Saturday, 16 March 2013

Malifaux for Beginners - A Simple Melee Duel

Editors Note - This tutorial is for version 1.5 of the Malifaux rules and has been left available for reference only. Some Malifaux 2nd Edition Tutorials can be found well as quite a few of these old ones, lol.

Though there are many ways of dealing with your enemy in the game of Malifaux but at some point Model 'A' is going to want to kick the crap out of Model 'B'....

In these articles we're going to cover the absolute basics so if I've missed something out it's (probably) on purpose and will be covered in a later tutorial or in some more advanced tutorials that will come later.

Melee Basics.
First we'll cover the basic stats and terminology and then we'll have an example so it's all nicely in context for you.

Above we have a picture of a basic set of melee weapon stats.

Firstly we have the name of the attack (in this case 'Teeth and Nails'). The name of the attack is relevant as certain abilities will reference certain attacks for the purposes of things such as Triggers which we'll mention but will cover in detail in their own tutorial later.

Rg is short for Range and indicates the distance in inches that the model can attack another. Any attack that has the claw mark indicator next to it is a Melee attack. In the above example this attack has a range of 1".

Cb is the Combat value of the weapon. It's this value you'll be adding to your card flip so the higher this value is the better your model is in a combat situation. This value sometimes has a card suit next to it (In this case a Crow) These attached suits are related to Triggers which we'll cover at a later date.

Dg is short for Damage. These have three divisions indicating weak/moderate/or severe damage. Somewhat obviously, a high value in each category is better than a low one.

General Combat Actions.
There are three general combat actions available to you. However the two that your going to be using most often are the following

(1) Strike - This uses a single Action Point (AP). The model (referred to as the Attacker) targets another model (the defender) and performs an opposed duel (we'll come to that in a bit). It may seem a tad obvious but you need a Melee weapon to make a Melee attack...however even if you don't have one every model gets access to the Melee weapon Bash

Bash isn't listed on any of the models cards but they all have it anyway. It is the combat equivalent of ineffectually wind-milling your arms in the rough direction of your opponent in the vague hope that you might accidentally do some damage. It has a Range of 1, a Cb of 3 and Damage of 0/1/2

(2) Focus - This uses two Action Points (AP). As with Strike the model performs a Melee attack but this time both the Attack and Damage flips receive a positive (+) flip. If the Melee attack your using already costs more than one AP to use then you can't Focus it...sorry...

The third is Defensive Stance which we'll discuss separately as it's not much help when your trying to beat something up ;-)

(1) Defensive Stance must be the first action the model takes during it's activation and costs a single Action Point (AP). Until the End Closing Phase this models defensive flips get an additional two positive flips (+ +) which vastly increases your chances of getting a good total. The downside to this is that your Walk and Charge distances are reduced by 2.

Some situations make it easier to hit your enemy. We've already mentioned Focus (+ to Attack and Damage Flips) but there are a couple of others.

(2) Charge - Charging uses 2 Action Points (AP) and gives you a single positive (+) to your Damage flips...of course you still have to hit them first...

Paired Weapons - If weapons are paired it will be clearly mentioned on their stat card. Paired gives you a positive (+) to your Attack flip. In most cases this means you'll be picking two cards and picking the highest and adding that value to your Cb which increases the likelihood of you getting a high total.

In the above example the model in question's card indicates (in the Abilities section) that it's Katana is a paired weapon. The bonus only applies to the listed weapon and NOT to any other attacks it might possess.

The Attack Sequence.
Very briefly this is the order in which stuff will  occur...don't worry if this bit is confusing you at any point as we'll be doing an example straight afterwards.

1) Declare the Target, then check that your in range (You can check your Melee range at any time you wish in order to check if you're engaged in combat with an enemy model)
2) Flip your starting Attack Total, your enemy then flips his Defense total
3) You may then change your starting total (using your Control Hand) if you wish (The one with the lowest total goes first) or pass.
4) Determine both your final duel totals.
5) Declare Triggers
6) Determine success (Did you hit or not...)
7) Apply duel results

Right then. that's all the terminology sorted lets get stuck in to the mindless violence with a simple example...

We'll now show a simple duel between two models with explanations for each stage.

Having no Charge characteristic, the Rotten Belle (Model A) has walked up to the Death Marshal (Model B) and with it's 2nd AP is going to Strike (a 1 Action) it using a Melee attack.

1) The Rotten Belle has two Melee attacks on it's card. One has a range of 1 and the other has a range of 2. After measuring the distance between the two models, the Belles player knows that the enemy model is within 1" and therefore elects to use Teeth and Nails as it has a higher Cb and thus has a greater chance of hitting the enemy model (B).

2) The Belle is fortunate enough to flip a high card (13 of rams) which it adds to the Cb of its attack (6) gaining a total of 19. The Marshal is less fortunate and flips a 4 (of Crows) which added to its Df (Defense) of 4 giving a total of 8. Currently the Belle's attack has hit the Marshall with a difference of 11 and as it (Model B) is losing it has the option to Cheat first.

3 and 4) The Death Marshal's player decides not to waste a Control Card on saving the model (It is currently unwounded and after a brief conversation with his opponent he realises that even severe damage will not kill it outright). The Belle has no need to increase the total so both values stand.

5) Neither model has any Triggers that can be activated and therefore none are declared.

6) The Belle (A) has successfully hit the Marshal (B) the difference between the totals is 11 (19 - 8) and it is this value that decides whether we have a positive, negative or standard flip.

7) We now move onto the result of the duel...currently the difference is enough for the Belle (A) to gain a single positive to the Damage flip.

The difference between the values decides the number of cards to be flipped.

If the totals are equal then the flip is double negative (- -). That would be flipping three cards picking the lowest. If the result is in the 1 - 5 range then it would be a single negative (-). That would be flipping two cards picking the lowest. If the result is in the 6 - 10 range this would be a standard flip (no modifiers) and if the difference is 11 or greater then we have a positive flip (+).

In this case the difference of 11 should equate to a single positive...however...the Death Marshal has the Hard to Wound 1 Ability which grants the model in question a (-) flip to damage against it.

This is often where people get confused but it's actually quite simple. Each negative counters a positive on a one to one basis (and vice versa) so in this case the positive from the attack total is countered by the negative from the Hard to Wound 1 ability bringing us back down to a standard flip.

The card flipped is a 7 which is moderate damage and in the case of Teeth and Nails does two points of damage. The standard Malifaux deck (Which has the virtue of being both the cheapest and rather handily has the damage level highlighted in one corner) is the one I'd recommend as all the cards are very clearly labelled with suit type and damage level as shown in the above picture.

We now have the option of cheating that value with our Control Hand if we wish as any standard (or positive) flip can be cheated..unfortunately negative ones can't...there's only so far that a nasty fate can be avoided ;-) Unfortunately the Belle's player doesn't have any severe damage cards (or wants to hang onto them) so settles for causing a lowly two wounds.

So that's a simple duel.

Soon here will be other articles with some more advanced examples of trickier duels and ones that cover Triggers, Soul Stone use and some other stuff but for now that'll do.

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