Sunday, December 29, 2013

First official game for me!

YEP! It's officially my first game of Malifaux this past Friday 12/27/13!
And by official, I mean not a demo game. I did have one other demo game before this, thanks to our local store's unofficial Henchman.

But, my buddy Chris and I thought we'd give it a go on our own with just the mini-rulebooks in hand.
Perhaps I should have posted this sooner so that all the details would be fresher in my mind, but maybe it's a good thing I waited a few days, because for you the reader, it probably would have been a super long blog post! So, I'll just try to just hit the highlights.

We got off to a SLOW and rocky start, that's for sure. A LOT of time was spent with both of us (as well as the staff from the LGS (Local Gaming Store), with our noses buried in the rule book! But, I'm glad we both pushed through and especially thanks to one staffer (Max) who helped us to understand the basic duel mechanics we were finally starting to PLAY the game and things started to go a lot smoother.

The biggest hurdle we faced at the beginning was something called the "TN".
It's on the cards of the characters... yet after searching the manual high and low, I could not find any description of what this TN stood for - it wasn't mentioned at all in the index. Finally... I discovered it being mentioned on page 10 of the mini-rulebook.

When a model is called on to perform a Simple Duel it will appear in the rules as the model's stats vs a Target Number (TN). The model will flip a card and then add the appropriate stat. If the total equals or exceeds the TN the model succeeds.

I read that paragraph about a 100x and just couldn't wrap my head around the way it was worded.
1) The way it's written, it makes the TN sound as though it ONLY applies to a "Simple Duel." (not the case).
2) We could not figure out WHO was supposed to meet the TN - the attacker, or the defender. In our first encounter, my opponent landed within 1" of Seamus and thus triggered his "Terrifying" ability... So we were confused, if Seamus was supposed to flip and see if he hit the TN, or if the model entering the terrifying area was supposed to flip to see if he avoided the terrifying ability. (we since figured out it's the model entering the terrifying area).
3) Then... I wasn't sure what was supposed to actually happen when Terrifying went off. Again, the word "terrifying" is not listed in the index. (it's on page 55 of mini-rulebook). In fact, even now reading it in the manual I'm a little confused. The manual talks about a "Horror Duel" and "Paralyzing" - but at the bottom of the page on the Terrifying example, it just makes it sound like the attacking model just has to pass the Terrify hurdle, before it can continue to attack... and that if it fails, then it doesn't suffer the "Paralyzing" effects. Hmm.

Moving on... our next hurdle was figuring out the basic mechanics of an attack (melee, spells, etc...). We finally got it (thanks to Max)... at least I think we got it! We were all rather confused in reading the manual as to how casting a spell worked.
recap: I was trying to use a Belle to cast "Lure" on one of the Ortegas. It's worded like this:
(1) Lure (CA 8XM / TN: 12XM / Rst: Wp / Rg:18): description follows...
Lets break down what all that means (As we understand it.. please correct me if I make a mistake).
(I'm using "X" to represent the 'crow' suit... and "M" to represent the 'mask' suit).
CA - means it's a spell that is "cast".
• 8XM - is the attackers BASE number that's already given to the attacker - meaning you start with either an 8X or an 8M.
• TN: 12XM - this is the goal the ATTACKER must reach for the spell to successfully be cast - meaning that when I flip, I must flip a card that using my base number would be equal to or exceed the 12. (example if I flipped a 5X, then 8X plus 5X = 13XX which would mean the spell goes off.)
• Rst: Wp This stands for "resist" (I think) and the opponents "will power" stat on their card. My opponent then flips his card, and adds his Wp stat to the card. If it's higher than my score, then he successfully defends against the spell and it does not hit.
• Rg: 18 = my target must be within 18" of the casting model.
(I'll skip the part about the Triggers - I posted a separate post about that actually).

Once we had all of that figured out, we then started to actually PLAY the game, and things started to roll much more quickly and smoothly.

All in all, I think we both enjoyed the game, and walked away with a much better understanding of the game mechanics having slogged through it with the manual as opposed to just watching a demo game. I think we both have quite a few more questions, but I'm confident we have the basics down now. I certainly look forward to my next game, and hopefully we'll move things along at a quicker pace.

Lastly... One of the #1 things I walked away from this particular game... you REALLY have to know your own model's cards. Knowing what all they do, is a HUGE advantage to playing a game of malifaux. Reading through the card(s) for the first time while playing the game is challenging to say the least. I don't mean to say that you have to memorize all of your stats, but just knowing what your models do is a BIG help. There are so many little game changing rules on the cards that you must be aware of.

