Friday, June 28, 2013

Malifaux Model Tracker

Readers are aware that I use some online tools to track a variety of hobby statistics. These are linked over to the left of this post, and are open for the public to look at and even copy to make use of in tracking their own hobby progress. A while back one of the Wyrd forum users (Mako) spent time to create an excel spreadsheet to track Malifaux models. This spreadsheet tracks all the models currently (as of the update date) in the game in pretty simple faction tabs and drop-down menus. It's really a way to track how many and which Malifaux models you own, then also track the progress toward getting them painted. The forum thread is here and the download of the excel tool can be found at the bottom of the first post.

Mako's Malifaux Model Tracker

I downloaded the tracker and filled out the tool with my collection. This was a bit of fun for me, as I was interested in what I owned and did not own. I had to dig through my "Bill's Box of unfinished Malifaux" to really get a solid idea of what I had. I have been playing around with this for a while and with my recent couple models being completed (painting wise) I decided to look at the completion snapshot. Here is my Malifaux Model tracker graph:

You should be able to click on the graphic to take a closer look. There are some pretty interesting statistics to check out overall. Some of the things that I was interested in:
  • I own 356 Malifaux models
  • Apparently the SS total for all my models is 1556
  • 79% of my models are completely painted
  • I have a pretty even distribution of models across all factions except Ten Thunders and Resurrectionists
  • I have far more outcast models than I expected (65)
If your interested in playing around with the tool go grab it from the forum. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Evil Baby Orphanage Kickstarter - Review

Wyrd released their party card game Evil Baby Orphanage (EBO) at Gencon 2012, where I was privileged to provide the early release demonstrations. This card game was Wyrd's first foray into using Kickstarter to fun development of one of their games, and it was successful overall. They were able to get the base game developed in time to bring a number of copies to Gencon, and for the second year in a row I was able to grab copies of Wyrd's new game to demo to people the Wednesday before Gencon actually opens to the public.

While at Gencon my wife and youngest daughter also got the chance to play EBO and all three of us really enjoyed the game. We picked up several copies of the game at Gencon and knew these were in addition to the copy we would be receiving through our Kickstarter commitment. Since then we have given away nearly all our extra copies and have seen several of our friends become interested in the game as well. All of this provides a little background to my excitement in finally recieving the fulfillment of the kickstarter items from the campaign.

The EBO kickstarter ran from July through August 2012, ending just prior to Gencon 2012. There were multiple funding levels that people could pledge at, with the $55 level being the ideal level to receive the most swag for pledge. This was the level I pledged in at and the rewards with all the stretch goals were listed as:
  • Copy of the game
  • Print and Play PDF version of the game (and 2 expansions)
  • 2 Limited Edition promo EBO cards (Nero and Himmler I beleive)
  • Crayon Manifesto EBO expansion
  • Nerd Fighteria EBO Expansion
  • EBO Poster
  • EBO Limited Edition Case (box)
  • Multipart Baby Jack the Ripper model plus 2 Malifaux stat cards
  • Multipart Baby Lizzie Borden model plus 2 Malifaux stat cards
  • Multipart Baby Eric the Red model plus Malifaux stat card
  • Adorably Evil EBO coloring book
  • Littlest Evil History Book
  • Plastic EBO playing card/fate deck
  • Plushie 
Earlier in 2013 we received our EBO kickstarter deck in the mail. This was nice to receive as it came around the same time the game was released in stores. I have to admit I was disappointed to find out that our copy was shipped in the cheaper boxes used for packaging at Gencon, while the copies sent to distributors and stores were in much better constructed boxes.  This was one of the areas where Wyrd started to slip on the commitment to quality that they have previously demonstrated with their games. This move surprised me at the time, but hindsight shows that it is one of the early cracks in how they have moved in 2013.

That brings us to last Tuesday, June 18th, and the arrival of the remaining kick-starter rewards. Wyrd had sporadically updated backers that there had been delays due to issues with the plushie and the metal limited edition box. Delivery of the rewards was originally predicted for January 2013, and the delays had only pushed the delivery back ~5 1/2 months. I hear from some kickstarter regulars that this is not too bad, although we (my wife, daughter, and I) were certainly frustrated. That said, let's see what showed up!!!

Promo Cards and PDF's

I did not grab pictures of the promo cards but they did show up. My wife had gotten Justin and Mack to both sign copies of the promo cards at Gencon, but we happily put the two EBO promo cards in our remaining "give away" copy of the game. These will be a nice addition to the game for anyone else we get interested. As a nice bonus Wyrd sent along two additional promotional cards of EBO Time Nannies. These were a lot of fun to read and we look forward to playing them. Overall, the promo cards and PDF's were well received, positive marks here.


