Thursday, 24 January 2013

Malifaux on a Budget: Effigies

Not too long ago once I had become a Henchman, my FLGS owner saw me eyeing up which Neverborn gang to buy as I wanted a crew for every faction. My eyes settled on Collodi and the conversation turned to how you never see him used, and in that moment a challenge was laid down. I had to take Collodi and make him work. Its a few months down the line and I had a pretty decent Collodi crew but it hinges entirely on the fact I take all five of the Effigies.

The Effigies are 5 puppets created by the hag Zorida to infiltrate the factions of Malifaux, as such there are five unique Effigies with their own unique flavour that tries to personify the faction it is affiliated to. Each of them works well with Zorida and Collodi, so I won't be touching on this in the rest of the article. Also non Neverborn crews hiring the effigies cannot take a totem for their master, which for most is not an issue but I'll cover this rule more a little later on.

Arcane Effigy 

Price:  £6.35
SS Cost: 4
Masters: Rasoutina, Ramos, Marcus. (While Colette can also take the effigy I believe she benefits from her doves more which is why she is not included.)

The arcane effigy is a casters best friend. With arcane reservoir giving you and extra card, and his attacks targeting opponents Ca value he's definitely one of the arcanists, but his true power lies in being able to give a friendly master an additional Ap for casting or channelling. One of the slower effigies Marcus may find himself separated from his helpful doll friend but the two slower masters will benefit from him no end.

Mysterious Effigy

Price:  £6.35
SS Cost: 4
Masters: Lilith, Pandora.

Harmless, can add to its defence, and its charge  at first glance you may think the Mysterious effigy is a combat character, an idea reinforced by its high defence and hidden blade weapon, but true to its name this is not where it power lies. The ME can shut down one models ability entirely but more interestingly allows you to flip a card and give slow to any model with Wp lower than the card value, very powerful to a combat heavy Lilith crew.

Carrion Effigy 

Price:  £6.35
SS Cost: 4
Masters: McMmourning, Nicodem, Seamus

The Carrion effigy has a very unassuming card compared to his fellows, its very concise and compact but still just as good. He is less powerful to Neverborn players but really benefits ressurectonists. He allows nearby grave robbers to heal for a corpse counter, has a poisoned beak and a blast radius ranged weapon. He can also remove immunities from opponents models especially good for taking away bullet proof or magic resistance to get the important kill in.

Hodgepodge Effigy

Price:  £6.35
SS Cost: 4
Masters: Viktoria, Som'er Teeth Jones

A lot of the Outcast masters need their totems for very specific things, so hodgepodge is over looked more than the other effigies. The reason for this is his abilities are a little complex but in essence his role is to keep the balance of fate and he does this by returning your jokers to your deck and allowing you to draw a card when you pull the black joker. He's not bad in combat and his auto trigger has a fair few options of what he can ignore when he hits. I would say Hodgepodge is the more specialist effigy but also the most fun.

Brutal Effigy 

Price:  £6.35
SS Cost: 4
Masters: Justice, Criid, Perdita

Now usually I begin with a guild choice but this time I've held this little guy back for a very good reason. Brutal effigy is a steal at 4SS, with melee expert, critical strike (ram included in his close combat attack) and a magical weapon. Already this guy can hold his own against  tougher enemies and is great for finishing a high cost minion with a coup de gras. The final and best thing about brutal effigy is however his ability to heal a friendly model as a (0) action. Combined with any of these masters and used to refill the few scratches they take will keep them alive longer with the effigy wading in as needed.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Malifaux On A Budget: Utility Models II

In the last one of these we covered Neverborn and Ressurectionist, however I feel the other factions need some love too. I am not doing an outcast section in this post, nor do I intend to do one as the current range stands. The outcasts masters hiring pools are either too open (Viktoria, Von Schill) or too closed (Hamlin, the Gremlins, Leviticus). However I will devote an article to a budget build for the Outcast masters that need more models added to their box. 

We begin with an Arcanist choice.
Renegade Steamfitter Johan 
Price:  £5.45
SS Cost:6
Masters: Ramos, Mei Feng, Colette

The more astute amongst you may notice Johan is an Outcast model, however he actually works better with the Arcanists. While and ex-steamfitter, Johan still works great with his old colleagues, receiving +2 cb when within 3" of an M&SU member and flurry, so he makes a great body guard for weaker masters. To add to this body guard ability Johan has slow to die and hard to kill, meaning he'll be in the fight longer than most.
The downside to Johan would be his extra SS cost for being a mercenary, but he costs one less SS when hired by a M&SU master (Colette can hire him for 5SS due to her union labour ability).

