This was actually the article I was planning on posting up yesterday... but you know me. I can't resist a good whinge. The news that Wyrd are about to launch the second edition of Malifaux upon us though is actually quite exciting news for me. You see I've been with MoFaux from the start, right at the very start when they were just releasing nifty looking 'Wyrd' miniatures, but of late I've somewhat struggled with how they've 'developed' the game and their product line. I've definitely been critical of rules bloat and the distinct lack of streamlining within their ruleset. There are also massive issues with power creep. I know fans of Games Workshop grumble about the new sickness syndrome that often afflict their releases, but trust me they've got nothing on Wyrd Miniatures and what they've done for Malifaux.
So for me a fun little game that my other half and I often enjoyed together became something neither of us were really willing to invest the time in anymore to keep on top of. Partly because the exceptional Freebooter's Fate arrived in our household and was more fun, but mainly because I think Wyrd let Malifaux get out of hand. In essence I think Wyrd have been a victim of their own success. From a standing start they have shot from being absolute nobodies to actually being a very recognisable and highly popular brand within our hobby. I guess growing pains were inevitable for them as a company. Those pains though seem to have finally resulted in them looking to release a fully realised second editions, thank God we're not going to have to suffer another ver1.9999999 or whatever.
So what have they said that might actually get me excited about the game again? Well in my article where I asked Wyrd to take a pause for the cause I identified a number of personal issues I had with the game:
- The amount of books required to own all the rules.
- The amount of tinkering and updating of the core gameplay mechanics, especially the amount of FAQs
- The rules bloat around special rules that already had versions that could have been used.
- Power creep.
There may have been other things, but I think that was the rough gist of what I felt with regards Malifaux and where Wyrd were heading with it. They seemed to be ploughing ahead and not really thinking much about the internal consistency of their core game. Maybe I'm being harsh their, but that's what it felt like to me and some of my friends. We loved the wackiness of Malifaux in terms of style, we didn't like the fact that it had crept into the rules and led to an overly convoluted experience that demanded far too much of your time to keep on top of.
So what in the announcement gives me cause for hope that maybe they're going to put this all right? Well for starters they've finally decided they need a proper second edition. No more papering over the gaping cracks that had appeared, they're rebuilding a second edition. That's a positive start, and I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt. But in that press relaes they mention a number of things specifically:
- Streamlined and updated ruleset - now this could pretty much mean anything, I'm hoping it'll mean a reduction in the numbers of special rules and a slimming down of certain mechanics aspects that were open to abuse and just too complex to make games quick and fluid. Of course it could just mean they've hit the delete button and shrunk the length of some sentences down... but I'm positive that they know what needs doing.
- Upgrade your models / crew - This was a major complaint with how Malifaux grew. There were Crews and Masters that were around at the start of the game that in effect became obsolete if you wanted to stay competitive. So the idea of being able to keep your favourite crew long term and not have to worry about the 'new sickness' will go a long way to fixing many of the issues people had with the game. Firstly though they need to ensure they've leveled the playing field for the factions they've already got.
- Easier to Read Card format - Thank the good lord!!! The fold out book cards might have seemed cool unique and nifty, but they were a pain in the backside. Nothing was really 'at a glance' with them, and actually required an in-depth knowledge of what everything meant and stood for... and if you were going down that root it was just easier to memorise everything for your faction and use the card to prove things to your opponent. They weren't useful. Single sided playing cards please Wyrd. Preferably that fit into standard card protector sleeves.
- FAQ - Yes. This is great news, they're going to stick to an FAQ schedule so we know when to look for updates, rather than having to search through forums and being told mid-way through a game that the FAQ I'm using was FAQ'ed 5 minutes ago... ARGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!! Sorry but having to search and search everyday just to make sure I was up to date pissed me off.
So as you can see, I think Wyrd have perhaps been listening to the criticisms people have leveled at their game. That's a great thing, as I really do still like the idea behind the game and the look of it. I also found it immense amounts of fun initially and would love to get it all back on the table at some point, just so long as I don't have to take an MSc in Malifauxology to play the damn thing. There are other tidbits from the press release concerning the second edition, such as more masters etc. and that Gremlins will finally be their own faction and the fact that the second edition will move the story in the world of Malifaux forward. I like to see that in games personally. So I have high hopes Wyrd... don't you dare drop the ball. Peace out!