Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Babies, Belles and Cyborgs, oh my! A Malifaux review.

I had a chance to play my first battle of Malifaux this week. First, a word of warning: I haven't read the rulebook completely yet.  After watching a small game between the Redchappel Gang and the Deathmarshals I was able to play a multi-player game involving Seamus and his crew (Redchappel Gang), the Legion of Sorrow and my own Miners and Steamfitters Union.

Malifaux is a 28mm skirmish scale table top game produced by Wyrd Miniatures.  From their websiteBased in an alternate Earth, Malifaux uses gothic, steampunk, victorian horror with a dose of the wild west to inject fun and depth into the magical lawlessness of a world rife with monsters, necropunks, manmachine hybrids, gunslingers, and power-hungry politicos. Actively using character-driven stories to define the world of Malifaux, seek your fortune in this fast paced and brutal 32mm tabletop miniature skirmish game. Assemble your crew and stake your claim! 

No longer do you have to trust the fickle fate of a dice roll, in Malifaux you use cards, a Fate Deck, as you lead your Crew to victory with strategy, tactics and resource management, and if that isn't enough, you can Cheat Fate. Looking for scalability? Malifaux has it. Jump directly into a Scrap with 4 - 6 miniatures, ensuring a quick and brutal fight with each character having unique skills and abilities. Want to escalate it? Take it to a Brawl, bring in additional members of your faction or hire out mercenaries to do your dirty work.

You buy your force using soulstones (we played a 25 soulstone scrap).  Your master (gang leader) is free. Each other model in your force costs soulstones.  My Soulborg Executioner costs 10 and an Arachnid Swarm is 9 soulstones.  Any soulstones not spent on models are can be used in the game to affect card flips and are represented by counters on the table.

My first impression is that the action resolution mechanic used in the game is unique, fun and works well.  There are no dice in this game, instead  you use a 54 card fate deck (a regular deck of cards with the jokers can be used with no problems).  When you would normally roll a dice in other games you turn over the top card on your deck, usually adding it to your relevant model stat, your opponent does the same and the high total wins (ties usually go to the acting model).  The card flipped can be changed by playing a card out of a pool of cards you have in hand or using soulstones.

Turn order is determined each turn by the flip of a card.  High card activates a model completing all of its actions then the next player activates a model, etc. until all players have activated all their models.  At the end of the turn the played cards are shuffled back into the fate deck.

Each model has a playing card sized sheet listing its stats and special rules for easy reference.  The thoughest part of the game is that each model has a series of special rules and unique abilites.  Learning how to use them and and how they interact with other models abilities can be daunting.  However, the more you use them the easier it is to remember.

Overall I really like this game.  The game mechanic, fate deck instead of dice, is elegant and simple.  It enhances the theme, looks nice on the table top and most importantly works very well.  The models I have seen so far are well sculpted and nicely detailed.  Many of the models are multi-piece castings and take a bit of time to assemble.  The small number of models needed makes this game very accessible for a modest cost.   This game is easily played with only a starter box with no additional purchases needed.  A highly recommend buy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The First Rule is: There Are No Rules.

Hi, I'm Dan and I'm a game-aholic.

I love games.  Like many I started playing Dungeons and Dragons as a young teenager.  I am still close friends with some of those guys.  I played mostly RPG's through high school.  There were also many games of Dungeon!, Axis & Allies, Blood Bowl and Space Hulk.  Right after high school I started playing Warhammer 40,000 regularly.  Then I graduated to Warhammer Fantasy Battles, then other miniature games followed along with many other RPG's and boardgames.

Like all addictions it spun out of control.  Until just a few months ago I had a 2000 square foot basement filled with miniatures and games.  There were 10-20,000 miniatures of various scales and genres; Dozens of board games; Hundreds of books; and hundreds more magazines.

I moved my family from Illinois to Texas this summer for a better job.  Much thanks are due to Jack-of-All-Games for helping me clear out and sell most of my collection.  The result is a much smaller games and model collection. It has been quite cathartic really.  I had so many planned projects, so many unpainted figures and so many ideas it was difficult to stay focused or motivated on any one project. Now I hope to be able to remain focused on a smaller number of projects and dedicate more time to actually playing games.

I am extremely lucky to have found a great group of guys to game with at Little Wars of Houston.  I game there most Thursday nights after work and great games seem to be going on nearly every night and weekend at the store.

My gaming addiction is certainly not cured but at least it's under control for a little while.

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Welcome to The Game Temple.  I hope to record my gaming and hobby related thoughts and experiences here.  I also use my Facebook account to update my gaming status.  Please visit the inspirational links on the side for a healthy dose of gaming goodness.