Well actually it should technically be Malifaux 2nd edition – a review but who wants to get bogged down in semantics? So this review has probably been a long time coming, especially as I can’t resist a skirmish game and it must be said that with so many great games out there we did sort of let the 1st edition rules pass us by. That said good things come to those who wait and when Phil dropped the rule book off to me I wasn’t disappointed.
So for those of you that don’t know, Malifaux is a skirmish game designed by Wyrd Miniatures for 32mm scale models. If you are anything like me then I am sure you are saying nothing new there (because I know I did). However that reaction was short-lived. The game, like many others, is based on an alternative version of Earth and is heavily focused on magic, but describes itself as a collection of Gothic, Steampunk and Victorian Horror with a dose of the Wild west thrown in. Now I’m sure you will agree that is quite a combination and makes for a game with a fairly unique feel.
With this mish-mash of genres the game has a really diverse background and brings with it some very unique factions and given Wyrd almost unlimited possibilities when designing the characters for each. This has resulted in some great miniatures and some really likeable characters that I am looking forward to collecting.
Perhaps likeable is the wrong word…
For Malifaux 2.0, Wyrd has increased the number of factions so there are now 7 to choose from and with each one being very different. It means there is almost definitely a faction for every brand of mayhem. Wyrd have also been clever as there are different groups within each faction meaning that you can even take the same faction in several different directions.
With such an original background to get excited about I was initially surprised when the premise of the game was quite so standard. A city in ruins begins to be repopulated and opposing factions are fighting for territory and resources (in this case Soulstones). For any Mordheim player (or for that matter any skirmish gamer), this is nothing new. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that is a bad thing. There is a simple reason why so many games use this formula…because it is fun and it works. What Wyrd have done well with Malifaux is thinking up a variety of scenarios to play, including a lot of character driven stories, that will keep things fresh. And I must say some of them sound quite cinematic, which I always like.
So onto the book itself, I am pleased to say that my first impressions were positive. The print quality is pretty good and the book doesn’t feel cheap, which is one of my biggest gripes with some other gaming around, especially when you consider the price you are expected to pay for them. Considering the variety of styles Malifaux incorporates, most of the artwork has done a really good job of capturing the feel of the Malifaux universe and life through the breach.
The book is set out in a logical way which makes sense to read, taking you first on a journey through the background. There are a lot of great stories, setting the scene for each faction and some of their main characters which helped me decide which faction was for me. It also gives you all the profiles and rules you need for each faction so there is no need to buy a separate army book which is always a win. But it’s a two-edged sword as background can be sacrificed on the altar of page limits.
Wyrd have split the Malifaux rules into 3 parts, starting with the basics then going into more depth on the game’s core mechanics and then working examples of all elements of a turn within the game. Examples are well explained and although more diagrams could be useful, it seems that Wyrd have fine-tuned their explanations since version 1 as most of them are very clear. This methodical approach will hopefully prevent a lot of aimless flicking through the book for the one rule you really need but can’t find.
The game has some quite unique game mechanics that make it feel different to others with the biggest difference being that Malifaux doesn’t use any dice. At all. Instead you use a fate deck based on a standard poker deck, and if I’m honest I am not 100% sure of how I feel about this. Call it naivety or delusion but I always feel as if I have some influence over a random dice roll whereas with a card deck you know you will only ever score four 13’s and you are quite likely to score four 1’s. It certainly is an interesting way of ensuring a levelling the playing field, that is unless you want to cheat fate. Once I had read the rules I was interested to see that Wyrd have added a way to cheat fate by allowing you to have a small hand of fate cards you can choose to play instead of drawing from the main fate deck.
The rules seem to work well and make for a very enjoyable game or short campaign, especially if you play one of the character driven story lines but there does seem to be one factor that other skirmish games may do better and that is character development. Malifaux hasn’t completely neglected this as they have included some faction specific upgrades that can be purchased for characters. Whilst this does help to slightly improve your characters I’m not entirely sure it will be enough to really get you attached to you heroes as they develop new skills or issues which is something that Mordheim, for example, really excels at. This could only really prove to be a real issue in long-term campaigns and certainly doesn’t stop it being really enjoyable for one-off games, or short campaigns and it is definitely a game I can’t wait to play more.
