A Beginner’s Guide to Malifaux: Introduction.
“What IS that game?”
If you already an experienced tabletop gamer, you’re probably used to that question. The “laymen” would see you and your friends, hunched over a table, pushing tiny men around, trying to kill one another.
But as a tabletop gamer, you may not be used to being the one making the above statement. And lots of you tend to ask “What IS that game?” the first time you saw people playing it.
Malifaux is visually different than just about any other tabletop game out today. What you’ll see is maybe a dozen miniatures between 2 people, shuffling around a small area, typically 3’ x 3’. The miniatures and themes seem way left of center. Not only do these armies, called “crews” in Malifaux, not look like the regimented, 2-3 color schemed marching units you see in tabletop games, they don’t even look like they’re in the same genre of game. For example- you might see a classic Western gunslinger firing its pistols…at a zombie prostitute…
Or a knife wielding baby, chasing a robotic spider.
Or the Pied Piper sending rats and children to swarm a giant teddy bear grinning ear to ear with bloody fangs.
Things seem oh so familiar, yet entirely out of place.
Not only are these mismatched genres on the same table, it might even seem like their playing different games altogether.
Like…the baby with the knife wants to kill the spider, but the spider is more interested in stealing treasure. Or maybe the giant teddy bear just wants to have a chat with the piper, but the piper wants to play king of the hill on the center of the board.
And then, on top of that- there seems to be some really interesting card game going on at the same time! The players in front of you are flipping cards, which if you ask them, is really just a standard deck of cards with both jokers included. But every time they flip cards, you see beautiful, if creepy, artwork and strange symbols. The players are flipping cards, going back and forth, and your eyes are all over the place, looking at that cowboy shooting the zombie hooker, looking at the cards, looking for dice rolling (which btw never happens in a Malifaux game), looking…
All of it, so familiar, and yet entirely out of place.
And if you’re like me, your eyes are drawn to it. Things look so beautiful, but creepy. Nothing is as it seems, and from what you can tell, nothing is here to be nice. Like that nurse with the giant syringe, or the beautiful lady with the horns on her head. Beautiful as they are, I don’t think you want a sponge bath or a hug from either of them. Even those mannequins, properly dressed for the ball, are sporting a pair of bloody scythes.
You may not know what it is, and you might even be creeped out a little, but you want to explore this seemingly random smattering of creepy ideas, table-game, and card game.
Congratulations. You’ve had your first experience beyond the breach.