October 2, 2015 by deltagamegirl22
Prior to Adepticon 2014, I had never really heard of Malifaux, in fact I can take it a step further and say that I had little to no tabletop gaming experience. I came from a very solid background of boardgaming. Board games, card games, and dice games were my thing.
Getting Ready For The Wyrd
I did get to play a little D&D in my youth, when my brother’s friends were short of players and they tolerated my intrusion (which I LOVED, aside from not really understanding what was going on). It really wasn’t until my oldest sons showed me the miniatures wargame they played with their uncle, Warhammer 40K – perhaps you’ve heard of it, that I was hooked.
I will flat out say that based upon the little exposure that I had to the game, the fact that it took them HOURS to set it up and even longer to play, and the tremendous expense to the hobby, I was not interested in miniatures gaming. Now before anyone gets worked up about my non-interest in 40K, my main point here has nothing to do with what game it was – it’s about how quickly and easily a person can form an opinion on something that they truly know nothing about.
Fast forward to Adepticon 2014 which is a whole convention about miniatures gaming, and not just 40K. Wait, you mean there are other miniatures games? Stop the press! There might be something in this niche for me after all! Sci-Fi? I like Sci-Fi. Historical? I’ll pass. Fantasy? Yes, please. Steampunk? What the heck is steampunk? Oooooh I like the look of those models…and enter Wyrd Games.
Malifaux Takes Hold
Malifaux has a fantastic background story about magic and it’s use (or misuse, as it were). A powerful source of magic can be found in the soulstones located in Malifaux on the other side of The Breach. The Breach is a magical tear through the universe created by ancient and powerful magicians from the past.
The sort of magic they used has all but died off, except for through the use of soulstones. These precious and few resources are now of tremendous interest to the various types of people/creatures in Malifaux. The factions have very different motivations when it comes to soulstones. Some find them unnatural and inappropriate to use. Some think it’s their right to be able to use them. Some use them to create abominations and some, well, just use them for the fun of it…
I knew after watching a few minutes of people playing Malifaux that I was hooked. What’s not to love about a skirmish level miniatures game with tremendous variety of miniatures, that doesn’t break the bank to get into. It plays in under two hours and uses cards instead of dice? Sold! The more I looked, the more I liked and seeing the Malifaux Cake Match at Adepticon closed the deal.
It captured the very aspect about gaming that I enjoy – it’s fun and it’s social. And the cards, the Fate Deck, was just about the coolest thing I’ve seen in a game. I loved the aspect of being able to “control” fate and alter the outcome of your turn. This eliminates a degree of the often frustrating randomness that happens in a game when you are rolling exceptionally poorly.
Which Miniatures To Buy?!
I decided right then that I wanted to play so I began looking around online at the different factions and models. Immediately you see that there really, truly is something for everyone’s tastes in Malifaux. Western, Victorian, Horror, Men, Women, Beasts…but let’s back on track to women. I was beyond excited to see so many different female characters for a game, and not just characters, Masters – the leaders of crews.
This was awesome! It’s nice to see the ladies in charge for a change. So what do I pick? The prettiest models, of course, the Colette Set.
The metal Colette Set were my first miniatures EVER. It was a little intimidating to me, knowing that I was responsible for how they would look in the end. I had never painted a miniature and frankly didn’t really know where to start. Gianna was kind enough to point me in the right direction and talk me through the different steps in painting: basing, painting, shading, washing, dry brushing (what the heck is dry brushing?!).
We had played one demo game, with a Henchman, at our FLGS’s Game Day, so we were confident that with a rule book, we could hop into the game and play our crews. Now, Gianna had gotten a Perdita Ortega Set and I had my Colette Set. We started off alright. Gianna’s crew was relatively straight-forward, with move and shoot type of mechanics.
When it was my turn, however, there seemed to be an abundance of choices. Move, trade places, lots of spells… and suddenly I was a bit lost and didn’t feel like I had a good grasp of what my minis could actually do. Though the rule book was lovely, and loaded with fluff, it didn’t seem to go into the detail that I obviously needed to play my crew successfully. I found myself feeling fairly disheartened and not really wanting to try to play again.