The Malifaux 2nd edition rule book is available at Firestorm Games priced £25.19.
And relax… So that was Salute. Well I have to say for my first show since Games Day many moons ago it was great and I loved every minute… But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me take you back to the Friday before…
It’s Friday night and I’m getting ready for the early morning start to pick up Lee, Neil & Phil and make our way to ExCel London. My bag is packed with all the standard supplies, chocolate, Jelly Babies for that mid show sugar pick me up, Business Cards, Wallet with money (but no credit card) and of course my all important ticket. Now I have had a pretty hard week and not a great deal of sleep up to this point so I was really looking forward to getting an early night and some well deserved Salute action. But one more thing had to be done, the car needed to be sorted ready for the drive up, which meant fuel was required, or so i thought.
So I take myself down to the local petrol station. On route I realise I have three quarters of a tank of Diesel so I’m probably okay for fuel but as I’m out I think: sod it I’ll top it up. It’s at this point everything goes horribly wrong and nearly ends in my not attending Salute. So I’m at the petrol station idly watching the litres tick over on the unleaded petrol and…fuck my life!
I end up spending my Friday evening sat in the petrol station for 2 hours waiting for the AA to turn up only to tell me they will have to tow me home as they can’t drain the tank until the following day. Needless to say the wife was less than impressed and I didn’t get my early night. This did mean I had to take my little run around with 4 blokes up to ExCel. All things considered it did okay. It got us there and back in one piece and that’s the main thing.
But what about the other car Mat? well my wife waited in the next morning and a very nice man we will call Trevor turned up at 9.30am and drained the tank and topped it back up with enough Diesel for my wife to get to a petrol station and put the correct jungle juice in (which cost us £152 people check your using the right nozzle it can be an expensive mistake to make), enabling her to meet Phil’s wife for there prearranged play date (with our 1 year old daughters).
Jump back to 10:30am Saturday the 12th of April… SALUTE! MAT BUY TOYS!
There was so much to see my poor brain couldn’t take it all in at first, there were hobbyists everywhere and toys galore, I don’t think I’m remiss if I say it was an awesome humbling sight, and it made my wallet cry.
But before I got to buying toys we had to round everyone up say hello as some of us had never actually met in the flesh namely Rob and Reece, it was great to finally meet thee guys, it also meant I could reduce the weight of my bag as I had Robs business cards with me. And once handed over I wold have more room for toys.
I had to remember that I wasn’t just here to buy toys, I was here on business, and it was with this in mind we headed over to a few of the indie stands to chat to a few people about some truly interesting games, that not only looked awesome but sound utterly brilliant.
Among these was a game that has been mentioned a couple of times on The Shell Case now and that’s World Of Twilight: Travels through Anyaral
first mentioned by Gav Thorpe in his guest post, but I will leave Phil to tell you more about this. What I will say is the models are gorgeous and it looks fantastic, I for one am really looking forward to this one.
Next up was a very cool looking game that got Phil and I very excited, its in development by a company called White Dragon Miniatures its called Shattered Void and it looks and sounds truly brilliant, the models look great and the artwork so far is stunning, its also going to incorporate a bit of RPG so your pilots will evolve as you play more games, and the movement template is frankly inspired, it also looks the utter tits when being played, I was slightly disappointed they only had the one demo on the go as I would of really liked to of had a game of this and really get to grips with it. As I say it is still in development although some of the models were on sale on the day and it took a great amount of will power for me not to succumb. But rest assured when the Kickstarter is due to go live we will let you know all about it. This is definitely one to watch.
Another in development game we got to have a quick look at and chat to the producers of was a game called Twisted by Demented Games, this was in very early stage of development but is set to be board game or maybe an RPG, I have to say I don’t think its 100% sure what type of game its going to be but one thing is for sure the models were beautiful, the ones we got to see were supposedly the main protagonists based on characters from Charles Dickens Oliver Twist (I’m guessing this is where the name comes from). From what I understood the initial board game idea sees different fictional characters brought to life by some sort of Engine. The Dickens characters are jumping about literature causing mayhem and mischief. As I say this is very early in its development and I think the concept is a little confused at the moment, but its still one to watch if not just for the stunning miniatures we saw. It will be coming to Kickstarter in the not too distant future, so keep your eyes peeled and hopefully by then it will have a better idea of what it wants to be.