We received both expansions for the game and they are a lot of fun to read through. The boxes they shipped in are very nice, in line with the box used for the distribution and store release of EBO. The expansions add a couple new rules to the game, including a new behavior for evil babies and the addition of Time Nannies. We are really looking forward to playing with Time Nannies, as they add new win conditions to the game and shift the overall feel of the game. We are excited to sit down and play the expanded game, which we are keeping all together as one large expanded game. This reward gets good marks!

EBO Poster

We received the poster, which is a small poster that can be unfolded and hung up. The art is the same art on the boxes, which we like. This was not a real decision factor for us overall, so it falls in line with our expectations.
Nothing overly exciting but then again nothing negative about it. This reward gets average marks.

Limited Edition Card Case

We are fairly mixed in our family when it comes to the limited edition card case. This was an area Wyrd admitted to struggling with, although I have no insight into what those struggles were. The card box is a metal box with EBO art on the outside and a nicely snug cover. All of this is good, and it provides a great place to hold all of our EBO cards. With the top closed and on an initial look, the box appears to be really good and a nice reward. Once you start to sort your cards into the box there are a couple small things that start to jump out as issues. First, the box has rounded corners which keep the cards from fitting snugly against the side of the box. This also means that any pressure within the box will force the cards to bend as they come against the sides of the box.
After that the box is not deep enough to place the cards in "standing tall". This may not seem like an issue, as the box is wide enough to store the cards as shown in my picture. It would have been nice for the box to be taller however, as standing some cards "tall" would help separate the different types of cards in the decks. EBO is played with 3 "decks" of cards, the Baby Deck, the Toy Deck, and the Nanny Deck. I would have liked a way to better separate these along with the quick reference cards while stored inside the box. Lastly, the rounded lip at the top of the box holds the cards in nicely but scraped the edges of the cards when you remove them from the box. This can be worked around with a little fiddling while removing the cards, but it could have been handled better. As this is one of the items that delayed the shipment of the kickstarter rewards, I would have been happier if these small bits were not problems.
It would have been nicer if the box was large enough to play 2 decks flat in the same fashion as the cardboard EBO box that was shipped to distributors. Making that type of box in metal and then adding some additional depth for expansions would have been a much nicer reward than what we received. We give this only an average grade since we do like the box but it could have been done so much better.


As a Malifaux player I was very excited to see that I would be receiving 3 multipart models for Malifaux as part of my kickstarter rewards. In addition, these models would be able to be used as 5 different models in the game, with official stat cards for those 5 different models. The term multipart was something Wyrd has been using to indicate not only multiple options on models, but also that they would be plastic models. My wife called me while I was out at the game store to let me know the box of EBO rewards had arrived. During that conversation she also told me I had not received any models, which initially concerned and frustrated me. I was relieved when I got home to find out that I had indeed recieved the models, and that she just did not realize what the box was that they were packaged in. Looking at the models themselves, they have some nice detail. I am happy with the models, but I have to admit that I am struck by the false advertising in the kick-starter campaign. Baby Jack is a multipart model, but Baby Lizzie and Baby Eric are clearly a single piece. Now, being fair, I am very happy that Wyrd chose to make them a single piece in this case.
My daughter is incredibly frustrated with the multiple pieces used in her Puppet Wars Unstitched models, and I cannot imagine how frustrating it would be if all three of these models were split apart. It would have been nice if Wyrd had communicated what we were getting in a more honest and clear fashion. This is something else that could have been handled much better by doing something as simple as providing a preview of the models prior to sending them out. All things considered, I still give this positive marks and look forward to painting up the models.

Coloring Book / Little Evil History Book

We received two small books in our box of kick-starter reward. One was the coloring book which we had picked up at Gencon (I believe). This is a cute little coloring book and one we like. It's something we will probably toss on a shelf for when friend bring over their small children. The second book is one that we found to be a very nice little reward. The Littlest Evil History book is a lot of fun to look through, with its illustrations and a small blurb about the history of the included Evil Babies. The blurbs are longer than they are on the cards and its a nice bonus for those of us who ended up googling the babies after games. These two books have been a real hit in our house and thus receive very positive marks.

Playing Cards / Fate Deck

As we dig toward the bottom of the box we come to the plastic Playing Card/Fate Deck. This was billed as both a Malifaux Fate Deck and as a deck of playing cards containing EBO art on them. Wyrd have done a good job creating alternate fate decks with thier Retro-Fate deck and the Puppet Deck. Lot's of others have replicted the fate decks with custom art and delivered really nice decks as well, especially when you look at the 2013 Adepticon Fate Deck from Through The Breach. I was looking forward to a new fate deck with EBO art on it, and was very disappointed to see what was delivered. The art is nice and clear on the cards, but this will not work well as a fate deck or as a playing card deck.  Looking closely at the actual symbols, the suit or the card is buried in the corners and is very small and not easily read.
In addition, there is no correlation to the Malifaux suits, forcing a player to either memorize or refer to the conversion charts to track which playing card suits match which Malifaux symbols. This is disappointing to me and really delivered far below what Wyrd is capable of. Anyone can go take a look at the excellent job Wyrd did with the Retro Fate Deck and see that they are capable of doing a far better job linking the Malifaux symbols to the suits while keeping them readable and playable in either scenario. This was a disappointment, and gets poor marks overall.

