Thursday, 24 November 2011

Does Malifaux need to take a pause for the cause?

One of my favourites - Seamus
Malifaux is a good solid fun little game. I quite enjoy playing it with my friends when I can, and you can squeeze quite happily a few games into an evenings gaming session. It's a cheap game to get into in terms of what you need for a faction i.e. miniature count is low, way low. The miniatures themselves aren't too bad either with some interesting subjects, although a lot of them are posed in very 2D stances and are quite static, but I like the quirky nature of many of them. The world of Malifaux is certainly characterful, and no matter what you're into there is bound to be something that is to your taste. Some people hate that Malifaux doesn't really have a unified feel to it, in fluff terms. Then there are others, like me who just accept it and take it on board as just another layer of strangeness to the package.

However, lately I've started to wander whether Wyrd need to step back and take a pause for the cause. You see they've released a lot of 'core' rule books now, we're up to three complete and hefty tomes. If Rising Powers didn't add enough new things into the already tricky mix, they've recently added Twisting Fates, which changes things massively yet again. We also have the pocket rulebook, and although it's claimed it wasn't a re-write of the rules, I think there were significant tweaks from errata and FAQs to call it version 1.5. But that's OK, it was cheap, and to be honest made the game easier to sell to people. No the biggest issue is that they continue to add more and more options to each faction... it is hard to keep up with it all unless you're willing to devote significant hobby time to it and I think Malifaux might be at risk of losing its unique selling proposition (USP), market position and advantage.

Please don't take this as an anti-Malifaux blog, because it is most certainly not. I enjoy the game as a lighthearted romp every now and then and I think it does what it does well enough. However, with the release of both Rising Powers and Twisting Fates books I'm going to say it's a bit too much for me now to absorb, along with all the other games I play. I struggled with working out whether or not the game had a balance when it was just the rulebook, but with the addition of Rising Powers and Wyrd's philosophy of 'dump more crap into the game', it has started to blur my views on balance even more. More importantly for Wyrd, I've noticed it has actually started to put new gamers off of buying into the game. That is probably not what Wyrd want to hear... but, what Wyrd have essentially said to new gamers here in the UK is that they need to drop £75 on rulebooks before they even start playing the game, and getting the miniatures.

Now I've had 'discussions' with Malifaux diehards as to whether that is the case, and I accept that it's possibly not true. But, if you ask somebody thinking about starting Malifaux they'll tell you that the cost of the 3 core books seems steep, and in their view they need those books to play the game. No two ways about it asking new comers to get into Malifaux has become harder for me of late. I say 'you only need a few miniatures and the rulebook'... and nobody believes me. They all ask about Rising Powers and whether it's needed and I'm sure, soon, they'll start asking about Twisting Fates too. That USP that I spoke of earlier that Malifaux had, was that it was rapidly becoming peoples 'other game'. You'd regularly here people say 'I play Warmahordes and Malifaux' or "Warhammer and Malifaux' so on and so forth. Perhaps Wyrd as a company can't live off of that sort of trade alone.

This is Seamus' Avatar... REALLY?

If that is the case, and Wyrd start pushing Malifaux not as an 'also game' but as a fully fledged 'alternative game' I wander how it'll fair against more established games such as 40k and Warmachine. Plus also quite frankly how such a move would affect its sales when compared to some of the other smaller skirmish games that exist and are happy to remain small, like Anima or Hell Dorado. Like I say though, it's not just a cost implication these expansions have that I feel is detrimental to the game. They've also greatly expanded the level of knowledge and rules required to actually play the game to its fullest extent. Now, I've been told that Avatars were always going to be part of the game, but that they were considered a jump too far for the initial rulebook because it made the game too complex. Now if that is true, what's changed? If it was too complex then, surely it's still too complex a concept now?

I've had people counter this argument by saying that now we're all used to the rules, so it's OK to dump more layers on top of the core set. However, that's a flawed assumption, because not everyone will be playing Malifaux enough to have gotten to that stage, where they are comfortable with the rules. This is because Malifaux seems to exist as many people's 'other game' not their 'main game'. Plus what of new customers? I think with Twisting Fates, Wyrd are seriously running the risk of fracturing and splitting their community into two tiers. While also putting newcomers off. The core rules are in many respects already complex enough for many people. I'm still not sure whether everything is balanced and fair within the core rules and factions even now. There are that many layers too it, and Wyrd's solution to that conundrum of throwing more crap into the mixer isn't, it seems to me a very wise one.

