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Published on February 21st, 2015 | by Colin


Cardcore Gamer: Once More Unto The Breach


I have a pretty crappy history with wargames, so why am I drawn so inexorably into the horrors of Malifaux?

Oh god, it’s happening again. I swore the last time was the end and that never again would I engage in this sort of behaviour, but here I am, squinting, scalpel in hand, ready to make my first cut. Miniatures wargames, man. Here’s a brief history of how crap I am with wargames – I have thus far failed to get started in Warhammer 40K (more than once), Warmachine, Dystopian Wars and probably more besides. It always happens the same way:

  1. See some cool artwork and miniatures
  2. Kid myself that I’ll just casually pick some up “Just to paint them”
  3. Buy an entire starter box
  4. Buy a rule book
  5. Buy several supplementary rule books and read them cover-to-cover
  6. Acquire more miniatures, probably from a second faction
  7. Start assembling and painting said miniatures
  8. Complete one miniature after several false starts and over multiple weeks, to my unrealistically high standards
  9. Realise just how god-damn many miniatures there are. Oh god.
  10. eBay

Notice how I don’t include the trivially minor matter of actually playing the game? That’s because I utterly suck at committing to a wargame and seeing it through to the end. You know how people wonder how Games Workshop stay in business? Yep, I’m part of the problem.

Oh, hello there Malifaux, You’re awfully pretty

Wyrd Miniatures’ Victorigothiwild-westernsteampunkhorror game is a genre mash-up par excellence, pitting everything against everything else in a stylish skirmishes within the titular nightmare city; Immediately, I hit stage 1. This time though,things were different: I skipped stage 2 and hit stages 3 and 4 with alarming rapidity and this is where you find me – hook, line and sinker. So what makes me think that things will be different this time? Am I more mature and able to exercise a little restraint? Do I find myself with more free time to devote to a hobby? Has my willpower transformed from a floppy, soggy shoelace into a solid iron bar?

HAH! NOPE! But Malifaux has plenty of things going for it that will stave off the inevitable collapse, maybe indefinitely:

  1. I have an actual pool of players this time who will actually go further than army lists and uncut sprues of plastic – and we’re all total novices, getting in on the ground floor together. And with Facebook there’s…
  2. Peer Pressure! Ok, so not too healthy, but each painted miniature I see, spurs me into actually slapping some paint around for a change. This is made easier by…
  3. Small army size. Malifaux plays with small ‘crews’ of a handful of miniatures; my first set consists of six things to build and paint. I should be able to manage that because…
  4. Unique models! Rather than painting a squad of the same damned soldier over and over again, I get variety to keep my interest. Even the same type of miniature is posed in a different and dynamic manner.
  5. The game looks very different from every other miniatures game I have seen. This is mostly due to its use of a card deck instead of dice, a neat twist that gives a totally new feel and an extra layer of gameplay. Also, it’s relatively short and not too hard to learn.

I have already picked out a cheap crew containing only six miniatures and a theme of setting fire to things, then doing it some more, followed by blasting it into ashes. Seems like it should be simple enough, so expect to see more of my tentative wobbles through the Breach into the twisted world of Malifaux.

Now which one should my second crew be…?

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