Tag Archives: Malifaux

Malifaux: Rules Review


I love skirmish games. I feel no remorse in making this statement and after months of anticipation all it took was my wife to go out to her school’s Bingo night as an opportunity to invite nBreaker around for our first bash at Malifaux.

In preparation for our clash I re-read the rulebook to try to keep myself fresh with the core rule concepts, but as this was a first game I knew we’d be living out of the rulebook for this. So, before we do anything else let’s give all of you readers out there an idea of the game and how it plays.

Malifaux is set in a hybrid universe that mixes elements from the Old West, Steampunk and Horror genres. If you chucked frontier America from the 1800’s, Magic: The Gathering and Tomes: Spirit Guide referenced in Ghost Busters, wined and dined them, then took them back to your place for some “coffee” then I am sure the resultant offspring would look a lot like what we have here. Despite this mix of things though it all fits together very well.

There are 5 factions to choose from, these are; The Guild (the ruling faction), The Resurrectionists (I wouldn’t want to go to hospital here, I’m just saying), The Arcanists, The Neverborn (homicidal teddy bears included) and The Outcasts (mercenaries that can either be hired into another faction or play as their own). There is a lot of variety between the factions and each of them has three starter sets which have different play styles. I won’t go into each one here but there should be something to suit everyone’s tastes and there are some really good sculpts throughout the range.

Army selection is a little like MkII Warmachine. You select an encounter level which determines how many Masters you can take (1 for a Scrap and 2 for a Brawl), this also sets how many soulstones you can spend on recruiting your force. Unused soulstones can be kept and used in-game, a nifty little mechanic that has you working out the most efficient use of your stones. Scraps can be from 1-40 Soulstones and Brawls up to 75. Each Master has their own cache of Soulstones so you should end up with something after spending them but there are maximums you can use in-game, 8 for Scraps and 10 for Brawls. The Master doesn’t cost anything to hire but all the other models do, there are other limits on the minions you can take depending on how common they are. We played a pretty easy 25SS game that makes best use of the starter boxes. I took my Rasputina Cult of December starter box against nBreaker’s Death Marshall’s crew led by Lady Justice.

Possibly the most remarkable thing about Malifaux is that it doesn’t use dice. Instead you use a deck of cards with two jokers, you can either use a standard deck of cards or purchase a Malifaux deck themed to your faction. I have a nice purple deck to complement my Arcanists. Everything you do in the game requires a flip of a card from your deck, this normally adds a stat from a model’s profile to give you a total, either against a flat number or a total from the flip of another player. As a part of this there is a Cheat Fate mechanic, each player has a “Control Hand” of cards they draw at the start of the game and replenish every turn, once in each duel (a duel is the flipping of the cards to get a result of an action) you can replace the card you flipped from your deck with one from your hand, the suits are just as useful as the numbers on the cards in certain respects. Models who can use Soulstones (pretty much just Masters at this point) can spend a Soulstone in order to draw another card and ADD this to their total. This can make it really hard for an opponent to stop you from doing something if you get decent cards at the right action. Learning when and when not to Cheat Fate and/or use your Soulstones adds a lot of depth to the game.

Each turn is split into three phases, one that begins the turn with resolving certain game effects, discarding any cards from your hand you don’t want and then drawing replacements. The next phase deals with the turn, each player draws a card and the higher number goes first, you can spend a soulstone to have another go if you drew the lowest card, if you are then at a higher number than your opponents they can spend a soulstone to grab another card too. The highest scoring players goes first. You activate a model and perform all its actions and then your opponent gets a go with one of theirs. Before the battle begins you pick a Scheme, which is a mission you are trying to achieve, these are picked through flipping a card and matching the number to a table in the rulebook. There are quite a few Schemes and these can be made more interesting via Strategies which I will probably leave for another post.

Armed with your scheme your Crew then tries to achieve that while stopping the enemy, all Schemes are announced at the start of the game so you know what your opponent is up to in terms of his main objective.

