Sunday, May 5, 2019

Let the Countdown Commence!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a release date!

Earlier this week, our Wyrd overlords deigned to inform us that June 28th is the date upon which we shall be receiving our M3E goodness. The message included a number of interesting details for store owners, including their intention to put together packets of the new stat cards which can be inserted into the boxes along with a sticker on the outside to indicate that the box has been updated. This should cut down on the need for retailers to clear out old stock and replace it with new cards, and hopefully cut down on the recent Wyrd product firesales that most stores have been employing. Additionally, Wyrd is intending to start lumping some of the individual model boxed sets together to try and cut down on the number of SKUs that stores have to stock for Malifaux product, which is also a good thing. One of the concerning things going into the relaunch was going to be the situation with boxed sets that are having new models added to them. As a way of addressing this, Wyrd will be offering the ability to special order individual models through store owners for the first year after M3E’s release. This way, if you already own the whole Marcus boxed set but need one model that has been added to it (just a random example, I don’t actually know if there will be anything new in Marcus’ boxed set) you can get it special without having to fork over cash for a whole new box. I think these are good steps taken by the company, as their reputation, particularly in terms of customer service and relationships with retailers, has taken a bit of a ding over the last year. Hopefully this is a sign of them pulling out of that tailspin.

But what about the new stuff! Well, ok, calm down. Obviously, I’m going to talk about that too. For those of you like me (and, let’s be honest, everybody reading this blog probably falls into the same category) that won’t necessarily be in a huge rush to go replace all their models with new stuff come launch day, all of the rules and stat cards for M3E will be available for free on Wyrd’s website day one. If you have access to a printer or a tablet, you can play M3E when the game launches June 28th without spending a dime (other than printer ink, of course, which I think is made from soulstone dust gauging by the price. /oldmanrant.) Most folks will want physical cards, of course, and the stat cards and upgrades for each M2E model will be available for purchase in Faction Packs that will be sold essentially as long as demand lasts. Gauging how M1E to M2E went that’ll be about a year so you won't want to wait too long. It’s a good way to get shiny new cards for all of your old models all in one go, barring dual-faction complications. Interestingly, Wyrd has also decided to create Faction books that will be released over the months following release that will include new stories, lore, and information on the factions themselves. I assume stat blocks will be in there also, but at first blush these fall into the category of “luxury item” for people who want to just play some Malifaux. I’m curious to see what’s in them, and as a lore nerd I’ll probably need to pick them up at some point to get all the current juicy fluff content, but I don’t feel like I’ll need to buy all of them on day one necessarily.

As for the models themselves, as mentioned above the plan is to lump some boxed sets together. This helps store owners out for the above reasons as well as by helping the sales staff to guide new players (“Oh, you like Seamus? Cool, to get all of the models from his keyword, you just have to pick up these three boxes that say they include the Redchapel keyword on the outside.”) and potentially make it less of a wallet hit for new people to join the game as well. Ok, probably not that last one, but at least it’ll keep new players from getting overwhelmed by letting them focusing on the keyword models rather than having the daunting task of buying the whole faction in front of them. I included some preview art of the new boxed sets above. I preferred M2E’s green and black boxes to this new scheme, and this new sculpt of Lady Justice isn’t my favorite, but the new judge looks rad and I really like the idea of lumping some models in theme together in the same box. As for the new release schedule itself, why don’t I just go ahead and throw it into the post here so you can check it out.

* An asterisk next to a product SKU indicates that the box contains new sculpts or models.
June Releases

Malifaux Core Rulebook
Guild Faction Pack
Resurrectionist Faction Pack
Arcanist Faction Pack
Neverborn Faction Pack
Outcast Faction Pack
Bayou Faction Pack
Ten Thunders Faction Pack
Dead Man's Hand Pack
M3E Fate Deck
* WYR23101
Basse Core Box
* WYR23302
Burning Bridges
* WYR23701
Youko Core Box

