Skip to toolbar
I got Stoned – A Moonstone Tournament Report

I got Stoned – A Moonstone Tournament Report

Supported by (Turn Off)

Project Blog by marktarver Cult of Games Member

Recommendations: 21

About the Project

A project blog about my very first Tournament experience and about the amazing Moonstone game. Do not forget to click to show oldest post first, otherwise this will not make sense.

This Project is Completed


Tutoring 1
Skill 0
Idea 0
No Comments

I was privileged to attend my first ever tournament this past weekend for the whimsical fantasy game of Moonstone.

This report is my own opinion and will certainly be biased in my favour.

I have split the report into a few sections, so it is easier to skip to parts you might want to read or read it all at your leisure.

This was my first ever tournament experience, so I may express somethings that are obvious to some, but hopefully this will also help expose Moonstone to others, but also help those also wondering whether a tournament would be of interest but aren’t sure, like me, if they would enjoy it.

What is Moonstone?

Tutoring 1
Skill 0
Idea 0
No Comments

A game by Goblin King Games set in the Fantasy world of Tauber.

Official description:
Moonstone is a tabletop skirmish game for 2-4 players set in a grimm fairytale world. It uses unique Poker-like mechanics; players must read their opponents intentions well and bluff their way to victory.

The game is played over 4 turns with the aim to be holding the more moonstones than your opponent.
You will typically play with 5 or 6 models per side, making this a perfect sized skirmish game, played out on 3’ x 3’ tables.
All the models in the game are named and the sculpts are absolutely jam packed with detail and character, such as Baron Von Fancyhat, Boom Boom McBoom and Doug the Flatulent (yes he can fart to do damage!)

There are two main factions within the game, The Commonwealth and The Dominion. Within the main factions are sub races, such as goblins and faeries, humans and gnomes.

The rules are very straightforward and quick to learn, but the depth come from the unique abilities that the characters have and how the interactions and activation order changes how you play.

Races do have a style of play distinct to each one, yet with the wide range of characters within each race there is subtle variety even if you only play human or goblin.

Alongside the superb character of the game, making each game feel like you are seeing a story play out in front of you, there are unique card-based mechanics for range and melee attacks.

The rules are available to download here, as well as paper doll downloads to try the game, which I highly recommend.

The game was super successful on Kickstarter and is also now available in retail, at time of writing, from firestorm games.

Tournament Rules

Tutoring 2
Skill 0
Idea 0
No Comments

Once I had decided to break my Tournament cherry the Tournament rules were set out well in advance to assist in what to expect and also how the format would be and what restrictions would be in place for Troupe choice.


The Tournament was going to be timed rounds, with each round being an hour and a half, with 3 rounds in total.


We would be using 5 moonstones in the game with a Troupe size of a fixed 5 models, so using the same 5 models for the entire tournament.


An efficient Swiss system

A swiss pairing system was going to be used. I did not know what this was, so had to read up on it. This method is a popular format for the big Fantasy Flight Games tournaments, basically it works to match people up based on the points scored.


Games would be scored as 2 Victory Points (VP) for a Victory, 1 VP for a draw, with any ties on points broken by the most moonstones claimed.


So round one, all players are randomly paired, then under normal Swiss system, the next round you would expect to play an opponent with a similar result to you in round one, with round 3 being the top two playing to claim overall victory.


This means that if you happen to get drawn against an experienced gamer in round one and lost, you would probably play someone who also lost in round one in round two. This means that you get a kind of balance after round two, and it meant it felt that even losing round one, you still had chance to win the tournament.


In larger tournaments (we had 6 players), they introduce a Cut and Strength of Schedule also can be used – but I’ve not read on how Strength works and seems very complex, but aims to balance out your losses are not quite as bad if you lost against someone who won all there games.


As an example:

6 players.

Round 1 – random pairings

Player A vs Player B

Player C vs Player D

Player E vs Player F


Round 1 results

Player A 3 – 2 Player B (Player A Victory, holding 3 moonstones  to player B’s 2)

Player C 4 – 1 Player D (Player C Victory, holding 4 moonstones to player D’s 1)

Player E 3 – 1 Player F (Player E Victory, holding 3 moonstones to player F’s 1)


Round 1 Table

Player VP Moonstones
C 2 4
E 2 3
A 2 3
B 0 2
F 0 1
D 0 1


So under the rules, the table is sorted by VP’s first and then moonstones held, where moonstones were tied, the number of moonstones the opponent held factors in, this would be different based on the game and tournament organiser (TO).