Each model gets action points to spend, this allows them to walk, charge, climb, boost their abilities, cast spells and smash people’s faces in. The Duel mechanic is used to resolve all combat and casting actions. This makes for a quick game, our first game wasn’t as fast as it could have been but when we started to see how quick certain things are resolved it gives you an idea about how fast the game is going to play once you get used to it. Malifaux plays fast. nBreaker has already given his impression that this game is fast and brutal, an assessment I’d agree with. Once you succeed in a duel there are a number of Triggers that the model can activate. This means you can get extra damage or perform an extra action and things of this nature, this adds another dimension of strategy as these normally have suit requirements and getting one of these off at the right time can secure victory or deny your opponent an advantage. It is these Triggers that help to speed up and brutalise the play.

Each game takes places over 6 turns and at the end the person holding the most victory points wins. All of the Schemes and Strategies tells you how you can claim these Victory Points.

In a nutshell that is how Malifaux plays and a brief overview of the rules. I may post up a rundown of how our game went from my point of view later on, but my first impressions of this game are very favourable. It has depth to its gameplay but still retains a simplicity that new players will find accessible to get to grips with. I think this game has a bright future and it is one of the more original offerings I’ve had the pleasure of playing. This is the first of what I hope will be many games and we are planning on demoing it to our play group at the next meeting.

After having played it I give Malifaux a massive 9/10. Awesome background, really nice models and a great playing game. As we are big fans of low model count, fast playing games here at 6 Inch Move I reckon this one could become a favourite.

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Coming up…


March is here, spring is in the air and with Easter just around the corner it is the time of new beginnings. So, what does this mean for us 6 Inch Movers? Well, that’s a good question. This time of year generally makes me one hell of a lot happier than the dark and dismal sun-deprived days of winter. I obviously have some bear in my ancestry as the only thing I really want to do during these long nights is to curl up and sleep. However, with the promise of Day Light Savings coming to an end things look a lot err…. brighter… sorry, got nothing better for that.

Sunday afternoon we gathered the blog squad to Servitob’s house and cracked open the paints. During the winter I use a 60W daylight bulb to paint by, painting by horrible yellow light from normal bulbs really does mess with the colours and the shadows that are cast make it really hard to paint, especially if you are using a black undercoat. With daylight now lasting, naturally, longer this is the season where I begin to get excited about painting. Sure I still have my computer game distractions but I am hoping to fulfill my New Years Resolution by appropriate use of the extended daylight hours. If I can pull my finger out and get our garden sorted it’s possible we could have painting/gaming & BBQ days enjoying the (relatively) fresh air.

I have acquired another Battleship and 6 more Frigates for my Dindrenzi only to realise (thanks Servitob) that if we stick to a 500pts limit for gaming I would be unable to use both Battleships due to fleet composition restrictions. I’ll save it for later or try an alternate colour scheme on it as I am dangerously close to finishing painting the starter fleet Battleship as it is. nBreaker and I will also be demoing Malifaux to the rest of our gaming buddies in the near future. I have finally assembled my Cult of December box and have some ideas for quick and simple painting of the Ice Golem and Gamin. Rasputina will need some more work, especially if I go with the default colour scheme which is white, one of the most loathed colours to paint.

I’ve had stuff for this game for a while but I really am excited to be getting hands on with it. I’ve mentioned in posts before now that I am more of a fan of skirmish level games rather than ones that use hordes of stuff (even though I do have armies for those games). It may be that with my appallingly slow painting speed I feel I might be able to get these things done if I only have a handful of figures to start with. Over the weekend I also received delivery some more items for the my fledgling Retribution of Scyrah army for Warmachine. These will need to be scheduled in sometime although I’d really like to be demoing the Malifaux stuff with a fully painted set of models. I feel that this is doable, especially if I can get the right temperature to go outside and undercoat them before we demo things. I also need to make sure I have enough suitable terrain for this game.

So, please look forward to a proper review of Malifaux coming up over the next few weeks as we finally get hands on with it.

