Malifaux: The Starter Set Reviewed

Today we have Martin Almand taking a look at the recent Malifaux Starter Set, and evaluating its usefulness for players both new and experienced, as well as looking at the new models inside …

*****

So want to start an amazing skirmish game, but don’t know which way to turn? Well look no further than the Malifaux starter set! This contains everything a new player (and also veterans) could need to get started, with models for two rival Factions, scenarios and storylines specifically written for those models, and all the accessories you need to get started!

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So what’s in the box??
4 Guild Models (plus respective cards)
4 Neverborn Models (plus respective cards)
2 fate decks – brand new styles based upon Guild and Neverborn
2 tape measures, one red for Guild and one purple for, yep you guessed it, Neverborn
‘Getting Started’ rulebook (has a link in the back to get the complete small rulebook as a pdf)

This all comes in at a very low cost of £36! That doesn’t sound super cheap, but if you look at what you get and what it normally costs outside of the starter set, this an absolute steal!
I don’t want to give too much away in respect of the mini story scenarios, but there are two main characters per side. For the Guild, we have the slightly deranged Dr Grimwell, and for the Neverborn, the sharp shooting Angel-Eyes. Both of these models (as with all the models in the starter set) have the Mercenary tag, which means they can be taken by any faction, so if you’re starting out and want to, say, play Outcasts or Gremlins, you can still use the models from this starter set. So if you’re starting out with the Starter Set, there’s no need to be restricted to the Guild and Neverborn factions, or to stop using the models if you decide on a different faction.

GrimwellDr Grimwell
Dr Grimwell is a mobile melee machine! He has an ability called Nimble, which allows him an additional AP (Action Point), solely for movement. He can also, once per turn make a friendly model move 4” all for the cost of discarding a card. Once he gets up close, he has two very nice melee abilities. The first, Skull Saw, costs 1AP and has a modest damage track of 2/3/5 and two triggers. (Successful attacks have varying damage values of low / medium / high depending on how well you draw for damage.) Then there is the Lobotomy attack, which has a cost of 2AP (now you can see why he has Nimble) and has an impressive damage track of 4/6/10! That alone can take out some heavy hitters. But while he can dish it out, I wouldn’t want to throw him into the thick of things and expect him to come out alive.

Angel EyesAngel Eyes
Angel Eyes is a little bit of an oddity when it comes to being Neverborn – she is a character that shoots with a rifle! This is because of the backstory, which I shall not ruin. She has a threat range of 14 inches with her Snapshot attack, which doesn’t do a lot of damage, coming in at 2/3/4. It has two inbuilt triggers (extra effects that happen if you draw a certain card suit for your attack – the suits are Rams, Masks, Tomes and Crows): the first is Critical Strike, allowing you to add +1 damage for each Ram  in the final duel. The other is on a Mask and allows her to make a 3” dodge. The one great thing about Snapshot is that you do not randomise when shooting into a melee engagement – this is very handy! Her second ranged attack costs 0AP, so can only be used once per activation and is her trusted pistol. It only has a range of 6 inches and a damage track of 2/2/3, but for a free attack, we can’t complain. Lastly, she has a nice melee attack called Tooth and Blackened Claws, but again it is not very powerful, coming in at 2/2/3. She is someone that doesn’t want to find herself in the middle of a fight, but at range taking pot shots. She has one last ability, which is very nice – On the Prowl: she heals when she kills! So if she does get in trouble, retreat and then open up with everything you have!

Everything in the box has been structured to help introduce the game to new players, taking each key aspect on, one at a time in a number of nicely linked scenarios. It also gives advice at the end on how to expand your model collection. For Neverborn, it’s the wonderful Lilith (coming soon) and for the Guild, it’s Sonnia Criid. As I play both Guild and Neverborn, the aforementioned masters are possibly my go-to choices when I play – I will be writing a small piece on both of these masters, so keep your eyes peeled!

The fate decks are fantastic and use the new characters from the set in their artwork. Also, these are not like some of the previous fate decks that would fly out of your hand when shuffling, due to being so damn slippery! The tape measures are great and their size means you can lay them on the table easier than say one you picked up from your local DIY store. Everything has been carefully thought out and a lot of attention has been given to compiling the contents of the box.
As you progress you will want to buy more bits, and there are some essential things you will inevitably need: terrain, tokens, and storage space for the many crew boxes you will buy! You will need more tokens the further you delve into Malifaux; there are a lot of suppliers, but a lot do appear to be US-based. Personally, I use Art of War Studios as they are UK based and have a huge selection. Malifaux is played on a 3×3 board normally, so you will need to invest or build some terrain at some point – there are some great companies out there that make very affordable MDF terrain. The very mixed-genre feel of Malifaux means that terrain from plenty of other miniatures games – or even from toy and train sets – can be repurposed to make your gaming board look brilliant for a low price. Just get creative and have fun!
To sum everything up: this is a great and affordable way to start the hobby. Grab a box, grab a friend and give it a try; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Hopefully see some of you Breach Side!

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