Friday, May 6, 2011

Walpurgis Night Tournament

The Walpurgis Night tournament, 'The Strange Case of Phineas Tillinghast', a 2-day Malifaux tournament in Bellingham this past weekend was, in a word, awesome.  
As advertised, the tournament was organized in the narrative style; the story begins with word of a man named Tillinghast who has made a name for himself as being able to predict when and where a Lesser Breach to Earth would form and has used this ability to get rich by selling his services to those looking to avoid guild tariffs.  Each scenario was a step along the path to discover where he was.  There was a multi-paragraph story to open the tournament package, and a few more paragraphs to set the stage for each game. I've included a very short summation of the plot with my game overviews below, but the full story was very cool indeed!  I'll try and provide a link to the tournament package later the organizer to posts it.
I have included a few photos with the blog, each taken during the game played or a photo of the opposing crew taken afterward.  I took many more and you can see them at
Round 1 – A Gentle Introduction
Story: You have found a lead on where you might be able to find Tillinghast, though you discover a rival also has this information, you must kill them all before seeking Tillinghast!
25ss vs. Perdita (Chris; BrotherSir)
Strategy: Shared Slaughter
Nicodem: Hold Out, Kill Protégé (Santiago)
Perdita: Kill Protégé (Crooked Man 1), Grudge (Crooked Man 2)
This game was what it said on the box, a slaughter fest!  Perdita shot and cleaved her way through a number of undead minions in this game, not the least of which was a Rogue Necromancy.  Perdita earned 1 strategy VP for killing more than me, but not more than double.  I earned a strategy bonus point for bringing his crew below half its starting SS size.  Both of us accomplished both schemes.
Result:  5-5 tie.

Round 2 – On the Trail of Tillinghast
Story: You have prepared an expedition to head out into the wilds in search of Phineas Tillinghast.  Other rivals have also set out, so you decide to try a little sabotage their expeditions...
30ss vs Sonnia (Evan; stark1261)
Strategy: Shared Supply Wagon
Nicodem: Assassinate, Breakthrough
Sonnia: Steal Relic, Breakthrough
I’m uncertain how we failed to get past I think it was turn 3 in this game; it didn’t seem to either of us that we had played slowly, but it resulted in neither of us achieving much of anything.  Lots of shooting and magic happened back and forth, not much combat (though Nicodem managed to paralyze the executioner and subsequently it was killed by a few mangy dogs, huzzah!).  Both players earned 1 strategy bonus vp for an undamaged wagon at the end of the encounter.  Neither player completed any schemes.
Result: 1-1 tie.

Round 3 – The Remains of the Camp
Story: You arrive at Tillinghast's abandoned camp.  As you look for clues as to what happened, and where Tillinghast went, you discover a rival crew also attempting to discover this information...
45ss vs Rasputina (Matt, goblyn13)
Strategy:  Adapted from a story encounter by Drew Littell
Nicodem: Grudge (Ice Gamin), Stake a Claim
Rasputina: Steal Relic, Frame for Murder (?)
Strategy was basically to (1)Interact with one of the four objectives in the middle of the board each turn and flip to see if you find a ‘clue counter’.  A player with 3+ clue counters at the end of the game scores 3vp, the player with the most scores +1.   Highlight of the game for me was when the Dead Rider used mounted combat to get by Rasputina’s minion bunker, strike her, and then drag her out and away from most of her support.  She died a turn or two later.  Both of us managed to find 2 counters, so neither got any strategy points.  Nicodem managed only to complete the grudge by killing the gamin, and no other schemes were achieves by either player.  I was a little indecisive with the movement of a few models at key moments, which resulted in no minions able to Stake a Claim though it should have been an easy scheme.  
Result: 2-0 Win!

Round 4 – Into the Breach
Story: You have found notes in Tillinghast's camp telling of a device called the Resonator, which allowed him to know when and where a Breach would form.  Along with the notes, you find a map marking a stable lesser breach nearby.
25ss vs Sonnia (Ronald; Requiemofthewolf/Dark Alleycat/?)
Strategy: Modified Shared Claim Jump
Nicodem: Bodyguard, +2ss
Sonnia: Kill Protégé, +2ss
Fate smiled on Nicodem this game.  A handful of high-crows most rounds and seemingly endless flips of 10+ for anything remotely important to me. Strategy was a modified claim jump (players with full strategy VPs last round got their first Interact action as a (1) instead of a (2)).  The game was an absolute bloodbath, though IIRC by the end of turn 4 only Nicodem, a belle, a witchling stalker, and a large mound of corpse counters remained.  Turn 5 saw the belle and 3 new punk zombies standing atop the Lesser Breach. 
Nicodem scored 4 strategy VP (2 for more models in the breach than the opponent, +2 for the opponent having non), and 2VP for Bodyguard.  Sonnia was successful at Kill Protégé.
Result: 6-2 Win!
Looking through my photos I see I have failed to get any photos of the game!  It was late, and perhaps I was a tad hungry, and my brain melting, though its a shame, there were certainly some chances for some shots of epic scraps in this game.
It should be noted that due to my rather extreme luck that game, we decided to have a rematch after-hours with the same schemes/setup.  The game culminated with both crews hovering close-by the breach and Sonnia having used her ‘if I die I explode’ ability.  Well, she died, and oh man did she ever explode- IIRC killing all the remaining guild models and all but one of Nicodem`s crew.  Result of the second game was I think a 2-0 win for Nicodem. 

