Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jumping on the showgirls (phrasing)

So, some of you know that during last week's demo day, I ordered a Colette and the Showgirls starter box set, plus a Corphyee duet (mannequins with scythes) and some mechanical doves. I also picked up the first book (rules plus fluff - the book is similar to how PP does their books. Stats on the other factions in the back.) With everything that I have, I can field a 42 soulstone crew right off the bat.

They arrived last night and Paul, Nate and I were able to get a three-way going (phrasing). Malifaux isn't really made for multiple player games, though, so the sequencing of events and pace of the game suffered a bit. That, and due to our general unfamiliarity with the rules, we only made it about through 2 1/2 to 3 turns.

Even though the game situation wasn't an ideal one, I was able to experiment a bit with Colette and the other girls (phrasing). The impression that I got was that Colette's crew is all about two things: movement shenanigans (Vayl's got nothing on these ladies) and manipulation of the fate deck via a plethora of soulstones or general abilities.

Speaking of the fate deck, the more I reflect on it, the more I am really intrigued by this mechanic for determining the outcome of play. You are guaranteed to never have a case of "hot dice/cold dice". You have a finite number of high/low cards in your hand and once they appear, they are not coming back until you shuffle the deck. This may sound like a stupidly obvious observation, but it doesn't really sink in until you get a couple of larger point games in because you end up having multiple models, all performing several actions a turn (and fighting duels when it isn't your turn) and this ends up cycling through decks very quickly. The "Control Hand", for me, has become even more important than I first realized because it really is the only thing you control. This dawned on me yesterday during our game where there was the potential for two opposing forces to attack characters of mine before I could activate again. Each time they would attack me, I would have to flip cards as part of the duels and it was always sad to see a high card pop up on a duel where an insignificant character of mine was getting attacked because I knew that that high card was gone now. It definitely had an impact on my strategy.
The other thing that really intrigues me about Malifaux is how it is forcing me to have to evaluate encounters from a totally different perspective from Warmachine/Hordes. For me (playing Legion) WM/H is about the alpha strike and combos to maximize the opportunities for a fast assassination run. Malifaux, on the other hand, keeps proving to me (regardless of the two different masters from different factions that I've used) that I can't use my legion tactics. Paul keeps mentioning that you can get tabled and still win the game. Now that I have a bit more experience, I have to agree with him. It really is all about the scenarios and schemes that you are working with. If I had to make an analogy, I would say that WM/H is like warfare (where you satisfy your objectives by killing the other force) and Malifaux is like politics (where direct violence can work, but sneaky planning, careful maneuvering, bluffing, observation, and misdirection can be just as much if not more effective). *Caveat* This observation is also baised based on my experiences last night playing around with Colette (phrasing). She is a quirky master and there are much more straight-forward, beat-stick masters out there, so depending on your crew, the best bet could be Legion style WM/H axe to face tactics.
Last thing I want to mention. Props to Wyrd minis with "Miss Pack." She was a bonus character that was "mispacked" into my Colette starter box. Fun little surprise to find and it is an incentive to buy more stuff from them because of the potential for other easter eggs. That, and since Miss Pack is a resurrectionist faction character and Colette is an arcanist faction master, I can't use Miss Pack. Guess I need to get a resurrectionist crew now, eh? Good sales tactic.
To wrap up, WM/H is my main focus as far as gaming goes, and I have mentioned to some of you that after my experiences at Lock and Load and their tournaments, that is something I want to get into deeper (phrasing) so more often than not, I'm going to be wanting to break out the Legion (or Krycs/Chador/Merx). That being said, Malifaux is definitely going to be on the table a fair amount because I like the different "meta" (Mark's favorite gaming term) that it has. Also, I think playing Malifaux will help my WM/H game too, especially when it comes to steamroller scenario play.
More thoughts to come. Stay tuned!

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