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155 Has a Big Hat

About Swiglitz

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  • Birthday 10/16/1974

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    Manchester, UK
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    I'm a freelance writer with work published By Fantasy Flight Games in the Black Crusade and Rogue Trader product lines, including; The Tome of Blood, the Tome of Excess, the Tome of Decay, Twilight Crusade, and the Tau Character Guide. I've also had 3 short stories published in the Wyrd Chronicles.

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  1. Quick update. We've finished Act I and should be starting Act II this week. I'm going to try to post the next part in the coming days. Stay tuned
  2. Ahoy! Just a quick update top let you all know we're taking a momentary break from our usual Malifaux games to play the Worldwide Through the Breach Campaign. Vaiuri is our Fatemaster and we played our first session last week. Real life being what it is, I've only just posted our first session's write up. You can check it out on the Through the Breach Forums as The Affair of the Obsidian Gate. Our next session is tomorrow so hopefully a second write up won't be so long coming. Cheers,
  3. SPOILERS!SPOILERS!SPOILERS! From the diary of Dr. John H Watson. I came to Kamakura in my twilight years. Ostensibly to serve the British military once again, however, if my erstwhile companion were still alive he would have claimed I came to Kamakura to die. He would probably have been correct. He often was. Following the dreadful events in London I wound up in Japan, seconded to a military hospital, treating the poor devils wounded in this dreadful conflict. It was here that I first met Abel Negasi, a sailor in the Abyssinian navy. During our first encounter I, rather erroneously, took the man for a member of staff, on account of his surgical limb replacement, and blathered on at him for a full five minutes regarding the rather poor state of the facilities. It was only when he levelled a supremely cold stare at me and deadpanned, “So tell a doctor, doctor,” that I realised my error. Following our rather dreadful introduction, and my hasty, but heartfelt, apologies we became acquainted. Not really friends, per se, but certainly not strangers. I inquired after the nature of his augmentations and was dismayed to learn of his horrific battle with a host of piscine terrors. I surmised that these pelagic nightmares were the self-same monstrosities responsible for the attacks on London and elsewhere around the globe. During the following days we spoke often. I regaled him with tales of my time in London and the adventures I often found myself embroiled in. I flatter myself when I say I believe Abel to have been quietly impressed with my past. Although I was not his physician, Abel often spoke to me about his convalescence. In particular he mentioned his concerns regarding his recent blood transfusion and the peculiar dreams he had experienced ever since. I examined him and found him hale and hearty. I, therefore, concluded Abel must be suffering from a spiritual malady. Something quite outside my purview. My dearly departed wife was often of the opinion that matters of the soul were best dealt with in surroundings more conducive to meditation and reflection than a doctor’s surgery and so I suggested to Abel he visit one of the local temples, perhaps converse with a priest. Upon discovering that my new companion spoke no Japanese, I resolved to accompany him and act as translator. The Temple we selected was not far from the hospital and a brisk walk in the morning sun seemed to lift a little of the malaise that had settled on my companion. We arrived in short order and took a moment to savour the sight that greeted us. The temple itself was a simple affair, lacking many of the accruements one might expect. However, any deficiency of decoration was more than made up for by the presence of the great obsidian statue of the Buddha. It towered over us, a monument to the craftsmanship of its sculptor and the power of a people’s faith. I observed several other people entering the temple via a large red Tori arch and, along with Abel, followed suit. Within the temple proper we were greeted by a slight Japanese fellow dressed in the simple shift of a monk. As we nodded our own greetings I saw that a number of our fellow visitors were all dressed in similar fashion, although each of these fellows also carried a simple satchel and brightly painted mask. I inquired with the monk, whose name I learned was Sengai, about the need for ceremonial clothing. He politely informed me that no such stipulations were necessary and offered to bless myself and Abel. We acquiesced and moved further inside the temple. I left Abel for a while, certain that my constant presence was doing little to aid in his recovery, and made my away around the Buddha statue. I was struck by the large milky emerald set in the statue’s forehead like a third eye and resolved to inquire about it before we left. I noticed that the visitors