Joe, Gareth and I took the early train up to Aberdeen for a Malifaux event run by the new local Henchman. Our last visit to Aberdeen had only 6 players including us, so I was really pleased that good organisation this time managed to get a highly respectable 18 players turning out this time. We were met from the train by one of the players which was a really nice personal touch and much appreciated since we were probably going to get lost on the way to the new shop in Aberdeen. I was really excited for this event since it marks my first competitive run-out for my Gremlins. As it turned out, my first round game was against the chap who greeted us.
Game 1: Gremlins (me) vs Gremlins (Ben)
Strategy: Interference, normal deployment
Pool: Convict Labour, Show of Force, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Frame For Murder
My Gremlins: Convict Labour, Frame For Murder (Rooster Rider)
Ben’s Gremlins: Convict Labour, Frame For Murder (Rooster Rider)
My Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, Whisky Golem (Barrel Up), 2 Young LaCroix, 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Ben’s Gremlins: Wong (Gremlin’s Luck, Dirty Cheater), McTavish, Trixibelle, Sammy LaCroix (Ooo Glowy on McTavish), Old Cranky, 2 Rooster Riders, 2 Stuffed Piglets
My first game in a tournament with Gremlins, and it is a mirror match. My crew selection is highly limited by what I own and have assembled, so my masters came down to a choice between Wong and Ophelia. I picked the latter somewhat arbitrarily; both masters appeal to my preference for damage dealers. I like Lenny for the additional mobility and free ram for Ophelia, and the Whisky Golem is basically the reason I’m playing the faction at all (I won the Nightmare version at a previous event). Of the rest, I love everything about Rooster Riders from the concept, through the miniatures and right up to the rules. The remainder of the crew are pieces I like but are pretty much entirely selected because I happen to own them. Frame For Murder on a Rooster Rider was a simple choice since they can’t be left to run around and much of Ben’s crew was made up of henchmen. Convict Labour has been quite incidental to score in friendly games thanks to Reckless on the Lightning Bugs and Rooster Riders and Nimble on the Golem.
Turn 1: Both of my Young LaCroix Reload Ophelia, not so that I can actually use the attacks but so that they can be Plinked off if needed later on. My Lightning Bugs drop scheme markers for Convict Labour. Trixibelle pushes McTavish toward me. On the right, Ben’s Rooster Rider moves up and drops a scheme marker; my Rooster Rider over there charges in and hurts it badly. Lenny Tosses Ophelia and the Slop Hauler forward and Ben’s other Rooster Rider charges into her. Ophelia Squeals out of the way after the first attack but still takes severe damage on a negative flip, which hurts. My other Rooster Rider charges the Stuffed Piglet on the left, blowing it up and Stampeding into McTavish and getting my own back by dropping severe damage on a negative flip to him. McTavish makes a bit of a meal of fighting the Rooster Rider so eventually it falls to Wong to kill it, thereby scoring me full points for Frame For Murder. Apparently it didn’t dawn on me quite how obvious this play was, as immediately afterwards Ophelia guns down the Rooster Rider who attacked her and gives Ben all three points for his Frame For Murder. The Slop Hauler heals Ophelia.
Turn 2: McTavish blows away my central Lightning Bug; the other Bug kills Ben’s last Rooster Rider. Ophelia shoots McTavish with My Threatenin’ Gun, forcing some good cards out of Ben’s hand and paralysing Sammy. She finishes off McTavish then misses an opportunistic shot with the Jug Rocket at Trixibelle (I was out of range to just shoot her). So much for using the upgrades for Plinking purposes! Wong moves into sight and targets Lenny. I cheat to keep him on negative flips but the Red Joker comes up to nearly kill Lenny, actually kill the Slop Hauler and badly wound Ophelia. The surviving Stuffed Piglet charges my Rooster Rider, eventually being killed in return. The Whisky Golem charges into Wong to tie him up but can’t actually land a hit. Trixibelle kills Lenny. I score for the strategy and for Convict Labour.