Union Miners 
Price:  £12.75
SS Cost:4
Masters: Ramos, Mei Feng, Colette, Kaeris
Union miners are an often over looked unit, they are cheap and suprisingly good in combat, with a positive flip to hit when within 3" of another miner, and can give their damage flips a double positive.
They are also very manouverable by burying them selves they can teleport to a friendly miner or M&SU member on the board. N.B. for those players fed up for being riposted their weapons ignore DF triggers.

Guild Hounds (2 pack) 

Price:  £9.00
SS Cost:3
Masters: Lucius, Lady Justice, Lucas Macabe

I'm a big fan of these guys. Very cheap for a lot of their stats and able to get rid of pesky corpse counters, but their real strength lies in pairs. When activated in pairs the hounds gain an additional walk action allowing them to move up to 18" a turn. Taking them in pairs also gives you a Soulstone for your pool.

Guild Riflemen (3 pack) 

Price:  £9.00
SS Cost:3
Masters: Lucius, Lady Justice, Lucas Macabe, Sonia Criid.

Riflemen add some much needed ranged firepower to guild gangs that lack it. With a trick shots (two birds) that aid in hitting masters like Pandora and Collodi, their very handy. They also have an ability unique in Malfaux, they can be given a charge reaction. When activated as a pair or more they are able to fire at opponents models charging a friendly rifleman. N.B. Both Riflemen and hounds are "guardsman" models and work great with Lucius.


Price:  £9.00
SS Cost:7
Masters: Lady Justice, Hoffman, Ramos

Another unit that makes a great body guard. Able to give a friendly model armour, or take wounds for them and also not bad at dishing out damage (especially as it hits even when it misses). The downside is just how much the guardian relies on armours, its own defence being very low, but if things ever look to bleak it can always make a healing flip.

I hope you guys are finding these useful. Comments and Crits to the usual places.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Reviewed by a Raven - Star Wars LCG II

So a few weeks ago I was given the chance to review a copy of the newest living card game (LCG) from Fantasy Flight. You can find my first review in the side bar if you've not read it, but while I loved the game I didn't really get to do what I wanted to with it. I love card games ever since I first saw Magic: The Gathering I loved the idea of card mechanics and how deck building worked, but hated random booster cards. When I later discovered the Game of Thrones LCG I marvelled that I knew what cards I would be getting which meant deck building was cheaper, easier and allowed for more interesting combinations.

It was this element of the Star Wars LCG I wanted to test especially as the system in SWLCG was even more elegant than the GOT one. So i decided to re-acquire the sample copy and give it a bash.
Unlike the GOT LCG which allows you to choose any card you like but worked better if they are from the same faction, The SWLCG gives you groups of six cards that all fit a certain theme. A deck is then made up of several of these groups.

The example above is the first card set for the dark side. As you may be able to tell it revolves around Darth Vader, the set gives you two characters (the core of your deck) and attachment to improve a character, an action card (a one shot event) and a fate card (a mechanic unique to the game) and an objective card (which generates resources and is what you must defend). This is a fairly typical set of higher than average power (it is Vader after all).
Before you build a deck you must decide two things. One which side of the force do you wish you play and which faction of your side do you wish to play (E.g. sith, imperial navy, bounty hunters). A deck is made up of ten of these sets divided up into an objective deck and core deck. Usually its better to choose set linked to your faction (as faction specific resources are usually needed to play cards) or neutral sets (that can use any resource).

I however was intrigued to see I could make a themed deck, for my purposes an imperial navy deck of all fighters and Vader in his TIE X-1.

So I began by choosing the dark side pile of cards (obvious I know) then decided that while Vader himself is Sith aligned, the majoirty of the deck would be from the Imperial Navy so that would be the faction I woul build the deck under.

I seperated out all the objective sets and pulled out the five imperial navy sets (out of eight) that dealt with fighters and capital ships rather than storm troopers. Then I took out Vader's set and Vader's X-1 set from the sith pile. This left me 3 sets down and struggling to fit any more into my theme. I decided that One set that included the Coruscant defence fleet was close enough and filled the other two slots with neutral choices.

I then checked all the rules on the cards and in the rulebook and realised I had to drop my defence fleet so replaced it with another neutral choice.

