Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Malifaux Campaign

  Yesterday I mentioned that creativity and individuality were important to me in the game, the reason this is because it feels like you can develop your own story in the games we play. A while ago, in order to try and support this concept, I made (quickly, so I am sorry if the following rules are cumbersome) rules for a Malifaux campaign. It never kicked off. I am not too concerned about getting it started now. I don't think my local scene, because of all the new players, would be able to run this effectively. I was just wondering why it didn't work before. I think it might be because, despite how much I value the ability to make your own stories, people have become very attached to certain characters and stories that already exist in Malifaux. I would love to hear whether people thought this was the case and what people think of the campaign. here goes:

Malifaux Campaign

This campaign is designed to tell the story from humble beginnings to Master of Malifaux. Each player must select a single minion to lead their crew. This minion is paid for with their normal cost, unlike masters or henchmen when they are leaders, out of their total force cost of 30ss, however players may only chose minions or peons to be in their crew. This force may not be changed, but later you may add to your ‘pool’ (explained below). The leader is allowed to take a single upgrade, as if they were an enforcer and are treated henceforth as enforcers, but all upgrades are included in the allotted pool. Soulstones are not included in the ‘pool’. All players have a cache of 0.

The map is made up of sections. Each of these sections will be either neutral, or be influenced by one of the players. The more sections you have influence over, the more power your crew will have. Each player will have a base of operations, this may not be contested (see below) by opposing players. For each section connected to your base of operations, to be connected there needs to be an unbroken chain of influences sections between your base of operations and the section in question, will add to 5ss to your ‘pool’. Your ‘pool’ is the models you have available to you, your crew may change only with those models in your pool. Thus, the more sections you have, the more variety you have but not the larger force. Upgrades are included in this pool. 

Each map section will also have a business. This can be anything from mining to whoring. When you have the majority of each kind of business on the map you are said to have ‘monopoly’ of that business. Initially, crews are only allowed to have minions and peons selected (in addition to your character), but for each monopoly selected you increase the models available to your crew:

Number of monopolies
Available crew
Character level
SS of games
0 monopolies
Minions and peons
1 monopolies
2 monopolies
3 monopolies

Remember, players may only select their crew from what they have avallable in their pools. The Soulstone level of the games does not increase until all players have reached the relevant level (e.g. all Player’s characters must be a henchman before games are played at 40ss)

If a player has three monopolies, then they have won the campaign.

The campaign tracks a ‘character’ as they rise to glory, this is essentially the star of your show and allows you to develop something truly unique. Each player must pick one minion level model to use as their character but, as the table above shows, they count as an enforcer so may take one upgrade. Throughout the campaign the player must keep a tally of how many scenarios the character took part in, how many they survived and, if they died, who killed them (which player will do, but you can always keep a grudge going if you like). If they survived more than they died when you gain a monopoly you may select one rule from any model in your faction of the level you were previously (this can be an action or special rule) e.g. when you gain your first monopoly you may pick any enforcer level ability. If you died more than you survived, the player who killed your character the most may pick any special rule to add to your character from the faction (exactly the same as before). This upgrade is permanent, unlike the models you can recruit, so if you lose your monopoly you model remains the same level (and doesn’t go up again if you regain the number of monopolies).

 Each turn in Malifaux will result in a number of missions being generated. This number of missions is equal to the number of players divided by two, round down, and add one. E.g. if there were 4 people playing there would be 3 missions generated (4/2=2 2+1=3) but if there was 5 there would be 3 (5/2=2.5 round to 2 2+1=3). Each of these missions will be generated by flipping a card and comparing it to the relevant scenario in the chart provided in the story section of the Malifaux rulebook and flipping two cards for schemes just like in a normal game of Malifaux. Each player will then secretly select which mission they will involve their crew in and then reveal them at the same time. If more than one crew has selected the mission then all players must fight a battle based on the rules on the card. The person who wins the scenario, or the only player to choose it, may then select any section on the map to add to their influence. In addition to this, some missions will also have additional rewards which will be explained. Unless otherwise stated, these rewards will only effect the next scrap your crew is involved in (even if your next fights isn’t for another 5 rounds).

When you select a section for your crew to gain influence over you may select sections already controlled by another crew. In this case you are said to contest the section. In the next turn when missions are chosen the contesting player may not choose a mission, their crew is busy. Randomly generate a mission in the same way that the other missions are generated for the contested section. The defending player may, secretly, select either a mission or to defend their section and this is revealed at the same time as everyone else. If the defender does not chose to defend their section, then it is added to the attacker’s influence, otherwise a scrap is fought.   

