Through the Breach - Choosing Your Allegiance - Guild (Part 2)


The announcement of a new rules update in development kind of sidetracked my Malifaux post last week but I'm back on schedule now. Having covered the first three Guild Masters (well Mistresses in their case)...

Not THAT kind of mistress...
...I suppose I should tell you about the other couple that are available to the Guild before moving on to another Faction...



C. Hoffman.
The Guild is nothing if not adaptable. When the most recent threat to stability came forth in the form of grafting constructs to human hosts it made sense for them to form a new division to deal with the threat in the same way that the divisions dealing with Arcanists, Resurrectionists and Neverborn had been created.

Leading the Guild's newest Special Division is C. Hoffman who has a special hatred of the science as his own brother Ryle is himself a victim of it. Although he reluctantly followed Ryle through the Breach in pursuit of a half-promised treatment for his polio, He found their roles reversed when the psychosis that afflicts many as they pass through the Breach grabbed hold of his brother and ravaged his body. Only through the quick intervention of Dr. Viktor Ramos did Ryle manage to survive but his body now consists of more machine than it does man.

Hoffman blames both himself and the Arcanists for his brother's condition and turned to the only authority that he believed could help him...namely, the Guild. They have made certain promises to Hoffman though in the main the thing they have promised is the resources he needs to help his brother. Using talents acquired after his journey through the breach (such as his new-found psychic talents to command and control Constructs...convenient, huh?) in their fight against the Arcanist movement. Whether Hoffman is using the Guild or the Guild is using Hoffman however depends entirely on your point of view...

In game terms C. Hoffman really only works well when surrounded by Constructs. He can bolster their effectiveness, attack through them, even take over or borrow abilities from both ally and enemy Constructs and additionally can exert his will to detonate Scrap Counters both on the table (and carried by models both friend and foe...which is amusing when your up against a crew that requires them as well, lol). If your a fan of Steampunk based machines then he's the ideal Master for you and can even hire Constructs from other factions.

The other good reason for using Hoffman as a Master is that they're finally releasing his Avatar...

Lucius.
Lucius is what you'd call the "power behind the throne" in Malifaux. In principle he 'serves' as the Governor General's Secretary, but while he implements his employer's plans he tends to include the odd ‘adjustment' of his own. The Governor General is completely ignorant of Lucius's own agendas and actually values Lucius's counsel as it tends to be what he wants to hear anyway though doesn't necessarily have any resemblance to what's actually happening. As he serves as the filter of information both to and from the Governor General Lucius himself is incredibly unlikely to ever be caught for any of his myriad of personal schemes.

Lucius oversees the Guild's Elite Divisions in the City. His subtle suggestions direct their clandestine operations but along what path of his own devising he has yet to reveal to anyone. Most follow his directives unaware that their orders are his and even the select few who are in the know are completely loyal to him and his secret personal agenda as they (more than any other) know exactly how much power Lucius has access to. To Lucius they are all pawns to be manoeuvred into whatever position or situations he sees fit. He also wears an ornate mask which for some reason no-one seems to mention...it'd be the first thing I'd ask about...
Apparently all these guys would be entirely legitimate choices as a Governor Generals secretary...
As a Henchman, Lucius is able to lead his own Crew as well as be hired into traditional Master-led Crews. For those of you who don't understand how this works there's a tutorial here. He mainly rely's on tricks to get the job done, able to increase his Defence stat while close to friendly models as well as give models targeting him a Fate modifier penalty to their attacks. His Trigger negates the offensive capabilities of models wishing to attack him later in the Turn sequence which is a-fucking-nnoying, lol. Lucius' 'Hidden Sniper' Spell allows him the to target models that wish to remain out of his view, while his other Talents help by augmenting the abilities of friendly models and also by increasing their survivability considerably during an Encounter.

That's it for the Guild Masters (with the exception of a 'Dual Faction' one that will be covered in the form of their other allegiance). Next weeks article will be moving onto the Resurrectionist Masters...unless I get distracted again...

For further articles on Malifaux (amongst other things) you can pop over to my own blog or 'like' my Facebook page...Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome...though if I get more than one lately it feels like a victory, lol.

New Member Monday - For the Love of the Game

Got a good crop of new members for you on this fine Monday.  Breath deep their heady musk:

Rollin' 2d6 Deep
Keywords: 40k, Gaming, Hobbying, Analysis, Fiction

The Ruthin Wargamer
Keywords: Warhammer 40k, Eldar, Battle reports, reviews

Children of the Warp
Keywords: Daemons, Chaos, 40k, WHFB, Xenos, Tactica

DZC Contest Update
A winner has been selected and contacted.  However, that lucky person has not written back with a shipping address.  We said we'd give the winner a week, so in 3 days we'll redraw.  Just wanted to let you all know that we hadn't forgot.

Thought for the Day:
The other day, Jody of Frontline Gamer and I were having a chat/argument about Romeo Filip, the C&D Blood of Kittens got and whether or not and to what degree Romeo was a jackass.  The unspoken consensus we came to is that we weren't going to convince each other of our positions and that we weren't having much fun trying to do it in the first place.  Then we talked about Infinity because the whole reason we into these dang hobbies in the first place is to have fun, play games and hang out with other cool dudes/dudettes!  Not to bicker and argue over the finer points of all the bullshit that surrounds the actual playing of games.

Sadly, a lot of what goes on around the internet is that extra bullshit.  Partly because we're passionate about our hobby and party because when you can't play a game, goofing around on the internet is as close as you can get.

So in the spirit of celebrating the actual fun parts of the hobby, here are some pictures from a previous Infinity day I hosted in my man-cave about a month ago. I had fun, played games and hung out with some cool dudes.

Our battlefield for the day.
MudMonster ponders his next move.  He plays Combined Army so it was
likely to be something one of us hated.  A lot.  
VanMETAL! checks stats on one of his Aleph dudes as he re-jiggers an army list to replace
the guided missile launcher he forgot to take spotters for.
GuitarProf has a seat at the hobby bench to base some models.  He's smiling now, but soon he will
learn exactly what high WIP enemy hackers mean for his Nomad missile launcher shenanigans.
Models!  And a hobby desk that has seen too little use since I rediscovered Guild Wars 2.
Proxy city!  No idea what those camo markers are.  But that's kinda the whole point of them.
It was a fun day and we each got to play 2 games of Infinity.  Best Sunday morning I've had in a while.

Ok, so...I'm a nerd. And?



