Tag Archives: Malifaux

Malifaux – Loot Review


Last night I had a (brief) opportunity to sit down at the modelling desk (also known as the dining table) to start on my Malifaux stuff. By start I really mean assemble as I won’t get any time to even consider painting until the weekend and even then only if the weather is compliant to allow me to basecoat what I have ready. As I’ve been waiting for such a long time for all these pieces to arrive I thought I’d give a run down of my first impressions of the items I have received.

The obvious place to start therefore is with exactly what I ordered in the first place. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts Malifaux uses cards rather than dice as the mechanic for you to succeed or fail and the game itself has numerous factions you can represent on the tabletop. You can band the factions together as Guild, Arcanists, Resurrectionists, Neverborn and Outcasts. Each of these factions has three starter boxes that you can use to kick off your collection. Nearly every single one of these boxes sold out when the game was released to an unsuspecting public, hence why some people have been experiencing vast delays in getting their hands on their loot.

Each of these factions also has a colour associated with it, Burgundy for Guild, Blue for Arcanists, Green for Resurrectionists, Purple for Neverborn and Yellow for Outcasts. Due to the card mechanic of the game you can use any set of cards, however, Malifaux has its own suits, Rams, Masks, Tomes and Crows, as well as two Jokers. So, if you want to use a standard set of cards you need to remember stuff. Therefore when I grabbed my stuff I partook of the Guild and ordered the Ortega set and a Burgundy Fate Deck. I thought adding the deck would save me marking up cards and also be more immersive for the game too. There are a lot of cool models though so deciding on factions you like might be a tough decision, also, even though you can use Outcasts as a faction on their own they can be recruited as mercenaries into other factions, although there are certain restrictions on this.

So, onto the review of the loot. first up we’ll go with the Fate deck. When this arrives it is pretty much just like a starter deck for Magic: The Gathering that standard card deck box that everyone is familiar with. (I really should have taken some photos to spruce this post up). The cards themselves feel high quality and are plastic coated card, each suit has their own pictures on the cards as well as the typical distinctions for face cards. They are a very snug fit in their box and I can imagine that they would wear like normal cards after continuous use so I’d recommend protectors of some sort but once you do that there is no way they are ever going to fit back in their box so you’ll need another way of keeping them together. I imagine the universal holding tool (an elastic band) may fulfill this purpose but in my opinion it has a chance to crease the protectors and the cards inside so I’ll probably evict my long dead Magic deck out of its cosy box to throw these bad boys in there. On the back of the cards is the Malifaux logo with a stripe of the faction colour through it, hence you can match decks to what you’re playing but I’m sceptical if I’d buy other decks if I branch out into other factions just to colour code things. I have a deck, that’s going to be good enough for me. If you’re getting into the game I’d give them a thumbs up, they are quite evocative of the universe.

Next we’ll take the meat and veg of the game, the models. Wyrd have, over the years, produced a number of really nice models. I’ve thought about picking stuff up as I’ve seen things but have never had a proper use other than wanting to paint them and that’s not a good enough reason. Just speak to Servitob or Gribblin about my painting. Yet now there is a game and things are organised into box sets to start things off, well, who am I to dodge a good looking game with some sweet models? So, Ortega set. First impression really was being impressed by the packaging, sad I know, but I have to say that from the moment I cracked open the packing envelope I was surprised with the packaging. The box is actually a lot smaller than what I was imagining. Maybe it’s due to the fact I’ve been indoctrinated into Games Workshop and, to a lesser extent Privateer stuff, but I expect boxes to be a certain size and was therefore impressed that Wyrd had packed their stuff into so small a box. If my wife was a gamer she’d be enjoying their “greeness” for using less packaging, but she isn’t so I just thought it was cool. Opening the box and every single figure is individually wrapped in its own little bag with the base and other components for that model in there. No foraging for stuff and wondering which model it belongs to here, you open a bag, empty it out and put it together, no inadvertently gluing to wrong arm or leg to someone. The models are packed between two foam inserts to protect them from the rigours of long distance transit and the cards for each figure are collected into another insert between the foam and the box.

