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Hashmal vs. Wren: Teddy-pocalypse


Hashmal
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By your powers combined…

~Captain Planet

“TEDDIES!”

Both Elza and Seamus groaned.

“I hate Teddies,” Seamus said. “Positively no use for their stuffing.”

“I like stabbing them,” Elza offered, “buuuuuut that’s about it.”

Wren darted back over to her toy box and dove in. Fluff, buttons, thread, all went flying past Seamus and Elza. One needle buried itself in Seamus’ hat, which he removed from his head to examine, grumbling.

“MMF EEM AAAB EBBEE, III AAAB OOO,” Wren said, face buried in puppet parts.

“What?!” both Seamus and Elza replied.

“I SAID,” Wren spoke as her head cleared the top of the box, “if he can have Teddies, I CAN TOO!”

Seamus and Elza exchanged a glance. Elza gulped loudly, while Seamus toyed with his hat’s brim before putting it back on his head.

“FOUND THEM!” squealed Wren. She emerged from the toy box holding two Teddies upside-down by the ankle. Just awoken, the Teddies groggily examined their surroundings, clacking their long, sharp teeth together.

“I hate these things,” Elza whispered to Seamus. “They never stop smiling.”

“Luv, when it comes to smiles,” Seamus responded, “especially the red kinds, I’m what you’d call an expert. Those things, though, they smile at you like you’re not there – like you’re just an appetizer, not even the main course.”

“To them, that’s probably all we are,” said Elza. Both watched as Wren set the Teddies down, mostly on their heads. The Teddies rolled over, and as one turned to Wren, then to Seamus and Elza. Not a twitch in their faces. They just smiled.

“Zoraida can bust in here any time and put a stop to this,” Seamus said, angling his head towards the door. Nothing came through it, however, except a slight draft from under the gap. Outside, a steady rain fell. No sign of the Hag. “Man can dream, can’t he?” Seamus said as he turned back to Elza.

“Honey, if you’re dreaming of the Hag, I don’t want to see your nightmares,” Elza quipped.

“Ha ha,” he said. The Teddies, accustomed with their surroundings, moved forward, towards the center of the floor. Wren, having gathered a few more puppets, brought them behind. Across the room, the lion’s forces had also mustered. Leading them were three Teddies. A flash of fire came from behind them, causing Seamus to look down into his bag. He withdrew the still-severed head of Lady Justice.

“If she’s here,” he said, looking nervously at the line of stuffed animals opposite them, “who’s over there?

From across the room, a roar sounded, half kitten, half wolverine, all puppet.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I got a new toy in the mail. Well, five new toys, to be exact. Thanks to the magic of eBay, I managed to procure 5 Teddies from the Black Friday sale, which I would’ve bought from Wyrd had I known of Puppet Wars then (got into the game not 2 weeks later – terrible timing).

I didn’t know much about how the Teddies played. I got the idea that they were sort of like a furry Voltron. Each piece bleeds character, though, so I was eager to try them out. Wren agreed to a game and we were off to the races.

Game Size: Shoebox

Map: 4

Hashmal’s Toybox

Master: Marcus

Sidekicks: Joss

Pawns: Razorspine Rattler, Moleman, Ice Golem, December Acolyte, 3x Teddies (Tome, Mask, No Suit)

Wren’s Toybox

Master: Seamus

Sidekicks: Rusty Alyce

Pawns: Punk Zombie, Rotten Belle, Razorspine Rattler, Guild Hound, Ronin, 2x Teddies (Crow, Ram)

Strategy

With several games of Puppet Wars now behind me, I was starting to get a feel for how strategies could be overlapped, and also how important having an active Master could be. This knowledge in mind, I gravitated towards Marcus to lead my Teddy army of doom and made sure to load my forces with pieces that I thought powerful (Golem, Joss) or pieces that had straight-up annoyed me in the past (Rattler). With how Upgrade-reliant the Teddies are, I figured the Acolyte couldn’t hurt.