** It was noted and confirmed that the 4 Malifaux suits (Rams, Tomes, Crows, Masks) are included on the card but are very hard to read. 


Wow, I do not even know where to begin with this one. Wyrd added in a "surprise plushie" when they reached the $100K level of the kickstarter. This was a nice little stretch reward that I thought had a nice touch. The art for the babies in EBO already lent itself nicely to stuffed animals, and sending out a small plushie would be a nice way to really show the quality of the art. Wyrd sent out a couple updates letting backers know that they were having issues with the plushie, but that it was coming along.
There was even a picture sent out showing some of the issues and where the delays were. Then the piece of crap pictures here showed up in the box. This is an incredibly poorly made plushie, consisting of very cheap material and such poor quality workmanship I would expect something higher quality from a high school sewing class. Giving this an F mark is unfair overall to the other items that received poor marks above. I am unsure why Wyrd decided to send this out at all, as it is not at all in line with the standards they have set in the past. This toy is an embarrassment.


That brings us to the end of the EBO Kickstarter review. Looking back over the review we have 4 A's, 1 B, 2 C's, and 2 F's. That still leaves the overall grade in the A/B category, even if you cancel out multiple A's because of how poor the plushie was. I pledged $55 to the kick starter and feel that even without the plushie I received my moneys worth and then some.  I think Wyrd could have generated some good will with this campaign and they missed a number of opportunities, but overall it was worthwhile. I know that on the actual game front, my family and I have really enjoyed EBO and think its a great party game. If you can sit down to play a very light hearted game, drink some wine, and just relax while playing then EBO certainly hits the right tone. As a final grade I would go with a B+ for the Kickstarter as a whole!

Here is a closer look at the miniatures for those who are interested:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Shameless Plug - Tartan Skirmish Radio

Tartan Skirmish Radio episode 26 covers the Fountain of Souls event recently run in thier area. I am listening to the podcast and have just gotten through their review of the story encounter. I really appreciate and enjoyed hearing their feedback on the event using the Story Encounter I wrote for Adepticon 2013.

Go, listen, enjoy.....

General Update

"It's been over two weeks since your last post, what the hell have you been up to Bill?"

That's a really good question, and in line with a lot of what I have been hearing lately. It's heartwarming to know there are those who still follow my little corner of the internet and are keeping track on my gaming. Thank you!

So, what have I been doing? On the one hand, life and work have pushed heavily into my gaming time recently. I was in Los Angeles  for work recently, which was my first trip to the area in over 20 years. It was an interesting trip and I was able to squeeze in some time to meet up with Dan Weber (Keltheos) for some amazing burgers while I was out there. If anyone else ends up out that way, check out Grill Em All in Alhambra CA. The burgers were really good and we had a great time catching up on all the craziness. The picture to the right was Dan's meal, I did not grab a picture of my own. Yes, those are Waffles as Buns on his "Chicken and Waffles Hamburger". Yes, those are the Chili Fries. Yes, this place is amazing!

"Bill, we come to your blog for pretty pictures of models and to read about gaming!!"

Well ok then, lets switch gears. Gaming has been really slow for me lately. On the miniature gaming front, I have not gotten many games in at all. Malifaux V2 really killed my regular Tuesday hobby nights. Since the end of Adepticon in April I have only clocked in 7 games in any system, 1 of which was really a demo of Malifaux V2 and not one I tracked. I think it's more interesting to note that my regular opponents over the past 2 years have dropped off my list even among those games I have played. My local gaming group has shows signs of splintering, as I have mentioned in the past. One portion of the group has bought into Malifaux V2 wholesale, and I see them at the store playing V2 on Tuesday evenings. The other portion of the group, who I thought were sticking with Malifaux Classic, have splintered a bit more and are picking up other games across the board. They were the less often opponents to begin with, so I expected the drop off in games, but its disappointing to see the migration overall.

This leaves me with people traveling into the area from out of town as the few people still interested in playing Malifaux Classic. I thought there was a ray of sunshine over this past weekend with a new henchman running a Malifaux Classic tournament. The event was being run about 90 minutes away from me and with a henchman who is trying to build up a new Malifaux community in his local store. I offered up some terrain, packed up my 10T, and headed down for a day of Malifaux, hoping to get 3 games in. I ended up as the only person who showed up to support the event, and the henchman and I ended up grabbing a couple games between ourselves before I headed home.