Hey, folks. SinSynn here.

Man....I've missed you guys! As a result, I may have gotten carried away, and this is kinda long.
I'm sorta sorry 'bout that. But hey, grab a cup (or glass) of whatever and read on!




As many of you know, The Crazy Lady I Live With had a lil' surgery. After a bit o' nonsense back-n-forth with the Doctor types, turns out she's gonna be fine. Sadly, they were not able to remove the part of her brain responsible for nagging, as firstly they claim not to know where such a thing is located (Lies! Lies I tell you!), and secondly they weren't cutting anywhere near her head, so...yeah. Not gonna happen.
When I suggested just scooping out her entire brain (There can't be a lot of it, I maintain. Take two seconds, I figger), they just turned around and walked away after sharing some kinda secret eye-roll with The Crazy Lady's sister. Her face was all, 'See? I told you. This is what we deal with. Every day. Constantly.'
Blah.

So, when all is said and done, I missed six days of work (eesh), I've had The Crazy Lady's sister here for a week ('You still building your little toys?' Why yes. Yes I am), and despite how friggin' annoying she is I was actually happy to see her this time, cuz her showing up meant I could return to work full time.
Which is important, cuz ya need money to live in this world, know what I mean? I think you do.

Ok, now...if only she'd leave.
-_-
She was supposed to leave today, but somehow the whole 'leaving' thing got pushed back to Tuesday. 'Probably Tuesday,' in her words.
-_-
Vegas is giving two-to-one odds on her actually leaving Thursday, from what I understand.
I offered to kick-start her broom for her, and I suggested we just take her, and the broom, up to the roof and toss 'em off together, but so far my suggestions have been dismissed immediately, or ignored altogether.
Sigh.

Anyway...guess who's playing April O'Neil in the upcoming re-boot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie franchise?
Yep, you guessed it- the future Mrs. Synn herself, Megan Fox.

*OMG I'm so happy! I'm gonna see it like 90 times! I'm gonna....whoops. I'm gonna need more paper towels...*

Yeah, so I'm not like, a big TMNT fan or nuthin.' I have a friend with all the turtles tattooed on one of his arms. Now that's a fan. Me? Well, I love Megan Fox, so I'll put up with a buncha silly green-screen effects, or dudes in rubber outfits, or animatronic Turtles, or whatever digital kinda nonsense they put up on the screen to see me some Megan Fox...
...I mean, it can't possibly be worse than Transformers 1 and 2, can it?
0_o

I'll hafta pull out my special trench coat. The one with the hole in the pocket my tentacle can fit through...I wore it to all the Underworld movies (Except Rise of the Lycans. That one does not exist in my world. It never happened, and we shall never speak of it. Are we clear? Good), and Transformers 1 and 2 (The third one does not exist in my world. It never happened, and we shall never, ever speak of it. Clear? Good), and of course I wore it the sixty-three times I saw Jennifer's Body that one week.

It totally woulda been sixty-four, but apparently the movie theater security people are all connected somehow, and apparently there was some dude bearing an entirely coincidental likeness to yours truly doing some freaky stuffs during showings of Jennifer's Body that week (I know, right? What are the odds?), and some flyers were distributed, bearing the entirely coincidental likeness of this fool and mentioning his penchant of bringing rolls of paper towels to see Jennifer's Body for 6 or 8 straight showings.
.
Ushers were ordered to confiscate rolls of paper towels from patrons, and even though I warned 'em...even though I told 'em that taking my roll of paper towels was a really, really bad idea on that sixty-third viewing, they took 'em anyway.

Now somehow I'm responsible for some sorta 'Hazardous Material' cleaning service, and they can't seem to remove the residue of several hundred gallons of...well, nevermind. Some of the customers in front of me were stuck to their seats for several hours, as well, and are filing all kindsa lawsuits for everything from head and neck injuries (apparently due to the impact of being hit by several hundred gallons of...well, y'know), to 'emotional trauma and distress' (at first I thought these cases were unrelated, and these were just dudes who had their paper towels taken too), and even one lady who claims she's blind now, due to being hit in the face with several hundred gallons of...*ahem*
I told her not to turn around. I told her to mind her business and watch the movie. I told her to ignore the grunting, and that I had no idea why the seats in this section were all shaking...did she listen? No. And now somehow the whole thing is my fault.

I know what yer thinking. Yer thinking, 'SinSynn, this is clearly another example of Xenos Discrimination and an obvious setup.'
You couldn't be more right, my friend. I saw Matt Ward totally doing the same thing when I accidentally wandered into a screening of Thor (I was looking for the bathroom, and judging by the smell...), and no one took his paper towels.
Granted, he was the only one in the theater. His presence probably explains the smell, too.

*I heard a male voice muttering something  that sounded like, 'You're a dirty, dirty girl, aren't you? Yes you are. ALL GUNS PREPARE TO FIRE!' Then the seats started shaking really badly. I turned around to ask whoever it was to stop, and all I saw was wildly thrashing tentacles. I was trying to make sense of what I was seeing when there was this...this...the only words that can describe it are 'massive discharge.'*


The Hamster That Lives In My Head has agreed to handle my case(s) pro-bono, even though I told him I wasn't a U2 fan. The only actual witness in the case is like, blind now, and her statement is clearly questionable (Tentacles? What? Pffft! That's crazy!), he thinks I should get off, and speaking of getting off, he says I should DEFINITELY not see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in the theaters.
Pfffft! As if.
Oh, no. I'm hopin' I get to see Megan in Super-IMax 3-D glory.
And, y'know...turtles, or whatever.
:P

So, speaking of being freaky, I had an interesting conversation this week.
I was wandering around my neighborhood, doing nothing in particular except enjoying the lovely spring weather; the trees along the block are all flowering and whatnot. It's quite nice.
I bump into a friend o' mine, and he suggests we get a beer. So we hit the nearest lil' shady joint, shoulder up to the bar with our drinks and begin BS'ing. We pound back a couple, and I can't help but notice the whole time I'm there, this chick is eyeballing me. I'm looking at her, too, cuz I kinda think I know her from somewhere, but I can't remember where.
Whatevs, me and my friend prepare to bounce. As I'm heading towards the door, the chick approaches me.
She's all like hey, you don't remember me, do you? And I'm all like, no, I'm sorry. I mean, I'm pretty sure I know you from somewhere, but I'm just dumb sometimes...
So my friend bounces, cuz he's gotta go, and I stay to talk to this lady. Turns out she remembers me from way back in the day when I was a mess. She's all like, wow, you look good now. What are you up to?
So I explain everything, and I mean everything, cuz she asks a lot of questions (as women are prone to do sometimes), and when I'm done she says, 'Huh, so you're kind of a nerd now, huh?'
Naturally, I was all like, 'Ummm...exsqueeze me? My mother what now?'
She looks me dead in the eye and says: You wear glasses. All the time now.
I'm all like, well they make me look nicer. I look like a neo-nazi gang member without 'em. And contacts mess with my eyes when, ummm...they're all dry and red and irritated and whatnot (shush, you, and don't you judge me).

