Category Archives: Malifaux

4Ground Terrain Review


The tabletop gaming landscape is very different today than what it was a little over 20 years ago when I was introduced to the hobby via my father. This was via a trip into a local Games Workshop, no doubt the entry way that many of us proceeded through that led us to where we are today.

At the time GW was really the only option. I did some looking around at independent retailers and there was nothing out there that came close to what GW offered. Their models were (and some could argue still are) a cut above the rest and there wasn’t any other game that gave you the scale of combat that was possible for either Fantasy or 40k and that was when 40k was far more of a skirmish game than it is today.

If you wanted terrain for your games you had to make it. Eventually GW did come out with some cardboard kits (as well as stuff they gave away in White Dwarf… remember those days?). Gaming was generally done on a green felt mat, or white table cover (lots of games on snowy terrain there!) Very different to how things are today.

After making the decision to finally leave GW behind I’ve been much more free to rediscover some other gaming systems and look at the games I want to play. I’m waiting on some boards to arrive for Dropzone Commander from a Kickstarter that I backed. Turning my mind to some other skirmish games I rediscovered Malifaux, a game and universe I’d already enjoyed previously, not with a second version of the rules and a huge improvement to boot.

I picked up the Rules manuals and some Arsenal decks and took a look, liked what I see and decided I needed to return. But, I hear you utter, what on earth does that have to do with the title of this post? I’m glad that you asked. In this day and age there is a whole gamut of places whereby one can get affordably priced terrain to enhance your games. I’ve spent a large portion of my gaming life fighting across the grey plastic battlefields of the 41st millennium after all. As I looked into Malifaux again I decided that I wanted to make a proper table, one that would encourage me to have a painted force to play with too. So, I went looking.

4 Ground is a company I’ve been aware of for a while and are at the forefront of this, very popular, movement of laser cut MDF terrain. As anyone who has ever purchased their stuff knows, it smells fantastic! It looks good too and is relatively light on the wallet.

There have been very few moments in my gaming career that I have come across a product that I would have little reservation in completely recommending to anybody, the 4 Ground terrain is in that elite category. I have a little collection of the stuff now and have found it to be a really great product.

Each kit comes in a bag with a number of sheets of pre-cut, pre-painted MDF, along with a page or two of instructions. I heartily recommend that you familiarise yourself with the assembly instructions and look over the terrain sprues just so you know which parts are where and how they are supposed to fit together, this will save time later on when you’ve put glue on the wrong bit!

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I will say that these are certainly not for your beginners, there are also some parts that are very easy to break, especially door frames. However, because this is all just wood, a good dab of PVA and you can resurrect most pieces.

I’ve assembled three kits so far and have bought another three and I’ve never had so much fun putting terrain together. Some of the parts can be a tight fit, but these can be shaved down and you will feel like you’re going to break some of the parts as your try to prise them out of their frames, but as you build things up and you see the building come to life… Well, it’s a pure pleasure, I’ve seriously never enjoyed putting terrain together as much as I have with this stuff.

While the instructions could be clearer in some instances (hence why I recommend you study it out first) things go together easily enough. Occasionally you’re going to want to leave some assemblies to dry for a while as you’re using PVA not superglue so bonding isn’t instantaneous. This is not always a bad thing, although I end up really anticipating getting to sit down and finish off the buildings.

As well as the Marshall’s Office shown above (that I finished last night) I have Rogan’s Bar, the Gallows set and, as of yesterday, Hitching posts, Corrall set and an Under-construction 2 storey building. That should round out my Malifaux table quite nicely.

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What I love about these buildings is that they aren’t just shells. If you pop the roof off there are interior details, this is more obvious in the Marshall’s Office as it has actual working jail cells and interior doors. The bar shown above you could actually decorate if you so wanted, there’s a lot of room in there for stuff.

