Apologies for the lack of a post last week – real life has intruded big-time, and I just haven’t been able to get anything done gaming-wise (except placing a GenCon order with Wyrd, of course). Various personal things have been taking up all my time, not least of which is the process of moving house.
So, one evening last week I finally found an hour or so for my favourite wargame. My wife has kindly allowed a dedicated gaming room in our new house – however, as I haven’t got a table yet, I’ve had to commandeer the kitchen table for games. It is a very convenient 3ft by 3ft, with extendable side parts for cards and the like (we did try getting it upstairs to the gaming room – turns out our staircase is not 3ft wide…).
So, on a balmy summer’s evening in the Union-friendly western district of Malifaux, Ramos’s hand-picked men are investigating the disturbing rumours of a new Resurrectionist menace plaguing the M&SU supporters. And so the stage is set for the Matriculation scenario, as my doughty Arcanists prepare to take on the vile creations of the diabolical Professor Albus Von Schtook!
For those of you who don’t have the University of Transmortis story encounter box, Matriculation is a single-player scenario that pits a small crew against Von Schtook’s monstrous creations. The goal is to survive – and, at the end of turn 6, I’ll score 1VP for each model within 6″ of the table edge opposite my deployment zone. Not too difficult, until you consider that after each model activates, it’s almost guaranteed that an Iron Zombie will spawn right next to them!
With this in mind, I reckoned I wanted three things – mobility, healing, and killing power. I took The Captain as my leader since, apart from being a badass model, he’s also remarkably mobile and helps the rest of the crew move around too. His Airburst should help push my models away from the Iron Zombies, and his Wind Wall will really slow them down (being zombies, and not all that bright, the Iron Zombies have very predictable movement patterns). I went for a couple of upgrades, namely Patron’s Blessing so I could cast Airburst more, and the ever-present Arcane Reservoir.
To support him, I went for Johan(na). She brings a reliable source of healing, and having a second Relic Hammer to batter these undead monsters can only be a good thing! Sure, her healing action is a (2) action, but then moving around is what The Captain’s Airburst is for.
And finally, I took my old favourite Howard Langston. Actually, Howard’s on another mission for Ramos, and so instead his sister Harriet Langston has joined my crew. By a bizarre coincidence, she too was involved in a near-fatal accident, and Ramos outfitted her in a similar way to her brother. I reckon Ml 7 with a weak damage of 4 should cut through any persistent zombies who make it through The Captain’s delaying tactics!
Turn one saw Johanna moving first, taking a double walk action to try and push forward. The Student of Sinew promptly spawned as she finished her activation, but Harriet Langston was ready. Using her Nimble ability she closed the gap before discarding a low card to Flurry. The first attack missed, but the second and third hit, leaving the creature on two wounds. As Langston finished her activation, the Student of Steel appeared. Finally, The Captain activated, using his Airburst to push Johanna out of melee. Raising a buffeting Wind Wall between the zombies and Johanna to slow them down, he used his Casting Expert to send another Airburst pushing Harriet Langston away from the summoned zombies. As he finished his activation and turn 1 ended, the Student of Viscera appeared to join its companions…
I activated Harriet Langston first, who Focused before attacking the Student of Viscera. I cheated in a 12 from my hand for a straight flip, before cheating in the Red Joker for damage to one-shot the zombie and free up Langston, who used her Nimble to move further up the field. Flipping a card for the zombies, it was the Student of Sinew who activated. The Captain’s Wind Wall proved its worth, forcing the student to move at half speed towards Johanna.
In response, Johanna swung her hammer at the undead construct. Despite drawing she still only suffered a single negative to damage thanks to her Relic Hammer, and somehow flipped two face cards to do severe damage. Her second attack obliterated the creature, but trouble loomed as the Valedictorian appeared…
In response The Captain charged the Student of Sinew, determined to put it down. His own Relic Hammer struck home, dealing severe damage and setting the monstrosity alight. The second attack missed, but I decided it was worth cheating in a 9, and promptly dispatched the creature. Finally, he used his Casting Expert upgrade to Airburst Johanna nearer Langston so she could benefit from her Solidarity ability.