She holds up a bunch of fingers, and begins ticking them off: You build models. And paint them. And play games with them.
Yeah, well...I told you it helped me cope when I was in addiction recovery. It gave me something to do with my time, instead of what I would've been doing, could've been doing- maybe bad things- I was building, painting models and playing games with models. Yes.
She tics off another finger: You write a- lemme get this straight- a 'hobby blog,' where you talk about models and games and all of this? Oh god! Do you play f*cking Dungeons and Dragons?
Sigh. Yes, I actually do write a hobby blog. You should check it out. It's pretty friggin' cool. And no, I don't personally play Dungeons and Dragons, but I know people that do. And they're cool with me, so you should prolly chill...
Oh, I'm not making fun of yer  friends, she waves me off. Lemme see the book in yer pocket.
Book?
Yeah, the one in yer back pocket, jackass. You think I didn't look at yer butt? You actually have a butt now. You were all skin and bones back then...
Well, I do have a nice butt, if I do say so myself (and I do), but I still pull the book out reluctantly, because...
'Storm of Iron? A Warhammer 40,000 novel'? Weren't you just telling me about this? Isn't this one of those games you play?
Played. I don't play 40k anymore...and that book is a classic. I was reading it in the park earlier, that's all. I don't really like the game so much nowadays.
Aha! she points at me now. See? It's true! You're a big giant nerd now! I bet you watched all of Battlestar Galactica, too. Like twice! She's playing 'keepaway' with my book as I try to grab it from her.

Dammit, she's got me on that one. She's got me on all of 'em, actually. I have one of those rare, speechless SinSynn moments (believe you me, those are rare indeed). I stop fighting her for the book.

Hmph, I say. Well waddayaknow? I guess yer right. I'm a nerd. Now, is that supposed to like, hurt my feelings or sumpthin'? Am I supposed to be ashamed of where I'm at, compared to what I could be, or rather, what I was?

*Cuz I could be in one of these. Except mine probably wouldn't be all cool and Black Sabbath-y like these*


She hands me back my book, and gives me one of those Terran Female looks that means something along the lines of 'you understand nothing.'
She's mostly right, even if she doesn't know it.
Of course not, you idiot. It's just nice to see you doing something with yourself, that's all. I would've thought maybe you were in jail, or dead like so many of the others (we had been over the names. There were a lot of 'em), but you look like you're doing all right. It was good to see you. Enjoy your book, nerd.
'Yeah, you too,' I stammered out like, the lamest comeback/parting line ever, 'You enjoy yer...thing, too. Whatever that may be.'
And then she was out...she was laughing as she left.

So I sat there at the bar for a few minutes. I woulda left with her, but that woulda been awkward. And you don't wanna leave a few seconds after, and seem like yer on some stalker sh*t, so I sat. I sat and I thought...
Yes, I'm well aware that me thinking is not a good thing, knuckleheads. Thank you all for reminding me.
-_-

So...like, what? I'm a nerd?
Hmmm...ok, well, how to take this?
I mean, I do a whole bunch of what could technically be considered 'nerd stuffs,' but the real kicker is the hobby thing, I suppose. Blogging isn't entirely geeky cuz jocks write blogs about their muscles an' stuffs, right?
Yeah, that's right. I went there. Nyah.

*I saw this on HotJocks.Com. It's like, sign language for numbers an' stuffs. I'm giving you my phone number, ok? Ok. So the first number is like 7, got it? Cuz I'm holding up like 7 fingers. Oh man, this is like genius!...Ummm...wait. Sh*t! What's the number sign language sign for zero? HotJocks.Com didn't show me how to make a zero! Justin, quick! Fetch me a nerd!*



Since I am honestly-truly not one of those people who gives a damn what total strangers think of me, I am unconcerned in that regard. Funnily enough, I do care what kind of impression I make on people nowadays, because in my Real-Life Occupation, it helps to appear professional.
Like this knucklehead, pictured here:

*Yep, this is me at work. Tool pouch on hip, and walkie-talkie in hand. I'm ready fer da jokes in da comments*

So, there ya go. You all know what my Terran disguise looks like now. I trust you all to keep my identity from the governments of your planet until such time as...well, it won't much matter then.
:)

That guy in the hardhat there? He's a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union #3, Division H.
In my Real-Life Occupation, I'm an electrical technician who specializes in life safety systems (fire alarms, specifically). Life safety systems are taken very seriously in New York City, where there are a lot of tall buildings holding a lot of people. I am required, by law, to hold a stack of certifications, go through a lengthy apprenticeship, receive various OSHA and NYC Fire Department training, and so forth. I am a tradesman, and a trained professional in my line of work. I have over twenty years of practical experience in the field. I run large crews of workers, often times a dozen or more. I am responsible for them, and for everything they do. I am also responsible for getting the job done on time and hopefully on or under budget.
The thing about life safety systems is that, if something goes wrong with them, people could get hurt or killed. I've been to buildings immediately after a fire occurs, and I've stepped over the stains left by melted body fat burnt corpses leave behind. It ain't pretty.
My Real-Life Occupation requires a great deal of responsibility from me. So, I find it helps if I look like someone who knows what they're doing.

But, from what I understand, in my personal life, I'm a nerd.
Sigh. What does that even mean anymore? I'm not the only construction worker I know that's into what some would consider 'geeky sh*t.' Construction is a physically demanding, constantly stressful job. The quiet, contemplative nature of painting a model at my hobby desk is wonderful to me for simply lacking the sound of fuck*ng jackhammers in the background.

*'I don't care what anyone says, the Heldrake is OP'*

While I, personally, don't understand why everyone, everywhere isn't playing Infinity (cuz it's like, so awesome), for whatever reason there are people out there wondering why anyone, anywhere would ever spend time playing any miniatures game, never mind Infinity.
I, personally, wonder why people watch reality shows like 'the Real Housewives of Whatever,' but hey, there ya go. Different strokes, different folks an' alla dat.

