What is Malifaux: Part 1

Malifaux Book Cover

A couple people have asked me this recently, so here is my answer.

Put simply, Malifaux is a table-top, tactical game produced by Wyrd Miniatures.  The basic premise of Malifaux is that portals have opened from our world to an alternate world, in which Malifaux is the major city.  The world of Malifaux contains Soulstones that provide the inhabitants with the ability to perform magic.  Naturally these Soulstones are a highly sought-after resource and a number of different factions are out to get them.

The factions that are available in the game are the Guild, Neverborn, Arcanists, Resurrectionists, and Outcasts.  Each one has a distinct theme, and within them are various Masters that lead the crews used in game.

The Guild is the generalist faction and the acts as the law in Malifaux.  Each of the Guild Masters provides a counter for one of the other factions.  Lady Justice commands the Death Marshals and works to stop the unlawful use of necromancy in Malifaux.  Sonia Criid and her crew use weapons and spells designed to stop other magic users in their tracks.  Perdita and the Ortega family provide unmatched long range firepower and an answer to the horrors native to Malifaux.

The Neverborn are made up of the “natives” of Malifaux.  These are the demons and nightmares that inhabit this alternate world.  The Masters of the Neverborn have a wide variety of styles and characters.  Lilith is the most straightforward of the Masters and prefers getting in the opponent’s face with her demon.  Pandora is a ranged spell caster and focuses on draining the opponent’s will to survive.  Zoraida plays a supporting role and buffs her minions so that they can move in for the attack.  The last is The Dreamer.  He summons up creatures from his nightmares to do his bidding, and can even transform into the giant monster Lord Chompy Bits if needed.

The Arcanists are the heavy magic users, casting powerful spells to deal damage directly or to control others.  Rasputina is powerful spell caster that commands and army of ice.  Her minions include ice golems, wendigos and hoarcats that get in the opponent’s way while she blasts them with powerful ice magic.  Ramos is a mad scientist type that creates half man/half machine constructs to do his bidding.  These creatures can be extremely fast and resilient in game.  Marcus the beastmaster controls an army of supernatural creatures like the cerberus and chimera.  He is the most competent melee fighter of the Arcanists.  Finally there is Colette and her Showgirls.  Colette commands an army of dancing girls and deadly mannequins that dance over the board using hit and run style tactics.

The Resurrectionists summon or create undead minions to do their bidding.  Zombies, monsters and spirits make up the majority of their minions.  Seamus is like the Mad Hatter and Jack the Ripper combined.  He leads a troupe of undead ladies of the night that lure their unsuspecting victims to their impending doom.  Dr. McMourning is the equivalent of Dr. Frankenstein in Malifaux.  He can stitch together corpses into hulking monsters and prefers brute force over ranged subtlety.  Nicodem is the necromancer extraordinaire.  He can raise legions of zombie minions to  shield himself and to swarm the enemy with bodies that are nigh impossible to get rid of permanently.  Kirai is the last of the Resurrectionist masters.  She is heavily based on Japanese mythology and summons otherworldly spirits to do her bidding.

Finally, the Outcasts are kind of a mishmash of groups.  Som’er Teeth Jones commands a crew of drunken, pig-herding gremlins.  The gremlins also include Ophelia LeCroix and her family or sharpshooters that rival the Ortegas in marksmanship.  The necromancer Leviticus is able to conjure up spirits and deadly mechanized abominations to do his dirty work, while proving to be nigh invincible when surrounded by his waifs.  The twin Viktorias lead a group of mercenaries that bring a western samurai feeling to the game.  They are unique in that they can either work on their own or be hired into other crews.  The final group is lead by the mysterious Hamelin.  He can command a swarm of small beasts while also taking command of his opponents.

That is the overview of the factions and their masters.  In part 2, I will cover the game itself and the unique ideas it brings to the table.

2 Responses to “What is Malifaux: Part 1”


  1. 1 loquacious December 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    That’s a great write up for someone new to the game. Great explanation of fluff and factions.

    While the actual gameplay is interesting, I like the models more than anything. The models are what sell the game.


  1. 1 What is Malifaux: Part 2 « Meandering the Dune Sea Trackback on December 10, 2010 at 5:16 pm
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