Friday, 30 January 2015

Why I love Malifaux rather than Wyrd

I played some Malifaux with Ben this evening (I lost 10 - 7, Chompy Dreamer got beaten by Kaeris) and as we did we were talking a little bit about the recently released playtest models and campaign rules.

Better at summoning that eating stuff

For those of you who are unaware of Wyrd games they are a US company who make the Malifaux game as well as the 'Through the Breach' RPG and a few other smaller games they publish on behalf of their authors - Jetpack Unicorn and Evil Baby Orphanage being the only ones I can remember with our looking them up. When they went to the second edition of Malifaux in 2012 they decide to take a leaf out of Privateer Presses book and do a public playtest of the new rules and new models.  Cue several months of weekly updates to the stuff and (generally well managed) interaction with the playerbase.  I didn't really participate beyond reading the cards and frothing with my mates about them but I eagerly followed those that did on Twitter and on the forums.


So far so good. A model example of player engagement compared to GW!
Then slowly it started to break down. A second wave of models were released for testing then a third containing the much maligned avatars.  Wave 2 made it to the end of the line and were published in the Crossroads book late last year but the third wave was abandoned before it was finished. Now avatars have returned as part of the campaign rules in a fourth wave of public testing, along with an admission that they weren't balanced for regular play and that their inclusion was a mistake. Oh and we aren't making anymore of the models.

"We have extracted enough urine for this test"
The production and release schedules don't win them any friends either. Rather than the GW model of released models for a faction at a time the new releases are roughly spread across all seven factions. Oh, they are also resculpting all their models in plastic from the original metal.

In gaming nothing is cheaper
So Wyrd are trying to do an awful lot at once and it was inevitable that there were going to be problems.  Ophelia is one of the gremlin masters who attracted a lot of criticism for the way her upgrades allowed her to target herself with the (0) actions allowing her to do an awful lot as well as missing the 'discard this upgrade after using' from Big Threatening Gun.  This was corrected in the next wave of card decks but also attracted the remark that the community needs to share in the responsibility for these mistakes by not spotting them in testing...

Fah. Playtesters.
I'm not sure I buy that.  I'm not sure that it's reasonable to declare that players are to blame for mistakes like that,  however slightly. I mean,  I'm not a games designer,  nobody I play with its a game designer,  the only people involved in Malifaux (to the best of my knowledge anyway) who are games designers work for Wyrd.  And are paid to design and test games. Now I get the advantage of community testing (a Legion of free testers for one...) and I get that some feedback gets overruled for whatever reason (ya know,  by professionals), but I honestly don't know how the community can be blamed...

I don't know if this baby is designing a game.
Other things that spoil my love of Wyrd are their distribution issues.  Its been nearly two years and no Brewmaster.  But it's okay -  we got a new sculpt of some guild minions that already exist. I know there will always be an element of "my faction is more important" but there aren't many book 1 models not released,  why start on the book 2 stuff without finishing the set first?

Probably not real...
So, the conclusion of my nerd rage is that I still love Malifaux, i'll still play it but I'll "right size" my collection down a bit. Probably to Neverborn and Gremlins. And then I'm done.  Stick with what I have and spend my cash on other things...


  1. lol, I could have written a lot of that during the private testing I did a little of back in Mk1 when book 2 was being worked on. The club I played at said the new masters were much better than book one... and they were when the book came out :D

    And they have plenty of previous for models from one book not being out before the next book lands.

    Still, Malifaux is a good game, and on the whole Wyrd to a good job of communicating I think.

  2. Are there other book one models without a plastic or metal release? If so that's even sillier!

    Oh! Tara is only nightmare isn't she? Good point.