Monday, October 13, 2014

Battle for Salvation - Malifaux Tournament!

The Battle for Salvation event was a fantastic getaway weekend with a great crowd of friends.  The camaraderie was everything I hoped for, from the road trip, to the gaming, to the evenings at the taverns (where I was introduced to Saki Bombs), to the fuel-up breakfasts at the diner, and more.

Here is Game #1, Saturday morning, where you can see the whiskey has already hit the table.  But it was thematic, since Mike was playing hillbilly gremlins.....

Game #1 - The whiskey is already on the table.

The Northern Virginia contingent (from the Malifaux Monday gaming group) had a strong showing, comprising 8 out of the 12 players.  We brought up the Malifaux terrain that was used at the NOVA Open to help out with the BfS logistics.  The table mats arrived after Game #1.

Mike Brandt's Gremlins.

Below is my Ramos crew, struggling against Tony Kopech's Rasputina.  The large, orange discs represent ice columns, which Tony used to good effect to block my movement and preventing me from going on the offensive and running my Schemes.

My Ramos crew, fighting in the shadow of the famous Batman Lean-to, courtesy of Bridgette Reilly and the NOVA Open Terrain Build Days.

The next photo is from Game #2, which turned out to be a precursor of the final match-up.  Mike Brandt and Tony Kopech (in the foreground) would meet again in Game #5 to compete in the champion match!

Game #2 - The table mats arrive.

Game #3.  Photo courtesy of Bob Roda.

Mr. Bob Roda ran an excellent event -- very attentive to all the needs of the players and provided consistent communication and updates for statuses and schedule changes. He made the mood warm, welcoming, and organized.

Malifaux Crew Photo Gallery

(sorry, I didn't pay enough attention to know which crew belonged to each player, for everyone anyway, so I won't credit names, since I can't do it for everybody)

A fellow Marcus player.  I look forward to adding Gupps (far right) to my own crew!

A great display board!  And nicely painted and based models to boot.

Nice swamp base!

The Warmachine Cephalyx Drudges are perfect proxies for The Drowned!
Awesome bases, too.

I really like the style and unity of this crew.
And, again, nice bases!

And finally, here is what it looks like to have my full Malifaux faction out on the gaming table, Marcus and his Beasts on the left, Ramos and his Constructs on the right.

I'm going to need to make a proper display board eventually.

My Results

My record over the course of the weekend was 2-3.  Not too stellar, but all of the games were fun and stimulating, and all of my opponents were a pleasure to play with.  Everyone offered just enough wiggle-room to make for a friendly match, without impacting the outcome of the game.  I learned a lot about other factions, masters, and crews, which was about my only gaming goal for the tournament.

As I usually do, I made blunders in most of my games, but I felt regrets for those blunders only for Games #2 and #5, so that's probably par for the course.  I really want to improve my consistency, to avoid making serious errors.  It just requires more practice (to instill patterns in my head), and I realized this weekend, listening to how much depth-of-knowledge the other players have, that I really need to study the books, too, if I'm to improve.  It's tough to make time and priority for that, though.

The appearance judging used the same rules as the NOVA Open.  Since I helped develop those rules and criteria for NOVA, it felt ironic, if not a little weird, to be judged by my own standard!  I have to admit, though, that I felt a little proud that the judges, who were unaware of my connection to the judging criteria, awarded me the highest mark on the scale.  :-)

What was especially odd, though, was that the appearance score, weighed with my 2-3 record, actually gave me sufficient points to win "best overall" (which is distinct from "best win record" -- "best overall" includes both win record and appearance score).  However, only one person can win each major award, so I was given the choice to take "best overall" or "best painted".  I felt that a 2-3 score was not deserving of "best overall", and I felt more deserving of "best painted", so I chose "best painted".

I share this behind-the-scenes tidbit, because it brought up an interesting debate regarding tournament play/awards, in general.  One of the guys in our group felt it was entirely appropriate, perhaps even obligatory, that I take "best overall".  He made the case that accepting "best overall" delivers a message and/or enforces the standard for that award, to say that the painting/hobby component is indeed a dominant component for that particular award.  Accepting the award could be motivational to people who invest more in the hobby element than the gaming element.

I felt he made a really good point, to where I second-guessed my decision and waffled a bit.  After all, the hobby component is certainly an aspect of the miniatures gaming pastime for which I've been a strong advocate, and here was a chance to legitimize it in a tournament setting.  In the end, though, I felt that the value of that message did not offset the awkwardness I would feel, if I were to accept "best overall" with only a 2-3 record.  "Best painted" was something that felt a lot more comfortable in my gut.  After all, I certainly worked a lot harder on the painting than the gaming, so it felt rewarding to be recognized for all that investment and sacrifice of time.

I didn't expect to face a minor moral dilemma at the tournament!  But I thought it was an interesting conundrum that hits at a tension point in the hobby, so I figure I would share my thought process.


  1. Whilst I understand the idea behind you taking the "best Overall" I think you made the correct choice of best painted and for the right reasons, good on yah! Well deserved as well, easily the best painted, and of course probably the best Faction hehe.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Bryan.

      To make the decision easier, I just need to win more games!

    2. Well thats a good point, but dont let the quality of painting lapse, you are setting such a nice standard, and I always say, if at the end you can say you enjoyed yourself then you are a winner. Especially if you learned something along the way. I myself haven't played anything competitively for many years, just thinking about doing it again, see how much age and health has affected me, and i need to exercise my brain. All I need it to decide on a faction, which is incredibly difficult as i like all of them, (most likely go with Arcanists or Neverborn). Plus I need to get painting, if i can get close to your standard I will be happy and proud to show off my models. Look forward to seeing more from you.

  2. Very nice write up! It was a tremendous pleasure having you there Mike! I know I put you in an awkward spot with the choice, and would have been honored and proud to present either award to you! You earned them, sir!

    Can't wait to see you again, and would absolutely love to get a game in against that beautiful army of yours!

    1. Thanks, Bob! It's kinda funny, I took more heat today about my decision -- coming from a good friend, mind you -- I'm just giving him fodder for ribbing me for some time to come. He definitely sides with the other argument, though! The situation has definitely given folks something tangible to reference to discuss the principles of the matter.

      It would be great to play a game with you. It's probably slim odds I can make it to TempleCon, as much as I want to go. Will I see you at AdeptiCon?


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