My only complaint with the Gallows is that the rope is a little too thick and therefore doesn’t quite work to the scale of the models it’s going to be used with (and the string in the instructions is obviously much thinner). But, I still can’t really complain about it for the price.

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This terrain set has also been bought for potential use with Deadman’s Hand. In fact, all of the terrain I have is from this range in 4 Ground’s catalogue. I can’t speak highly enough about the quality of it and the wonderful experience I’ve had assembling stuff. It makes me happy to think I still have some more to do at home and when I think of how this is going to look when it’s on the battlefield… This is certainly going to be the best one I’ve ever put out to play games over.

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Collette Du Bois – Shenanigans!


As Servitob’s picture from the weekend alludes to we had a bit of a gaming session this past Saturday. Due to the lovely weather and the number of attendees scattered throughout the day we decided to throw open the patio doors from the buccaneering side of the floating citadel and enjoy some gaming al fresco. nBreaker was the first to arrive and so we decided to crack out the Malifaux for our game before anyone else turned up.

We setup the terrain and then flipped for our Strategies, I got Destroy Evidence and nBreaker got Treasure Hunt. We then each picked two Schemes, I announced one of mine and kept the other secret. As the dust cleared we were both sitting on 3 VPs and most of our forces had been gutted (I love Cassandra, she killed two full health minions in one activation). This was the closest and most bloody game of Malifaux that we’ve ever had but it was also super enjoyable.

For this game I ran the Showgirls box set, this was the first time I’d had the opportunity to run the girls after the last few games running a Seamus crew and Raspy before that. I’d had a lot of success with Raspy and her offensive magic stylings but it has been a while since I looked over the Malifaux stuff so we were a bit rusty and I therefore hadn’t unlocked all of Collette’s tricks.

After the game we had a lot of time for some reflection. nBreaker took Lady J again, backed up by the Judge, Samael Hopkins, a Witchling Stalker and Death Marshal, with the Scales of Justice for the large breasted sword master herself. I knew that he therefore had a lot of ranged power and some melee powerhouses.

The first thing that stands out about Collette and her crew is that every one of them has the ability to use Soulstones, I started the game with 7 in my pool and there are plenty of ways in which to generate more. The game lasted six turns and I had great fun learning of and pulling off a lot of shenanigans. Cassandra ate through Samael and the Witchling Stalker, then Collette used her abilities to swap places with her, landing Cassandra near to the melee forces of Lady J’s crew but keeping the much more important Collette out of harms way. This teleporting tricksiness allowed me to accomplish all the objectives that earned my those 3 VPs.

Unfortunately I had some bad luck with the cards, pulling the Black Joker or 1’s when I really needed to get off some spell combos, however, nBreaker played a much tighter game too and made me pay for spreading myself out and missing those combos. I’ve noticed a couple of things I could have done with the crew since the game finished and I am looking forward to using them again. The Showgirls are certainly very different from the Cult of December, they aren’t really a direct damage kind of crew, they pull off all kinds of funky things that distracts and annoys your opponent but I think I’m going to have to study things out a lot more in order to better work out the vectors for winning.

However,saying that I did always keep my focus on completing my objectives and having done that keeping Collette alive stopped nBreaker from completing another objective that would have netted him 1 more VP and therefore the win. I don’t think it will be that long before he is beating me to a bloody pulp but I think next time he might try out his new Dreamer crew and as I’ve not faced them it may prove to be a very interesting game.

What this game did show me though was how much fun Malifaux is. We played the Strategies from the newest book and took Schemes for the first time too, it provides a real twist to the game so that you aren’t always sure of what your opponent is up to. He had an objective to kill Cassandra, I’d stacked her defence to over 30 on a duel total and thought she’d be safe to have a go at Lady J in my activation but when a Red Joker was cheated in it sealed her fate, that was a VP to nBreaker that I didn’t know about until the end. It made me understand why the Red Joker was applied to that Duel, he was also lucky enough to draw the Black Joker in his hand and therefore remove it from the game, whereas my Black Joker appeared 2 or 3 times at really annoying moments.

