious about the game have an understanding that a casual player does not. Chances are they know their opponents pretty well. They know what each and every crew they are going to face is capable of and they have planned accordingly. Most lists are not just tailor made for the tournament but also for that specific game. Simply copying and pasting your crew from their tournament winning lists will not give you the cosmic key to victory.
That isn't to say that you should ignore tournament results, far from it. If you want to get better at the game, look at what has been played and ask the right questions. Why did they take a Silurid over two Gupps? Why make the choice of this limited upgrade over that one? One of the beautiful things about the internet community is that you have a good chance of being able to connect with the person who played the list themselves if you ask in the right place. Knowledge like this can definitely make your game better, but it requires much more information than a list of the models that were put on the table.

Constructive vs Negative
So there are two types of advice. There's the helpful kind that answers your questions and generally leaves you in a better understanding of how and why choices should be made, and then there's the
kind that makes you feel like you are a jerk newbie for not playing it correctly in the first place. The second type very rarely gives you reasons why or if they do it is in a backhanded or condescending manner. Beware the second type, in my opinion it is the newest form of bullying. This is the guy who probably only plays against new players because they give him easy match ups. This is the dreaded Anonymous Inferiority Complex.
Internet opinions are exactly that, opinions. The trick to opinions is that they are often given a weight that they don't fully deserve. I try very hard in this blog to stress that I'm learning the game and this blog is full of my personal observations and not hard facts about the game. I spend time asking questions, researching and am always asking for feedback. The crazy thing is that by me saying "I never take Bad Juju without Eternal Fiend and it works" I could be correct. Bad Juju might do consistent hard work for me in the games I play with Eternal Fiend and as many Swampfiends as I can jam into a list. However, in your local meta everyone might be onto the trick and have ways to counter it.This doesn't make me wrong, but it is not the best advice for your situation. So, the best thing to do is accept advice given and give it a try. If it doesn't work, then you are out a game or two, if it does then congrats! You managed to get some good advice and your game has improved.

Courage Under Fire
Don't be afraid to ask questions when you can't find the answer easily. Yes, sometimes you will get nasty comments. There are unfortunate people who feel the need to let you know how much of their time you wasted. Luckily, the Malifaux community seems to be mostly bereft of these people. I think if you go to the Wyrd Forums, Twitter or A Wyrd Place you will find that the people who play Malifaux will be willing to give you constructive and helpful advice or at the very least point you in the right direction.
On the flip side, when you are in the position to answer questions and give advice try to be constructive. It can be frustrating to see the same question asked every other day on your news feed but it does not help foster a sense of community by lashing out. Also remember that Malifaux has a ton of fiddly rules and interpretations of those rules. Some people take months or even years to fully grasp the scope of various situations that can arise during a game. Not all of us are willing to go through the rules with a fine tooth comb. By offering advice without sarcasm or condescension you have more than likely made a future Malifaux player and maybe opponent more receptive and better at the game. It could be your advice that helps shape the next Nationals winner. It will definitely foster the growth of the game, and the more people who play, the more chances that this game will continue to be supported on all levels.

Where is it all
Here's a list of good resources to use. Its not comprehensive but I will add on as I'm given more.
Wyrd Forums-
A Wyrd Place podcast-
Malifaux Most Wanted--
Mistakes Were Made--
Cheated Fates--
GMorts Chaotica--

There are many many more out there.
When trying to learn more about the game, use all your resources. Jump on the Wyrd Forums, ask in Twitter, scour PullMyFinger, read blogs (especially mine), listen to podcasts. Gather every scrap you can and then use them. Try it out, and see what you get. Even if the advice isn't the best for you it can lead to new discoveries and the next thing you know, you will be the one giving the advice.

My first Tournament is a week away and I am very busy deciding what to play. The Strategies are in order: Headhunter, Interference and Collect the Bounty. Of course, what I play could change depending on which faction I'm facing down, but having that knowledge beforehand allows me to craft a preliminary game plan. To say I'm excited is an understatement.

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate -- John Fox

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Blazin' Trails or Malifaux Terrain and How to Use It

Ask any Malifaux player or go to any Malifaux internet community and one of the first things they will tell you is that in Malifaux terrain matters. Malifaux requires a dense amount of terrain compared to other wargames and it really needs a larger variety. Look at most Warmahordes tables and you will see a few forests, a hill and some walls. Malifaux wants buildings to climb, cover to hide behind, hazardous terrain to drag models into and dense terrain if you are playing Lilith. Learning to take advantage of the table in Malifaux will help lead you to victory.

Choosing A Battlefield
When playing a game of Malifaux the general rule is that if you took all the terrain and put it in a pile it should cover 1/3 of the board. Which means that when spread out there shouldn't be more than a four or five inches between pieces of terrain and few wide open spaces. There should be a variety of terrain as well. Don't go for the same 3 buildings, 2 walls and 2 forests. Play around and create some unique battlegrounds. Add levels of height to the board, fight on bridges and balconies. Dive behind a fountain in the square or avoid gator infested swamps. The more varied your board, the more fun your experience will be and the the more tricks you will learn to use.
*Caveat: Make sure to always go over terrain rules before each game with your opponent. Decide which qualities each piece of terrain has, so that questions don't come up in the middle of the game. Remember that some terrain pieces might have multiple terrain qualities, like dense and hard cover or hazardous and climbable. 
Picking Sides
One of the more overlooked aspects of wargaming is initial deployment. Lots of people drop their models in a line or a cluster aimed directly at their objectives or counter to an opponent's models without really giving the lay of the land consideration. Sometimes the terrain set up can lead you to an easier route or slow you down enough to deny you. If you win initiative take a look at where everything is set up before you choose your side. Perhaps there's a good vantage point for a sniper within easy reach, or if you have a model that isn't impeded by terrain you can set it up to simply move through areas your opponent will have a harder time reaching. If you know your opponents models will have a hard time getting through a mass of hazardous terrain, give them that side of the board and make them work for it.

