Malifaux Musings: Reconnoiter

Since my typical gaming group has been pretty focused on Warmachine lately, I started to branch into playing Malifaux by VASSAL. Playing by VASSAL has been enjoyable and a relatively easy way to get games in when I’m not able to get out (or have someone come over) for a game. It also exposes me to a set of players that I might not normally have. So, I joined a league, to bring a bit of structure and competitive flair to a game that I enjoy very much.

My first matchup is coming up soon. All games are going to be 50 soulstones. I’ll be facing off against an opponent playing Guild, and I’ve declared Arcanist. This round, we’ll be playing Standard Deployment, with the Strategy of Reconnoiter.

This has had me thinking pretty hard about what to bring to the party. Sure, I don’t know what the Schemes are going to be, but I think that building to be able to meet Reconnoiter and A Line in the Sand will be able to meet one of the four other schemes that are selected.

So, Reconnoiter. You need a crew that can control as much as the board as possible. Model spam could work, if the models are resilient or quick enough to be able to bob and weave between cover and avoid opposing models. We’re playing a standard deployment, so players will be able to spread forces between two of the four zones at the outset. So being quick off the start isn’t a huge requirement either.

Now, what might my opponent play? This is a tough thing for me to figure out. Because it’s VASSAL, I could see literally, ANY available crew and I don’t know Guild very well, especially in the new edition. So, I’m going to just evaluate each master as best I can.

Lady Justice – I’m not sure what to think about LJ in this situation. She’s pretty quick and can help her minions hit harder, but I’m not sure she brings the right tools for controlling the board. Sure, she’s going to keep an opponent away from a ‘bubble’ to make sure she’s not charging anyone – but I’m not sure that’s enough.

Perdita Ortega – I think Perdita crews rely quite heavily on the Family trait, and because of this, the crew size might just be too small to be effective.

Sonnia Criid – I’d consider Sonnia a reasonable master to expect – she’s got deadly range and can be challenging for a spellcaster to deal with. Witchling Stalkers are pretty low-cost, but very good minions.

Dr. McMourning – Maybe some zombie dog spam. That could be a pain. Would be an interesting matchup.

C. Hoffman – I believe Hoffman is too much about ‘one area’ control, rather than ‘wide area’. I’m not worried about seeing him.

Lucius – Lucius could be put down. Lots of Guild Guards with Dashel and a Sergeant to buff them.

Lucas McCabe – This would be another interesting crew to see. Pathfinders and Clockwork Traps to do a bit of board control – that’s very reasonable.

Who I’d Play: Sonnia Criid, Lucius, Lucas McCabe

Who Stays Home: C. Hoffman

Alright, so that analysis gives me a little information to consider. I’m probably seeing crews that have a number of lower-costed models, rather than a crew of specialists. Let’s look at what my options are.

Marcus – Marcus crews tend to be quick, but I feel they tend to have too many ‘specialists’ for this sort of strategy. I think overall, I’d be bringing some very good pieces to the fight, but I think I’d be losing in model count right away, and Marcus has limited ranged options, making this poor matchup in my eyes.

Mei Feng – Hrm. I think Mei has some pretty impressive options and can field a pretty good sized crew. Ultimately though, I feel like a Mei crew needs to stick too close together to make for a strong threat on Reconnoiter.

Ramos – Like McMourning, there’s the opportunity to spam spiders. However, I think Ramos has more utility in this area that the good Doctor and if memory serves, Ramos’ constructs are faster than undead doggies.

Rasputina – Rasputina crews can effectively create a 22″ dead zone. That’s board control. Her minions are prone to dying if shot at though. The Sub Zero upgrade mitigates the ‘melee squishiness’. I think there’s some very interesting tools that can be put into use here that make this a scheme that Rasputina can excel at.

Ironsides – I don’t know enough about Ironsides to make a good comment here – but she feels a bit like Lady Justice. Just not the right set of models in a typical crew to make this viable.

Kaeris – I think ‘mini-Rasputina’ has tools that make her able to do this scheme much like Rasputina can. While her range is much smaller than the Ice Queen’s, she has the tools to make an enemy go where you want them while piling your models where you need them.

Colette – You know, I’m really not sure about Colette. She might be good. I’m going to have to read up on her crew tonight.

Who I’d Play: Rasputina, Kaeris, Ramos

Who Stays Home: Marcus, Ironsides

What do you think? Who would you put on the table? Who would you leave at home?

The 100 Words a Day Challenge

I’ve fallen off the blogging horse again.  I let things slip for a few days and bam, I was back to not writing daily.  Not so good!