A huge thanks to my opponent Chris, for taking all of that time along with me to help learn this game from the ground up. And while there were certainly times of frustration in understanding the rules, I'm still calling the experience a success and a win - AND I still had FUN playing the game.

One more thing... At this point, I'm still frustrated with how the mini-rulebook is laid out and worded. I'm sure that's the frustration of being a beginner, but I think things could be better worded and better laid out. (for example, it seems like there was a lot of "see page xx, for further explanation"). MOST of all though... I wish more effort was put in regarding the INDEX pages. To leave out KEY game mechanics (like TN) is a big mistake.

Declaring triggers - No sandbagging rule...

Oh boy, I didn't mean to do this, but it looks like I stirred up a bees nest with a recent question. :)

I recently discovered an excellent source of info via a Facebook group known as "A Wyrd Place". I'd link to it, but It's a "private" group, so I'm not sure how linking would work. I found it easily though by searching on Facebook. They all seem like a great group and people are willing to help out a noob like me. I highly recommend you to apply to the group.

So, I posted a question that had me a bit puzzled in regards to "declaring triggers". When I played my first demo game with my (unofficial) henchman, I was under the impression that I had to choose which trigger I was going to "declare" BEFORE my flip of the card. Perhaps I misunderstood the henchman (highly likely). So I posted this question in the Facebook forum and the debate started. At the moment it's gotten about 20+ responses to what I would have thought was an easy question. :)
But it seems it's a bit of sore subject for some.

So, first to clarify... you do NOT declare a trigger BEFORE a flip.
*as someone pointed out in the forum though, she simply says "this attack has a trigger(s)" as a courtesy to the opponent.
Then AFTER the flip, you can decide if you want to have the trigger go into effect, and if so, you "declare it" then.

Apparently the sore spot is that people have gotten into a bad habit of announcing the trigger AFTER the duel has been resolved, at which point, it's not easy to rewind the game play and to double check that the trigger's requirements were satisfied.

I found this comment to be the most helpful:
As a henchman, I am no rules hound (my rulebook is always in hand, I cannot remember rules worth a damn), but I stress proper form. Until everybody is super comfortable with the rules in your group, ... I would suggest declaring specifically which trigger you are getting. Also, no declaration, no trigger effect is how we play it, so nobody gets sandbagged. - Julien
I really like the last comment regarding the "no sandbagging."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Faction and Master explanations...

I just discovered this new (to me) blog that has a really nice explanation of the different factions and different masters in Malifaux. It's approx. a paragraph description each. This should make for a great reference to any beginner who wants to choose their first starter set.

Joel is also on twitter if you are interested: @y

PS> I'll certainly be adding this blog in the sidebar too, as it looks like there is a lot of great information on there. If anyone else has some blog recommendations in relation to Malifaux, please feel free to leave a comment so I can check them out.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Upgrade cards - frustration

Today a buddy of mine and myself are going to attempt a game of Malifaux! We're both beginners so it should be an interesting time... I'm hoping the entire day is not spent just reading the rulebook! :) Still, it should be fun. I'll post an update.

In preparation, last night I was reading through my "redchapel" (aka Seamus) upgrade cards, and I was quite frustrated. I think I had a question about each and every card as to how it was worded. I'm hoping that in game it will start to make more sense. I may have to post in the rules forums to get some clarification on several of these.

Example: "Bag O' Tools"

"After damaging enemey models in (?)2..."
It looks like an "x" symbol in the parenthesis, but I can't quite make it out.

"... Attack actions against Seamus receive -2 to the duel total." - I'm not quite sure what "duel total" is referring to.

"Sweet murder... after damage, immediately kill the target unless it (the model?) discards two cards, or two soulstones."  - Does that mean, even if a model can not use soulstones (like a peon), that they can't use the soulstone option?

"To the pain: After damaging, place a friendly Scheme marker in base contact with this model."
 - THIS model? which one, the targeted model OR Seamus, the one making the attack?

There's more, but that's just one card.

More later, and I'll try to post follow up answers to these.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

W.I.P. - Seamus and Madam Sybelle

A couple photos of some "work in progress" painting of Seamus and Madame Sybelle.
It's a love hate relationship with these close-up photos... I love seeing the details, but it also makes the mistakes 10x more noticeable too!
I do like how Madame Sybelle's skin tone turned out. I used a mix of Valejo "Dwarf flesh" with some "Dead Flesh" - still needs a wash for shadows.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Front - with a paper protector on top (Click to enlarge)

Back - where you can see the burn marks of the laser

Front again of the 30mm markers.

Well, I'm going to count this experiment as a success, but I did have a little bit higher hopes.