Cue gunfight music
Shooting Lanes
These are wide open lanes that allow a crew full of shooting actions free access to your models. It doesn't always happen in Malifaux, and if the terrain is set up properly you should be able to avoid them, but when you can't it can be a nightmare. Many starting Malifaux players, myself included, fall to Perdita and her Ortegas over and over by simply walking into the field of fire instead of going a less direct route. Shooting lists aren't always common in Malifaux but when they are things can get ugly. Use blocking terrain and dense forests to your advantage. Learn to force them to come to you instead of the other way around.

Rising Above
I can see my house from here!

Climbable terrain is a fun aspect of Malifaux that can offer you some opportunities to go after enemy models that are hiding, especially little guy like Gremlins. There are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with climbable terrain though. First off all be ware the movement penalties. If there are no stairs you lose an inch for every inch you move. Secondly, beware pushes and lures. Most snipers and shooting models are on the squishy side and a fall can bring them down with a single AP from an opponent.

Can you imagine Lucius wading through this?
Hazardous Terrain
Probably the least used but the most amusing terrain in the game, if you aren't playing with Hazardous you are cheating yourself. Go ahead, try it next game. Stick a ranged character behind a cactus bush and watch the melee guys come try to take it, or bring a Belle and lure someone right into quick sand. Hazardous terrain can do a good bit of work for you if used correctly.

if you look closely, you can see a nephilim

Can't See the Forest For the Trees
Dense forests usually only come in small patches in Malifaux being that its mostly urban landscape but they can also be immensely useful. If you are inside of the dense terrain you get hard cover, if you are on the other side you can't have LOS drawn to you. Incorporeal models can frustrate anyone trying to take them down by zipping through a forest to get away, the same for leaping models who can simply jump over the trees.

Soft and Hard Cover
There should always be plenty of sources of soft and hard cover on the table. From crates to walls, under bridges or behind wagons, make sure you go over with your opponent which terrain pieces represent each type of cover before the game. Just like in the shoot outs in the old westerns, using these pieces will help keep your models alive in a gun fight.

Malifaux is a fantastic game with some of the most balanced rules out there but one of the biggest things that draws people into the game is the setting. Stuck between the Old West, Steampunk and Gothic Horror the background of the game is why we pick the faction that we do and the masters that we play. Make sure that your battlefields reflect that ambiance. Your crews should fight undead in the sewers, or brave the wilds to tackle terrifying neverborn not just mill around on reused 40k hills and rocks.
If you don't have access to a lot of terrain and feel crafty, Youtube is a great source for DIY ideas for cheap and easy to make terrain. Check it out, once you get started in the hobby aspect of things its almost as addictive as playing.

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox

Friday, March 6, 2015

Malifaux Tourney Primer Part 2: Tools of Conflict


As the date of my first tournament looms closer and my excitement builds, I take a look at my checklist. More than just making sure your ready for the game mentally, like I discussed last time, there are plenty of other things to do in order to make a tournament go as smoothly as possible.  At its base, Malifaux tournaments require 2 things: models and cards. The truth is you actually need a bit more than that to be prepared. So here's my checklist as I count down the days to seeing just how tournament ready I am.

Measuring Tools
Not specifically Malifaux, but gives you an idea.
In almost all miniature games some sort of measuring tool is required. Malifaux is no exception. Most of the time these can be acquired cheaply at any dollar store or hardware store. There are specific ones made by hobby companies, I have a galeforce 9 measuring tape. Regardless, you will need something. There is a growing trend towards using pre measured widgets, especially for the small, standard things such as 1,2 and 3 inch engagement ranges. I have a few left over pieces from my warmachine days, but there are a few companies out there who sell them specifically for Malifaux.

Dry Erase and Tokens
Make sure you have a good dry erase marker for keeping track of wounds on your cards. I write conditions down on the cards as well, but many use tokens of some sort for various purposes: Conditions, Marking activated models, etc. These can be as simple as glass beads at the dollar store or you can get creative and make your own. Using a thick stock paper and printing some small condition tokens is an option that takes up small amounts of space with less weight too. Remember you have to drag all this stuff around so keeping things compact is always good.

Tournament Tray
This is a new trend that I approve of when heading to a shop for games. Mini games take up tons of space and everyone is bringing their cool carrying bags full of models. Depending on your LGS, the space might be limited. If you know what models you are bringing and don't want to lug around or run back to your bag between every round, a tournament tray isn't a bad idea. These can be as cheap as gluing a magnet to the bases of your model and using a cookie sheet, or some of the neat laser cut trays out there for sale. These display your well painted models for others to ogle and make it much easier for you to just grab the ones you want without digging through your bag for 30 minutes. This is especially important for Malifaux where you don't always nail down your list before you get to the table.

Scheme/Corpse/Scrap/etc Markers

Malifaux requires a lot of markers on the table. Most of these are 30MM size, though some are larger. There are cheap ways to create them, print from a template online or buy some cheap 30mm bases from your LGS. I suggest you get a bit creative though and make sure that at least your scheme
These are the ones I made, quick and easy.
markers are customized even just a little to make sure they are separate from your opponents. I have some cheap 30mm bases and glass beads that I have painted simple symbols on. Flag for scheme, Skull for corpse, Gear for Scrap, and a web for Widow Weaver's nasty web markers. I also have some 50mm bases that I have printed some lovely fiery explosions and glued them down for blast markers. Remember to look over all your cards and decide what you need before you take off. You are responsible for all the markers you need. Playing Raspy? make some quick Ice Walls. Playing waldgiests? print some quick forest themed circles off. You can even get creative and impress your opponents with neat looking accessories.
Note: I would bring 8-10 scheme markers with you, as you want to make sure you have enough. If you want to play Line in the Sand and Breakthrough you could end up short on makers and stall the game while you look for more. Caveat: you might even need more if you are worried about markers getting removed and must spam them.