who arrived ahead of us had now donned their masks and were beginning some type of ceremony. Perhaps the years of working alongside one the greatest investigative minds ever to grace the Earth had rubbed off on me, but something about the actions of these masked men and women seemed oddly wrong to me. It seems bizarre now, I am no scholar of the religious practices of Buddhism but I could see they were not praying. Instead, each of them was manipulating something concealed within the satchels they carried, and their body language spoke not of reverence or piety, but preparation and perhaps even malice. I found Abel where I had left him and confessed my misgivings to him. To my surprise he did not treat me like a senile old man desperate for a last hurrah of action before shuffling off this mortal coil. He told me that he had recently read of a queer religious sect responsible for acts of vandalism and violence directed at various temples around Kamakura. Could it be we were in the midst of such an act of malfeasance? Hurrying back to Sengai I told him of my suspicions and bade him fetch the authorities. The poor man went quite pale with the fright and begged me to stop the miscreants. I swore to him as member of the King’s Empire, and as a gentleman, that I would allow no harm to befall his temple. At that, he brightened, and hurried away. During my time with Sengai, Abel had kept watch on these sinister criminals. In my absence they had begun an odd monosyllabic chant in a language neither one of us understood. Unsure of how to proceed I cast my mind back and tried to think how my dear friend and literary muse would approach the situation. It was then I hit upon a plan. Bidding Abel to stand watch over me I approach the chanting group, attempting to look like tourist. I intended to ‘accidentally’ drop my doctor’s bag and stumble into the nearest criminal, hopefully dislodging their grip on one of the satchels and interrupting their ritual. I may have acted a little too zealously, as my stumble became a hard shove and the woman I barged into was sent flying, the contents of her bag spilling onto the ground for all to see. I saw, to my horror, that it was a bomb. Time seemed to freeze in that moment. I was back in Afghanistan, my leg bleeding like a stuck pig, staring death in the face. A bomb, right in front of me and primed to go off any second. It seemed that Holmes’ assessment of my purpose here in Kamakura was right after all. “Mary,” I whispered. The sounds of shouting and stamping feet shook me from my reverie in a most uncomfortable manner. The masked men and women were on their feet now and looked for all the world to be quite angry with me. The man to my left, a brute of man easily three inches taller than me and least half again as heavy, threw some sort of coarse powder at my face. As any aficionados of my literary work will attest, I am no stranger to violence. I twisted away, the powder cascading harmlessly off my shoulder. Still the man came on. He had produced a knife from somewhere on his person and proceeded to thrust it at me. My years as a dance partner to the Marquis of Queensbury may be long behind me but I was still celeritous enough to leap away. Clearly outmatched by my assailant I continued to back up. I produced my trusty B&D Pocket Revolver and shot him. Some of you reading this may be shocked at my willingness to shoot a man in cold blood, but I would rather bear the scars on my soul for my actions than allow another life to be lost through the lack thereof. Sadly, my aim had not fared as well as my reflexes in the long years of my life and my shot only winged the devil. Abel, howling like a demon, came roaring past me and threw himself into the fray. Where I was hopelessly outclassed in the arts of Pugilism, he was anything but. He laid about him with that pneumatic arm of his, making short, if gruesome, work of one of them. From somewhere behind me came resounding whoosh and out of nowhere a ball of fire, bright as the morning sun, flashed past me. It engulfed one of the masked men, setting his brown robes alight. A second, as shocking as the first, followed almost immediately after and consumed the crazed man in a hellish inferno. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a rough looking Chinese itinerant conjuring yet more flame from the aether. I have seen magic before, but never had I beheld it wielded so effortlessly, or with such devastating results. There was, of course no time to admire this man’s skill, or to wonder he had come from. The woman I had previously shoved aside in my bungling attempts at subterfuge came sprinting at me, fury and hate burning in her gaze. Once again my military training prevailed and the woman’s attempts to pierce my flesh with her knife failed. Dodging another swipe, I took discretion over valour and stumbled away from my attacker, I turned and fired on the run. My erratic flight spoiled my aim and for a second time my bullet merely grazed its target. Across the courtyard Abel was in fine form. He levelled another of the madmen with straight right before spinning quite expertly