Now… MAT BUY TOYS! I had a rather extensive list of things I wanted to get at Salute or at least look at but one of my main objectives was Pathfinders for my Tau force and some X-Wing shizzle to aid me in my ever growing struggle to actually win a game. So we all headed over to the rather large Wayland Games stand, I got my Pathfinders hoozaah, but alas there was no X-Wing Shiz for me or Phil although we did get some extra Dice for said game, I say these won’t help me in the struggle to bitch slap Phil, but you never know these could be the dice I was looking for.
Its Business Time… Whilst Lee and Phil queued to make their purchases Neil and I wandered over to Mantic, whose stand was swamped and with good reason, Mantic had brought with them a limited number of there pretty awesome Battle Grounds sets. During our rather long chat with the guys at Mantic we got a bit of an over view of the future of Dreadball, which honestly had us totally gripped and is something we can all really look forward to, I can’t say too much here but needless to say Dreadball is set to become something even bigger and better than it is right now. And getting the low down on the Battle Grounds set was awesome, it was really good to speak to the guys and find out what was there intentions for the scenery set, and we all agreed it would make a god damn brilliant Necromunda board, so watch this space as our Necromunda itch grows fuelled by Mantic goodness. After talking all things Mantic it was time for… MAT BUY TOYS!
And to Forge World we wound our merry way, we had 20 minutes before the #warmongers meet, so this had to be a strategic hit and run style purchasing spree with the queue neigh huddle still being rather sizeable. Phil, Lee and I worked together to cordon off an area to enable us to make our way to the front on the queue (eventually) and pick up our wares, I had preordered myself a tasty Tau Battlesuit for my growing Tau force, yeay another tick for me… and a slight addition something that had been tickling my hobby spot for the last week… DEATH SHROUD. Yep I crumbled it didn’t take much to be honest, and purchased myself a set of Death Guard, Death Shroud Terminators. I’m not totally sure what I’m doing with them yet I’m thinking a small skirmish force but that’s always how these things start.
FOOD TIME, so it was that time of day where we all broke out from the buying of all the things as Ashley would say and went in search of sustenance to enable us to continue our day of awesomeness. It was also time to catch up with the other #Warmongers and compare purchases and stories of our days so far.
Once more unto the breach my friends, after the #Warmongers meet it was time to head over to Heresy Miniatures, one to check out the new Netherlord and two for me to get my hands on a set of Andy’s amazing gangers, just to help me with that Necromunda itch. I’m doing Delaque this time around but don’t really like the original models Andy’s are a fantastic alternative the “not” Delaques are stunning and the full set ay of set me back £70 but for that I got 25 blokes and a big bag of weapons with some god damn inspiring choices. Sadly we missed the last Netherlord by a matter of seconds it was such a big hit that some desperate French man forced Andy to sell him the one out of the display case. but hey MAT BOUGHT TOYS! and another tick.
It was at this point Rob decided to join us the workaholic had missed the #Warmongers meet due to his blue foam addiction, and the need to push this on other people. Which I’m all for frankly. But it was good to have a catch up and compare purchases which were pretty meagre on Robs side of things, he did however point out Mierce miniatures were in attendance with some of their wares, so with this in mind we made our way over to the stand Via Forge World to enable Phil to part with some more money of some old armour variants for his Ultrmarines. Now I’m not going to talk to much about Mierce here mainly because I was so distracted by all the shiney I don’t recall much of what was said, luckily Phil was in attendance and did most of the talking whilst I and several other others of the crew frankly perved at the utterly beautiful miniatures on display. I managed to hold off buying anything here but mainly because at this point I was influx as to whether I was going to do Beastmen of Lizardmen for my Mordheim warband.