So, taking a page from my friend Brandon Schatz (The Soupy Toasterson Show), I’m committing to write 100 words a day and post it here.  While the 100 Words Daily challenge for Brandon is focused on fiction, I will not limit myself to fiction, but I will try to post some stories from time to time.

Now, I’m doing this for two reasons.  One, I feel good when I regularly post.  Two, moral support – I’ll encourage Brandon, he’ll encourage me.  Less likely that we will fall off the horse, methinks.

Now, this post is coming in around 125 words.  Not hard to do at all.

Music that moves

For me, most of the time, music is just background noise.  I enjoy it, but most of the time, I take very little away from it.  But, once in a while, there is a song that comes on the radio, or is part of a soundtrack, or on an album that I buy that just evokes a strong emotional response.

Today was one of those days.  I knew it was going to happen, since I picked the CD off the shelf to listen to specifically for the song – but, I had forgotten about a second, perhaps more powerful song on the same album which just gave me chills.

The song I wanted to hear today was Extreme Ways.  The opening notes give me chills and forever invokes the imagery of the credit sequence of The Bourne Identity.  Digging deeper into the song, it fits with the themes of Bourne so well.  The inclusion of it at the credits hits at the continued difficulties that the character will face.  It’s a little haunting.  I liked the song before Bourne came out, but now, the song is forever linked – which, makes it perhaps, more emotional for me.

The song that surprised me was One of These Mornings.

One of these mornings won’t be very long

You will look for me and I’ll be gone

The lyrics are truly haunting.  Is the song about leaving a lover?  Is it about someone on their death-bed?  It it about something more sinister?  Many possibilities, most are heart wrenching.

When a song gets me, it really gets me.

I’m Back…

And now I’ve got the Eric Bischoff WWE entrance in my head, but at least it’s driven out the Special Agent Oso special assignment codename “Snapfinger” song out.

But seriously.  I’m already digressing.

It’s been a few weeks since my last update.  Finding time for writing has been difficult.  Work has been really busy (which, is good, but it’s a little more on my plate than I’d like right now).  On top of that, I’ve been having problems – which, I’m sure is not much of a surprise to anyone that reads the blog.

After consultation with my doctor, I’ve started anti-depressants.  My moods have been too ‘swingy’ and I’ve not been feeling right for a while.  It was time to do something about it, since what I was doing myself wasn’t working.  It’s been about a week now and aside from the initial lightheadedness as my brain chemistry readjusted, I’ve been doing much better.

So, that’s that.  I’m feeling better and I’m glad I decided to seek help when I needed it.

Not knowing where to go…

I’ve been a bit of a loner for a good portion of my life.  Meeting people has always been hard for me and letting them in has been harder.  I always assume it has something to do with being ill as a child and being hurt because of the things that came out of that.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that my base isn’t as solid as maybe it should be.  Or, more appropriately, I don’t know where my base is, outside of my family.  I may have people that would gladly help when needed, but either, I’m too proud to ask them, or I don’t know they’re willing to be there – and damnit, its hard to ask people to be a pillar of stability if you don’t know that they are willing to be there.

Yes, I have my wife, and yes, she is someone I know I can turn to.  But, you can’t load everything on one person (or take the load for one person, on top of your own things).  I think that leads down a path that may result in resentment or whatnot, and simply, that’s not something I want to test.

Yes, this is me asking for help.  But let’s not make it just about me.  Here’s my challenge to everyone.  Let at least one person you care about know that you are there for them for whatever they need, even if you think they know, because maybe they don’t.

Behind the velvet rope

It was my six year wedding anniversary.  My parents took the kids on Sunday and Em and I had a ‘date day’.  Part of this was seeing The Avengers.  Anyone groaning – she picked the movie, I just happily agreed to it.

We decided to go to the new theater in Windermere and chose to do the VIP experience (at a $7 premium over the regular ticket price).

What does the VIP get you?  For starters, it’s 18+, which is nice.  Assigned seating.  In-seat ordering (until movie starts).  VIP Lounge area.  Expanded menu.

We arrived a little early to the theater, so we sat in the VIP Lounge while we waited.  The seating area was really nice and the servers were attentive. We had had lunch before we came to the theater, so we were only really wanting popcorn, but we did glance at the expanded menu.  The food sounded good (and from the items we saw others having, it looked good too) and was pretty reasonably priced for the movie theater.  There was also a variety of alcoholic drinks that also sounded pretty darn tasty.  We were offered water, so we took that while we waited.