Winning battles will also provide loot to the victor’s leader. The type of loot won in the mission is determined at the same time as the mission, so people know what they are fighting over. To generate simply flip a card and compare it to the table below. Remember that these only effect your leader and last for one game:

Black Joker
Cursed: This model may choose to reduce the damage by a friendly model within 6” by 1 and take 1 wound which may not be reduced or prevented in anyway.
From the Shaddows: This model may deploy anywhere on the table that is not within 6” of the opponents deployment zone. This model may not take interact actions on the first turn.
Armour +1: Reduce damage suffered by this model by 1, to a minimum of 1.
Prepared field: Any model which charges this model must take damage as if entering hazardous terrain.
Once per game, this model may gain the fast condition at the start of its activation
Select one piece of terrain on the battlefield in your next encounter, after determining deployment zones and who is in which zone, this terrain counts as hazardous for the rest of the game.
Hatred: Select one model in the enemies’ crew. Against this model you get positive attack flips.
This model may use soulstones in the next encounter
Distracted: Whilst the enemy leader is within line of sight of this model, it may not take interact actions
Companion: This model may activate as a chain activation if another friendly model finishes its activation within 6” of this model.
Accomplice: Another friendly model may activate as a chain activation if this model finishes its activation within 6” of it.
Infiltration: Pick one model in the enemies’ crew, this model has negative attack flips against this model for the duration of the encounter.
Empowered: At the beginning of this models activation it may add one to any of its stats. This bonus lasts until its next activation
Red Joker
Player may pick any after the game

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Plastic or Metal?

 So Malifaux folks on twitter may be reading much bemoaning the latest delay to plague the Gremlins. I, personally, am absolutely gutted by it, as I planned to take Gremlins to Heartfaux and this felt like it shattered the chance of that happening. I toyed with other options for a while, but in the end I have bitten the bullet and ordered the old alternative metal Somer figure shown below.

Alternative Somer, taken from the Wyrd webstore
  I really like the look of this model. I think I prefer it's stance compared to the one pictured in the artwork we have seen for the plastic Bayou Boss that is (might be) on its way. The question hit me when I ordered it, why had I bothered waiting at all? It's because I much prefer plastic models over metal models. Today's blog post was just going to be about why that is, also lots of pics of the gremlins I have been painting :D.

Proxy Bayou Gremlins made from 40k Gretchin
  Some time ago people would say that the detail is far superior on a metal model than on a plastic. However, not only do I think that is not the case anymore, but I don't see the reasoning behind it. I think I am a half decent painter, to blow my horn, but I have never felt that a plastic model did not present me with enough detail to make a cool looking figure. If I cannot discern the difference with my paintbrush, what use is this extra detail.

Gracie painted as a 'Oxford Sandy and Black' (my folks own pigs of that breed)
  The other major issue for me, and it is a blinder, is chipping. If I was to accept that metal models are more detailed and you are able to get a much better paint-job on them, for it would be pointless as your lovely work is going to be destroyed by chipping paint. Sure, there are many varnishes available but they don't all seem to work that well.

Burt Jebson - I have not seen Big Trouble in Little China
  Finally, metal models do not have the flexibility of plastics. Plastic models are often multi-part, so cope much better with conversions and dynamic positioning, which metal models definitely do not. For me part of making models is creativity and an important part if creativity is putting your own stamp on something. Anything that limits that is a major downside.

 With that I have now run out of newly painted gremlins to show you so I should probably go work on some more! I hope I have not been too negative today and although I seem very firm in my own belief, I would love to hear some contradicting viewpoints. Until then.

Monday, 28 April 2014

How to make a thatched roof

 So I am a little later putting this one out today because I am now back to work. Sorry about that. I received some compliments regarding my blog about how to make a crate and with an inflated ego I thought I would continue with how to make a thatched roof. Before we start, however, I thought I should point out that I did not come up with this idea, a good friend of mine, Ray Turner, pointed me in the right direction.

 First up, materials. You will need scissors, a mathematical compass, a stapler and staples and the most perfect of substances, PVA. You will also need teddy bear fur. Sounds very odd, but apparently historical gamers use it all the time for terrain. I got mine from here. You will also need some thin card, I used a cereal box.

First up you need to cut out your circles. The size of your circles will define how steep your roof is and you want to make sure there is plenty of overlap with the building you are putting it onto (I recommend about a centimeter on all sides).

Next up, you need to cut the fur to the same size circle and then staple it to the cardboard. Again, for the purposes of room for error, I would go slightly larger than the card seeing as this is the bit you want to see. I have done this in a different order, with a different method of attachment before, but I found it much easier to staple the fur to the card before you go any further. It's more robust and easier to work with. I recommend having the larger flat bit of the staple at the bottom, but I kept getting it the wrong way round and the fur will cover it anyway :p.

Next you need to cut a wedge out of your circle. Be careful, the point of the triangle needs to be in the centre or your roof will be a funny shape.

Next you need to staple the edges of the circle back together, so you make a cone. At this point I then mix the PVA with water and give the roof a couple of coats (leaving it to dry, obviously) so it has a bit more rigidity and will take paint a lot better (it's what decorators use it for, after all!) Hopefully in the end you will get something a little like this:

I have now done a few of these and with the crates and the board walk I have now made all of the terrain needed for the Bayou Board. Check it out:

This has also been painted now since this picture was taken. Hopefully I will get a photo on the board Nate is making for it up soon.

That's me for today, I was originally hoping to post some more of the Gremlin models I have painted but didn't have time before work. Maybe soon, or maybe I should stick with the program and just delay them some more :(. Anyway, until then.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

New toys

 I mentioned in the first post that I have Deadzone and Sedition Wars. I really would like to play these games but I don't know anyone that plays them already. It's not like there aren't gamers in my area, I could attend 5 different clubs if I wanted to and could afford the time and resources needed. The problem is how do I get gamers in my area to try new things?

