Episode 17: Malifaux, Playing the Table and Mechanics that Enhance Replayability

In episode 17, the founders enter the steampunk, gothic horror, and weird west world of Wyrd Miniature's Malifaux and bring you an overview and review. Tony digs up juicy gaming news from across the web. Then continuing the series of listener submitted discussions the founders tackle playing the table as opposed to playing the game and a discussion on mechanics that enhance replayability.

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Episode Timeline

  • Malifaux Walkthrough: 00:27
  • Malifaux Review: 00:40
  • Gaming News with Tony Topper: 01:04
  • Playing the Table as Opposed to Playing the Game: 01:21
  • And Now You Know: Making a Giant Gridded White Board 01:45
  • Mechanics that Enhance Replayability: 01:51 

Opening Banter Topics:

  • The founders have a mini-review of Epic Spellwars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mount Skullzfire by Cryptazoic.
  • After some play time, Chris and Jamie give their final impression of Nightfall for iOS.
  • Jamie picked up Fealty for iOS, a fast playing euro-style territory control similar to Tigres and Euphrates, and was impressed.
  • Tony picked up Tikal for iOS and wasn't impressed by the amount of counting that's required, Jamie however enjoys it.
  • The Worlds First MMA Board Game update! Still at $0 on Kickstarter, 7 days left as of recording. Please don't beat Chris up if you come to Origins.
  • The founders played  a game of Warrior Knights and share a mini-review.
  • Tony stumbled upon a site for 3d designs by following the credits for a picture of dice in a Forbes article, shapeways.com, that allows people to design and upload 3d designs, then they print on demand and serve as a shopping cart for you. They have an impressive collection of amazing looking (but moderately expensive) dice. Check it out!
  • Origins is getting closer and closer! If you're going to be in attendance, hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, or our Guild forums as BoardGameGeek.com. We'd love to sit down and play a game with you!

Walkthrough and Review: Malifaux by Wyrd Miniatures

Malifaux is a skirmish miniature game in a horror/steampunk setting. Each player builds a force of 5-7 figures from a faction to battle it out. A force is composed of minions and at least one master. Malifaux involves elements of resource management as hands of cards are used instead of dice to resolve skill checks. Each check involves drawing a card from a deck and adding it to a figure's statistic. Players can then use cards from their hands to raise the value. The highest value in an opposed check wins. The turn system is integrated, with each player alternating turns between model activations.

Gaming News with Tony Topper

Product Announcements
Nightfall: Dark Rages coming in June! Tempest unveiled at GAMA Trade Show.
Ugg-Tect, a game of prehistoric architecture! A preview of Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition, at the printers now! MSRP $79.95. Update on the X-Wing Miniatures game, it will be here this Summer!
What is good in life? - Wrong! It's "What is best in life?" Munchkin Conan announced, and they fail to deliver on Conan lore!
Small World Realms - Go East, a new blog post detailing the most important aspect of Go East, it's scenarios!
Kickstarter Projects Ending Soon
  •  Ogre Designer's Edition: This project is exploding on Kickstarter! This isn't just a reprint of the first game Steve Jackson designed. It's an expanded edition that includes a lot of lovingly crafted additions to the base game as well as rules revision currently weighing in at 14 lbs! As of the release of E17 there's still time to get in on the action!
  • Magic the Gathering The Musical? Yes, you read correctly. Think of the Muppets, in a musical, in the context of a Magic the Gathering tournament. Unusual but it looks entertaining.
Product Releases
  • Magic the Gathering Toolbox pulled from the iTunes Store due to a buggy update, still available for Android. At recording the reasons were unknown, since then users have commented and cleared the air. Lots of complaints regarding crashes, buggy functionality, slow load times, and the micro transaction update system.
  • Nefarious by Donald X. Vaccarino will release shortly (probably before E17 airs)! It's on the hotness list at Board Game Geek so keep your eyes open for it!
  • The Dust Warfare: Core Rulebook is now on sale!

Listener Feedback Request

What do you think of our game review segment?  Would you like to hear more older game?  Are you only interested in hearing about the new hotness?  A mixture of both maybe?  Let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter and our Board Game Geek Guild.