To West Wind Productions, now if you haven’t heard of them why not and where the hell have you been? They are the creators of the great Empire of the Dead Victorian/Steam punk skirmish game which has some great looking starter sets available with factions ranging from Vampire Slayers to Bedlam Inmates and Jack the Ripper, more on this game to come shortly as me and Phil face off with 2 opposing factions and a run down of the rules. We got chatting to Wendy whilst on the stand discussing our aspirations and explaining how much we liked what they had and what they were doing. It was at this point that Wendy filled us in on their upcoming update of Secrets of the Third Reich, One that got Neil and I pretty excited, I mean its a game that has Nazi Zombies for crying out loud what’s not to get excited about. And with its update imminent it is only set to get better. Wendy also gave us a quick update on their latest Kickstarter, War & Empire a 15mm Ancient Era Wargame, that got us all a little bit excited and I can foresee a few arguments about who gets to play which army. But more on this to come.
As the day was drawing to a close we headed to wards KR Multicase and its mountain of blue foam and card board… Via Forge World (again!) for me to acquire Calas Typhon to go with my Deathshroud. Phil also needed to make a stop at Studio McVey to have a quick catch up with Mike, and we dropped in on Sphere wars.
After a quick chat with the fine people at KR including Rob… Again! and a sit down on their fine chairs made of the finest blue foam available, Phil and I walked away with an X-Wing carry case each, reviews to follow, I will say now its bloody brilliant and has got me looking at KR cases for my other armies now as well.
It was at this point I took the opportunity to grab a few snaps of some of the stunning games boards on show at Salute, I am only sorry I didn’t stop long enough to ask a bit more about them, but I think you’ll all agree it doesn’t make them any less brilliant.
Oh and I bumped into someone who was clearly less than impressed with my last performance against Phil in X-Wing.
So with swag in hand we made our way to the Bar for a much needed rest and a post Salute catch up over a beer, or Pepsi in my case (other fizzy drinks brans are available) all before our mammoth 4 hour drive home, not helped by football traffic or Phil’s inadequate bladder.
So in review I thoroughly enjoyed my first Salute I didn’t pick up everything I wanted I had hoped to walk away with some Malifaux items but just couldn’t make up my mind on the day. I had also hoped to pick up some bits for Mordheim but again my own indecisiveness was the downfall there.
I did how ever tick a few of my boxes, I got my Pathfinders, Some X-Wing Shizz all be it just extra dice but that still counts, a gang for Necromunda and DEATHSHROUD. I didn’t foresee Calas but frankly I should of known the Pretty black boxes were just too much for me to resist.
Oh and the awesome KR case. Out of everything I have to say the Heresy Minis have become my purchase of the show and I really cant wait to build and paint them let alone play with them.
And its with some great contacts made and empty pockets I wish you farewell Salute for another year.
Salute, salute, salute salute salute. (sung to the tune of Black Adder) I’m sure no one minded me singing Rob’s Salute theme tune on the way home one little bit. In fact it probably made the trip back from London go even quicker [Especially as it took four hours thanks to Mat’s atrocious SatNav – Ed.]. So I am sorry to say that it is over for another year and with 365(ish) days to go until the next Salute, I am going to have to go back to buying models in shops or online like the rest of the world. Oh the horror! The whole event was great and there was some awesome stuff to see: so much variety (which is a great sign for the hobby in general), so many great people to meet and I know even though I spent the whole day trying to see everything I probably only got to see half of what Salute had to offer.
The day went pretty much to plan, with no help from Forge World. They had everything a Warhammer 40k player could want…as long as you wanted something from the Horus Heresy. However as an Ork player I was disappointed to find out that they had brought none of their awesome Ork range so I had to order the heavy weapons I needed for my Battle wagon conversion. I hope they turn up soon. Needless to say I have learnt my lesson and next year I will be ordering in advance, still at least I didn’t have to pay the postage and packaging.
But then I wondered over to the Mantic stand…Not only did I got a great look at their Battlezones range (watch this space), but I also got some really exciting information about Dreadball Xtreme and Deadzone and how new rules will work and I am now more excited about both games than ever. I’ll be covering that in more detail soon. Then I bought a lot of stuff for Dreadball including the new supplement Azure Forest. Review to follow. [Damn Neil, you’re gonna be busy. -Ed.] We’ve also made it on to Mantic’s reviewer list so we should be able to cover their products much more thoroughly in the future.