Mr Universe


In the first Matrix film when Agent Smith is interrogating Morpheus to try to gain the access codes for the Zion mainframe he utters the following words;

“I want to share with you a revelation I’ve had, during my time here.”

While I have not been trying to classify Humanity as a species, I have been thinking about my tabletop gaming. I made a post a while back asking people how they got into the gaming hobby and shared my own experience in this regard. I was continuing to ponder just why it is that I continue in this hobby, it has been the one that has by far lasted the longest. Even alongside my collection of video games and the various consoles I have owned, the one hobby that I’d be saddest to lose would be my tabletop gaming.

The realisation that I came to really was that in many cases it isn’t the rules, it isn’t the often awesome models that there are, dare I say it isn’t the immeasurable pleasure of the social interactions I get with my friends while we are playing (although that is a big plus point). The thing that keeps me going in this hobby are the universes. I frequent a number of forums that I read on a regular basis, extending my work lunch time considerably while I take things in and revel in the great nebulous cloud of nerd. What I have always been impressed with is that for the majority of gamers there is no end to the number of games that they will investigate and indulge in, providing of course that they can find a community for that game in order to provide the outlet for playing. I have rule books sitting on my shelf at home for games that I am sure none of my friends I play with have even heard of. Some of them I even have miniatures for and capacity to play those games.

Yet, I have been in this hobby for my whole adult life and the majority of my childhood. When I was little I used to read prodigious amounts of fiction and loved watching cartoons set in strange and far off places. Gaming has just brought out those themes in another format. I am effectively a slave to fictional universes. This doesn’t just extend to my gaming, I love things like Star Wars and Star Trek, I may just be labelled as a geek or a nerd because of this, afterall, one cannot really argue that I fit into a stereotype (with the exception that I am married and do not always have maliferous body odour). However, these things just feed my imagination and that is what I love.

I started off gaming with Warhammer 40,000 all those years ago and that is an amazing universe with a lot of depth. I have then become enraptured with numerous others but as I get older and still these things come to pass I am aware that not everyone shares my enthusiasm. My gaming circle is quite small and we are all of differing means. Due to the fact that my wife and I earn respectable salaries and do not (yet) have kids, I have a decent pool of disposable income that I fritter away much to the chagrin of my long-suffering better half. Therefore my outlook is different to the others. Before attending our gaming session on Saturday of the weekend just gone I went to our local gaming store to grab something before heading off to pack my stuff to go. Recently they have started stocking items for a new (to me) game called Secrets of the Third Reich. I grabbed the rulebook and we had a brief look during our gaming session. I took it home and read it later on, I was very impressed with the background but not so much with the minis available from the company (however, the game is designed to be compatible with any 28-30mm World War II models). But it we look at things from a historical point of view I can show you the development of our gaming circle. It started with me and Gribblin playing 40k together and this progressed to Warhammer. I then introduced him to Warmachine and we have played that on occasion. After meeting with Servitob we got him into 40k, then I introduced them to Uncharted Seas and following into Firestorm Armada. I bought the rulebook for Malifaux and once nBreaker and another of our friends came along we started them off on Warhammer, got them into Uncharted Seas and currently nBreaker is my most fought opponent in Firestorm. He also is the only other person to have stuff for Malifaux and I think we’ll be breaking that out soon enough to try.

Both of our two “newbies” are yet to really establish themselves in gaming, especially considering the large quantity of stuff the rest of us have. There I was with another rulebook in hand for another universe. I was very impressed with the background for Secrets of the Third Reich but then we did play our first Mark 2 game of Warmachine as well, which was a lot of fun and the first outing for my Retribution (I lost but learnt a heck of a lot).

It was after considering the fact that I get into all these games and it’s not really fair to “push” these games onto my friends (I don’t really push but I can’t expect them all to jump into every new game that comes along) that I began to wonder why I get into all these things and constantly expand the rules sets that I own. It all boils down to the world in which they are set. If I can get excited about that world then I am much more likely to want to spend time in it, much to the consternation of my friends no doubt. In short, I am those universes which is why I get so excited about this hobby.

