Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, Kathryn and I didn’t manage to find time to play the next story tree battle this week, so I haven’t got a battle report for that. Instead, here’s a battle report of a 3-way 50ss game we did a few weeks ago.
* * *
Ramos stood in the centre of the abandoned town, head down, arms by his sides flexing their joints. He could feel rather than hear the approaching train, every gear, piston and clockwork mechanism speaking to him on some deeper level. And then it appeared, a dark shape on the horizon spewing smoke and roaring like thunder as it hurtled along the line towards him.
With a grunt he channelled his power, letting the magic loose upon the engine. The train suddenly leapt, jumping off the track as he willed the machine to movements it had never been designed for. An ear-splitting shriek echoed around the town as the carriages tore free from the engine, each wagon sliding apart like a child’s toy suddenly discarded. Boxes and crates flew in all directions as the doors of the wagon burst open, spewing cargo all around.
As quickly as it had started it was over, as the train came to a juddering halt to rest half-way on the tracks in the middle of the town. Composing himself, Ramos gave a curt nod and his companions started to move towards the train. But before they could pry open any of the crates, a soft voice echoed all around them.
‘This is not yours to take old man’
Ramos narrowed his eyes behind his goggles, recognizing the voice. ‘Pandora’ he spat, ‘Of all the people I thought might interfere, you weren’t high on the list. What’s your interest here?’
A flirtatious laugh echoed around them, as though the wind and the buildings were chuckling malevolently. ‘I don’t care for whatever clockwork trinket you’re stealing’ – her voice hardened – ‘and I don’t need to debase myself explaining to the likes of you.’ Ghostly shadows started to appear around the town, nightmares made manifest. ‘I’ll enjoy breaking you, old man’.
~ ~ ~
The Judge scanned the area, seeing the Neverborn creatures move towards the wreckage of the train. ‘Looks like the tip-off was right, my lady’ he growled. ‘No sign of Seamus, though.’
Next to him Lady Justice drew her sword from its scabbard, the gleaming blade sliding free silently. ‘This isn’t his M.O. I’d know if he was here.’
The Judge nodded his silent agreement. ‘The nearest patrol’s over a kilometre away, my lady. They won’t get here in time.’
Justice’s face hardened as her blind eyes seemed to track the shifting Neverborn shapes ahead of them. ‘It’s just us, then. Give the order to engage, maximum force.’
* * *
We played the three-player ‘Loot’ scenario from the Strategies and Schemes deck. Kathryn was the wild card, with (unknown to myself and Tom) the Masks strategy – where she would score 1vp for each scheme marker within 6″ of the treasure (or the model carrying it) at the end of the game. The scheme pool was Protect Territory, Outflank, Take Prisoner and Bodyguard.
Ramos – Arcane Reservoir, Electric Summoning, Field Generator
Johanna – Bleeding Edge Tech
Schemes: Protect Territory, Outflank
Lady Justice – Implacable
The Judge – Lead-Lined Coat, Plant Evidence
Schemes: Protect Territory (revealed), Outflank
Pandora – Fugue State, The Box Opens
Schemes – Bodyguard (Candy), Take Prisoner (Lady Justice)
* * *
Turn one saw both Insidious Madnesses double-walking straight onto the treasure marker, the combination of a 7″ walk and Incorporeal allowing them to make a beeline for the objective. Ramos summoned an Electrical Creation, promptly blowing it up with his Electrical Fire and creating two Steam Arachnids from the wreckage. Both Death Marshalls headed towards the Arcanists and, paranoid by the presence of the lawmen, Johanna charged into one. He dodged her first attack, and while the second one connected she promptly flipped the black joker for her damage.
Meanwhile, the Witchling Stalker moved up and took a pot-shot at one Insidious Madness. Despite the Witchling Stalker flipping the Red Joker, the Neverborn creature still dodged the shot! Justice shot straight up the field, engaging most of Pandora’s crew (Kade and all three Sorrows). Finally, incensed by her attack on law enforcement, the Guild Austringer sent his bird at Johanna, dealing three damage to the Unionist.