So Round two matches are then basically done top down from the table. So based on these round one results round two would be:

Player C vs Player E

Player A vs Player B

Player F vs Player D


Round two results in:

Player C 3 – 0 Player E (Player C victory)

Player A 3 – 2 Player B (Player A victory)

Player F 3—2 Player D (Player F victory)


Round two table would then be:

Player VP Moonstones
C 4 7
A 4 6
F 2 4
E 2 3
B 0 4
D 0 3


As this was a three round tournament, this meant the final round would decide the final standings for the entire tournament.

Again the pairings are juts taken top down, but using the swiss system, you can see that the strongest players end up at the top, with both C and A winning both their games, so then will play each other, with whoever winning having won all three games and claiming first place.


Hopefully this helps illustrate the Swiss system a bit more easily.

Tournament Preparation

Tutoring 2
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

So I had signed up for a Tournament! How on earth do you prepare for this! The word Tournament makes it sound super serious, super competitive, and I am neither of those things, so I was very nervous, as I expect most people are when trying out a new thing.

But the first thing I concentrated on was the two main things, painting models and deciding on the models I was going to take.


Now I am not a great painter, I struggle for time due to family life, and I don’t feel like I paint enough to practice and improve. The best thing I ever did though was to get it straight in my mind that what I see on the internet is something I should aim for, but should not be used as a critique against my own work. Seeing Angel Jiraldez work being utterly amazing and then thinking that I should be producing similar quality is daft – but that is the pressure of social media and it is the bane of our generation to be the first to understand how we manage our overexposure to information.

I have got to a point in my hobby that I paint for me and as long as I am happy with the result then I have achieved. Yes I can improve and yes I want to improve, but for many years the paralysis of not being great meant I didn’t even try.

Moonstone sculpts are amazing for me, they are so detailed and full of character that you can get really good results, and I am happy with all the models I have painted so far from this range.

Troupe Selection

For me this was so tough. There is a lot of synergy in models, and it is very easy to come up with pairings in moonstone, so having the Tournament limit the Troupe size to 5 was such a headache, but was a highlight for me as well. It meant trying to decide on synergy or go for some models that can standalone but lose the overall synergy.

My faction was chosen on the basis that I had a painted Baron Von Fancyhat from an earlier kickstarter, so one Commonwealth human painted, by starting with the Baron meant I only needed to find time to paint 4 more models – faction choice decided lol.

My missus helped me out with a couple of test games to help me learn the mechanics of the game and to get a feel for the nuances of the interactions and abilities in game. It is far too easy to think an ability is over or underpowered when you read them, it isn’t until you play a game and see them in action that you can appreciate the subtle way they affect gameplay.

In the end it also came down to the characters and I wanted to have fun, so rather than go super meta and be so hung up on the most perfect of choices, I went for fun and narrative, with a bit of tactics in the back of my head lol.

In the end my Troupe choice was:

#1 : Baron Von Fancyhat – tank role, who can standalone without buffs and amazing in melee to defend moonstones and draw focus from the opponent, plus his hat his amazingly fancy.

#2: Fritz – tank, super damager output, a killing machine in melee.

#3: Quack – the human wizard healer, having two standalone tanks, Fritz especially has no defence, so to keep them alive I needed a healer, I went with Quack the wizard doctor over Eric the squire, as Quack has an offensive side that I though would get overlooked, he can throw blinding powder to reduce melee stats on the opponent, Quack blinding and then Fritz or the Baron to melee afterwards is nearly always a one turn kill.

#4: Flintlock – Long range sniper, I had a lot of melee focus, so wanted a ranged threat.

#5 Graddock – He was my only gnome, and took as he can remove abilities from people without needing to test, wanted a general support in case I came up against ability heavy teams to try and limit their tricks to allow quack and the melee guys to do their thing.

Practice games

I like most people own all the things, yet never play the things. I loathe myself for buying things and leaving them unused, but then something new and shiny appears and it joins the ever growing loft collection.

That being said, I found myself in a wonderful side effect of signing up for a tournament. I needed to practice the game. I didn’t want to turn up to a TOURNAMENT with in my head professional gamers and have to ask rules, not really have a clue about the game. So I set my self the goal of playing some practice games, so I could basically bluff that it looked like I knew what I was doing lol.

