Thursday, 13 May 2010

First Malifaux Game vs Arcanists

Last night I got in my first game of Malifaux.
It was sweet.
Great fun. Great game.

We played on the board pictured, with some gorgeous looking forgeworld resin buildings and on the standard 3'x3' size.

This was Steve and I's first attempt at a full 'scrap' with 25 soulstones (points) limit.

The order of the game set up is slightly different, with terrain being set up first and classifying it. This is done in a far more interactive way than 40k. You can climb the buildings, end your move half way up a cliff face, smash elements of it, jump over rivers all sorts of crap. Additionally LOS works differently as all models are categorised with Height statistics, but essentially alot of terrain blocks LOS - so in the picture above, the trees block LOS either side of the 'forest'. You can shoot through if you are within an 1" of it, and the target is only 3" away...something like that anyway.

After terrain is sorted, deployment zones are created. We 'flipped' for a diagonal zone, with each of us placing our crews 8" from the corner we had selected. I started in the bottom left, Steve - the top right in the picture.

Only AFTER this do you pick your crew...

Thats right, know there will be alot of LOS blocking terrain? OK, don't take shooty guys..unless you can put them on a flying pig and get over it...yeah, seriously...ish.

So list tailoring to the terrain and deployment is essential, as well you will know what faction your opponent is picking from, so you have a rough idea of how they play.

No all-comers lists here...

So with my 25 soulstone limit I went for;

Masters: (0 SS)The Viktorias (blonde know thats what you'd go for in real life too)
(8 SS)Taelor (Big hammer,
(10 SS)Bishop (cool ass cage fighter)
(5 SS) Convict Gunslinger (punk-ish, ruthless bastard with paired pistols)

Leaving me with 2 Soulstones (SS/'points') left over. Unlike in 40k where these would have been a wasted resource having no impact on game play - the soulstones left over can be used in game to manipulate card flip results and reduce the statistical probablity of failure...of should I say - increase the likelihood of success... Cool.

Steve took Marcus Arcanists straight from the box set so he had his Master - Marcus, Myranda (his girlie minion), a three headed tiger beast and a massive snake thing...

This is a set that had not interested me in the slightest model wise (despite being great looking as all the Wyrd range are) but in game...some very cool abilities...

Now this is not a proper battle report as such, because the game took us almost 3 1/2 hours, I took no notes as I was too busy trying to play and becuase it was not really a competitive game.
Just two dudes trying to learn whats what.

Essentially, I flipped for an Assassinate mission (I had to kill his Master and keep mine alive for max VP's) and Steve had to Reconnointre (get a model into all 4 quarters of the board for max VP's)...

I managed to kill his Master - Marcus and wipe him off the board, but not before I lost one of my masters (the viktorias are two for one on the master/'HQ' front) and Bishop - my cage fighter.

So I scored max VP's, but as I said, that was not really what this game was about.

I loved this new experience - its a cool game that is an awesome distraction from 40k and has revealed to me several things;

- There is something very positive to be said for having fewer models but with higher number of individual abilities.
- It will take ages to learn how to play competitively - there are a huge number of combinations of spells, actions, abilities and attacks...all characters can boost, reduce, transform, summon, push etc all the others in your crew.
- It seems really well balanced - Steve had 1 less model, but because of this had extra soulstones to use in-game...and boy, did he burn through these to get some cool magic etc off...
- We'll be a lot quicker next time! Learning what ability does what takes some time...
- The depth is deceptive. Strategically, there are alot of things to think about. With each player taking it in turns to 'activate' a single model it means that the opponent can react to your game plan in 'real time' rather than sit back and watch the turn unfold - with no influence bar rolling some saves. In Malifaux, the activation sequence means that there are constantly new opportunities or opportunities being taken away as you find your opponent has turned you into a 'Beast' and now controls that model...D'oh!
Additional depth also comes from the characters abilities - you can look at the entry in the rulebook and not see it straight away, but there are some very cool stacking abilities and 'triggers' - for example the Viktorias can use their Mashimune Nihontos (samurai swords) to make a 'Strike' - a basic attack, if this does damage and you have a card of a certain suit in your combat total, then you can make another Strike against another target...but then of course, if you have the same trigger (card of certain suit) again...well strike time against some one else...
This is a very simple example, and there are sooo many more of varying complexity that this game has legs....real legs...Great big, Ronnie Coleman wheels!

Rather than try and write a battle report on poorly remembered actions, I'm going to give initial thoughts on each character as I paint them up...

Whilst I did not get the chance to play this guy he is my first 75% complete model in Malifaux so I want to show him off...

The Desolation Engine (tactics coming soon ish...)

Anyway, I'm going to try and paint up the Convict Gunslinger over the weekend and get some tactics/ideas up for him too so stay tuned...



  1. The game mechanics ... activations/stacking of abilities, 'soulstones' etc sounds very much like Warmachine/Horde but with a bit more terrain interaction and no dice.

    Sounds like fun!

    Nice Desolation Engine!

  2. I'm not sure how Warmachine/Hordes work Bro.. The terrain is definately a big step up from other games systems - we used only the very simplest of rules, there are all kinds of special terrain rules when you opt for swamp/sewers, badlands, towns, forests etc...

    Re Brighton - I can't make the doubles dude as I have a wedding to get to so will be away a few days - but I'm definately up for a little road trip at some point to grab a game - be a great opportunity to turn these internet interactions into real life gaming! Something its hard to do over the pond...but for a couple of hours in the car... cool. I'm on half term in a couple of weeks and soon as all the kids are finished coursework and exam revision sessions are done I'd love to try and get down for a game - first week in June it is?


  3. I'm on-call the first weekend in June... 48 hours in the hospital = fail!

    I'm also teaching/invigilating until the 18th June. Any time after then is good.

    Perhaps TKE would care to join us??