Wren’s forces were picked owing to her familiarity with many of the pieces. A very good move. She also played piece denial in the draft, taking two Teddies from me – I would’ve taken all five, had I the option, and she knew it.

This was also a change of pace for me. Tomes are my weakest suit in every game – I never seem to get them when I want them, or they crowd out all useful suits in my hand. Entirely superstition, but it did play a factor in me not attempting Marcus until now.

Gameplay

In the early rounds/turns, Wren and I focused on bringing our power pieces on early and establishing a dominant position, jockeying for workbenches. I sent Joss and the Ice Golem to the solo workbench on my left, which Wren responded to with Rusty Alyce and the Rattler. I spawned a couple of Teddies on the right flank and also had the Acolyte hang out over there. The Moleman hopped from terrain to terrain in the center of the board. My third Teddy stayed out for a bit (Mask Teddy). The Rattler animated earlier and was up with the Ice Golem and Joss.

Wren kept her Guild Hound near Seamus, brought on her Punk Zombie to help with the center, and pushed the Rotten Belle and the Ronin towards the free workbench to her left (my right).

I started the fight, as I usually do. The Ice Golem took a swipe at Rusty Alyce. Miss. Boo. I then realized his Ice Blaster ability is a free action! Score! I use that on Alyce for one Rip.

The response was startling.

Alyce animates and attacks the Golem. I Dodge, but not high enough (cards weren’t amazing). Then Wren reads me Alyce’s card, particularly the Disassemble rule.

Phooey. There goes my Golem. I had clustered the Rattler and Joss adjacent to the Golem (wasn’t expecting him to die immediately), so they each took a Rip. Fortunately, so did Alyce, taking her down to one.

I got clever here.

Next round, I animated the Mask Teddy and brought him on. Wren responds by bringing the Ronin further down. I then animate Marcus and use Everyone Share! on the Mask Teddy, tearing it apart to heal Joss. My first heart patch is available. It starts to snowball out of control.

Next Turn, Rusty Alyce Disassembles my Rattler, but Joss responds by dicing her to pieces and then swinging to the center. Her Rotten Belle and Ronin advance downwards after taking the workbench. The Punk Zombie puts a Rip back on Joss. My Tome Teddy attaches the Heart Patch and my suitless Teddy advances well forward, swinging at the Ronin. He misses. Wren finishes out the round by re-animating the Rotten Belle and tearing my suitless Teddy apart.

I’m down on puppets, but I’ve planned for this. I finish out the round by Scrounging with the Teddy, attaching the suitless Heart Patch.

My Control Hand for the next round is nothing short of obscene. I’ve got a hand size of 7 to Wren’s 6 (my Moleman took the middle bench somewhere in there). Five of my cards are Tomes, with one of those five the Ace of Tomes.

I animate the Teddy. It’s lunch time.

My Teddy attaches the Box of Snow from the Ice Golem and advances. He uses Swallow Whole on the Ronin and, just like that, she’s gone! He finishes his Sprint move next to Wren’s newly-acquired workbench. Stunned, Wren responds with the Punk Zombie, trying to land a hit on Joss. I Dodge high, and she misses. Joss animates, moves one space to her Red Teddy, and tears him apart. Her Rotten Belle advances downwards to play with my December Acolyte, who’s been left in the dust by the psychotic Teddy.

The next round was the breaking point for Wren. I suffer a Rip and re-animate the Teddy, attaching the Red Heart Patch from her workbench, then moving to the Punk Zombie.

Gulp. Didn’t know the undead could taste so good. Two cards gone and the Teddy is not Exhausted. Yiiiiiikes.

Wren’s on the ropes at this point. She animates Seamus and advances him to Pop Gun the Teddy, which does Exhaust him. I’m out of Tomes at this point, so there’s no more Swallow Whole. However, there is Joss, who’s still sitting on one Rip and is Powerful +1 as a result. He moves up, Wren doesn’t have good cards, and he lands a hit. I reanimate him, taking the Rip, and finish Seamus off the next Round. She dodged with the Red Joker, but unfortunately I was sitting on it too.