 I really feel bad for that henchman, what a crappy position to be in. Here is a new henchman who is trying to build a local Malifaux community very close to an area that used to be one of the strongest Malifaux communities in the US. He goes through the process of becoming a henchman and then advertises his first event for over a month. When the day rolls around for his event the only person who shows up to support him is the ex-henchman who is Wyrd's current persona non grata. Not only was he disregarded by his own local community, but he was disregarded by the supposedly robust Malifaux Community that was less than two hours drive away.  I have no way to tell if this is a degradation of the local Northern Virginia Malifaux community or if this is because he was running a Malifaux Classic event, I suspect it is a combination of the two. It is certainly disappointing to see.

Regardless, he and I had a fun time playing the two games we got in. We played a game of GG Shared Land Grab with my fielding a Ten Thunders Yan Lo led crew versus his Resurrectionist Avatar Nicodem led crew. We then switched up to play a GG Shared Beatdown game with my Ten Thunders Jakob Lynch led crew versus his Neverborn Zoraida led crew. Both games ended up in my favor, but I was able to give him some pointers on playing his crews and how to get more out of his models overall. Although he is a henchman, he is also a fairly new player and I really enjoyed seeing him light up as things worked in the game and things clicked for his understanding. We were also able to pick out a couple areas where we both prefer V2 over Malifaux Classic, and talk about those improvements. Likewise, we were able to discuss those areas of V2 that we do not feel are an improvement. I plan to write up another article to discuss some of those areas at a future date (hopefully not too distant).

What about your "regular" opponents?

During 2012 I was able to use my game tracking sheets to analyze my gaming for the year. One of the data points that I found interesting was the distribution of my opponents into three different groups. The first group was made up of 3 players who I faced more than 10 times each, accounting for 28% of my 174 games. The second group was 9 players I faced between 5 and 9 times, accounting for 34% of my total games. The remaining 45 players I faced in 2012 I played less than 5 games with all year. CJ was one of my regular opponents who was in the middle group of players I faced. CJ focused very heavily on Resurrectionists with a dabbling in Arcanists while playing Malifaux Classic. He was a great opponent and we had some really good games.

That said, CJ has recently been playing Warmachine as his primary game. I believe he has a Hordes army that he played a bit, but he is moving to Khador and learning the army as his Warmachine endeavor. I have pulled out my Legion recently to squeeze in another couple of games of WM/H with him. Both of these games have been small games of 25 then 30 points. CJ has a limited selection of Kahdor models, consisting of 2 jacks (Destroyer and Juggurnaut?) and a unit of 5 Man-OWar guys with big damn hammers. In our first game he brought this army with pVlad, then brought pIrusk the second time. In our first game I wanted to bring something that CJ would have fun against as he mentioned it was a learning game with his new army. I asked for Jay's advice and put together a list consisting of pThagrosh, a Carnivean, a couple shredders, and a small unit of swordsmen and a forsaken. I thought this would be good for CJ as I could throw the Canivean into his line, he could kill it, then I could bring it back to keep playing. In our second game the game was a bit bigger so I put together a list I was more familiar with. Absylonia, 2 Angelius, a Raek, some shredders and stingers, and two foresaken.

These two recent games really solidified my feelings around WM/H and reinforced what I thought when I played the games earlier. WM/H is a game that I am interested to play because friends are playing it. There are many parts of the game overall that while they are not bad, I am just not a fan of. One situation in particular stood out to me. In our second game I had a chance to make an Assassination run on CJ's caster. This was during turn 2, and while I would probably not actually kill his caster, I had a chance to get the assassination. Even if the assassination failed, CJ would be so severely on his "back foot" in the game that I would have effectively locked the game up as a win for me. The other side of the decision was that it would just simply end the game, where if I did not assassinate his caster in my run the game would become a downhill slide and a complete grind for him. I had to choose between playing a "winning game" and playing a "fun game" where we could play several more rounds and actually play out some type of cinematic battle between my army and his. I ended up choosing to forgo the "winning" move and play out the rest of the game. I still ended up winning, but the game was longer, more enjoyable, and more cinematic because I took the "less winning" choice. This is one area of WM/H I do not like, that I felt was almost never the case in Malifaux Classic.

"Anything else on the gaming front??"

Aside from those limited games I have shifted my focus slightly. Over the past two months I have been playing the XBox, grabbing some board games with family and family friends, and was introduced to a card game.

Starting with the Xbox front, I rented, played, and finished BioShock Infinite. I was originally holding out to purchase this title but when I heard the initial release of the XBox One stance on used games and lack of backward compatibility, I figured I might as well rent it. This gave me the impetus to play through the game in a weekend and it was fun. Overall I think the game is good, but I do not feel like I am missing something by not buying it. I see where the story could go a couple different ways but overall its a pretty linear story. I was sad to see there was only a very tenuous link to the earlier BioShock series, as this really stands alone as a story. Beyond that I have recently picked up Mass Effect 3 and started playing through that. I was able to import my character from ME2 and carry on with the story. So far I am pleased with the way the game is going and the story is certainly engaging.

