Gareth and I took the train to another Malifaux event; this time the 3rd Spring Breach run by Kai in Common Ground Games in Stirling. Despite the huge attendance, this was set up as only 3 rounds so there was no need for an early start (though I prefer more rounds over more time to arrive). I had some idea for a Pandora crew so Lewis very kindly loaned me a couple of miniatures that I don’t own yet. Round one I was drawn against tournament regular Jamie; we’ve somehow never managed to play each other in an event despite both attending most that are run in central Scotland.
Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Jamie Gemmell)
Strategy: Extraction, standard deployment
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Mark for Death, Tail ‘Em
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Tail ‘Em
Gremlins: Claim Jump, Leave Your Mark
Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Primordial Magic, 3 Terror Tots, Lust
Gremlins: Wong (Explosive Solutions, A Gremlin’s Luck), Sammy LaCroix (Ooh Glowy), Francois LaCroix (Stilts), Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Merris LaCroix (Hide In The Mud), Old Cranky, 2 Bayou Gremlins, 2 Stuffed Piglets
This (or some similar variation on it) is an entertaining Pandora crew that I’ve been thinking of for a while. The idea is that Pandora floats around the middle of the enemy crew distracting everyone and pinging Misery damage. Barbaros, Nekima and Lust force a load of willpower duels that either drain cards or force minor damage on each failure, and Nekima of course also kills things. Lust can additionally use Now Kiss to put things back close to Pandora. I probably would have chosen this crew regardless of the strategy but it felt like it should be well suited to Extraction in particular. With a wide choice of Henchmen who would have to be close to my crew I thought that Tail ‘Em would be a good option, and took Claim Jump as a default other one since I didn’t fancy the rest. Burt Jebsen was made Glowy, and I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of the start.
Turn 1: We move our cheap pieces up somewhat cagily. Barbaros moves up aggressively and swaps in Rapid Growth then Lust pushes Pandora forward. Pandora Incites a Stuffed Piglet and Bayou Gremlin and kills off Old Cranky while engaging as much as possible. Merris and Burt come up on my left to drop scheme markers. Wong zaps Lust rather ineffectively. Francois goes Reckless, Focuses and charges Pandora to drop a Dumb Luck Red Joker on her, then abandons Stilts to avoid the return damage. Oh dear, my master is dead in turn one; that is rarely a good thing. I realised (but only much later) that I could have avoided this by simply using a Soulstone on defense since it was obvious from the use of Focus that Jamie was wisely aiming to land one big hit on Pandora.
Turn 2: Barbaros pokes Francois and puts up Challenge in the most annoying place I can find. The Incited Piglet moves to Lust so she uses Now Kiss to push away, first to Wong and then to Francois. By luck I get the trigger for damage both time but Jamie elects not to blow it up since both Francois and Sammy are in the blast zone now. Burt kills a Tot and drops another scheme marker. Nekima kills the other Stuffed Piglet and a Bayou Gremlin then moves to score for the strategy. Francois misses Barbaros and Sammy successfully disengages from him to get in range for Extraction; she also turns one of my scheme markers into a Stuffed Piglet (which I admit that I’d forgotten she could do). Wong shoots the new Stuffed Piglet and hurts Lust then moves up to scoring range. We both score Extraction and Jamie scores Leave Your Mark and Claim Jump.
Turn 3: Nekima kills the other Bayou Gremlin and nearly gets Sammy, but she survives on a single wound after using Soulstones. Sammy summons another Stuffed Piglet and Jynxes Barbaros and a Tot to stop them moving. She companions Francois who kills Barbaros with another massive Dumb Luck shot and dies himself from the backlash. Lust moves Burt to be engaged with Nekima and moves the Stuffed Piglet away. Wong misses Lust with his Fan and the Tot Tails Sammy. Merris drops two scheme markers. One Piglet uses Bacon Bomb and gets a Joker, so there is carnage in the centre including the other Piglet exploding. We both score for the strategy and both of our schemes.
Turn 4: Sammy Jynxes Nekima to keep her in place and kills another Tot. Nekima fails to kill Burt due to the Black Joker on one damage flip and Wong kills the other Tot. With no way to score further I’m happy to concede it there. Neverborn lose 4 – 10 (2 for Extraction, 1 for Claim Jump and 1 for Tail ‘Em for me; full score for Jamie).
It was a real pleasure to finally get in a game with Jamie and we had plenty of laughs as various piglets exploded. I feel like I gave the game up very early by letting Francois kill Pandora right at the start and I was kicking myself when I remembered that I could have avoided it with a Soulstone. I also failed to use Lust well as I kept activating her early in the turn, thus removing her Manipulative ability and totally forgot her aura throughout. Jamie for his part did just what he needed to do, efficiently dropping my pieces where they were affecting his plans. Overall I think that the core of my crew has some promise, but perhaps I will reconsider my choice of scheme runners.
Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Crossroads Seven / Outcasts (Lee McLean)
Strategy: Guard the Stash, flank deployment
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation, Dig Their Graves, Hunting Party, Inspection
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Crossroads Seven: Dig Their Graves (I think; I didn’t note this at the time), Hunting Party
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Hannah, Lazarus, 2 Stitched Together, Bunraku, Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy
Crossroads Seven: Wrath (Deal At The Crossroads), Lust, Envy, Pride, Greed, Gluttony, Sloth, Malifaux Child
So after my defeat to Jamie I moved all the way down to the bottom table to face Lee. I was really excited to get in a game against the Crossroads Seven as I’ve never faced them before, and doubly so in the case of Lee’s gorgeously painted crew. I’m not actually sure if it is correct to announce faction as Outcasts or Crossroads Seven, but Lee told me both when we started. I decided to try an amusing Collodi crew using Hannah and Lazarus to bump Collodi up to a potential six actions per turn. The rest of the crew after that expensive core is just some Puppets to benefit from Collodi’s support abilities. I love the combination of Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves so I eventually chose that; I had considered Hunting Party but thought that the Malifaux Child might not come close enough for me to kill, and in any case I had no particular plans to cross the centreline.
Turn 1: The Arcane Effigy pokes Collodi a couple of times to move him forward, the Malifaux Child pushes Envy using Just Like You. I get nervous about Envy’s gun so go with Collodi to control Envy and also put an attack on Sloth, flipping the Black Joker on the latter. The Stitched Together hurts Sloth with Gamble Your Life and Greed heals some of the damage that Envy has taken. The Bunraku moves up to drop a scheme marker and Wrath, to my great surprise, pushes Envy further into my crew. Hannah is too far away to copy Assimilate from Lazarus so she charges in to Sloth, missing both attacks, then copies Gamble Your Life and loses to Sloth. Good work Hannah! I make Envy shoot Lust but he misses, and Lazarus then misses Envy and makes Collodi Slow him again.
Turn 2: Wrath charges Collodi, who takes the hit and pushes back to safety, then punches the Bunraku. Lazarus Focuses to kill Envy (scoring Dig Their Graves) and Assimilates My Will to make Collodi finish Sloth. Greed nearly kills the Bunraku. Gluttony puts A Rhythm For Those Who Hunger on Hannah, taking the trigger to drop a scheme marker nearby and push her into it for some damage. One of my Stitched Together goes Fast from Strum The Threads and kills Gluttony with Gamble Your Life. Pride drops a scheme marker to move Hannah over due to the condition and hurts her. Hannah hits back and copies Game of Chance in the hope of doing something other than being a punching bag but fails on that too so Lee gets to draw some cards. Lust uses Now Kiss to move Collodi behind Lazarus and make them both Slow, so the Arcane Effigy removes it from the both. The other Stitched Together finishes Pride and Collodi kills Greed and hurts Lust. I score Guard The Stash and Dig Their Graves.
Turn 3: The Bunraku stabs Wrath to make sure I actually get to activate it before it dies. Wrath kills it to score for Hunting Party. Lust drops a Red Joker damage flip to kill Collodi. Hannah moves back to the action, copies Gamble Your Life and hurts Wrath; a Stitched Together finishes the leader off to score Dig Their Graves. Lazarus pokes Lust. I score for the strategy and both of my schemes while Lee scores Hunting Party.
Turn 4: The Arcane Effigy puts down a scheme marker and Lust pulls it in to kill it (Hunting Party). The Child heals Lust but it doesn’t help and eventually Lazarus kills her and Hannah drops the Child. Neverborn win 10 – 2 (full score for me; 2 for Hunting Party for Lee) though I only noted down 10 – 1 so I think that we might have missed that Lust scored Hunting Party here.
Lee was a real gentleman to play against and I’m very grateful that he didn’t get sick of me constantly having to be reminded of which parts of his crew had which name (I especially kept mixing up Pride and Greed), which ones were Manipulative at any particular time, and what horrible things would happen if I ended an activation near any part of his crew. I didn’t actually get to do the trick with six actions for Collodi since Hannah was needed at the other side of the board, but otherwise everything seemed to go very smoothly for me. I could have used Jakob Lynch since he would easily get round all the ‘discard a card or something bad happens’ that comes in the Crossroads Seven but thought that would be less fun and a bit too much like counter-picking.
Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Neverborn (Ian Gemmell)
Strategy: Reconnoitre, close deployment
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Search the Ruins
My Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Barbaros), Search the Ruins
Ian’s Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage (Zoraida)
My Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Primordial Magic, 3 Terror Tots, Lust
Ian’s Neverborn: Zoraida (Aetheric Connection, Animal Shape), 2 Silurids, Iggy, Aionus (One Thousand Faces), Will O’ The Wisp, Sorrow, Insidious Madness
I decided that this would be an interesting test for the Pandora crew I used in game 1 since the strategy and scheme pool were a bit less favourable. I also know that Ian plays a fair bit of Pandora so he might be able to counter her in an interesting way that I could learn from (I figured he would probably not also take Pandora for a mirror match due to the schemes and strategy). Finally, I wanted to use Lust and the Primordial Magic again before handing them back Lewis. I’m always worried about Frame For Murder against Zoraida but decided to put in on Barbaros thinking that he might be annoying enough to want to kill, but not so annoying that all the Voodoo Doll tricks would be applied to him (I expected Nekima to bear the brunt of that). For my other scheme, I love Search The Ruins as it goes well with my overall strategy of killing all the things as soon as possible. Ian deployed his entire crew in the back right-hand corner.
Turn 1: Ian moves his speedy stuff over to my left. Zoraida Obeys the Wisp to summon a Voodoo Doll which Hems Lust. Barbaros moves up aggressively and swaps in Fears Given Form. The Doll swaps Hem to Barbaros, then Iggy sets it ablaze to the tune of six Burning and the Sorrow Paralyses it with Doldrums. A single manly tear rolls down Barbaros’s Paralysed cheek; he uses up a couple of Soulstones to survive on a single wound. So much for my expectation that Nekima would be the primary target. Meanwhile, Pandora is pushed forward by Lust, Incites both Silurids and pulses Inflict a couple of times to annoy the Silurids and Aionus (who has picked up Fears Given Form by this point).
Turn 2: Both Silurids get activated and Leap / run away from Pandora. Nekima blends the Wisp to cause Horror duels (all passed) for the clump of Ian’s crew still in their back corner and cuddles in nice and close to them for Black Blood purposes. Pandora kills the Insidious Madness and does nothing to Aionus, who is equally useless in return. The Primordial Magic pokes the Silurid and gets it down to a single wound. Zoraida summons another Doll which fails to Hem Nekima, then fails to Obey it to try again (Ian’s hand is drained due to the static duels I keep making him take). Iggy Incites Nekima, then Lust pushes Nekima fractionally toward Iggy purely so that she’ll fail the Willpoer duel, take damage from the Sorrow’s Misery ability and splash Black Blood all about the place. Lust then kills the Sorrow with a lucky trigger on Now Kiss. I score for the strategy.
Turn 3: Nekima focuses to hurt Zoraida (Ian does remember to use a Soulstone on defense, perhaps in part because we’d just been talking about my failure against his cousin in game 1) then drops Iggy. Zoraida takes off with Raven Form. On the far left, my Tot kills the wounded Silurid; all credit to Ian here for letting me take back the charge when he reminded me about Perfect Camouflage. The other Silurid Leaps off to drop a scheme marker. Lust pushes Barbaros back to my side and chases after Zoraida. Aionus does a cool trick to move one my scheme markers which is down for Search The Ruins into a place that it’ll make it almost impossible to score full points, then bounces off Pandora again. The Doll finally Hem Nekima, then pokes her and eventually dies to a flood of Black Blood damage which was quite amusing. Pandora continues to whittle down Aionus, taking wounds from Fears Given Form in the process. Barbaros and the nearby Tot take their chances on negative flips to attack Zoraida and do manage to extract her last Soulstone. I score for Reconnoitre and Ian gets one for Leave Your Mark.
Turn 4: Lust Focuses and cheats in the Red Joker to kill Zoraida with Heartbreaker. The Silurid puts down two scheme markers, Barbaros moves to cover one and the Tot Sprints twice to stand on the other. Pandora finally kills Aionus and Ian has seen enough. The Primodial Magic moves to be the needed extra scheme marker for Search The Ruins. My Neverborn win 7 – 1 (4 for Reconnoitre and 3 for Search The Ruins for me; 1 for Leave Your Mark for Ian).
As always, I had a great game against Ian with plenty of entertaining moments. The score flattered me a bit; if Ian won initiative in turn 4 he could have easily gotten Zoraida to safety and scored some points for Undercover Entourage. I had slightly expected to struggle to score Frame For Murder, though I suppose I could have run Barbaros in to suicide on Aionus’s Fears Given Form if necessary. But he was quite helpful in dealing with Zoraida and stopping Leave Your Mark at the end, so perhaps that wouldn’t have really helped me. The strategy didn’t really suit Pandora that well, but I felt that her mobility was quite effective and she did keep Aionus busy for the whole game so that is probably worth something.
When the scores are counted up I’ve come in 5th place, which I’m very happy about especially considering that I was on the bottom table for game 2. The overall winner is Ben, of Arcane Reservoir fame, and my big regret of the event is that I didn’t get a chance to test my luck against him. Big thanks to Jamie, Lee and Ian for three very good games of Malifaux, and particularly to Kai and Steve for running the event.