Battle Report – Seamus vs McMourning (Guild)

Strategy: Interference

Deployment: Corner

Scheme Pool: Convict Labor, Hunting Party, Take Prisoner, Detonate the Charges, Set Up

Crews:

  • Seamus, Sinister Reputation (1), Mad Haberdasher (2), Red Chapel Killer (1)
  • Madame Sybelle, Bleeding Tongue (1), Decaying Aura (2)
  • Datsue Ba, Spirit Beacon (1), Spirit Whispers (1)
  • Yin the Penangalan, Unnerving Aura (1)
  • Rotten Belle
  • Rotten Belle
  • Copycat Killer
  • McMourning, Plastic Surgery (1), On the Clock (1)
  • Sidir Alchibal, Promises (1), By Your Side (1)
  • Francisco Ortega, Wade In (1)
  • Pale Rider
  • Guild Austringer
  • Brutal Effigy
  • Watcher
  • Zombie Chihuahua

Seamus: I chose Detonate the Charges and Convict Labor, working on the assumption that I could probably score 1 point from Convict Labor, then draw in models who would try to prevent me scoring it a second time, then Detonate the Charges on those models. My crew selection was more or less mandatory based on my models available. Madame Sybelle is the best beater of the three Henchmen / Enforces that I had, so it seemed a good plan to give her the aura denying Soulstones for healing.

McMourning: He chose Detonate the Charges and Hunting Party, given that I had three good targets and would be summoning Seishin and possibly more Belles.

I won the flip for deployment and opted to deploy second (to ensure Seamus was out of LoS). He deployed in the southeastern corner, mostly in the forest. Sidir and Francisco are on the west side, and the Pale Rider and Watcher on the north side. All the rest were arrayed in-between.

I deployed in the northwestern graveyard. Seamus and the Copycat are tucked behind the wall, with Madam Sybelle in the gateway (ready to whip Seamus into compliance). Two Belles are just south of the wall, with Yin (on the 40mm base) to the east. Datsue Ba is on her own beside the eastern Mausoleum.

There was lots of blocking cover for Seamus’ back alley, but also lots that blocked line of sight. With the trees in all corners it made it harder to maneuver for dropping scheme markers out wide, something that really comes into play late game as you’ll see.

Start of Turn 1
After Deployment

Turn 1

TLDR: Nothing died. We all spread out.

I had an average spread of cards (2 weak, 3 moderate (1 of which was a 10), 1 severe), but opted not to stone for cards because we were deployed so far apart. In hindsight this was a mistake because it meant that Seamus was not as effective as he could have been. The turn was mostly uneventful, with both sides pushing out. Madame Sybelle whipped Seamus and used a Soulstone to get the Comply trigger so that he could Back Alley, then she moved up and called a Belle. Both Belles pushed forward, as did Yin. Datsue Ba moved east and summoned a Seishin. The Copycat moved over to where Seamus was, shot at the Pale Rider and missed and then walked behind another building. Seamus had already Back Alley’d out to the east behind the center building, but bad positioning meant the Pale Rider (who had pushed up) could see him – I didn’t realize he was Ht 3, so I couldn’t block LoS with the Seishin. Seamus dropped a scheme marker and walked around the building.

My opponent moved Sidir and Francisco west, pushed north with Pale Rider and Watcher, and the chihuahua bit McMourning to load him up with Poison – he pushed out west with the two Henchmen. The Brutal Effigy and Austringer moved west more slowly.

My models (in white) form west to east: Belle, Sybelle, Belle, Yin (partially concealed by the house), Seamus, Seishin, Datsue Ba, Scheme Marker, Copycat Killer.

His models: Francisco, Sidir, McMourning (hidden beside Sidir), Scheme Marker (red), Austringer, Effigy (hidden beside Austringer), Chihuahua (in the forest), Pale Rider, Watcher (behind the caravan).

 

After Turn 1
After Turn 1

Turn 2

TLDR: I got aggressive, but was thwarted by better cards

I had to stone twice (yes, cheating I know (now!)) for cards but ended up with a 6 and 9 thru 13 in various suits. McMourning walked around the building and charged my belle, ending up on top of the crates beside her. She weathered it like a champ, and went down to two wounds. She tried to undress to slow Francisco but Sidir stepped in to take the duel instead – it mattered not, as she failed to cast with a mighty Ace of Crows. She dropped a scheme marker – I’m not sure how, but I’m guessing McMourning must have been no longer engaged due to a push.