on his back foot and knocking a second unconscious with a furious back hand. In my panicked stumbling I had ended up quite close to the Chinese sorcerer and watched, fascinated as he hurled two more fireballs into the midst of our foes, immolating another victim. With a most profound sense of creeping dread I realised that my two comrades did not know about the bomb. I levelled my pistol at the wounded woman and fired again. This time my shot found its mark and she dropped like a stone. I began to run towards the discarded satchel. “Bomb!” I cried out, “They have a bomb!” Abel turned to look quizzically at me and took a face full of the sand like powder these criminals seemed so fond of. His flustered swings kept his opponents at bay but lacked any accuracy. The Chinese sorcerer jolted into action, sprinting forwards toward one of the dropped satchels. Horrified, I saw that each of the six bags contained a bomb. Frantically I ran to the closest of explosives and looked it over. My time in the military had never really covered bomb disposal so I grabbed a handful of wires and prayed there were no booby traps or failsafes. To my joyous surprise, the wires came away easily enough and the bomb stopped in its inexorable count down. My Abyssinian comrade had wiped the grit from his eyes, but his opponent had fled scooping up one of the fallen bombs along the way. Abel roared and gave chase. Meanwhile our mystery ally had made short work of two of the bombs with controlled bursts of flame from his fingertips. The remaining delinquent seemed desperate to get his explosives right up next to the statue of the Buddha. With Abel hot on his heels I levelled my pistol, tracked his movements across the temple square, and squeezed the trigger. He swayed slightly as the bullet hit him, then stumbled and fell. He did not rise. Swiftly and methodically the three of us disarmed the remaining explosives. Although I must confess my heart did not stop racing until Abel smashed the final bomb with one his iron shod boots. With my pulse slowly lowering and the breath in my lungs once more I approached our new ally, my hand extended in friendship. “My name is Dr. John Watson, and you sir, have my most profound thanks.” The man merely nodded and said, “Hu.” “Dr. John Watson,” I replied. Thinking perhaps the man did not speak Japanese. He shook his head and tapped himself on the chest. “Hu,” he said again. “I am Hu.” TO BE CONTINUED ...
  4. The crimson sky had just darkened to midnight blue when Seamus saw her. She was beautiful, of that, there was no doubt. He patted at the reassuring weight of the Flintlock in his jacket and gripped the handle of his bag a little tighter. It was always like this. In the moments before the screams began, before the blood, the torn flesh, and the utter, irresistible, delicious terror. Little anxieties would creep into his thoughts. Would she know who he was? Would her cries be as delectable as the last? Would she make fine addition to his girls? Or would she end her life like so many others? In bitter disappointment. In complete silence he emerged from the shadows, on the very edge of her peripheral vision. “Good evening my lovely,” he purred. She turned to look straight at him, her eyes boring into his. “Good evening Seamus,” she said. “I’ve been expecting you.” Her skin bulged at the neck, the delicate flesh sloughing away from her body like a wet paper bag, exposing a mass of glistening organs and wet meat. ‘Well,’ he thought. ‘There’s something you don’t see every day’. Hello! And welcome to another Transcredible Exploit. This week it was the turn of Suvalas and myself to play. The second round of newly minted Gremlins vs Ressers feud. I really enjoy playing Suvalas as our games tend to be quite extreme. I’ve won some of my biggest victories against him, and suffered some of my worst losses to him as well. Including a particularly bloody game against his Viks crew that we don’t talk about anymore. Ahem. Anywho … As I mentioned in an earlier post we’d already flipped for strats and schemes so I’ve spent most of the intervening days plotting my crew contents. Early on I decided I wanted to play either Reva, or Seamus. Molly was very close third (sorry Bloodbought) but after my previous game against Vaiuri I wanted something with a bit more bite. Initially I was going to go with Reva, and even designed a core crew for her, but the more I thought about the scheme pool the more I realised Seamus was a better fit. So, in the end I plumped for the Mad Haberdasher (curse you Shadowfane, get out of my head you weird Neverborn monster!) I chose: Seamus w/ Do you know who I am?, Red Chapel Killer, and Sinister Reputation. Copycat Killer Madame Sybelle w/Bleeding Tongue, and Not Too Banged Up Yin the Penangalan Dead Doxy 2 x Rotten Belle 2 x Crooligan As I’ve said before I’m all about theme and story, and my crews reflect that. The only concession I made to go outside of theme was taking Yin, because her synergy with Seamus is just too good to pass up. I wanted Yin to have a reason for being in the crew, so I decided that an enterprising group of Gremlins