Monday, November 19, 2012

Malifaux Half-Battle Report: Cassandra vs. Dreamer

That's right, a half-battle to be reported on. And no, I didn't mistakenly type Cassandra where Colette's name should be. My wife, who's usual interwebs name is dreamwithme, had been waiting to get another game to the table after last time's tie. Not because she felt like we had a score to settle, but because she had a good time playing and was actually very satisfied with the outcome of a draw. I knew she was reluctant to play against my Colette crew, but after today, I'm not sure I'll be able to get her to play against them ever again. Let's dive in and see what happened!

Colette sat in her dressing room, removing make-up and glitter from her face after tonight's performance. As she did, she idly weighed the small sacks of soulstones her girls had been smuggling through the ticket booths. "Quite the haul tonight, wasn't it?" Her apprentice, Cassandra, was dumping the satchels and sorting the precious stones. "We haven't had a night quite like this in a while," her Southern drawl heavily saturating her words. "This new act's quite the showstopper."

Colette turned to the girl, a wry smile spreading across her face. "Well, a little danger does tend to make for a better trick."

As the magician and apprentice chuckled, Lucille, one of the lovely assistants, burst into the room. "Boss! You're never gonna believe this. The theatre's been rigged with dynamite! And I think a little kid's behind it." 

Springing into action, the three clamored out the door and peered out across the dimly lit stage and into the theatre. Three bungling little creatures cackled and guffawed at one another as a little boy meandered in through the doors. "Won't it be fun to see this place go kaboom? I can't wait!" The boy was wispy and ethereal, barely even visible from Colette's vantage point.

The magician turned to Lucille. "Gather the girls and their dolls. Nobody threatens a stage when I'm making a killing on it." The girl bolted down the hall as fast her dress would allow. "And Cassandra? This is why we always leave the ghost light on after a show..."

First off, the terrain. You'll again have to pardon my plain white science fair board and just look at the cool Terraclips.  I figured, if I'm playing the Showgirls, they need a proper place to perform. And this is what I concocted with a little ingenuity and experimentation.

 An aerial view of the theatre.
 
And a close-up of Colette on-stage for perspective.

I've never really used the balconies and railings from the Buildings of Malifaux kit, mostly because I don't often make multi-story structures to play in. In creating a stage, I found the perfect use for all those unused pieces, becoming fashionable supports for elevating and holding up the stage. So yeah, cool innovations with Terraclips. They're just waiting to be found.
Anyways, to the game! We decided to try out a shared strategy, as we've only ever each flipped our own and never actually ended up matching. We flipped A Line In The Sand, with myself as the defender and dreamwithme as the attacker. Going into it with a mobile crew, I was pretty confident at my ability to teleport and shuffle my Showgirls to minimize the impact of the 2AP Disarm action, but if any Nightmares decided to camp on markers, I'd be in trouble. We wanted a decent size game again, so decided to stick with our 30ss Scrap like last time.

Here's the lists so you can play it out with the home version.

Colette - Full 8 cache
Cassandra - 9ss
2x Performers & Mannequins - 12ss
2x Mechanical Doves

I chose and announced Bodyguard and Perfect Performance as my schemes.

Dreamer/LCB - 6ss cache
Coppelius - 9ss
Stitched Together - 5ss
3x  Daydreams - 6ss
3x Alps - 9

She chose and announced Bodyguard and Hold Out.

Standard deployment was flipped again, and I took the rear of the theatre, mostly for flavor purposes. Colette started in base contact with a Mannequin on stage, and one Performer and a dove where deployed opposite them. Cassandra and the remaining dove began outside on the left, and the performer and mannequin duo took the right exterior. The Dreamer and one Daydream started outside, across from Cassie, and the other two Daydreams were placed center field and far right.

Round 1

I won initiative for the first turn, and simply linked my stage-bound Mannequin to Colette. I keep forgetting to use Cassandra's Confident ability to move her 6" prior to the first turn, so I handily lost out on the free movement. The Daydreams moved straight up, Mannequins linked and birds flew to better positions. But the real meat of turn one was Cassandra killing the Dreamer's Daydream companion and almost killing the Dreamer himself. I actually forgot that he is immune to blast damage, so as handy as casting Breathe Fire on my Dove to extend the blasts to him was, it didn't go as I planned. But this would set the tone for the next two turns.
Round 2

In an unbelievable stroke of simultaneous luck and unluck, I won initiative on a Red Joker. I immediately activated Cassie, used her Nimble to move her into base contact with the Dreamer. I opted for Blonde Act as my 0 action for the turn, hoping to maximize the power of her fire breathing. The first casting of it soundly knocked the Dreamer out of the game, placing Lord Chompy Bits in, but just outside of Blonde Act. It also made all of the unboarded Nightmares appear way over on the far side, otherwise they'd have been stuck buried. Surrounded by Alps and facing down Chompy, Cassie succeeded at her Terrifying resist and cast Breathe Fire again, complete with a soulstone use. Yeah, she gains Use Soulstone when hired by Colette. Ridiculous, right? Unfortunately, I flipped a 1 on the soulstone boost, and ended up still being at a negative twist on damage, resulting in only a weak hit of 3 to Chompy. Dreamwithme then activated an Alp, hoping to give Cassie Slow and knock her down 5 wounds before letting LCB deal with her, but missed with both attacks. This gave Colette the option to sacrifice the Dove with her to teleport Cassie to safety. One of the Alps armed the exterior dynamite while a Stitched Together armed one in the emergency exit hall. The Performers moved into better positions and the Copellius presented his nasty face in the center of the theatre, going for the bomb.

This could have totally gone south fast if not for Colette and her Showgirl-wrangling magic.

One of the Alps armed the exterior dynamite while a Stitched Together armed one in the emergency exit hall. The Performers moved into better positions and the Copellius presented his nasty face in the center of the theatre, going for the bomb.
 
Round 3
 
Against all odds, I won initiative a third turn in a row, and once again let Cassandra get right to work. Now inside and staring the Copellius in the face, she blew fire from the orchestra pit, landing a Severe damage to handily drop the monster in a single shot. She suffered her 4 wounds for killing it, and my wife decided there was no way for her to win without the mobility of the Dreamer. She also decided that Colette does very little other than move stuff around, and that Cassandra should be the actual master for the Showgirls crew. Hence the title of this post.

So there ya have it. Did I feel bad? Yes, because my wife never quits any game, no matter how badly it's going. Would she have hated it if I held back? You bet she would have, because it would be patronizing to her skill as a gamer. All in all, she's not so frustrated as to never play again, but it'll probably be a while before she goes up against the Showgirls again.

I do hope y'all like these write ups, and I hope you like the little flavor narrative at the top. I thought it'd be fun to give the game some fluff, what with Malifaux being so character driven. 

Catch y'all later!

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