On the board game front, I have been playing a fair amount of Super Dungeon Explore. My wife and daughters really enjoy this game and we have both expansions for the game (Von Drakk Manor and Caverns of Roxor). Recently my wife and I have had a couple of dinner parties with other couples, and we were able to get in games of SDE with them as well. This means in the past 2 months I have actually played nearly half as many SDE games as I have Malifaux games. In the past two games we have used the Von Drakk manor expansion which introduces a shape shifting Vampire as the dungeon boss, along with a bunch of skeletons, witches, and mini-vampires. In one game I used the Specter of Death that comes with the set as the mini-boss while in the second game I used the expansion Succubus as the mini-boss. As you can imagine, I am nearly always the console when we play. Overall the games have been very well received, although my wife is convinced its impossible for 3 heroes to beat the dungeon. I think with more experience and/or with a more tactically skilled group of players I will end up in trouble. The recent games have certainly pushed my SDE set to the forefront of priorities on getting models painted.

That brings me to the card game I was introduced to. It had not occurred to me until after I picked upt he starter set that I originally saw this game at Gencon 2013 and disregarded it as not something I was interested in. The game in question is Android: Netrunner by Fantasy Flight games, and it has picked up a lot of traction at my local store Huzzah Hobbies. My wife and I were going to try this game out at Gencon 2013 but ended up giving up the seats at the demo to friends of ours when we saw it was a 2 person game. It did not look like something we would be interested in, appearing a little too much like Magic to me and being a little too much SciFi to my wife. When Netrunner started to make in-roads at the store following Gencon, I still was not moved to try it out. Another of my local Malifaux opponents and a friend, John, urged me to try the game out and he offered to teach me. He had mentioned repeatedly that it was a game he thought I would enjoy, but John is pretty laid back so he did not put any real pressure on my to try it out. The decline of Malifaux games left me in a position where I decided I would let him give me a demo and see if it was interesting. To my surprise I was hooked after only a single demo game, although I was not excited about building my own deck. The game play was enjoyable and the LCG aspect of not needing to collect random cards was nice. I was further surprised when after picking up a starter set and building 2 decks (1 corp and 1 runner), I convinced my wife to try it out. We played through a game and had some fun learning the game. After the first game last week I did not expect my wife to really be interested, but appreciated her willingness to try. Imagine my shock when I got home from being out all day on Saturday and she tells me she really wants to get another game in and learn the game more. Apparently Netrunner has wormed its way into her brain and she is genuinely interested in the game (at least on the playing front). I am certainly planning on building on this interest more, as I watch my family move even heavier into the gaming world!

"What about the Podcast and other plans Bill?"

I will finish up this rambling with a couple thoughts bouncing around in my head. Gamers Lounge is still on Hiatus and I am not decided either direction on bringing it back or shutting it down. I still have plans to do 1 or 2 episodes of Gamers Lounge to talk about Malifaux V2 and my impressions on it. Andrew Weakland (Adepticon 2013 Master of Malifaux winner) has offered to come on and talk about it, and he is a fan of V2. Spencer Stevens (Cheated Fates Radio host) has also offered to come on and talk about it, and he is not a fan of V2. I have only gotten 1 game of V2 in since the public beta has released and I am not at the point currently where I feel I can fairly discuss the game overall. A single game certainly falls short of my 6 game goal for understanding a new Master in Malifaux Classic. In addition, I would like to offer my opinions on V2 with as little additional influence from my overall stance with EricJ, Mack Martin, and Wyrd in general. Those are two different things that each contribute overall to many of my recent decisions.

That brings up another interesting point. I have been tracking the Wyrd forums and the progress on Malifaux V2 regularly. I have a whole lot of thoughts on what I am seeing there, and unsurprisingly they differ greatly from the proclaimed views of Wyrd management. I have considered that there may be some interest in spending time on a Gamers Lounge episode talking about what happened to me and what my situation is. I am unsure who the proper co-host for that type of segment would be, and also unsure on how appropriate it would be. At the end of the day, I am one person who has his own opinions and had my own measure of success for acting as a Wyrd Henchman. Apparently I had some level of influence, as I am still seeing the ripples of my actions across the Malifaux community in the responses to my choices. In addition to those ripples, I am more than happy to be open about my view on things and why I made my decisions (as I am very comfortable with myself on those). On the other hand, I am not confident that the community at large would receive my comments in a positive light and I certainly do not want to feed the figurative internet-trolls more fodder. It something I am still considering and have not come to a decision on yet.

