So as a henchman I run a lot of games of Malifaux, I find the system simple, elegant and most people seem to pick it up with very little issue. However there are a few areas all new players struggle with, so in these articles I will try to lay out visual examples to make it clearer.
Now for those with no back ground in the game, most duels (i.e. player vs player actions) in Malifaux are done by taking a base stat of a model (usually a number betweeen 1 and 9) and adding the face value of a card revealed from a deck of fifty four, the scores are then compared and the highest score wins. People pick this up pretty quickly the problem occurs when we start to add in + and - or positive and negative flips.
Once both players have flipped for combat and the attacker has won (if the defender wins, the attack is parried, dodged, etc.) players must then calculate the difference between their scores to determine what damage has been done. The lower the difference the more likely that the attack has done lower damage.
The difference dictates where the damage flip is a neutral, positive or negative flip.
During a neutral flip, the player flips over one card only (this card can be cheated using a card from their hand to increase the damage).
During a negative flip the player turns over an additional card per - the duel dictates, and must choose the lowest of these (this flip cannot b cheated by any means).
During a positive flip the player turns over an additional card per + the duel dictates, and can choose which ever card they wish (this flip can be cheated).
What follows are some examples that use real cards to show you how this works. For the purpose of the examples the bottom brown (retro) fate deck is the attacker and the top grey (puppet) fate deck is the defender. The attacker has a Cb (combat value) of 5 and the defender has a Df (defence) of 5 also.
In this example we see that the defender has a flipped a 1 and the attacker a 12. Added to their bases stats this gives a defence of 6 and an attack of 19. The difference is therefor 13 meaning a positive flip.
In this example we see that the defender has a flipped a 7 and the attacker a 7. Added to their bases stats this gives them both a total of 12. The difference is therefor 0 meaning a double negative flip.
This means the attacker flips over one card plus two for the double negative flip, in this case a 1,5 and a 10. The attacker must choose the lowest card for damage and cannot cheat the card with one from his hand.
This is the core of damage flips, however + and - can be added through other means. For instance Lady Justice's Great sword adds a + to a damage flip and the "Hard to wound" rule adds a -. Just like positive and negative numbers these cancel each other out for example:
An attacker flips a 12 to add to his Cb of 6 giving him an 18, he also charged (+) and has a great sword (+). The defender flips a 2 and adds it to his Df of 4 giving him 6 but also has the Hard to wound rule (-)..
Therefore the difference in scores gives a +
The Great sword gives a +
Charging gives the attacker a +
The defender has a -
This means ++ + + - = + +
so the attacker flips 3 cards and may choose the card he uses.
Hope all this helps, let me know in the comments or email Citizenwilliams@gmail.com