I’ll be back for more though, I can guarantee that!

The Internet – Good or Bad for Gaming?


In the constant drive to deliver to you, dear Internet reader, quality, thought-provoking content that touches you on a deep spiritual level we bring you today’s topic. A drive that you may, or may not, agree on us reaching. I just like to try to write down my thoughts using an expansive vocabulary in order to portray myself as an intellectual, we all know I’m not kidding anybody…

The Internet is right up there as one of the potential greatest inventions of the 20th century, I remember first hearing about it on the now defunct Tomorrows World program where it was referred to as the Information Super Highway and would transform the way in which we lived. They talked about virtual communities living out there in cyberspace and traditional boundaries dropping off as we increased the reach of our social interactions.

I don’t think back then that anyone really grasped the true extent that the Internet would seep into the lives of our fellow Earthicans, rending asunder boundaries drawn on maps and opening us up to people and places we’d never been before. It also eventually provided us with categorical and unequivocable evidence that Trolls do not just live under bridges.

When I first started gaming in the Nineties the extent of the community and the discussions I had were restricted to either friends or the local gaming store when I popped in and talked to staff. Now, I didn’t grow up with a huge number of friends interested in the same hobby as me so I also took a rather unique avenue of just drifting through on my own. I didn’t go into the local GW to play, just to pick up the latest releases. By the mid Nineties dial-up was becoming more prevalent and eventually my father’s PC was hooked up and I got my first taste of Internetdom. This was all related much more to PC gaming than wargaming though.

One Christmas I then got a home DSL kit allowing me to no longer have to hog the phone for 2 hours at a time before BT disconnected the modem and I’d have to redial. This then brought about speedy access to all kinds of wonders and the Internet, for me at least, truly came alive and not just because you had free access to women of loose morals flashing their jubblies around.

These days the Internet is bursting with communities and forums for pretty much anything and everything you can think of but what has this done to our particular hobby? And is that a good or a bad thing?

Firstly, let’s start off with the glass half full and talk about the positive. The resources available to players is massive, there are forums for games and armies, a wealth of information on how to go about painting our toy soldiers or even converting them into something completely different. The inspiration available to be able to view the skills of so many different people really helps you find your place, either as a master artist or realising that even if you thought you were bad, that kid selling “pro-painted” on eBay is way worse than you.

The Internet also allows the gamer to become aware of stuff that he or she may not otherwise come to recognise. I found Warmachine through the Internet as before that I’d been a GW purist as that was all I really knew about due to their high street presence. What the Internet has helped to do is to open up competition as it is now a lot easier to research a game rather than the opinion of a store owner or splashing out on the rulebook and some models in the hope you’ll enjoy it.

If you need tips on an army then you can find other players who will help you out, either through unit selection or ways in which to improve yourself as a player. You can read battle reports, check out paint jobs, or even avail yourself of some pretty good deals on second-hand models or discounted brand new stuff. The Internet has broadened gaming, you are aware of new releases well in advance and can preview stuff you might like to grab in the future without having to wait for a magazine or even for it to arrive in stores. I don’t think there is anything that has been as transformative to many people’s hobbies, even outside of gaming, as the Internet has been. It is in virtually every home, at least in the western world and that kind of prevalence has been a boon for the diversity of information and avenues of discovery that we as consumers have access too.

Unfortunately, the Internet is not always a shining beacon of enlightenment. While we’d like to think that people united by a hobby could get on with one another there are the odd few people who will criticise and denounce people. If you take a sub-par choice for an army then you must be a n00b who clearly has no idea to play. Then there are also the vociferous remarks negatively viewing some companies (most notably the Sherriff et al). People can be overly critical to the point of being rude.