I would recommend this to everyone, obvious I guess, but as a very casual player, I don’t go into things to focus on winning only, I want to win of course, but I want to have fun more.

As a testament to the Character of Moonstone, my wife (an avid non-gamer) agreed to help play a few games with me. She took time to look at the models, goblins straight away, the models drew her in, she loves them. Yes she didn’t get some of the rules and why/when you would do certain actions or activation order, but every game we played we had a laugh, whatever the outcome (me winning of course) the focus for her was never the outcome, she would easily forget that she had lost, and only remember the story that evolved. She still reminds me of the game where Seasick Stu kept taking all the Barons energy so he could only stand and watch as Doug the Flatulent walked up and farted at the Baron, killing him dead. She might have lost the game, but she farted someone to death.

So yeah, practice of course is a must.

To help with my nerves of meeting new people (I am really shy) and playing a game against people, who in my head would be Moonstone experts, I recruited a mate to come with me. Luckily I had insisted he got a demo of Moonstone in at Salute earlier in the year, he did, he bought the game straight way from the limited stock at Salute. So was more than happy to Tournament with me.

We played a few games against each other the day before the Tournament, to help us both with the mechanics of the game and feel at least happy we both kind of knew the basics.

So yeah, practice if you can, try to practice against different people, it will help learn the basics, if you are new to a game, or even new to a tournament game. It surprised me how much extra pressure I mentally put on myself, just because it was a Tournament, and we are conditioned to know a tournament has a winner and all the rest are losers.

Spoiler- there were no losers at this tournament, every person and every game was a pleasure to spend time with and enjoy getting Moonstoned.

Time to get stoned!

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 1
No Comments

The Venue

We had the absolute pleasure of being hosted by Firestorm games in Cardiff for this tournament. I had purchased stuff from firestorm online, but never been to the physical location, or even Cardiff for that matter.

The venue is amazing and makes me wish I had something like that near where I live.

A well stocked shop for buying all the things, a nice little food canteen which did nice burger, a bar with Tiny Rebel on draft!!!! You all need to try the marshmallow porter!

Soft drinks and coffee vending machines all meant they are well geared up to spend a full day gaming and you felt really well looked after.

There was also the amazing space of 50+ gaming tables, room for 100+ people tournaments! Wow!

We have a couple of tables for the tournament, and also really good to see the retail boxes of moonstone on the shelves in the shop too.

There was ample space, well-lit and airy. The venue was about a third full all day with various games being played, from X-wing, Moonstone, D&D adventures happening.

If you are near to Cardiff, you MUST go here. Was amazing.

Meeting the Team

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 1
No Comments

I have had the pleasure of going to a Beastsofwar bootcamp for Wolsung, and the one thing that made sure Wolsung remains such a special game to me, was the designer being there. Being able to put a face to the name, chatting about the game, seeing the passion for their game, sharing in the enjoyment of being able to play their game, letting them see people enjoying their game was immense. It also meant I will always buy all the Wolsung I can get, I want to support the designer as he is a friend and no longer just a face.

 Upon getting to the venue we found the Moonstone space and met the Goblin King Games crew. Super excited to meet them and after the pleasantries were done, they were very attentive to make sure we understood what was going to happen in the tournament and where we needed to be and made sure everyone was happy.

It was great to chat and see the passion the team have for the game and the development and future of the project. It creates a very personal connection to the game, which is not a bad thing.

Board Overview

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 2
No Comments

Like most skirmish games, terrain plays a huge part in dictating the gameplay but also adding extra narrative and immersion into each game.

The team of Tom and Richi had done a fab job in setting up tables ready for us to play on, with a super board reserved just for the top table.

Not only was there great boards to play on, they had themed each one to a place in the Moonstone world, and each one offered a very unique setup, and led us to have to play differently each game.

Town Square setup

This Board was configured to show a typical town within the world (they did have the specific town name but I forgot to make any notes)

I would say this played the most straightforward out of the boards, cover along the flanks with the main square being open, so a good mix of advantage for melee and ranged types.

This board did not have any elevated positions, so ranged characters had to rely on good cover and didn’t get any extra distance on their range.

A Typical town square setup.A Typical town square setup.

Richer Town with Elevated terrain

The next board was more of a richer province town with a good few crazy looking buildings.

This also was configured with a couple of covered flanks and a town square, but this time on one edge was a tower to deploy ranged shooters onto.

When elevated a range attack reduces cover by one level but also gains an additional 2″ on the range of the attack.