Know Your Models

Might be spill over from last time, but its a good point to reinforce. Spend the time to really know what your models can do. Tournaments are time limited and spending time each turn trying to decide what your model can do is going to slow you down. Also, if you haven't played a model or are unsure about it, don't play it. Stay safe with the ones you know and you'll be more confident and do better. There have been a few times I've switched a list in other games at last minute and manage to beat myself because I spent the whole game second guessing my options.

Take Care of Yourself

Do not, and I mean do not make the mistake of practicing all night before the tournament. The last minute games might help your strategy but lets face it, you will be at your LGS from 9 or 10 in the morning until well into the afternoon. You will be on your feet most of that time and your mind will be engaged. Tournaments are fun but they are also exhausting. Get a good night's sleep, get up early and check to make sure your stuff is ready. Eat well, make sure you have lunch or money for lunch. A growling stomach can be just as distracting as being tired. Seems like common sense, but the excitement of getting to play and seeing that big prize ahead of you can sometimes blind you.

When gathering things together for Malifaux it feels like you have 3 options: Cheap, Easy, and Creative. You get to pick 2 of those. If you want easy accessories that won't take up your time you probably are going to have to pay for it, such as going online and getting the things that are pre made. This is not a bad option at all if you have it in your budget. Alternately, you can get creative and make your own. These range from the super cheap like dollar store glass beads or printing things off (though ink does start to add up) to spending the time to make awesome Ice Wall markers which will also start to add up on materials. Anyway you go is perfectly fine, though I encourage you to attempt some creative styles. The more you dabble into the hobby aspects of the game, the more rewarding it can be. Fair warning, it gets addictive.
Generally, being prepared ahead of time will leave you with less stress on tournament day and you'll be better focused and have more fun. The tournament is 3 weeks away and I'm going to be playing a few games this weekend to see what models I want to bring and how I like the Gaining Grounds strategies. I will admit I'm getting pretty excited. My son is revving up his gremlin play as well and we are trying to figure out shared custody of Zoraida. Maybe he'll just have to buy his own.
Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reinforcements! or When Monsters Need Mercs


Malifaux offers many factions and each faction has strengths and weaknesses to exploit. This is shored up a bit by offering the ability to use mercenary models at the cost of an extra SS to their cost. The question is, when do you use them and why? My side of the blog is of course from a purely Neverborn perspective so lets take a look at the mercenaries that will help to bring Malifaux back to its rightful owners.

Neverborn Gaps

Neverborn are a very strong faction, full of casting and melee actions which are focused mostly at short range. They have a lot of brutal movement tricks and tend to be full of glass cannons (models that can deliver powerful attacks but tend to die quickly to any concentrated assault). The one thing Neverborn as a faction tend to lack are solid ranged attacks. Shooting is just not their thing. There also aren't many condition removing models in Neverborn, making it hard to get around being set on fire or paralyzed.   When looking at options for Merc models, we want to see ways to fix these gaps in the Neverborn arsenal, though there's something to be said for beefing up what can already be done.

Han(d)s On!
*all images in this blog do not represent the
actual models. Its just fun to imagine them
this way.

This guy. If you have ever gone up against him, you know how annoying he can be. Snipers in Malifaux are extremely good and nearly always benefit from the Focus action. Hans is the best of the best when it comes to taking models off the board and focus and board wide range make it ridiculously hard to hide from him. When you know your opponent is going to be bringing nasty support pieces that will stay far out of your range, pay Hans to get rid of them for you.


Steel driving man

Johan is a brute who loves crushing constructs and tyrant models. He also has an ability called Rebel Yell which removes conditions from models. There's very little that isn't fantastic about this. Normally you will see him in M&SU crews but he's cheap enough that he fits well into Neverborn's plans. Take Johan if you know you might come up against some serious conditions or any masters with the Tyrant type. (Dreamer, Hamelin, Shenlong)

Convict Gunslinger
Seen trouble all their days

So you like to shoot things? What are you doing playing Neverborn? Well, ok there's some options for you. Convict Gunslingers are awesome bullet slingers. They get even better when you can Obey them and do more ranged damage. Bring 1-2 of them and maybe a gremlin or two and suddenly Zoraida has a gunline. No one will expect that!

Freikorps Trapper

Oh look, another sniper. Coming it at a bit cheaper than Hans, this guy has a lot more mobility with slightly less damage potential. Still he gets the job done.

Just watching the neighbor's Netflix
When the man comes around.

The Man in Black is a good option if you are facing Resurrectionists or Ramos and don't want dead enemies coming back to haunt you. He is also very good for schemes that require lots of markers by granting allies Finish the Job. He is also very strong vs Ca Leaders like Rasputina, Sonnia or Pandora with his Man in Black ability.

Come on we all thought it.

Remember when I said sometimes mercs are about doing more of what Neverborn already does? That's Killjoy. He lives (unlives?) to destroy things, and Neverborn are very good at helping him accomplish this goal. His Blood Sacrifice ability means that he's going to hit the table exactly when he needs to, so no worries about him being beaten up before he gets there. Comboing him with Bad Juju and Eternal Fiend could mean that killing a single swamp fiend unleashes two beat sticks in the enemy's midst. He can also help spread the love in a Lilith crew with all the Bad Blood. Killjoy's downside is that he will be incredibly expensive at 13SS.

It doesn't matter what your Defense is!