We can also look at the massive discounting of products online stealing market share from bricks and mortar stores that simply cannot compete against their virtual counterparts, this inevitably leads to the decline of local communities as the traditional congregating ground of the gamer disintegrates either through no-one visiting the store to get their goodies or through the store having to shut up shop. Does the fact that we are only a forum thread away from finding out the most powerful army lists actually prove detrimental to the game? There are many that will just take the latest web list and run that rather than try things out for themselves, after all the only point of gaming is to win right?

A lot of the forums have a tournament minded mentality too, therefore a lot of what you find is super-competitive style armies that are annoying to those of us wanting a chilled out game with friends. Buying your first army for a game can be a process of finding that uber-list point and click army and buying it rather than what I did when I started of buying what I liked and trying things out and in many cases, trying to make stuff work because I didn’t have anything else.

I cannot think of anything else in recent history that has proven as transformative to the hobby as the Internet, but then the world wide web has changed the face of how the world communicates and interacts anyway, we’ve definitely been left behind the curve here, in fact I’d probably say we are right up there riding the wave as it were. I have enjoyed being exposed to new things rather than being a GW purist and believe the market is blossoming, although perhaps a little too much.

I’m not going to declare an undying love for the transformation that the Internet has made to our hobby, but then I am not going to decry it either, I can see both good and bad here. Although there is certainly one thing that I think we can all take from this;

GW and the Dark Eldar in Non Male-Pubescant Female Stereotype Model Shocker


Ironically I posted a similar topic almost a year to the day. Today I am actually going to be using some pictures to back things up and the topic is slightly different. After placing my pre-order for virtually every item on the current Dark Eldar advance orders page of the GW site I thought I’d talk about one of the ones I didn’t pre-order. I placed orders for the things I reckon I’ll be using straight off the bat, but this one I might pick up later.

Now, I happen to think that this is one of the best female models ever produced! I mentioned it a little in my post on the Dark Eldar being shown off at Games Day but wanted to expand on that. I love the Sherriff’s new aesthetic with flowing models loaded with movement rather than boring, static pieces. Lelith Hesperax is a special character and hence my decision not to pick this up as a must have straight away. Chances are I’ll get it at some point, especially if I go with a heavy Wych theme as I could use her as a generic Archite but not sure how the rules for the update are going to be yet.

What I love about this model, other than the dynamism is that it looks female. Wychs are gladiators without peer, the pinnacle of that concept and are therefore lithe and muscular. I have to praise GW for doing the concept justice rather than falling into aged stereotypes, let’s look at an example of that shall we?

Yup, large breasted, wafer thin waists with an aversion for clothing of any kind. Games Workshop aren’t the only ones to follow this trend though;

Collette Du Bois (I happen to own this model *coughs*) does own a bordello though so you can’t really blame her dress, it does fit with her theme. However, again we have a buxom wench and then there are the below;

Now, I’m not going to go through every set of models ever made, nor every faction for every game, but suffice to say there are a fistful of models that do nothing but portray the schoolboyish image of stylised women meeting the typical fantastical idea of the female form. While I’m not advocating that we end up with 300lb gorillas for models of our sweet gender opposites it would be nice if there was some natural variety rather than stick thin boobarellas. Let’s try to make gaming a hobby that can be looked upon as respectable rather than the province of giggling school boys who think boobies is a dirty word best spelt on inverted calculators.

What Makes Games Fun?


There is no mistaking that the tabletop gaming arena is getting crowded with competitors. While there have always been a number of companies who have made models it seems increasingly that these companies are now striking out into the gaming market by producing rule sets, Freebooter and Wyrd are just a few that spring to mind.

While this may mean that as gamers we have plenty of choice it also means that we have a lot of games clamouring for our attention. We don’t all have the limitless wealth that the our friendly Sherrif may think we do, so buying into every single game that comes our way isn’t feasible, although for some of us, we do try. Long-suffering wives see their beloved homes turned into galleries of metal and plastic in various stages of construction and painting, while us menfolk surreptitiously try to hide our latest purchase in among the forest of toy soldiers that is almost impossible to catalogue without an expert’s eye.

