Hello there, if you're reading this thread then it's because you're interested in finding out more about the wonderfully different game of Malifaux!
What is Malifaux?
Malifaux is an alternate activation, 32mm scale, 2 player skirmish wargame produced by Wyrd Miniatures. Players construct "crews" to play with from one of the 6 game factions and then duke it out over their chosen mission on a 3'x3' playing surface.
The background of the game is based on an alternative Earth timeline featuring elements of steampunk & Victorian horror with a dash of the Far East and a pinch of the Old West. I know it sounds crazy but it is truly a wonderfully fun setting to play in and gives a huge variety of modelling and hobby opportunities.
The basic storyline is that all of the factions are fighting to gain control of the magical spiritstones which have fallen through the breach into the city of Malifaux. There's obviously a bit more to it then that, but if I tell it to you all now it'll spoil the fun of reading the awesome fluff in the source books!
In Malifaux, there are 6 factions to choose your crews from, with each faction containing a number of "Masters" with different skills and attributes to build your crew around.
The factions are:
Malifaux's lawbringers, the Guild are in overall control of the city and look to keep everyone in check.
The Guild have 3 main masters:
Lady Justice - Lady J loves to get up close and personal with the shambling hordes.
Perdita Ortega - Perdita and her family are masters of the long range alpha strike.
Sonia Criid - Sonia's a witch hunter, and what do we do with witches? That's right, BURN THEM!!!
Foul necromancers, the "Ressers" use the power of the breach and the spiritstones to raise armies of the living dead!
The Ressers have 4 main masters:
Dr. McMourning - Actually the Guild's chief medical examiner, Dr McMourning enjoys nothing more then using his macabre skills to create minions for his own amusment.
Seamus The Mad Hatter - Seamus prowls the streets of Malifaux late at night, searching for his next victim...
Nicodem The Undertaker - Nicodem excells in summoning life from death, commanding legions of the undead.
Kirai Ankokou - The mistress of spirits, Kirai forms a bridge between this world and the next.
Masters of magic and mechanisation, the Arcanists excel at the creation of mechanical contructs and the control of fierce beasts.
The Arcanists have 4 main masters:
Rasputina - The Snow Queen. Prepare yourselves for an icy reception.
Marcus - Master of beasts, he has a way with animals you wouldn't believe.
Ramos - Construct maestro and master of electricy, he loves his cyber spiders.
Colette Du Bois - Showgirl extraordinaire and mistress of sleight of hand. Now you see her, now you don't!
: The stuff of nightmares, the Neverborn prey on your fears and make things go bump in the night!
The Neverborn have 4 main masters:
Lilith - Queen of vampires and mother of monsters, she is nature's malevolence incarnate.
Pandora - The sure fire route to madness is through the content of Pandora's box...
Zoraida - The Swamp Hag Queen of Voodoo. You will do her bidding, whether you know it or not.
The Dreamer - There is nothing more terrifying that a frightened child's imagination. But where does imagination end and reality begin?
The Ten Thunders
: Masters of infiltration, members of the Ten Thunders can be found embedded within the other factions, biding their time and waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike...
The Ten Thunders have 5 main masters:
Misaki - Mistress of the Ten Thunders, Misaki is an assassin without equal.
Lucas McCabe - A treasure hunter in the employ of the Guild, but McCabe's loyalties lie elsewhere.
Yan Lo - Trapped between the living and the dead, Yan Lo gravitates towards the necromantic activities of the Resurrectionists in search of peace and his ancestors.
Mei Feng - Mei Feng has a strong affinity to the myriad of constructs devised by the Arcanists, using them to get where she needs to be. FAST!
Jakob Lynch - A cunning card shark, but not is all as it seems with this Neverborn courting individual.
: Mercenaries and guns for hire, the Outcasts are available to everyone. For the right price...
The Outcasts have 4 main masters:
Som'er Teeth Jones - Boss of the Bayou and chief of the Gremlins.
Leveticus - Master of steampunk necromancy. You will be assimilated...
The Viktorias - All you need to know about the Twins are they're trouble!
Hamelin - The pied piper, lord of plague and pestilence.
In addition to the main masters, each faction also has minor masters known as "henchmen" which aren't as powerful but tend to share some of the attributes of the main masters.
You then have the minions which make up the backbone of your crew list. Like other games, there are points values for each and caps on the amount of one type of minion that can be taken.
