In the last article i talked about the schedule of the Beta and why a second edition of Malifaux is needed (In my opinion at least. You might not agree). In this one i’m going to talk about the changes themselves as we know them from the Beta documents release by Wyrd Miniatures on their public forum. You can find the current Beta rules here: http://www.wyrd-games.net/showthread.php?43868-M2E-Playtest-Files-06-13-13
So the best place to start would be the Core Rules of Malifaux, and what’s changed and why and then i’ll look at the models and what has happened to those.
- Soulstones have undergone a change to avoid the unreachable totals that some Masters/Henchmen could achieve. [Lilith for example could reach 35 on Defense which would only be reachable by a seriously buffed up Lady Justice.] Now that use of the Soulstone has gone. They now are used before the duel is started, so the decision is a tough one and you can’t ‘wait and see’ on the duel. You can add positive flips to your attack, a suit to the duel total or negatives to your opponent if you are defending. Another use is to re-flip initiative as always and now you can draw 2 additional cards in the draw step to your hand. This has become pretty important on crucial turns because now your hand and ability to cheat fate is more impactful on the game. Soulstones are good now, but not the over the top resource they were in 1.5.
- Strategies and Schemes needed a rework and that’s exactly what has happened. Now you have a shared Strategy between both players, that will accumulate VPs as the game goes along instead of at the end of the game. So each player has 4VPs up for grabs on a shared goal. The Schemes are now worth up to 3 each so the maximum VPs you can achieve is now 10 rather than 8, but instead of picking your Schemes from all the Schemes in the book before the game starts, you now have a random pool of 5 Schemes based on the numbers of suits of 2 cards you flip. This random pool gives you 5 Schemes as i mentioned and you then pick in secret 2 of them to use in the game and your opponent picks from the same pool. This stops people taking the same Schemes every game, but still gives them some form of choice in their selection.
- Scheme Markers. I thought this one deserves it’s own point rather than cluttering up the previous one. Now for many Schemes you are placing ‘Scheme Markers’ down. The purpose of each is different, and can achieve different Schemes, you can also place them down even if you don’t have a Scheme which uses them to throw your opponent off the scent of what you are really doing. This can introduce a great bluffing mechanic during the game where your opponent is placing scheme markers all over the board and you are trying to guess which of the Schemes he is trying to achieve so you can stop him getting his VPs.
- Making Spell Duels the same as Attack Duels. I can count on one hand how often spells were played correctly. In v1.5 the casting model was supposed to generate the total of the duel before his opponent can try to beat it, and this never happened. Now it works just like an opposed attack duel only with the requirement the casting model also meets the Casting Value of the spell. Great change.
Models and their Stat Cards
- The stat card changes are massive. The amount of text on each individual stat card is greatly reduced, so it makes introductory games far far easier to run. Fear not though, this doesn’t mean characters have lost their flavour. Each faction has a set of Upgrade cards they can apply to certain models which give them abilities, actions or spells. You have to pay for these out of your Soulstone limit for the game, but they allow you to add in the additional complexity if you want to and to customise your crew for the task at hand.
- Stat cards are now playing card size, and not double playing card size. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does. So there.
- Soulstone values of models have across the board increased. This coincides with a change from 35 soulstones for a regular game to 50 soulstones. The cynic in my head says ‘oh, they want to sell more models’ but with the increased cost of most models and also upgrades i have so far not used any more models than i used to in my crews. In fact the crews have been about the same size or smaller. The reason for this increase was to create the ability to point models more accurately. There were plenty of ‘4.5’ss models, which wouldn’t be good enough for 5ss but too good for 4ss. The points range increase allows this to be fixed.
- Models that were Henchmen in v1.5 (Von Schill, Kaeris, Collodi, Lucius, Molly, Ophelia) are now fully fledged Masters with two of them being in the Beta currently (Von Schill and Ophelia). Henchman is now a different classification of model that can lead crews in small games. This is now people like the Judge, Bad JuJu, Sebastian and so on.
That’s all i can think of at the moment. So far in my games of M2E, i have enjoyed them a lot and i am looking forward to Stage 2 of the Beta to use some of my favourite Neverborn minions. It has addressed a lot of the problems of v1.5 and is on route to making a much more solid and characterful wargame.