Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Sky is Falling

He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.  ~Harold Wilson

As we rush headlong towards the Malifaux 2nd Edition open beta so the amount of hatred for the announced changes increases on forums and Twitter.  This seems to boil down along these sorts of lines -
  • The game is going to be ruined
  • Its not Malifaux anymore
  • Why didnt they just make the changes I said, then it would be perfect
  • I don't want it to be dumbed down and thats what they are doing
  • Waaah Waaah Waaah*

However now we have a new target for our rage as yesterday Eric J (head honcho over at Wyrd) posted a blog article called Playtesters Lie and frankly it doesn't seem to have gone down well.  Even players who I normally consider sane and rational have been left with a sour taste in their mouths and have taken to the various forms of social media to express this.

The problem I have with this is that IMO Eric actually has it spot on and its something I see all the time in my real life job.  When we give out new pieces of software to folks via our beta program I can pretty much predict which features are going to get feedback from which testers and what that feedback is going to be.  This is because testers will always bias the use of the software to their own internal use cases and feedback will always be focused around that.  Gamers are no different.  We will look at how our masters are affected and our feedback testing will be naturally biased by that.  Eric has actually shown in his blog that he understands this and from a design point of view thats very important.

The other thing that this has knocked on is that I've seen folks saying that the public beta is all just window dressing and nothing will change.   To that I say bollocks.  If that was going to be the case they just wouldn't bother, M2e would have just been presented as a fait acompli at GENCON later in the year.   Will core tenants of the new ruleset change.  No, and if you thought they would you are deluding yourself, you aren't going to be able to rewrite the rules into what you want them to be, if you want to do that go start your own game company.  Yes that does mean that things like the new soulstone mechanics are here to stay.  What I'm certain you will be able to influence are things like SS cost of models, the language used to describe something (hopefully there is good clear robust langauge around LOS for instance) or how interacts on a particular strategy function.   

So will the world end when the M2e beta is released? No it won't (I hope) but its not going to be the same game that you have been playing for the last few years either.  The good thing of course is that noone is stopping you playing 1st Edition as long as you want.  The miniature police aren't going to come around your house and take away your V1 stat cards after all.

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.  ~Author Unknown

*OK possibly I haven't seen the last one, though sometimes it feels like it :) 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

New blog on the block

Just a quick mention for my friends Matts new blog Double Negative Flip where he is going to detail how he is an even worse Malifaux player than I am.  Its almost certainly NSFW - Rebecca once kept a swear chart when I was playing Matt and ran out of paper - but inbetween the frequent Anglo Saxon language :) you'll find a lot of good stuff.  Just keep an open mind.

You can find it at http://doublenegativeflip.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday, 17 May 2013

Tiny little mini men

One of the games I have loved to play over my 30 odd years of gaming is Games Workshops Epic system.  From the very first days of Adeptus Titanicus to the current incarnation of Epic:A its been a game, that whilst not a main system, has always been on the back burner.

I remember very well playing in Oxford GW during the early 90's against Gav and Woody, two of the staff there at the time.  I was using Orks (I always use Orks), Gav had Chaos and Woody Space Marines.  Every Thursday night we would get a couple of games in and much carnage would ensue.  The games would end with cardboard chits strewn across the table, a huge pile of dead stuff and a pint (if I'm honest several pints).  As Miranda would say 'such fun'

So its with some sadness over the last couple of weeks that I heard that GW have pulled the plug on all the specialist games and that you will no longer be able to buy Epic figures direct from them.  As I write this the Ork section of the site has been decimated with only a few basic units left to buy - I never did pick up some of the new Squigoths and I'm sure the other sections are similarly bare.  On speaking to a few other folks its seems that people have approached GW on several occassions to get a license to produce these models but have always been turned down - seems a shame to see such a great system (one of Jervis's best IMO) just gather dust.

However all is not lost, there is a small but passionate Epic community in the UK mainly centred around http://epic-uk.co.uk/wp/ and a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of Mingeddon, a ruleset designed to let you play very quick games of Epic as a way of introducing people to the game - you can check those out at https://sites.google.com/site/epicarmageddonlondon/minigeddon

Manufacturers are also picking up the ball.  Just today (and to be honest it was what inspired this post) I came across an Indiegogo campaign from Troublemaker Games to create 6mm scifi army plastic sprues.

