First game up was Malifaux. I took my normal Lilith list. Rob was interested in trying out the post-errata Hamelin, and therefore took the following list:
Hamelin the Plagued -- 4 Pool
Nix, the Bull Terrier
Using the Hoarcat Prides was a bit of a surprise, but seeing as how my experience with Hamelin was short (and frankly, unpleasant), I guess I should be expecting anything.
We flipped for Strategies. Mine was Reconnoiter (control quarters of the board), Rob's was Plant Evidence (take (1) Interact actions on terrain on my side of the board). Overall, I felt that the Strategies were in my favor- I have been trying to spread out my forces, which I think is important for success, and I don't think coming across the board quickly is part of Hamelin's ideal plan.
Schemes were next. Rob's schemes were Bodyguard (Hamelin), and Plague on Malifaux (basically, turn my guys into rats). I chose Bodyguard (Lilith) and Breakthrough (have more guys in his deployment zone at the end of the game than he does). Off we go!
I win Initiative. I have my Terror Tot, Lelu, and Lilitu run off to my left, into a set of ruins. Lilith moves over to my right, throwing down an Illusory Forest, and the Mature Nephilim hops over to join her. Tuco takes a potshot at Hamelin, misses, and moves to join the group on my left.
Rob's activations were spent moving his models forward, generally, although he summoned a Stolen which he moved towards Tuco.
Rob won the Initiative, flipping the Red Joker, I believe. Rob started the turn by having Hamelin summon another Stolen, then walking back towards his corner.
I activated Tuco next, and decided that with Hamelin backing up, Nix was the next best target. I shot at him, and did 2 damage (but see the post-game thoughts, below), before backing Tuco out of threat range.
Nix activated next, and he Herded the rats forward, and moved a little forward himself.
We both waste a few activations, jockeying for position (Hamelin's crew generally moving a little more forward, and Lilith and the Mature Nephilim swinging out more to my left), before I finally activate Lilitu, and walk her up, and throw a Lure on a Malifaux Rat. The rat failed to resist, got pulled foward into Lilitu's melee range, and she killed it. Since I had pulled the rat away from Nix's Aura, the rat couldn't respawn, and this was an unpleasant (albeit small at the time) turn of events for Rob. Lilitu ended her activation throwing a Lure at Hamelin, which forced Rob to use a card to resist (although truthfully, he could have ignored it, but it never hurts to be careful). Rob decided to plug the gap in the ruins with Malifaux Rats, hoping to prevent future Lure shenanigans.
At turn end, I was feeling pretty good. Lilith and the Mature Nephilim were in okay position, and weren't in danger at the moment. In the ruins, my four models were more than capable of holding off a few rats, I figured. If I could hold on my left, I was hoping to send Lilith and the Mature into Rob's backfield, and start doing some more significant damage.
I won Initiative. I start with activating Lilith and Lelu (using Companion), and the end result is that the Rat Catcher is Lured forward and killed. Rob has the Malifaux Rats respond by sacrificing a bunch of them to summon another Rat Catcher.
Unfortunately, the Rat Catcher is close enough to Tuco that I shoot him, deal several points of damage, and put a poison counter on him, which (with one health remaining) kills him his next activation, which Rob took immediately to force me to activate another model.
I decide it's time to get up into the action, have Lilith use Brood Mother on the Mature Nephilim (giving the Mature Nephilim the next activation after Lilith), and charge Lilith into the nearest Hoarcat Pride. Unfortunately, my flipping wasn't very good, and the cards in my hand weren't much better, and I only deal a moderate amount of damage, leaving it alive.
The Mature follows up by charging the other Hoarcat and hits, but I trigger Knock Aside, and charge into Nix instead, killing him and ending engaged with the last Malifaux Rat. Things are starting to look a little bleak for Rob, but with a smile on his face, he makes a move to try to even it up.
First, Hamelin activates, and after several casts, finally makes Lilith Insignificant. No matter the result of his final activations, at least Lilith won't count for my victory conditions. He follows this up by having his Hoarcats Prides get close to me, and successively cast Devour, hoping to snatch up Lilith, and have her Sacrificed. Several failed attempts later, Rob looks at the board state, and concedes.
It indeed started to look bad for him- Lilith could've handled the Hoarcats decently well, and Lure plus all my melee should have been enough to bring Hamelin down, I thought. With that said, even without Rats, Hamelin's various tricks could've still made the game a challenge, I thought. Still, Rob conceded, and that's the game.
Well, there were several things going on here, but we should start with the thing we did obviously wrong, and this is something I didn't know about Hamelin and Nix- they are spirits! That means they take half damage from non-magical attacks. Turns out, I don't have many options on that front, meaning Nix may have survived, and taking Hamelin down would've been a lot tougher. It may have been enough to change the game, truthfully, and will be something to remember for next time.
Hamelin's changes are pretty huge. Rob's initial impression was that the changes were perhaps too much, and although there may be some truth there, it's definitely a very different model on the board than the first time I played against him. He needs to be up near the action (so that his Nihilism aura can help out), and he needs to be up there with Nix backing up his Rats' rush into combat. Rob moved Hamelin back during the second turn, I'm assuming to protect him from what he perceived was my Mature Nephilim and Lilith getting too close, when really he needed to get up there and depend on his Stolen to keep him alive.
The game wasn't long enough to really get a feel for my play- overall I thought I played alright, although I did get a little bottled up in the Ruins- partially because I ran Tuco into them instead of leaving him out to be a pain in Rob's backside. I need to do a better job of keeping him out and fighting, I guess.
We ended the night by getting about halfway through a game of Dreadball. Having finally gotten everyone assembled, I taught Rob the rules, and we began playing. I took no notes, because I was trying to keep the game moving, although the basic events were that I quickly went up +6 using the Orx, but Rob fought back, and we ended the game with me up +2 with about 7 Rushes left, and Rob with the definite momentum.
After my short experience with the game, I have to say that I really do quite like it- it's very fluid, and the action doesn't have any resets, which is nice. Getting the occasional extra action from various cards is VERY helpful (I used cards to score both of my 3 point strikes), and although the ref didn't play any part of our game, I like the fouling mechanics, and look forward to games where they actually matter.
Anyway, thanks for reading!