As I sat there at the bar, contemplating my newly pronounced status, I knew I wasn't upset or insulted  at the potential of being called 'nerd' on the street of anything like that. I walk around all the time in the 'Gopher Mafia' hoodie that Loquacious hooked me up with, and that thing is pretty geeky. regardless, I gotta be the only New Yorker rockin' the Gopher Mafia hoodie, so that's what's up.
I do get a lotta compliments on it from the Hipsters, though....that kinda worries me... 

In my case, I will forever be grateful to our 'community' because it accepted the lost, broken thing I was. I kinda just wandered onto the scene, trailing behind The Ultimate Rival, not knowing what the hell anyone was talking about cuz I was n00b.
To be perfectly honest, I was looking around wondering why no one was stealing all the stuff that, to my mind at the time, looked ripe for stealing. Pretty soon, someone started talking to me.

Here's a funny thing about me- I am very mistrustful of people. Or at least I was. I'm better now, pretty much. But even now, when people are like, nice to me, or express interest or -worst of all- try to be my friend, I get very weirded out. Sometimes it gets perceived as hostility, and whoever it is will be like, 'whoa, man I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...did I say something to...'
Sigh.
It's cuz in my head I think I'm worthless, and there's no way they could be interested in me, they're only acting this way because they want something from me...
I'm not worthless, I know this now. Took me a while, though.

So when that random dude at the hobby store asked me a question, I thought about it for a second, came to the conclusion that giving him the information he asked for didn't represent a threat to me, and decided to answer.
'I play Tau. What's it to ya?'
(I used to have a whole 'I don't know you so why are you talking to me' routine that was super helpful when it came to making friends)
He started in on the whole 'whoa, buddy' routine and The Ultimate Rival gave me a look and jumped in, 'This is his first trip to the store. He's only been playing a couple of months.'
The guy was setting up a table while The Ultimate Rival jabbered, so he didn't see The Ultimate Rival look at me and gave me the tiniest shake of the head, as if to say, 'not here, not now,' or my shrug back that said 'I'm sorry, I dunno.'

*I just hand out cards that have this printed on them now. Saves time*

Nowadays, now that the stupid part of my life is over, I try to return the favor. To pay the hobby backwards, if you will. The hobby has given me what I call 'Safety and Solace.'

Safety, because I've been accepted as a peer everywhere I go and by everyone I meet. Even with the odd dude that I bump into once in a while that...well, we don't really like each other, I've still stayed after the tournament was over and broke down tables with him.

Solace, because when I'm here, with you guys, I know without a doubt, that yer here cuz you like me, and I'm here cuz I like you. No one's lookin' to scam anyone, or some ghetto nonsense that I've had enough of in my RL.

I used to talk about 'the Normals,' and how I don't understand them, and how that used to vex me. Now I don't care. I'm not a Normal and I never will be, and I'm cool with that. Oh, and I'm a nerd.
Ummm...ok, sure, why not? What difference does any of it make?
I suppose this means I'll hafta prepare comebacks for the inevitable 'get a life' and/or 'have sex sometime' cracks, huh?
Sigh.
Ironically, I had a life, and it nearly killed me. Now, I'm perfectly happy to go work hard everyday to earn my paycheck, and to come home to be with my family (as weird and dysfunctional as they may be), and build, paint and play with my lil' models.
As for the sex crack...Well, I've had sex, thanks. In fact, I threw my back out bangin' yer mom last night.
JOKE!

Ok, sure, I'm a grownup and yeah, I've had sex so this is unlikely to bother me. Still, there are some young bucks out there reading this, and that crack might hit them in the head.
Listen, don't worry about it, kid. It'll happen. Trust me.

To all the young hobbyists out there, who maybe feel outta place, who maybe get picked on, and to who every day is some fresh new torture seemingly devised by a God who hates them personally- hang tough. F*ck the haters and do yer thing. I'm not gonna BS you and say, 'Oh, life gets better as you get older,' cuz it doesn't. It just gets different, and at times I'm still convinced there's a God who's only job it is is to make me miserable, but f*ck him too.
My happiness comes from within, and the things I create because of my hobby, the friendships I've made playing these games, and the experiences I've had doing all of this. If someone wants to think I'm some kinda weirdo, or whatever, then...ok, fine- let 'em. I doubt there's anything I can do to change that initial impression.
But if ya get to know me...you definitely realize I'm a weirdo...
And I'm cool with that.
:)


Until next time, folks- Exit with Catchphrase!

- SinSynn

[Weekly Top X] - There's No I In Team, But There Is One In 'Victory'.

Not to mention 'win', 'glorious' and 'triumph' - which just goes to show that trotting out trite little phrases as if they prove anything is not the hallmark of the great leader, but of the prat with a flipchart and a management training certificate.

There's an I in porpoise too. What do you make of that, fancy-man? Eh? Eh?
Despite my cynicism, however, winning is not something you can do alone. The vast majority of the games we talk about 'round these parts require other people to play. I've reached a point where single-player gaming is virtually dead to me; if I'm going to sit at my computer pretending to be an adventurous elf I'd much rather do it in a multiplayer context than not. On the tabletop we don't really have even that luxury; I did try to play tabletop games with myself when I was very young and had no friends, but people look at you strangely if you're putting on funny voices while you're talking to yourself, and I've never been very good with Space Marines and tried to rig all my games so that the Orks won.

Anyway, this week's Weekly Top X is all about people (or things) (unless the things are also people) playing together.



Certs of Certs Tabletop has been a much busier bee than the title of this post implies; the post covers three distinct games of Blood Bowl and highlight the tactical depth of the game by showing how Dark Elves (a 'not very good' team) can take on Dwarfs (a 'stupid over-powered' team) and, umm, at least hold their own. Not only that, but it talks about playing Dreadball with your girlfriend. That's the nicest thing.

DiStudios continues our 'gaming with girlfriends' theme over at The 14th Legion, discussing the Empire and Vampire Counts armies he and his lady are working on. I'm pleased to note that she seems to be making more progress than him; that's a lot of Vampire Counts with a lot of little flair touches like scenic bases on the go. I approve.

