Sunday, 29 September 2013

M2E: What Malifaux Has Done Right

So, if you hadn't noticed, there's been an edition change in Malifaux. M2E (Malifaux 2nd Edition) was up for a public beta in June and July, pre-released at GenCon (with the very nice addition that those of us not attending that event could still get it from the web store for those few days) and has now been sent to retailers for real.

This is my take.

First, I've played one (yes, one whole) game of M2E.

Oh, and like maybe a dozen of the beta, but they only almost count. There have been large changes since the first iteration, and some changes from the final beta version. Still, those dozen games did give a feel for the flow of the new edition, and many of the strengths and issues have remained more or less unchanged.

The Status Quo, in case you were wondering.
Speed, clarity and balance.

Oh, you want details? Of course you do, or why would you read my rambling, text-heavy and longwindedly redundant blog. Or should that be redundantly longwinded? Ah, well...

M2E is a lot quicker to play than M1E. This is largely due to point two (clarity) but is also caused by a cropping of rules - particularly for Masters - and thus a reduction of unnecessary complexity. There are also a number of small things, like easier-to-measure deployment zones, spells no longer being two separate simple duels (or indeed being spells, as such), and different but similar special rules being consolidated into single rules (see clarity), that contribute.

The game I played yesterday (my technically first game of M2E) took a little under four hours. This is not quick, but that was largely because we played at a very leisurely pace. It's the longest (I think) game of M2E - including the beta - so far. In M1E, we'd be lucky if our quick games only took four hours.

Of course, my opponent yesterday has the established strategy of waiting for his opponent to die of old age...

A game being relatively quick to play (two and a half, rather than four and a half hours) is important. It means we can conceivably get a game in on weeknights, even though we have to get up for work the next morning. It means we have time to talk both before and after the game on Saturdays, and don't have to set aside most of a day for a single game.

Even with all the lovely aspects of Malifaux, the first edition was occasionally a mess. There were several attempts at fixing this, including what was called edition 1.5, a slew of extensive FAQs and the Wyrd Forum Rules Marshalls. But it was an occasionally fundamentally flawed system.

M2E fixed a lot of this.

So M1E is the car, 1.5 is the duct tape, and M2E is the new car we got to replace this...

The rules are now better laid-out. This means they are easier to find in the heat of battle. On that same topic, rules are now written out in full on the model cards, meaning you don't have to look up that many rules in the rulebook.

Many rules that did similar things before have been consolidated into single rules. On some levels, this has been because of certain layers of rules disappearing (the concept of damage vs. wounds, for example) but it also has to do with the next paragraph.

Many rules that did nothing, did functionally the same thing as some other rule, or did something that wasn't very useful have largely gone away.

Now, some people will disagree, and there is still room for it to change with the second wave of models (since this is largely where it started going wrong last time) but I feel that M2E is a lot better balanced than M1E. Some models that were really bad remain kinda bad, but there are no longer any models that are incredibly overpowered.

This is M1E Pandora: fun in theory, but no fun to face, and even the guy using it is gonna chop his own legs off.

This is largely because Masters have been reduced in importance, and some of the most glaring imbalances were centered on Masters. I struggle against certain Masters, but this is due to my own incompetence, rather than any problem with the system.

I will admit that some Masters (and some non-Master models) are better than others. We have yet to figure out exactly what to do with the Viktorias, for example. But the raging un-fun-ness that was Pandora's Battle-Train is gone, and with it a large portion of the balance issues of M1E book 1. The general inabilty to Trigger off of Trigger-induced actions has helped a lot.

Finishing up
Yeah, so no. I'm only doing the good today. Partly because that way I have another post just waiting to happen, and partly 'cause I can't be bothered.

If you read that in a snooty seven-year-old's voice, I got the sentiment across.

Obviously, though, I have left a few parts out. I have, for one thing, been speaking in general rather than tackle the changes to specific models, or the ways the dynamics of the game have changed, or the absolutely stunning and steadily improving new plastics.

Next time will be me whining about the bad things. So that'll be fun...

Ta, and DFTBA.

No comments:

Post a Comment