Malifaux Review

Started to play Malifaux by Wyrd Miniatures this weekend with some friends. The game is a small-scale skirmish system with a Western / Steam Punk / Dark Fantasy feel. Wyrd is best known for its figures, and was a miniature manufacturer before they stepped into the game design field, so that can be trouble some times. Usually when a miniature maker takes the step into the deep water of game design, it’s usually a big failure. Making miniatures and making games is very different sorts of things. Still they have done a nice job of it so far. Good background and fluff for the game, I like the western feel with all the odd dark gothic overtones. The artwork is nice and the figures are top of the line.

(I did though have a hard time moving from the well defined GW figures I usually paint to such fine lines and details of Wyrd’s stuff. In the end I didn’t get as much details or the final paint job as I would have liked, but they worked out well enough)

The game as I said is a small-scale skirmish system, best used with five to ten figures. More then that on the table and I think you will be overwhelm with too many special abilities and the like. At the small scale though, its fun. No dice this time around, so I’m happy there, it uses a card system, which is easy to understand and easy to use.

Each figure in your war band (or Crews as its called in the game) has a set of special abilities, which defines them, as well as a series of stats. All in all it seems wells balanced so far, but after only playing one game and seeing three of the factions in play, it’s hard to tell just how long that will last. Usually when you start adding all sorts of special abilities and allowing character to “Break” the rule of the system you run the real danger of blowing the game balance. So far it seems OK but you can never tell. The only way to avoid this is to play test the game, over and over again. This is often the second failure of a miniature maker who starts to make games, they never play test enough, as with Privateer Press and their failure to keep the game balance with the first version of War Machine and Hoards. They in the end had to re-boot the whole system and I still hear it has balance issues.

So if you are looking for a cheep, fun game, then have a look at this new one, so far it seem to have some potential and a company that seems willing to invest in its future.


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