Every few years, it seems, I get a chance to take up the Banner of the Guild and Play some Malifaux. I’ve not played any games that I can think of since the change to 2nd edition, so now that the beta of 3rd is out, I can’t think of a better time to play a few more games.
Spanish Gunslingers are Awesome
This article is not going to be a love story, let me just get that out of the way off of the bat. There are many, many things that keep me from having Malifaux as my main game, but none of them truly make this game bad. I have strong opinions, and my feelings for Malifaux are no different. That said, I always encourage people to go out and try different games, even if they don’t quite seem like the right game for them. Malifaux is a game I still keep trying because I hope that, over time, the edges that chafe will be smoothed out and I’ll be able to enjoy what is a pretty cool setting, at least.
What drew me into the Ortega’s for Malifaux is that I will often default to a melee-based faction in any of the many games I play. While they may be supplemented by powerful Guns or Sorcery, my normal gravitation will be towards hand to hand. I was looking for something different when I got into the game all those hundreds of years ago, and it seemed that the guild was going to provide something a bit different.
On top of playstyle, I always have to reflect on if I want to paint the models. If the answer is that I would not, then, in all but the most extreme cases, I will end choosing either to pass on the game as a whole or to pick a faction/group that I would like to paint. In order for me to want to paint something, though, it has to be both interesting and different from what I have had experience with in the past. Spanish style gunslingers were definitely something I had not experienced in any way. They had prominent guns, big dusters, and Great hats. These would all be fantastic experiments to paint with, so I gravitated too, and then fell in love with, the aesthetic of the models.
They were enjoyable enough to play on the table to, doing massive ranged damage while being fairly fragile and having a few tricks to get out of combat and keep killing. They did interesting and, like most of Malifaux, busted stuff. They looked awesome on the table while doing it, too, because I maintained an all wild west feel, including with the outcasts and the Guild models that I did use that weren’t Ortegas.
With the Change to 2nd edition, though, they changed the core concept I thought was the coolest of the Ortega clan – the Wild West Feel. Instead of being this one off fragment of the game that had a unique and cool look, they submerged the vision of the models into the overall aesthetic of the game. I understand that on the conceptual level, but it still stung, hard. No longer were my Ortegas what I imagined them as. It stung a lot, and the feel of the game with 2e changed enough that it wasn’t sparking a ton of joy in me, so I put it down and played a ton of Warmachine. Now, years Later, I’m finally taking a look at Malifaux again. It could be a nice change of pace and maybe something to get me off my ass and play games more often.
The New Dawn
To be honest, I don’t know how the core rules are changing. I can’t be bothered to read a rulebook I’ve not looked at in years to spot minute differences that I expect I wouldn’t have known were differences anyway. This means that, most likely, I’m not going to understand what is happening in my very first game and get destroyed, blaming it on my lack of understanding of the rules and saying that I don’t like them because they have so and so flaw, but the real problem is me. I know how I work. I’m just making a prediction here.
So, join me here as I take my first real look at the Ortegas!
First things first – It looks like Malifaux has gone the way of WM and given the theme force treatment to everything in the game. I feel they may have done it more elegently, however, as you simply have to pay more to field out of Theme models, and that is OK with me. The Ortega Family, for instance, can take Family models at their normal cost. Guild models without family and all outcast models cost +1 SS (point) per model, and I think I like that schema a lot more. It provides versatility at list selection, but at a cost, and its not a hard stop within the faction.
There are also a number of models that have either lost support for story reasons (Dead, Jailed, or otherwise) or have moved around factions to be no longer playable in their old factions. Killjoy, for instance, is no longer an Outcast, and the Guild Doctor, Dr. McMourning, is no longer dual faction, making it so that he cannot be taken with guild models, and that is a little disappointing, as I had two Masters, McCabe and McMourning that I was once able to take, but no longer can, as well as a pretty solid pile of models to go with them. Ah well, make it easier to get rid of them, right?
I still have access to Sue, Exorcists, Austringers and Ronin, all who I have painted to fit my force and look the part.
One of the harder things to understand in a game where you don’t even understand the points size is the cost of models. Perdita, for example, is 15 points, but I don’t know what that compares to. She still seems fairly fast, accurate, and good with a gun, all solid abilities in my book. Francisco is a bad-ass protector with a gun for the way in, but mostly melee based, Santiago is A quick-stepping gunfighter, Nino is a Gattling Sniper, Papa Loco Still explodes, and even has my favorite ability, still – “Here, Hold this”
Then we get to some new models I don’t remember, Monster hunters. Hold quick while I look these guys up
OH MAN THIS IS GREAT
There is no way in the world a dual three barrel pistol wielding model can be anything less than excellent. This model looks badass and I hope they have at the very least good rules. I looked at them, and they seem fairly ranged support, so I’m happy with them for now.
Grama! I was always disapointed that they put her in a wheelchair mere days after I painted her walking version. It might have helped me stay away from 2e, and even thinking about it now it makes me want to not play. I’ll get over it some day. Anyway! She looks fine, with some solid damage and decent support.
Latiago Pistoleros and Enslaved nephalim look – fine? For models that I have no idea what they are going to do, I guess.
Remember the Goal
The big thing I always have a problem with in Malifaux is remembering that the game is in the scenario. Everything else going on is second to making sure that you are fighting over and maintaining a lead in scenario points, tokens, and scheme markers. It looks like the Ortegas will be doing a bit of that with some of the models, which is one of the benefits of having the game and the scenario hard intertwined. Unlike other games, the models have specific and tangible rules that work because the game is a scenario game. Gotta keep that in mind when I play these games.
Anyway, I think I’ve rambled in a meaningless way long enough for my sensabilties to be satisfied.
Until next time.