I intend to test the deck on Sunday so will let you know how it all goes.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Games For Kids - Carcassonne

Those of you who spend any amount of time in a LGS or have visited a forbidden planet and poked about in that strange section at the back will have seen a rather lovely blue box, with an intriguing picture of a medieval town and a rather splendid looking knight. This dear readers is Carcassone. Named for the famous French fort town, it a European style semi co-operative building game were players compete to construct castles, roads and monasteries to out score each other on an ever growing board.

The game begins with a single tile containing a piece of castle and a piece of road (shown below) players then take it in turns to draw a tile and place it attached to a corresponding section; castle to castle, road continuing road etc. 
When a player plays a tile they are allowed to play one of their tiny wooden people meaning they own that stretch and other player cannot claim it.

The longer your road, or the larger your castle the more points you score, as shown however the castle.road must be complete to score full points or it only counts as half points at the end of the game.

Monasteries work a little differently. A monastery tile earns 9 points when completely surrounded by other tiles. There are also farms but they make things not fun, but field areas between constructions can give extra points, but usually players cancel each other out.

So with two small children armed with this knowledge we began. (I apologise here, as followers on facebook will know there was a small camera glitch so the pictures end here.) The first few turns went fine with each of us grabbing a few points here and there but by turn 10 all of us had our 6 little men committed to growing projects. Now the tension and frustration began to build as our castle and roads got bigger and bigger with other players taking the tiles we needed, until at last my youngest sister (she has ALL the luck ever) found the tile she needed and jumped from 10 points to a whopping 60! She then began to complete her second giant castle but I had a trick up my sleeve. While you cannot play on to some one else's castle you can join one of your half finished ones to their's. So this is what I did. With much cackling from my other sister we got equal points which late in the game is a great boon.

The game finally finsihed, with all the tiles out and very few incomplete castles, My youngest sister had won but only by 3 points, while i despite my clever tricks was dismally last.

Fun and Fast paced Carcassone is usually a game we play between big box games on a games night but served as a great pre-dinner game to drag my siblings away from I-Carly, so for that alone i recommend it. Where it may fall down is replay-ability as while the board changes the game doesn't, though there are many increasingly complicated expansions. I see Carcassone as another good intro game for new players used to the traditional style of games we have in the UK.

Normal service will be resumed next week when my camera wishes to play ball, until then get gaming dear readers.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Malifaux On A Budget: Utility Models

Malifaux is a system that rewards synergy and story. Crews that work together in the fluff work together on the table top well. usually very well. However with so many masters, so many players owning multiple masters and so little synergy between masters "core" selections, how do you fill out the rest of your points? Utility models, these are minions that benefit lots of masters or synergise with lots of masters, without necessarily being one of the "core" choices for that master.

For the purposes of this article (and because I ended up with over twenty) the term utility model is only being applied to non mercenary (except in rare circumstances) models that benefit three or more masters. I was tempted to rank these guys by best choice and most versatile, but it would be forcing too much opinion onto your guys and detracting from some of the other choices. I've focused on Ressurectionst and Neverborn for these first choices as players at my FLGS often struggle with expanding these two factions in particular.

1) Rafkin, the embalmer

Rafkin, the Elbalmer
Price:  £6.35
SS Cost: 7
Masters: Nicodem, McMourning, Seamus, Molly

Rafkin is in background a minion of Nicodem, as you would expect an embalmer to hang with an undertaker. His skill are of equal value to other masters though. Rafkin is a better than average summoner of undead, useful to crews like Seamus who lack another summoner. He also has the ability to generate body part counters as other around him use up their corpse counters, or make some by cutting on an opponents model.
Added to his skills as a mini factory for "mindless undead" Rafkin can also heal friendly undead models (including Nicodem) and give friendly models hard to kill, meaning what he helps you bring back, stays back.  Add poison and the ability to gain 3 AP a turn and Rafkin is a steal for almost all Ressurectionsts.

2) Canine Remains

Canine Remains 1 (2 pack) 

Price:  £9.00
SS Cost: 2 Each
Masters: Nicodem, McMourning, Seamus, Leviticus.

Nicodem has his vultures, and McMourning has his chihuahua both totems are great for grabbing corpse counters. However canine remains can do this too, and unlike the totems can be brought back from the grave by a fair few models (Nicodem, Mortimer and McMourning). They are fast and if there are no counter to pick up can be a free corpse counter themselves that you turn into something useful for two SS.