Sybelle took advantage of McMourning being out in the open to summon the belle back to her side and take a couple of Shriek attacks on McMourning. Both hit and damaged and McMourning dropped to 5 wounds, Sybelle’s Aura upgrade stopping him from reducing the damage. However, I totally forgot that it prevented him from healing as well, which ended up mattering later.

The Copycat Killer went into base contact with Seamus and took a couple of pot shots at McMourning – these were rebuffed by my opponent’s high cards. The Austringer took out the Seishin, and my Belle on the western side pushed up behind the building and dropped a scheme marker. The Brutal Effigy unloaded into her and flipper a red Joker for damage, which really hurt! Francisco moved up and pew-pewed at Seamus, doing around 6 wounds.

I was holding back with Seamus to see what he did with his Pale Rider, as this was the best turn I had to be able to shoot that guy dead. Datsue Ba moved into the forest in the northeast and dropped a scheme marker near the center line, summoning another Seishin. Sidir pushed forward and shot at Yin (I think) with no effect, other than to make her mad and have her charge McMourning, getting Francisco in range too – McMourning’s push shenanigans enabled my opponent to get out of that easily though at the end of the turn so I probably should have just charged Francisco – but was unable to do any real damage. Gnawing Fears was countered again by a good card from my opponent’s control hand.

The Pale Rider moved in between the two houses on the east side and up into the northeast quarter, looking to claim a quarter for interference, but my slow Seishin moved over and engaged him to counteract his presence. Seamus finally activated and dropped a scheme marker, focused and shot McMourning but was vanquished again by superior cheated cards and was unable to zero action because nothing with a body had yet died!

At the end of the turn McMourning pushed out of combat underneath northwestern house in the center. We each scored a point for the strategy – I controlled the northern half and he the southern – and I revealed Detonate the Charges, scoring a full three (one marker got both McMourning and Francisco, and the other got the Pale Rider), as well as scoring one for convict labor (scheme marker in the northeast forest, under Seamus near the center, and by the southwest house). My opponent revealed Hunting Party and scored one for my Seishin.

My models, from west to east: Madame Sybelle, Belle, Belle (under the southwest house), Yin, Copycat Killer, Seamus, Seishin, Datsue Ba (in the northeast forest).

His models, from west to east: McMourning, Sidir, Francisco (just visible beside the central southern house), Brutal Effigy and Austringer hidden to the south of that same house, Chihuahua beside the red scheme marker, Pale Rider and Watcher (who is hiding on the corner of the northeast house and did nothing notable)

After turn 2
After turn 2

Turn 3

TLDR: Mistakes were made. Some stuff dies. The interesting turn.

I lost initiative again (spoiler: I always lose initiative against this opponent – I put it down to him being English and me being Irish and it just being part of the laws of nature).

McMourning dropped a scheme marker charged the Copycat Killer and murdered it in short order. The belle beside Sybelle moved up and lured McMourning out of combat with Seamus (and healing him into the bargain) – my intent was to shoot McMourning with Seamus and finish him with Sybelle, but I mis-measured and McMourning walked into engagement range with the belle. Francisco unloaded into Yin and killed her. Datsue Ba summoned another Seishin in base contact with the Pale Rider to prevent it from pushing out of combat, and then focused to kill the Watcher and turn it to a Gaki. With hindsight, I should have used a stone to summon an Onryo, because even though they’re only Wk 4, with all the severe terrain nearby they would probably have been more maneuverable.

The Pale Rider murdered a Seishin and then pushed out of combat and walked into the forest to drop a scheme marker,  block a scheme marker of mine and to be in engagement range of Datsue Ba. The living Seishin moved into base contact with the Pale Rider and took an ineffective swipe. The Chihuahua moved up to the fence near the center. Madame Sybelle charged McMourning and again brought him down to nearly dead (he had healed a bunch by this point). The Austringer delivered orders to McMourning to push him out of combat and have him drop a scheme marker. I moved the belle on the far west to try to intercept Sidir and prevent him from getting to the scheme marker (she was slowed from a previous attack, not sure which), but he was able to move past and get in range of the scheme marker to prevent my points. Finally, the Gaki moved down toward the the northeast corner.