have begun a small scale invasion of Yin’s corner of the Little Kingdom, and Yin is manipulating Seamus into wiping them out for her. Or something. The board had been laid out by Suvalas prior to our arrival and was fairly cluttered, which suited me just fine. We flipped for deployment and I won, which meant taking a good long look at where I wanted to be placing my Symbols of authority. I saw that one side of the table had a couple of narrow chokepoints, and sizable train laid out, so I chose that side. I thinking was I would deploy two of my three Symbols behind the train, and the third beyond the slightly wider chokepoint. My plan was to advance on Suvalas’ Symbols with Seamus, the Copycat Killer, Yin and the Crooligans, while defending my own half of the table with Sybelle, the belles and the doxy. I knew that, on the whole Gremlin minions are pretty easy to kill so I took Punish the Weak figuring Seamus would be able to do most of the heavy lifting in this regard, and with my scheme runners already in Suvalas’ half of the table Covert Breakthrough would make sense too. I wasn’t sure what my opponent would be taking in terms of master, or schemes, so I built my defences around stopping him scoring the strat. The surprisingly tanky Belles would lure his models away from symbols, and hopefully score a couple embrace triggers on any melee actions they took, while the Doxy would push any nastier gremlins into Sybelle where she would hopefully strip them of their Interact actions with Death Mark, or just trap them in place with Attend to Personally. Yin was my Wild card. I wanted her in thick of things as she’s tough to get rid of and great debuffing/trapping enemy models. With my plan in place I listened as Suvalas listed off his Wong crew. Hmmm … I thought. Wong. Blast Markers. Narrow chokepoints. S**t. From his vantage point in the rail yard, Seamus could see the crude idols the Gremlins had erected. They were oddly proportioned, badly made, and reminded him for all the world of giant scarecrows. Each one had been draped in bright blue cloth and covered in badly stitched stars, moons, and other less identifiable symbols. He was sure he could see the word ‘Magic’ sewn into one. The Crooligans Molly had pointed him toward had raised a thick mist to cover their advance and somewhere out there, two of the little thugs were already creeping up on the Gremlin idols. A thin scream pierced the stillness of the night, followed by a frenzied, and frankly terrifying oinking. “Come on my lovelies!” he called out. “Time for some real fun!” Behind him, the rotten belles took their first shambling steps. The first turn went quite well. Deploying first meant I had to take a calculated risk with my Crooligans. I deployed one well out of LoS, but at least two turns of movement away from Suvalas’ Symbols. The second one I set up very close to a symbol but partially exposed. My first activation was to run it out of cover and up next to the Symbol. I knew it was most likely going to get killed as Suvalas had deployed one his Swine-Cursed right next to it. But I figured if the Swine Cursed spends the first turn killing my Crooligan it’s not advancing on my Symbols and it will leave a juicy corpse Marker next to the Symbol for me to raise a belle next to later in the game. The rest of the first turn was spent manoeuvring my crew up the board with a combination of pushes, lures and places. I managed to paralyse a Gremlin with Boo! Setting him up for a Punish the Weak kill next turn off Seamus and overall I was pretty happy. Suvalas had killed my Crooligan and put a couple of points of damage on various models but nothing I was overly concerned with. The plan was still in place. The second turn was … Less … Good. My Crooligan ran out from cover and removed the first of Suvalas’ Symbols before bampfing away to safety, and Sybelle managed to account herself quite well killing Merris LaCroix, and locking Sammi LaCroix in combat. Then Wong happened. I had Yin, the doxy and one belle spread out across the choke point leading to my first Symbol. Yin had previously debuffed a Swine Cursed and I was planning on using the Doxy to push him back into my opponents half the board. I hadn’t drawn a particularly good Control hand (something that became a theme of the game) but figured if all the crap cards were in my hand, I’d probably flip well. It turns out there are more than 6 crap cards in a deck. Suvalas activated Burt and used him push my three models into a tight little bunch. I wasn’t overly concerned. No one had taken much damage, and all three models had Hard to Wound or Mass of Viscera so I knew nothing would really hit that hard. Wong threw one of his infamous blasts at the Rotten Belle, targeting her low defence and hoping for some blasts. Unsurprisingly he hit, but I was still confident. Then he flipped the Red Joker. In a previous game, which we no longer talk about, Suvalas’ Vik of Blood killed my Sybelle, Bete Noire and a Belle in a single activation, thanks to her horrendous triggers and a keen understanding of she works. Three models dead, in a single activation. This was like