Marvel Crisis Protocol

Painted Cable

This is Cable, leader of X-Force (at least in Marvel Crisis Protocol) and sometime Avenger and X-Men member. I don’t really remember him ever having had much to do with the Avengers but there are millions of comics out there that I’ve never read and to be honest just about everyone has been in the Avengers at some point. Cable leans more toward support and utility rather than pure damage output considering his high cost and I don’t always play him very well as a result. I think that he also suffers a bit within X-Men in that he wants to occupy the same board space as Storm in order to get good value out of his huge weapon range; since I’m always going to take Storm (she’s got the Leadership ability for X-Men) it’s a harder proposition to include Cable. That said, Cable has a lot of cool tricks for mobility and defence not to mention that he has a great throw available. I haven’t actually tried him in X-Force but perhaps he’d do better there as he would then not be competing with Storm and of course could bring his own Leadership ability.

I tried to make Cable’s blue suit a bit different from Cyclops’ by using a darker blue and I think that works out. I also wanted to give him a slightly dirtier look than the very clean lines of the classic X-Men and the ragged cloak plays into that. The force field he’s standing behind was quite interesting to paint; I wanted to give the impression that it was somewhat translucent without (of course) actually being able to do that with a piece of opaque plastic. In the end I think that the illusion works tolerably; I probably could have spent an eternity on highlights without ever getting the final result that I had in my head – plus in the end it’s pretty much just a piece of scenic basing. Now that I look at the miniature through the harsh lens of the camera I slightly wish that I’d spent more time on Cable’s facial scar and perhaps I’ll revisit that some day; for now I’m happy with the way he looks at tabletop distance.

Next on the painting table: Primaris Outriders (again).

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 5 Comments

Painted Ancient One

Here is the Ancient One for Marvel Crisis Protocol. She represents a bit of an oddity within the game sculpts in that she (and Mordo, about whom more later) are clearly based on their appearance within the MCU films rather than their various comic book appearances. I actually love Tilda Swinton in general and her character in the Doctor Strange film in particular so this is a positive move as far as I’m concerned, but I’m sure that there are plenty of comic fans who would prefer a more ‘old school’ interpretation. The Ancient One brings a nice suite of control abilities and defensive tech along with some very tasty Mystic attacks. I’ve quite enjoyed her as part of a Web Warriors roster where Miles’ Leadership improves her defences still further and her Mystic attack typing is a very welcome option.

I think that the hardest part of painting the Ancient One was picking her colour scheme. The card art (and movie appearance for that matter) tends very much towards saffron robes all the time and I was far from confident that I could make that work at this scale. So I went for a more vibrant orange on some of her robes and also picked out a sash and her trousers in black to improve the contrast and I really like the outcome. I spent quite a lot of effort putting highlights on the Ancient One’s head but my photography skills are not really showing them very effectively. Unlike most MCP figures the Ancient One is simply standing on the floor with no tactical rubbish under her feet and I really loved the understated pose. I went back and forth on whether to include the little swathes of magic around her feet, regretted adding them for the entire painting process and finally came around to enjoying the touch of red that they bring to the miniature right at the end. Overall I loved painting the Ancient One and I’m looking forward to her calmly putting arrogant fools back in their place with regularity on the tabletop.

Next on the painting table: Cable.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 12 Comments

Marvel Crisis Protocol tournament report: The Bearded Card Trader Monthly 08Jan2022

Allan and I (without Gareth this time) travelled down the A1 again to Stanley to take part in a Marvel Crisis Protocol tournament at The Bearded Card Trader. The turnout was similar to the last time but with a different mix of locals which is probably a good sign of a healthy scene in the area.

This time I opted to play Criminal Syndicate. This is mainly because I recently acquired Omega Red and wanted to try him out, but also the scenario-focused playstyle of Kingpin’s leadership makes them a lot of fun to put on the table. Adding to the interest are the recent changes to Bullseye making him an in-affiliation two threat character, plus the presence of one of my favourite MCP characters (to play, I’m not particularly fussed about him in the comics) in the form of MODOK. The game plan is basically to sit on the Secure points and rack up VPs while either annoying the other team over the Extracts or, more likely, beating them senseless to cement an attrition advantage. If I lose Priority I can get it back with the All According To Plan tactics card which I’m aiming to play in round 3 if necessary. In terms of out-of-affiliation picks, I took Beast (has a cheap throw and I love to play him), Ant-Man (very mobile so I could use him to jump on an unguarded Secure late in a round), Okoye (another two threat, plus she’s disproportionately hard to kill in a brawl) and Black Dwarf (really hard to kill, has a cool throw and is quite hard to get off a point without special tech). I also borrowed the Research Station card from Allan to use as an Extract since it’s pretty much a Secure in disguise.

[Characters]
– Ant-Man: 3
– Beast: 3
– Black Cat: 3
– Black Dwarf: 4
– Bullseye: 2
– Crossbones: 3
– Kingpin: 4
– M.O.D.O.K.: 5
– Okoye: 2
– Omega Red: 4

[Team Tactics]
– Advanced R&D
– All According to Plan
– Brace for Impact
– Carbonadium Synthesizer
– Climbing Gear
– Cruelty
– Disarm
– Field Dressing
– Shadow Organization
– Tactical Analysis

[Extract Crises]
– Deadly Legacy Virus Cured? [C]: 19
– Research Station Attacked! [E]: 16
– Struggle for the Cube Continues [F]: 17

[Secure Crises]
– Infinity Formula Goes Missing [B]: 17
– Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnesses [C]: 16
– Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0 [D]: 17

Game 1 – Martin playing Midnight Sons

First round I got paired up with Martin. I’ve never played him before but I recall that he played Allan to a standstill at the last tournament so he must be pretty good. I win priority and, since I can live with all of his Secures I pick to select Extracts.