A rebel from Deadzone, painted by Jen Truby

 Partly, it feels like a catch 22. I am a gamer, I paint models to play games, so if I don't play the game I won't paint. However people like how a game and its miniatures look, so if you don't get nice looking figures on the table gamers won't come looking. Also, with almost all clubs there is a 'critical mass' required to make a game a staple. People won't invest in something unless they know they can get games out of it, which in turn means other people won't invest. There is also the issue of knowing the rules. I have not really played either game, so don't know their mechanics very well. I am not exactly going to make a good teacher that way!

An enforcer from Deadzone, painted by Jen Truby

 It's not impossible to get new things started up though. Recently one of my local clubs, Worhamma, has picked up Malifaux and is doing very well. An escalation league has been started up to help people get into it and around 11-12 people play games for it each session! Fortunately, it had all of those previously mentioned elements in play. Nate Zettle, our local henchman, and I have been playing for a little while now so are able to teach what we know. We both have painted crews to be able to display, Nate having many. There was also the opportunity to play Malifaux at various events and a pre-made group for the Malifaux community in the North East, so there was some assurance that there will be people to play against. I would also like to mention, and thank, Worhamma's stirling effort to see the game kick off. It has been fantastic.

A Plague Dog from Deadzone, painted by me

When you haven't got these things, what can you do? Well for the sci-fi games I mentioned earlier I am thinking of running a couple of games with all my stuff. It doesn't need to be big, just a few of the gamers you know the best locally. I am fortunate to be able to field multiple factions of Deadzone and Sedition Wars so my opponent would not need to bring anything. I would explain that I did not have a in-depth knowledge of the rules, it would be a learn as we play sort of thing. Maybe I should ask others if there is something we should try out and make a day of it? With all these Kickstarters about, one would have thought there would be a few people with models for an unestablished game.

A strain from Sedition Wars, another one of mine

 I suppose in the end, what it really boils down to is simply ask. Ask people if they want to try it, and if they are interested let them have a go!

Goodies from Sedition Wars, it's Jen's again as you likely guessed

(P.S. Don't expect me to get started and review Sedition Wars and Deadzone any time soon. My local club has just started with Malifaux after all, I don't want to overload them!)

Friday, 25 April 2014

Gremlins is Awesome

 So as I have mentioned before, I have recently started playing with Gremlins in Malifaux. I have only being playing small, Henchman led games for the most part but I thought I'd share what I have learnt so far.

 Guns are cool. I have previously only played Neverborn and I was getting a bit sick of being constantly out-ranged. Now I have 3ss minions with a 12" range boomstick! Winner! O.K. They aren't the best shots in the world, more optimistic than anything, but the sheer fact that you can fire wildly in my opponents direction whilst they can do nothing is great. However, I am failing to get over the mindset of Neverborn and have been running into the fray only to get smushed. Even simply for scheme choice it makes you think. I took distract the other day, because I thought I would out-activate my opponent so would be easy. What I hadn't thought about was that I didn't want to get within arms reach of my foe. No points for that one!

 The reason I have been so enthusiastic about charging off to my doom is the large availability of AP in the faction. I find myself looking for reasons to burn wounds and go wild and I think that is a mistake. Wounds are essentially a resource for Gremlins and need to be used wisely (although gremlin wisdom is often found in the slurred words at the bottom of a moonshine jar). The lure of the slop hauler is strong. If I can just heal up that Gremlin later, what's the worry? The slop hauler's attack, though, is VERY good, surprisingly so, and I would just be wasting AP on what is likely a worse attack if I rely on him to heal up drunk gremlins.

 Finally, on the note of wounds, Gremlins die. Gremlins die lots. It may seem obvious but I came to the gremlins thinking I might actually indulge in the combat mechanics of the game, so would attempt to kill my opponent first. It is quite remarkable how many different ways the gremlins have of killing themselves. I should just need to not be surprised if my activation advantage is quickly lost under a pile of dead, if not optimistic, Greenskins.

That's all for now, as I have said I have not played many games with them, but I will try and pick this back up again later. Until then.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

How to make a crate

As I have said repeatedly now, I have been working on terrain for the Malifaux tournament #goodbadfated (when it has no spaces left, I will probably stop plugging it... probably). I have been asked by a few people to make some 'how to' guides for what I am doing. I have not done it because, honestly, I am a little nervous. I am not exactly the best hobbyist in the world so I don't think my advice is going to be useful for many. But, on the suggestion of my better half, I have decided to start with something simple. How to make a crate.

First of all, what stuff do you need? For mine I used some polystyrene, just the stuff you get in packaging kitchen supplies etc. You will also need PVA glue, the right hand of kings. You will need something to act as the cladding, I used coffee stirrers because they are cheap and plentiful, which I purchased here. I used a normal pair of modelling clippers to cut them up. One other important thing you will need is a hot wire cutter for cutting the polystyrene. You could make one, shown with the pic of the big wooden frame above made by Nate Zettle and kindly loaned to me, or you could buy one, like my plastic thing below. It's much easier to get straight lines with the one above, because it's fixed.

First thing you will need to do is make some polystyrene cubes. I am making the crates for Malifaux so I would recommend 1" cubes because the height of the terrain will then simply be how high you stack them.

next you will need to cut your coffee stirrers into 1" lengths. Don't cut them all up, you will need slightly longer ones later.

next simply PVA your sticks to the polystyrene, like shown in the picture below.

after that, cut some more sticks so that they were slightly longer than 1", just enough to reach the end of the boxes. The easiest way would be to simply hold the stirrers against your crates as you cut so you know what measurement you will need.

