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My first Malifaux Game – Neverborn vs Ten Thunders

In my last post I presented the miniatures I painted for my Malifaux Neverborn band – Nephilims. Mature one and two younger. These three miniatures were planned to complete the base of my Neverborn faction. It was kind of the race against the clock for me. I bought the first Malifaux box set in August (Lilith – Mother of Monsters) and I wanted to to paint enough miniatures to play tutorial game before 21st October (my departure date).

At first I thought it’s enough time to paint the minis from the box and even few more. So, I added Waldgeists and Nephilims to my painting schedule. It all seemed to be manageable and possible to combine with my other painting projects at the same time. However, as usual, everything got little messed up – I was late with everything.

I had plans to play two tutorial games before my departure. First, Infinity and second – Malifaux.  Due to failure of my time table, I was forced to abandon my plans about Infinity. No way I could finish miniatures to play the game – I was able to paint only 4 of them – still need at least 5 to play proper game. No worries – I’ll finish them while I’ll be in Asia. But the game was off.

And as soon I realised that there will be no way, that I could not handle two projects at the same time – I concentrated my efforts on Malifaux models. I arranged the tutorial game with my friend Sławek for beginning of October and I rushed to my painting station to finish all my planned models.

And finally, this week Tuesday I got my tutorial at Malifaux. I bought rulebook along with Malifaux miniatures in August and I studied the rules carefully. Of course I got the idea more or less what is all about, but without proper practical lesson, I couldn’t comprehend all what Malifaux has to offer…

For Tuesday I prepared following miniatures (according to plan):

  • Lilith
  • Cherub
  • Barbaros
  • 3 Terror Tots
  • 3 Waldgeists
  • Mature Nephilim
  • 2 Young Nephilim
My Malifaux Neverborn band. Lilith The Mother of Monsters.

My Malifaux Neverborn band. Lilith The Mother of Monsters.

I supposed to paint them all. Unfortunately I was late with Nephilims. I managed to put the base colours and paint details, but they were still to be toned up. At least they were good enough to put them on tabletop.  Later this week I finished them and started to pretend this situation never happened;). In this post you can see their photos. Beside Nephilims, everything else was fully painted and ready.

I was about to face Ten Thunders. I did not get any clue what to expect. I did not know any rules and stats. Well, I had no intentions to even bother to check it out. Fun – it was my only goal. Fun and learn – this is what I wanted.


After short introduction to the rules, we decided to play 25 Soulstones game. Easy game to pick up the game schematics. No masters (sorry, Lilith:), Henchmen as leaders. For me, the choice was obvious – Barbaros is the only painted Henchman I have, so the only thing I needed to decide is who is going to accompany him… I picked:

Mature Nelphilim and two young ones. They gave me, along with the leader – Barbaros, nice mono themed band to play. I love such compositions – they look the best on tabletop. Sometimes they do not act as good as they look during the game, but it’s no the point. I need a lesson, I need to give Malifaux the try. So, Barbaros and his band will receive this lesson. Bring it on!

Barbaros and Nephilims are ready!

Barbaros and Nephilims are ready!

My opponent, Sławek took – Ototo (as leader), Yamaziko and three Torakage. As a total newbie, I had no idea who exactly I’m dealing with, but honestly my plan first of all to learn the game schematics – not to win at all cost.

Ten Thunders, Ototo and his band.

Ten Thunders, Ototo and his band.

We played Squatter’s Right strategy. I used Bodyguard and Murder Protege schemes and Sławek chose – Bodyguard and Distract schemes.

Schemes and strategy we have drawn.

Schemes and strategy we have drawn.

Tabletop setup. My neverborn started on left corner, and Ten Thunders on the right. Markers were in the middle.

Tabletop set up. My Neverborn started on left corner, and Ten Thunders on the right. Markers were in the middle.

Generally, the game was all about markers. Both of us quickly rushed to take over the markers. Unfortunately for me Ten Thunders were faster and I was forced to fight for them. I am absolute noob – and I was not aware that Distract scheme has such powerful potential. Basicly, my models couldn’t do anything – Ten Thunders were distracting all the time and I all my Nephilims could only spend all their available actions to get rid off the distraction effect. But it costs 2 Action points!

Fight on!

Fight on!

Damn, no AP left to engage in combat or interact with markers. And Ten Thunders had one model more then me  – so they could distract me and still one model left to do other actions than distract.

Mature Nephilim vs Ototo and

Mature Nephilim vs Ototo and Yamaziko…

...and he failed to kill them :(

…and he failed to kill them. Instead, they killed him…:(

Suffice to say, I lost. I was able to take control over two markers. I even badly wounded two of Torakage, but I failed to kill any of Ten Thunders, not even mentioning to kill the leader  – Ototo. One of my Young Nephilims and Big Boy Nephilim were killed. Ototo and Yamaziko melee range of 3 inches is annoying. They could fight and my Nephilims could not fight back. What a bugger…

I don’t remember the final score. It was something like 8-3 to Ten Thunders, but it could be more. I did not care about the win or lost – I wanted to learn the rules and so I did. Sławek I owe you a beer or two:) Before the game when I was reading the rulebook or studying characters card – I was only thinking I understand the rules. Well, not exactly – in my understanding the rulebook is not written properly to easily comprehend the knowledge. I thought I get the idea, but during the gameplay it all started to be blurry. Sławek is patient teacher and he explained me all my doubts. Right now – when I read the abilities on stat card I understand all of it or at least 90% of it. Soon, I’ll become Malifaux champion! (well, we will see about that;).

