First Malifaux game and controllable randomness

I was able to get together with my old friend Josh and him being a huge Malifaux junkie, he walked me through my first game.

I don’t know enough about the game to give much of a battle report but I was quite taken with it.  I played Lady Justice, who is as awesome as she seems and Josh played Jakob Lynch

As a brief rundown of what I liked and what I didn’t like.

The fate deck was my favorite part and I want to talk about it more, but it was a really great change.

The schemes are really nice.  I love that they can be asymmetrical so that there isn’t just one focus of both sides.  You have to balance completing your objectives with stopping your opponents.

I really enjoyed the alternating activation system.  I gives a great feel to the game but you don’t generally have that one turn where you take out a chunk of the opposing army with no response possible that sometimes happens in other games.

Much like Warmachine, the game seems like you absolutely have to know what all the other models do or you can be absolutely destroyed because of it.  While this gives a great reward to those who invest a lot into the game, it does seem like it could be a barrier to entry.


But the biggest thing I want to talk about is the Fate Deck and cheating.  It is really awesome.  I like dice as much as the next gamer, but the deck acomplishes a couple of really cool things.

The first thing is that it averages out the randomness.  In other games, it is possible to roll 8 6’s in a row.  You can’t pull 8 13’s in a row in Malifaux.  In a larger game, you can “use up” your good numbers.

I really don’t enjoy Settlers of Catan.  I think that a part of it is that it’s really obvious where are the good locations.  But there are so few of them but there’s nothing you can do if 8’s don’t get rolled.  You can just be stuck.  Sure there are things you can do to work around it but you can be locked out of the game with bad rolls.  There is a deck you can get that has the same distribution of numbers as the probabilities on rolling 2 dice.  I haven’t played with it but I feel like it would be a big improvement despite the fact that it would take away the big unlikely rolls.

That was a little bit of a tangent, but this is what it does for the miniature game.  It evens out the randomness, especially with a larger game.  Then there is the cheating.  You only have a limited hand but it gives you some control over what happens, which your opponent can counter.  It adds such a great dynamic.  It gives you control over the attacks and spells throughout the game.  It makes you invested every time, because you have decisions to make rather than just being at the mercy of the rolls.

Warmachine does the same thing with boosting.  You have limited resources and you have to choose how to spend them.  There is still a chance that it won’t work but the math becomes easier to put in your favor.  This really feels like the direction that modern wargames are going.

This is also one of the things that pushed me over the edge to backing Relic Knights.  The fact that while you’re dependent on a draw to use your powers, it will even out from turn to turn and you know exactly what you can do each turn, and you have full control over what happens.  I’m excited to see how it plays.

Are there other wargames that give you additional control over the randomness in the game like this?  Let me know.


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