I was OK with Rising Powers, and although I felt they were dumping more things into the game, I was personally ready for more options and a few different things. So I welcomed Rising Powers. It just seemed like the right time to expand the core rules. Twisting Fates though has landed at a time when quite frankly most people still seem to be wrapping their heads around the new options available in Rising Powers. Hell, they haven't even released all of the miniatures for Rising Powers yet. It feels like Wyrd are trying to force the pace of evolution of their game system, as opposed to letting it grow organically. I think it's time they took a pause for the cause. Step back from forcing the game system ever forward at this relentless pace. They need to stop and let us gamers catch our breath, and they need to listen to our feedback about what works and what doesn't.

They need to enter into a period of information gathering. They've released the final component, as they saw it, for their Malifaux system, Avatars. It might have been a little bit early for some of us, but they're here now and we might as well try and make the best of it. Wyrd need to take the feedback on the rules and options they've given us gamers, take notes and then start prep work for a full on second edition. Because that's where I think they need to head next, to sort the mess of rules they've ended up with out. Their rules system has become a little bit unwieldy and bloated of late, along with all that it has also become difficult to play. I mean have you tried flicking through all three books to get the various rules and things you need? It's a pain in the ass. It slows what was once a really quick game down to a snails pace. I didn't want that, did you? They need to let the game trundle along now for a year or two while they work on fixing things and deciding where they want to take the game. What they don't need to do is keep adding fecking expansion rules to the current set of rules. Just take a pause for the cause guys, I still find Malifaux fun but it is getting a bit much. Peace out!


  1. Thanks for that – I have to say I agree with this post wholeheartedly.

    Malifaux is my main game, now that I have limited gaming time. I've recently started feeling like I'm drowning in rules since the Twisting Fates release and I don't feel that I play often enough to catch up. I also have a massive backlog of miniatures to paint which, again, may never be finished.

    I too would like to see Wyrd take their foot off the pedal a bit, not release the new models as intensely as they do (people can proxy), spread the release dates out, and maybe consolidate things as they stand.

    I appreciate that people love new models so there is always the option of more alternative sculpts without introducing new characters and rules.

    Not a big fan of Avatars as I don't think they add enough to the game to justify the added level of complexity.

    I want a simple game that is challenging to play against challenging opponents.

  2. @TDT, I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling this way. I love Malifaux, I really do, otherwise why else would I own as many Gangs as i do, and have spent all that money investing in Sarissa Precision Oldwest scenery?

    It's just becoming confusing and bewildering now. I even had one of their Henchmen tell me he didn't get some of the rules and wasn't sure he knew how to play the game properly now. When you diehard, ardent supporters start saying that then I think you have to accept their are issues there.

  3. Around here, it's common and accepted to agree to which rules one will use prior to a game. Only have the base book? No problem, let's figure a point total and play. You want to add more stuff to the mix? Awesome. Who ya got? It's just not an issue for anyone that plays around here- Malifaux seems to bring out the reasonable in everyone that plays.

  4. Heya Lo, shouldn't you be stuffing yourself full of Turkey or something? lol. There's been a HUGE dip in my readership from the states today. So thanks for taking the time to comment on a national holiday.

    I agree. We're currently at the "Twisting Fates" doesn't exist phase round here as it slowed things down too much. But unlike the US which is a vast nation, here in the UK I might very well nip up to see friends in NEwcastle, or down in London and take dome Mofaux with me. Thing is, which version of Mofaux will they all be playing?

    It is an issue for the game, that I didn't touch on in this article because I have another one that I'm going to write. I've come across local 'comps' for certain over powered combo's as well. Now while it all sounds perfectly reasonable, and much of it I can understand and sympathise with it does mean that there are a lot of different 'versions' of Mofaux out there. This is a problem because the supposed great thing about our hobby is that theoretically I can turn up in Spain and play a game with somebody. I actually did this with 6th ed Warhammer, turned up at a shop with my junk and played a game. Done it in France and Germany too with various games. I can't do that with Mofaux right now.

    It can get like negotiating a contract before agreeing to play a game. Amongst mates its fine, but as a wider community it seems to me that Mofaux is becoming fractured. That might be liberating for the various groups out there doing their own thang, but it doesn't really help Wyrd or the bigger community thrive. I just think for Wyrd roght now they need to just slow it down, catch their breath and take it all in.

  5. If we were playing 40k or Fantasy you would buy the main rule book and your army codex and that would be it and it would not change for (sometimes several) years. The way Wyrd do things you're always going to have new models for your faction in every book release – which is great – but it also means you have to buy every book which, as you pointed out, is prohibitive for many beginners.

    At this point I don't know what the solution is as both routes have their pros and cons.

    I'm the only one with Twisting Fates round here so even new releases like Fire Gamin aren't making an appearance in order to maintain a level playing field. There's a fair amount of objection to paying out for more books before we've generally worn out the last one.

    I just hope that this "upping the ante" direction in which Malifaux is heading slows, deviates or stops for a while before things get out of control.

  6. As a non-Malifaux player but interested observer and potentially considering Malifaux, I found this a very interesting article.