This cage fighting maniac works very well in his versatility of using either Df or Wp for his melee attacks, meaning that a nearby Pandora or Sorrows will be able to use Misery off his attacks. He can also trigger to ignore quite a few annoying Df abilities.

I'll be back with another overused quote.

This guy does it all. Melee, Ranged, self healing construct. Which makes him perfect for Collodi crews. His Assimilate ability allows him to steal a (1) action from any nearby friendly construct. He can take Gamble for Your Life from a Stitched Together, Obey from Vasilla, or oddly enough Sew Fate from a Voodoo Doll. Neverborn have plenty of good construct options for Lazarus to play around with.


Sorry did you NEED those kneecaps?
This model is another nightmare for any summoning crews you are going up against. Her ability, Welcome to Malifaux allows her to charge models that are summoned anywhere near her and her damage potential along with a 3" melee range makes her an expensive but intimidating model no matter what crew she tags along with. Giving her Fears Given Form will mean that she dominates any part of the board that she happens to be on. Summoning Leaders should be terrified of her, honestly any model that gets in her way should be terrified of her.

This is in no way an exhaustive list but its a good place to get started on options for mercs if you are playing Neverborn. In most cases mercs are pretty niche, filling out spots in lists where there are known weaknesses, and even more so when you have a pretty solid idea of what your opponent is going to be bringing. In most cases you can stay in faction fairly easily with Neverborn but there are some times that having the extra range, conditions removal or healing becomes a key that helps you survive a specific match up.
I'd like to once again thank the players at A Wyrd Place on Facebook for helping with some ideas for Outcasts I haven't gotten a chance to try yet.
Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate -- John Fox

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Preparing for the Trenches or Malifaux Tourney Primer


So the time has come. At the end of March I will be attending my first Malifaux tournament. Taking an entire month to plan may seem like overkill but I am a perfectionist when it comes to games and I like to know I'll be playing to the best of my abilities.  So come along with me as I prep for my initial foray into competitive Malifaux.

Seems like a no brainer, but it is important to make sure your schedule will be clear for the day you plan to go play. Game tournaments take all day, no matter how much I try and downplay it to my wife. I need to make sure that day is a good day for me to go. The tournament is also a 2.5 hour drive from my hometown, which is also a factor to take in. This time around, I'll already by at my In Laws which are only 30 minutes away, so fate is on my side. Otherwise, its always good to try and find some other players and see who can carpool to the event. Save gas, you can chat about the tournament or other things on the way, etc. My first step to preparing for the tournament is to make sure I actually have the day free to commit to it. (IE: asking the wife's permission to go play with toys all day).
Caveat to this is; Make sure you know where the tournament is going to be held as well. GPS the location and have a realistic idea of how long it will take you to drive there and when you need to leave, etc. Once again, seems like common sense but I used to have a friend who was continually late to every Magic tournament we went to because he assumed time frames instead of looking them up.

The next step is to figure out the ground rules for the tournament. I know from looking at the Facebook event and the Wyrd Forums that it will be a 50SS Fixed Faction 3 Round Gaining Grounds
2015 Tournament. So I immediately go to the Wyrd Forums and download the Gaining Grounds rules and peruse them. What does all this information mean?
Well 50SS Fixed Faction means that I can bring everyone in my faction, including anything that Zoraida can bring through her Enthrall ability and any mercenaries I want. 3 Rounds lets me know approximately how long the tournament will take. I also find out the entry fee. (Note to self: Put 10 bucks aside in the gaming budget)
Gaining Grounds is the official set of tournament rules for Malifaux and offers brand new Strategies that aren't in the main books.
I also see that Proxies are allowed by the TO's discretion. Sweet, maybe my Deneghra/Widow Weaver will pass.

Who is Coming to the Party?
So I'm committed to my Neverborn this year which means picking a Faction isn't an issue. There are some of you where this will be a much tougher decision, and I'm sure as I branch out into other factions it will become that way for me too. My best advice is, go with what you feel you are the strongest with. If you are just learning Guild, maybe not the best choice for a tournament. However, if you are just going for fun and not necessarily to bring home the big bucks, then go for it. For now though I'm firmly on Team Neverborn!
Of course the Lynchpin (see what I did there?) for any crew is your Leader and should be the first consideration when deciding which models to invite for the road trip. I need at least 3, as there are 3 rounds though, I'm not by the rules required to play them all. In fact, a player recently won a Templecon Tournament playing only Marcus.
I have 4 Neverborn Leaders: Pandora, Zoriada, Lynch and Lucius. I have yet to play Lucius so for now, he is benched. This might change in the next month, but probably not as he is a complicated Leader and I don't have a lot of time to learn him. That leaves me with a trio of pretty well rounded Leaders. I have Lynch for removing models, Zoraida for board control and Pandora for zone dominance.
So looking at my pile of models, I have these options:
Bad Juju
Baby Kade
Nurse (available because of Zoraida)
Rami (ditto)
Pere Ravage (Ditto)
Rapheal (Ditto)
Widow Weaver (pending approval)
3 Silurid
3 The Illuminated

3 The Depleted
2 Beckoner
Mr. Graves
Mr. Tannen
3 Waldgiest
3 Sorrows
Hungering Darkness

Mixed into this list, I have a few heavy hitters (Killjoy, Baby Kade, Graves, Teddy, The Illuminated, Bad Juju), with a few tar pits, (The Depleted, Waldgiest, Bad Juju), Several Control/Support Models (Candy, Beckoner, Nurse, Widow Weaver, Tannen) and thanks to Zoraida a few ranged options that Neverborn tends to not have often. I seem to be have the least options with Scheme runners, so before the tournament I might pick up the Mother of Monsters box to give me access to Terror Tots and since none of Lucius' starter crew is dual faction, they useless unless I decide to run him.
So for a starter to the Neverborn faction I have a pretty wide selection of models. Of course, figuring out when and where to use them is the tricky part.