3) Night Terrors

Night Terrors (2 pack) 

Price:  £10.00
SS Cost: 3 Each
Masters: Kirai, The Dreamer, Marcus

The appeal of night terrors lies in two factors, the first the sheer number of traits they have. Kirai can benefit from their spirit trait, the Dreamer gets a soul stone for hiring a nightmare and Marcus has great affinity with beasts. In addition to this they are super fast and can grab an objective on the other side of the board turn one if you take enough of the blighters. 

4) Lelu and Lilitu


Price:  £10.90 (for both)
SS Cost: 14 for both 7 each
Masters: Lilith, Pandora, The Dreamer, Zorida

As Nephilim, Woes and Nightmares  the benefits of Lelu and Lilitu are more obvious to some masters than others. Combine their trait synergy with their synergy with each other, (they can heal each other and summon the other twin back from the dead) their ability to heal other Neverborn, and a none to shabby unit in addition to all the extras, they are a Neverborn Swiss army knife.

 5) Teddy

Price:  £11.00
SS Cost: 9
Masters: Pandora, The Dreamer, Ramos

We've discussed the merits of the Neverborn's personal beat stick before but it is worth repeating. Hard to wound, Regenerating and with the ability to charge anyone who fails a WP duel nearby he is combat. What many over look though is the fact that teddy is a construct, and that means the construct masters can hire him. While not as useful to them, his damage is still pretty handy, Ramos can keep Teddy alive while he and a Steamborg tag team anything in their path.

Well that's it for out first utility post. As usual comments and criticisms welcome. For those local to Birmingham keep your eyes open for two upcoming Malifaux Tornaments and the Red Sun Rises campaign updates.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Red Sun Rises

So it's been one of those annoying weeks where life has gotten in the way of hobby, so theres no BFK today instead I thought I'd give out some information about the new campaign we're running down at my FLGS.

The basics of the campaign are pretty simple. We've taken the city of Malifaux divided it up into 18 regions, players who want to take part in the campaign then just play games as normal but can submit their result to a cxertain region. At the end of each week we will total these results we'll total up the wins and losses and see which faction hold the region that week.
Our stunning map courtesy of Mr Martin Jennens at Titan Games

Once the first few weeks are out the way we'll be including special events in the campagin, if a guild area is lost you may find your self up against Lucius and a whole hell of a lot of guards, victory may look slim but rewards will be great if your faction can hold the area.

Every five weeks we'll also be running a big weekend event, to tie in with new releases but also to give players a taste of tournament play and get a chance to register more games.

The games them selves will be standard games of Malifaux at any SS cost but both player must use a different facton to register for a campaign game. Dual faction gangs can register for Ten Thunders or their other faction (maybe they're not as loyal as Misaki thinks.

Campaign Face book group

I hope to see load of people down to play and I'll keep things updated here and on the Facebook page as well.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Malifaux on a Budget: Core Box Set

So something has been bugging me, if you look at other miniatures games they mostly all have a two player starter box designed for you and a friend to chip in together and be able to play your new system right off with all the models and rules you need. Malifaux does not have one of these; so I thought I'd design one, attempting to keep it in line with other systems but as this is Malifaux on a budget also comparing the cost, model amount and game size the box gives you.

So lets begin with a look at the big behemoth that is 40k's Dark Vengeance box.

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance
The Box
Price - £61.50

The box contains a whopping 48 miniatures split between Chaos and Dark Angels, it also contains a slim version of the rulebook, an assembly guide, a quick-play reference guide, an army roster sheet, dice, templates and a how-to-play booklet; in essence everything you need to play.  
Dark Angels: 850 
Chaos: 495

While a large points value, both sides are light of the 1500 point standard game and the Dark Angel side actually needs another troop choice to make it a legal army. However you get a lot of figure for your money and even better for a new player all the models are snap fit so no pesky glue which can be fiddly for new players.

Lesson to take for Malifaux box
So what Games Workshop have always done well is aesthetic, both forces in the box have a very distinct look and feel, which I think is great especially for a new player. The fact that the box include all the ancillary bits you need in the hobby of ours (even if you will need more dice) is bonus, players will still need to pick up a tape measure but that's the case with all the boxes we'll be looking at.
Now to the bad. I want the Malifaux box to give a full force so you can play not just the other crew in the box but against other players too without having to buy a load of extra stuff. Dark Vengeance is good box set, especially if you want to start Dark Angels, but while you get a lot of model for your buck with the core box, to expand to a full force in 40k will cost you about £125 on top of your core box, more for the Chaos player. 