    I picked up the pocket rules book and still have some head-scratching after a read-through; of course playing some games could easily rectify that.

    Nonetheless some great points made and food for thought for 'outsiders' like me.

  7. The other thing to consider is that Wyrd just got a huge influx of cash and is spending it on products before the year is up to help their balance sheets. They may be "tapped out" for a bit after this wad of spending.

  8. I play several skirmish level games as my main game(Infinty and Malifaux being the two primaries), while I was shocked that they released a new book this year. The avatar rules were the only addition to the core rules and they took up four pages of the book, so unless you need to have the rules for every miniature in the game I find easy to get by with just the mini rulebook which they have a pdf for on their site.

    I only have to worry about miniatures for Neverborn and Showgirls though so that might be why I don't need the books, we also tend to not proxy unless it is agreed upon before hand. That and my opponents are always cool with letting others read the card if they want. I do agree with the mini manual being a re-write and needed for the update to the rules it brings.

    On the other hand I would really like a new book for Infinity. So perhaps somewhere in middle of the two companies release schedules.

  9. I don't like to say "I thought so", but... well I did think so. Malifaux started out with a case of rules bloat and overselling of product (I think Wyrd underestimated their potential popularity a bit, ho hee) and were already planning expansions before they'd actually resolved their launch issues. I did wonder how long they'd be able to sustain growth for, from a design point of view at least.

    That said I still haven't even bothered with rules for it. I like Wyrd's miniatures and would buy them for roleplaying or for Warmachine proxies regardless; having an extra game to play with them is very much the bonus rather than the point of the endeavour for me.

  10. @TDT, yeah, we've spoken about it ourselves around here, We think they've expanded the game far too rapidly and in a way that actually makes it difficult to enter the system for many people now. I was like Von and was worried that because Mofaux the game felt a bit like an after thought to the miniatures that they might keep pumping out mini's for this game and the rules to go with them. Rather than just let there game breath.

    There isn't any problem to be honest with you in the idea of updating every faction with a single book. In fact it's a really great way to keep everyone interested in their factions and the game in general. It's also a good way to iron out any perceived imbalances in systems. Privateer Press have been doing it since their inception and to be honest with you I like it as an approach.

    @SHFH, (like the name by the way) it isn't a simple system to learn. I play many other systems as you can see from the banner at the top, and while occasionally I have found myself having to confirm rules in certain other systems, with Mofaux right now it seems like we're constantly stopping when we're playing it to make sure what we're up to is how it's meant to be done. The underlying game is great fun it really is, but we've gone from being able to play a fairly sizable game of Mofaux in just over an hour, to it now taking nearly 2 hours to play if we're using everything. Still think it's a worthwhile game playing because it is enjoyable. Just think Wyrd are in serious danger of fracturing to community.

    @Lo, I'm not too sure how it'll help their balance sheets but I'll accept you know more about their business than I do. Having worked in companies in different sectors that have had similar experiences to Wyrds I'd guess, we chose to allow the product room to breath and reinvest the money in other ideas to diversify our product base... and that worked really well. We also kept a large cash reserve as contingency just in case the success was short lived so we could use the money as a 'transformation fund' if you catch my drift. I think Wyrds idea of heap more fuel on the fire will, unsurprisingly lead to burn out.

    @DotP, I too play many skirmish games, possibly way too many. But I see to be able to cope with all their rules sitting in my head, but I'm starting to seriously struggle now with Mofaux. I do a lot of intro games for people and also help them with starter games because it's who I am. Recently I've intro'ed way more games of Infinity than I've actually played and I'm going to have to slow it down because I feel my own hobby is suffering. So yeah, I kinda do need to know the rules for pretty much every miniature in the game. Mofaux just 'feels' bloated. It's not just universal special rules you deal with either is it? I mean most things in Mofaux have unique rules to them... it's all getting a little bit too much.

    @Von, well you good sir obviously had the exact same thoughts as a few of my friends and I. I'm sure they were already planning expansions before they saw how the chips landed from their initial release. That in itself wasn't wise. But to then go through and launch them one on top of the other like they did... well that was just dumb. It's put more people off of the game round here than it has put people on to the game. It's even caused some to ebay their stuff as they've had enough. They just need to slow down and maybe even look at doing another product line, I know they have their puppet wars stuff, but really that's just Chibi Mofaux.

  11. "unless you need to have the rules for every miniature in the game I find easy to get by with just the mini rulebook which they have a pdf for on their site."

    This is what I would say too.

    With Hordes/Warmachine, you can go out and buy all the books, and have the details of everything in the game. Or, you go online and read the material people have written about the stuff not directly in your faction, so you've got some idea of what it does, then just buy the models you want, which, as with Malifaux, come with the rules for the models you own printed on the cards.