Extraction: Struggle For The Cube Continues
Secure: Demons Downtown! Has Our Comeuppance Come Due?
Threat: 19
My team: Kingpin, Omega Red, MODOK, Crossbones, Beast
My cards: All According To Plan, Brace For Impact, Carbonadium Synthesiser, Climbing Gear, Field Dressing
Martin’s team: Blade, Black Cat, Doctor Voodoo, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight
Martin’s cards: Bats the Ghost Hound, Climbing Gear, Medpack, Patch Up, Siege of Darkness

I figured here that if Martin wanted to meaningfully contest the centre then he’d have to commit far enough forward that MODOK could sit on my back point and zap whoever came in. Ideally I could pin Martin back close to his home Portal, score the centre one with either Kingpin or Omega Red (preferably the latter considering his own good range) and then just harrass with Beast. Crossbones got the nod on the basis of being cheap and being able to ignore the damage from any Cubes he happened to pick up.

Round 1: Beast zips forward and picks up the central Cube while Moon Knight and Crossbones collect the ones on the right. Ghost Rider and Doctor Voodoo zap Beast and MODOK bounces an ineffective shot off Ghost Rider. Kingpin and Blade collect the last two Cubes and the latter pings a damage off Omega Red who has come onto the central Portal. The score is 5 – 3 to me.

Round 2: Beast goes crazy and dazes both Ghost Rider and Moon Knight, picking up the latter’s dropped Cube. He’s going down this turn anyway so I figure I might as well make Martin work for it. Black Cat uses the Midnight Sons leadership to get in range of Crossbones and gives him Stagger – if ever there was a character who didn’t want to get even slower it is surely him. Omega Red uses Carbonadium Synthesiser to get rid of Incinerate and Bleed and pokes Doctor Voodoo for fairly minimal effect. Blade dazes Beast without much effort and scoops up those Cubes, then Medpacks Doctor Voodoo. MODOK sadly can’t finish Doctor Voodoo, sadly leaving him on one wound with Bleed; at least it’ll force an interesting decision from Martin on what to do with him. This also draws out Martin to use the Bats the Ghost Hound card to keep him in the game so it’s not totally worthless. He then goes on a rampage, dazing Omega Red from full in one attack then hurting Kingpin and making him drop the Cube fragment before finally dying to Bleed. Kingpin is in a bit of an awkward position in that he can either collect the dropped Cube or get into the action but not both; I decide to have him move up to contest Martin’s home Portal and he also applies Field Dressing to Omega Red on the way. The score moves to 9 – 6 in my favour.

Round 3: I play All According To Plan to get Priority back. Beast throws Blade into Black Cat to damage him since he’s been badly hurt by the three Cube fragment he was holding last turn, then KOs Moon Knight to get him out of my hair; he only has enough power left to collect one of the Cubes lying around. Martin plays a very effective Siege of Darkness with Black Cat and Ghost Rider teaming up to daze Kingpin and Doctor Voodoo easily dazing Omega Red. Ghost Rider then follows up by also dazing Crossbones. MODOK is clearly impressed with this show of power as he then does nothing whatsoever to Doctor Voodoo who uses this opportunity to collect a Cube and Black Cat collects another two. The score moves to 11 – 11.

Round 4: Kingpin fails to hurt Blade with his attacks but he does at least Stagger him and throw him off the Portal. Blade uses Patch Up to heal Black Cat and then nearly kills Beast. Beast goes after Black Cat but sadly can’t quite get her before he KOs himself by not clearing the Bleed condition. Doctor Voodoo throws everything he has at Crossbones but leaves him on a single wound (rather a theme for this game!) so Crossbones throws him off the Portal and KOs Ghost Rider. Martin passes, which I think is a mistake – I reckon that he should have activated Black Cat and had her run away. Instead Omega Red moves over and pulls her in with Ensnare, dazes her and collects one Cube before using Climbing Gear to get back on the Portal. Time is called before we go any further and we get to 15 – 12 in my favour so I get the win.

Wow, that was such a tight game. Martin was a tremendous opponent and pushed me at every step. As mentioned, I think that he made a mistake in not running away with Black Cat right at the end but that was pretty much the only thing that I could capitalise on. Most of my game went according to plan (rather fittingly for Criminal Syndicate) and I even managed to use most of my tactics card which is a bit of a change. MODOK’s performance was a bit of a disappointment but Doctor Voodoo is a hard target for him and he did keep my Portal safe and score 4 points so maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt.

Game 2 – Sam playing Guardians of the Galaxy

Sam had just finished a very tight Guardians mirror match to beat Allan so I was looking forward to seeing how he played. Interestingly there were four Guardians players at the event, albeit one of them was dual-affiliation with Asgard. Sam won priority and, slightly to my surprise, picks Extracts. I choose the slightly lower threat on the basis that he has both Angela and Hulkbuster in his roster and I want to make it hard for him to use them.

Extraction: Struggle For The Cube Continues
Secure: Mayor Fisk Vows to Find Missing Witnesses
Threat: 16
My team: Kingpin, Omega Red, Bullseye, Crossbones, Beast
My cards: All According To Plan, Brace For Impact, Carbonadium Synthesiser, Climbing Gear, Field Dressing
Sam’s team: Star Lord, Ronan the Accuser, Nebula, Enchantress, Groot
Sam’s cards: Brace For Impact, Crew of the Milano, Loveable Misfits, Medpack, We Are Groot

I picked the same team here except swapping MODOK out for Bullseye to account for the lower threat. Kingpin and Crossbones are both fine with Cubes and I actually think that Criminal Syndicate don’t mind the Crisis anyway as they can stay ahead with the Secures and are happy if the other team take the chip damage from holding Cube fragments. I’m basically going to send Kingpin to stand on one Witness and Omega Red on the other and then send the rest to plug gaps as required. I put Bullseye and Beast in the middle; if Sam collects the Cube in turn one then I can try to start taking him down with them and if he doesn’t then I’ll send Beast in later on and cross my fingers.

