Sunday, November 17, 2013

What is Malifaux?

What is Malifaux?
Malifaux is a "miniature tabletop wargame". To put that in layman's terms... they're little toy soldiers that you play a game with. But of course it's much more than that. It's a hobby at its core. A hobby that involves a creative art aspect (building, modding, painting the small miniature figures, as well as making, designing and using terrain pieces for the tabletop game). In addition to the creative building aspect, there is the actual game play itself which involves thought, and strategy (and yes luck). 
You can read more about the game here on wikipedia.

Malifaux is a game designed and built by a company called Wyrd Miniatures (pronounced "Weird"). This is a fairly new company as they started in 2009, but they have carved out a nice niche in the wargaming world, and have gotten to be very popular. 

The basics are that this is a two player game. Each player buys, assembles, then paints his (or her) own models, and brings them to a 3'x3' tabletop. The figures are then like chess pieces that move about the table, and interact with both other figures, and terrain pieces (such as buildings, forests, hills, etc...). Each piece has certain rules that pertain to it (again similar to chess). As well as strategic thinking, this game also relies on luck, in that many of the interactions are controlled by the flipping of a card (though the random odds can be controlled to some degree known as "cheating", which is part of the game).

There are Seven "Factions" in the game, which are basically a theme that surrounds a particular "army". They are:
• The Guild: A sort of lawman in the world of Malifaux (though possibly corrupt). 
• The Arcanists: Individuals who practice magic
• The Resurrectionists: Best described as necromancers or the Undead (zombies!)
• The Neverborn: "native" inhabitants of the Malifaux world (demon like creatures)
• The Outcasts: think mercenaries 
• Ten Thunders: A newer Shadowy faction (similar to the Japanese Yakuza)
• The Gremlins: New to the Second edition as a new faction - little green chaotic monsters

To start a player needs:
A rulebook - (Approx $40) - though if you know someone who already has a rulebook and can teach you the game this isn't 100% necessary. But it contains all the rules of the game as well as the backstory for the game and characters - not to mention mention the awesome artwork.
A starter set - also called a "Boxed Set". These usually contain one Master and few other models to get you started. (Approx $40) (note: some of the older version box sets are cheaper than the new 2.0 version - we'll get into that in a minute).
A Fate Deck - a custom set of playing cards (Approx $8) - You can use a standard deck of cards, but for a beginner player it's easier to use a fate deck. AND the artwork looks really cool!
Optional - An Arsenal Deck - (Approx $8) - basically a collection of every card available for a paticular faction. I've been told this isn't necessary to have to start playing the game.

One of the hardest things for a new player is to decide which faction they would like to play as. Often times it just comes down to looking at the design and aesthetics of the model(s) and choosing what they like best. Of course, there are some players who like to do a lot of research BEFORE making a decision as to how a particular faction is played (eg: are they known as heavy hitters, or are they known for ranged attacks, do they rely on weapons or magic/spells, Are the known for just having fun, or are they a strong competitive force, etc...)
My personal advice... choose a faction that you like the looks of and have some idea of the back-story (also called "fluff") of the faction. Find a style that you like and start there. There is a good chance that as a beginner you will change your faction later on.
(sidenote: one of the good things that I like about this game is that the cost to enter into this game is relatively cheap (compared to other wargaming companies) - so changing (or adding) other factions at a later time isn't that big of a hit to the wallet.

I've chosen the faction known as "The Resurrectionists" and just bought my first boxed "starter set" yesterday (11.16.13) known as the "Shadows of Redchapel" who is run by the "Master" known as "Seamus".
You generally pick one "Master" or leader of the gang to run. and then based on point levels you build your army/faction from there. Note the terms "Army, Faction, and Crew" are used in Malifaux and are basically interchangeable. 

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