    It only becomes an issue really if you want to be competing for top spots at tournaments and need to know exactly what everything in the game does so you can prepare for it. Any other circumstance, the extra books are just a luxury, really.

  12. Yep i played malifaux every week, went to the uk GT last year but now i've lost my way with it. To much being cramed into to small a game. Over kill springs to mind. Great post.

  13. @fiendil & DotP, you have inadvertently touched on something that actually gets my hackles up a bit. That is the assumption that competitve gaming is the preserve of tournament players alone. I do not frequent tournaments because I don't tend to like the some of the 'personalities' that often frequent such event. Not all tournament goers are like this however. Conversely not all none tournament players and casual hobbyists just chuck miniatures down on the table roll some dice, or in Mofaux case draw some cards and hope for the best.

    In fact I'd say that the so called FAAC and WAAC gamers many assume the hobby splits into is actually a false binary as Von would call it, or a false dichotomy as I'd call it. I want to know what my opponents capabilities are when I'm playing, I need to know this to makes sure that A) they not cheating and B) they're not cheating themselves. I'll regularly inform opponents that they might want to remember their triggers etc. if they forget them because I'm a a fair opponent, and although I want to win, I want the challenge to be fair and to have won on my own merits.

    There are a vast swathe of gamers like me out there, I know because I meet them on a regular basis. They game to have the camaraderie and social aspects of the hobby, but when the mini's are on the table they want to win. Many of them will be as fair and honest about it as I am. However, the current mash of rules in Mofaux just seems to get in the way of us having a straight up game now.

    The fact that the rules come printed on the cards for Mofaux is neither here nor there really. The problem is that for every new miniature of model they release they develop a new special rule, that does something different to the things that have gone before. In games like Warmachine stealth is stealth and continuous fire is continuous fire. If Mofaux followed this sort of format it wouldn't be such a hassle, but alas it wouldn't also be the characterful game it is today. All I'm saying is take a pause, the game is as complex as it is ever going to need to be right now. They should just let the dust settle and see what the scene looks like after its all calmed down a bit. That's all.

  14. Oh, don't get me wrong, I agree completely that the FAAC/WAAC black-and-white crap that people spout is utter rubbish. I'm just saying that for the vast majority, you just need the basic rules, your cards, and to take a look at your opponents cards before the game. In my experience (I'm 36, based in Nottingham, and I'm a casual player who has moved around a fair bit and plays occasionally at tournaments), the people who want to know everything about everything in the game are few and far between, and most people will just throw down and learn to deal with new things put out by the opponent as they play. The very competetive non-tournament players are fewer than the competetive tournament players, from what I see (Quirkworthy being about the only example I know at the moment).

    We used to make a point, when we were first getting going on Hordemachine, of, if the opponent hadn't seen our list before, before starting the game explaining what our dirty combos were and what our endgame scenario was. I still do that (even at tournaments) when the opponent doesn't know my stuff at all.

    I agree that sorting out the USRs in a second edition of Malifaux would be a very good move. WM/H are in the position they're in because they did exactly that. It took 4 editions of Epic before they turned everything into USRs, and that, when it happened, worked very very well.

  15. It seems fiendil that you and I are very much on the same page then. It still doesn't help me when demoing the game or trying to convince others to play it though!!! lol.

    I take it by USR's you mean Universal Special Rules? If you do then I'm kinda in 100% agreement with you. Gang leaders etc. can still have their unique flavour ala the feats in Warmachine, that's fine, but all these special rules kicking about just serve up more confusions and open the game up to abuse.

    I hope Wyrd do take note of what is happening in the community though, because right now little fractures are appearing, I've seen them. And for what is relatively a small game that isn't a healthy place to be right now. The game is a barrel of laughs when played with the right people and can be really amusing and engaging at the same time, but if the already small community splinters it will diminish the current community no end.

  16. Heh, yeah, I recently got my LGS into Malifaux, and everyone bought a starter box and the little $15 rule book. It's been fun, and only now have some people started buying the other books, though to be honest, it makes me more reluctant to play the game. I already have a huge investment in 40k, and also play Fantasy and Warmachine. Malifaux seemed like a cheap alternative game, but trying to learn it all makes me a little... reluctant.

    Maybe I just play too many games :-p

  17. @Xaereth, play too many games? NEVER!!! The thought has occurred to me on occassion, mainly when trying to decide what LoS rules apply to whatever game I happen to be playing. Your view of Mofaux is one I often hear though from others. You see it as an alternative, 'a bit on the side' to use an analogy. It'll be interesting to see whee Wyrd take it as a game and head as a company. I'll be watching their progress with interest.