Board Overview

The forest board

This board was very unique, lots of chance to block line of sight and this board really made you think about movement and positioning. Out of all of the boards, this one really made you think about activation orders of both sides.

Board Overview

Ruins of the dark wood

The last of the boards used in the rounds was configured with ruins around the edge, offering flanking and elevation too.

A central square too (as you drop moonstones in the middle and see where they land) with a few trees to offer some cover from turn one elevated sniper shots.

Board Overview cont....

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 1
No Comments
The dark wood board.The dark wood board.

My Games Summary

Tutoring 0
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

Round 1

In round one I got to play Mick and his sneaky Goblins on the Rich town board.

I deployed Flintlock in the tower to give him a 14″ , 5 dmg shot each turn, this meant he could reach all but one moonstone.

The highlight of this game was The Vicious Midget killing my Baron, running off with the fancyhat waving on the tip of his sword, only to run into a snare trap from Graddock to kill him too. This left us both with an impression of a bear trap with a sword sticking out with the fancy hat blowing in the wind, a great piece of narrative that emerged from the game.

It was 2-2 into turn 4 and Mick graciously rather than wasting time and picking the moonstone up just before the hour and a half clock chimed, he played quickly.

This though led to flintlock finally getting a headshot to hit Seasick Stu, killing him and causing him to drop his moonstone.

Mick then picked up the final one and it was still 2-2.

With one minute on the clock, Mick passed his turn so Fritz could pick up the last moonstone for a 3-2 victory for myself.

Although I won I have nothing but fond memories of the Midget, Baron Graddock story, and also all respect for Mick who was a super opponent and made a really fun game.

Congratulations to Mick as well for winning, by unanimous decision, the best painted award.

I as happy with my first ever tournament game, and I had at least met my goal for the tournament and won at least one game.

Round 2

My second game was against the humans of Clem.

Clem had a similar list, with Baron and Fritz as the hitters, but he had Eric the Squire, Young Jack (Gnome) and Agatha Tavernfrau as the support.

The moonstones fell oddly and three fell into one corner, I won choice and chose the edge near the 3 stones.

I deploy Flintlock on the ruins to cover my guys.

Clem’s plays round one really did intimidate me, he was able to generate lots of additional energy and Fritz was on 9 energy turn one, so able to move 8″ and melee with a 2″ range – this caused me to go defensive – a very bad idea in hindsight, and a very naïve move, mainly down to lack of playing the game and also nerves I guess, but a superb learning experience.

I picked up moonstones turn one, by baron and fritz, this meant my two main hitters were now slow, this mean the baron for me did nothing all game, so effectively i’d forced myself into a 4 on 5 fight, doh!

At 2-2 the game hinged on a single stone, when I finally realised I had to be aggressive in turn 3 with Quack, I killed fritz in one turn, but was unable to get my baron close enough to have killed Clem’s.

Clem’s Baron then picked up the final moonstone and gallantly ran away, securing the win in turn 4 as I could not get close enough.

A really great game again, my troupe played so differently due to the way the moonstones fell.

A great aspect of this game is that if the stones had been in different places then troupe deployment would have been different and the game would have changed completely.

I enjoyed this game as a learning experience, I think I could have won, but I played it wrong, so I felt disappointed in myself.

Clem did go onto win the top table game and be crowned champion, so I obviously lost to the best 🙂


Round 3

Round 3 saw me in a game against my friend.

What was really great to see was how he’d improved his tactics and knowledge of the game over the previous two rounds, and it goes to show that playing different people and new board layouts makes you learn the game really quick.

In hindsight my deployment was a bit negative and I drew myself into a central fight and didn’t really change tactics, even after Quarrel did 12 damage to Fritz killing him at the very start of turn 2.

Luckily Flintloque killed Morris in turn two to even the score, but it meant I had been forced to use Quack as a healer and sit on a moonstone at the back rather than be offensive, and it cost me the game.

It was 3-2 to me in the final turn, but Rob was able to get Quarrel to kill Flintloque causing him to drop the stone and drawing the game at 2-2.

In the sudden death turn 5, he won initiative and Quarrel picked up the moonstone and ended the game with a 2-3 victory for Rob.

Final Impressions

Tutoring 0
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

The Game

What a great game this is. Moonstone captures the whimsical fantasy setting so well, the gameplay is unique, deep and very tactical.