Scoping Out the Battlefield

Before playing in a Gaining Grounds tournament I feel like its important to have a good grasp on the new Strategies that are available. There are 5 new Strategies that aren't in the core rulebook, Headhunter, Collect the Bounty, Guard the Stash, Interference, and Extraction. Some of them are similar to the base game strategies but others, like Collect the Bounty are very different. I plan on playing each of them at least once in the next month to make sure I have a feel for them.
As it is, Headhunter and Collect the Bounty feel like strong contenders for Lynch. Guard the Stash and Extraction seem good Pandora choices, and Interference seems strong for Zoriada. Ok, truthfully I feel like Zoraida could do well at them all with different crew set ups but I'd like to play someone besides the Hag.
Regardless, learning all you can about the objectives for the tournament you are about to go into is a good plan. Your TO might also let you know ahead of time which Strategies will be used during each round, leaving just the scheme pool a mystery.

Play More Games
 My favorite way to prep for a tournament is to just play some more games. Toss around some ideas for crews and see if they work well before you take an idea into a tournament. If you want to do well, perhaps an untested crew combination is not the best option. Get the group together and throw down. 

Don't Stress It

This is my first Malifaux tournament. I've played approximately 60 games so far and only half of those with my chosen faction. I don't expect to take home the big prize and though I will fight hard to repel all the human invaders from the streets of Malifaux. At the end of the day, I will ask myself these questions.
Did I have fun? Did I play to the best of my ability? Did I meet some new awesome people to play my favorite game with?
If the answer to all of these is "Yes," then the mission is accomplished.

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Best Laid Plans.....

So first of all, apologies for the late entry this week. I spent all day Wednesday working on painting Malifaux and not writing about it, but just like that I have my topic for this week. I have spent quite a bit of this blog talking about having a plan going into the game. There's a whole post on how to set up your pre game. Everything from the models you take to the schemes you pick.  By coming up with a plan of attack you can use tactics and decision making to achieve a flawless victory.....But wait, there's a snag in that plan, you have an opponent and they have very carefully crafted their own full proof method to victory. So what happens when the best laid plans get blown apart? How do you recoup from an unexpected ploy on your opponent's part and bring the game back into alignment?

Like the Man Said, Don't Lose Your Head
First of all in the immortal words of Douglas Adams
Was cool before the "Keep Calm" stuff

There it is just like the Hitchhiker's Guide says, in big friendly letters right on the cover, "Don't Panic." Sometimes its easy to let a bad start ruin the game, and get the momentum down. Maybe you forgot to hold a 10+ and Bete Noir went the way of the Dodo, costing you a significant amount of your points. Perhaps you gave up 3 points on a turn 2 Set the Trap and now you are looking at a points deficit. The best advice is just breathe and don't panic.  Now comes the time to take a look at the board and decide how the plan can be amended.

When an early move nets your opponent an early lead in VPs you have to turn towards damage control. Allowing them to accrue points will only keep the momentum in their favor. Take a look at what way you can disrupt them from gaining VP from the Strategy or try to discern what their other hidden scheme could be. Damage control could come in the form of eliminating models, in the case of Reconnoiter or Turf War or keeping models off of key points, such as in Squatter's Rights.
Continue to play to your crew's strengths but in a defensive position work on early denial.

Move Ahead!
Playing defensively is fine but you can't keep yourself from scoring points while you switch gears. Some crews have little staying power and must react swiftly or will lose what advantage they could gain. Did you lose a key model in your plan? Time to improvise. Each activation you need to ask yourself if you are getting the most you can out of each model. Don't waste time and AP on anything that doesn't help you accomplish what you need to do.

Fate Gets in the Way
Sometimes this is how it seems

It is an inevitability, sometimes the cards don't happen the way you want them too. The model that you want off the board keeps flipping 13s and 12s, you had a positive flip and you hit both the Red and Black jokers. Take your time, mumble a little curse at the RNG gods and then toss it off. Spending too much time railing on the cruelty of the card flips doesn't help get you back in the game. The key is to make sure your initial plan is strong enough to withstand the possibility of not flipping what you need. For instance, if you are playing Nicodem and you want to summon a Flesh Construct very badly, make sure you have the number you need in your hand, if you don't then maybe its worth using a Soul Stone to dig for cards at the beginning of the turn.

Ain't Over Until Madam Sybelle Sings

There's another thing to consider about Malifaux as well. Games change on a dime, especially when
She probably has a voice like an angel
it comes down to the last turns. That extra turn 5 or 6 could exhaust the stamina of your opponent's crew and leave you in a positive position. If you are careful and look for ways to recover, a surprise extra turn can make all the difference between win and loss. Don't call the game off until you know for sure. Just a few weeks ago, I had a game against Marcus in the bag with my Pandora crew. Turn 5 came up and he went from being 2 points behind to a single point ahead of me, a game I had the momentum on the entire time. Never give up, never surrender.


There's times that no matter how good your plan, your counter plan or your counter counter plan is, you are going to be facing down heavy odds. As I said in my blog about how to learn from losing, sometimes the best way to get better at the game is to have our tails handed to us. It happens to even the best players. As a new player to the game, I find myself occasionally staring in utter horror as I realized that I just unleashed Killjoy on my crew by being trigger happy or that I set myself up for Sonnia to roast the model I thought was so carefully hidden. The best way to fight off a loss in those situations is to keep your head and revise the plan.

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hooked on a Demon: A Beginner's Guide to Jakob Lynch

Come on, first taste is free! 

