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Mailfaux: You got your gothic Victorian horror steam punk old west in my tabletop skirmish game!

edited June 2014 in Games and Gaming
As an early Father's Day gift, I received the rules and a few starter crews for the game Malifaux.

After seeing the game mentioned on other gaming forums as a game the likes lots of terrain, has low model count per side, and very well done models (particularly their plastics), I decided to investigate. I immediately was drawn to the aesthetics of the setting and the models.

As the name implies, the setting borrows from a lot of different genres, and also taps into myths / urban legends. It also has a twisted sense of humor that I enjoy.

Just a sample of the kind of models in the game: nightmare teddy bear, zombie chihuahua, minigun wielding samurai, demon baby, undead seamstresses, whiskey golem, ghost-rider like marshalls lugging around huge coffins, etc... 

One of the more unique things about Malifaux is that it does not use dice. Rather a standard 54 card poker deck (includes jokers) is used for determining the outcome of attacks and other actions. The system seems pretty clever and adds more strategy than just rolling dice. I am looking forward to getting a chance to try it out.


  • 66 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I don't know anything about this.  It sounds great.
  • edited June 2014 Posts: 734Vote Up0Vote Down
    One of the factions is made up of drunk hillbilly goblins. The aforementioned whiskey golem is part of the faction, along with this:

    A Moon Shinobi.

    That is all you really need to know
    Post edited by BakaKuma at 2014-06-09 18:27:06
  • edited June 2014 Posts: 734Vote Up0Vote Down
    A quick pic of the crew boxes I got and rule book.

    Post edited by BakaKuma at 2014-06-10 01:28:33
  • The basic setup for the world (going from memory, may be some minor errors): 
    In the late 18th century, magic was fleeing from the world. In a last act of desparation, the most powerful arcanists joined together in a ritual that ended up: a) killing most of them and b) opening a Breach into another world. What was found on the other side of the breach was a ghost town, dubbed Malifaux. Further exploration found a substance called soul stones, which could absorb power on death of a creature. That power could be used for magic.  Quickly, expeditions were sent to mine soul stones. However, a decade after the Breach opened, it began to shut. Screams were heard coming from Malifaux, and the last person to leave Malifaux before the Breach shut was a corpse with "Ours" carved on its back.

    With magic all but gone in a society highly dependent on it, things began to collapse. A multinational organization called The Guild rose to power, taking control of soulstones and rationing their usage. They also took control of the land where the breach was.

    100 years to the day the breach closed, it unexpectedly reopened. The Guild began sending expeditions in. No survivors were found. Soon, migrant workers started to populate Malifaux, resuming mining operations, all under Guild control.

    However, much to the dismay of the guild, smaller breaches opened up in many other locations, allowing other organizations or individuals access to the other world and soulstones. Further more, the native inhabitants of Malifaux's world, nightmarish creatures dubbed the Neverborn, quickly began to work against all intruders to their world.  This is the setting were all the conflicts take place. Each player controls a crew from one of the many competing factions, and will have there own set of objectives (so games are not simply, "kill the other side to win").
  • My first assembled master and Malifaux model, Viktoria of Ashes. Masters are the leaders of your crew, typically more powerful, survival, and with the abity to do more per turn. For example, while other models can take 2 actions a turn, masters can take 3. Masters can also use soul stones, which help tip odds in their favor.

  • That is an awesome figure.
  • I started painting her, although I really just got the primer on and started the skin. I am thinking of grey with rid trim / accents. Her "sister" will have the colors flipped.
  • edited July 2014 Posts: 734Vote Up0Vote Down
    Here is Vik with a few base colors on.

    And here is a work in progress graveyard I started working on last night. One nice thing about Malifaux (and warmachine) is there is a lot more freedom and flexibility making terrain when compared to warhammer, since you don't need to account for big blocks of troops. Plus Malifaux is a game where more terrain is better, unlike the other games that usually need a sparser battlefield.
    Post edited by BakaKuma at 2014-07-05 01:37:49
  • Cool beans!
  • Here are the assembled Death Marshals (with some blu tac in places I didn't want to glue until I paint them). They belong to the Guild faction, which is de facto human law enforcement and government in Malifaux. The Death Marshals are an elite group that hunts the undead.

  • And the finished graveyard!

  • I managed to get my first game of Malifaux in with DaPitz earlier this week on our game night. While we made a few mistakes, overall the game went really smoothly and was very enjoyable. I liked what I saw and can't wait to try more.

    We played a scaled down version where we each ended up with three models under our control.

    I played the Outcast faction, with Viktoria of Blood (the doppleganger "sister" of the Vik pictured earlier in this thread) as my leader.  The rest of my crew was made up of two Ronin (sword wielding lasses).

    DaPitz played the Guild, with the Judge as his leader, and two death marshals (pictured earlier).

    Each game has a shared strategy that has an objective both sides are trying to complete for victory points (VP). Additionally each player gets to choose two schemes that are objectives for that player's crew only. (For our game, we each chose 1 scheme to simplify things). Schemes can either be hidden or revealed; typically when a scheme is revealed, you can get more VP out of it.