  18. @Pancake, sorry mate. I seem to have completely missed your comment in the wall of text!!! So you went to the UK GT last year? How was it? I was thinking of going to a Mofaux tournament that was held at the Maelstrom this month, but mini's didn't turn up in time to paint them and in the end it'd have proved too much hassle to go. I just wanted to see what the broader community was like, and whether the so-called competitive community for Mofaux was any different to the WFB, 40k and HoMachine communities. Be interested in your thoughts.

  19. I've been to 2 malifaux tournaments at mealstrom and they were great fun. Yes you allways get the total gamer kill joy with a win at all cost list. But all in all jo who runs the events keeps most of the noobs at bay. You should try to make the next one, lots of fun laughs and the people are very friedly indeed. I did'nt go to the last one because i did'nt up date my crew should i say,so would of got my butt kicked. Every new book brings more deadly minions and masters.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Great post, man. It was something I was planning on touching on when I finally got around to writing about my own Malifaux experience. You magnificent bastard!

    Don't get me wrong about the following ranty-ness- I'm loving my Malifaux time so far, but I'm starting to see some of the same shenanigans that drove me off of PP games.
    Specifically, that in addition to the rule book bloat there's another parallel malifaux has with mk1 warmachine. Not only are Wyrd doing the all factions in all books + MOAR rules thing (lets just hope the consolidate before the reach PP's staggering 7 books), but they've also got the same sort of FAQ culture. Which speaks directly to your point on being able to play anywhere. The printed rules =/= the actual rules at this point. Even with the mini book... actually, especially with the mini book since what we have is something like 3 discreet versions of the game in circulation. So we're in this situation right now whre we have a good game where the rule book buy in costs MORE than the miniature buy in andwhere the number of books you own and your awareness with the FAQ determines a hidden version number that makes playing the same version of the game as your opponent difficult. That's offputting for everyone - not just noobs.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but anyone you've (jody) had this discussion with and has sided with the current state of things isn't so much making an argument for a case than they are, at best, making rationalizations for a shitty situation or, at worst, putting there fingers in their ears and going 'lalalala'. And I realize how contentious statement that is. And the reason for that is that I just don't plain see the advantage in not being honest about the situation - it costs literally nothing to say "this is a great game, but like all games it has some problems". Because how, exactly, with a straight face would you tell someone that the they don't have to buy the book, but if they want to know exactly what Nekima does, they have to spend $30?

    tl;dr: I agree with Jody and people who don't are tossers.

  22. Heya Lauby, do't sit on the fence, say what you really think!!! :P
    Obviously I think it's an issue. I wouldn't have written the article otherwise now would I? I remember HoMachine MK1 very well... and that's why I'm asking for Mofaux to take a pause for the cause. We don't need it to end up in the same state now do we? Like you, I'm loving the version of the game that I play, but just want it to calm down a bit for the sake of the community and the games long term future.

  23. ha! It's been the kind of morning that started off with the cat throwing up on the bed a good 3 hours before I wanted to be up.

    also, I'm not sure if this was clear, but my general rantyness was directed at not you. I mean, of course we're on the same 'team' as it we're. I guess I was... uh... expounding and expanding on you're great stuff.

  24. @Pancake, yeah there are a few Mofaux players round these parts who wouldn't mind attending a tournament at some point. I just have to get a proper gang painted up and work out whether I want to take it seriously (not bloody likely) or go for fun.

    @Lauby, yeah I'd gathered, I was just teasing you. Funny that one of your cats threw up this morning as well. Princess Dinah Bear is clearly on the bulimia diet too!!! Bloody cat.

  25. Urgh. I'd forgotten about the Malifaux FAQing. I've only played a handful of times, and not for a couple of months, but my opponents tend to keep up with it more, and right now I've very little idea of which version of the cards I'm currently using.

    Doesn't help that I've been running the old madman, Leveticus, and some of the faq-ings do actually change how his toys work...

    Yeah, it wants a mk2.

  26. @Fiendil, yeah I think it's time they sat down and just looked at what they've got game wise out there and see how it all works. Take the constructive criticism they're getting on board, and hell even some of the destructive criticism. Then work out where they want to take the game and which part of the market they're targeting. Then quite frankly re-write the rules and streamline them a bit into a second edition that's not so convoluted, do a Beta for a few months take feedback and just release the updated rules they need too and reset to zero. Also I'd appreciate rejigged cards of a higher quality more along the lines of the Privateer Press cards.

  27. Hi! I like your article. I feel the same about Malifaux and in fact I've posted something similar on the Wyrd Forum. (

    Not surprisingly, I seem to be the only one over there that think it's time they take a pause and rethink the game.

    Most of the others just said NO! We want more minis, more fluff, more rules! Wyrd need to keep on putting out new stuff if they want to survive, etc, etc.

    I think that Wyrd fell in love with it's own product and forgot the casual players.