Yet, even more than the solid game it gives you a sense of story a sense that you’ve just taken part in a fairy tale and helped tell your own bit of the moonstone fables.

Each game is different, the way the moonstones deploy makes the game different each time, you could play the same board layout, the same troupes and have totally different games based on the dropping of the moonstones and also what number they show.

The melee combat is fun and interesting and deadly, you cannot be certain even as the attacker that you wont die.

There is the card draw that does mean you can be a victim of bad luck, however there is enough abilities to draw more cards, melee ranges to think about, reaction steps to remember, all to help negate a bad draw, and even when you do get a bad draw, you are aloud to bluff!!! Brilliant!

The character in this game is possibly the most complete and amazing I’ve seen, it engages you, it draws you in and it keeps you wanting to explore more and try different troupes to see what there story will be.

Win or Lose in this game you will, but you will laugh and enjoy every minute of it.

Terrain impact

The seutp of the boards was brilliant. Each round I played on a different board, and each round I had to play my Troupe totally differently.

Yes there is always going to be certain activations and abilities you do no matter what the terrain, but having a good terrain layout really does shine through in this game.

From a tournament perspective, it was a great idea to have boards of different types, and naming them within the world. One thing lacking was that the boards didn’t have the names on a little plaque or sign, so you did forget the lore of the board a bit.

Troupe choice

The decision to limit the Troupe size to 5 was brilliant for me. It was really hard to limit what you wanted to take to 5.

Having it a fixed 5 was also good I think. It meant you had to take choices to cover a variety of opponents, so again forced to look at combos that might not normally get chosen.


The moonstoners

As a tournament experience I loved every minute. The Venue was amazing, the game is amazing.

The people were amazing. Everyone was so friendly and so enthused about Moonstone. Each game I played there was laughter and friendly banter throughout.

Yes the current tournament setup could be exploited by power gamers but there was none of that on display here.

Everyone was there to have fun and enjoy the day.

The painting standard was really high too. The models lend themselves to allow mediocre painters like myself, to produce a good looking tabletop standard.

This has set the bar for me for Tournaments in the future, and it has set a very high bar.

I want a moonstone tournament every week please!

Personal Retrospective

Tutoring 2
Skill 0
Idea 2
1 Comment

I would recommend going to a Tournament to anyone now. Yes I know it can be a bad experience (40k sometimes with power gamers), but I think you will personally know if the game lends itself to a tournament that will fit your style of play and personality.

For me this whole experience was brilliant. From taking the step to actually signup for entry, forcing me to paint and pick a Troupe, to look at the game in more detail to try and make sure I did ok at the Tournament.

The people involved made a huge difference and I would happily game with them every week if I could.

That being said there are bits of improvements I would like to see for future tournaments.

  1. Timing clocks visible, so everyone knew how long was left in the round.
  2. Clear rules regarding sudden death, as it was unclear if the game just ended after turn 4, but then when it came to it we were allowed to do sudden death as there was time left on the clock.
  3. If timer goes, then maybe allow the current round to complete rather than just the current action, this might remove one player being an idiot and slow playing the last action.

My main concern for Tournament moonstone was the random moonstone deployment mechanism, I felt it was too random to be tournament friendly and could offer too much of an advantage to one opponent over the other. BUT now having played at the Tournament level, the moonstone deployment is a vital part of setting the scene for the story and each game, and makes you have to adjust how you play, which for me is amazing, you have to think each game, you cannot just build a power list and rinse and reapeat and win.

Good players will be able to mitigate bad luck on card draw, make better deployment decisions and better activiations and will win in most cases. BUt the game lends itself to a bit of mayhem and that is perfect for a fun game.

Overall I had a brilliant time and it has enthused me even more about this game.

I want to try new troupes, new ideas, and like I’ve mentioned, my wife agrees. She wants to try new characters or try again to play a character difrernly to see what happens, if a game can capture the imagination of my wife, give me a brilliant weekend and introduce me to amaxing people, then I cannot say a bad word about it.

Shameless Advertising

Hopefully you’ve read this and enjoyed my write up – it’s my first one, so my writing style and content will improve, honest.

But to make sure you follow up on the enthusiasm you are no doubt feeling about this game after reading this, here are some easy to follow links.

Buy Moonstone Merch!

Moonstone the game – click here

Buy Moonstone from Firestorm games – click here

Go enjoy this game, and I will see you at the next Tournament.

Supported by (Turn Off)