Before I start ranting about how awesome this game is a little bit of background:
Malifaux is a skirmish game by a company called Wryd miniatures. Each player controls a small war band or crew each led by a master. The game is very scenario driven. Each player has their own individual objectives and can then select up to two "schemes". The schemes are additional minor objectives to achieve. Schemes are generally secret but can be announced and therefore give double victory points on completion. Players perform everything they want to do with one of their models before their opponent responds. You each continue to alternate using one model at a time until every model has been activated.
Sound fairly familiar? Well Malifaux has a few key differences that set it apart from the pack.
Firstly dice aren’t used in Malifaux. Let me repeat that No. Dice. At. All. Instead you have the fate deck.
The fate deck is a standard deck of cards. Wryd do their own fate decks but the rulebook contains a chart for converting the suits over. To perform actions in game you flip cards from the deck. For example to hit someone in melee, you would flip a card and add it to your combat stat (Ca), your opponent also flips a card and adds its’ total to his models defence stat (Df). If your total beats his then you’ve hit him, if not you’ve missed.
This is where things get interesting: you have the option to replace the card you’ve drawn with one from your control hand (6 cards you draw at the start of each turn) to change the total. Your opponent can also do the same. This is called cheating fate and is one of the core of mechanics of the game. It sounds complicated but after your first game it comes as naturally as a 40k shooting phase.
Second you select your crew after drawing objectives so you can tailor what you bring to the table to the task at hand. Need to move around the bored planting dynamite pick a crew with lots of fast minions. Need to guard a supply wagon bring a crew capable of firing on the move and a few heavy hitters to engage anyone who gets to close. My collection isn’t large enough to truly take advantage of this yet but it adds another layer of strategy to the game.
Third the models are something else. Wryd describes the game as gothic, steam punk, Victorian horror with a dose of the Wild West and it definitely comes though in the miniatures. I originally planned to buy a few models solely to improve my painting and after reading about the game decided to take the plunge and give it a go.
Malifaux takes place within and around a city of the same name. This city lays in an alternative dimension the other side of a portal known as the breach. The breach was created by a cabal of sorcerers trying to bring magic back to the world. This magic can be amplified by soul stones found on the other side of the breach.
There are 5 main factions in the game:
The Guild: These guys are the rulers of Malifaux, they like their ranged combat and are the generalists of the game.
The Arcanists are rebels trying to subvert guild rule. They are pretty much dedicated spell casters and use synergy to achieve their aims.
Malifaux is quite a cheap game to play. A starter set (priced around £20-£25) and a couple of blisters will give you all you need for the equivalent of a 1750pts 40k force! The rules are also available as a free download from the Wyrd website!!!
After some serious musing I’ve decided to go for the Neverborn as my first faction and have picked up the Lilith’s brood box set. She’s considered one of the better masters to learn the game with so I don’t think I’ll reject my choice. I’ve also just found out that a few people at a local gaming club have just begun to play Malifaux in the past few weeks so expect a few reports and pictures of my crew as I begin to explore this interesting game.
Thanks for reading,