Finally, attach the last of your sticks perpendicular to the ones that are already there, but only a couple on each facing.

And there we have it, some crates ready for painting!

Honestly I think it's easy, but my girlfriend said that she would not have thought of doing it so it was worth posting a blog post about it. Hope it's useful to somebody.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Narrative vs Balance

 There have been a few blog posts up recently about terrain and balance in Malifaux and, considering I have been doing a lot of work recently on getting boards ready for #goodbadfated on May 24th in Sunderland (shameless plug :p), I thought I would chime in with my own thoughts. This then will lead onto my thoughts on narrative gaming.

 The common rule of thumb with Malifaux terrain, it seems, is that a third of the board needs to be covered with terrain. This terrain, to ensure the game is as balanced as possible, needs to be broken down into things that block line of sight etc.

 Now don't get me wrong, I think it is important to have a balanced game. I think for me terrain, of all things, should really aim to simply bring the game to life. Take, for example, the stereotypical western board you find in Malifaux (as a sub point, I finally found out why western terrain is used in Malifaux while reading the old rulebooks for fluff. It always seemed odd to me before). I think that for balance purposes there should probably be some forests of some kind and maybe some strewn boxes about the place. But in order to make the scene more tangible I think that there should really be a central unblocked main road running between two columns of buildings. You can imagine the Ortegas with hands floating over the holsters in such an environment. If you stress too much about terrain balance and I think that the board can become soulless.

 I also think, however, that making things slightly uneven leads to a more visceral gaming experience. For me the most memorable moments of any game are those when I have beaten the odds, when the underdog has triumphed over adversity. Obviously, there is a balance to be struck though. Make things too uneven and it will be a walk over and it will be no fun for anyone. But the aim of the balance is to make things fun and the way to do that, for me, is to provide room for the narrative of the game to develop.

It almost feels like I am contradicting myself from a few posts back. There I said that calling other players 'filthy' was bad because it undermined the triumph one felt when they won their game. If the game was not balanced, the victory was not theirs. This is true, I am not denying this, as I have said above a measure of balance and narrative needs to be included. The key point, however, is that you want to triumph over adversity, to create a cool story and to feel like you are truly challenged, and both players need to feel that.

 I feel like I am spinning round in circles with what I am saying so I will just summarize and conclude. Terrain should be narrative in focus, not obsessed with balance. Balanced gaming and narrative gaming are naturally opposed, equality does not lead to gripping story lines. It is important, however, to let both players feel like they have a story to tell and challenges to face.

Do what you want.

Thus far my entries into the blog have been eclectic at best. I have not attempted to try and make a focus to the blog for a reason, and it is the same reason I have tried to avoid forcing myself to do hobby. You're much better off just doing what you want to do.

It could just be me, but I find if I ever feel like I 'have' to paint some models or do something else I immediately put off. Sometimes having something to aim for is beneficial. Knowing that I need painted gremlins for heartfaux, the Malifaux tournament in York, for example, does provide some impetus. If it ever gets to the point, however, where I feel I am running low on time for an upcoming event, I simply cannot bring myself to put brush to figure.

So what should we do about this? In my opinion it is best to do nothing. It is a revolution for me, previously I have doggedly attempted to force myself to keep going so that I no longer enjoy the project and it is not well painted. The hobby, however, is a hobby! We do it for our enjoyment, nothing else. If you're not enjoying it, don't do it, you will probably go back to it anyway.

The last point is what worries me the most. I hate the idea of hobby projects being left, long forgotten, and I am worried that will happen more often if I follow this thought process. I am now convinced this is not the case though.

Yesterday I was feeling ill, so had a day off from applying for summer jobs. I had an awful night sleep, so was basically a zombie, but I hate not doing things. I needed something mind numbing. Some of you may remember from an earlier post that I am making terrain for #goodbadfated, the Malifaux tournament in Sunderland, but had gotten sick of looking at coffee stirrers. What a perfect time to get stuck back in with that!

My WIP on some Bayou crates

 Previously I had been worried about this project; if I didn't do the mind numbing job when I didn't want to, would it ever get done? It just goes to show that if you just do what you want you'll be happier and, in all likelihood, you'll probably get more done!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


I have always fancied writing rules for games. I enjoy tweaking scenarios and making campaigns etc. The problem I have is that there are already so many different games that cover different things that I don't feel there is any gap that needs to be covered. Regardless, I enjoy doing it, so every so often I type up some ideas that have been running around my head. Rather than have them simply take up space on my hard drive, I thought I could 'publish' them here so people can have a go if they fancy it. I don't have the time or the opponents to play test these games, so they will all require work, but if someone somewhere enjoys them it will be better than nothing.

I have not done much proofreading because I am feeling awful and ill, apologies.

Anyway, here goes...


Designer’s notes: I designed DUEL with a few basic concepts in mind. Firstly, comparing statistics and then adding a randomly generated number for a combat mechanic does not get the players involved to a sufficient depth, in my opinion, in a skirmish level engagement. Statistics are often created for characters based on rank, race, experience etc. which I believe does not 1. Represent people’s lack of knowledge in combat situations and 2. Does not represent the level of variation that one can find in almost any category in the universe. Lastly, the system is based on stories and other things that suggest that sword play and the like is based on successfully predicting and interpreting the move of your opponent.
 It is a game intended for multiple players, where each player has a single character. I hope it works and proves enjoyable.