I am 40k, I am Warhammer, I am Infinity, I am Malifaux, I am Immoren, I am Earth, I am the Uncharted Seas, I am the Storm Zone, I am all of these things and I am sure more will come along to tickle my fancy. I therefore apologise to my friends for my enthusiasm for finding these new worlds. Especially to our new players that must seem to think every time we meet up I have something new. To be honest though, as of right now, I think I have gone far enough, we already have more games than we can possibly play in a day. I’m going to try and keep to what we have now, especially when I have the least number of painted models of anyone I play with. Perhaps I need to rectify that before throwing myself into a new world.

How Do You Eat Yours?


Rather than being a discussion of one of the best chocolate products invented by the hand of man today’s topic is going to be about how you plan and build your armies. There are a number of different ways in which this can be accomplished and I’ve actually been through a couple of ways myself, although I have one method that, while not the best perhaps, seems to always come out on top when I get that buzz of “ZOMG, new models, must have!!!!11!!!!!!one!!!!!”

I’ll split the various ways out and then expound on them, please feel free to comment on which is your preferred method or add something totally different.

 

The Core Method

This method revolves around the fact that most games have a set amount of stuff that must be included to field a minimum sized force. Games like 40k make this easy as you can pick an HQ unit and two Troops choices for a viable army, to play with though you’ll need an agreed points value, this is where I like Privateer Press’ products as you can get starter boxes which give forces balanced to play each other in order for people to learn the rules. Uncharted Seas and the new Firestorm Armada also work off this premise with their starter boxes.

We kind of hybridised this method when starting 5th edition 40k. We knew we wanted to play 1000pts games, I’d sold all my 40k stuff to get something a bit different and therefore started my Orks at that points level, I could then see what I lacked and adapt accordingly (more boyz!). This is in fact one of the core benefits of doing things like this. You can play your force and see what is lacking which can guide future purchases when you expand your army,  my 1500pts force therefore fills practically every troops slot available and after playing it I’ve further modified the list to make the Boyz squads fewer but bigger. They butcher stuff in close combat even with only a few of them but they tend to take horrific casualties as they cross the plains to reach their foes. Bumping them up in size means there are more ablative wounds hopefully meaning that more boyz can get stuck in later on. I do realise though that with making the squads larger that there are therefore less squads which means less targets for the enemy to worry about. Hopefully the covering fire of the Lootas still provides a distraction as well as Big Mek “Mr Suicide” who has yet to build a Shokk Attack Gun that lasts more than one shot.

Starting small also means that you aren’t laying down a lot of cash straight away. Obviously if you are starting out with something for the first time you’re going to be guided by what you like the look of, not necessarily knowing how it will play. You may like it, you may not so spending as little as possible is a potential benefit.

 

The Proxy Method

This has happened with a number of the lists I have produced for my Daemons in Fantasy. If you already have some models then this can work out but you’ll want to have your opponents consent and make sure he knows what is what. Proxying (for the uninitiated) is the process whereby you use a model you have to represent something else. I’ve not done this for an entire army as I believe that would get very difficult for your opponent to deal with, but I have expanded units beyond the model count I own or used single stand in models before spending money on proper representations. This has the advantage that you don’t go out and spend money on something before you know if it does what you want or work in the way you expect.

 

The ZombiePirate Method

Here we go, the method by which I generally do things. With most people when they first look at getting anything the first place that is started is with the ruleset for that particular army. This works across all systems as if you get a rulebook with all the forces in them or you have to pick up individual army books you’re going to be looking through them working out what you like the look of. The start of this method can work with other methods already described, what I do is have a nice read through the book, I looks at the units and their physical stats as well as stuff that I like the look of models wise. I will choose not to collect an army if their models luck bad, no matter how awesome the rules might be and so I take my picks and write-up a list for the normal game size, 1500pts 40k, 2000pts Warhammer Fantasy, 25ss Malifaux, 35 or 50pts Warmachine/Hordes etc… For the majority of these times what I will then do is make a purchase of the entire army, maybe in stages but sometimes in one huge bank busting blaze of debit card. Now, obviously depending on the army you’ve chosen this particular method can do more or less damage to your wallet. This also means you are laying down a whole wad of greenbacks on a force that has not yet seen action so you’re not sure about how it is going to perform, this is the chief downside of doing things this way, however, there is also another drawback that is almost at the same scale.