And then there is the fan based update to Malifaux Classic. Wait... whats that I said? Yes, I am considering putting in work on a community update to Malifaux Classic with how I feel the game should have been updated. I envision this as something along the lines of how Epic40K was handled when GW abandoned the game and the community took over keeping it alive. I am still unsure where I want to go on this front, as it is a fair amount of work and I am unsure of how it will be received. I have some pretty strong guesses on how Wyrd will respond, but I am more concerned with the community as a whole. One of the largest barriers for me is the lack of interest in my local area. I would probably have this well underway at this point if I knew I could get games in locally. Unfortunately the local group has splintered (see above) and I am still waiting to see where things go. Only time will tell what happens on that front.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Previous Co-Host of the Gamers Lounge Mike talks about his thoughts on the Malifaux V2 core rules. Go over there and check it out!

"Nuanced Gameplay" - Malifaux

 On a recent D6G podcast episode (Episode 126) around the 1 hour 58 minute mark, Mack Martin made the following comment in relation to his goals for Malifaux V2.

"... the thing we talked about a lot with Dust Warfare was Decision Fatigue. Right now Malifaux is extremely high on the Decision Fatigue. I'm trying to find ways to alleviate that without removing the complexity and nuance... Lets not call it complexity, the nuanced game play. That's what the fans actually like. They don't want 6 pages of rules for every rule, they want nuanced game play where this model interacts with this other model in a very clever way and it interacts with this other model in a different clever way. And that's what we're trying to maintain, the nuanced games play, the optional complexity without making it fiddly and have all these hard set rules that you have to go to the forums to understand how their supposed to interact."
 Mack may not be among my favorite people currently but this is an excellent point which demonstrates his understanding of the existing Malifaux player community.  I am sure it is surprising to some folk, but I completely agree with him on this statement. Ok, well not completely but I do agree with nearly all of it.

In the second part of my "What I love about Malifaux" series I mentioned both Complexity and Combinations among my loves for the game. Mack summed this up nicely with his term of Nuanced combined with his brief definition of that term. Other games I have played have levels of nuance within the rules and game play. Privateer Press's Hordes has implemented this in a number of ways, especially in how a warcasters feat can affect the whole battlefield. In that game, once you understand a warcasters feat you can then build your forces around how they will take advantage of that feat to really create a stellar turning point in the game.

Malifaux takes this to another level, which is certainly one of the portions of the game that not only sets it apart but draws in the players it has. Each model in Malifaux has abilities that create this nuanced capability with each other model on the table. In the place of having one central "pivot" for your army, you end up with a number of models who can all interact with other models to create a web of key moments through a game. Ferreting out these interactions was not only a strong draw to the game but also one of the key differentiators to overall player skill when you look across the field of competitors in a tournament. Those players who tend to end up at the top tables in a competitive tournament were not the players who knew the most obscure rules reference, but were instead those players who understood the most complex and innovative "nuances" and built a crew to take advantage of them. Often this resulted in one or two key "tricks" or combinations that were at the core of the players approach to a game then a series of smaller innocuous or easily missed "tricks" throughout the rest of the crew.

I do believe that an update to Malifaux containing upgrades could include and improve the nuance to the game. I do not agree with the idea that Nuance and Optional Complexity are the same thing as inferred in Mack's quote. Optional complexity is what has been currently introduced with the upgrades in Malifaux V2. Optional Complexity is a situation where the core models of the game are simplified to a "lower common denominator" and then their "complex interactions" are added to upgrade cards. My opinion is that this achieves a very different end state than maintaining the nuanced game play that players want.

If I had been in control of updating Malifaux, I certainly see the benefit of the upgrades and may have utilized that strategy. I would not have stripped down and changed the current Masters and models across the board as has happened. Instead I would have gone through the effort to actually streamline the abilities to make them easier to understand and digest. This could have been done without removing a great number of the abilities Masters had. Beyond that I would have then used the upgrade path to add new, innovative, and flavorful upgrades to models that could be purchased during crew hiring. This would have had the affect of maintaining and balancing the current models in the system while adding in a small grouping of upgrades for specific models that increase the overall options. That achieves both the end goal of an increased design space, specifically for Campaign and Casual play along with keeping the current feel of the Masers in the game.

Just my opinion......

Continuing Malifuax V2 trial play
I know some of my readers are looking forward to hearing about my continuing games of Malifaux V2. It was unfortunate but the game I expected to get in on Tuesday did not come to fruition. I did end up having a very fun game of Hordes against a friend of mine who is learning to play Warmachine. Hordes is still not in the same class as Malifaux Classic (for me), but I don't mind pulling out the models from time to time. The 20 point game we played was pretty amusing!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Interesting thoughts on playing Malifaux post V2

Mephiston has written up some of his thoughts on the first couple days of the Malifaux V2 Public Beta over here on his blog. I am sad he did not have a blocked out logo I could add to this blog post over there on the left. Anyway, go check out his blog and read his thoughts. Also, if you have a blog or article that is talking about Malifaux V2 and the Open Beta, please let me know. I am soaking up everything I can read currently and happily sharing as many opinions as I can.

Monday, June 3, 2013

What happens when a Wyrd Henchman leaves?

