When I first looked at Malifaux, I was completely opposed to playing Ressurectionists. I don't know if it was because they were so overplayed locally, the oversaturation of zombies in pop culture as of late, the green box as opposed to a blue box, or what. But, as with all things, if I totally grief it, I'll end up loving it, and here I am writing a battle report after piloting Nicodem and his gaggle of gangrenous grunts.
As for my wife, she loves Neverborn through and through, always has and always will. The flavor of the Dreamer/LCB is by far her favorite crew in the game. So despite many warnings about his severe learning curve and rules complexity, she chose him as her post-learning process first crew.
We decided on a 30ss Scrap to get our heads around these new models. I flipped Contain Power as my strategy (which is a total headache against such a mobile master with my slow crew) and she flipped Claim Jump. The game hadn't even started and already I was a bit worried about the match-up.
Here's the list for those who want to play along at home.
Nicodem - 3ss Cache
Mortimer - 7ss
2x Canine Remains - 4ss
2x Rotten Belles - 8ss
2x Crooked Men - 8ss
I chose Hold Out and Stake a Claim as my schemes, announcing both for maximum pointage potential.
Dreamer/LCB - 5ss Cache
3x Daydreams - 6ss
Coppelius - 9ss
Stitched Together - 5ss
2x Alps - 9ss
She took Bodyguard Dreamer/LCB and Eye for an Eye as her schemes, also both announced. I puffed up some false bravado in regards to her taking Bodyguard when I had flipped Contain Power, yammering about how it was a daring move and blah blah blah, but if anyone can call my bluffs, it's the lady-gamer of the house. She knew Dreamer's mobility and my zombies' pokiness was a concern for me from the get-go.
I had spent some time in the afternoon piecing together a fancy little board for us to play on out of my single box of Buildings of Malifaux Terraclips, (y'all watched the review, right?) but we didn't do anything fancy other than the manor floorplan. No events, weather conditions, or special interactive terrain.
The board may be totally plain Jane, but look at those interior details!
We flipped standard deployment, and the wife gave me the right side of the picture up there. With only one immediately accessible entrance to the manor at my disposal, I piled a Belle, Mortimer, Crooked Man, AND Nicodem into the doorway. I then deployed the Canine Remains and remaining Belle and Crooked Man on the far far right of everything. Their job would be simple. Run up the side of the house and sit on the Claim Jump marker.
Dreamer has funny deployment, in that most (and by most I mean ALL sans totems) of his crew begins the game Buried, or out of play, only to be dreamt up exactly where they're needed in a later turn. So she placed Dreamer and his three Daydreams directly opposite my door rushing gang, and that was it.
I can't win initiative to save my life. Period. Ask Snowman. Even in our D&D game I am ALWAYS at the bottom of the list. So naturally, I was not taking the first activation.
Little happened on the first turn. My four zombies assigned to stay outside (no dogs in the house. All the drool... and you know, guts hanging out of them.) ran up the board as best zombies can run, Nicodem, the Belle, and Mortimer made their way into the grand hall, and the Crooked Man wandered off down the hall to prevent too many points of to my Deployment Zone.
The Dreamer and the Daydreams moved into the library and dropped off a Stitched Together in the doorway, who turned on his fog effect to ensure no early-turn shots found their way to the kiddo.
In an unbelievable twist of fate, I won initiative for the turn. I opened with Mortimer, who magically cost me nothing to create a Corpse Counter with his Exhume spell. The Stitched Together shuffled out of the library and into the atrium, turning the fog back on. Let me tell you, a mobile 8" obscuring cloud is the devil when your master's best source of damage output is a ranged spell and your best bet for weakening/repositioning enemy models is also a ranged spell. Curse you line of sight drawing 3" through obscuring terrain!!!
Anyways... The Canine Remains made their way up to the Claim Jump marker and sat like good boys. What followed was my introduction to arguably the two most annoying models I have ever have the misfortune to fight against.
The Dreamer activated, moving into the fog-filled atrium and casting Frightening Dreams. Up came a Mask and the trigger was tripped. Out popped the Coppelius and the two Alps, ready to cause me more headache than I could have ever expected. Luckily, they were placed close enough to the edge of the fog I was able to target them when Nicodem activated. He fired a Decay into an Alp, flipping red joker on the attack flip. I soulstoned as well to pump the total into a positive twist on damage, resulting in a Severe. The ensuing blast dealt a handy 3 damage to the Coppelius' 10 wounds and killed both Alps before they could activate. I moved Nicodem out of the Coppelius' charge range and called it an activation. It's really too bad I didn't just bomb the Coppelius...
When that thing activated, it did not come after Nicodem as I had predicted it would, but rather went after my Crooked Man in the hall. FYI, I totally forgot that the Crooked Men could lay traps, which would have probably saved me some major headache. On the first attack, she opted to trigger the ability that automatically gives it Moderate damage and gains an Eye Counter, which can be used for all kinds of cool things. With that Eye Counter, it took a (0) action and created an Alp! Then, using a Melee Expert action, she swung into the Crooked Man one more time, and flipped the red joker on damage. This replaced her Alp-summoning Eye Counter and knocked the shambling zombie back into death.
*knock knock* The Coppelius pops in, and brings back a friend!
