Boise has always had communities for gaming floating around. Or at least in my lifetime there has been a group playing pretty much anything I could want to play. You had to look harder for some games than others though. The increase in quality stores in the area has really bolstered the numbers of gamers by giving them friendly, clean environments to meet and share their geeky interests. It’s always in my interest to give the patrons of a game with a scattered following a hand finding like minded individuals to strengthen the community.
With that in mind here is my nod to Malifaux.
In 1787 the most powerful practitioners of magic came together with a common goal, to halt the decline of magic in our world. Through unknown methods they identified a source of power hidden behind a thin barrier that was too tempting to resist. In what some would call an act of desperation they combined their strength to tear open the barrier. The results were massive. Many of the practitioners dropped dead from the strain and the aetheric backlash. The city where the barrier was torn was leveled. The survivors found their power magnified several fold just by being near the Breach. Explorations were mounted into the Breach and thus was the city of Malifaux discovered.
This is just a small taste of the rich history of Malifaux. Published by Wyrd Miniatures, Malifaux is a squad based skirmish game played with high quality pewter miniatures and a deck of fate cards. Four factions combine wild west, steampunk, victorian horror and other elements to do battle for control of the city of Malifaux. The Guild, an old west type organization of peacekeepers, judges, and bounty hunters. The Resurrectionists a group of necromancers and grave robbers. The Arcanists, outlaw magicians with an agenda. The Neverborn, a collection of demons and nightmares. And Outcasts who fit in nowhere and everywhere.
Playing Malifaux is largely similar to most other tabletop miniature games. You do battle with pewter minis on a three foot by three foot playing field sprinkled with varying terrain. Crews can be built with varying soulstone costs but none require a huge army or financial commitment. A starter kit can be obtained for between $25-$40 and won’t get you steamrolled against a player with more models. One major difference is that dice are not used as randomizers. You don’t roll them to attack or defend or to determine damage. Instead a 54 card deck of cards (called a Fate Deck) is used. When an attack is made the top card is flipped and its numeric value is added to the model’s stats. You then have the option to cheat fate using your hand of 6 control cards. I’ve found the card system to be innovative and effective though it takes some getting used to. Another fun difference is that victory is not dependant on the total annihilation of your opponent (though it can be). Rather, play and win conditions are chosen at random by flips from the Fate Deck. These random settings make for high replayability and can severely hamstring certain crew builds.
Games can be played in under an hour once you get comfortable with the rules. Before that it is wise to budget a fair amount of your afternoon to get to know the game. Fortunately there are sages of the Malifaux world around the Boise area to help on your quest for understanding. Malifaux clubs are held Monday nights at 6 pm at Phoenix Fire Games in Meridain and Wednesday nights at All About Games also at 6 pm.