What is Vassal you ask? Well in their own words
Vassal is a game engine for building and playing online adaptations of board games and card games. Play live on the Internet or by email. Vassal runs on all platforms, and is free, open-source software.Turns out that its been pretty popular in the Warmahordes world for a while and there have been threads asking for a Malifuax module for a good while now - which has finally been released. So in the name of adventure I sat down last night with Conrad to try it out.
Secondly we had to create our crews. Due to the excellent videos that Owen Conlan has produced this was not as painful as it could have been. I highly recomend that you check these out before starting your first game. You can find them on his blog. We were then able to get into the game proper.
We played a 15ss Shared Escape and Survive with Conrad taking his favourite Nicodem and I decided to take Rasputina. We just used 1 scheme, I took Sabotage and Conrad had Stake a Claim.
We managed to play 3 turns before I had to call it a day and I have to say that it was quite a lot of fun - made even better as I won 3-2 :)
So what did I think of it all. Well first thing to say is that it isn't going to replace the tabletop game as it doesn't come anywhere close to being as fluid to play. Movement is pretty clunky as you have to turn, then edge forward in increments and then turn and 'inch' forward again. It would be a lot better if you could select the model you want to move, and then just drag it about, with an auto tape measure telling you how far you have moved. I'm sure that if I play on it a lot, I will get a lot quicker / better at moving but for the moment it seems to be the biggest bugbear.
I found it really hard to judge distances but that could well have just been me not paying attention as Conrad didn't seem to have a problem with it.
On the other hand the card mechanics are awesomely implemented with some really nice fate deck artwork (can I get a real fate deck like that please) and the way you cheat seems intuative and works well. Conrad used a Soulstone twice and that worked well - even if he didn't get reanimator off.
The art for the actual models is all puppet art and is up to the usual high puppet art standards - I'd love an option to be able to import my own art / photos in for the crew though.
The module comes with several maps ready built and I imagine for the next couple of months most games will be played on these default maps, though I have noticed a couple turning up of the Wyrd forums. Again would be nice if you could import your own artwork. The maps are also strictly 2D so its quite easy to just move your models over the terrain as if it wasn't there. Make sure you have a good chat with your opponent about what each area counts as.
And speaking of talking to you opponent (you see what I did there) Skype seems to be pretty much a must for at least you and your opponent - I can't imagine playing a game as complex as Malifaux if I had to use a chat window to communicate everything that is going on.
So overall it was a pretty positive experience and one I'll hopefully be doing again. 7 out of 10 from me.
Oh and Conrad and I recorded all our game chat, which I will be editing down and putting into a future episode of Malifools
So have a Happy Christmas and I'll see you again soon.