Some of the decision-making for what we play is based around aesthetics but nowadays we are also seeing innovation in the mechanics of the games, moving away from dice to cards or using cards to represent models and their stats rather than lots of chod crammed into a bulging rulebook. While choosing games to play is a deeply personal choice surely there are going to be some offerings and one game has the potential to not be as good as another. Some rules are clunky and difficult, some leave room for ambiguity due to poor language, others are the efforts of extensive writing and play testing and are a joy to behold. How do we know which games are which when we are making our decisions and how do we know what we will enjoy and be able to coerce invite our friends to play with us.

If we were to do a comparison between the offerings out there today we’d end up with a rather large post, there are certainly a large number of games I can think of available to joe public. A direct comparison between them isn’t always going to be possible either, while you could probably get away with comparing War of the Ring, 40k and Warhammer Fantasy as they are all games based upon army scale conflicts. Adding in Warmachine, Malifaux, Hell Dorado etc… would be unfair as they are skirmish games and therefore play differently. However, whether skirmish or army the one thing that I think unites games is that they should be fun. If you spend the majority of your gaming time poring over the rules then you probably aren’t having much fun, but if the core mechanics are easy to learn then you can get on with playing and things are much more enjoyable. Again this is a deeply personal view on things, I love games like Malifaux and Warmachine where you have a few models to play with and unit cards on the table in front of you give you everything you need to play and provide a quick reference to speed things up. Malifaux’s rules are wonderfully short, once you have the turn sequence and the concept of duels sorted then you can play, the trick to the game is combining the models in your crew, all the abilities and special rules are on the model’s cards and you spend more time with those than having your nose stuck in the rulebook.

Warhammer relies on you remembering a lot more, the rules are longer and more prescriptive, you can make yourself little notes so that you remember all the magic items bulging the pockets of your heroes and the numerous special rules that your army has. War of the Ring handily condenses a lot of the rules that we see in Warhammer and looks completely different. Warmachine has a whole host of options for you to use within the rules and you need to remember those, but the core mechanics are simple but rely on you unlocking the combinations in your army to maximum effect, I suppose it is a little like Magic: The Gathering in tabletop form.

But what makes a game fun? As this is a hobby we aren’t doing this for the work and effort required to assemble and paint an army, we are doing it to relax, to get away for a while in another world that allows us to (temporarily) forget our jobs and other responsibilities. While it is possible to take each element of our lives to extremes I’d like to think that some alone time is something we all do while not neglecting our family, employment or other areas of our lives. Anyway, enough of the heavy stuff.

What makes a game fun is surely an opinion rather than anything we can probably define. While I find both Uncharted Seas and Firestorm Armada to be fun, I prefer the spaceships, they are more “fun” as a game. I know others prefer US or even the 6 Inch Move blog nemesis Full Thrust, which is why this is interesting to me as gamers have vastly different tastes.

I think that on the whole Warmachine is more fun that Warhammer, however I enjoy both games sufficiently that I invest in both (although I haven’t played Warmachine in a while). I like Warhammer because of the sweeping battles and it plumbs different areas of my brain to the skirmish games I play. I love Malifaux because the mechanics are so different from a dice game and things can be far more brutal if Fate is with you, it’s a very different play experience to any of the other skirmish games I like as well as being totally different from army sized games. Warmachine is fun because you can use magic robots to headbutt each other into the ground and chuck stuff across the table. Each of the games that I choose to play are fun for different reasons and that is why gaming is such an interesting hobby. To my wife they are just toy soldiers or whatever, but to me, they provide different experiences that I can enjoy with my friends and I think this final point is the key.