Turn 3: Trixibelle cheats to win initiative. Wong hits the Golem with his Fan to Poof into the clear, takes a shot at Ophelia which she uses to Squeal back into engagement with him and then hits her with his Fan too. My Rooster charges Trixibelle to keep her busy. Sammy Jynxes the Whisky Golem with Twisted Legs so it sadly drops another scheme marker and takes Iron-bound. Cranky fires into the melee between Ophelia and Wong and luckily gets Ophelia with both shots, killing her. The Young LaCroix get revenge by killing the old Gremlin. Trixibelle remarkably fails to deal with the Rooster Rider. The Lightning Bug knocks Sammy down to a single wound. Neither of us score for Interference since we’re all in a massive scrum in the middle of the board, but I score again for Convict Labour.
Turn 4: Trixibelle uses Ill Omens again to win initiative. Sammy kills the Rooster Rider then turns one of my scheme markers into a Stuffed Piglet. The Whisky Golem moves to engage as much as possible of Ben’s crew, then Wong uses his Fan to Poof away again and drop a scheme marker. My Lightning Bug finishes off Trixibelle and puts down a replacement scheme marker (I love Reckless!). The new Piglet moves over to stop me scoring Convict Labour and my Young LaCroix does the same for Ben. No-one scores at all.
Turn 5: The Whisky Golem kills Sammy and the Stuffed Piglet; the latter explodes and kills my Lightning Bug. In retrospect, I’m not sure why I didn’t do the Piglet first as the explosion would have seen off Sammy anyway, and thereby had a ‘spare’ AP to use. Wong uses Boom to cleverly remove my scheme markers, then moves to kill off my Young LaCroix parked next to his other marker. Ben scores for Convict Labour. My Gremlins win 6 – 4 (1 for Interference, 2 for Convict Labour and 3 for Frame For Murder for me; 1 for Convict Labour and 3 for Frame For Murder for Ben).
Wow, what a close game; a perfect first tournament game for my Gremlins. I was too enthusiastic to kill Ben’s Framed Rooster with Ophelia; I think I could have done the job with the Slop Hauler almost as effectively. Of course, I would still have given up some points but not so many. Both of us ended up committing pieces to the no-scoring zone in the centre of the board and I think that we could both have positioned better there. Otherwise, I was quite happy with my play. I have to say that in addition to being a lovely opponent, Ben had chosen a really nice crew. Everything fitted together neatly and had a role to play, and everything seemed to add a bit of synergy to the rest of the crew. There are certainly some pieces that I might have to consider getting (especially Old Cranky and McTavish) once I have finished assembling all the stuff I have already.
Edit: this is what it looked like from Ben’s side.
Game 2: Gremlins (me) vs Neverborn (Ewan)
Strategy: Collect The Bounty, close deployment
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Public Demonstration, Exhaust Their Forces, Neutralise The Leader
Gremlins: Hunting Party, Neutralise The Leader
Neverborn: Hunting Party, Neutralise The Leader
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, Whisky Golem (Barrel Up), 2 Young LaCroix, Mancha Roja, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Neverborn: Zoraida (Animal Shape), Hooded Rider, Teddy (Retribution’s Eye), Nurse, Iggy (Enraged Tantrum), Doppelganger, Insidious Madness
I’ve never faced Neverborn with Gremlins, so I just stayed with more or less the same crew as game one. The only change was swapping out the Lightning Bugs for Mancha Roja, partly to avoid giving up too many points for Collect The Bounty and partly because I didn’t really think that I’d need to ignore armour or scoot around with Reckless so much. Looking back, I wonder if Wong might be a better option here as he’s quite tricky to kill and has better willpower than Ophelia. On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with the sheer damage output of Ophelia. Since Ewan only had the two minions, one of which I expected to be slung through my crew quickly and the other which I would need to deal with early on, I picked Hunting Party as I not only had three options to score it but also could expect to drop both minions regardless of the source of damage. Zoraida could summon the Voodoo Doll and just hide it to deny me points but that would hamper her damage output and with an open board and good mobility I could possibly catch it anyway. I thought twice about Neutralise the Leader, but went for it as Ophelia has positive flips to get round proper manners, my henchmen and enforcers have good damage in case they focus and Rooster Riders can pick up positive flips when they Rampage.