I also confirmed that I have definitely fallen in love with Malifaux and saw some amazing figures from Twisted, Black Scorpion, Taban and Mierce miniatures. I checked out some of the great scenery from Amera Plastic Mouldings, where I picked up a great amphitheatre piece and still regret not picking up another Dreadball Stadium, especially as by the end of the show they had them for £25! I was also really interested by a range I had not come across before – Z Clipz by Studio Miniatures.
So onto the spoils, and like I said I did buy a lot of Dreadball. I picked up booster squads for both my human and robot teams, as well as two hard-hitting MVPs Buzzcut and DRB7 Firewall and the Azure Forest supplement. Away from Dreadball I got some red dice (because red ones roll higher – it’s science), and a the aforementioned Ork Big Zzappa.
It wasn’t the biggest haul I know but it was what I wanted and regrettably all I had time to get the rest of my day was meeting some of the #warmongers at the meet up, watching the mild-mannered Mat turn into a model buying machine and the rest of the day was business, meeting some great companies and talking about their new projects and The Shell Case. It should make for some great articles over the next few months.
My head is still spinning slightly to be honest. This year Salute was everything I’d hoped for in some ways and something of a missed opportunity in others. Anyone who knows me in real life is well aware of my propensity for taking on way too much stuff (still, it works out occasionally, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this, here and wouldn’t that be a pity…) and yet again I managed to overcommit my time for the day. Worst of all it meant that, for the second year running, I missed out on the #warmongers lunch time meetup. Boo me! Boo I say!
Thing is, I distinctly remember my phone alarm going off at 12:45 and then snoozing it, about 14 times or so… Damn… Then I walked out of the hall at about 2pm, rang Phil to find out where everyone was and it was all over. Not even a trace residue (okay, I just made myself feel ill) of #warmonger was to be seen and I trudged disconsolately back into the hall to BUY ALL OF THE THINGS instead. [Mat would be proud. -Ed.]
That’s part of the problem with being on a stall most of the day I suppose (I have a nefarious alter-ego, beware!), but to tell you the truth I really enjoy that aspect as well. It means I get people coming to talk to me (the poor mad fools!) and I get to ask them all about the hobby they’ve been doing, what they’ve seen at the show and what shiney things they have been tempted into buying. It’s a brilliant thing to be able to get so many different views on the hobby with people covering everything from 6mm historical right through to the usual suspects like Games Workshop and the like. The big difference from last year were lots of folks talking about Malifaux, Warmachine, tonnes and tonnes of X-Wing, and a bit more Bolt Action chatter (I think Phil will have more to say on that front in the not too distant future).
It’s obvious that the hobby is in an amazing state at the moment, with almost too much going on to be able to keep track of it all and it’s generating masses of enthusiasm across the community that without doubt followed me home!
The haul ™
It was my most satisfying Salute haul yet I think. I picked up the three main systems I had planned on, didn’t get massively distracted by anything else and found a couple of little bonuses along the way. Here’s a lovely picture of all of my awesome shiny from the day
Besides three new skirmish games: Wild West Exodus, Dark Age and Saga, I also picked up Zombie Dice (which I’m looking forward to being a staple family game) and a lovely dice bag from @TheDiceBagLady. All great stuff. I’ve already been cracking on with the assembly of my Wild West Exodus miniatures clocked my first game (see my article going live tomorrow), watch this space for a lot more on that front as the miniatures are gorgeous! I’ve also had a good peruse of my other figures and I’m very pleased with my choices. I’m loving the character of the Irish war band with the wolf hounds (one of my favourite breeds of dog besides my own of course) and the Core models from Dark Age have a nice alt-feel to them despite the obvious superficial comparison with the Convergence models from Warmachine.
I also got the chance to meet all of The Shell Case team for the first time and they’re all quite normal (yes I said ‘quite’) and a great laugh to mooch around a show and generally enthuse about the hobby with. We made some great contacts and are all really excited about what’s happening with the site over the coming months, stick around, it’s going to be ace!