Afterimage Dan is also doing stuff with other people, but on a rather more grand scale - rather than pissing and moaning about the demise of the Specialist Games and the lack of global play initiatives by GW, Dan is just playing Specialist Games, and encouraging you - yes, you - to do the same, reporting your results to a global campaign that's at least as developed and attractively presented as GW's ever were, with the added bonus that something might actually happen at the end of it. I particularly like the wry little 'time of ending' touch; the Specialist Games should not be allowed to go gently into that good night. Maybe someone should do the same for Mordheim and Warmaster. Maybe that someone should be me...

Kenzie's Tabletop Gaming covers a run of pre-release Magic games; team games, to be precise, alliances between the various guilds in the current expansion's backstory being the order of the day for this event. I'm leery of multiplayer gaming as a free-for-all but the idea of team play does fill me with slightly more joy, especially in a game as combo-tastic as Magic. Plus there's none of the spatial awkwardness that tends to turn team 40K into a series of 1v1 games on the same board; with no terrain or movement awkwardness to worry about, it seems there's a lot more focus on doing stuff with and to each other's cards.

It's not just people that have to play nicely together in order for fun to happen, though, it's mechanics. The idea of synergy in one's 40K army is currently dwelling on Nick Thrower's mind, and his post at The Burning Eye shows the development from "just use the ones that look cool" into "but wouldn't it be nice if they did cool stuff too". It's worth a read, although I do feel the layout needs a tweak; sketchy white font on a black background hurts yer Uncle Von's tired eyes.

Now, the thing about doing things together is that some people will always try to spoil it for the rest of us. Some of those people will try to sell you things that don't exist or otherwise take your money and return naught but ashes and bones; Capture and Control's Overwatch has a warning about one such specimen, which you may wish to heed. Meanwhile, Sons of Taurus warms the cockles of my cold dead heart, striking a pose and making a stand against the Stupid Virus, attacking the false dichotomy of 'competitive/not competitive' that's brought up by people who don't feel comfortable without a baddie to shake their fists at and pour scorn upon for ruining the hobby for all true hobbyists everywhere (i.e. the people who agree that there are two sides and the other one are the baddies).

Is that enough? That's enough. I'm off to paint some elves.

The Ballbusch Experience: Just Give Me Someone to Fight


New games.  New games are the big new thing of the moment.  Everyone (yes, everyone in the whole world) has taken to the internet to talk about, review, and shop for miniature games that, well, aren't 40k.


Games Workshop: in or out?

These days a man cannot consider himself in fashion unless he's posted at least one anti-GW rant on his blog in the past three monthsHow exactly GW managed to get just about everyone's hackles up all at once is a question for the ages.  You can pick your GW bonehead maneuver du jour and say that it was the proverbial straw that broke the equally proverbial camel's back.  Certainly their business practices leave a lot to be desired, but GW has always been a rather cut-throat company.  Retailer restrictions, price hikes, and a certain amount of contempt for its customers isn't anything new.

The thing is, gamers were willing to forgive GW's occasional shenanigans as long as the company delivered awesome products.  However, the last few years GW's big releases (8th Edition, Finecast, Storm of Magic, 6th Edition) haven't gone over well with large segments of the player base.  That dissatisfaction makes everything else GW does seems worse, or more unprecedented, than it actually is.      



The upshot of all this is a great horde of wargamers looking around for an alternative to Warhammer (which I use as a generic term to mean both WHFB and 40k).  Which people should do even if they're perfectly satisfied with Warhammer. After all, I like pizza, but I wouldn't want to eat pizza for every meal.  So, the most games you play the less likely you are to get bored or frustrated with any one game. 

So far so good, people are trying new things, millions of kickstarters get funded, life is good.  However, there is one tiny problem, and like most problems in life it can be summed up in three little words: the other guy.     
Special buddies

Wargaming is a one of those things that just doesn't work without a reasonably enthusiastic companion.  Even if you a large number of wargamers that's no guarantee you can find one to take the leap into the new system you want to try.  Asking someone to put their money and time into trying out a game is asking a lot.  Entry into a new wargame can easily set you back $200 once you include books and do-dads.  Not to mention the 30-50 hours of painting time required.

Maybe you're one of the lucky few who has a wargaming buddy who's perfectly willing to try out any game that interests you.  Or maybe you're the guy who will play any game your friend suggests.  In either case, that's good for you.  However, most of us have no certainty that we can find anyone who'll commit to starting up a new game that we want to play.  So, what do we do?  If we want easy access to opponents we play a game that's popular. 
    
A large part of the reason Warhammer is so successful and continues to maintain such a tight grip on the hobby is the simple fact that everyone plays it.  So if you want to play with the biggest group in town, you too must play Warhammer, and the cycle continues ad infinitum.  No other wargame has anything like that level of penetration and that is unlikely to change anytime soon.  

Having a ready supply of opponents isn't bad thing, but in the case of Warhammer it's gotten people to think about wargames in terms of pick-up games.  Now, I know not everyone has a FLGS nearby where they can drop in and find a game any night of the week.  But, even those who don't assume that their opponent will have his own army that he'll bring to wherever the game is being played.

A game store on 40k night
   
This isn't just part of GW culture, most of the big games encourage this approach, and support it with their fluff.  The Infinity, Malifaux, Warhammer, and Warmachine universes are improbable places where everyone is perfectly happy to fight everyone else.

Flames of War players pay lip service to avoiding so called 'blue-on-blue' encounters, and some do genuinely dislike them, but it's mostly to just appease grognards who accuse FoW of not being a 'proper' WW2 game.  This approach works great when you have a community in place playing a specific game.  Everyone's army can fight everyone else's without creating any sort of fluff or scenario issues.

The problem with this setup becomes obvious when you don't have enough local players supporting a specific game.  If no one else is playing a game, you can't play it either.  Yeah, you can say 'that sucks' and just go with the crowd, but that's what keeps everybody stuck in the same old wargaming rut, which slowly sucks the joy from life until you drop out of the hobby altogether and take up BASE jumping.   

Pick-up game culture isn't limited to the big boys either.  'Ancients' (generally 3,000BC to AD1500) wargamers are a lot like speculative fiction gamers in how they arrange their games.  Way back at the beginning of time it was decided that all pre-gunpowder armies were sufficiently similar to be represented on the tabletop by a single set of game mechanics.  And virtually all Ancients rules follow this paradigm.  The result is a free-for-all devoid of any historical context.  Pre-Mongol Samurai vs. New Kingdom Egyptians?  No problem at all.  While this throws historical accuracy out the window, it does mean that you can build any ancient army you want secure in the knowledge that any other ancients player you find is a viable opponent.    