Round 1: Star Lord, Ronan and Enchantress get Winging It tokens. Not very surprisingly, Star Lord zooms to the centre and picks up the Cube there. Bullseye saunters forward and casually rolls four successes to no blocks against him so this is looking quite spicy already. Groot, Crossbones, Enchantress and Omega Red collect the other cubes but only Omega Red actually bothers to move to a Witness token. Over on the right, Ronan, Nebula and Kingpin stand by the Witness; Nebula’s not actually close enough but since she doesn’t context objectives it doesn’t matter anyway. Beast moves up and dazes Star Lord, picking up his fallen Cube in the process. The score is 7 – 2 to me.

Round 2: The same three characters get Winging It tokens again. Sam moves the Witness tokens such that Crossbones, Kingpin and Omega Red take the damage and the stun. I’ve rather unwisely positioned Bullseye and Beast right next to each other so Enchantress dazes them both with her beam attack and picks up the Cube that Beast drops. Oops! Kingpin dazes Nebula to keep her out of my hair but can’t do much more than Stagger Ronan. Ronan then plays Crew of the Milano to get rid of that annoying Stagger, Medpacks himself and beats up Kingpin. Omega Red puts some nice damage into Enchantress and Star Lord zaps a few wounds off Crossbones, who in turn gets Ronan down to a single wound. Sam uses Lovable Misfits – Ronan does a bit more damage to Crossbones and Kingpin before Star Lord and Groot move. the score moves to 13 – 5 to me.

Round 3: Once again Star Lord, Ronan and Enchantress get Winging It tokens. The Witnesses get moved to do some slight damage to my characters, though Crossbones and Kingpin both pay to ignore it and they’ve all got Stun already. I start the round out with All According To Plan and Bullseye uses Hit and Run and his I Never Miss power to daze Enchantress, pick up her Cube (surely the most hotly contested in the game!) before moving to join Omega Red on the left. That’s basically the game right there as Sam doesn’t have anything remotely near that Witness and even if he did it’s pretty unlikely that he can deal with Omega Red in one go. Nonetheless we play on for the sheer pleasure of it. Ronan dazes both Kingpin and Crossbones, perhaps not surprising considering the pasting they’ve both taken. Beast uses Climbing Gear to get back in the action, hits Groot for not much effect and throws Nebula into Ronan to daze him. Sadly Ronan’s revenge strike hurts Beast pretty badly and Nebula has no difficulty KOing him. Groot collects a Cube lying on the ground and Star Lord moves over to see if he’s in range to deal with Bullseye, but can’t get there. We finish up at 18 – 9 in my favour.

Sam was a very nice chap to play with and I enjoyed the game a lot. I made a few positional mistakes, notably with Bullseye and Beast at the end of round 1 which let Enchantress pick them both off for free (though in fairness she could have used Siren’s Call to line it up anyway if needed) but Sam didn’t really use Groot at all and never even tried to tackle Omega Red for the Witness or Cube on the left which meant that I could just rack up points on that side.

Game 3 – Anthony playing A-Force

For the final game I get paired up against one of the two other undefeated players (the other one gets a pair down against Martin from game 1) with a nasty looking A-Force roster. I’d ideally like to keep the threat low here but I win Priority so that’s not likely to happen. I don’t fancy Anthony’s Secures much so I pick them.

Extraction: Alien Ship Crashes In Downtown!
Secure: Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0
Threat: 20
My team: Kingpin, Omega Red, MODOK, Black Cat, Black Dwarf
My cards: All According To Plan, Brace For Impact, Carbonadium Synthesiser, Climbing Gear, Field Dressing
Anthony’s team: She-Hulk, Angela, Black Cat, Enchantress, Okoye
Anthony’s cards: Battle Lust, Blind Obsession, Follow Me, Medpack, Special Delivery

I did briefly consider going wide here but this is not going to be fast scoring game and if I take squishier characters then She-Hulk et al will just wreck them one at a time long before I can hope to eke out a scenario win. I put in Black Dwarf as his huge sack of hit point, Stagger on his spender and epic throw are likely to come in useful. Black Cat is a no-brainer for a single-extract scenario like this one, but when I see that Anthony has (not surprisingly) also picked her in addition to Enchantress I’m going to struggle to hold on to the Power Core. In deployment Anthony makes a mistake putting Enchantress next to She-Hulk instead of Angela which will prevent him using Special Delivery until the mid game – neither of us spotted this at the time but Anthony realised it early in round 2. I’m also a bit surprised to see She-Hulk all the way out on the left but Anthony is clearly a more experienced A-Force player than me so perhaps this was part of a cunning plan.

Round 1: Omega Red finds the Power Core in the very first turn all the way over on the right. This is a huge stroke of luck for me as She-Hulk and Enchantress are stranded all the way over on the far side of the board. Anthony’s Black Cat moves up very agressively and Black Dwarf beats her up a bit before MODOK leaves her on a single wound. Angela comes in and throws digger at my Black Cat who uses this extra power to Stagger the Asgardian. She-Hulk moves onto the left point and I decide that I’m quite happy to leave her there so Kingpin moves more centrally. The score is 4 – 2 to me.