DUEL characters are all made in the same way. Each character is made up of 13 different cards. Each of these cards will represent a statistic. There are four statistics: Strength, Speed, Endurance and Dexterity. If you have not got access to a pack of cards with these stats on them, you can use normal playing cards using clubs as strength, diamonds as speed, hearts as endurance and spades as dexterity. A character, before the game, is built by choosing between one and ten cards from each statistic (if you are using playing cards, the number has no purpose) into a ‘deck’ of a maximum of 13 cards. The total number of cards a character has in a statistic is known as its exhaustion limit, the limits of their capacity. Though the mechanics of the game will be explained in more detail later, an overview will be provided here to give you some how idea how these statistics are used in the game.
·         Strength: As one might imagine, the physical prowess of the combatant. Strength is used to work out whether a character can interact with weapons found upon the field of battle and how much power they can unleash with their attacks and withstand with their defence.
·         Speed: A representation of athleticism, speed is used to represent how fast a character can move upon the field of battle and also the capacity of the warrior to unleash an unending tirade of blows upon the enemy.
·         Endurance: Either through tenacity, adrenaline or being ‘made of sterner stuff’ many warriors can withstand a number of minor blows, or assaults upon their senses, before they are laid incapacitated and this in DUEL is represented by Endurance.
·         Dexterity: Skill with a weapon is not gifted to you, it is learnt and the level of knowledge in these arts is represented by dexterity. Warriors which have more skill will be able to predict attacks. It is also used to represent balance and thus impacts falling, climbing, jumping and other things.
Your ‘deck’ of cards that is used to make up your character is kept secret to begin with, making up your hand, apart from one of each stat which is revealed at the start of the game. At certain points during the game you will be told to reveal cards from a chosen statistic, to do this simply place the cards of that stat in a pile in front of you. These cards are not put back into your deck once revealed and are left for all to see. All revealed cards should be organised into piles so that it is clear to your opponents how many of each stat you have revealed.

The Turn

The game of DUEL is organised into a series of turns, representing seconds in real time, which itself is organised into a number of phases as follows.
1.       Reveal Phase
Players take it in turns, starting with the player with the lowest speed, to reveal any number of their stats.
2.       Motion Phase
Players now take it in turns to move their characters, starting with the player with the highest speed, in one of the following ways:
·         Run: the character may move in any direction a number of inches equal to their speed on level ground
·         Climb: the character may move in an direction a number of inches equal to their dexterity on uneven ground
3.       Melee Phase
Any character involved in a fight will now resolve that fight. If a character is not involved in a fight they may interact with terrain.

Dual reveal

In the first phase of the game, and likely many others after that, it is likely that players will be told to reveal things in order of lowest to highest speed and they will have the same speed. In this case players will need to secretly select which cards to reveal and then reveal them at the same time. One way of doing this is selecting cards under the table, putting them in the palm of your hand and then place your palm on top of the table.


Battlefields for DUAL look the best when they are plastered in bits and pieces of model ‘terrain’ as it is known, representing the environment in which it takes part. These will have an impact on the game in a number of ways, listed as follows, and their impact should be agreed by players before the game begins.
Motion Terrain
Terrain, as one might imagine, can impact on the way that combatants traverse them. To simplify matters, DUEL, organises terrain into three categories.
Level ground: Level ground is stuff such as hills and fields. Things that will not prove too much of a challenge to athletic warriors. Characters move across level ground with a ‘run’ action.
Uneven Ground: such as steep rocks or cliffs, trees, walls, rivers and the like. To put things simply, if it requires you to go up or down, it’s uneven, and must be travelled using climb. This also include things such as gaps inbetween cliffs that you would need to jump across.
Blocking: Blocking terrain represents things such as the sea, lava etc. Characters may not traverse this terrain.
If you have sufficient move, with run or climb, to reach the other side of the type of terrain you were travelling then the character is placed so the back edge of their bases touches the edge of the terrain. They may not proceed any further this turn.
Melee Terrain
Terrain is also used by combatants to destroy or surprise their opponents. Models that are not involved in a fight may interact with terrain if it defined as either ‘destructible’ or ‘projectile’ in the melee phase if their base is touching it. A piece of terrain that is defined in either of these ways should also be given a ‘weight’ value. If a piece of terrain is ‘destructible’ then it is removed if a model with a strength equal to or more than the weight of the terrain interacts with it. If terrain is projectile then a character in base contact may launch it a number of inches equal to their strength minus the weight at another character. This character must reveal a number of endurance equal to the strength of their enemy, added to the weight of the projectile, minus their dexterity or be removed from the game. If the target was able to reveal enough endurance cards to not be removed from the game, then the projectile is removed, if not then place the projectile where the target character once stood.


At this point, I think it is worth pointing out that there are no rules in DUEL that stop a player measuring any distances on the battlefield.


