Gameday First Play – Malifaux 2E

I haven’t played a tabletop miniatures game for 20+ years…

So why this one all of a sudden?

Malifaux is a character-driven 32mm tabletop miniatures game. Players collect, build, and paint models representing the denizens of Malifaux, pitting these models against one another in groups called Crews for control of the precious resource known as Soulstones.

A Crew can contain several different types of models depending on how a player constructs it. Masters can manipulate the course of events in the world around them, changing their own Fates through their control or theft of Soulstones. A variety of fantastic and frightening beings, collectively known as Minions, serve the Master as fodder in his or her machinations. In addition, Henchmen can lead specialized Crews in their Master’s absence, or serve their Master directly as a member of a Crew. Masters and Henchmen are also supported by Totems, extensions of their magical abilities which increase their spellcasting range and provide additional aid in an Encounter. Lastly, each Master can transform itself into a powerful Avatar, representing a specific aspect of their personality.

How well a Crew carries out its leader’s Strategy and Schemes determines whether or not it will emerge victorious in an Encounter with an enemy Crew. Strategies represent the Crew’s main path to victory, while Schemes are simpler alternate routes to achieve the leader’s goals.

Malifaux players use decks of cards called Fate Decks to resolve game events such as attacking and spell-casting. Players can manipulate the cards they play to alter the Duel’s outcome. It takes a shrewd leader to effectively utilize a Crew’s resources, ensuring he or she always has ready the cards needed to Cheat Fate.

Well, I collected and built but didn’t paint… Don’t want to ruin them! 🙂

This is a skirmish game played on a 3’x3′ board with plenty of terrain to block LoS and make things a bit trickier.

You need a tape measure and there are stats to look at but the question I asked earlier was, “So why this one all of a sudden?”.

Well this is why…


This is a small scale Skirmish game so you only need 6-8 minis to pay it. A Crew box, which is a pre constructed team of people costs £25ish, the same price as one mini from Games Workshop.

Yes, the variety of game play comes from expanding on that one box as well as trying out different crews so it can cost as much as you want to spend. But you don’t HAVE to spend a fortune just to get playing, or even compete in tournaments.

Malifaux Play Area

My Stat and Upgrade cards laid out.

Game Play

Setup is random, done via a card flip (More on cards later).

Also the ‘Strategy’ for the game is random too giving each player a goal to achieve during the game. We played “Reconnoiter” which means the board was divided into quarters and you get a point if you had more units in 2 of the quarters than your opponent at the end of the turn.

The hidden ‘Schemes’ are selected from a list. I had Bodyguard where you had to keep a guy over half health and ‘Deliver a Message’ where you have to move a model up to your opponents Master and spend 2 actions “delivering a message” to get points.

This different way of playing is great. It means you can’t just put the same guys in the same place and do the same thing.

A well painted miniature will eventually be defeated by my unpainted Terror Tot and Lilith.  He looked dying though.

A well painted miniature will eventually be defeated by my unpainted Terror Tot and Lilith. He looked dying though.


I play in a group with a bunch of tables with nice scenery and a lot of people to play with. I don’t need to get my friends to spend their money on it just so I have someone to play with, which was usually the case with these games.


The theme and story behind the world of Malifaux s great. The Neverborn, with creepy kids and a Teddy really made me want to play this game.

Also, the other crew I like, Ten Thunder, have a great Asian feel with their Samurai and Archers.

Teddy... Outnumbered.

Teddy… Outnumbered.

Ease of Play

It’s very simple… My attack is this, your defence is this, add a card each, highest wins.

There are niggley rules things but it’s no where near as complex as some board games, never mind other miniatures games. It’s on the level of the Flightpath system games like X-Wing and D&D Attack Wing. No complicated charts, just straight numbers.

No Dice

You don’t roll dice, instead you flip from a ‘Fate Deck’.

Malifaux Cards

You flip a card each, add it to attack and defence and highest wins. Whoever is behind has a chance to ‘cheat fate’ by discarding a card from their hand of 6 to replace the one they flipped.

It may seem random but no more random than dice and the strategy of when to discard a card and when to keep it is a good problem to try and solve. Also, you have negative and positive flips based on certain situations.

Say for damage you only just hit then you may have to flip 2 cards and take the lowest value. Or maybe your attack is much higher and you flip two cards and take the highest… This is a great way to resolve that advantage in a challenge without having those complicated tables.

So a fun one. One I’m looking forward to playing a lot more.

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