The days when war required three things: horses, muskets, and really tight pants

Once we enter into the so-called 'horse and musket' period (about 1700-1900) the gaming culture really starts to change.  Not only did armies and equipment change frequently during this period, each individual regiment within the same army often had unique uniforms and flags.  So, the hobbyist can't really set out to create generic units, instead he  chooses to paint the 1st Battalion of the 4th Regiment of Foot (King's Own) in their 1815 uniforms.  This attention to detail naturally creates a drive towards historically accurate (or at least plausible) opponents.  That kills pick-up gaming stone dead.  If you've got an 1806 Prussian army the only person you can play is someone with an 1804-1807 French army.  You'll never run into that guy at the FLGS through random chance.

Yet, the period thrives despite its limitations because the Horse and Musket guys build matched pairs of armies.  So, one game its the Battle of Kolin with one guy supplying all the figures, and the next time its the Waterloo campaign with the different fellow's toys.  It's a lot of work, but so long as everyone in the local clique is working on their own thing, it's no different from each man supporting his own 40k army. 

If you're looking to start a new game that has little or no local player base you should try out the same approach.  Most wargamers will play anything so long as someone else is doing the heavy lifting.  You want to get into Infinity, but none of your friends want to paint up anime babes?  Build your two favorite factions (what's collective noun for an Infinity force?) then get a friend over and have some games.  Maybe he'll like the game so much he'll pick up his own figures.  If not perhaps he'll be inspired by your example, then before you know it, you'll be playing Dropzone Commander at his house without having to lift a finger.

Wargaming is at once a very social and very private hobby.  However, more than anything, it's your hobby.  Build the forces you want for the games you want, and support other people doing the same thing.  If you have a strong local community for a specific game you like, enjoy it; but don't think that every game needs the same level of support just for you to be able to play.  Wargaming isn't a religion or a cult.  No one needs to be converted from one gaming system to another.  Invite people to play the games you want to play, if they like them, they'll start their own armies.  If they don't, there are always other people to game with.           

Community Announcement: 2nd Annual Headshots from the Heart Charity Drive

Hey folks, Lauby here to offer a friendly helping hand to the fine human beings over at Wargaming Tradecraft.  Dave G is back for another 24 hours of Borderlands (2)... for charity!  The team is, again, doing this for Child's Play - which is just a fantastic organization.  I don't normally editorialize when someone is asking you to give them money, but I can't help it this time.


Sadly, there are no custom painted miniatures this time around, so the link with table top gaming is a bit tenuous.  But Dave is in our network and helping our members is what we do.  There are, however, a number of items that will be up for grabs via auctions just as last year.  The loot table is pretty cool so far and Dave has even managed to expand participation with an attached LAN party for those luck ducks who live in Canada.

Last year, Dave raised about $2,700 with his efforts and if you're the kind of caring person who wants to help sick kids, you can go here for details on how to help Dave set a new record.  As with last year, 100% of the proceeds to to Child's Play.  So none of that Kony 2012 bullshit here.

I encourage you to at least check this out.  I managed to watch a bit of the stream from last year and it was a bunch of fun.

[Musings of a Game Store Owner] Art of Building Pt 2- What IS Community

Building community is a long scale endeavor, without any real defined end point. You can't just open your doors and expect things to happen, and you are never "done", either.  You have to have some kind of plan.  I talked about general aspects of the process in my last post (sorry for the two week RL interruption, folks) and sketched out some things I intend to discuss further. 

First among the thoughts and premises I brought up was the meaning of community overall.

This?

Or this?


What is community?

For this one, I'm going back to my trusty dictionary. I love words enough that figuring out what they are supposed to mean is fun. I love comparing the "facts" to reality and figuring out where the discrepancies lie.

Community is defined as-




: a unified body of individuals: as
a : state, commonwealth
b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself <the problems of a large community>
c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location
d : a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society <a community of retired persons>
e : a group linked by a common policy
f : a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests <the international community>
g : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society <the academic community>

Even within the definition of community, there are different layers and levels of description, intent and effectiveness in describing what we mention as "community".  Not all of the definitions are appropriate for our purposes- and that's ok. That's the point of the discussion, and I enjoy the deeper looks very much.




Out of all of the choices here, I like the definition given in G the most. While our interests aren't professional, you could easily insert "hobby", "crafting", "sporting", "equine" or any number of various past times into the sentence and get a definition that fits what we're discussing.

So now we know that there's a large group of persons with common and especially hobby interests scattered through the larger society- but those people aren't necessarily unified.

It's my belief that you build a community through finding all the people who share a similar interest and finding a way to bring them together; to unify them. This concept is easier discussed than done. It's been alluded to several times in the comment section here, it comes up in personal conversations, and I've talked to other FLGS owners about it in round about ways off and on many times. It all comes down to finding something-anything- that gives our wacky lot a semblance of unity.

At first blush, that's not so hard. We all love games, right? What else do we need?


Our love of games and gaming is our common interest, but it's something else that unifies us. We have to have something more than just a love of games that brings us together. Because for real, how else are a librarian, pet store manager, electrician, engineer,  banker, academic lecturer and a tax dude all going to hang out together and feel comfortable?

It's the people that identify with and enjoy a particular place, setting or environment that make up the community. It's the folks that are engaged and active that help shape it, and those that are invested that help build it beyond "just a place".

So how do you get them to show up? How do you get the people you're actively seeking to appear inside your virtual/real walls? what makes someone pick up their stuff and head to your place?

1) Have A Definition

Know what community you intend to house. Whether it's competitive Magic: the Gathering or "Fluff Bunnies FTW", know you are hoping to attract to your business. Your stock, staff and events should reflect those that are welcome and encouraged to attend.

If you are a miniatures oriented store, make sure you have staffers that are on point in at least two minis games- maybe three. You could possibly have a person with more knowledge of WarMachine and then a Wyrd specialist, if that's your preference- but have depth and wisdom. Make sure the folks you are hoping to attract have similarly minded people to talk to when they finally show up.

2) Fake It Till You Make It

This is entirely language oriented; but tell folks what they want to hear. If you are growing your WarMachines/Hordes community, tell customers that while your community is still small, it's vibrant and passionate. Having events for the community you intend to draw on a regular basis gives people the chance to come check you out and possibly bring friends. By talking positively and passionately about the environment and scope of your community, you can attract people that want something like what you want to build.