Round 2: MODOK attacks Angela in teh hope of getting enough power to throw something at Black Cat but does no damage. Oh well, I attack Black Cat instead and fail to damage her either. Good work MODOK, only needed to do one damage to Black Cat. Predictably, Black Cat pinches the Power Core off Omega Red and hoofs it back up the board. Black Dwarf dazes Angela. Critically, we forget at the time that Black Cat will take a point of damage from the Power Core at the end of her activation, which would have dazed her. Since we’ve already rolled the dice on Black Dwarf, we agree to just play the game as it lies, so a grateful Okoye rushes over to pick it up. Omega Red can’t drop her so Okoye gets to keep it this round. Enchantress moves back to the back Secure and my Black Cat follows her. Kingpin puts a bit of damage on She-Hulk and throws her off the left objective but can’t get there to score it himself. The score moves to 7 – 4 in my favour.

Round 3: Enchantress dazes my Black Cat then MODOK does a bit more damage to She-Hulk and Angela before moving the latter away with Bow to the Will of MODOK. Okoye plays Battle Lust and moves to the centre so she can push MODOK off the back point. Kingpin applies Stagger to She-Hulk and moves to score the left objective. Angela now plays Special Delivery and drops She-Hulk on Kingpin but between the two of them (and including She-Hulk playing Blind Obsession) they can’t bring down the big chap. Black Dwarf fails to hurt Enchantress but does at least stand on my back objective since MODOK has been moved off it. Omega Red pulls Okoye in with Embrace but unfortunately she ends up close enough to use Martial Artist and he can’t drop her. The score is now a rather tight 9 – 8 to me.

Round 4: Kingpin Staggers She-Hulk and KOs Angela which is certainly a relief. Okoye flees Omega Red but this is probably an error on Anthony’s side as she walks right into range of my Black Cat who steals the Power Core and legs it up the board, using Grappling Hook to increase the distance from Anthony’s Black Cat. A bit of a possible mistake from me here too as I had enough power to use Climbing Gear to increase the distance still further and this turns out to be critical as Enchantress races over and uses Siren’s Call to bring my Black Cat into range of Anthony’s. Also critical though is that this move ends up with Enchantress within range 2 of Omega Red so she gets Poison. MODOK just moves back to his point and fails yet again to hurt Enchantress and She-Hulk finally dazes Kingpin. Omega Red puts some nice damage into Enchantress and the A-Force Black Cat races over and collects the Power Core off mine, but ends up next to Omega Red and gets Poison for her trouble. Finally, Black Dwarf moves to sit on the back point – note that I’d actually premeasured this earlier (when he couldn’t fit as Black Cat was standing in the landing spot) which I shouldn’t have been allowed to do, and Anthony very kindly let me away with it. The score changes to 12 – 11, still in my favour.

Round 5: I play All According To Plan, and Omega Red uses Death Factor to daze Enchantress and hurt Black Cat, then finishes off the latter and picks up the Power Core. She-Hulk hammers Kingpin but he survives on a single wound (and with Stagger) after judicious use of Intense Physical Conditioning. Black Dwarf tries to deal Okoye’s final couple of wounds but of course bounces off her, and he doesn’t even have enough power to throw her. Okoye makes a last desperate attack to finish Kingpin but I roll really well on defence and it doesn’t work, so Kingpin throws She-Hulk off the objective and stands on it himself. The game ends at 18 – 11 to me.

Well, that could have been the most intense game of MCP ever. The dice were very interesting in that we seemed to roll consistently no successes or a yahtzee of criticals; I don’t think it favoured one of us over the other, but it made the attacks very spiky. Anthony’s positional play (apart from his error with Okoye in round 4) was spot on – I constantly found myself millimetres out of range to attack his pieces. Otherwise, I think that our skills matched up well and the game errors (especially with the Power Core dazing Black Cat in round two) were not decisive. He was also considerably better than me at using his tactics cards while I yet again had a handful of them left at the end.

When the final scores come in, I’m the only player left undefeated as Martin won in the pair-down. This is probably greatly to the relief of tournament organiser JP as Longshanks (the tournament matchmaking and stats software) went down during round 2 and I’m sure that he was very glad not to have to manually calculate tie breaks. Once again I had a great time playing a very lovely group of people. Many thanks to Martin, Sam and Anthony for three very fun games of Crisis Protocol, JP for running the show very smoothly and of course to Allan for kindly driving us down to Stanley.

Categories: Battle reports, Marvel Crisis Protocol, Tournaments | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Painted Storm

This is Storm, iconic member of the X-Men and probably one of the most visually memorable superheroes in any comic book. I’ve long been a fan of the X-Men in general and Storm gets lots of good lines and action in their stories. The casting of Halle Berry in the X-Men films was just one of an inspired series of choices of actors that, for me, has rarely been surpassed when translating from comic page to screen. Storm is one of the two leaders of the X-Men affiliation and since she’s the only one with a good leadership ability she’s going to be the one seen first in every X-Men team. Apart from the leadership (which is excellent, giving both mobility and survivability), I’ve struggled to get the best of Storm and I think it’s been mainly because of how I’ve set up the rest of the team. Storm is best when she can keep the other team at arm’s length between her own long range attacks and her even-better-than-Stealth ability. However, I’ve also played her lately with Cable who also wants to stand off and use his superior range; since Cable is a bit stronger at range than Storm that tends to mean that I have to commit Storm to forward scenario elements, and that almost invariably means that she gets beaten up. So in this case, I think it’s fair to say that the error is currently mine. I also played a fun game lately in which Storm, Goddess of Storms, faced off against Thor, God of Thunder. That didn’t go well for Ororo!