DUEL is primarily a game of melee combat, so the main focus of the rules are found here. Firstly characters are only considered engaged in melee when they are within 2” of each other. Once engaged, characters may not voluntarily leave the melee unless they have used an action to allow them to do so, as will be explained below. Fights are resolved in the following order:
1.       Acting player reveals speed
The acting player, i.e. the player whose turn it is, may reveal any number of their speed cards now. Revealed cards are placed in front of the player and represent their character’s current speed statistic, which is abbreviated simply to speed.

2.       Starting with the character with the lowest speed proceeding to the highest, players may take it in turns to reveal speed.
Now all other players, that is excluding the acting player, may choose to reveal any number of speed cards. The player who has the lowest speed must reveal first, then the next lowest and so on until all players have had a single opportunity to reveal their speed cards.

3.       Collect dice equal to speed and select actions secretly.
Characters must now select a number of dice equal to their revealed speed. In the case of a fight containing more than 2 characters, each character will be allocated a colour and characters must take a number of dice of each colour, apart from their own, equal to their speed. Then, secretly, players must place their dice so that the number corresponding to their chosen action is showing upwards, actions to be explained below, in the order which they would like them to be performed. In a fight containing multiple characters, players must also select the target of their action with the relevant coloured die.

4.       Reveal actions
Once everyone has selected their actions, all players reveal their actions simultaneously.

5.       Starting with the character with the lowest speed proceeding to the highest, players may take it in turns to reveal speed.
Players now have another opportunity to reveal scheme cards, starting with the player with the lowest speed again. This determines the order in which actions are carried out.

6.       Each player may now reveal any number of dexterity cards, starting from lowest to highest. The player with the highest dexterity may cancel one action this fight.
When an action is removed, it is simply taken from the dice it is with. A character does not ‘do nothing’ when It would have come for that action to be performed, but simply moves onto the next action. For example: I have three actions, representing 1, 2,3 and my opponent has 3, representing 3,5,3. I reveal the highest dexterity so I am allowed to remove my opponent’s first action (3). This would mean that, assuming my opponent goes first, their first action would be 5, then I would go next with 1, then they 3, then I would do 2 followed by 3.

7.       Starting with the player with the highest speed, each player resolves their first action.
In the case of a draw, the last player to reveal their speed is the person who goes first.

8.       Repeat step 7 until all actions are complete.  


A fight in DUEL is made up of actions. Each action has a corresponding number, which relates to the number on a die as explained above. The actions are as follows:
1.       Swing High:
The character launches an attack on the upper body, neck or head of their opponent. The acting character, i.e. the character making the swing, must now reveal any amount of strength cards. Their target must reveal any number of endurance cards equal to their opponent’s strength, if they reach their exhaustion limit they are killed and removed from the game. If their opponent’s last action in this fight was the ‘block’ action, they may reveal any amount of strength cards before revealing endurance and after they have done so, reduce the number of endurance cards that need to be revealed by one per their strength.
2.       Swing Low: Aiming to maim, the character attacks the legs of their opponent. The acting character, i.e. the character making the swing, must now reveal any amount of strength cards. Their target must reveal any number of endurance cards equal to their opponent’s strength, if they reach their exhaustion limit they are killed and removed from the game. If their opponent’s last action in this fight was the ‘evade’ action, they may reveal any amount of dexterity cards before revealing endurance and after they have done so, reduce the number of endurance cards that need to be revealed by one per their dexterity.
3.       Block.
Details of the effects of Block are found in ‘swing high’ but suffice to say the action protects the user, somewhat, from upper body shots until their next action.

4.       Grapple.
A term used to represent the number of weaponless attacks a character can make during a fight, such as choking, the character used brute force instead of a blade. The attacking character must reveal any number of strength cards, followed by the defender. The defending player must reveal a number of endurance cards until they reach their endurance exhaustion point and are removed from the game, or the difference between each player’s strength is met.

5.       Evade
Details of the effect of evade are found in ‘swing low’ but simply put a character will reduce damage from subsequent swing low attacks by their dexterity until their next action.

6.       Retreat
The character is placed 2.5” directly away from their closest opponent when it would be their next action. The character is ignored for the rest of the purpose of this fight. See targetless actions for more information.


 Almost all of the elements of a fight in DUEL revolve around revealing cards and the game is designed to show the more cloak-and-dagger angle to combat. However, experienced Brawlers would be able to recognise when their opponents are at their limits. This is represented by exhaustion.  When a character has revealed all of their cards from a certain characteristic, they are said to have exhausted that stat. When a stat is exhausted you must demonstrate this to your opponent, the easiest way of doing so it turning your pile of revealed cards for the stat ninety degrees. The only exception to this is endurance, when you have exhausted your endurance your character has been defeated and is removed from the game immediately.

Targetless Actions

There are two ways in DUEL to end up with ‘targetless actions’. The first is if your opponent has been removed from the game and the second are if the intended target has retreated. When an action has no target the action is wasted and the character’s action skipped.

Sunday, 20 April 2014


I am worried this is going to be a bit of a hobby moan from me. It might be because I have this new soap box has gone to my head, if so do please let me know, but I am going to take this opportunity to talk about hobby banter. First, though, I'd like to start with something a bit more positive and a picture of my proxy Francois until the real shady becomes mine.