Playing the Table as Opposed to Playing the Game

Chris heads up the discussion suggested by Matthew Sharwarko, sharing that games that have elements of this similar to poker is what he loves about games. In particular, he Tony states manipulation, persuasion, bluffing, and diplomacy are the core facets of the topic to him. The founders discuss games such as Puerto Rico, San Juan, Citadels, Civilizations, and others. Jamie poses a question to the group, asking whether there's a moral line that can be crossed by taking advantage of people who are non-confrontational. Chris shares that sometimes it's good to make the fun decisions and not executing the best strategy, particularly when introducing players to a game. He tells the world that he lets his wife win at times just so she enjoys the game and wants to play again. The founders then switch to discussing games that are almost entirely based on playing the table, such as Fury of Dracula, Letters from Whitechapel, and Werewolves of Millers Hollow. Jamie tells a story about playing against one of our fellow gamers, Steve, who he tries to read and use reverse psychology on to ascertain what he's going to do. Tony then brings up the idea of a veiled threat, where in Settlers of Catan he'll reveal a knight card when someone rolls a 7 or in Carson City where he'll threaten to put his cowboys on people's buildings to rob them. Jamie explains why he doesn't like bidding and auction games. Tony loves bidding people up even when he doesn't want something just to get them to pay more. Jamie gets really upset when someone does that to him and the person doesn't even need what is being bid on. Often times he'll default to letting them have it just to screw them out of resources, followed by Tony admitting he's been stuck with things he didn't actually want because of that type of reaction. To wrap things up, Chris asks the group what they think about games that have a lot of playing the table. Tony shares that there are so many games where tension from playing the table makes the game for him. Jamie expresses that it depends on what players he's playing with. He hates games where player reaction can hinder his enjoyment, but games where reading other players and ascertaining whether he can manipulate them into doing something beneficial for himself is a passion of his.

And Now You Know: Making a Giant, Gridded White Board for RPGs

In this quick segment, Jamie talks about how he made the 8'x4' gridded white board that the Secret Cabal Roleplayers use.  Here are photos of the board in action. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thesecretcabal/sets/72157626570370201/

Mechanics that Enhance Replayability

Jamie leads the discussion suggested by Josh Plett, mechanics that enhance replayability. To start, the founders toss out their initial thoughts on the topic. The first mechanic offered up by Tony is game layout, ala Settlers of Catan with random tile distribution for the game board. Jamie shares that Kingdom Builder is a favorite of his due to the variable playing board. Chris shares Betrayal at House on the Hill and Mansions of Madness due to the tile laying. Tony points out that those are terrible games, though he finds them fun. Chris shares variable game outcomes have a huge impact on replayability for him, citing Betrayal due to the differing stories that play out. Jamie shares that Star Trek: Expeditions failed in this regard. Tony offers up another mechanic, varying strategies, stating that he loves a game where he can try vastly different strategies each time which results in the game playing differently. Tony points out that the variable strategies have to be steeped in theme, using Civilizations the Board Game as an example. Each of those strategies seems appropriate in context of the theme. Jamie shares that consistent and enjoyable actions throughout a game adds replayability for him. To him, deckbuilders fall into this category but they fail for him because the start is set and his actions seem mundane until his deck gets going. It's only at the end that it starts to get good. He then shares that Survive: Escape from Atlantis fulfills this for him. Tony shares that Survive doesn't do it for him due to the chaos. Chris shares that difficult cooperative games are something that highly entices replayability. Jamie adds to that saying solo or cooperative both works, but it has to be difficult or it stops being fun. Chris cites Ghost Stories on the iPad, saying that it was so difficult he was excited and yelled about his victory to his wife (from the bathroom) after finally beating the game. Jamie explains Pandemic epitomizes all of his requirements for replayability. To start, it has variable difficulty, so as new players the game starts off easy and as the players become more skilled the difficulty can be scaled up. It also has expansions that add a traitor mechanic as well as adding new strains that are more difficult to cure. Tony shares that he doesn't like Pandemic because players tell each other what to do. Ultimately the Founders have decided Tony just doesn't like cooperative games. After Tony's tirade about cooperative games, the founders go back to the discussion and talk about play length. Jamie makes the point that play length has a huge impact on whether he wants to play the game again. Chris shares that pl2ay length has a large impact on who will actually sit down and play the game in the first place. The shorter the game, the easier it is to break it out, adding to the replayability. Tony explains that he dislikes waiting for other players to take their turns but it's something that makes or breaks the experience in long games where in short games it's not as much of an issue. This leads into a discussion on games that have integrated turns such as Puerto Rico. Tony cites a book he was reading called Flow, which ultimately focused on why people find various activities fun or engaging. Jamie states that, simply put, what makes a game fun also makes a game replayable. Tony agrees but states that the way the question is framed changes the context of the discussion.

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