I painted Storm according to her classic look with white hair streaming and dark clothing. I was a bit surprised not to see an alternative head come in the kit with a mohawk but I do really like the way that the hair shows the impression of swirling winds as Storm rises into the air. The hardest part was painting the lightning; I just couldn’t get a satisfactory look for it. In the end, I’ve gone with a very light blue and pure white highlighting on the basis that it looks good against Storms black costume rather than worrying about whether it actually looks like lightning. While I do really like the way that Storm is raised up on the lightning, it does give the mini a very worrying wobbliness and I’m sure that at some point I’ll be gluing her back together.

Next on the painting table: the Ancient One.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 12 Comments

Painted Domino

Here is Domino for Marvel Crisis Protocol; a member of the X-Men, X-Force and A-Force at least until more affiliations are created. Domino is a classic character that performs way better on the tabletop than she looks like she ought to on paper. Her main superpowers are that enemy Critical rolls against her don’t ‘explode’ (i.e. roll a further die) when attacking or defending with her, and that she can pay power to turn Skulls into Critical rolls. I like the way that this represents her luck superpowers but in game terms it makes her punch somewhat above her weight and also has considerable reliability. I’ve really enjoyed her as part of a core of X-Men along with Storm and Beast.

Slightly to my disappointment, the mini did not come with an alternative head to make Domino look like she does in the Deadpool 2 film. I looked to see if there were any 3rd party or 3D prints available and even briefly tried a bit of greenstuff sculpting work before realising that would just make a mess of the mini; so the kit is painted just as it comes from the sprue. I was a little nervous about the painting process for Domino for two reasons: firstly, she’s almost entirely black and white and secondly because she (like Amazing Spider-Man) has a tactical explosion for her base and I’m not confident on my skills for either part. For the explosion, I’m not quite as happy as I was with Amazing Spider-Man but it’s definitely good enough. I spent quite a bit of time highlighting in different shades of not-quite-black on Domino’s clothes and hair and I’m actually more than satisfied with the results. The ‘domino pip’ over her left eye was another potential pitfall but again I’m happy with the outcome. I feel like we all spend so much time and effort on these tiny details that will never be noticed on the tabletop!

Next on the painting table: Storm.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 10 Comments

Painted Amazing Spider-Man

This is Amazing Spider-Man for Crisis Protocol. He gets the title of ‘Amazing’ to clarify that he gets a different card from the other Peter Parker Spider-Man; the idea is that the ‘original’ Spider-Man represents Peter at the start of his superhero journey while this Amazing one is when he’s mastered his powers. As a result, Amazing Spider-Man is chock full of fun rules; he’s extraordinarily mobile even by the standards of the Web Warriors, his attacks have various cool riders to allow him to throw people around or move after the attack. He even has a Witty Banter superpower to make attackers re-roll their attack dice.

When I first picked up the mini for Amazing Spider-Man I felt that the mini was too busy and had moved way beyond having a tactical rock to stand on, instead having a full scenic base. But as I painted him, I really fell in love with the story of the base, and the sheer dynamism of the sculpt that fits the character perfectly. Painting Spider-Man himself was comparatively easy, albeit rather time consuming with the black lines on his suit. The explosion took a lot longer; I had no real idea how best to achieve the look of smoke and debris being expelled from a central explosive force. In the end I painted the bulk of it in grey apart from lines of yellow (deepest recesses) orange and finally black (further from the yellow) and gave the whole lot a wash with some orange ink. I then went over the grey and black parts with a thin coat of grey again, trying not to fully cover the orange tint. And finally I went back and reapplied the yellow in the recesses as it had been overpowered by the orange ink. The final result is still far from perfect, especially when magnified in these unflattering remorseless photos; however, it’s more than serviceable at tabletop range. I’m very pleased with the outcome here and I learned a lot working on Amazing Spider-Man.

Next on the painting table: Domino.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 10 Comments

Painted Cyclops

Here is Cyclops, another part of the classic X-Men line-up. Alongside Storm, he has one of the leadership abilities for the X-Men affiliation; however I don’t like his leadership at all as it doesn’t actually solve any of the issues that I have with the X-Men, namely that they have loads of cool superpowers and rarely enough power to use on them. Other than that, I really like Cyclops; he has a good ranged builder, an absolutely amazing spender attack called Optic Devastation and some cool mobility tricks for his team. My issue with him is the same as Storm – all the X-Men I actually own really want to play a stand-off game and use their ranged firepower without reprisals; however the game needs heroes to go and stand on Secure tokens to score. So I need to get some more brawlers than just Beast; there are some more being released in due course and of course I can use unaffiliated options. My next try will be with Black Dwarf, who I theorise will synergise very nicely with Storm’s leadership and give the X-Men some much needed short ranged punch.

I’m aware that Cyclops has been drawn in various costumes over the years but there was no question whatsoever that I was going to be painting him in classic blue and yellow. The yellow ended up taking a few layers to get a smooth look on but in the end I think that he looks great. I’m particularly pleased that I was able to get the red in his visor without my usual endless painting and repainting!

Next on the painting table: Shokkjump Dragsta (yet again).

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 13 Comments

Painted Black Cat

Here is Black Cat for Marvel Crisis Protocol, a clear homage to DC’s Catwoman, right down to being a sometime foe and sometime ally for the main character of the comics (Spider-Man in this case) while wearing a leather cat suit. Black Cat is a thief (more specifically, of course, she’s a cat burglar) and this is reflected in-game with her signature ability to steal Extract tokens off people. Since she can also move very fast and separately has a superpower to move even further, this can be a game changing move to pinch some Extracts and then run away and hide. Indeed, I lost a recent game against my friend Lewis when his Black Cat stole some Cube fragments off my Domino and then ran away laughing.

I really enjoyed painting Black Cat. Her pose is ludicrously over the top in a very fitting way for a superhero game and I think that her tactical girder really adds to the story it tells. I gave the cat suit a coat of brown ink rather than a wash as I specifically wanted to bring out the shininess. I’m quite pleased with the effect and in particular I think it contrasts well with the furry bits for a different texture.