I recently sent off an email to Wyrd asking to be removed as a Henchman. Amazingly, this was accomplished in less than 2 minutes after recieving my email, Kudo's to Wyrd. I am happy I had the foresight to post a good by message to the Henchman board before hitting send on my email. I am also unsure if that message was kept up there or deleted, so I thought it might be good to repost it here on my blog for those who are interested.

Here is the post:

That time has come for me and I wanted to put up a post here in relation to the email I just sent off to Wyrd. I have heard from many of you in the Henchman community that you joined the ranks of the Henchman in some part from my involvement. I have heard from others that you appreciated the help I may have provided while in the program. Many (many many in fact) of you have already reached out to me asking my opinions on the changes we are all seeing in Wyrd and the games they have put out over time.

I am not happy in the direction Wyrd has taken since the end of 2012 and have decided to resign as a Henchman because of that. I cannot, in good faith, continue to support the activities and attitude represented by the public face of the company. I was a supporter for a very long time and have developed friendships with several people "behind the curtain" at Wyrd. Even after some of those people were no longer with Wyrd and felt screwed by the company, I held to my opinions that those were one-off situations and that overall the direction at the company was good. Since January of this year I can no longer say that.

As mentioned above, many of you have asked my opinion on Malifaux V2 (M2E). Overall I do not feel it is an improvement to the game and am not excited to play it. I think there are some portions which are positive, but as a whole its just not good. I will be expanding on this opinion further in a series of blog articles and possibly a podcast episode or two. I cannot see myself advocating for new players to learn this game with the changes. As such, I cannot act as an effective henchman.

On Puppet Wars Unstitched, this is a great game and a great idea. Completely due to a sad lack of advertising and support for previous players and the original release of the game, I believe this will fail. There is such a large section of original puppets that are completely unsupported currently that anyone who already bought in is effectively being told to screw off. The fact there seems no information about a future release schedule means this is also something I cannot support giving a demo to new players.

EBO is a cute party game, and Showdown looks like it will be interesting. Neither are something that should eat up the time of a dedicated henchman.

Despite being one of Wyrd's strongest supporters for years, I have recently been made to feel like Public Enemy #1 because I have voiced strong opinions contrary to the direction Eric, Mack, and Justin wish to move. Since January Wyrd employees have told me that:

 "your continued redundant feedback about parts of this system that will not be changed makes it much harder for us to effectively use playtest at all"
"Your opinion makes you not credible with your feedback and we won't listen to you"
**in response to my statement that the original form of a story encounter looked like it had been written by someone who had never played Malifaux and did not understand the game interactions.
"your just not credible and that just isn't true unless you want to show me the emails"
**in response to my statement that via the podcast and my being a visible henchman, I had received close to 30 emails from Beta Testers asking me questions about the Beta Playtest (while I was still in Alpha)

I do not expect this post to remain in the forums long, as there seems to be a recent penchant to editing or removing those posts not complimentary to the current designers goals. For those that get the chance, I have no current plans to leave the forums, and even if I do I can always be reached at

Thank you to those henchman who made the Wyrd Henchman community as wonderful as it has been.

So I am sure some folk out there will say I am just crying and throwing a tantrum. Oh well, everyone is entitled to thier opinions. If that makes them feel better, I am happy I could be there for them to brighten thier day.

Beyond that, this really came down to not being able to support the direction Wyrd is headed. This makes me sad as I still believe there are good people recieving checks from Wyrd. I think those people are being minimized and pushed out by a new set of Ego that is going to drag the company down in the long run. That's a very sad thing to see, as I love Malifaux Classic.

So, thats the end of a personal investment for me, although I hesitate to call it the end of an era. Now I just need to figure out what I want to do with the podcast.

Malifaux V2 other views

Yup, another quick update with a link to more views on the Public Beta release of Malifaux V2. Go check out New Fairbanks New's for his review. I have not read this one yet, just saw it was posted over the weekend and am getting ready to read it now.

Malifaux V2 alternate views

Although I have not become a fan of Malifaux V2 and still prefer Malifaux Classic, I figure it does not hurt to send people to read other opinions. Dan posted a new post over on his blog and seems to like what he sees.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

First game of Malifaux V2

It's Saturday for me, late at night while I am typing this. I went out today and grabbed a game of Malifaux V2 with Mike. I figured I would post my initial impressions overall for those who are interested in reading them.

Simply because some people will take great joy seeing this in writing, I will say that one of my strongest initial impressions was wrong. (Hear that Brian, I said I was wrong.......) I expected the game today to not feel like Malifaux to me, but was instead expecting a new game that was inspired by Malifaux. This was not the case. The game today still "Felt like Malifaux" overall. Lest you start doing the happy "Bill's Wrong" dance.... it did not feel like a good version of Malifaux. It was also not a better version of Malifaux. In fact, I would say its a worse version overall, and has a lot lacking.