    One other thing driving people away from Malifaux is the great community out there. I've read a lot on wyrd forum and it scares me away from the game. I've posted ideas about solitaire gameplay, which was a big failure. I didn't get one intelligent answer to that. I've also posted an essay on why Miniature gaming is a niche market. It was a great discussion, but mostly I remember being told that it's a niche market because non-casual players are happy to have an exclusive non-accessible hobby and don't want those goddam noobs and casual gamer to interfere.


  28. @Bruno Pigeon, thanks for your kind words. Had a quick read of that thread and I can't say I'm massively surprised by how it went. lol. People who love things blindly can't really see what it is that they love. Better love something with your eyes wide open so you can tell the one you love when they've pissed you off!!! lol. Its an interesting attitude you get over at the Mofaux boards. On the whole exceptionally helpful and friendly, step out of 'line' though and a very small vocal minority go all pitbull on you. Hence why I post there infrequently.

  29. I enjoyed the article but I am sorry to say that I disagree with some of arguments. I concede that slowing down long enough as to get all the previous releases out would be a pleasent. What I disagree with is your chacterisation of the current state of the game as a hodge podge of rules. But before I dive into that I will put it out there that Malifaux is my main game, it is what I take every week to my local games night and what I play competitively.

    From reading the above I dont understand where the 'many versions' of the rules arguement comes from - as there is the Rules Manual, which invalidated the rules printed in Book 1 & 2, and Book 3 which describes how avatars work and if you don't want to play with them in your lists it is not a necessary. So needing to own the 3 books is just not necessary to start playing or at all (with book one no longer in print it is going to be hard to get any way) all that is required to play is the rules manual and some minis as they come with their own current rules cards.

    As for balance - the game, in my opinion (and to my understanding by design) is balance faction to faction not master to master. What this means is that sure Leviticus (who I have a bit of a man crush on) is going to (almost) always going to struggle in some mission types and against some masters but will be evenly matched against others and dominate against ywt others. At a faction level there is an answer to each objective type, situation and from of oppisition that currently exists within the game. That is why crews are selected after the objective has been defined from within the declared faction. Regardless of forum complaining about the Neverlose and other broken masters and such, the fact of the matter is I just dont see it and it is reflected in Malifaux rankings ( in the UK and here in Australia, nor in my own gameing experice.


    1. Never be sorry to disagree with anyone, as long as you do it in a constructive and coherent manner, which thankfully you have. MoFaux isn't my main game and is never going to be, because as you point out the game isn't balanced master to master, which kinda is a gapping design flaw in my humble opinion because master are the pivotal point around which the game resolves. Sorry but it's dumb if that's the way they've gone.

      It also means that for some peeps who want to just play the gang and master they want in their local area that they could potentially end up utterly screwed if their regular opponents take the rock to their scissors. And that's the crux of MoFaux's problems as a serious competitive game for me, it's rock, paper, scissors.

      I don't care what game system it is there will always be bad match up and I 100% accept that. But in my experience (which was from day 1) MoFaux has some truly awful match ups. Evening itself out at a tournament isn't really an issue for people playing at a local club is it?

      The other issue you now get is that some earlier choices are not as valid as later choices and I'm sorry but Wyrd have fallen into the trap of the dreaded power creep on a number of unit choices. Maybe they've done this to try and readress some of the perceived or real balancing issues, but it just throws the system further out of kilter.

      The FAQing and Errata's also got silly and unless you were up to date on it all can end up being pretty annoyed when you turn up to a game and things don't quite work how you thought they would. It's afractured game system and Wyrd only have themselves to blame I guess. They've continually chucked stuff at it and it has got a bit too much for many I know.

      They can't be bothered to check for FAQ's and Eratas before they go somewhere to play a game as it's too much. They also don't want to turn up somewhere and find someone still using the original rulebook, which has happened to me on a number of ocassions. So whether in your experience or not you don't think there are multiple versions of MoFaux out there I assure you there are. And it's bloody frustrating.

      The solution to all the games ailments are for Wyrd to sit down and ask themselves where the hell they want the game to go. what is it's position in the marketplace, what do they want the game to look like on the board, what sort of conflict do they want it to depict... and then do a full second edition and take the time to simplify the amount of special rules down, because I think they've diluted the essence of what the game was.

      It's honestly not just me saying this either. The comments here the PMs and emails I've had all saying that they feel the same way. People at various gaming clubs saying it's become bloated as a game and it's a total rock. paper, scissors cluster f***. It can be fun if you play it with friends and have gentlemens agreements, but honestly there are other games out there now hot on MoFaux heels and no doubt there will be even more.

      Wyrd had that 'other game' market totally sewn up in 2010/11 but it's letting it slip because it's starting to demand too much off of people. If Wyrd can keep MoFaux thriving off of people like you for whom it is their major game then I wish them nothing but the best. Likewise those who enjoy playing it. As for me? It'll get brought out infrequently now because there are other things out there that fill the fun niche for me it used to. Cheers for taking the time to comment though. I always appreciate it when people do.