Make sure that you're encouraging what you want in your community in words and in action, even when you're just starting out.  Just because you haven't built your community fully yet doesn't mean you won't.

3) Keep Talking/Advertising 

Don't stop talking about your X community/environment. Mention it - a lot. To everyone, in a casual and non-obnoxious way. you are your own best advertising. you are building a brand and you can't afford NOT to talk to folks about what you offer. Make sure you have a two sentence elevator pitch that is welcoming to your intended audience and offers an invitation.  Put this in the hands of anyone that can help you build your business- your staff, your customers, your website, your Facebook page, anywhere and everywhere.

4) Self Correct

Sometimes things go sideways. You end up with something that isn't quite what you anticipated. You look at your community and see something isn't working. Fix it. Don't let things stagnate too long or you wind up with a community that doesn't care and isn't interested in helping you.

For a viable community to grow, standards, expectations and limits need to be in place (and enforced), or your individual members won't feel valued and "check out". The buy in process happens more than once, and if you want people to value what you offer, you have to value it enough to fix it when it's broken/not working/headed in the wrong direction.



These points are generic- while I have used these and will continue to do so, they are not specific. They don't talk about how MY store works and why the things I am doing are working (or aren't). They don't address my local community and don't help me solve problems endemic to my situation.

I hope to talk a little about what I'm doing at my store, how and why- but not so much that other people in other stores/communities and locales can't use my knowledge to help their own environments thrive.  See you next week!

Malifaux 2nd Edition (or M2E as the cool kids call it...)

Change can sometimes be scary. The last time a big rules change effected a game system that I enjoyed was 5th Edition 40K to 6th Edition 40K which was a bit traumatic as quite frankly I hated pretty much every change they had made...

So when the makers of my new favourite thing in the world ever announced that they were releasing an update to the rule-set I was understandably concerned. Fortunately Wyrd took the radical step of sending the designers out to the various Malifaux podcasts and actually talking about what they had planned, answering questions and further announced some public beta testing. Maybe this isn't going to be so bad after all...

I'll share the announcement first and then we'll talk about what we learned from the tour of the podcasts. I'll also add a bit of detail for those without a working knowledge of the existing rules which will hopefully make the changes easier to understand.



You may have heard the rumors ... and now we’re excited to announce that Malifaux 2nd Edition (M2E) is coming!


Malifaux 2nd Edition will be pre-released August 15 (during Gen Con 2013) with a general release by October. In the mean time we plan to tease you with new art, new models, new characters, and the ... Public Beta for Malifaux 2E.


Malifaux 2nd Edition

Malifaux 2nd edition is coming! If you want to be one of the first to play it and provide input, we’ll be having a public Beta for your shuffling pleasure. (More details on the Beta below.)
What are some of the features of 2nd edition to look forward to?
  • Streamlined, Updated Ruleset.
    Clarified rules interactions and Model Actions.
  • Upgrade Your Models / Customize Your Crew.
    That’s right, keep your favorite model fresh and competitive for years to come.
  • New Masters.
    From the current Henchmen getting promoted, to fresh faces like Tara, the Herald of Obliteration!
  • Gremlins a Faction?
    You bet!
  • Easier to Read Card Format.
    Every model updated to a new, easier to read format. No more searching through the books. The cards are standard sized as well, making them easy to sleeve for dry erasing.
  • Story Moves Forward.
    Find out what happens to your favorite characters, see the new alliances formed, and discover new Tyrants!
  • FAQ.
    For those of you who never got enough of the rules-love, we’ll be moving to an FAQ system updated on a set schedule! No more searching the forums for rulings.

Public Beta Information

  • What
    Play Malifaux with your friends! See the new rules online as soon as they’re available. This will be your chance to give feedback.
  • Who
    Anyone! No previous Malifaux experience required.
  • When
    Starting May 31
  • How
    Watch the new Public Beta section in our forums. Access the rules, ask questions, give feedback, and interact with other Malifaux enthusiasts.
So what do we have to look forward to

Faction Changes.
1) The factions are getting abit of a re-arrange with a few (who weren't previously) apparently becoming dual faction. For those of you who don't know, basically some of the Masters have more than one allegiance so you can select which of their two allegiances that they're following when you select faction. Mei Feng (for example) could select either Arcanists or Ten Thunders which also effects what minions you can take with you.

The new line-ups will apparently look something like this...

Guild - Perdita, Lady J, Sonnia, Hoffman, Lucius (Neverborn), McCabe (Ten Thunders), McMourning (Resurrectionists)
Resurrectionists - Nicodem, Seamus, McMourning, Kirai, Molly, Yan Lo (Ten Thunders), Tara (Outcast)
Arcanists - Ramos, Marcus, Raputina, Colette, Kaeris, MeiFang (Ten Thunders)
Neverborn - Lilith, Pandora, Zoraida (Gremlin!!!!!), Dreamer, Collodi, Lucius (Guild), Jakob Lynch (Ten Thunders)
Outcasts - Leviticus, Viktorias, Von Schill, Hamelin, Tara (Resurrectionists)
Ten Thunders - Misaki, Yan Lo, Jakob Lynch, Lucas McCabe, Mei Fang, Brewmaster (Gremlin)
Gremlins - So'mer, Ophelia, Zoraida!!!!!!!! (Neverborn), The Brewmaster (Ten Thunders)

2) Gremlins are now a Faction of their own which will also include Zoraida and one new Master who I seem to recall being called the Brewmaster
3) Henchmen (a sub-group of Masters who could either lead crews themselves or be recruited by other Masters) are all being promoted to Masters so you might actually see Molly or Collodi in charge of a crew for once. This will also see the end of Rasputina/Kaeris 'Fire and Ice' lists and Von Schill being the solution to everything, lol.

Rules Changes.
1) Pre-measuring is now to be allowed at all times rather than just to measure your melee range. This isn't a big deal really as Malifaux is played on a smaller table area anyway.
2) Spells have a target number like before but are apparently now normal duels like any other ranged attack which should simplify things by having one system for both.
3) Ca value (How good you are at casting spells and similar) is built into spell description rather than being a specific stat. This is apparently in order to balance the Masters abilities better.
4) A Red Joker flipped for Damage (Dg) now does Severe + Weak Damage rather than the previous Severe plus an additional flip...as I invariably always flip a weak card for the 2nd one this won't effect me much...people with better luck might have a different opinion though.
5) Red Joker prevents opponent from cheating when it's used. I believe this is in order to increase the 'Red Jokers awesome, Black Jokers terrible' mechanic.
6) Avatars (an 'uber' version of a Master that can be paid for as part of your crew cost and then replaces him later in the game under certain circumstances) will vary in cost now rather than being all the same value. This makes sense as some are blatantly better than others. As far as I can tell the manifest method is going to be broadly the same though.
7) The 'Drain Souls' Action is no longer going to be in the rules...I never used it so I'm not sure how much difference that's going to make.