that. The initial hit nuked the belle. The subsequent blasts put some serious hurt on Yin and the Doxy and the trigger where a card is flipped and if it’s a crow I take more damage finished them off. Three models dead in a single activation. Again. Dear me Mr. Swiglitz, dear me. I’m not going to lie, that was a tough moment and I got pretty cross. I fumbled my way through the rest of the turn, scoring a Punish the weak kill with Seamus and setting myself up for better turn three. My defensive plan was more or less in tatters and I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do about it. A cacophonous ZZAP! Tore the chaos of the battle. Seamus felt the sparks of two of his girls go out and he cursed the Penangalan for talking him into this. He thought about cutting and running, but one of the Gremlin effigies was already ablaze and he was too deep into their territory for an easy out. He thumbed the hammer of his hand cannon and grinned. “Those were some my best girls,” he called out. “I’m coming for you now, you little snotball.” All around him he could taste the Gremlins’ fear at his words. It filled him, sustained him. Raising his weapon he stepped out from the shadows. I was ahead on VP’s and had a pretty good idea on how I score some more, but was completely at loss as to how I would stop Suvalas. I think at that point I had started to hear The Whisper. I decided I wasn’t going to try to stop him. In the previous turn, we had both revealed Punish the Weak as a scheme and I had a pretty good idea that Suvalas had taken Covert Breakthrough as well. If I could stop him killing anymore of my minions with Wong, while maintaining my own kill-streak I could still win this. During the end-phase and draw phase of turns two/three I had a little word with myself and put my crushing disappointment at losing those models aside. This was going to be the start of my comeback. I discarded the vast majority of my control hand at the start of turn three, and proceeded to draw and equally bad one. I may have said a swear word. In fact, I’m pretty sure I did. Probably more than one. I had another quiet word with myself and pressed on. The Crooligan removed the second Gremlin Symbol and Seamus & The Copycat Killer put some more hurt on the gremlin minions. Sybelle finished off Sammi but succumbed to a lethal poison shortly afterwards. However my last remaining Belle was doing sterling work in holding up Suvalas’ Swine Cursed. She was deployed roughly between my two remaining Symbols (Suvalas had a reckless Gremlin remove my first one in a previous turn.) and thanks to her incredible lure actions had managed to keep both the Swine Cursed from reaching either of the remaining symbols. I knew it wouldn’t last, but if I could stop him scoring the start for a turn I could lengthen my lead. The end game rolled around (we made it all the way to 5 turns! Woo!) And I had managed to scrape another VP from Punish the weak, shooting a Slop Hauler in the back of the head. I summoned a Belle onto the corpse marker from the Crooligan death way back in turn one and had Seamus ready to run up to the Symbol if she didn’t survive the night. She didn’t. However, it was enough of a distraction to allow my Crooligan to drop a couple more Scheme markers for Covert Breakthrough and get to safety. The final turn saw Seamus remove the last Symbol and take a perfunctory shot at Wong. Suvalas had managed to get to my Symbols, but not quickly enough so failed to score the full three points. He did deny me my bonus point for having a symbol left at the end of the game, but it wasn’t enough. We totalled up VP and came to a 8-6 victory for the Mad Haberdasher. Seamus smiled in the glow of the burning idol and looked out across the railyard. All around him Gremlins were fleeing for the safety of the night. The leader, a preposterous thing dressed in a long robe and fake moustache had gotten away, but he didn’t mind too much. Just another traumatised survivor to spread the legend of the red Chapel Killer. Further away, the exotic banner poles of the Three Kingdoms had been torn down and trampled on by those curious porcine monsters, but Seamus simply shrugged. It was hardly his problem. “Come along Sybelle me love,” he called. “It was a pleasing distraction, but we have real work to do. Sybelle? Sybelle?!” He caught sight of her bloated form, burned and rent, surrounded on all sides by Gremlin corpses. “Oh Sybelle,” he sighed. “Never you mind my lovely, will have you back on those dancers legs in no time.” What a game. I’m not really happy about the way played Seamus in particular, but I’m very pleased with the result. After turn 2 I was ready to jack it in and just give up, but I’m really glad I didn’t. I think adapting my plan, and staying focussed on VP’s really helped. It was hard fought victory, but those are the best kind. Even so, two games now Suvalas has hamstrung my entire crew with clever activations and deadly force. I think it’s about time for a reckoning. Cheers,
  5. Indulge your inner necromancer! Join me in the whirlwind of murder and reanimation! ... It's better than it sounds ...