  30. I can see the position that you are coming from with not liking the balance being between factions - but for me that is what I love about the game. What it allows is for crew construction focus entirely around the objectives in play (both your own stratigies and schemes and the active denial of your opponents) and the type of master that you expect to play. At no point do I feel like I need to have an answer for every possible situaion or objective present in my list or do I ever have to except that a list that will fail against particualar opponents - and if I do feel this way it is MY failing. That I think is what I like best about Malifaux - whatever happens in the game, in how my models do, win or lose is my fault and if I do badly its because I did things wrong not because I came up against a list that could exploit what I could not. Which is how I felt playing 40k, my Relictors (Drop Pod Marines) had particualar weak points that if I played in certain missions or against particual lists it was going to be up-hill. With Malifaux if its uphill - I knew the objectives, I chose my schems and I knew what the other player's objective was and what they might be doing at the time of crew selection. If the list lets me down it is my fault. That is why I love it; not necessarly why everyone should.

    As for creep. I have not found it to be a problem and I just don't see it. I currently dont play any book 2 masters and I dont feel that they are any better. What they are is overwhelming, I think every master is. As you can rattle off all the cool things that they can do and how they work and they sound amazing and unbeatable. But all the masters have a faw in that they are not jack of all traides they all have a weak point and you need to stick it to them, when you do they go to water. You can see it in the online community new master comes out. Responce:Panic, claim it is broken and horrable. Give it a few weeks and oh whatever is no better then anything else as people have worked out how to play against it.

    Also I am intrested to know what you believe the essence of the game is on a machanics level as for me it is the special rule on the models and how the interact with each other and trying to find what works best for you.

    One mans trash it appears.


    1. Murray I can understand why you love it too. I guess though that the 'switching' of a crew dependent on objective etc. just seems to shift the focus of the game to list building off the table rather than tactics on the table. That is something I just don't like. I'm not going to say there's no tactics in list building like some do, because clearly there is. But what I like about 'list' building is trying to find a balance within a force to enable you to be tactically versatile. MoFaux seems to encourage, from what you're saying the gamer with the biggest collection wins.

      That might seem like a neat sales ploy, but I'd suggest it's a transparent one and puts GW to shame! lol. Nobody tell Tom Kirby, he's already ripping people off. Is this how it works in tournaments as well? You say oh yeah I'll be playing with X faction and then you just pick your list each time from your miniature collection before each game? If so that seems a little long winded to me. If it's not then I guess if you have a couple of fixed lists you're going to find that up-hill struggle game or two you are bound to get. And conversely the one or two games where you're on the flip side of that relationship unrewarding. Or I would.

      Just seems a really lame way to try and explain away functional flaws in balance to me. The power creep issues wasn't actually aimed at just the masters, but some of the minion options too. There attitude of throw more crap at it has created redundant units now, and I'm hearing this off of people who play MoFaux an awful lot. Master Creep actually isn't much of a worry to me personally. It's unit redundancy that is because that's a company saying unit X, Y and Z are not as good as A, B and C you need to update your collection. At least other companies wait a few years before making my units redundant!!! lol.


    2. The essence of Mofaux as I saw it and as many saw it at the first was that it was a small game that didn't require too much effort to understand, but had enough depth that if you wanted to really master it you could invest more time. It could happily sit in your gaming repertoire as your 'other' game. However, all you've done is convince me Wyrd have totally ruined that. It seems from what you're saying it's no longer a case of hey buy this starter set and small rulebook. It's hey buy this starter set small rulebook, this large rulebook here for these Avatars... oh didn't I mention Avatars well they're this, oh and to use them you need this, this and this. Oh and if you want to win at these missions you'll need those and you'd better taken this and that if you come up against these. It's a mess and actually the more I think about it perhaps it was Wyrds plan all along.

      Because the game you've described sounds more and more like a sales ploy. The justification of imbalance and cluster f*** situations between lists forces you to buy ever more stuff and the more they chuck into it the more you also need to buy. Honestly that's an approach that would put GW to shame. lol. I however, like to think the best of people and I hope Wyrd have just let their system get way out of control. It often happens with first edition games, HoMachine being the obvious one. As I say MoFaux can still be fun if played with the right people and you have gentlemens agreements, That though stops the game being universal and fractures the community, which will ultimately harm its growth. I'm seeing it already, people telling me they're not interested anymore as it looks like 'too much effort'.

      If it's your only game though I can see why at first you wouldn't see it as a problem. But if your opponents start drying up like they did with me during MkI HoMachine, trust me you'll suddenly be very concerned about the state of affairs. Just to be clear I really hope that doesn't happen and Wyrd are wise enough to know they've pushed many to breaking point, and that the game needs a full version change and revision.