I've been wanting to make something using this service for several years now, but couldn't quite decide what to actually make. The service is called Ponoko. They make custom laser cuts, along with 3d printing. They are actually located in New Zealand, and that was part of the reason why I had not tried them sooner, because it cost an arm and a leg to ship anything from NZ to the USA. Since they have become more popular though, they've opened up a few other laser cutting shops (one in California, and I think one in the UK). So shipping wasn't too bad.

I was also caught a little off guard with this project, because I learned (I think Thursday night), that they were having a 30% off sale for "Black Friday". I figured this was a great time to test the whole thing out, and save a few bucks in the process.

There was a slight learning curve on my end, as to how to actually prepare the files for them. Their website was very helpful with that, but there was one hiccup, because one webpage said to make the lines .01" thick, and they had a tutorial video that said to make them .001" - turns out it was the .01". I was also slightly confused as to how to set up the "etched image" part. I was actually expecting them to be completely black and "burned in", but instead they are much lighter. Still a cool effect, so I'm not really complaining. I'm also glad that at the last minute, I decided to put the dark outline around the skull image.

I'm not sure what to do with the "flip side" - I may either paint them, so you don't see all the burn marks from the laser, or I may make some paper stickers with a nice design. We'll see. They are also approx a 1/4" thick. The edges are  almost black from the burnt MDF board (and they smell like a campfire too).

Anyway, I have a nice set of custom markers now. Overall I'm happy. I *might* make another attempt, and this time use the clear acrylic plastic material. But I'll probably wait for another sale. The cost of these was approx $35. (I'm also going to try to use the background material to make a tray to hold the models in a tournament situation, so it won't go to waste). Oh, and I should mention that the turn-around time was a little over 2 weeks.

Also, the one other shape is for "Warmachine" to use as a melee gauge. I made a total of 5 skull markers (I plan to use these as Corpse tokens), 5 "x" tokens (using the Malifaux font), 7 blank 30mm, 2x 40mm blanks, and one 50mm token. I threw in the three small "sticks" too - they might be used for warmachine too, for measuring blast damage from a 30mm base.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Package...

If all goes well with FedEx, I should be getting a box today from Wyrd's Black Friday sale. More later...

Update: Yes it did come in via FedEx. Yay! I'm finally able to read the rules now. I picked up the mini-rulebook (among a couple pre-released models as well!). First impressions of the mini-rulebook are that it's nicely printed. Two minor complaints... 1) the margin area in the "gutter" of the book is too small, you have to bend the pages back kinda far in order to read it. I'm hoping this doesn't effect the book in the long term and doesn't make the binding crack and pages fallout. Probably not, but still it's a concern. 2) Some of the small type is hard to read, especially where they reversed it out to white against a dark background. Again, very minor design points.
In going through the book, I decided to add a new "page" to this blog that talks about the glossary of words used. Should make for a good basic reference for myself and other beginners.

Oh, and I also got notice of another package that I ordered has shipped... but it apparently is sent via UPS ground, so probably won't be here for another week or so. I'm excited to see how this one turned out... It was a bit of an experiment really, so my fingers are crossed it works. Hint... it involves LASERS! :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Seamus and his crew...

(click to enlarge)

Assembly complete! 

Wow, some of these pieces were TINY! But with patience and a steady hand while applying the glue, things generally went together well. I had a slight problem with the "Belle" with the umbrella on the ground. I couldn't find a pose where she felt solid on the base. I ended up putting the bit of cork under the umbrella, in order to get three glue contact points. But now I think she's leaning just a bit too far. I'm not sure yet if I'll decide to live with this, or maybe try to adjust her somehow.

Looking forward to priming these next (probably in black, but I still have not made up my mind). Then taking my time in painting these. Again, so fine details on these models, I want to do the sculpts justice with some nice paint.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

First Demo Game!

Hooray for getting my first Demo game in yesterday (Thanks Jim!). I can't really offer you any detailed or nuanced battle report, because I was struggling to keep up, and just trying to figure out all that was going on.

I was able to use my Seamus and Copycat models (as I had them built and based but not painted), and then I proxied Sybelle, and the Three Belles (using some warmachine models). I went up against Neverborn's Lilith, along with some tots and a Mature Nephilim (I think).

What made the game difficult for me, was that I still have not had a chance to look at a manual and learn about the rules. I also was unfamiliar with how to read the cards themselves. My teacher of course explained things as we went along, but I'm afraid I lacked any sort of planning ability as it was all so new. That said, I had fun. I liked the dynamics of the game, and learned that the "Victory Points" are the key to the entire game. In fact, it was a great example game, because I was able to kill all of my opponents models, yet I still lost based on VP's. I believe the final score was 11-6.

Fun game, and I can already see the fun factor increased by all the "schemes". I look forward to more games.