 Anyway, so what of this moan? Well I think sometimes it can go a little far and it affects the people you are playing with. I am not saying don't do it, it's hilarious and it makes for a friendly atmosphere when done right. What is bugging me, when it gets down to it, is 'Filth'. It's not really that specific term, it's just the accusation that the opponents force is, by nature, far stronger and has given them an unfair advantage. It's often said in jest, and often not really taken seriously, the problem is if it is said constantly then it undermines your opponent.

 The game we play is competitive, I don't mean 'win at all cost' etc. but more that you challenge each other and mentally compete for victory. You can respect an opponent who successfully outmatched you and the victor has felt like they have achieved something. Unbalanced forces completely undermine this, as does the accusation of lack of balance. All pride in victory is stripped. Even if you don't mean it, if said enough it can really undermine people. On Malifools, for example, you hear of Joel Henry starting his 'Rainbow Challenge' because he felt, somewhat, that because Neverborn were accused of being 'broken' in the last edition he needed to prove himself. Mike stopped playing McMorning, who he loves, and started on Thunders because he was accused of using the master as 'a crutch'. I think it affects many negatively and I would like people to think about how what they are saying is affecting their opponent as well as the game.

 As you might imagine, I have my own axe to grind. I have a Lynch Malifaux crew, which I loved painting and love the background and story behind. I am put off playing him because I have heard many people saying he is 'broken'. My enjoyment of the crew has been undermined. I start to think about ways I can play him so that people don't think that, take a different totem to Huggy for example, but I will just being shooting myself in the foot. I don't win all, or even many of my games with him. One opponent called me filthy and then tabled me in turn 3.

I think I have been negative enough for now. As always, I'd love some feedback, it's why I am doing this after all. Have you ever felt this way? One thing in particular I would like to hear is how often people should think I should make entries, is once a day too often? Anyway, until next time.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Dark Breach Beatdown Report

 As promised, this entry will provide a quick review of the 'Dark Breach Beatdown' tournament games I played. There is so much information to go through it's hard to know what to pick, but someone asked me to go through the crew I used for the tournament, so that's what I will focus on.

Game 1

 Lynch: woke up with a hand, endless hunger, expert cheater
 Hungering Darkness (huggy): addict, aether connection (which I have just realized I couldn't have taken, but it wasn't actually used)
 3 Illuminated
 Mr Graves
 Mr Tannen: depression
 Full Cache

 The game was reckoning, close deployment. The schemes were: Assassinate, Breakthrough, cursed object, take prisoner. I took breakthrough (because putting 2 scheme markers within 6" of the other persons deployment simply meant their half of the board) and Assassinate (because I dislike the other schemes when reckoning is in play). My opponent was the mighty James Doxey, who I must say was an excellent opponent and very friendly. We had a really close game, I simply abandoned one flank (there was a huge building in the middle that blocked everything) so he claimed Breakthrough, but getting Mr. Tannen to give 'blocked: can't use soulstones' to Kaeris and then unleashing final debt from Lynch bagged Assassinate. Unfortunately I couldn't get my scheme markers down so I lost 7-6. It was a fantastic game.

Game 2

Lynch: woke up with a hand, endless hunger, expert cheater
Mr Graves
Mr Tannen: Depression
2 terror tots
Full Cache

The game was squatter's rights, corner deployment. The schemes were: distract, power ritual, plant explosives, outflank. Both me and my opponent took power ritual (because it becomes very easy in either corner deployments) and plant explosives (because it is important in tournaments to grab early points). I played against my local henchman, Nate Zettle, a really nice guy who gave me a really enjoyable game. The actual result was almost predetermined. I managed to scrape a win simply because he had forgotten the doppleganger can interact while engaged, so I bagged an early squatters rights point, but we were both so fast and with enough scheme shenanigans that our schemes both bagged 6 easy points. The final score was 8-7 to me.

Game 3

Lynch: woke up with a hand, endless hunger, expert cheater
Mr Graves
Mr Tannen: Depression (your probably noticing a trend by now ;) )
2 depleted
2 gupps

The game was turf war on standard deployment. The schemes were: protect territory, deliver a message, vendetta and I can't remember. I took vendetta and deliver a message mainly because I was afraid of Lucius upgrade to steal scheme markers at the end of the game, which is foolish because I should have checked whether he had taken it! My opponent took a gun line and we played on a pretty open board. There was a centre corridor which contained only one skip and a couple of tank traps for cover (I know, not exactly Malifaux terrain). Unfortunately because my opponent kept both Lucius and Dashel in his deployment zone and because we only played 'til turn 3 I didn't grab any scheme points (next turn I would have claimed around 5 I think) but managed to stop my opponent getting any turf war points. Final score was 4-2 to my opponent.

So overall my games were all pretty close. My final differential was -2. I knew I would not place highly, but wasn't expecting second last! I guess there was only 11 players in the tournament so there wasn't many people who lost 2 games and some of those might have got the bye (sp?). All in all I am happy I had some good games.

For those who have never gone to any Malifaux tournaments I am just going to use this opportunity to soap box. Malifaux tournaments are great. You may have disliked the competitive nature of other wargaming events you have gone to, people seem more focused on winning than having fun. The Malifaux tournament scene is not like that. It's very friendly and out for a laugh. I can't recommend it highly enough. Big thanks to the Malifaux scene for inspiring me to give such high praise. Also thanks to John Wharton for organizing the 'Beatdown' event and Greg Piskosz for actually running it :p. 