  6. From an observers point of view, this looked quite an intense game. The Voodoo doll/Iggy combo seemed custom built to take out Gremlins and I'm not sure Suvalas ever really had an answer for it. Watching the first couple of turns I thought the best strategy would be to go after the Will 'o Wisps so Shadowfane would have to start using AP on Zoraida in order to summon a new doll each turn. But, the longer the game went on I realised that it would have been a better tactic to focus on killing the models that were attacking the Voodoo doll. Either way it looked very tough from a Gremlin PoV. That being said, at the start of turn three Suvalas had the opportunity to get Mah Tucket really stuck into a Big group of Shadowfane's models, including Zoraida, a Will 'o' Wisp and Iggy, but chose to stay engaged with the Hooded Rider, which I think was a mistake. I understand his reasoning for staying where he was, but had it been me, Iggy and the Will 'o' Wisp would have been staring down the business end of a big spoon that turn. Of course it's easy to offer criticism when you're divorced from the subject like I was and had I been the one playing I probably would have done something different. It was a fun game to watch and showed me a lot about Mah and Zoraida. Next week, it's me vs. Suvalas as we begin our second round of games. In a similar fashion to Shadowfane a couple of weeks ago I'm going to post our Strat and scheme pools and see what you guys think we'll be taking. Strat: Symbols of Authority Schemes: Punish the Weak, Hold up their Forces, Recover Evidence, Covert Breakthrough, Public Demonstration. Standard Deployment. I will be taking Ressers, with the self-imposed restriction of not being allowed to field Nicodem, McMourning, or Yan Lo as I played them almost exclusively last time we did this. Suvalas will be taking Gremlins ... I think Let us know what you think. Cheers,
  7. 'Fizzy Black Blood' Is that an awful euphemism? Like Venom Cannon and Barbed Strangler?
  8. I choose: Lucius in the Bayou with the Teddy. As an aside I know what both of you are taking and haven't given anything away here. Or have I? No, I haven't. Or have I? Damnit! Now I've confused myself.
  9. Hello! I'm up for trying out a Resser crew if you have requests Be warned though, I strive for mediocrity and don't always get there.
  10. Ahoy! After another week's absence due to illness (the UK seems to be undergoing some sort of super-cold/flu epidemic at the moment) we're back with another transcredible exploit! This week Vaiuri and I played. Vai and I have quite a chequered past on the streets of Malifaux. When we first started playing I seemed to grasp the rules and various mechanics much quicker than she did and consequently I won the majority of our early encounters. However, our later games were far different as Vai soon mastered some particularly nasty Guild crews including a supremely annoying Lucius crew that handed me my first and only loss when playing as McMourning, so I was expecting a challenging game. Having played a couple of warm-up games over the last few weeks we decided we change things up a bit and play using the GG18 strats and schemes. We flipped Ply for Information as our strat, with Surround Them, Dig their Graves, Inescapable Trap, Take a Prisoner, and Public Demonstration as a scheme pool. This gave us a very Interact heavy set of things to do and a rather perverse feeling of not wanting to actually kill very much. With that in mind I set about selecting my crew. I chose: Molly w/Forgotten Life, Tear of the Gorgon, and Back on the Job. The Necrotic Machine. Phillip and the Nanny w/Take back the Night, and Haunting Cries Chiaki Rogue Necromancy w/Pack 2 x Crooligans Dead Doxy I had a pretty good idea about what I wanted to do, and how I was going to play this game. My thoughts were to use the Crooligans to bounce in and out of Vai's crew Interacting for Ply for Information and using their Always on the Move place effect to get away after. Meanwhile I would use Chiaki and Phillip to aggressively shut down Vai's attempts at Interactions through a combination of Chatty, The Calling, and Condition Removal. The Dead Doxie would provide support with movement shenanigans and scheme marker drops. Finally, the Rogue would combo with Molly to eliminate any models that were causing me problems while the Necrotic Machine ran interference and generally just got in the way. Knowing that summons probably wouldn't be much use to me given the timings of Interactions I decided that I would probably only summon if I felt the game was getting away from me and needed some firepower, or if Vai eliminated both my Crooligans. With my crew set, I chose Dig their Graves and Take a Prisoner as my schemes. I knew I could probably kill at least one model a turn with the Rogue/Molly combo so if I felt I couldn't score the strat on any given turn I would try for the scheme to make sure I kept in the running on VP's. I was also fairly confident that I would be able to isolate at least one of Vai's models late in the game for Take a Prisoner, so I chose to put that on Sensei Yu. Vai played as Shen Long with a crew full of monks and dragons that confused the hell out of me with it's many, many