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

Thursday 21 January 2016

Not turning it up to 11

Envy: the double threat of Gatling-guns
and sinister organ music.
A short post about an idea that's come up a few times under various guises of late, so I thought it would be worth talking about it in more detail.  It connects to a common misconception around what makes a good Malifaux crew.

In most tabletop games you're confronted with a single objective to complete whilst also contesting the field with the enemy. A lot of games are even narrower, consisting solely of killing the enemy.

In the average game of Malifaux however you'll be confronted by a range of objectives you need to complete, whilst also combating the opponents crew.  The creates the need to  range of specialisms in each crew in order to complete each objective effectively.

If you're playing; Turf War, with the Breakthrough and Deliver the Message schemes you're going to need models with very different specialisms to complete the different objectives in front of you.

That is to say a good Malifaux crew needs to balance a range of roles to perform optimally.

This is where I see a common mistake made by a lot of players; they think that because their model/crew does something very well that doing more of it is automatically a good thing to do. In fact most things you can do rapidly peak in effectiveness, and pushing them further becomes highly resource intensive for a diminishing level of gain.

As an example;

A lot of times I see new players with Ramos encouraged to add a Mechanical Rider to the crew for more summoning. Ramos will already efficiently summon two Steam Arachnids a turn on average. Spending more soulstones to boost that by 0.8 models per turn doesn't achieve anything. If you can't win Reconnoiter while summoning 2 models/turn you aren't going to win it by summoning 2.8 models/turn.

Spending those stones in increasing other key areas of the crew; improving objective running and hitting power will be far more effective over the long haul.

I refer to this sort of approach as 'turning it up to 11', and it's bad practice.

A lot of the time the skill here becomes figuring out where you're investing into particular types of activity beyond it's peak in effectiveness. This is something that players learn with experience, but here are a few symptoms of this issue;

1) Spending more than 25ss on your masters core plus things which do the same key thing as your master.

2) Hiring a model just to copy / repeat the same action another model in the crew has.

3) Hiring more than two of any one model (or more three of if it costs 3ss or less).

4) Hiring models you're planning to summon copies of (unless needed to enable the summoning).

There are going to be times where the above things are appropriate, but if you find you're doing them most of the time, then maybe it's time for a rethink.

Anyway, that's my thought on that subject. I'm next in action at the Masters, where I'll be drinking tea and crashing out on day one.

EDIT: I penned (flailed into the keyboard) this post before recently recording with the Arcane Reservoir podcast, so you may hear me make some of the same points on there.


Anonymous said...

Terrific post (as usual); this should be required reading for new Malifaux players.

I don't have anything to add to your points so I'll weigh in with an anecdote about my experience playing Guild. Sam Hopkins is thematically linked with Sonnia Criid and has some limited synergy with her thanks to the Burning condition. I quickly found that I didn't like the two together simply because all Sam brings is more damage output; generally if I can't get that job done with Sonnia herself plus incidental attacks on utility models, I found that adding more damage output wasn't helping either.

mythicFOX said...

Glad to hear you found the post useful, and that this translates outside my home faction. :)

Cameron said...

Great post. I love reading these tactics articles.

I play Ramos and I'm painting up the mech rider. You don't think she is necessarily a good addition to a Ramos crew?

Very curious as I haven't actually played her yet.