In order to play Malifaux, the following items are needed:
- 3'x3' playing surface with appropriate terrain
- a selection of models from your chosen faction from which to select your crew
- a tape measure with inch measurements
- a fate deck for each player
The Fate Deck & Cheating fate
In order to play Malifaux, dice are not used. Instead, each player uses a fate deck. Now, a fate deck is essentially a standard deck of playing cards which have had their suits replaced by malifaux specific suits but otherwise the numbering remains the same.
At the start of each turn, each player drawers a "control" hand of cards which can be used to alter the outcome of an attack or defense by replacing the card drawn from the main deck with one from their control hand. This is known as "cheating fate"
and can be used to increase or decrease the value drawn, depending on what the player wants the outcome to be. This is an important mechanic in Malifaux, as unlike in other games, you are able to attack models in your own crew if you wish.
Once you have all of the items needed, you can then start to play.
Before you begin to play, a points limit for the game is decided and then the deployment type and mission are chosen. Once these have been determined, the players pick their crews, specifically tailored to give them the best chance of winning.
One important thing to note is that any points left over after you've created you crew get added to your soulstone pool, the maximum size of which is determined by the master used. These soulstones an then be used to help you make sure your actions do what you need them to do by allowing you to add to you total.
Once the crews have been chosen, you may then choose "schemes" which will help you to gain VPs in order to try to win the game. These may be secret or declared but this is dependent on the scheme type.
Once crews are deployed and schemes chosen and control hands drawn, you are ready to begin. Each player draws a card from their fate deck. and the player with the highest card goes first.
This initiative draw is repeated at the beginning of each game turn and means you have to be on the ball with planning your actions as you're not guaranteed to go first in the next turn!
As mentioned earlier, Malifaux is an alternate activation game, so each player takes turns to activate one of their models at a time. Each model has 2 action points it can utilise to complete actions, including movement, spell casting and attacking. Some models have abilities and/or equipment which allows them to complete more then 2 actions.
Additionally, some models allow the controlling player to immediately activate another model after the first model's activation has been completed, but before their opponent starts their activation. The game turn continues until both players have completed all of their activations.
The game continues until one crew is dead, the main mission has been achieved or turn 8 has finished, but unlike other games, if one player hasn't got any models left, the remaining player can use the remaining turns to complete any schemes they have left if applicable.
Duels Using the Fate Deck
As mentioned before, the main game mechanic revolves around the fate deck and the basic process is shown in the example below:
- Player 1 has a model with a pistol which has an attack value of 4 and a damage profile of 1(weak)/3(moderate)/5(severe)
- Player 2 has a model with a defense value of 5
Player 1 states that his model will shoot his pistol at player 2's model.
Player 1 then draws a card from the fate deck. This card is an 11. The value of this card is added to the pistol's attack stat, giving player 1 a total of 15
Player 2 then attempts to defend. He draws a card from his fate deck. The value of player 2's card is a 3, giving a total of 8.
Currently, player 1 is winning the duel as his total is greater than player 2's. At this point, as the player with the lower score, player 2 has the option to try and "cheat fate" first and negate the oncoming damage to his model as his value is lower.
consulting his control hand, player 2 sees he has an 11 in his hand. He then chooses to replace the "3" he drew from the deck with the "11" from his control hand, giving him a new total of 16
Now player 1 has the choice to try and cheat fate himself to try and win the duel, or he can choose to concede this duel safe in the knowledge that though he hasn't actually caused any damage to player 2's model, he has forced player 2 to use a useful high value card from his control hand.
Player 1 decides that he really wants to cause some damage to player 2's model so he decides to cheat fate as he has a "13" in his control hand (lucky for some). This now leaves player 1 with a total of 17
Player 2 is unable to cheat again as each player may only cheat once during each duel and therefore he has lost the duel.
In order to determine what damage the pistol shot has caused, player 1 draws from his fate deck again. There are damage modifiers involved generally, but for the ease of explaining this example, let's assume that there aren't.
Player 1 draws a "6" on the damage flip. This causes "moderate" damage as stated on the card itself, and therefore the pistol causes 3 wounds to player 2's model.
Once you've gotten to grips with the whole card mechanic, it becomes quite intuitive and simple to play the game.
There's obviously a bit more to the game then what's been mentioned above, but as far as the basics go, that should be enough to pique your interest and give you an idea of how it all works.
If you want some good tacticas for each of the masters, and some ideas for good crew synergies, go and take a look at the Malifaux wiki over at http://pullmyfinger.wikispaces.com/
And for general information, don't forget to visit http://www.malifaux.com