Changes to Strategies and Schemes.
1) Strategies are now all of the shared variety so you'll both have the same basic 'mission' though there are not as many now but are apparently more balanced than before. It was also mentioned that Victory Points (VP's) will now be calculated each turn rather than at the end.
2) Schemes are now worth more Victory Points (VP's) and I believe the value mentioned was 4. The players now generate a pool of schemes that they will be able to pick from for that game. This is going to be a pool of 5 from a selection of 19. Not revealing your schemes seems to make less difference than before being only worth one less than the new revealed value of 4. This should stop people picking the same simple ones over and over again which in turn should add more variety to each game and make people be a bit more creative than picking 'Bodyguard'...every...fucking...time...
3) Models can take a (1) Action to drop a Scheme marker.  You can do this even if you don't need them for the Scheme presumably as a form of psychological warfare against your opponent so he doesn't know what your actually up to ;-)
4) 'Line in the Sand' is now in the Schemes section presumably as a balancing issue.

Changes to Soulstone Use.
1) Using a Soulstone to re-flip for initiative is unchanged.
2) When you draw your hand during the Draw Phase you can spend a Soulstone to draw two extra cards and then discard down to the normal hand size (I'm presuming this is still the same hand size as before as I am yet to hear otherwise)
3) During an attack, you spend a Soulstone to add a Positive flip or a particular Suit instead of the previous effect of adding a card to your total. This would means you would cast a spell requiring two Suits by using an appropriately suited card and adding a second via a Soulstone.
4) When the Defender you can spend a Soulstone to get a Positive flip and give the attacker a Negative flip to Damage (Dg). Not sure if this is two separate uses or if you gain both benefits from a single Soulstone. Positive and Negative flips is an important game mechanic so this is a significant change.
5) Damage Prevention flips are unchanged but Healing flips are gone which will upset all those people who rely on 'Slow to Die' healing flips to keep their Masters alive. For the uninitiated, 'Slow to Die' is an ability that allows you to take a single Action when reduced to zero Wounds before the model is removed..Masters can currently spend a Soulstone to make a healing flip as a single Action so several of them with 'Slow to Die' are very frustrating to finish off.

Crew Changes.
Yes...this is actually the same group...
1) Stat cards are to be cleaned up (I'm guessing this means less abilities on them) and will now be standard playing card size. Models can then spend Soulstones on upgrades to their models (within limits obviously). This is one of the changes that concerns me as I've seen the balance issues that poorly thought out upgrade options can create when playing other systems...you know the ones I mean ;-)
2) Models now have new classifications which indicates both the number of Action Points (AP) and the amount of upgrades they can take. Previously all models had two Action points and one (0) Action with some having abilities that added to those totals. This will be changing from that to this...
3) Masters get 3 AP and 3 upgrades, Henchmen (Right hand men such as the Judge) get 2 AP and 2 upgrades, Enforcers (your beat-sticks such as Ice Golems, Executioners, etc) also get 2 AP and 2 upgrades, Minions (I'm guessing this is every-one else) get 2 AP but only one upgrade and finally Peons (The new designation for Insignificant models) get 2 AP but no upgrade options at all.
4) Standard game size is now 41- 50 Soulstones presumably to take upgrades into account.


3) The early versions of Misaki and Hamelin are going to be removed completely from the game but as newer versions exist (and pretty much no-one uses the old versions anyway) this is a none issue for me at least.

So that's some of what we have to look forward to and hopefully this is change for the better rather than change for the sake of it.....

For more articles on Malifaux (and other stuff) feel free to pop over to my own blog which can be found here.

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.

New Member Monday - Supersized to Five and Why Someone Needs a 3rd Ed.

New Member Monday

Grunt Love
Keywords: 40k, Dystopian wars, Dropzone Commander, Firestorm Armada, Historicals, Painting challenge, Spending challenge, Kings of War,

The Burning Eye
Keywords: Warhammer 40k, Bloodbowl, Occasional random musings

Ray of Paint Studios Blog
Keywords: General gaming blog, one post a day or your money back

Darog´s Company
Keywords: Rumors, Warhammer 40k, Apocalypse, Horus Heresy, Russia is hard

Skulkers Surprise
Keywords: 40k, warhammer fantasy, bat reps, piƱa coladas, getting caught in the rain, not supplying keywords


Man, that's the biggest incoming class of new blogs we've had in a long while here at the House of Paincakes.  Definitely, super sized.  But in a cool way - not in an inane way like a certain movie with Morgan Spurlock.

"I'm legitimately surprised that eating McDonalds everyday makes you fat"
said no one in this movie's intended audience ever
Thoughts for the day:  A new edition of Malifaux was announced recently to much relief and fanfare from the game's fans.  It turned out the Wyrd had been quite aware of how broken the game had become and are now taking steps to fix that shit.  So good on them.

Now if we could all, somehow, convince Corvus Belli to do a 3rd edition for Infinity.  Because I love the game and spending as much time as I did last month trying to figure out exactly how broken the Combined Army's mind control ray (sepsitor) is was not something that made me happy.  Apparently a weapon that allows the other player to steal your models wasn't bent enough without the FAQ concerning mandatory ARO's and Zone of Control completely ignoring how poorly defined defending against Sepsitor was in the first place. Luckily, it turned out not to be a Hamelin crew situation (literally, game ruining) so it wasn't time to run out and buy an Avatar.  But in doing the research on why that particular rule didn't work, I came face to face with pretty much the entire "it's time to do a new edition" checklist. Sad face.

I could go into that, but the big thing for me is that a near constant stream of FAQ's resulting from the extremely loose language that exists in the original rules.  And the resulting mess that more FAQ's (across a bunch of different languages) are required to fix.

I guess I'm firmly in the territory of rant at this point, so let me just admit that I wanted to bitch about how frustrating the above FAQ conundrum is.

Anyway, given the game's popularity, it's past time for a new edition.  And, fingers crossed, one translated by someone who actually speaks English.