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.