Round 5 – Tillinghast’s Refuge
Story: Coming through the lesser breach, you are disoriented and your soulstones feel muted and distant.  To locate Tillinghast, you must spread out adn search the area...
35ss vs Perdita (Andy, Android)
Strategy: Modified Shared Reconnoiter (SS could not be used except if a model has a spell or talent requiring its use and for re-flipping initiative; no healing/preventing, no boosting duels, etc)
Nicodem: Eye for an Eye, Surrounded by Death
Perdita: Steal Relic, Family Justice
We ended up with 3 disputed table quarters and the third controlled by Perdita (+1VP). Nicodem accomplished his Eye for an Eye scheme (+2VP) while Perdita managed to Steal the Relic from Nicodem- while surrounded by just about his entire crew (+2VP).  Perdita is a scary, normally if I manage to surround a master with Bolstered undead, eventually their hits start to go through and the master goes down before too long.  Instead, after Perdita walked herself into that trap she proceeded to survive there the rest of the game all the while picking off more of my minions each turn.  My critical error I think in this game was using the only 9+ crow I drew all game long to try and hit Perdita with the dead rider (attempting to drag her in amongst my crew to have their way with her).  The attempt failed and the dead rider was shot dead by Francisco (?), Perdita strolled into the trap I had planned anyway, and I never got another card that could have been used to summon anything (Rogue Necromancy would have been easy with so many corpse counters about).
Result: 3-2 Loss!

Round 6 – The Secret of the Resonator
Story: You discover what's left of Tillinghast.  His body intact, but his mind shattered. As you attempt to bring him back through the breach with you, he is torn apart by some invisible beast.  At least the resonator is still intact, if you can bring it back with you...
45ss vs Rasputina (Tony, tpenksa)
Strategy: Modified Shared Treasure Hunt (A large monster guards the Resonator ‘treasure’, can be controlled once per turn per player at the cost of a ss, and otherwise charge toward the resonator (or the one who carries it) and damage all in its path.
Nicodem: Steal Relic, +2ss
Rasputina: Grudge (unannounced), +2ss
I managed to gain control of the resonator early; with a necropunk leaping onto it and spending it’s 2AP to pick it up.  It was killed but used its slow to die action to drag the resonator a short distance toward my deployment zone.  A drawn out fight took place in the center of the board, Nicodem’s Fog barely managing to keep Raspy’s blasts from getting into the bulk of his crew, while raised minions held off the rest of the ice witch’s forces.  As time was called a crooked man held the resonator and was running towards my deployment zone, but failed to arrive ‘completely within’ the deployment zone so I achieved +2 VP for the scenario.  Rasputina achieved her Grudge (against Bete Noir) in the last turn, but only gained 1VP since the scheme was unannounced.
Result: 2-1 Win!

Overall, the tournament was a resounding success in my eyes, and I can't wait until the next one!  The narrative added a lot to the feel of each scenario and the tournament as a whole.  There were a goodly number of jaw-droppingly beautiful crews in attendance.  The players were all awesome, many whom I know from past Warhammer tournaments, but I still managed to meet 5 new players in my 6 games, with great sportsmanship all around.  The swag bags were awesome; laser-etched wooden tokens for corpse/scrap counters and scenario objective markers, a custom-sculpted Tillinghast Beast, 3 sculpted objective markers, and one F-ing sweet custom Malifaux Fate deck.  These things combined should have cost far more than the entry for the tournament, but JMGraham and the Bellingham Warhamsters worked their magic to give it all to each player for free.  On top of this, the prize table was very nice as well; two crew boxes (I believe it was C.Hoffman and Marcus?), a bundle of 4 friekorps clamshells, and a plethora of other clamshells; everyone got something, and I snagged a very nice Miss Pack!  
I'm sure I'm forgetting half the things that made the tournament awesome.  At the end of the day, it was a well run and fun event with lots of great people in attendance.