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

1 comment:

  1. Had this come up in a game recently. I had a monster hand and I used to deny some shenanigans against Bubbles. My friend gave up in disgust, and we spent significant time discussing most of these issues and a few others.

    Falling back to Kill Everything That Isn't Yours can be effective... dead models (generally) don't lay scheme markers, or kill your models, or otherwise help your opponent achieve THEIR objectives.So the nuclear option is on the table if things go south early.

    As for me, I spent too much of this week shoveling snow to get much else done, so don't feel bad about your one blog post- it was a good one, and quality is important.