A Crew For Beginners?
Fast forward six months to another Games Day at our FLGS. The Henchman was there again and I watched over my son’s shoulder as he played a demo game of Malifaux. In this game we played the Beasts (a Marcus Crew). I swear it could have been a totally different game than the one Gianna and I had tried to play. This game made sense and the models’ abilities were logical and easy to follow. Here’s the game I had been so enamoured with before!
When my son’s game finished, I got to talking to the Henchman about my Colette Crew and my frustration with the game. He kindly shook his head and said that though pretty, my Colette Set was not a good choice for a beginners point of entry to the game. WHAT?! Though a little frustrating, I have to say, that was such a relief to hear.
He then went on to point out a few of the crews that would be better to start with. Knowing that I already had a Colette Set, and trying to keep me in the Arcanists, he suggested a Rasputina set. He told me that Rasputina was all about her spells, but they were relatively straight-forward and she had much less of them. As my experience in the game grew, I could work my way back into my Colette Set.
So, no surprises here, I got a Rasputina Set for Christmas – and this one was plastic! I have to take a minute here to express my love for plastic models over metal. Though there is something so satisfying with the weight of a metal miniatures, I much prefer the detail in the plastic models as well as the ease in assembly. Now, mind you, when I say ease of assembly I’m referring to gluing the pieces in place and them staying where they are intended, not the simplicity of the set.
The Malifaux plastic sets are not for the faint of heart. There are numerous, painfully tiny bits that require patience, steady hands and a colorful vocabulary for assembly ( I can neither confirm or deny that a few new obscenities may have been created during assembly). But I can tell you this, the plastic kits are GORGEOUS. After putting my new kit together, I set off to paint them.
Aside from fighting with trying to get the icy blue color for my Ice Golem too look right, I was really pleased with how they turned out – especially Rasputina and Wendigo. I’ve decided that I really like painting clothes.
Sourcing Soulstones In Earnest!
Fast forward a few more months to Gen Con, where we played a demo game using the new two player starter set. Like most people, I can’t say that I love the models in the set, as they aren’t as detailed as the typical models and the poses are not nearly as interesting – but knowing what I know about how tricky the kits can be to assemble, these more simple models do just what they should by allowing a very accessible point of entry to the game for new players.
Their abilities were easy to learn, fun an interesting- and perhaps most importantly…I won! After this little refresher, I was ready to try my Rasputina crew.
Back at our FLGS, the Henchman has started regular Thursday night Malifaux games. We’ve only gotten a few games in now, when our schedules have allowed, but each has gone better than the one before. The players have been patient and helpful as I’ve been learning more about the game and my crew. One of the most important tips I have learned so far is to try not to be tempted to hop from crew to crew while you are learning.
The learning curve can be steep with each character being so unique with different abilities. Our henchman says over and over again, “Read your cards. Read your cards. Then Read your cards some more!” The more familiar you are with your models’ abilities, the less time you will have to spend trying to choose your course of action.
Gianna and I played a game of Malifaux last night – her Perdita set against my Rasputina set. This time, I lost, probably due to a triple threat of disasters…
- I totally missed the deployment benefit on my December Acolytes and lost precious time with concern to where they entered the game.
- A high point of terrain that one of Gianna’s models sat on gave her a victory point darn near every turn and I couldn’t get to it.
- I had the WORST luck with my hands, including when I’d burn a soulstone to draw two more cards. In the end I did make a fantastic last minute effort and Rasputina bounced spells off of one of the acolytes to take out Perdita, which brought me back to at least making it a respectable game, losing only three points to two.
So until the next game, I will read my cards. I will read my cards some more, and next time Perdita won’t be so lucky.
"What the heck is steampunk? Oooooh I like the look of those models...and enter Wyrd Games"
"I have to take a minute here to express my love for plastic models over metal..."