When you’ve bought everything you need in one batch you have an entire army arrayed before you, this can cause morale issues as you are presented with just how much stuff you’re going to need to build/paint. In days of yore I’ve assembled whole armies and left them on my painting table showing me in no uncertain terms just how much work I have left if I want to do it all. This is perhaps one of the greatest reasons why I never get stuff done, after seeing it all I chop and change from one thing to another. My current project is not done in this manner, I am doing things one at a time and leaving my table clear in order to do so, nothing else is cluttering it up (bar a Lord of Change and the aforementioned Big Mek “Orky McSuicide”). I am hoping that by having a more structured approach to things I stand a better chance of getting things finished. I’m looking forward to this weekend and setting myself the challenge of getting some figures actually done, I am away in London on Saturday so this may not be achievable but I’m going to give it a shot to push myself.

Time and time again I’ve fallen back on this method, written out an army list and then gone out and bought more and more stuff so that I have it all. I don’t know why I do this but I know that getting things piecemeal can actually be more beneficial (method 1 in the list here).My preferred method is probably the worst one but I’m sure each gamer has their own style and works in their own way, so don’t let anything here prevent you from doing what you want.

 

So then Intarwebz, when creating your ideal army, how do you eat yours?

Slow News Day


In what may be classed a “slow news day”, or, “I have things to post but don’t have the time to do it at the moment” er… day I thought I’d just make a quick note that people probably already know all about. Current 6 Inch Move favourite Uncharted Seas has a new cousin. Spartan Games have released information about their latest release, the futuristic Firestorm Armada. As I haven’t seen the core rules I’ll hold back from calling this Uncharted Seas in space, yet I can imagine that there are probably going to be a lot of similarities between the game as the rules set for the naval battles we are using are pretty solid.

There are a decent number of races to play and they will be releasing each in a starter box as per US, keep an eye on their website as they will be updating it with piccies and information regarding the new game. I know that some people have been waiting with bated breath for this to finally hit the shelves. Even with the love for US that we have in our gaming circles at the moment I don’t think we’ll be seeing this added to our list of games, we’ve really got enough on our plates before throwing in extra things.

In other new, Wyrd, the company behind global phenomenon Malifaux have updated their website, not to the pleasing of some of their customers judging by threads on their forums. Check it out if you want though, it’s certainly different to the way it was before.

Conventions in Gaming – Army Lists


This post has been blowing around in my head for a while. I’ve known that I wanted to continue through the various aspects of tabletop gaming under the “Conventions in Gaming” moniker as I believe that we can gain valuable insight into the things we take for granted and look at ways to make our games more interesting or perhaps just to see something in a new light. However, the structure to this post has eluded me for the past couple weeks so we’ll see how this goes.

I am sure we have all been there, pad of paper, calculator, rulebook/army book spread out over the table crunching numbers to try and come up with a list that is full of synergy as well as butt-whoopin’ awesomeness. Assigning costs to models has long been an established way of making sure that a fight can be “balanced.” I am using quote marks there because of the general cries that go up around the Internet when something new comes out that means that you can come up with an unstoppable force that seems way too powerful against a normally balanced all-comers force. Yes, I do play Chaos Daemons and no I have not taken an all Tzeentch army or Skulltaker. Army lists provide a way for us to develop forces and in many ways will determine the purchases we make as there are a number of factors that can influence how we build our armies.

