I'm mythicFOX a UK Malifaux Henchman, tournament regular, film nut, and all round geek.
Also the Malifaux devil, apparently.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Announcing Schemes Before Events

I mentioned in a previous post that I favour announcing schemes in advance of an event, and following recent discussions on social media I thought I'd expand on why.

The current default for events in the UK is to only provide strategy and deployment in advance and scheme pool on the day of the event.  I'd like to see this change, so that the default is to announce the entire scenario in advance (barring terrain and opposing faction for obvious reasons).

To my mind there are three advantages to doing this;

Time Saving
Tournaments are often pushed for time and fitting enough rounds of Malifaux into a day is a tricky thing.  Providing; strategy, schemes and deployment ahead of time would allow players to be better prepared, and shave some time off crew selection each round. It will help more games get to turn five.

Fewer non-Games
Malifaux is at times a game of mistakes. I've lost count of the number of games my opponents have lost during scheme selection. I always think this is a bit of a shame, and it's certainly not fun for either player. By giving players the opportunity to think about games in advance and avoid auto-lose pitfalls it means we'll have more games where one player hasn't lost before the deployment flip.

More interesting crews
Discussing the tactics with friends and tinkering with lists is fun in itself. Right now thinking on the fly players more often than not play it safe and stick to the same options every time. Giving objective sets in advance gives players more opportunity to play with ideas and come up with more interesting builds.  This will make games more diverse and raise the standard of play.

So what're the arguments against announcing schemes in advance? Two are commonly deployed;

Crew selection 'on the fly' is an important skill
Tournament games are time limited as a practicality, not because the game itself demands they be timed. Where possible the game should be about players making the best decisions they can, not testing their reaction times.

That said even with this proposal in place players will still need to react to the terrain and opposing faction. So even if this is a skill we want in the game, it's not invalidated by this change. Skilled players can still use their experience to react and build to take advantage of terrain and opposition.

Time to prepare makes it too easy for experienced players
The truth is with ten minutes or ten days to prepare experienced players are far more likely to build a better crew and pick the right schemes than a new player.  I suspect any advantage veterans did gain will be more than offset by the games they won't auto-win in early rounds because a new player didn't see how a particular scheme interaction would work given five minutes prep time.

TLDR:  I think this change would enable more tournament games to play the full five turns, raise the standard of play at all levels of the game, and lead to more interesting and fun games overall.

I'm aware a number of prominent people disagree with me on this. I want to be clear that I very much respect these people and their opinions. I'm perfectly capable of getting along with people I disagree with.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Corner Case: Gunsmiths and Acolytes

I'm looking at shelving some of the models I have in my case as I think I'm carrying a little too much dead weight at the moment. With many crew selection options available to us I've always held that it's better to play fewer models you're more familiar with than to hire marginally better choices you don't know how to use.

So I'll be penning a few short articles like this to look quickly at a couple of models, summarise my thoughts on them, and ultimately decide if they'll be staying in my case or not.

December Acolyte
The Acolyte is a 7ss ranged hitting minion. It's harpoon gun has a respectable damage track which also automatically both hands out Slow and forces the opponent to discard a card. Your opponent doesn't want to get harpooned too often.

This would probably be enough to guarantee it a spot in a lot of crews, but there's more! It has From the Shadows, making it's deployment more flexible, and it has a (1) action (no flips required) to put up an aura which strips Armour and Hard to Wound.  This pushes it up to the point where it's right to the top of the power curve.


The Gunsmith is also a 7ss hitting minion, with both ranged and melee capabilities. It has a plethora of interesting traits; it can ignore most common defensive abilities and gain Fast.

All of its abilities require suits or other conditions to enable them, making it resource intensive to utilize for more than just it's base damage flip. This brings it's damage track sharply into focus, and at 2/3/4 makes it look very lacklustre. For a damage dealer it doesn't actually do much damage on average.


Malifaux is primarily a game of resource management, so always evaluate what models asks for in terms of resources to work effectively. The above are expensive minions, and given this I'd expect them to do work in my crews without significant additional investment.

You can invest resources in buffing any model to the point it'll do something, but it's normally much better to just hire a model that works effectively out of the gate. There are also plenty of good 7ss choices I haven't talked about here; trapper, Johan, and The Firestarter.

With that in mind the resource hungry Gunsmith is out, the self sufficient Acolyte stays in.