 I hope this proved an interesting read and told you the information you wanted to hear, next time I want to discuss competitive gaming in general and banter. Until then.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Painter or Gamer?

Hi again,

First off, sorry for the spelling and grammar mistakes in the last post. I hate proof reading.

 I don't know how often I will be able to put these up, I originally thought every day but that didn't last long :p. I thought it best, instead, to make use of inspiration when I had it and get on with some hobby. Yes, I know, last time I was saying I had hit a block and I wasn't sure what to do hobby wise and now I am struck with a passion for painting. That's the topic I really wanted to talk about today, but first I am going to throw down some pictures of hobby progress:

Above is my test model for upcoming Gremlins. Inspired by 'Henchman Lee', he is made from 40k Gretchin with the nose carved off and a little green stuffed hat. The greenstuff is shoddy, I have never been any good with it, and the hat doesn't fit right on his head (which is why he is the test model) but overall I am really happy with it. What do you think?

 Where did this gremlin come from? I know I said last time that I was waiting on the new Gremlin boxes before I get started but that wasn't exactly true. I had built some of these toe-rags before hand, so I had no excuse not to get started whilst I wait for 'The Bayou Boss' and 'The Kin' to arrive. What was really holding me back was that I felt I couldn't play any games with them. Fortunately at Worhama, my local club in Sunderland, an escalation league has started and I jumped on the opportunity. The game went well, it was very silly and lots of fun, but that's not what I wanted to talk about today. The reason I am telling you this is because this, to my mind, proves I am a 'Gamer'.

 Obviously I am a 'Gamer' in the traditional sense because I enjoy playing tabletop and computer games, but what I mean is that I am more of 'a Gamer' than 'a Painter'. I enjoy painting, once I get into it (my real passion is trying out new things, such as strange colour combinations) and I am fortunate to have been awarded a few awards for what I have done. Some people have called me, because of this, a 'Painter', but I have told them, rather ungraciously looking back on it, that they're wrong. I only paint models to play games, if I do not get to play games with my models then I quickly lose interest. My talented girlfriend on the other hand is, to my mind' 'a Painter' (you can see some of her figures here). Jen purchases figures just to paint them, she likes the idea of gaming but it is only of secondary interest. For me this is how the two are defined. If you have ever written an army list before putting paintbrush to figure, bought a model for its rules rather than sculpt, or even looked for a proxy to fit a rule set rather than model to rules, then you are a gamer.

As an aside, there are obviously shades of grey (within which I would place myself) but I would be interested to hear what others thought on the topic.

 Why does this matter anyway? For me it is important that you know what you like. Hobbyists often hit slumps, painters blocks etc. and it can seem that there is no way out. If you know what really drives your hobby, then you know how to get your passion back. When I made the last post I felt like I was in that slump, but I knew as soon as I got some Gremlin figures on the table I would be alright. I would be interested to know if other people found the same thing, or whether they knew of other ways to spark inspiration in a gamer. Please comment with your thoughts.

Right, I think that's about enough of me for now! Today I have a tournament in Seaham 'Dark Breach Beatdown' so, due to my already mentioned passion for gaming, I imagine I will want to write up a review of the day when I get back. I am treating this as yesterday's blog post, it is early enough from where I am sitting, so you may even get another one today. I would rather not make this a chore and/or full of empty words, so no promises. Anyway, until then.

Thursday, 17 April 2014



I have no idea what I am doing.

I have often thought blogs were an odd creature, why would people want to know anything about what I do? I am pretty mundane, a geek through and through with odd quirks, but not a terribly interesting person. I am also a member of numerous facebook groups and kick around on twitter and a couple of forums, what would I need to communicate on a soapbox that I can't do there?

I think what has swung me around is blogging is a way of getting feedback and advice. I am generally a quite guy, but it is very useful to get things off your chest and get people to look at things for me from a different perspective.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I think it needs to be said that this will be a miniature gaming and painting hobby blog, which obviously isn't very clear from the title and stuff (it's my twitter and forum name to avoid confusion).

A little hobby history.
 I have been gaming for about 15 years and all but the last couple of those years have been exclusively Games Workshop. I worked for Games Workshop in Swansea and Oxford. I have played almost all of the GW games that existed during that time. I have also dabbled in Warmachine, but didn't enjoy it. My hobby love at the moment is Malifaux. In addition to this I have Sedition Wars, Bolt Action and Deadzone. I am currently waiting on the Kingdom Death KS, the Arena Rex KS, Myth KS, I have just backed the Mercs Recon KS and also the Arceworlde KS.

What I am doing hobby-wise at the moment? Well I have just reached the end of a Malifaux crew shown below: (for more pics, look here)
I have been working on some terrain for a Malifaux tournament I am going to in Sunderland, 'The Good, The Bad and The Fated' (for more info on that, look here):
However, I feel like I have hit a hobby wall. Malifaux is currently working on bringing out a whole bunch of figures and rules for it's game, but it is coming out little at a time and I feel like that is holding me back from doing more with the game. I am a bit sick of looking at coffee stirrers, so I am taking a little break from work on the Bayou board. I think when I get my grubby claws on the Gremlins things will work out fine though ;)

 Well I think that's enough of an essay for one day, I'll hopefully be posting regularly about different things from my current painting to battle report and games design concepts. I look forward to getting some feedback on what you'd like to see!