At the end of the turn, my opponent revealed Detonate the Charges and removed the scheme marker near Datsue Ba and the one near Sybelle and the Belle to score the full 3 points. He also got a point from Hunting Party for the dead Seishin. We each scored a point for the strategy because both Sybelle and the belle were slightly over the center line, which meant he controlled both western quarters and I controlled both eastern ones. The score was now 6-6.

End of turn 3. Sorry, forgot to take more photos.
End of turn 3. Sorry, forgot to take more photos.

 

Endgame

Unfortunately my memory gets fuzzy here because it was after midnight. I don’t recall what happened in Turn 4 vs Turn 5 (shame on me for not having more photos). I know we each score one point for Turn 4, with his from the scheme and mine from the strategy. I will combine the description of both turns into this Endgame section and go model by model.

Belle 1 (by Sybelle): gets killed by McMourning in close combat, but managed to slow Francisco in turn 4.

Belle 2: gets killed by Sidir

Sybelle: McMourning and Francisco double team her and take her down in turn 5 when I had no stones left. I stoned twice for cards in turn 5 having drawn a handful of weaks (which I now know I’m not allowed to do, thanks Kirby!), and then my last stone went on trying to win initiative when my opponent flipped a 7 – I failed.

Seamus: Kills the Brutal Effigy and Sidir to be the last model standing in the southwest quarter. Failed to summon a belle on the last turn of the game (no stones and no card in my hand) to allow me to ensure control of the quarter, which meant that Datsue Ba had to come and lend a hand.

Datsue Ba: Summons another Seishin as the last activation of the game to block McMourning from pushing into the southwest quarter from his poison ability at the end of turn, and moves into the northwest quarter to ensure that I score 1 point from the strategy there. I did forget to try a disengaging strike on the Pale Rider (the Seishin went first and failed so the Rider walked away) when in engagement range.

Seishin: Constantly engage with the Pale Rider so that he didn’t count for Interference, thus showing why the strategy is so-named.

Gaki: Dropped a scheme marker in the very north east corner and avoided dying so that I scored my scheme point for Convict Labor turn 4 and my strategy point turn 5.

Annoyingly his Zombie Chihuahua came out from behind the fence and sat on the scheme marker in the center of the table to deny me my extra point from Convict Labor, and Datsue Ba didn’t have enough actions to be able to guarantee the tie and take a swipe at the Chihuahua and hopefully win the game. If Seamus had summoned the belle then I could have potentially managed it – it was all so close!

Turn 5 he scored a point for Hunting Party giving him max for both schemes and 2 for the strategy. I scored another point for the strategy at the end of turn 5 bringing the final score to …

Final Score: 8-8

Lessons Learned

Decaying Aura is a strong upgrade choice for Madame Sybelle, but I need to keep a stone or two to keep her alive. I like using her to whip a Belle or Seamus into complying.

Datsue Ba was tactically excellent, and being able to summon that Gaki off a weak model was a great choice. Will look for low wound targets for that in the future. Seishin are annoying as hell for helping control quarters.

Yin died too soon as being able to push out of combat made her less effective and left her exposed.

Seamus needs a good control hand on any turn where you need him to move a lot e.g. turn 1 and still do something. However, I think I protected him well. I didn’t protect the Copycat Killer anywhere near as well, exposing him to a charge where I should have kept him more at the sideline.

Rotten Belles continue to be excellent value for their cost, but I’d like to try taking one and a nurse for more utility.

Malifaux

My gaming group and I have switched to playing Malifaux over the last few months. I’m very much enjoying the game, the background, the company (thanks Wyrd!) and the community. I’ve decided to run some local gaming events to try and grow the local community, all while working on my chosen faction, the Resurrectionists!

So, there will be no more Warhammer on this blog (as you can see, it was about a year from my last post anyways). I’ll keep what’s on here for posterity, but the direction and flavor of the content will switch to Malifaux.

Enjoy!

Age of Sigmar

I wrote an e-mail to an old colleague who still works at GW HQ – he’s been there for over 20 years, and we’ve been corresponding on occasion for the last year and a half. When I was done writing it, I realized it summed up a lot of my feelings about Age of Sigmar, Warhammer and war-gaming in general, so I thought I’d post it here for posterity.