For instance, some people will start off picking armies through the models that they like. We’ve all been there, a company comes out with a model that is 17 kinds of awesome, we have to have it, yet, when the rules are read, or it is put onto the battlefield it stinks the place up. Others will pore over the stats and rules for an army and try to squeeze those models into a list of the appropriate value. Some people may even take a mix of both methods. Different companies also release to us the means by which we can mould our forces in differing ways. For instance, Games Workshop has gone down the route of releasing a main rulesbook and then you have to buy a separate Army Book to be able to use your force in the game. Privateer Press when Warmachine and Hordes came out released all the information for their models in the rulebook itself, you didn’t have to buy another book to build a force to put on the table, they then released expansions to the main rules that added in new ones but also released new units for each faction. With the development of Mk 2 they are actually bringing out rulebooks a la GW but after that initial release it’ll be back to the original format of new releases being covered in expansion books. Uncharted Seas and Malifaux both contain all the details for their respective forces within the main rulebook. I’ll give a shout out to Spartan Games (makers of Uncharted Seas) here because the new fleets and rules they release for free on their website. Kudos to them for making things available so readily.

There are alternatives to the pen and paper approach, there are various pieces of software you can download to make the process easier. Wolf’s Lair’s Army Builder is a decent program (you have to pay for it) that allows you to create army lists for loads of games and there is an active community that creates the files that allow you to build the armies for certain games. Then there are things like Armies of Immoren for the Iron Kingdoms worlds, it’s a free download that makes army building a little easier, I even have iBodger on my iPhone which allows me to make Warmachine lists wherever I am. I know there are people with Excel spreadsheets that they have set up for the express purpose of creating lists to play with.

Now, speaking more specifically about what happens with GW books there is a common misconception out there. With 40K or Warhammer there are established points limits that are the “ideal” game size, 1500pts for 40K and 2000pts for Warhammer. Yet, although the armies are supposedly balanced around that points values there is no way to perform a direct comparison between the value of a model in one force and that in another. For example, in the Warriors of Chaos book the standard Marauder is 4pts and is a bargain. I have heard complaints from Bretonnian players that their Man-at-Arms costs more than this for a much worse profile. While both are rank and file infantry they are different in terms of how they fit into the armies, Marauders are a lot more offensive than Men-at-Arms and once both armies are fully arrayed things should be balanced, but comparing points costs from one unit to another in a different army cannot be done, the points values are the cost to the army that they are for and are not meant to be taken in any way as a broad comparison of the value of that troop type. This is one of my pet peeves with GW stuff, when a new army book comes out people inevitably look at something and declare it to be undercosted because “I have to pay X for X.” It’s not a good argument.

There are also different ways of costing things. GW and Privateer use Points costs whereas Malifaux uses Soulstones and this offers a slightly different mechanic into the game. Working with points generally means you have a limit that you cannot go over. Personally I have spent much time trying to squeeze something into those last few points or having to make hard decisions about what to axe to fit into the agreed limit. With Malifaux you have a set number of soulstones to spend on recruiting your crew, any unspent stones go into your pool and allow you to Cheat Fate during the game, which I quite like, it gives you a small bonus in some ways if you do find yourself with something left over.

So, what is the point of this whole post? Well I suppose it is to try and get your thoughts about how you go about preparing a force for the tabletop. I know for our Uncharted Seas games at the minute we are just using the starter boxes however, we each actually have a second starter box each (hence my rolling out of a Broadside Reaper in our last game) that we can use to expand our fleets which will mean we start working to points limits rather than arbitrary collections. In the real world of course there are no careful balancing of forces and history is replete with heroic stands made by vastly outnumbered forces. However, there is nothing stopping us from actually creating our own battles based on these ideas. Just because we do actually have an army list doesn’t mean we can’t throw it away from time to time and just have a game purely for the fun of it. It can provide an interesting diversion to your usual scheduled games.

While we do rely on these things for the majority of the games we play, cutting ourselves loose may help to reinvigorate an otherwise stale gaming environment. I believe this is why things like Apocalypse have become so popular. As I said at the beginning I have struggled with this post for a couple weeks, knowing I wanted to discuss army lists but without knowing where it would take us. I hope this post has been of some benefit other than me pumping out 1300 words of nonsense.

Who knows what I’ll come out with next time?