The models are very well cast, not much flash on them at all, I need to do a little filing on Perdita’s hat but other than that I can’t see anything needing much cleaning. I’ve already put two of them on bases before I went on to do other things last night. The surprising thing about the cards is that they are booklet style. I was expecting things like Warmachine or Hordes but each one is folded giving all the basic rules and stats for each model. You’ll still need the rulebook to make sense of it all and I may have to cut them in half and add them into a card protector sheet so I can keep things altogether like I do with my Warmachine/Hordes stuff. I’ll be using tokens I think as well rather than marking cards or protectors. I’ll have to do a painting review at some point and model some photos, I am also aware that I wanted to do a painting Space Hulk article as well… looks like I need to pull my finger out and get stuff undercoated. Hopefully this weekend should provide the opportunity as I am looking at getting some free time at the moment.

Overall I’m very happy with my purchases and the quality of the things I have so far. I’ll see if I can tempt anyone else to give it a try as I am sucker for skirmish style games and Malifaux is different enough from my usual fare to get me excited in all kinds of new ways.

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Conventions in Gaming – Dice


From my history page it’s clear that I have grown up with Games Workshop, therefore this post will present a pretty clear bias to that fact, historical gaming isn’t my forte and I’m sure old man Servitob can chime in with some extra points once I’m done.

Classic board games and pretty much every tabletop war game I’ve seen all use dice. Varying quantities of dice to be exact. You can get by with a mere 6d6 if you’re playing Privateer Press games whereas in 40k you can easily end up rolling over a hundred. I remember reading a copy of White Dwarf where the author of an article describing the new War of the Ring game was using the fact that you got to roll an ill-fated Southampton built cast iron behemoth load of dice to decide combats. One of the things that can help you pick out closet gamers is the fact that, more than likely, there are various boxes of dice scattered around their house and the odd errant wanderer lodged under a TV cabinet of sofa.

So, why are dice used? Normally this is to add in an element of chance that exists in the real world, just because you line up a perfect head shot doesn’t take into account that at the last minute a random gust may take the bullet off target, or the mark may find some extra cover to protect themselves. Dice naturally represent the vagaries and random elements that can and do take place in normal real life activities (not really just talking about actual combat here, I have much more experience with the virtual kind and am thankful to not have had to experience it in real life). Yet some games let you roll way more than others, some people also seem to be unlucky at certain kinds of rolls. Personally I struggle with Instability tests with my Chaos Daemons and Power Klaw attacks from my Ork Nobs. Servitob has a reputation for unerring accuracy with a blast template too. While obviously the dice do not favour one person over another, we see patterns in the fate we receive. But surely, there can be other mechanics that we can use other than dice? I like dice and sometimes there is something sadistically satisfying as getting a full mob of Orks into combat and then rolling enough dice to reconstruct the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in 3d, however, is this the best way to do things or just an accepted part of our hobby?

We’ve already talked about how different games require different numbers of dice, I’m pretty certain that if there was a game where you just compared the stats of one thing to anotherĀ  Top Trumps style, it’d be a pretty crummy and boring game (just like Top Trumps). This is why I’m so interested currently with Malifaux, it forgoes the use of dice and instead uses a pack of 54 cards, being a money making venture of course you can buy official faction themed Malifaux decks, but there are rules in the main book that cover using a normal deck of cards, you just need to have two Jokers in there as well. With cards you need a slightly different mechanic than with dice, but just as dice can be re-rolled due to certain rules, in Malifaux you get rules that allow you to add additional cards to a total as well as having a hand of cards that allow you to “Cheat Fate” by swapping the card you drew with one you possess in your Hand. With dice you’re completely at the whim of chance as to whether your re-roll is higher than the previous, but with the mechanic in Malifaux if you really need to cast that spell or win that combat, if you have the cards in your hand then you’re in a much better place to predict the outcome of the action.

I don’t know whether you can call it lazy game design that leads a lot of our games to rely on dice, after all, dice have been in use as games in their own right for millenia and now we use them to add that randomness to our games. Is being able to control things using cards better than the pure random chance of a dice roll? Well, that’ll be down to personal preference and I’m not leaning either way, it’s just nice that someone has come up with another way to play and I believe it to be a nice change of pace from the staple that I’ve seen over the past almost 20 years of war gaming.

As long as whatever system is developed is non-intrusive and doesn’t detract from the ebb and flow of a game I’m all for trying out something new. I’ve played dice games and I’d played card games. I’ve even played card games that have used dice, but I do think that while it’s easy to fall back on using dice as Malifaux demonstrates, using something a little “out of the box” can add an extra dimension to a game that makes it stand out against the ever increasing crowd.