Turn 1: The Young LaCroix hand Ophelia more guns. The Doppelganger moves forward into cover and uses Blend In to ward off any shooting at her. The Hooded Rider redeploys laterally behind the building on my left. Lenny Tosses Ophelia and the Slop Hauler forward, and the Insidious Madness walks to engage my master. I should have seen that coming, but got greedy with her movement. Mancha Roja barrels into the Doppelganger and knocks her down to a single wound. Zoraida summons the Voodoo Doll which Hems Mancha Roja, then Obeys Teddy to walk forward. The Rooster Rider takes one for the team, killing the Doppelganger and blocking Teddy from getting into Mancha Roja. The Nurse fails Take Your Meds on Ophelia and is attacked by another Rooster. Teddy tears the first Rooster into shreds, ending up engaged with Ophelia. With no cards left in hand, I soulstone for a positive flip on the horror duel for Ophelia to attack Teddy and succeed on the second card. That worrying business duly dealt with, Ophelia blasts Teddy into stuffing. The Whisky Golem makes a mess of attacking the Insidious Madness. Although it is slightly frustrating to have killed four Bounty points worth of crew on the first turn where it counts for nothing, I still consider it worthwhile to get rid of the Doppelganger and Teddy so early in the process.
Turn 2: The Rooster Rider kills the Nurse and bounces off Iggy. The Insidious Madness Induces Phobia a couple of times and draws out some cards from my hand to avoid the effects, then the Whisky Golem focuses and smashes it into oblivion (scoring Hunting Party in the process). Ophelia shoots Zoraida for some good damage but her activation is ended with Regret after I end up doing moderate on a negative flip. Iggy puts five Burning onto the Voodoo Doll, much to Mancha Roja’s consternation, so the big chap charges the Voodoo Doll to make sure it definitely dies. Zoraida Bewitches Ophelia and Obeys the Whisky Golem to walk over and hit her. Mancha Roja burns to death. I score for the strategy and Hunting Party.
Turn 3: The Rooster goes Reckless and activates Rampage. It charges back and forth between Iggy and Zoraida, killing both and picking up Neutralise the Leader for the latter. Did I mention how I love Rooster Riders? Ewan has seen enough, and has only the Hooded Rider left against almost my entire crew, so he calls it a day. Gremlins win 10 – 0.
Every game against Ewan is a pleasure as he’s such a nice laid-back man who clearly enjoys his Malifaux. In this tournament he had decided to play the same crew regardless of strategies and schemes, which I suppose didn’t help him much here (though he evidently won his first match, so it must have worked well enough). I felt that he was too hesitant with the Rider, relying on not using it for two turns while it charged up, and that allowed me to take the rest of his crew piecemeal. From my side, of course, everything went well enough. I’m not sure that I have a good answer to the Voodoo Doll; I guess I need to start putting some condition removal in my crews.
Game 3: Gremlins (me) vs Ten Thunders (Dave)
Strategy: Headhunter, flank deployment
Pool: Convict Labour, Take Prisoner, Hunting Party, Set Up, Inspection
Gremlins: Convict Labour, Hunting Party
Ten Thunders: Take Prisoner (bouncing Lightning Bug), Set Up (Lenny)
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, Whisky Golem (Barrel Up), 2 Young LaCroix, 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Ten Thunders: Brewmaster (Binge, Running Tab), Shadow Emissary (Conflux of Shadow), Fingers (Drinking ‘Problem’, Smoke Grenades), Apprentice Wesley, Oiran, 2 Performers
I gave some thought to changing up my master to Wong here, but ultimately decided to stay with familiar territory and use the same crew as game one. It gives up heads quite easily, but most of the crew is quite aggressive so I can sometimes keep the pressure on anything on the front line and abuse Reckless to pick up heads behind it. Dave is a really strong player and I didn’t feel at all confident to beat him with Gremlins considering my lack of experience with them, but I was quite pleasantly surprised to find a rather non-killy crew facing me here. A more aggressive crew could really have punished my fragile minions. Still, using Fingers and the Performers is a really good move in this strategy as they can pick heads up even in the middle of my crew. I took Convict Labour again because it’s quite easy for mobile Gremlins to score while on the way to somewhere else. Hunting Party was chosen because all the Ten Thunder minions in the crew are quite killable so I would either dedicate effort from the Whisky Golem and Lenny, or just aim to exterminate all of them and score by default.