I started playing Lynch just a few weeks ago, and have been amazed by the amount of strength he brings to the table as a Neverborn master. Lynch is equal parts card advantage and damage dealer who wants to play close but not too close to the action. He brings along with him some of the toughest models in the faction and plays inside of his theme of Brilliance very well. This article will of course be speaking of Lynch in a strictly Neverborn style though he is certainly potent as a Ten Thunders crew as well. 

Pusher Man

So what does Lynch do? He gets his own crew and his opponent's crew hooked on a demon essence called Brilliance. The Brilliance condition doesn't do anything on its own, but when teamed up with the other Darkened models in Jakob's crew, things suddenly start adding up. 
Lynch's stat card isn't that great to look at and most of his power comes from the large amount of upgrades that has available to him. He has a decent Def, pretty good WP and his wounds are on the low side for a Master.  He can bring Darkened models in his crew, which isn't really a big deal because all the Darkened models are Neverborn anyway. Anyone who cheats against him takes 2 damage after the attack resolves and its pretty awesome because it goes off even if Lynch wins the duel When you combine this with Tannen's Cooler ability that says enemies in LoS must discard a card to cheat, it makes your opponent really pay to cheat cards against Lynch. 
Lynch is immune to Brilliance which comes in handy during the mirror match and if one of your guys gets Obeyed, Alpha'd etc.  

Ace in the Hole is an interesting ability of Lynch's that doesn't see real use until you get to his upgrades. This ability allows him to pick any aces up that are used during another friendly model's activation. (Note: A trick with this is that you can basically always sprint with Terror Tots if you have an Ace of Masks in your hand, because Lynch will just pick them back up) 

Lynch has 2 attacks in the form of a shooting/melee attack with 8/2 range respectively called Hold Out Pistol. This attack gives Lynch a decent damaging shot but more importantly allows him to discard cards for triggers. He can give a model Slow, add some extra damage, force the model to discard a card or give them Brilliance. (Hint Brilliance is the important one)

His other attack is a CA attack that forces a WP duel. The loser of the duel takes 2 damage and can be triggered to give the model Brilliance. (Sensing a theme?)

Lynch has 2 (0) abilities. Mulligan, which allows him to discard up to 3 cards and draw that many and Pay Up, which allows him to flip cards for the top of his deck for every enemy model with Brilliance on the table. He gets to keep all Masks revealed this way.  While Pay Up is risky, Mulligan is just fantastic. Lynch gets to do what most crews need to spend soul stones for. Admittedly you take what you get, but if even one card is better than the others you discarded you have come out ahead. 

So from a straight card perspective Lynch isn't that impressive. 2 attacks with so so damage and a decent (0) ability. Its not the stat card that makes Lynch shine, its his upgrades. 

High Quality

Like most Masters Lynch's upgrades factor into his play style. 
The Rising Sun is a Limited upgrade allows Lynch to summon his totem/henchman Hungering Darkness back into play after an enemy model with Brilliance dies within 6" of Lynch. This is the aggressive Lynch upgrade, turning the Hungering Darkness into a guided missile of death and destruction as long as Lynch is close. Notice, Lynch has to play pretty forward for this to work out and if Lynch gets aced, the Darkness can't come back to play. (Thanks to a friendly forum member I have to amend this section and add that Huggy coming back is dependent on enemy models dying). This means that your opponent might play a bit more timidly in case their models get mowed down and reveal a demon in their midst. Perfect for controlling certain parts of the board through fear.

Endless Hunger is the other Limited upgrade for Lynch, despite the fact that it sounds like it should be the one to bring back the Darkness. This model turns the Hungering Darkness into a Terryfing(All) Turret with 3 total CA actions to spend. Hungering Darkness has a very fun Obey style ability called Heed My Voice, which with this upgrade allows him to play towards the back field and control the battlefield.  If Hungering Darkness goes down though, he doesn't get back up as he does with the other upgrade so be careful.

Woke Up With a Hand is my second favorite Lynch upgrade but it does force you into decisions about when you want to activate Lynch. If he activates last in your crew, you get to draw 2 cards at the start of his activation, which is awesome, but Lynch is a very good source of getting Brilliance on models for the rest of your crew to deal out extra damage. Illuminated and Hungering Darkness lose out a little bit if they are not attacking models with Brilliance on them. 

It also gives him a very strong CA attack called Final Debt. This CA attack does damage to a Brillianced model equal to the number of cards in your hand. Drawing two cards makes this attack even better, but is of course much stronger at the beginning of the turn unless you have been very conservative with cards. Still, this attack can't be ignored as it does a static amount of damage with no flip needed and I love being able to count on exactly how much damage I can do. Alternately, Lynch's Ace in the Hole ability can add extra fuel for this attack by putting aces back into his hand. 

This upgrade is my favorite mainly because it offers you solid choices. No matter when you activate Lynch you will get some sort of benefit from it.

Expert Cheater is one of the most fun upgrades that Lynch has. It allows you to cheat upside down as long as Lynch has LoS to the friendly model. The uses of this upgrade come in handy to pysch out your opponent, especially if you get to cheat first. The unknown factor of the card you dropped down could force them to spend high cards when you actually cheated in low when you know you aren't going to win the duel anyway. Your mileage may vary depending on your play style and your opponent. You also get access to Jakob's only defensive ability in Squeeel! Which lets him push 4" from a model that damages him with an attack. Its perfect defense if your opponent is playing a melee heavy crew that wants to use lots of flurry attacks and take him down all at once. 

Wanna See A Trick gives Jakob the 52 Card Pickup ability which allows him to discard Aces to do damage to a Brilliance model. Since Jakob has the ability to put Aces back in his hand when allies spend them, this can be a really nasty bit of burst damage. 