Lessons Learned

The Teddies are awful. They’re the quintessential snowball rolling downhill – unimpressive to start (Cb 2, 1 Stitch, 10 Df), but once they get going, there’s little to stop them. A strong Tomes hand can take troublesome pieces out of the fight, and my ability to both Sprint and Refresh with the Teddy was disgusting. The key to killing them is to take them out early and challenge your opponent’s workbenches. Never give them the opportunity to ‘roid up. Alternatively, throw something with more Upgrades than them at them. This is hard later if they’ve gone Heart Patch crazy, but early-to-mid game, they’re looking at one Upgrade, likely.

Marcus makes an all-Teddy army viable, since he can also ignore suits in Stuffed Animal Animation Requirements (cost: 1 card). I forgot about this ability the entire game, but it never mattered much.

Wren plays a very defensive game and relies on Dodge cards. The Teddies flummoxed her because they never gave her the opportunity to Dodge. Her cards weren’t great, but the inability to counter such a powerful Action is rough on a newer player. For those at home, I recommend not using puppets against players new to miniatures games that can outright Tear Apart another puppet. This lesson continues in the next game.

Next Time

Hashmal is banned from using his Teddy blitzkrieg. Wren picks a new Master. These cats continue to try and crash our game (Link is grey, Zelda is black):

395049_3013325022141_1533026328_33041123_1546991855_n.jpg

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

”’snot fair,” Wren pouted, lower lip outstretched.

“Fair nothing,” Elza said, picking stuffing out of her hair. “I just had to carve my way out of a giant Teddy’s stomach. Don’t really want to hear about ‘fair,’ given the circumstances.”

“He’s just so much better at this than me. He’s played these games for years!”

Elza still had no idea what Wren meant by “games.” Sure, the fighting sort of resembled a pastime, and yes, they were all puppets, but this was life and death! Well, rather life, dismemberment, stitching, and embroidery. Actually, as she thought about it, this didn’t really hurt. She’d “died” plenty of times, yet here she was, sword in hand, Teddy fluff in hair.

She looked over to where Joss was shoveling parts of Seamus into another Teddy’s open mouth. Grim? Absolutely. Darkly amusing? Well, there was that too. Yet, she felt no sympathy for him, no horror over what he’d suffered. She just knew that he’d be back. Soon, too.

Clonk.

Clonk.

CLONK.

Out of the corner of her eye, Elza spotted another puppet approaching Wren. Looked like a jack-in-the-box.

Wait.

Box?

Uh oh.

“Perhaps you need a change, dear,” a small, yet confident voice said. “I think I can help.”

Elza groaned. Today was just not her day.

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I didn’t know much about how the Teddies played. I got the idea that they were sort of like a furry Voltron. Each piece bleeds character, though, so I was eager to try them out.

The Teddies are awful. They’re the quintessential snowball rolling downhill – unimpressive to start (Cb 2, 1 Stitch, 10 Df), but once they get going, there’s little to stop them.

Yeah, they seem vicious. Good job for Wren drafting two of them away from you.

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They're brutal once you get them rolling. However, a quick strike by the opponent can mess them up quickly, especially early on when you don't have many animated/only have one Workbench and your Master is sitting on it.

Also, a cold Tomes hand limits their effectiveness - but, there are ways around that (sacrificing Animations to pick up cards, flagrant discarding, etc.).

I'm not sure how well the Teddies would work as an army outside of Marcus. Unlike most suited AR cards, all the Teddies require Tomes to be nasty. It almost mandates that, if you have an off-suit in your list, that it be Tomes. Aside from this game, I have terrible streaks with Tomes. I'm also not willing to purchase multiples of the same model/card (so no 5 Rams Teddies), as I'm keeping this game strictly as a board game/mini crossover rather than encourage everyone to bring tailored lists. The duplicates I have are solely from the overlap in the boosters.

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