My impression

What can I say? Malifaux is great! Generally I try not to judge game by its rules and concentrate on miniatures. If models are appealing to me, then I buy some to paint and eventually I want to give the game a try. I heard many positive comments about Malifaux all across internet and from my close friends. And right now I can confirm that – I love Malifaux and I will concentrate my gaming efforts on it in the near future.

I have few thoughts about the game that I’d like to share. First, the plus side:

  • first of all, Malifaux like all skirmish game is fast. You need only 2 hours or so to play the full proper game. That’s the beauty of all skirmish! Handful of models, not so big table with few pieces of terrain and you can go ahead.  In my first game I used only 4 models, and my opponent 5. We played around 1,5 hours and I needed the rules explanation constantly so the game was lengthen a little bit.
  • the game is not about simple – elimination of all opponent’s models. The variety of ways how you can get victory points is enormous. In fact, beside main strategy – both players could have different hidden agendas (called schemes in Malifaux) and ways how to earn victory points.  In my first game – I tried to kill enemy model – to get points from Murder Protege scheme and protect Mature Nephilim (points form Bodyguard scheme). Both schemes were hidden and opposite player couldn’t knew what exactly my strategy is… This is so cool. The gameplay become more complex and you’ll not get bored easily with Malifaux – the game is not that much repeatable and makes gamers stick to it for longer period of time.
  • In Malifaux there are no dice. And no rolls obviously. Instead each of the player use deck of cards. Each card has the value and that value determines if you achieve or fail the task. In their hands players have 6 additional cards which can me put into game instead the one just flipped. It it called Cheating Fate. Well, in my opinion it seriously limits the randomness of the game (in our 25 Soulstones game – almost every time we could change the card if we flipped too low value. I can imagine in larger battles – 6 cards in the hand is not enough to Cheat Fate every time) which is great. It demands from the players tactical thinking and anticipation of opponent’s future moves.
Rulebook and deck of models and you can start the game:).

Rulebook and deck of cards…plus models and you can start the game:).

…and now the minuses (there are not too many of them, and they are rather minor issues, not  a huge problems):

  • well, I wrote, on plus side, that like all skirmish games, to play Malifaux you will need only few models. And it’s true, but the game favours gamers who have more miniatures to choose the band from. Depending on the strategies and random schemes, player need to choose appropriate miniatures for the game. If you are thinking about killing as many enemy models as possible, you choose close combat experts. If you want to take markers quickly, you choose fast runners, and so on…If you have wide variety of masters, henchmen, minions, you will be able the most optimal squad for the game.  So , the cost of entry level for Malifaux is low, but the much you spend on your faction, the more options you will have (if you want to compete, of course)…. Prepare for serious investment if you want to play Malifaux for real then:)
  • Malifaux offers many options, that’s right. Factions, masters, schemes – this all makes the game more complex than you might think. It might look easy to begin, but the complexity is deep here. All the special rules and characters abilities makes the game quite difficult to master. Prepare yourself for serious brain teaser. Warhammer FB comparing to the Malifaux is chess or even checkers even (all right, I exaggerated a little here;). You have been warned! (wait….why this is on minus side?;)

Well, I’m very impressed how the game system works. I already dived into the rules and started to study other factions. Right now, admittedly, I will not have many opportunities to play while I’ll be travelling, but I have plans to paint Malifaux miniatures while I’ll be away (Pandora “No Shelter Here” box plus Doppleganger model are going with me:). I believe excitement will even grow when I start to play with Masters. Lilith just waits to feast on human blood! Hell, yeah!

So, any Malifaux players out there? Australia, Indonesia, Singapore? I’d love to meet and play if possible:).

Until next time!


  1. Great post. I think your opponent picked a really good way to introduce you to the game taking a (relatively) un-killy crew and playing Distract; Malifaux is not only about killing stuff (though it can help a lot).

    In terms of your first minus point, I think that the belief that the game favours the player with more miniatures in their case (due to the way crews are constructed) is only true up to a certain point. You can get better results playing with pieces you know really well, even if they are not perfect for the strategy and schemes. Conversely, playing the ideal piece won’t help you in a game if you’re not familiar with their powers.

    Your second minus point is not really a negative for me; there are so many permutations that the game stays fresh even when you play a lot (like I do).

    The cheating fate mechanic is more noticable in larger games (50SS is most common in my country). Having only 6 cards to cheat in for a crew of 7 or 8 pieces really makes you choose when to use them. The other advantage of the card deck over dice is that there is only a certain amount of ‘bad luck’ in the deck. WIth dice, we’ve all had days where only 1s are rolled. With cards, once the four 1s are out of the deck, they’re not coming back until you have cycled the deck. This is not to say that luck is not a factor, but at least the impact is slightly limited.

    Liked by 1 person

    • wow! thanks for such nice comment:)

      after my first game I must say Malifaux is great and I already spending my evenings on planning which way I should go with it. All models look super cool, and it’s really hard to decide which one to buy and paint next. Gosh! For sure I’m going deep into Malifaux:).

      well, about minuses. like you wrote – not exactly minuses ( especially the second one:) – it’s more like a teasing than serious points. I don’t think that complexity of the game is a negative thing – well, maybe for small kids 😉

      Long story short – Malifaux is great and I’m looking forward for my next game! Oh, jolly:)


  2. Pingback: Malifaux again- Poltergeist and Sorrow | Game of Travel

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