Addict upgrade can go on Jakob or Hungering Darkness to give positive flips to models with the Darkened keyword positive flips to attacks and damage vs models with the Brilliance characteristic. This upgrade is very good if you are taking a Darkened crew with Jakob. His out of the box crew has all darkened models plus Beckoners, Mr Graves, Mr. Tannen, Stitched Together and The Depleted are all Darkened and make a very solid crew choice for Jakob anyway. 

These upgrades are pretty much the staple for Lynch and considering most of them clock in at 2 SS cost, you won't find too much room to go outside of them. On Dreaming Wings can give Lynch flying to provide some extra mobility but that might be my only other real suggestion. The biggest choices come from the Limited upgrades and how you want to play Hungering Darkness and whether you are planning on taking a Darkened crew with Addict. 

Hungering Darkness 
Feed me, Seymour!

I would be very remiss if I didn't talk about Lynch's henchman totem in this blog. He will always be tagging along with Lynch and he is an important part of the viability of Jakob's crew. 
Hungering Darkness has a good WP and a very very small Def and Wound count. He is Terrifying (Living) and Incorporeal. At 7 wounds though, he can be focused down hard, so choose your placement wisely. 
 His movement and charge are very nice, especially combined with a 3" melee attack that gets positives vs Brilliance models and hits very hard. It also has triggers that give models brilliance or heals him for 2. 
Hungering Darkness is scary. 
He also has an ability called Heed My Voice that is an enemy only Obey style attack. with a decent range. So even when he isn't chomping people's faces, he's still a threat.
He can also consume brilliance and heals a wound for each brilliance model in 6" inches, forcing them to make a horror duel. Be very careful who he's around here, as you might end up spending cards to keep your own models from being paralyzed. 

Huggy can be a big centerpiece model for your crew, able to be both controlling turret or melee shredder with the ability to stay alive even with low wound count. Just like Jakob, he centers around opponent's models having brilliance to give him that extra edge. 

As far as upgrades go, if you are playing against a melee centered crew you can't go wrong with Fears Given Form. Huggy already has Terrifying(Living) and forcing extra WP duels digs more cards out of your opponent's hand and deck. To me, that's the best upgrade to see on him. Lynch only has 1 SS in his Cache, so those extra points are probably going to go to shoring up your SS pool instead of upgrades.

Strategies and Schemes
I plan on stealing  Allen's grading scale for Strategies and Schemes. Here it is for reference:

5.0 - All Star in this Strategy or Scheme
4.0 - Staple Choice for these types of Strategy or Scheme
3.5 - Very Good in the Strategy or Scheme
3.0 - Good at the Strategy or Scheme
2.5 - Average at the Strategy or Scheme
2.0 - Has some bright moments at the Strategy or Scheme
1.0 - You should probably pick another Master/Model/Upgrade


Turf War: (4.0) Lynch and Hungering Darkness can hold the middle of board on their own with sheer killing power. Add in his Darkened crew, especially The Depleted and you are going to score points all day. 

Reckoning: (4.5) Lynch excels at killing things. Tack on some Brilliance and his burst potential is pretty huge. He is fairly squishy though, so he has to remove as many threats as possible. 

Squatter's Rights: (3.0) Lynch isn't fast, he has no movement shenanigans and he can't do much to help out the rest of his crew in that regard either. The good thing is that between him and Huggy he can hold two claim markers.

Reconnoiter: (2.0/3.5) The same problems Lynch has in Squatter's Rights are doubled here. He can keep one quarter of the board cleared, but he's not able to divide his attention very well. Not my first choice in a faction that has plenty of other movement tricks. (Note: His Ace in the Hole trick with Terror Tots tips the scales a little bit. They can always get a sprint off meaning they can get across the board and away from other models pretty easily. If you take them, it ups his chances with this Strategy)

Stake a Claim: (2.0) Same difficulties as before. Lynch just doesn't get a round very well. 


Killing Schemes: (4.5) Jakob has no problem removing all obstacles from his path. The double shot combo of Lynch and Hungering Darkness is hard to pass up. 

Marker Schemes: (2.5) He doesn't do badly with them, but he doesn't add anything either. The lack of movement bonuses or marker dropping abilities means his crew will have to do all the work by themselves.

Miscellaneous:(2.5) Once again, Lynch doesn't specifically add anything to these schemes but he doesn't hinder them either. He is much better at putting models in the ground than he is slowing them down or stopping them from removing conditions. 


Lynch is a powerhouse master when it comes to blasting his way through the enemy lines, but he has a definite bubble that he plays the best in. He's not a front line guy, but rather likes to hang about 6-8 inches back. His upgrades are where the real package is, so choose wisely and make sure to keep Hungering Darkness up and ready for business as they are most definitely a package deal.  The best way to play Lynch is that the best defense is less models on the board to hurt him. He has a few tricks he can turn out, but for a Neverborn master he's pretty straight forward. I would rate him pretty high on the beginning Master scale compared to someone like Pandora or Zoraida for the faction.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Malifaux Manners or Mini Game Etiquette


Hello again readers. I've given some thought on this week's topics and I've settled on one that seems to be brushed over but is ultimately very important to maintaining a good community and just having people to play with in general. To me, tabletop gaming is the last bastion of great communities in gaming in a world that has taken a heavy hit from the callousness that has become internet and console gaming.
 Join any League of Legends or Call of Duty game and you will see or hear people calling out incredibly foul things and preening their pumped up egos all over the place. Tabletop gaming is a different animal all together. Being right across from your opponent can curb a lot of the abuse that happens online.
That being said, there are protocols to be learned and bad behavior does still exist in the local gaming club. Sometimes its accidental, and sometimes people are just jerks. I'm hoping my readers all fall into the accidental/bad day category. So lets make sure that we are all set for the rules of being a gamer that helps build community and keeps others coming back to play the games we love so much.


