18 October 2010

Malifaux: Fate Deck & Puppet Deck

Went to my buddy Daniel today to play some Malifaux, and he had ordered a couple of fate decks for the game (you don't use dice in this game, you use playing cards). So I joined in on his order and picked up my Resurrectionist fate deck while I was at his house.

First question if you're not familiar with Malifaux, it is a miniature wargame, played on a skirmish level. The setting is like a mix of Western/Victorian era/Steampunk/Weird horror/Alice in the Underworld stuff. Very unique setting, with 5 different factions who roam the town of Malifaux in a alternate dimension where people could travel from earth - very complex story but I like it (will describe it next time I do a "special" for my blog).

So anyways, this game has a different game mechanic than most miniature wargames - and players generate results in combat, defense, magic etc by drawing cards from a so called "fate deck". The fate deck itself is based on a regular deck of cards, you have a 54 total of cards, 4 suits each containing 13 cards and 2 jokers. It is possible to play this game using regular playing/poker cards, and the rulebook tells you how each suit is translated into the Malifaux game.

Anyways Wyrd Games has released 2 types of cards for this game - the regular "Fate deck" and the so called "Puppet deck". I think the fate deck is like £4.5 and the puppet something like £6.5.

Using a Wyrd Games original Malifaux deck speeds up the process a little - but the biggest boon is that you don't have to think about small stuff anymore, like which category of the 3 damage types each number falls into and such.

Each suit shows you a number, one of the 3 types of damage and 1 out of 4 faction symbols.

Both decks can be shuffled like a regular deck of poker cards. The big difference is that the "Fate deck" is made out of cardboard/paper while the "Puppet deck" is made out of plastic, making the later much easier to shuffle and way more durable. But unless you are reckless your regular Fate Deck should be enough. The regular fate deck also has less variation in artwork, each suit contains only 3 pictures, one for weak damage, one for medium damage and one for severe damage. The puppet deck has unique artwork on every single card, depicting units and characters from the game in a "puppet version" which looks pretty cool.

However, my opinion is that although the puppet deck looks cool, it is "cluttered" and at least for me it's harder to make out exactly what each cards says right away. The numbers and the artwork as well as the background kind of blend together, and the overall color is grey/light yellow - while the fate deck have great contrast between numbers, faction symbols and the damage types making it possible to spot the difference between cards instantly.

I think it falls down to personal taste on which deck you pick, the difference in price is not that great an obstacle and they are both quite affordable.

Below is the "puppet deck" and a comparison between the two decks

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