Going back to my roots, my wife won the initiative flip. Playing cautiously, she activated a Daydream that did very little, giving herself the option to play more reactively. Nicodem activated early in the turn, and managed to Reanimate two Punk Zombies with the corpse left by the Crooked Man and the one dug up by Mortimer. Apparently this manor was the site of The Tell-Tale Heart, 'cause I can't quite figure out how else Morty popped a body out of the floor boards...
But, my well-flipped Reanimate victory was short-lived as the Coppelius tore into it, killing it swiftly and gaining yet another eye counter. The 9ss monstrosity then moved into the grand hall, attacked Mortimer for weak damage, and summoned yet another Alp. All my hard work Decaying the little devils and here they were, back in my face.
Little did I know, the real fun in Round 3 hadn't even begun.
I'd held up courageously against the Alps and their auto-damaging effects. I'd resisted the Coppelius' Terrifying, and thought I was sitting pretty. Then the Dreamer activated. He turned on Flight, got up in my Belle's and Nicodem's collective grills, and proceeded to turn into Lord Chompy Bits. Now, I'd read the card, looked over his triggers, yadda yadda yadda. But reading it and seeing it happen to your poor dead hooker are two completely separate things... He made 5, count 'em 5! Melee strikes, first slaughtering the Belle, then turning his monstrous strength towards Old Man Nico. The red joker once again reared it's face for my wife on a damage flip against the Belle, and thanks to some crafty soulstoning and lucky flips, Nico made it out only suffering 2 wounds.
With my forces rapidly turning into corpse counters, it was time to redirect some back-up. The Belle and Crooked Man made their way inside through the servant entrance, luring Chompy out of melee and off of Nicodem, then proceeded to drop some sweet blast counters on the resummoned Alps and Coppelius. Did I have to hurt my one remaining Punk Zombie to do it? I sure did. Was it worth it? Oh yeah it was!
Once again, I lose initiative. But this time, someone was playing for keeps. Chompy activated off rips, first decimating the Crooked Man for killing his Alp buddies (with a red joker AGAIN no less!), then turned again to deal with Nicodem. After getting knocked clear down to 5 wounds remaining, the old man was through with this tom-foolery. But he'd have to wait, as I had other things to attend to first.
Mortimer, dealing with both Slow AND Poison thanks to the Coppelius and Alps, swung his shovel with all he could muster, knocking the squidy-faced monster's nightmarish block off. Of course, the damn thing couldn't just die. It has an ability that triggers when it dies, dealing 4(!!) wounds to whatever killed it. Morty died a hero that day, and his sacrifice would not be forgotten.
One Alp still lived, puffing his smug little cigar, but at 1 wound, I wasn't too worried. A Daydream fired off some shots from the Atrium, but to little avail. My Belle once again pulled Chompy out of melee, and it was time for Nicodem to activate.
Of course, on a key turn, I flip miserably to resist Slow from the last Alp! And with an abyssmal hand made up of nothing over 5, I'd just have to make do. The Alp had walked up to Nicodem to harass him, and the old man was done. He cracked that cigar-puffing devil right across the face, immediately turning it into a Mindless Zombie. Take that, "nightmares don't drop corpse counters!" With his Casting Expert action, he lobbed a Decay at the near-forgotten Stitched Together, but only weak damage snuck through. With a (0) action and a wave of his pale hand, all those rekilled zombies stood back up as Mindless Zombies, and suddenly all was at least a little more right with the world.
I'm WAY too cheap to buy a bunch of Mindless Zombies, so all those unpainted Showgirls are putting on quite the performance as proxies.
The other two Daydreams then activated, pulling Chompy out of the hall and safely into the Atrium, where he was soothed back into the Dreamer. It was time for everyone to buckle down on VP, and it was gonna be a close race.
It was coming down to the wire, so naturally I activated second. The Dreamer reburied the Stitched Together, getting him away from the crotchety old man's zombie-makin' cane, and flew back to the library. I realized I had no models committed to my staking my claim, and ran the dogs through the garden, off the near-forgotten Claim Jump marker, and into the mud room for some much needed VP action. Chompy had been too aggressive for me to take out, so I had given up on Contain Power. Nicodem hobbled to the servant's entrance door to try and put a stop to any last minute dreamt-up Stitched Togethers that might appear on the Claim marker. The Daydreams, having fulfilled their Chompy-wrangling duties, launched an all-out "tie up the remaining zombies" plan. It worked, as they were just defensive enough to not die, and just enough in my way that I couldn't quite get where I needed to cut the Dreamer off.
The finish line was in sight. The Dreamer flew into the gardens, dreamt up the Stitched Together on the Claim marker as anticipated. Try as I might, there was no getting him AND the Stitched off of it, but I did manage to kill the Stitched Together with a couple Decay bombs. I shambled my zombies through the motions, killing a couple Daydreams for the heck of it, and called it a game.
The end of the game. Little but shambling zombies and a couple of kooky daydreams remain.
I scored 2VP for having no enemy models in my deployment and 2VP for having puppies in the mud room. My lady scored 2VP for sitting on the Claim marker and 2VP for keeping her master alive.
All in all, a riveting 4 - 4 draw! We were both pleased with our crews' respective performances, but definitely saw things we could improve upon, not to mention things to watch out for next time we face each other.
Here's hopin' y'all like the write-up, and we plan on playing again real soon. Next time I think I'll play my Colette list and see how super mobility does against super mobility. =P