Next on the painting table: Foetid Bloat Drone.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 11 Comments

Painted Bob, Agent of Hydra

This is Bob, Agent of Hydra, another ‘hero’ for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Bob is probably about as close to a generic goon as we’re likely to get in the game, though I understand that he’s a specific character and not just a goon as such. I’ll admit that Bob is one of the characters I’d never heard of until his appearance in Crisis Protocol; apparently he appears in some of Deadpool’s stories. Bob’s main draw is his huge rocket launcher (the entertainingly named Excessive Violence attack), though it’s hard to imagine that he’ll get to use it more than one time per game as reloading it takes a whopping 8 power. Of course, some affiliations such as A-Force could speed up his power generation but I’d probably rather take a another option who can use the excess power. Bob is only two threat though, so I guess he would be a fine option to just sit on a back point and passively score.

I painted Bob in his yellow and green colours as per the card art. I can’t remember the last time I read a comic with generic Hydra goons so presumably this is their uniform. He was quite a fun little distraction; I wouldn’t have picked him up on his own but the painting was quite enjoyable.

Bob probably represents the best (or most cynical) packaging in Crisis Protocol. He’s hardly a well-known or popular character so I imagine that demand for him would have been quite low without giving him over-powered rules. Instead Bob is packaged with Deadpool, so lots of players (including me) have him simply because we wanted to have Deadpool.

Next on the painting table: Black Cat.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 13 Comments

Marvel Crisis Protocol tournament report: The Bearded Card Trader Monthly 11Dec2021

For the first time in a long time I was able to take a road trip out of my local area to attend a tournament, this one for Marvel Crisis Protocol at the Bearded Card Trader near Durham. Allan kindly drove Gareth and me down the A1 and it was a pleasure to be able to do the pre- and post-game chats on the road… just like in the times before COVID made all this travel harder and more fraught than the past. The shop itself was bright and spacious, though it’s not easy to find, and the locals were very welcoming. It was particularly nice to meet Nate and Scott again, both of whom I’ve played Malifaux with in the past.

For this event I’ve decided to play X-Men. If I’m honest about it, part of this is because I really enjoyed the X-Men comics and cartoons of my youth, and the Bryan Singer films were (along with Blade, Batman and the Tobey Maguire Spiderman films) the beginnings of the modern superhero franchises on the big screen. Mechanically they seem to be regarded as rather middle-of-the road but they’re a lot of fun, especially Beast who feels very dynamic and is never short of cool things to do. Storm’s leadership allows a friendly characters to ‘jump’ across each other once per round so I picked the three biggest based characters I own – Black Dwarf, Hulk and MODOK. Hulk recently got a notable power-boost with the balance pass in November while all three benefit a lot from the addition of size caps (usually at size 3) to many of the control elements in the game like Shuri’s Panther Gauntlets. Finally, I took Okoye in case anyone forced a 14 threat SWORD on me so that I had the option to go 5 wide.

[Characters]
– Beast: 3
– Black Dwarf: 4
– Cable: 5
– Cyclops: 4
– Domino: 3
– Hulk: 6
– M.O.D.O.K.: 5
– Mystique: 3
– Okoye: 2
– Storm: 3

[Team Tactics]
– Advanced R&D
– Brace for Impact
– Children of the Atom
– Deception
– Disarm
– Field Dressing
– First Class
– Follow Me
– Gamma Launch
– To Me, My X-men!

[Extract Crises]
– Fear Grips World as “Worthy” Terrorize Cities [D]: 18
– Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan [F]: 17
– Struggle for the Cube Continues [F]: 17

[Secure Crises]
– Cosmic Invasion! Black Order Descends on Earth [D]: 16
– Infinity Formula Goes Missing [B]: 17
– Mutant Madman Turns City Center Into Lethal Amusement Park [B]: 18

Game 1 – Liam playing Inhumans

I got paired up with Liam playing an Inhumans roster. I’ve never played against any of the Inhumans apart from Medusa before so this was sure to be interesting; I figured I’d aim to play my game and worry about how Liam could disrupt me reactively. I win priority and choose Secures as I want to force ‘pay to flip’ objectives and get value out of my First Class card.

Extraction: Research Station Attacked!
Secure: Portals Overrun City With Spider-People
Threat: 18
My team: Storm, Beast, Domino, Mystique, Hulk
My cards: Brace For Impact, Children of the Atom, Deception, Field Dressing, First Class
Liam’s team: Black Bolt, Medusa, Crystal, Lockjaw, Deadpool
Liam’s cards: Attilan Rising, Elemental Infusion, Bitter Rivals, Last Minute Save, Grievous Wounds

I’ve enjoyed Hulk lately so I just picked the 3-threat core of X-Men (Storm, Beast and Domino), then Mystique as another fun 3 threat option and finally Hulk to bully the centre. I sent Storm to go for the left Portal as she can fly and I thought that might be handy with that huge building but in retrospect I might have been better served sending Mystique that way and made use of Storm’s range in the centre.

Round 1: I play First Class, though with Research Station being more of a ‘secure in disguise’ I’m not sure it made too much difference. Storm flies up on the left and flips the Portal and Crystal immediately zooms over to take it back. Domino flips the right Portal and Deadpool moves forward to contest the Researcher in the middle. Mystique takes a couple of potshots at him for no damage, then flips my home Portal and gets teleported backwards for her trouble. Over on the right, Lockjaw teleports Medusa forward and she pushes Domino off the Portal and flips it herself. Hulk flips over Beast (what a cinematic image!), Gamma Leaps forward and smashes Deadpool into the turf; Beast follows to the centre to make sure that I control it. Black Bolt zaps Beast a bit but hasn’t positioned close enough to the back Portal to flip it. X-Men lead by 3 – 2 and I move the Researcher closer to Liam’s board edge.