Gaming is at its heart a social hobby, while you can play with yourself (pun intended) the hobby takes on a whole new and more satisfying dimension when these experiences are shared with friends. While sometimes we will whine about the dice deserting us, or a sub-par unit choice, or that cheesy magic item combo etc… each time I spend time with my good buddies thrashing out some fantasy conflict between zombie hookers and metaphorical personifications of axioms or whatever I have memories of fun times spent quaffing liberal quantities of Dr Pepper and sharing the highs and lows with a bunch of people who add something to my mortal experiences.

So, what makes games fun for me? I’d have to say it’s the people I play with, for me there couldn’t be a better bunch of nerds to share my time with!

Malifaux Rising Powers – Impressions


Anyone with a Wyrd bent will no doubt be aware that the second book for the excellent Malifaux has been released. There was a little delay in getting the books out to the non-US market post Gen Con but those players within the 6 Inch Move floating citadel have our grubby little mitts on our copies now.

So, what’s in the book then? When you look at the Rising Powers book it is pretty much the same size as the original rulebook, you’re not going to find any duplication here either, if you want to know how to play the game you’re going to have to pick up the first book. While Rising Powers does introduce some new rules it doesn’t give you everything you need to play, it just adds some bits here and there so is a true expansion rather than an alternative. One of the first things you notice is that the book is chock full of fluff, not the actual desiccated remains of its authors, but background story setting the scene for the new Masters, Henchmen etc… as well as telling you what people are up to following on from where things were left in the main rulebook. It’s of the same quality as what we got in the first book too, giving you little insights into the world of Malifaux, as usual the artwork presented throughout is excellent as well.There is an expanded section on working out encounters, the Schemes and Strategies from the first book are expanded upon and there are now Shared Strategies that you can use as well as a pointer to downloadable Story Encounters that I have yet to check out. There are more ideas for creating and setting up Encounters, including indoor locations and these parts are what takes up the majority of the “rules” section of the new book. In between all of this is the story sections leading up to what people are really interested in, the new models.

If I was to pick a main critical point about the book it would be that there are no pics of the new minis, while we’ve already had some insight with the Kirai, Collette and Gremlin boxes there is a large hole for the rest of the new forces. With some really nifty artwork I am hoping that they can translate them into awesome models, judging by the quality of what we have already seen I have high hopes. Each of the main factions gets a new Master, from what has already been released I reckon we’ll be seeing a new Guild and Neverborn starter set too to match the Arcanist and Ressurectionist sets already released. Henchmen are introduced for the first time too, these lads and lasses are an alternative to taking a Master and open up several more options for constructing your list. They can be taken with a Master if you are inclined but each has their own Special Forces type which changes what you can bring into your army. Not only are there new Totems for the new Masters but there are new faction Totems such as we saw within the first book. There are then a whole host of new Minions that expand on what was already on offer. You get much more of a feel for the Lawman style of the Guild with the extra options added into their section, while the first book really showed the forces linked to each Master you now can see more of the run of the mill Guild employees.

The new Masters aren’t a carbon copy of anything we have already seen, each one is genuinely different to stuff that we can already use and I have to commend Wyrd for this. Coming up with new themes for a Crew is going to be one of the hardest things they have to try, I’m looking forward to finishing reading all the back story to see more of how these newcomers interact with personalities already established in the narrative.

Considering that Wyrd seem to be one of these companies on the fringe of gaming, not having the market presence of your Games Workshops or your Privateer Presses but for me now we have more of a repertoire to judge them on I really hope that they generate a lot of success with their product. The Malifaux world is something vastly different from what we have already seen and its mechanics are interesting to say the least. I can recommend this book to anyone that wants more of what Malifaux has to offer, for anyone looking at starting the game then you’d be better served getting the first book as you then have all the rules you need, but there are enough starters to find something that will appeal to anyone and things are getting better and better.

I’ve looked at and played a lot of different games and this one just continues to impress. I look forward to trotting out Collette and her Showgirls in the not too distant future to see how they play.

if you’ve resisted Malifaux for a while, now may be the time to take a train through the Breach and see what the City has to offer!