Turn 1: The Oiran Lures one of my Lightning Bugs, Brewmaster brings him closer with One For The Road, then hits him with Binge and Swill. The Bug uses Reckless and drops two scheme markers for Convict Labour, sensing its doom. A Performer Siren Calls it closer still and Fingers loads about one hundred poison onto the poor happy chap. Finally the other Performer explodes him with the Sip of Wine trigger on Siren Call before using Seduction to remove one of the markers. A good sequence of moves, but it’s been pretty much the whole crew’s activations simply to kill a five soulstone minion and get his head into their deployment zone. Meanwhile, the Young LaCroix reload Ophelia and Lenny Tosses her and the Slop Hauler toward the Ten Thunders. The Shadow Emissary, realising the danger, pushes Fingers back into cover. Ophelia shoots Brewmaster, hitting moderate damage on the first shot and top-decking a critical Red Joker on the second to blow the drunken Gremlin away; Dave is unable to flip the Red Joker on damage prevention that would have been needed to keep him alive. Even worse, Apprentice Wesley is too far away to take up the mantle. Both Rooster Riders charge into the Ten Thunders, mainly to keep them occupied but not really doing a great deal other than some incidental damage.
Turn 2: Fingers heals himself and stacks a load of poison onto the left Rooster Rider. It activates and kills the Oiran, then the Emissary kills the other Rooster Rider. Lenny Tosses Ophelia again. Wesley picks up a head and bravely moves to intercept Ophelia, so the Whisky Golem smashes him into the floor and scores Hunting Party. On the right, the Performer fails to Siren Call Ophelia and is riddled with bullets for her troubles in return. The other Performer kills the poisoned Rooster Rider with the Sip of Wine trigger. My Slop Hauler picks up a head; actually not my first choice of head but the original candidate was covered by Fingers’ Chatty aura. We both score for Headhunter; I also score for Convict Labour and Hunting Party.
Turn 3: The Lightning Bug misses attacks on Fingers and the Performer. Ophelia companions and takes the Emissary down to Hard to Kill. The Emissary responds by charging the Whisky Golem, which ignores it in return, focuses and drops a Red Joker for damage onto Fingers. The ultimate drinker, killed by a robot made of whiskey barrels; we agreed that it was how he would have wanted to go. The Performer picks up a nearby head and puts enough poison onto the Whisky Golem that it will die at the end of the round thanks to the Emissary’s aura. Almost my entire crew fails to hit the Emissary, then Lenny charges the Performer but can’t quite kill her. The Slop Hauler picks up another head for me. We both score again for the strategy and I score for Convict Labour.
Turn 4: The Lightning Bug finishes the Performer, then Ophelia chain activates to charge and kill the Emissary. Gremlins win 10 – 2 (full score for me; 2 for Headhunter for Dave).
It is a real treat to play Dave any time as he is among the strongest players in Scotland. This game was a very interesting match up as my crew is very aggressive (relying on getting enough activation superiority to have a ‘spare’ option around to pick up a head) compared to Dave’s very reactive crew (note the amount of effort required simply to kill a Lightning Bug in the first turn; however thanks to Chatty and Don’t Mind Me it is hard to score points against and scores them itself quite easily). While it is true that the Red Joker kill on Brewmaster in turn 1 was important, I had another shot to take at him that round and might have taken initiative on round two so he was at a big risk of dying to Ophelia. Overall, I felt that I had enough of a ranged threat to handle the Brewmaster without worrying unduly about the Drinking Contest, and enough of a threat to get heads dropped in places I could actually reach.
When the scores are in, I get first place; ahead of Gareth only on VP difference. It was really fun to play Gremlins at a tournament and I’m looking forward to putting enough of them together to have a bit more choice in crew composition. Learning a new faction is really exciting as it feels like so many avenues are open to explore. Thanks to Martin for being a responsive and helpful organiser, and to Ben, Ewan and Dave for three fun games of Malifaux. Also, special thanks to Steve for swapping his raffle prize of a War Wabbit for my winning voucher; I’m looking forward to putting that big chap together and trying it out.