So some of these things seem like they should be common sense, and for most of us, they are but I'd be remiss if I didn't bring it up. Be a good sport. We all have bad days, we all have bad games. Playing games is our escape from the bills and the stress of our jobs and responsibilities. Too often people want to blame their loss on RNG or on the opponent's pieces being Over Powered which often isn't fair to your opponent. Take the time and let your opponent know that they played a good game. Learning to lose gracefully is tough, swallowing your pride can be hard, but acknowledging that your opponent played a good game as well is key to making sure someone wants to play another game with you.

Alternately, when you win make sure to let your opponent know how well they played too. Try not crow to loudly about your victory. If you go back to the last time that you lost and remember the feeling of being completely tabled by a Perdita crew, that's possibly what your opponent is feeling too. If its possible and you have time, whether you win or lose, go over the game with your opponent. I mentioned in the article about learning from losing that you should always try to get a good grasp on what happened in the game.

If you are going to an out of town tournament remember that to some degree you represent the LGS that you normally play at. People will know you as "that guy from XXXX store" and they will base their opinions of the store on your demeanor. Being a good sport will influence whether they decide to travel your way for tournaments later on. Everyone has been at a game tournament before and heard "Oh its those guys from XXXX. Those guys came in, rolled the tourney and were complete jerks." Don't give your LGS that reputation, this a place that goes out of their way to provide you with a place to play. Your bad behavior could cost them customers which might lead to you not having a place to play in the future.

Asking Permission

OK this is another common sense thing but I see it so often that I find it disturbing. We spend a lot of time on the hobby aspect of this game. I know that my Malifaux crews represent nearly a hundred hours of painting and basing and *shudder* gluing pieces together. Nothing makes your pulse race more than some person randomly snatching a fragile model up off the table to admire it. Not asking permission to touch another person's models, transport bag or even their cards on the table is rude and can give people a very negative opinion of you.
Even when models are sitting on a side table and you need room to put your stuff too, find out who the owner is and ask if its ok to move their stuff. Think of the heart attack you would have if you came to the table and your things weren't there. The same goes for people playing other games. Magic players have spent as much if not much much more for their things as you have with your minis and everyone has to share the same LGS space.


This is a tricky one. Most LGS are family friendly and don't really like to hear profanity spoken, and if you are visiting a new LGS its best to be on the safe side. If you know your opponent well and you know they don't mind then speak as you will. However, leaning towards the conservative when it comes to foul
language is the better option in public places. I'm still learning this myself, as I have to keep things very PG at work all week so on the weekends I'm a bit more free with my words. The same thing goes for blogs, podcasts and video battle reports. Profanity restricts your potential audience and might cost you the popularity that you deserve when it comes to your work.

Measuring and Model Placement

This is a biggie, and probably the most unintentional of bad manners in a game. The difference of a few centimeters can put a model in or out of engagement range or out of line of sight and model placement is a large part of the learning curve for any miniature game. Make sure when measuring distances that you measure from a consistent point every time, back to back or front to front on the base, there won't be any questions as to where it was supposed to end up. If there is ever any doubt find a neutral 3rd party to eyeball things for you. Malifaux is pretty forgiving when it comes to measuring, and the fact that you can premeasure should make it easier to decide where you are going to move your models and cut back on the need for touching models any more than necessary.

Helping Out The New Player

So this is more suggestion than a hard fast rule but its something to point out. As Derek said in his first blog, this game is about community and the only way to expand it is to get more people interested in playing the game. When a table is set up with terrain and models in a LGS it will definitely attract a lot of attention. People will want to know whats going on and ask questions. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you are trying to concentrate on the game.
If you can though, answer questions, get people's interest piqued. Most people start playing mini games because they saw others playing it, not because they saw the models on the shelf. By no means disrupt your game, unless your opponent is cool with it as well. However, be polite to the new people, even if its just to say that you can answer more questions after the game is over. (Note: This is by absolutely no means a good suggestion if a tournament is going on)

Being a Good Bystander

Which leads me to the next point. If you are a bystander please be respectful. Games can be tense, and
Don't be this Robin
require concentration on both player's parts especially in a tournament. Watching is ok, maybe even cheering a good move, but keep it quiet and keep it respectful to both players. Do NOT give advice. If it isn't a tournament game, make sure both players are ok if you offer some pointers, but always ask permission first. Once again, this seems like common sense but it is a problem that I see over and over again in tournaments and events. No one likes a sideline coach during their games.

Yes, She's A Girl

This is a point that saddens me to have to go over. Never the less, girls play games. Lets take a minute, let that sink in. Girls play games and more and more of them are playing as the community becomes more open to the fact that they are playing. If you get paired up against a girl please keep your opinions to yourself. No one wants to hear comments along the lines of "wow you are pretty good for a girl" or "I wasn't expecting a girl to be such a good player." It may seem like a harmless thing to say but it comes across as very condescending. Also, girls are not there just because their boyfriend/husband play. They also are not using their feminine wiles to help them win. What is a wile anyway?
 (Note: This also applies to younger players as well. No one wants to be treated in a condescending manner)


These are all tips that will keep everyone's Malifaux experience pleasant and ensure that you will have plenty of people to play with in the future. Remember, a person is not necessarily always a bad sport either. Part of gaming etiquette is to be understanding to a point. Don't hold a single bad game over someone's head like the Sword of Damocles. Sometimes you just have a bad day and getting frustrated in a game is the straw that breaks the camel's back. It happens and when it does, remember to breathe and that it isn't your opponent's fault things are going badly. I love this game, love the communities that I am seeing pop up all across the world and learning how to treat each other with respect will go a long way to making this game last into the foreseeable future. 

Until next time, Keep Cheating Fate-- John Fox