July Releases

General Upgrades Pack
Guild Faction Book
Arcanist Faction Book
Neverborn Faction Book
* WYR23104
Lady Justice Core Box
* WYR23301
Marcus Core Box
* WYR23502
Loyalty to Coin
Nellie Core Box
Perdita Core Box
Sonnia Core Box
Brutal Fate
Seamus Core Box
Reva Core Box
Carrion Fate
Ironsides Core Box
Kaeris Core Box
Sandeep Core Box
Arcane Fate
Pandora Core Box
Titania Core Box
Mysterious Fate
Tara Core Box
Parker Core Box
Hamelin Core Box
Jack Daw Core Box
Hodgepodge Fate
Mah Tucket Core Box
Zipp Core Box
Brewmaster Core Box
Ulix Core Box
Lucky Fate
Lucas Core Box
Mei Feng Core Box
Asami Core Box
Shenlong Core Box
Shadow Fate

August Releases

Bayou Faction Book
Ten Thunders Faction Book
* WYR23303
Colette Core Box
* WYR23601
Som'er Core Box
* WYR23713
One Born Every Minute
Pathfinder and Clockwork Traps
Pale Rider
Guild Steward
Rogue Necromancy
Dead Rider
Mechanical Rider
Hooded Rider
Ashes and Dust
Rooster Riders
Whiskey Golem
Bayou Smuggler
Ten Thunder Archers
Lotus Eater
Charm Warder
Dawn Serpent

September Releases

Resurrectionist Faction Book
Outcast Faction Book
* WYR23201
Von Schtook Core Box
* WYR23401
Dreamer Core Box
* WYR23501
Viktoria Core Box
Six Feet Under
Wake the Dead
Surgical Staff
Vengeful Ghosts
The Returned
Eternal Servitude
Altered Beasts
The Ten Peaks
Support Staff
A Light in the Dark
The Howling
Familiar Faces
Hired Killers
Marlena Webster
Wokou Raiders
A Hard Day's Work
Bayou Engineering
Off the Top Rope
See Ya Later
Gautraeux Bokor
Creative Taxidermy
Ancient Evil

It looks like there’s roughly one master’s boxed set per faction getting a resculpt, except for the Ten Thunders. That’s a little disappointing, as I would argue they are the most in need of new plastics, since they were first after Wyrd switched away from pewter and their quality is well behind the others. I thought that all of the alternate art for them in Broken Promises might have indicated the future, but for now I’m a little confused. I assume a new Sonnia will be coming at some point as well, since she doesn’t wear the mask anymore.

I'm sure she's hard at work "motivating" the sculptors as we speak.

Lastly, Wyrd mentions that they’ll be releasing a Gaining Grounds Season One document at some point within the first year of the game’s life to reignite the competitive scene (some of which has already started to come back, based on the M3E beta tournaments I’ve seen recently.) I hope they’re working with Craig at Third Floor Wars so they can tie this in with his Third Floor Wars’ attempt to get a national Masters tournament put together. And, of course, they bring up the mysterious new faction coming (likely) in the next wave of M3E. For those not in the know, McCabe and the new Guild master Basse are dual-faction with them, and some overheard rumor and scuttlebutt has it that 1) there will be a model in the faction for which you can use the former Mounted Guard alternate sculpts from the Nightmare McCabe boxed set and 2) the name of this new faction has been mentioned somewhere in the already existing fluff. More details will doubtless come from the upcoming M3E fluff, but I’d say that the themes of frontier, wild west-type models will probably be involved. Maybe an Explorer’s Society pushing out into the boundaries of settled Malifaux to explore the wider world? I don’t know, but I’m in love with them already. I wish Perdita was going with them as well so I could just quit the Guild entirely and play these new people, but c’est la vi. I’m told by unnamed sources that Perdita and Basse don’t really get along, as Perdita will happily burn down a village to get the Neverborn she thinks is hiding inside while Basse is much more law and order focused. The obvious rebuttal, of course, is “yeah, but McCabe is a lawless scoundrel who is literally responsible for breaking the Earth,” but nobody asked for my opinion on the matter. I like ‘em. ‘Nuff said.