Round 2: Hulk smashes Black Bolt, giving him the Stagger token and throwing him away. He then throws Deadpool away from the Researcher to waste one his actions coming back into range. Deadpool shoots Hulk to minimal effect. Storm zaps Crystal a couple of times, giving her Shock but not actually damaging her; she does manage to take back that left Portal for me. Mystique gently tickles Lockjaw, Black Bolt takes the Portal on Liam’s side of the board but Crystal is as effective into Storm as the other way round (i.e. not at all) and fails to flip the Portal back. Beast flips over Hulk to daze Lockjaw, then throws Deadpool further away from the action. Over on the right, Domino shoots Medusa a couple of times and takes that Portal again for me, so Medusa dazes her and takes it right back again. The score moves to 7 – 4 in my favour and I move the Researcher onto the Evac Point.

Round 3: Domino starts us out by dazing Medusa and taking the right Portal back to me yet again; she gets teleported backwards in the process. Crystal Dazes Storm but rolls terribly to retake that Portal and I get to move her right so she’s in range for Mystique to attack. Hulk dazes Black Bolt and throws poor Deadpool even further from the action; the latter continues to fire back without much effect. Beast pushes Lockjaw away from the Researcher so the Good Boy takes the right Portal back from Domino. Mystique puts a couple of ineffective shots into Crystal then moves to flip Liam’s home Portal. Now that the Researcher is safely on my Evac Point, the score moves to 14 – 5 to me.

Round 4: The game seems pretty comfortably in my favour now but there is still plenty of fun to be had. Black Bolt lines up his cool Whisper attack on Beast and Mystique but some fairly uninspiring dice from Liam means that neither of them get dazed. He does flip back his home Portal though, so that’s helpful. Domino KOs Lockjaw and drops Medusa to a single hit point with some fairly spicy rolls and good use of her superpowers; Medusa is having none of this and KOs her right back. Storm finally gets her act together and dazes Crystal. Deadpool comes into the scrum and spreads some damage around with Maximum Effort but it’s too late. As the game is done I don’t bother using Hulk, Beast or Mystique to try to pick off Black Bolt, Deadpool or both as it seems rather needless. The final score is 20 – 7 to me.

That was a very fun game. Of course, it’s always nice to start with a win but more importantly Liam was a lovely opponent and we were keeping up the cinematic commentary as the game went along. It turned out that Liam is quite new to MCP so hopefully he learned from that game and will carry on his good attitude. From my side of the board Storm’s actual output continued to disappoint; that four dice builder just seems to roll low so often. On the other hand she’s only 3 threat and her leadership ability is really good so it’s not like I’m not going to play her.

Game 2 – Scott playing Midnight Sons

This time I got to play Scott; a real pleasure as I’ve known him and (I’m pretty sure) played a few games with him back when we were both regulars at Malifaux tournaments. He had a combined Midnight Sons and Convocation list but opted to play the former based on the Secure that was flipped. Scott won priority and picked Extracts.

Extraction: The Montesi Formula Found
Secure: Mutant Madman Turns City Into Lethal Amusement Park
Threat: 18
My team: Storm, Beast, Domino, Mystique, Hulk
My cards: Brace For Impact, Children of the Atom, Deception, Field Dressing, First Class
Scott’s team: Blade, Moon Knight, Black Cat, Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme, Winter Soldier
Scott’s cards: Siege of Darkness, Trip Up, Mission Objective, Advanced R&D, Patch Up

That team from the previous round seemed quite effective so I decided to just use it again. The time Storm was assigned to the right to deal with that massive building by just flying over it; Domino and Mystique got the left together as the building there was going to make positioning a bit tricky for anyone who wasn’t a Wall Crawler or could Fly. My hope was that Scott would send a hero to the centre to collect that book and I could then use Hulk to beat them senseless.

Round 1: I play First Class, of course. Moon Knight and Storm claim the back left and near right Traps; the former also moves toward the centre. Domino takes the opportunity to put a few bullets into Moon Knight but fails to claim the near left Trap marker so Mystique has to do that. Blade takes the back Book and positions cautiously and Black Cat moves to pick up the central one. Hulk flips off Beast and Gamma Leaps to be close to both Black Cat and Moon Knight, then exceeds my wildest expectations by dazing both (and collecting Black Cat’s Book in the process). Over on the right Winter Soldier takes the final Trap and Beast picks up the last Book. The score is 4 – 3 to me.

Round 2: Moon Knight pokes Hulk and moves toward Storm but does little to her. Hulk KOs Black Cat and Staggers Doctor Strange, also throwing the latter into Blade. Doctor Strange clears the Stagger and pays to Scalpel himself next to Hulk and uses Shining Circle of Seraphim to heal a bit (though due to the way that Stagger works, this wasn’t also able to clear Stagger as Scott had planned). Beast hurts Winter Soldier and Doctor Strange again, flipping the back right Trap, so Winter Soldier pushes him off and flips it right back. Storm continues her run of poor attacks, failing to damage Winter Soldier at all (though she does at least stick Shock on him). Mystique takes the back left Trap but doesn’t manage to hurt Blade who then dazes her and takes it back. We continue to score the same; 8 – 6 to me now.

