Wyrd Miniatures' New Skirmish Game
"I want to play a miniatures game. Something new, something fresh, something innovative and that hasn't been seen before. Something that's a blast to play and you can't wait to play again, something with cool [arse] models that aren't a chore to paint. Yeah, that's what I want." -meYes, I just quoted myself, haha. I said the above about a month ago on the Yahoo Group our local gaming groups uses. We were talking about miniatures games, mixed in with all of our roleplaying games, and someone brought up the western Gustshot rules (since we've been playing PKowboys recently). Then we mentioned that we haven't played 40k in a while, yada yada yada. The bottom line being our gaming cup, like, so runneth over. Totally. That's when I came up with the above quote, and it was before I heard of Malifaux.
A succinct summary from Board Game Geek: Malifaux is a skirmish miniature game in a [Steam-Victorian-Horror-Western-Punk] setting. Each player builds a force of 5-7 figures from a faction to battle it out. A force is composed of minions and at least one master. Malifaux involves elements of resource management as hands of cards are used instead of dice to resolve skill checks. Each check involves drawing a card from a deck and adding it to a figure's statistic. Players can then use cards from their hands to raise the value. The highest value in an opposed check wins. The turn system is integrated, with each player alternating turns between model activations.
The Undertaker and the Rat Catcher
Let's breakdown my above quote and see how this latest minis ruleset pans out.
1. "I want to play a miniatures game." Check, Malifaux is definitely a minis game.
2. "Something new, something fresh," Yup, it just made its debut at GenCon, and with whole army games being all over, it's nice to see a return to a skirmish format. You've got to look at the genre setting, which the authors said jokingly. You can't pin down exactly where it fits in; it has zombies and necromancers, demons and samurai, gunslingers and cowboys, and of course, pig-riding redneck goblins. It's not too full of itself and doesn't take itself too seriously, which appeals to me, especially if it's still a solid game.
3. "something innovative and that hasn't been seen before." Certainly the fact that the game eschews dice altogether is certainly different. The authors said that they didn't just want to re-invent a "d13" using a card deck either. I don't know how exactly it works, but the cards interact with one another and can interrupt your opponent. Plus, your leader models come free of charge in-game, you don't pay points for them at all. The game is not just character-centric, it's about nothing but the characters, putting them squarely up front.
4. "Something that's a blast to play and you can't wait to play again," It's a new game, and there's not a lot of reviews out there admittedly, but from the scant stuff I have heard and read, the game comes across very favorable. I must admit the enthusiasm the guys over at D6Generation have shown bears some influence as well.
5. "something with cool [arse] models" Well, just look at the pics in this post. The ones I put up here are those that I really like, but there's tons more. The best gallery to look at is the shopping cart over at Rattlehead Games. I know this style of mini isn't for everyone, but again, for me, I'm liking the way the line is visually taking shape.
6. "that aren't a chore to paint." And here we have the one caveat, but I can get around this well enough. True, the models are all like the singular figures you might find leading an entire army, your 'warband' will only consist of 5-7 of them in total. I may have to step up my painting skills a tad, but I'm painting a number of figs in the single digits, so that's a painting pill that's so much easier to swallow than staring down 40-50 models.
All in all, I'd have to give this a whopping 5.75 out of 6. Hmm, not too bad.
Bayou Gremlins and Witchling Stalkers