conditions and card draws so I'll leave her to talk about her selections and tactics. The first couple of turns went more or less as expected. Although Vai surprised me by setting up her entire crew bunched up in a corner where I was more spread out along the one flank. I used the Doxie's activation to push Phillip forward and drop a couple of scheme markers for some extra cards and ended up having to slog across the table with the Rogue as he was quite far away from the action after Vai set up, but by the end of turn 2 I was happy things would work out. We both got 1 Gather Intel in the 2nd turn so no scores were forthcoming, but in the third turn I managed to get both my Crooligans to Ply Vai Shadow Emissary and Bampf away to safety before murderising it with my Molly/Rogue combo netting me a score for the strat, and Dig their Graves. Phillip's chatty aura and scheme marker removal, coupled with Chiaki's Insignificant attack action and condition removal was giving Vai some real headaches by now and she was struggling to score, spending a lot of her AP reacting to my activations rather than pursuing her plans. By the end of turn 3 I was pretty happy with the way my crew was preforming. Vai had begun a to use a nasty little synergy of pushing my models out of their protective Chatty bubble, Interacting to get gather Intel and then pushing them away again with slow, so in turn 4 I threw caution to the wind and pushed my whole crew forward, enveloping most of Vai's models in overlapping layers of Black Blood, Chatty and Terrifying auras. I'd moved my Crooligans a bit too far in the previous turn so brought them back in ready for a late game rush on grabbing the strat. Meanwhile I'd started to isolate Sensei Yu with the Dead Doxy, drawing him inside my crew bubble and engaging him with Chiaki. With time slipping away from us, we called the game at the end of turn 4. Vai grabbed a couple of VP's from the strat and Inescapable Trap, but I scored 2 more from Take a Prisoner leaving the end game total at 4 - 2 to me. Had we played a final turn I feel I'd have probably been okay, locking Sensei Yu down with a slightly more fighty model to stop him getting away, trying to kill the Ten Thunder Brother for Dig their Graves and letting me mess with Vai's scheme markers again and potentially a double Gather intel with the Crooligans, although that might have been quite risky. On the whole the game went as I planned it, barring the movement shenanigans I had to do in the first couple turns to get all the models in their right positions. I don't think I'd have done much differently but I think Vai made a couple of key errors. Her bunching up allowed me to cover most of her crew with Chatty, something that annoyed her no end, and as far as I could see, there was no dedicated Beatstick in her crew capable of really threatening models like Phillip, or Chiaki which meant I was never in danger of losing those two incredibly useful tools. Also, because of Molly's Back on the Job upgrade I knew which scheme markers she was dropping were important and was able to react appropriately. It's one hell of an upgrade for 2ss. I did feel bad for Vai as it seemed everything she tried I had a hard counter for and it must have been very frustrating. Once I dropped the Shadowy Emissary it seemed almost like the game was over but she soldiered on and grabbed a couple of very clever VP's making me realise it ain't over until it's over. I'm sure the others will chime in with their thoughts, but overall it was a good game. I've struggled in my last couple of games so this one has helped kick-start my delusions of adequacy. Cheers,
  11. Nah, I think if you'd summoned into the scoring zone I'd have really been in trouble. I couldn't afford to kill Collodi, I might have thrown an attack at him with someone to try to push him further away so I'd score the full 3VP for Take a Prisoner and possibly get him out of range of a good summon, but I think I'd have just run out of activations before I stopped you scoring. In hindsight I shouldn't have summoned that stupid Hanged so early on, and hung on to the card for later in the game. I should have paid more attention to ranges on Aura's and web markers, I should have used the Onryo to go after your scheme team instead of summoning off them, and should have kept Jaakuna Ubume further away, but I forgot her Lure has an 18" range. Still, every game I lose is a game I learn from
  12. I can sum my experience of last night's game in one sentence: "Oh ... I'd forgotten that." I do not feel like I did well. Shadowfane and I played and it's always a close game with him as he really knows he's stuff. This time was to be no different. I um'd and ah'd over which master I wanted to take for quite a while given the horrible scheme pool and finally settled on Kirai. I've only taken her once before and really wanted more table time as my previous outing was pretty poor. Also, summoners are really good at Turf War. My crew selection was: Kirai w/ Unforgiven, Vengeance will be mine, and Swirling Aether. Lost Love Datuse Ba w/Spirit Whispers Izamu w/ Spirit Beacon Jaakuna Ubume w/Unnerving Aura 2 x Onryo My first mistake happened before we even set up for the game. I