Things began to get a bit more heated in turn two, with Candy moving nearer Justice. She attempted to Incite her, hoping to make the Guild master attack herself with her own sword, but Justice’s defence proved stronger than Candy’s willpower. On the other side of the board, Johanna finally managed to kill the Death Marshall, while the rest of the M&SU spread out. Kathryn’s Guild Guard opened fire into the scrum, their shots – through superb accuracy or dumb luck – missing Lady Justice and hitting the Sorrows.
Justice found herself Paralyzed by the Sorrow’s Doldrums, but the nearby Witchling Stalker removed the condition from her. Incensed and ready to fight, she swung her keen greatsword…. only to miss with two attacks before the third and final one connected, doing weak damage to a Sorrow. Attempting to reclaim the relic, one of the Insidious Madnesses picked up the treasure counter in the centre of the board. Finally, the Performer used her Siren Call on both the Insidious Madness, pulling one in close and killing it, and pulling the other one so that it dropped the treasure.
Deciding that ‘If you want a job done right, do it yourself’, Pandora picked up the treasure marker before casting Incite on a nearby Metal Gamin. In retaliation, Howard made a run at Pandora, but even his mighty Ml7 and 4/5/6 damage track wasn’t enough to put her down as he flipped the Black Joker (and the Red Joker, at the same time!) for one of his damage flips. Seeing the man/machine, Candy cast Incite on him, making Ramos’s prized creation hit himself twice (and forcing me to burn an 11 of tomes to save him!).
On the other side of the board, the Guild continued with their own mysterious agenda as the Rifleman finally took his shot, completely destroying a Sorrow with one bullet. Attempting to replicate the shot he fired again, but his bullet missed the mark and hit Lady Justice in the scrum of the melee – forcing Kathryn to burn a high card from her hand too to save Justice.
The Neverborn won the initiative flip for turn 4, and took advantage of this by having Candy finish off Howard Langston. In a desperate attempt to at least deprive the Neverborn of their prize the Performer used Siren Call on Pandora, forcing her to drop the treasure marker. Tom cleverly placed it in base contact with another of his Sorrows, though, ensuring that whatever the second Siren Call targeted wouldn’t be enough to deprive him of the all-important marker. If I lured the Sorrow off the marker, Pandora would walk back and pick it up, and if I lured Pandora further, the Sorrow would pick it up. A very good move!
The Guild’s Witchling Stalker attacked Baby Kade, hitting him twice with its shattered blade and killing the depraved woe! Her Austringer foiled my Outflank plans by killing a Steam Arachnid, though my Soulstone Miner unburied in the other corner to score me at least a couple of points. Meanwhile, the Judge dropped a couple of scheme markers, and with that (due to time constraints) the game came to a close with the treasure held in the grasps of the Neverborn.
But the Guild’s ‘Leave Our Mark’ strategy was revealed, earning Kathryn 1vp for each scheme marker of hers within 6″ of the treasure marker (or the model carrying the marker), earning her a mighty 4 victory points which, combined with the scheme points, led the Guild to an impressive 8-4-2 victory against the Neverborn and Arcanists respectively!
All told it was a good fun three-player scenario, and I didn’t feel that we had the usual issue of one player being hit harder than the other two. Not knowing what one player was trying to do all game was particularly good, since it added another level of depth to the scenario. I made a few tactical mistakes – often seems to be the cases when playing Malifaux after work, I suspect that by that point in the day my brain’s shut down – particularly not sending Steam Arachnids at Pandora early enough. In hindsight, I should’ve been summoning them and destroying them right from the start to force her to use her low Df stat.
In other hobby news, I see that Ironsides has been pushed back another week, which is disappointing as I’m really looking forward to using her in-game. My painting table’s rather full at the moment, and I’ve just received a little order of Willie and a Hoarcat Pride to add to the assembly line…