As the 12th April comes ever closer and the prospect of another day filled with nothing but the sights, sounds and smells of the UK’s best all-round gaming show (and with the recent trend with Games Day, arguably just the outright best) fills our every waking thought (especially Mat’s – it’s his first time and he’s really quite excited), the members of The Shell Case team attending Salute this year (sorry Ashley, next time maybe?) have taken time to reflect on their hopes and expectations for Salute 2014.
And now to Neil to wax lyrical:
So it’s that time of year once again and with just over a week to go, I couldn’t be more excited about Salute 2014… that is unless I was Mat, but first times are always more special. Last year was great and so this will be a tough act to follow, but as always Salute has attracted a lot of great companies and I’m sure it will be awesome.
That said, this time last year I had just fallen hard harder than is comfortable for Dreadball and as a result a lot of my day was spent looking at all the brand new and mega exciting stuff that Mantic had to offer me, nearly emptying my bank account in the process. This year however, unlike Rob, for the first time ever I am going to Salute with no real plan at all. For the first time in a long time I am really not in need of anything major for any of my armies, and although there are some great games out there, I am tight and I’m yet to come across a new game that is getting me hot and hard enough to part with my cash. However with all the great new stuff companies usually bring I’m pretty sure that will very quickly change.
There are however a few things that will definitely be on my to do list;
1. Just enjoy spending the day with the rest of The Shell Case guys and the chaps. It’s sickening I know but a day with them is always a laugh.
2. Hopefully meet some of you at the #warmongers gathering and checking out some of your best buys.
3. I always have room for a new Dreadball MVP or 3, and maybe a new team. One using season 3 rules would be very cool.
4. With all the shiny around, I’m sure it will be almost impossible to resist buying at least one new game. I have been toying with Malifaux and In Her Majesty’s Name from Osprey.
Once I am there, I will suddenly find a million extra awesome but unnecessary things to buy to add to my Orks, Prussians or Banebrood. So, you know, it’ll be Salute.
#warmonger James, aka @belverker, has kindly penned an article reviewing the new Wyrd plastic ranges. I’m yet to look at Wyrd games, mainly because they can’t be bothered to respond to emails, so it’s handy that I can call upon such a staunch chap to do the writing for me…
For those that don’t know Wyrd Miniatures has made the bold move to plastic for their Malifaux range. So far this is for all of their new products. It remains to be seen if they move the existing range to plastic. Although it could be an opportunity for them to do resculpts of anything they’re not 100% happy with.
When I read about the move to plastic I was a little worried as Malifaux is currently one of my favourite games and the miniatures are a big part of that, so I was worried that this could lead to issues. In particular I was worried they would move to a plastic similar to Privateer Press which I hate working with (they later posted that it wasn’t like this).
So jump forward to Gencon and I place my order for the Nightmare model, the Dark Debts boxset, Mr Graves, Mr Tannan, and the Beckoners and start my long wait for them to arrive in Australia. While I was waiting I was of course checking the forums for pics and opinions about the new plastics, and it turns out there were fairly mixed views on them. Some people thought the detail was a bit soft, others were finding it good plus all the other opinions to do with plastics vs metals.
My order finally arrived and with barely contained excitement I cracked open the box to take a look at my new shinies…
…And any doubt that had started to creep in after reading the forums was quickly dispelled. The casting was fantastic, crisp little details, well laid out sprues, and everything I was hoping the kits would be.
For those that haven’t had the pleasure yet, the plastic is most similar to Games Workshop’s plastic kits, the mold lines are about the same and are removed just as easily, normal plastic glue works on them (yay) and they feel very strong.
There were only 2 little gripes I have. The first is that the rope for Nightmare Eric was way thin, and I broke one very easily and am worried about the other one. The second issue is that some of the figures have some noticeable gaps with the joins, nothing that a little Liquid Greenstuff can’t fix and something that I think will improve over time with Wyrd getting the hang of the sprue engineering.
I have also heard talk about the amount of pieces the models are in, and to be honest it was something that surprised me, but after putting them together I think it is to allow for better undercutting then is usually found in plastic models.
After putting them together I am very optimistic about the future of Malifaux as I believe we will start seeing some fantastically dynamic figures going forward without a loss in detail.
I still need to see how they go with painting but that will be a couple of weeks away…