 

My buddies and I have had a chance to play our first few games of Age of Sigmar. There are some good things to be said about the new game: the battle scrolls, new ways for unit special rules to work, and a simpler game system. I understand the need to reboot the game world and make IP that is easier for GW to protect.

However, I think this game misses the mark pretty big on what a dedicated gamer and hobbyist like myself is looking for from a game: depth, organized play, game balance and community support.

I look for strategic depth in a game, and Age of Sigmar doesn’t really have much. There’s very little meta-game: figuring out what is good in my list so that I’m capable to taking on any other armies. Why? Because I can just bring whatever models I want and use them. A lot of emphasis is now on the players to decide how to balance their armies and have a fun experience, which is fine for your local gaming group but requires a lot of work to make any kind of organized play happen. Organized play helps create the depth, and also builds communities and invites more players in – I’ve seen this happen in Seattle where we’ve built the community up over the last two years, and in the US Masters where we’ve made it the most widely anticipated Warhammer event on the US calendar.

The rules themselves, while easy to digest, don’t create an engaging experience where I crave to know more so that I can improve. It’s more like playing checkers – I know all the rules now, and can pass the time playing the game, but really I know there are better games out there in the same genre. Age of Sigmar is competing now against Warmachine/Hordes, Malifaux and every other round-based, skirmish level game. Yes, AoS allows for mass battles (and any shaped bases), but fielding a couple hundred models on a system predicated on round-bases and individual model movement makes that unwieldy … fielding Skaven or Goblins is a logistical pain.

And while I can appreciate the flavor behind some of the rules (like Settra, or the Longbeards), having to say or do silly things to have a rule come into play is something that just doesn’t go over well with anyone here. Obviously we can ignore those restrictions, but then where does the line get drawn? How much house-ruling is sufficient before there’s a playable system?

With WHFB, the game had depth and some measure of balance. As a community, we supported ourselves and created organized play, but we did it over a long period of time with a history of having played the game for many years. Now the depth and balance is gone, and the community across the globe is fracturing. Some want to take the rules of 8th edition, refine them slightly and keep playing that. Some want to add depth and balance to Age of Sigmar, and try to play that. Many others have already drifted away to other games – certainly true for our community in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

GW has a pretty strict policy around announcing release dates. We hear leaks from time to time, but it’s very difficult to know what is likely real and what is just someone spinning rumor. As it stands today, it seems like this is the entirety of the game of Age of Sigmar, and half the people I play against regularly have already said that they are moving on. There are about 200 tournament goers in our region – I know because I track them all for Masters qualification – and they in turn influence the non-tournament goers through the forums, Facebook groups and other online communities that people use for meeting gamers and organizing play.

So, unless the rumors about a larger ruleset with a way to create balanced forces are true, or something else is happening to make it easier to create organized play events, this will probably be the last year of playing GW games for me. This is pretty sad – I got into gaming from Advanced Heroquest, and started collecting minis and playing RPGs as a result. I worked out in the past two years I’ve spent over $1000 per year in my local GW store, not counting all the stuff I’ve bought on the secondary market or from other game stores.

It was a big risk making Age of Sigmar. I hope it pans out.

US Masters Maps on Herald

In preparation for the US Masters, I posted all the maps onto Herald in read only mode.

If you want to deploy your army on there, just go to Herald and create your army:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.21.34 AM

Open up the Report tab in the control panel, and save your army:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.22.47 AM

You’ll get a short code that is your army ID – copy this for later pasting. Now you can open up one of the maps above, and merge your army onto it. Open the Report tab on the map of your choice and paste in your army short code. Make sure you check the “Merge” check box and then click Load Report. Click “Start Report” to lock the scenery in place, and then have fun deploying your army!

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.27.27 AM

Moved everything elsewhere

In case you actually subscribe to this blog (do people do that any more?) I thought I’d let everyone know where I’m talking about the hobby these days. Almost everything has moved to Twitter (@CascadePodcast) or the Dimensional Cascade forums, and I blather for a few hours every couple of weeks on the podcast.

If you see ‘godswearhats’ anywhere on the Internet, 99% chance that it’s me, so feel free to reach out.