was pretty sure Shadowfane was going to take The Dreamer as he's expressed a desire to play him for a while and Turf War was a perfect strat to try him out. I'd spent a good few lunch breaks pouring over Pull My Finger trying to wrap my head around what would probably hit the table and how to deal with it. I was, therefore, quite dismayed when he announced Collodi as his master. Still, I thought, how hard can he be? Turns out, quite hard. The board was set up with a fairly open area around the Turf War marker, and a collection of small buildings and low cover representing an abandoned mining town around the edges. We'd flipped corner deployment which can be highly restrictive sometimes but I wasn't too concerned as the vast majority of my crew was Incorporeal. My plan was advance on the Marker at a reasonable pace with Kirai, Lost Love, Datsue Ba, and Izamu. I would summon nice tanky models along the way. I wanted to hold the marker with my summons while hunting and killing Shadowfane's models with Izamu and Datsue Ba. I would have Kirai sit just outside the Turf War zone so her Malevolence Aura would cover my models and keep her in range to summon reinforcements, while the Lost Love would follow my heavy hitters, to extend Malevolence over them and offer some healing support. I wanted Jaakuna Ubume to loiter out on one flank and draw away any models I couldn't nuke with Izamu or Datsue Ba and my Onryo would run interference/drop scheme markers to confuse Shadowfane as to my intentions regarding schemes. With this in mind, I took Bodyguard on Jaakuna and Take a Prisoner on Collodi. I figured Jaakuna would be safely away from any major fighting, and activating her last every turn would mean he'd be burning cards to bypass Manipulative so hopefully he'd target other, more threatening models instead. I was pretty sure I'd be able to engage Collodi at the end of the game to score 2 VP's, and if all went to plan he'd have no support so I'd get the full 3. I was half right. My second and third mistakes came in quick succession. Because of Incorporeal I neglected to pay enough attention to terrain, which allowed Shadowfane to move his Puppets and up into the scoring zone and remain behind cover, blocking my LoS and forcing Izamu to take a circuitous route around the board and waste a couple of turns not killing things. I also didn't stick to my plan. I've seen the speed of Neverborn before so shouldn't have been surprised when the majority of Shadowfane's crew screamed up the table in turn 1, but I still panicked a bit and threw away my only good cards of the first turn summoning a Hanged in a stupid position only to watch it get killed before it activated. A complete waste of two Seishin, one of Kirai's AP and my only high card that turn. I settled into a more comfortable routine in the mid game, going back to my plan and methodically murdering the Neverborn but I struggled with activation order again. Shadowfane targeted the Lost Love fairly early, drastically reducing my Malevolence aura. I summoned in Ikiryo right in the middle of a pack of scoring models, but despite the benefits of Adversary she managed to do exactly nothing. For two turns in a row. She died late in the third turn, due to the surprising number of Ca actions in Shadowfane's crew. I never got a second chance to summon her in as Shadowfane was very selective in his targets, and kept forgetting to keep Izamu and Datuse Ba in range of Malevolence. During the last couple of turns I was starting to get swamped by Web Markers and most of crew was struggling to achieve much so I made a concerted effort to kill off Widow Weaver. As it happens this was a lucky coincidence as Shadowfane had taken Bodyguard on her. I announced my choice of Bodyguard on turn 4 and watched in dismay as Collodi proceeded to obliterate her. By this point I had managed to put a sizable dent in Shadowfane's model count but was getting increasingly frustrated with myself regarding timings, and keeping things inside auras. I'd also completely ignored Shadowfane's Performer/Mannequin combo having used my Onryo to summon off of earlier so was powerless to stop his LitS scoring late in the game. I'm not sure I entirely agree with Shadowfane's assessment that I was in a stronger position at the end of turn 4. I was pretty sure I could kill off his scoring models to stop Turf War, and possibly isolate Collodi, but I had nothing in position to stop the Arcane Effigy, the Performer, and the Mannequin waltzing into the scoring zone late in the turn. Overall, I felt the game went better than my outing against Suvalas and his Gremlin horde, but I still have a lot to learn. I'm toying with the idea of taking fewer spirits in the crew to maximise the impact of Malevolence and summoning what I need. Perhaps Shieldbearers as they give me the best of both worlds, but I'm not sure I can justify going out of theme to include them. Either way, I'm facing Vaiuri next in the Ply for Information Strat with a very Interact heavy scheme pool so I'll probably be leaving Kirai and her summoning shenanigans behind for a game. Of course, I have no idea what I'm going to take against Ten Thunders instead ...
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