Our second stater box comes from across the pond. 

The Box

Price - £63.50

The box contains 17 models (5 of which are pretty hefty sized jacks) and their corresponding stat cards.
 You also get a slim Warmachine MKII rulebook, introductory guide, dice and ruler. Unlike the GW box the models are multi part and require cleaning and assembly but are the model you can buy of the shelf individually. I'm not sure if this is worse or better than GW's snap fit as I can see merits to both, but for beginners I think the Warmachine box could look a little daunting.

Khador: 20 (including 5 war caster points)
Menoth: 21 (including 5 war caster points) 
Similar to Dark Vengeance the Warmachine box is lower than a standard point game but comes with a heavy unit, and a caster for each faction and a couple of 'Jacks a piece too. My FLGS worked out for me that for £40 you can take both forces up to 25 points (30 with caster points) so expanding up to a regular game size is pretty affordable. (Lists and links at the foot of the page.)

Lesson to take for Malifaux box
Similar to DV both forces in the box are very distinct, no ones going to think a Khador 'Jack lives with the Menoth and vice versa. The box also includes the units actual rules card, unlike DV where a codex is not included. As Malifaux has a similar unit card system this is obviously how any Malifaux box would present its rules, but I do think including even a slim version codex in the DV box would have been a nice touch. 
The only real bad point about the Warmachine box is again that you can't play a full sized games but it is much cheaper to take your starter force to 35 points than it is to upgrade your GW starters. You also may find your self needing token in a Warmchine game, which aren't included like they are in DV/

I feel its worth mentioning here Warmachines battle boxes. These are 15 point boxes that contain on average 2 light jacks, a heavy jack and a caster. While similar to GW's Battalion boxes, they differ in that they are a legal (all be it low pointed) force straight the box allowing you to choose a different Warmachine faction to start quite easily. However Malifaux's crew boxes are similar, so I won't be focusing to much one these.

So now on to our what if Starter box.

Things to include:
  • Models - fairly obvious but we need to look at what models and keeping the cost reasonable
  • Rules - both boxes included a rule book and a condensed version
  • Ancillary gaming materials - In our case, card and tokens.
  • Points - Starting skirmish or full crew?
  • Cost - both these box sets come in at about the £60 mark, I will be attempting to stick to this. (especially as this is Malifaux on a Budget)
 So I'm working on two possible "Core sets" as it were, the first being the two poster children of Malifaux Lady Justice and Seamus.

The Box

The Death Marshals - £21
Redchapel Gang - £19
Two Fate Decks - £9.10
Rulebook 1.5 - £18
Total - £67.10

A little more expensive than the two "real" starter boxes, but it gives you a FULL rule book and two complete crews. Tokens are readily downloadable though I'm sure any actually produced box set would have some in or may be even pop out card ones (like puppet wars). Summary rules are a possibility maybe a separate copy of the table in the back of the rulebook.


Lady Justice - 19 SS
Seamus - 18 SS

This is a pretty even spread, especially as Justice has a higher starting SS pool and Seamus can re-summon his models (in game justice has a little advantage sure) but I think it work out quite balanced. Ideally it would include the totems for both masters but that would bump the price up to about £75 bought individually which seemed a little steep.

The second option I'm toying with is using Wyrd's new plastic box sets.
The Box

The Thunder - 22.50
Rail Crew - 22.50
Two Fate Decks - £9.10
Rulebook 1.5 - £18
Total - £72.10

This gives both crews a similar model count to the previous box but utilises Wyrd's new range and gives you the totem for both masters. While a little expensive it gives you a lot of soulstones for your money with little need to add more.


Ten Thunders - 29
Rail - 25

Both crews contain: A master, their totem, Three henchmen and a fourth that packs a hefty punch. Both can be taken up to the magic 35 SS with one one box set (Yamaziko and the Rail Golem respectively) and give a good flavour of the faction.

So if you and a friend fancy starting Malifaux or you have a few friends you want to get into it, let them get £70 quid together and show them what to get.

I'd like to do some more work on this in the future as is run up a summary rules set etc, so you maybe be seeing more of this sort of thing. Let me know what you think. @

Link to Titan Games is in the side bar and a big thanks to Adam & Martin for their help ---> all prices and rule correct at the time of writing.
And a big thanks to Gmort (link in the side bar also)

Menoth add ins

Choir of Menoth - 19.05
Vigiliant - 13.50

Khador add ins

Winter Guard + Command - 36.35
Old Joe - 6.35