    For our game, the shared Strategy was Reconnoiter. Basically, you need to control table quarters by having the most models in them in order to score VP.  We did play it wrong in a way that made it really easy for both of us to get max VP from the strategy, so it was essentially a non-factor in the game.

    For our schemes, both of us ended up picking and revealing "Deliver a Message."  To score VP for this scheme, one of your non-leader models needs to get near your opponents leader, and take an action to deliver the message.  What makes it difficult - especially when revealed - is the action to deliver the message is  typically all that model can do that turn - no moving / attacking / taking a defensive stance. This means you need to move next to their leader one turn, and then survive until the next turn.

    The way the game played out, on turn 4 I was able to move my last surviving Ronin next to the judge. She then barely survived a series of attacks that turn, down to 1 wound.  At the start of turn 5, I was able to win initiative, which allowed me to go first and deliver the message. The Ronin was promptly killed after that, but at least I had got the VP. Da Pitz started to maneuver to deliver his message, but unfortunately for him, the game ended at the end of turn 5 (every turn starting on turn 5 has a chance of being the last turn of the game, with it getting more likely every turn).

    My main observations from this game:
    I LOVE the card flip mechanic. It takes the random element of the game (usually dice in other games) and makes it something more fun / engaging / tense, and adds a layer of strategy and ways to help mitigate the randomness.  I can go into the details of the flip mechanic in another post if anyone is interested.

    I much prefer playing for VP than for kills like most other games. It adds a lot to what you can do with models, making situations where sacrificing them for the greater good is ok.  There are also such a large variety of schemes, and the fact that you can keep them hidden and try to bluff what scheme you have just adds one more layer to the game.
  • My game has a hillbilly goblin riding a giant chicken. Your argument is invalid.

  • If we ever play D&D or some iteration of it in the future, I call hillbilly chicken. Because no matter what, I can still trip on my beard.
  • Actually Matt, that's technically the wattle.
  • I was referring to my hillbilly, who I assumed had a beard. Though I admit that tripping on my wattle has a certain clumsy awesomeness to it...
  • To be fair, maybe in Malifaux giant chickens do indeed have beards...
    Another model revealed recently is a adolescent gremlin who is in the act of mooning ... I love this game.
  • I was just being a dick about it.  Way to fucking escape my biting wit with your lack of anatomical knowledge, DOCTOR Matt.   :P
  • Getting close to finishing Vik, really like how she is turning out. Her face turned out particularly well I think, and human faces are one of the things that give me the most trouble.

    Hopefully I'll finish her in the next couple days, and get a good pic up sometime.

    I've got a gaming order coming tomorrow with a couple more crew boxes. They are a Somm'er Teeth's Bayou Boys (gremlin) crew, and Pandora's crew (Neverborn).

    I've talked about gremlins a bit, so a little about the Neverborn. Like gremlins, they are native to the world of Malifaux. They manifest as the stuff of myth and nightmare. Most want humans out of Malifaux, although Pandora prefers keeping them around for her own amusement.

    At some point, I need to get some pics up of all the assembled crews I have.
  • Here are my assembled crews (the blu-tac you see are places I did not want to glue until I finished painting).

    The Arcanist "Claw and Fang" crew, lead by Marcus (an ex-librarian)

    The Resurrectionist "Body of Evidence" crew, lead by Dr. McMouring:
    The Guild "Guild's Judgement" crew, led by Lady Justice

    And, the Outcast "Hired Swords" crew, lead by Viktoria of Ashes and her "sister" (actually doppleganger), Viktoria of Blood:
  • Closer shot of Vik
  • Working on three Masters simultaneously.
  • This is Lenny.
    One of his abilities is "Pet the piggy"
    I love this game.
  • Currently the world's largest gaming convention, GenCon, is occurring in Indianapolis.
    A lot of gaming companies will sell pre-release or limited edition items at the Con. Wyrd (the company that makes Malifaux) will do this as well. However, they will also make the same items available on their web store during the con.
    Last night I noticed the GenCon items were up online, before word was out on the 'net. I was able to beat the rush and snag lots of goodies, including this years limited edition "Nightmare Whiskey Golemn" :)
  • Good thing you were on the website at the time instead of petting your piggy. That would have been awkward...
  • That's what multiple browser tabs are for ...
  • Well played, sir. Both your piggy and I appreciate your dexterity and quick wit!
  • "Nightmare Whiskey Golemn?" That would be a great nickname! At any rate, congrats on getting the GenCon swag! It's pretty cool that they put some of the con exclusives on their site. That's some good service!

    Also, A win for tabbed browsing!
  • Getting close to finishing a second model, Dr McMourning. He is a dual faction master, so he can be taken as either the Leader of a a Guild crew, or the leader of a Ressurectionest crew. By day, he heads up the Guild's morgue. By night, he travels hidden tunnels to his secret lab to perform experiments on the recently (or imminently) deceased.

    I am having fun trying out a new paint, wonderfully titled "Blood for the Blood God." It makes incredible looking blood effects. I'll try to finish home tomorrow and get done pics up.
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