So, what did I put on the table today? Mike setup the board and encounter, and I asked that we play at 50ss. Mike did make the recommendation that we play at 41ss, as this is what the local playtesting group feels is most like our favorite Malifaux Classic level of 30ss. I asked that we stay at 50ss since the designers (Mack and Justin) make a point in the rules of saying that's where the game is competitively balanced.

We played Ten Thunders versus Neverborn. We had corners deployment and Squatters Rights as our Strategy. Our Scheme pool was Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Vendetta, Spring the Trap, and Distract. Here is a look at those:
Squatters Rights
Place 5 30mm Squat Markers along the centerline. One is placed at the center of the table. Then, two more are placed on the centerline 6" away from the center of the table (one on each side). Lastly, two more are placed on the centerline 6" away from table's edge (one on each side).
Special Rules
Squat Markers begin the game claimed by neither Crew.
A model may take a (1) Interact action to claim any Squat marker that is in base contact with the model. A Squat marker is only ever claimed by the last Crew to interact with it, all previous claims are removed.
Victory Points
At the end of each Turn after the first a Crew earns 1 VP if it has claim to at least 2 Squat Markers.

A Line in the Sand
At the end of the game, the Crew earns 2 VP if it has at least 4 Scheme Markers on the Centerline.
If this Scheme is revealed, the Crew earns an additional VP if it has at least 2 Scheme markers on the Centerline at the end of the game.
All non-Peon models in this Crew may target a non-Peon enemy model within 1" with a (1) Interact action to give the target the following Condition for the rest of the game: "Distracted: This model may take a (2) Interact Action to remove this Condition from itself. No other action may remove this Condition."
This Scheme starts the game Unrevealed. The first time an enemy model gains the Distracted Condition, reveal this scheme. At the end of every Turn, this Crew earns 1 VP if at least two enemy models have the Distracted Condition.

If the enemy Leader is Killed or Sacrificed this Crew earns 3 VP.
This Scheme does not benefit from being revealed.

The scheming player notes one of his non-Leader, non-peon models and an enemy model with a Soulstone cost equal to or greater than his chosen model. If the chosen enemy model is killed or sacrificed by its own Crew or the noted friendly model, this Crew earns 2 VP.
If this Scheme is revealed, this crew earns 3 VP instead of 2 if it achieves this Scheme

Spring the Trap
Once per game, at the end of any turn the scheming player may reveal this Scheme. This Crew earns 1 VP for every Scheme Marker it has within 4" of the enemy Leader, then remove all of this Crew's Scheme Markers within 4" of the enemy Leader. If the enemy Leader is on this Crew's half of the board and at least 1 VP is scored, score an additional VP.
This Scheme does not benefit from being revealed.
I took Misaki with the upgrades Untouchable, Disquise, and Stalking Bisento, Yamaziko with the Smoke and Shadows upgrade, Ototo with the Call the Thunder upgrade, Torekage, 10T ARcher, Oiran, and Shang. I ended up with a pool of 6 stones.

Mike took Zoraida, Bad JuJu with Fear given Form, Barabos with Fear Given Form, 2 Silurid, and 2 Waldgeists. He had a 6ss pool.

I ended up picking Line in the Sand and Assassinate as my two schemes. Mike took Distract and Line in the Sand.

New Ronin Art from the Rulebook
My overall summed up thoughts, which I will try and keep somewhat short at this point. I felt like this was still Malifaux, but a simpler version of Malifaux with models that were poorly trying to act like the Malifaux Models I know from Classic. Many of the models felt watered down to me, and others simply felt underpowered. I did notice a couple models that seemed to have gained a boost in their overall usefulness, but those seemed to have lost a lot of the flavor and character of the Classic version of the model.

The greater importance of the Schemes was able to maintain the asymetrical feel of Malifaux while providing a consideration for not announcing the schemes. The scheme pool really took away from this for me, creating an artificial limitation on my game. I am told this is something others have grown to like, but at this point I am not a fan. The strategies are a great idea implemented badly. The designers took the well designed strategies in gaining grounds and found ways to make them worse by not understanding the portions of the design that made the strategy both enjoyable and balanced.

Soulstones are now a more limited resource and less powerful overall. I like the versatility that was added, but really felt the loss of power. It's truly a shame that the designers are all but married to this design (as understood from their podcast interviews) as with a few small changes soulstones could be easily improved.

 So, at the end of the game, I was not convinced. I played my first game of Malifaux Classic after being convinced to sit down for a demo by a friend. I was not looking for a new game and sat down expecting to just play a quick demo then get on to the games I actually wanted to play. Malifaux Classic was such an amazing game that from the first demo I was hooked and it became essentially my only game. Malifaux V2 was not able to replicate that. It feels like much less.

I plan to keep writing about my experience as I play a few more games. I am still hoping for that Magical Grabbing moment that Classic inspired. I am expecting it less and less the more I look at the new game.