From the campaign

Hi everyone,
We’re looking to produce some new 6mm scifi army plastic sprues.
Our initial goal is well on its way to being met, but beyond that we’ve got some great stretch goals planned, including more models on the sprues (for the same price – so entry level pledgers will get their boxes upgraded for free if we hit Stretch Goal #1), plastic buildings (suitable for 6mm or 10mm gaming), and with a little extra push, a boxed game…
At the base level a pledge is £22 for 5 sprues seems very reasonable, and hopefully the stretches will mean you end up getting even more for your money.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Malifaux 2nd Edition

So Malifaux 2nd Edition was announced the other day and as part of the hype around that, the game designers did a lot of podcast interviews with the main Malifaux podcasts (including the mighty Malifools :) )
However last night down the club I had a few folks asking me about the changes to 2e as they didn't have time to listen to all the podcasts so I thought this might be useful.
Gremlins become there own faction giving us 7
Each faction will have 7 masters including duel faction masters.
All the existing Henchmen have been promoted to Masters, no more seeing Collodi in every Neverborn list
So far we know

  • Guild - Perdita, Lady J, Sonnia, Hoffman, Lucius (Neverborn), McCabe (10T), McMourning (Resser)

  • Ressers - Nicodem, Seamus, McMourning, Kirai, Molly, Yan Lo (10T),  Tara (Outcast)

  • Arcanists - Ramos, Marcus, Raputina, Colette, Kaeris, MeiFang (10T)

  • Neverborn - Lilith, Pandora, Zoraida (Gremlin!!!!!), Dreamer, Collodi, Lucius (Guild), Jakob Lynch (10T)

  • Outcasts - Leviticus, Viktorias, Von Schill, Hamelin, Tara (Resser)

  • Ten Thunders - Misaki, Yan Lo, Jakob Lynch, Lucas McCabe, Mei Fang, Brewmaster (Gremlin)

  • Gremlins - So'mer, Ophelia, Zoraida!!!!!!!! (Neverborn), The Brewmaster (10T)

Arcanists only have 10T Duel Faction.  They are doing something different with Arcanists that they haven't explained yet.
Two models are removed from the game.  Minion Misaki and Minion Hamelin
Model cards will be moving to a standard size so that sleeving them rather than lamination becomes possible.
Public Beta on May 31st until Mid July
Phase 1 will be out for August at Gencon (October for those not buying off the Wyrd store) - will cover original masters plus 3 Ten Thunders crews and 3 Gremlins.
After Gencon public beta test of the remainder of masters and models.  This will end at the end of the year.
Feb 2014, Malifaux 2.0 is Tournament standard
Faction Decks will be released in 2 waves to cover all models currently in game with the 2 exceptions listed above.
Game Size
Standard games are now 41-50 SS but this doesn't mean more models on the table - see below.
Crew changes
Default cards are streamlined and have less abilities on them.  This makes it easier for demos and new players to come into the game.  To keep things interesting for the vet players, models can spend soulstones on upgrades that give them extra abilities.  Seamus's Hat for instance.
Models are all split into new classes.  This determines the number of upgrades and AP they have

  • Masters: 3 Upgrades, 3AP

  • Henchmen: Judge, Sybelle etc. 2 Upgrades, 2AP

  • Enforcers: Executioner, Ice Golem etc. 2 Upgrades, 2AP

  • Minion 1 Upgrade, 2AP

  • Peons 0 Upgrades 2 AP, new name for Insignificant models

Rules changes
Pre-measuring is allowed
Spells have a target number, but are now normal duels like ranged attacks
CA value is built into spell description rather than being a specific stat. Helps with the tricky model balancing act.
Red Joker on damage now does Severe + weak damage. Red Joker prevents opponent from cheating when used!
Drain Souls is gone, woot
Avatar manifistation is still in flux, but they all manifest in the same
way (using cards to reach a target number) and now cost a variable
amount of SS
Strategies are now all shared and there's less to pick from (but better balanced).  They are very similar to the ones in gaining grounds 2013 in that VPs are calculated every turn.
are now worth more VP (4). The players generate a pool of
schemes that they will be able to pick from for that game. Pool of 5 out of 19. Unrevealed schemes are more important as they are now worth 3VPs other than 4VPs. No more
picking those easy ones for every pickup game (yes that does mean Sabotage arcanist players)
Models can take a (1) action to drop a scheme marker.  You can do this even if you don't need them for the scheme to just mess with you opponents head :)  Line in the sand is now a scheme.

  • During an attack, you spend a soulstone to add a positive flip or a suit. You no longer add a second number to your total.  Means you can cast a spell using that high tome and add a crow via soulstone.

  • When defending, you can spend a stone to get a positive flip and give the attacker a negative flip to damage

  • Prevention flips are the same, Healing Flips are gone (shame for all those slow to die folks :) ).

  • When you draw your hand you can spend a stone to draw two extra cards and then discard down to the normal hand size.

  • Initiative can still be reflipped by using a stone.

Edit - Added Brewmaster to 10T and altered the Arcanist duel faction information
Edit - Added info about cards moving to a standard format
Edit - Added the fact that Drain Souls is gone