  31. Well as a new, (or returning but barely) hopeful wargamer, I have still yet to start a 'proper' collection of any game but I am sure that skirmish games will be much more to my liking.

    However after seeing that Malifaux has 3 rulebooks at £70 was it?


    At least not for a long while.

    So spot on with the whole putting new players off!!

    1. Really interesting that you've actually commented on this article. I was talking to a friend only yesterday about perhaps me giving MoFaux another go. He told me the latest influx of erratas and FAQ's has killed the game for him and he's sick to death of it now.

      So I guess it's quite topical for me too. I think I will be writing an article on trying to rediscover Malifaux at some point though as I'm not willing to give up on the game just yet. But yes, I can see why the current hodge podge of rules and bollocks that comes along with MoFaux would be enough to put you off.

  32. Up to now I have played two wargames - FoW and Malifaux or Malifaux and FoW as both games had equal standing with me.
    You may have noticed the past tense in that sentence...
    I currently have over 200 Malifaux miniatures and all of the books but after yet another wave of erratas, plus the promise of more to come, I'm getting a little fed-up.
    I really love the game, and I know the erratas are to try to bring things into a better balance, but to be honest I just feel like they haven't bothered to play tested it properly and are just churning out the books/models on a schedule which doesn't sit well with me.
    As of now I have a couple more games already planned/promised but after that I'm going to leave it for 6 - 12 months and see if they've managed to settle things down.
    In the meantime I'm slimming my collection down and seeing what else I fancy playing - Saga and MERCs are looking good...

    1. As you can see from my response to DABYX man, your comment is also quite timely. It seems round by me the MoFaux scene is starting to come apart at the seams. Which is a real shame, as for about two years afer the game first launched it was a pretty major part of my hobby. But, it seems that it's collapsing under the weight of poorly play tested rules and superfluous crap!!!

      I said ages ago it would become a problem, and so it has proved. I'm only sorry that Wyrd have continued to fuck things up so royally. They need that pause more than ever it seems and to just keave it the fuck alone!!! lol. They ought to be sitting down and writing the second edition rulebook in secret now, trying to sort out what's wrong and getting the game streamlined and back on track.

      As to the games you mention, Saga hasn't really grabbed me personally. But I can understand it's allure, meanwhile I have now played MERCs a few times and... I don't like it. The card movement thing is a gimmick and one that isn't necessary. If they wanted the game to be about facing and precise movement then they should have made it a board game. I just don't think it's very good. I'd suggest people picking up Earth Reborn / Sedition Wars when its out for a tactical board game fix or Infinity if they want an anime inspired future war game. I feel it's another game that doesn't know what it wants to be and hasn't really been play tested all that well.

    2. It's interesting to hear your take on MERCs.
      I won £50 store credit in a painting comp run by Pyre Studios so I'm looking at what to spend it on.
      I'd recently bought Incursion so was thinking on getting the Allied Starter set but I'm not yet fully sold on the game.
      I backed the Bushido indiegogo campaign so I already have 2 factions on their way to me in August/September.
      Pyre Studios also sell MERCs hence my interest but now I think maybe I should just get another Bushido faction!

    3. Do Pyre Studios sell Freebooter's Fate? I view this game in a fairly similar vein as I view Malifaux. No, not because of teh card mechanic because actually hw the two games use cards is very different, it's more to do with the scale of game and nature of play. They're both on the surface highly fun and entertaining games, but with a massive hidden depth. The only difference being that Freebooter's Fate is actually slick and well designed and has clearly been playtested to death. Honestly one of the best rulebooks I've read in some time. Very good game and quick to play too. I humbly recommend it.

    4. Unfortunately no. Here's a link to their store:
      They carry World of Twilight, Color Warz, Warlands, Heavy Gear Arena, Heavy Gear Blitz, Bushido, Nemesis, Incursion, MERCS and Elfball.
      I know you like Heavy Gear but I'm not sold on the cost or the minis.
      Oh well, back to musing...

    5. Well out of that lot the obvious ones for me would obviously be Bushido, and the Heavy Gear stuff. But if your not sold on Heavy Gear then that's fair enough, and I can understand your reticence as it's the same reticence I had with the game.

      That's a really, really odd collection of games. I mean really odd. I don't like Incursion, the Elf ball stuff just doesn't impress or interest me. Nemesis has some splendid miniatures, but I've never once played the game. MERCs does at least have nice mini's and professional production values... but...

      Off of that list the game that would pull me in the most if I wanted something new would be the World of Twilight. I saw the game being played at this years Salute and I thought it looked ingenious, fluid and fun. Its got a totally unique mechanic and is a game I hope to cover shortly.