Thursday, July 11, 2013

A detour through the Breach

One of Kirai's spooky ghosts, a Shikome in particular

Just as I've been delving in alternate models, I've been exploring games outside the Games Workshop umbrella. The one I've been playing most often is Malifaux, Wyrd Game's skirmish based game that takes steam-punk, the weird west, and Asian horror, and puts it all in a blender.

The pros:
  • Individual models matter (four wounds on a model is somewhat weak)
  • Turns are activation based, as each model moves, fights, and casts until it's done, and then your opponent can respond, giving crewes consisting of weaker models a distinct advantage later in the turn.
  • Dice, the great betrayers that they are, are not used. Instead, a customized version of the standard poker deck is used with a control hand, allowing the player to manipulate fate by legal "cheating."
  • With each model doing 2 standard actions and one zero action (think free action) each turn, you'll feel like each model is getting their points cost worth.
  • How much you succeed by matters; the greater the success of an action, the more hurt it does (generally)
  • The models are pretty darn keen
The cons:
  • the rules for each model is set, with no customization. Every Shikome works just like every other Shikome. Every Gaki, etc..
  • The individual model's rule are all every complex, and model activation timing is crucial. It's easy for a beginner to forget rules or to do things out of order. 
  • Synergies exist, but research and experimental play is crucial for the new player, so they can discover what their models can do, and how far their abilities can be pushed.
  • The rules are not as transparent as some systems, and the learning curve can be steep

The good news is that Malifaux 2nd Edition is coming out, and will likely address a number of those issues. Masters will be simplified, and some of the standard abilities they have will become upgrades. Synergies might suffer a bit from that, but at least you'll be able to be surprised by a model and what it can do instead of knowing all "Kirai"s can Evolve Spirit, cast Chill of Death, Sooth Spirit, etc. And you won't have to pay for abilities you don't use. Since I'm heavily invested in Kirai as a caster, I'm hoping she doesn't change too much, but I'm sure she'll still be the Master of Spirits she has been.

M2E is being released at Gencon, and it's going to be one of my first purchases, so I'll give you my thoughts then. Oh, yeah, I'll be at Gencon.

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