All things considered I’m looking forward to the coming M3E goodness. I think this community post by Wyrd was a good step in the right direction, and they seems to be conscious of the need to make the transition between editions as painless as possible, which is a good thing. Every day I get more hyped for M3E, which hopefully will translate into more regular Malifaux Musings. If you’re in the mid-west United States, I’ll be attending my first M3E tournament in Des Moines May 25th and 26th at Museon Con. If you make the trip, hopefully we’ll see each other there! I’ll be the one who looks befuddled while trying to remember how all these newfangled models work.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Reel Me Back In

           I was all ready to cut ties with the Neverborn. I put my monster models away on the shelf. I lamented the removal of the masters I had played for the last several years from the faction (ok, technically Dead Man’s Hand masters regained their faction allegiance at the end of the beta, but you know what I mean.) I spent most of my engagement in Alpha/Beta testing Guild or Ten Thunders. I even had a #notmyNeverborn locked and loaded, ready for release along with M3E (there would have been T-Shirts. It would have been great.)

            And then I thought of a Neverborn crew.

            Admittedly, the beginning of this Kickstarter had something to do with twisting my mind back in the direction of Malifaux’s twisted natives. I’ve always wanted to do the Dreamer as HP Lovecraft and these models make good proxies.

(He’s a little too old, as he’d be 16/17 in Malifaux today.  Also, of course, he was born in Rhode Island instead of London like the Dreamer. Maybe in his dreams he reverts a bit in age? The above is a picture of him as a nine year old. L Sprague de Camp described him as a brown-eyed tot with with long golden curls…)

            Anyways, I’m getting off topic. Dreamer’s fun, but having bought his Nightmare Edition metal box in M1E that I never painted or played I 1) Don’t have any Alps to summon 2) Lost one of Coppelius’s face tentacles a long while ago and 3) don’t have a Widow Weaver or Serena Bowman to use as henchmen. So, it’ll be a while until I can field a Dreamer crew realistically (assuming those models don’t all suck, which is possible. People who tested Neverborn in the beta can let me know.) So, basically, I was just planning on using the models as an art project and nothing else.

            Then, of course, the Easter Sale happened (it’s still happening, btw. Go buy stuff. I guess. You don’t have to.)

            This year’s new limited edition alternate model is a really cool/gross alternate sculpt of the Stitched Together. They’re pretty cool, and I started to feel the gribbly little claws of the Neverborn worming their way back into my soul. I looked them up in the beta files. They’re pretty good. Not as killy as they used to be, but nothing is in M3E. That’s one of the points. But the final straw came when I glanced at the Dead Man’s Hand files to see what ended up becoming of Lillith and Collodi. I don’t care for the former, but the latter seems like a pretty good compromise of some of the M2E stuff and not wanting him to be completely unbalanced. The Dreamer, I realized, only casts 13 stones to hire for some reason (I mean he doesn’t do much damage, but he’s a summoner. I’m just surprised, is all.) He can only summon 2 nightmares, but Collodi can hire all 3 of the Stitched Togethers if you want at base price, all of which can do Lucid Dream to help feed Dreamer and use the cards you mill for your life gambling attack.
            And a crew was born.

            I mean, it’s Dead Man’s Hand, so obviously you have to have your TO allow you to use it, but I kind of want to because it keeps one foot in both worlds of M2E and M3E for me. Dreamer is there to resummon any of the Stitched that die during the game. He can do it from literally anywhere on the board, since his summoning mechanics have the summoned Nightmare appear next to an enemy who fails a WP duel. I think it may be better to only come with two Stitched and have Dreamer summon the third one so it can pop out in the fray later on. He can summon Insidious Madness later on in the game to run schemes if necessary, although in M2E anyways the Marionnettes were able to do a lot of the heavy scheme runner lifting on his own.
            Anyways, a list.

Nightmares and Puppet Shows
Collodi-Inhuman Reflexes         2SS
4xMarionnettes                          0SS (Hurray for free totems)
Dreamer                                     13SS
Brutal Effigy                                 4SS
2xStitched Together                12SS
Vasilisa                                         8SS
Another Effigy                             4SS
Cache                                            7SS

            The second effigy slot can swap around to something different depending on matchup. If I know I’ll need condition removal, Arcane is an obvious choice. I think Lucky would be a good all-rounder choice. There may be other options, who knows. To be determined. I think it’s good. Let me know what you think.