Round 3: Scott plays Siege of Darkness; Blade stabs Mystique and Mon Knight hits Storm. Doctor Strange then dazes Beast, picks up his Book and retreats behind the big building at the back left. I’m honestly a bit perplexed here as it would be a great way to eke out the last couple of points and claim a win but the game is nowhere near ending and anyway I’m in the lead. Perhaps Scott just didn’t want Hulk to hit Strange again. Instead, Hulk dazes Winter Soldier, KOs Moon Knight and flips the back right Trap to my side. Blade KOs Mystique and takes the near left Trap; Domino leaves him on a single health. Storm uses Field Dressing on Beast who flips the back left Trap and then immediately dazes again due to Bleed. The score is now 12 – 9 in favour of the X-Men.

Round 4: Blade dazes Domino and flips the back left Trap again. Hulk KOs Winter Soldier then Doctor Strange comes back into the fray and zaps Storm a little. Beast throws Blade into the building to get rid of his last hit point and then flips both Traps on that side. The final score in 18 – 10 to the X-Men.

I enjoyed that game, and it was especially lovely to play against Scott after all this time. Scott’s dice weren’t great in the first couple of rounds (especially defending against Hulk’s attacks on Black Cat and Moon Knight in round 1) and I think that frustrated him a bit. The game ended up being very dynamic as heroes, particularly Blade, scurried back and forth trying to claim the Traps. From my side, I was aiming to use Hulk to get an attrition advantage and it paid off when Black Cat went down early in round 2.

Game 3 – Stu playing Defenders

One of the other games was a draw so this ends up very neatly with only Stu and my on 2 – 0 so we’re playing for the tournament here. Unfortunately Stu has another engagement that means he’ll have to leave partway into the round. He offers to play as much of the game as we can, then we agree that we can try to assess the likely winner at that point based on the board situation; he also very kindly offers to favour me if it’s looking even as it’s his appointment that will cut the game short. I don’t want to win based on a biased judgment call so hopefully we can end up with one side clearly ahead when we have to stop playing. Stu was an absolute gentleman about all this; there was no drama and we (and the TO) were both fully in agreement about how to proceed. Stu wins priority and chooses Extracts.

Extraction: The Montesi Formula Found
Secure: Mutant Madman Turns City Into Lethal Amusement Park
Threat: 18
My team: Storm, Beast, Domino, Mystique, Hulk
My cards: Brace For Impact, Children of the Atom, Deception, Field Dressing, First Class
Stu’s team: Doctor Strange with the Soul Gem, Valkyrie, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Shuri
Stu’s cards: Brace For Impact, Heroes For Hire, Patch Up, Pentagram of Farallah, Seven Suns of Cinnibus

We somehow end up with the exact same combination of Extraction and Secure cards as my last game. Since it worked out fine last time, I decide to stick with 18 threat and use the same team. There isn’t so much terrain for Storm to worry about so I put her on the left; that turns out to be a bit hairy as Stu stacks that side; on the other hand I guess it means that Domino and Mystique can try to deal with Luke Cage on the right before swinging toward the centre.

Round 1: As always, I start out by playing First Class. Shuri takes her home Book and moves toward the middle. Storm, Cage and Domino all take their Traps but I get a bit too aggressive with Storm’s placement and she ends up in walk + Charge range of Valkyrie. I’m a bit lucky on defence and she takes little damage but that was a definite unforced error. Mystique takes the central Book and uses Deception to lure Shuri into Hulk range. Doctor Strange flips the final (back left) Trap. Hulk flips off Beast’s base and Gamma Leaps up to daze Shuri and take her Book while Beast picks up the last one. The score is 5 – 2 to the X-Men.

Round 2: Doctor Strange zaps Beast then plays Seven Suns of Cinnibus to unleash a tasty beam attack which dazes Beast and hurts Hulk; he also picks up the Book dropped by Beast. Hulk knocks Shuri down to a single hit point and Staggers Valkyrie leaving her also on a single hit point and a throw also leave Iron Fist on a single hit point which is a little awkward. Iron Fist kicks the absolute hell out of Hulk, leaving the big green chap on just four health remaining. Storm throws Valkyrie at Iron Fist and Stu uses Brace For Impact, after two attacks she does at least manage to push through the remaining single point of damage to daze Valkyrie. Luke Cage marches up and punch Domino, paying the power to also apply Hex. Mystique guns down Shuri to finish her off and then flips the back right Trap. Finally, Domino clears Hex and shoots half of Cage’s wounds off him. The score moves to 9 – 4 in my favour.

At this point, Stu has to pack up and leave. We briefly discuss the probable outcome of the game. On the right, Cage may daze Domino if he gets to go before her but will probably eventually fall to her and Mystique; I’ve also got both Traps on that side nicely under control. Over on the left, I’ll probably lose either Hulk or Beast to whoever activates first but it’s not likely that they both go down; whichever is left can then throw Iron Fist around to daze him and probably drop Valkyrie. In the end, Stu decides that it’s likely that I hold on to my substantial points lead for the eventual win and so that gets recorded.

Despite the very speedy turns we took and having to cut the actual game short, I really enjoyed that. Stu was an absolutely terrific chap to play with and I hope to get the chance to do so again. He’s clearly very talented at the game and apparently has only recently started playing so he’ll clearly be a force to be reckoned with. My plan was going quite nicely, taking Shuri out early for an attrition advantage but Iron Fist’s dice absolutely exploded on Hulk and that made everything a bit more worrying! Stu is the only person so far just to focus fire on Hulk and perhaps that is the best approach to dealing with him.

So when the scores are added up, I’m the only player left on three wins so I get first place and a very nifty little trophy to take home with me. Allan finished in second place with two wins and a draw but Gareth has a bit more of a tough time including losing his last game to Allan; fortunately the only match drawn between those of us who travelled down together. Many thanks to Liam, Scott and Stu for three very fun games of MCP and of course thanks to JP for organising the whole thing. We’ll definitely be back for another event when schedules allow.

Categories: Battle reports, Marvel Crisis Protocol, Tournaments | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

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