When the theater opened, we took our seats and intended on ordering our popcorn and the like from our seat.  Unfortunately, the people taking orders did not seem to want to acknowledge us (or our entire row), so I had to run out to get our snacks and drinks (I missed the previews!).  Em had a Daquiri and I had a frozen raspberry mojito (we HAD to have booze, just because we could!), the drinks were quite good (and again, priced pretty reasonably).

The seats were comfortable.  The seats were grouped in twos with a gap between each group, so you didn’t have to sit too close to a random.  Each seat has a tray for food/drinks.  The sound and the screen were great (I ASSUME that the VIP theaters are equivalent to the AVX).

Alright, so aside from the failure in the in-seat service, I liked what the VIP offered.  It was an experience similar to one that I’ve experienced at the Opera or Concerts (at venues like the Windspear or Jubilee).  The $23 weekend ticket price seems steep, but the reserved seating of the AVX is $18 and that’s something I’m willing to pay to avoid waiting in line for a popular film.  Is the $5 extra for the other stuff worthwhile?  I don’t know.  Maybe.

But, it’s definitely worth going to the VIP theater just to experience it, just once.

What is this all about?

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been posting almost week-daily.  Some days, it’s hard to find something to write about.  Some days, I write several posts in advance.

So, when I kicked-off my renewed blogging, I had gone into it with the goal of making a habit of writing.  By writing more, my skills will improve.  Maybe, one day, I’ll actually put a 50k novel out for NaNoWriMo.  The point ultimately was not to write about something in particular, but to just write on a regular basis.  This blog isn’t the only place I write regularly, but it is the only place that doesn’t have a content requirement.

After re-reading my last post (Lesser of evils), I realized that particular post was really more about me putting some thoughts into the wild than it was about putting something coherent together to argue a point.  And I ultimately think that those sorts of posts are what makes this blog important to me.  It’s a place to put ideas ‘to paper’ and just have a bit of ‘stream of consciousness’ writing make it out.  Most times, I’ve suppressed these kinds of articles, since well, they’re a big mess.

Not anymore.  I’m going to try to make sure that most posts here are coherent and logical, but sometimes, they might not be.  Sometimes, I need to work something out, and this blog will let me talk it out.

With that said, I still welcome comments on anything I have to say, or even to help me along with my thought processes on topics that are perhaps in need of a debate.  Maybe some days, I’ll put a short story up.  Maybe I’ll talk about my hobbies.  Maybe I’ll talk about something else.

But in the end, I’m writing.  And that’s the goal.

What a day…

The past three days are traditionally the busiest for my office, on a customer service front.  Annual membership dues were billed March 1 and due April 2 before service termination.  Like pretty much everyone, the majority of our members waited until the very end of the month to make their payments.

Now, yesterday was the busiest day for us.  And, of COURSE, the computer system decided to act up.  Anyone who was accessing the system through the web-front (ie, our members) had no problem logging in and making payments, but those of us in the office could not get on to verify payments, check invoice amounts, issue receipts, and pretty much anything else that fell under the ‘customer service’ umbrella.

Let’s just say, I was freaking out a little bit.

Some deep breaths and we looked at what we had available to us.  Our debit machine wasn’t tied to the system in a meaningful way, so we could still take debit payments.  Same with cheques and cash – we just didn’t have a way to validate invoice totals or issue a receipt. So, anyone that had brought their invoice was easily helped – we took their payment and bundled it with that invoice for later processing.

So, for those that did not have their invoice, how could we help them?  Invoices were emailed to the members, so we had to pull the email logs and search for their invoices in the outbox of our unmonitored ecommerce account.  Problems solved.  Again, bundle payments with identifying information for later processing.

Our local internet terminals worked fine, so anyone that came to the office wanting to pay with credit card was helped in paying their fees through the web portal.

After about 2 hours of downtime, our system was back up again and we could get back to business as usual.  We got through the trouble spot and the affected members were sympathetic and understanding (which, I can’t say THANK YOU enough for).

The busiest is over and I can get back to focusing on the launch of the new financial system in a month.

Returning to normal

I have no idea what hit me on Monday, but it was not pleasant. I won’t get into the gory details, but I was in significant pain and slept a lot.

Yesterday was a bit better. I had a few naps throughout the day and just rested. I honestly got nothing done (a single chapter of reading, some forum and blog posts), which is just fine with me. Sure, later in the day, it started to get a bit bored but as I moved about the house to play with the baby and help wife out with stuff, I started feeling drained again. So, I took another nap.

I’m at work today. So far, so good. I’m still not 100%, but definitely better.