Flipping a card for the zombies, I flipped a mask and the Valedictorian activated, wickedly sharp dissectors lashing out at Harriet Langston. Both attacks struck her, dealing moderate damage twice that was slightly tempered by her armour.
Turn 3 saw Harriet Langston activating first, attacking the Valedictorian. I used a high ram card from my hand for the Decapitate trigger, and the Valedictorian was cut down in a single blow. She walked forward with her remaining actions, but appropriately the Student of Steel spawned next to her. In an attempt to destroy it before it could activate, The Captain used Airburst to push Johanna nearer to Langston before charging the undead construct. Once again his Relic Hammer proved to be invaluable, dealing moderate damage on the first hit before flipping the Red Joker for his second damage flip, the ancient weapon making short work of the undead abomination. The Student of Viscera appeared next to Langston, and in an attempt to heal her, Johanna used Open Revolt. Typically I flipped a weak card, only healing her of one damage. And finally, back for retribution, the Valedictorian dropped out of the skies to land next to Johanna.
I started turn 4 with Harriet, who discarded a card to Flurry against the Valedictorian. Typically, fate intervened and she flipped a ram on her first attack, promptly decapitating the Valedictorian and wasting the remaining attacks. She scuttled around the Student of Viscera as the Student of Steel spawned nearby, making way for The Captain to charge. With a roar of laughter and a gale force gust of wind The Captain obliged, making use of the opening to hurtle towards the Student of Viscera. His Relic Hammer hit home, and once again the double positive twist proved fatal as I was able to cheat in a severe damage followed by a moderate to destroy it. Barely breaking stride he sent a gust of wind pushing Langston towards the table edge, just as the Valedictorian appeared again.
Attempting to emulate her companion’s success, Johanna discarded a card to Flurry against the Student of Steel. Her first strike hit home with a bone-crushing blow, but the twisted creature dodged the second attack. With a grunt of frustration, Johanna brought her Relic Hammer down in a two-handed blow, the final attack pulverizing Von Schtook’s creation.
The end of the game loomed closer with only two turns left. In an attempt to relieve the pressure from Langston, The Captain charged into the Valedictorian (having to cheat in a card to pass the Terrifying test). Both attacks hit home, doing severe damage twice and obliterating the undead creature. Attempting to keep his forces together he used Airburst to push Johanna closer to them, but he failed to meet the target number as the roaring gale subsided. The Student of Steel appeared next to The Captain, but Langston moved to engage both it and the Student of Viscera. Her first strike tore the head from the Student of Viscera to Decapitate it, and a lucky flip of another ram cut the Student of Steel down too, clearing the board of zombies. Of course, as her activation finished, the Valedictorian appeared once more…
Johanna simply walked twice, and the ever-persistent Student of Viscera spawned again.
The final turn began, with the Arcanists close to the board edge – albeit with a couple of Von Schtook’s creations between them. Langston went first, Flurrying against the Student of Viscera and cutting it apart. In response the Valedictorian activated, attacking her twice. I cheated in an 11 to dodge the first attack, but the second one struck the construct, dealing weak damage.
Seeing her companion under attack, Johanna charged in. Her first blow struck home to deal severe damage, but the winged beast swept aside and the second one only clipped her, dealing moderate damage.
The Student of Sinew appeared, but The Captain was set on finishing the Valedictorian. Steam vented from his jetpack as he flew into the fray, his Relic Hammer crushing through metal and bone alike to destroy the creature.
* * *
And so the game ended – with all three models within 6″ of the opposite board edge, I scored 3VP (which is a ‘fair’ score, according to Wyrd).
Thoughts? Apart from Relic Hammers being a must-have in this scenario, I suspect that if you were to aim for more VP, the scenario would get progressively harder as the Iron Zombies would be spawning and activating more frequently. Things did seem to go well for me, but with three rather powerful models I was able to severely wound (if not kill) the zombies as fast as they spawned. I’ll try and find time to give it another go, aiming for four or five VP to see how much of a difference it makes.
I’d also love to try the Mechanical Rider in this scenario – she is on order, so I’m just waiting for my FLGS to post her to me!