Malifaux. Looking through the Breach.

Malifaux, it really seems to divide opinion within Corehammer towers as do a lot of the games we collectively play, but was something I was keen on trying out. But given it seems pretty different to anything else I’d played, I had no idea where to start. So this will be #1 of a few articles plotting my dabblings into a new game system.

So why Malifaux? Initially it was the main point of division, the aesthetic. It looks cool to me. The older 1st Ed stuff didn’t grab me, it could be a bit too OTT, the models were all metal not my kind of thing. Despite the interesting card based mechanic and low model count, it just wasn’t pulling me in.

Homely right?

That all changed with 2nd Ed. Everything seemed to get an image change, things looked slicker, the dark comic aesthetic felt like it came to the front much more, it was less twee, and new factions were developed into the ongoing story line. The card mechanic was still there, but it now appealed a hell of a lot more ticking several source boxes at once, namely horror, Wild West & Southern Gothic. OK there’s a bit of steampunk in there, but its more a darker China Mieville style steampunk, with messy machine grafts rather than clockwork umbrellas and all that, and handled quite well.

Hoffman and his exo skeleton, because his body no work anymore see?


That new style with the developing back stories and low model count, the card mechanic and an ongoing podcast telling the stories behind the models you’re using, seemed legit and something I could get involved with.

Lynch, shady fucker and pusher of brilliance.

So what is it exactly? In breif, Malifaux is another reality/dimension, existing alongside our own, which is reached by “breaches” essentially rifts in space-time creating a serviceable gate to said reality. The storyline began in the late Victorian era and looks to be encroaching into the early Edwardian era as it develops, with a focus on the Gothic chapbooks and penny dreadfuls of said era’s as its crux, fates, luck, and other wordly presences surrounding the protagonists adventures within Malifaux. Malifaux itself being natively populated by what are termed Neverborn, which are essentially all sorts of creatures derived from real world occult/esoteric & historical sources. Daemons, Gaki, Furies, Incubii/Succubii, nightmares, Baba Yaga, Goblins, all sorts.

Malifaux City, city of…nightmares.

The melting pot that’s now within Malifaux, both human, neverborn & gremlin, are sub divided into factions, namely The Guild, Neverborn, Resurectionsits, Arcanists, Outcasts, Gremlins & Ten Thunders with some dual faction characters, and mercenaries that can be used by more than one faction. Each faction is vying for control of Malifaux and the resources within it, namely soulstones which are used to power technology and also supplement magic casting back earthside as well as within Malifaux. there are of course rifts within each faction, making wheels within wheels and alliances between what would otherwise be mortal enemies, with none of the factions being what you’d term good guys. There are nods to the real world issues of the time as well with the mines, being run by the guild, and the Union fighting for better working conditions and pay for example.

You choose a crew master you like the look of, from the faction that appeals the most, choose any models within that faction (some synergise better than  others), and away you go.

Zoraida the swamp hag, possibly has a hut that walks around the bayou.

And that, essentially is it, all packaged up with frontier Americana, horror, and the aforementioned Southern Gothic in to a really robust, fully immersive and genuinely dark, compelling world.

The twin moons of Malifaux.

So you fancy a go, where do you begin? Well, I’d say the starter set that gives you 8 models you can use with ANY faction, and a full narrative set of games that introduce each mechanic as you go, measures, cards and fate decks. Perfect starter point there.

Jack Daw, creepy as fuck.

Obviously I didn’t do this and just bought a tonne of 2nd hand models off Gaz and started painting them. So I have absolutely no idea what’s going on but I do have some painted models sat on my shelf.

Kirai, you do not want to fuck with this lady.

So the next few articles will be what happens next, what do you need? How do you paint your models? Just how do people get those elaborate bases? What resources are available and is it actually any good?!

2 thoughts on “Malifaux. Looking through the Breach.

  1. As one returning to Malifaux after an extended trip back through the rifts (all my Gremlins are still metal), I’d forgotten how good the game actually is. The plastic models are incredibly fiddly compared to what I’m used to but apart from that, they fixed some of the broken in 1E and I’ll be interested to see what you think of it.

  2. Interesting game, this ‘un. I played the first edition a couple of times and it felt like a mess – a setting designed to accomodate all Wyrd’s random models and a system that took the unusual course of starting out with rules bloat. I dislike the new models (horrible material and their new gremlins are… weird) but am still vaguely curious. Will be watching this series with interest.

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