Wyrd Miniatures is a perfect description for this company, they produce some fine quality fantasy models but what really sets them apart is sheer originality. A rare, adventurous and daring approach means that these are some of the most bizarre models you will find on the planet - this planet at least !
It's a bit of a departure from my usual Warhammer Fantasy Battle posts but I couldn't resist posting about Wyrd Miniatures who (courtesy of Nathan) have kindly granted me permission to add some of their excellent model images to this article.
I first stumbled across Wyrd Miniatures through, if I remember rightly, coolminiornot.com which I occasionally visit for a browse. They really stand out from the regular crowd of fantasy miniatures, a lot of these models are genuinely unique and without comparison.
I spent this morning surfing their site and I'm getting quite excited about it to be frank. Originally, I was simply going to comment on their sculpts but now I'm as interested in the concept behind their ideas and, even better, the game system which goes with it. Yes, you heard right, these miniatures are purposely sculpted for a gaming world called Malifaux.
Here's the intro on their home page...
"Based in an alternate Earth, Malifaux uses gothic, steampunk, victorian horror with a dose of the wild west to inject fun and depth into the magical lawlessness of a world rife with monsters, necropunks, manmachine hybrids, gunslingers, and power-hungry politicos. Actively using character-driven stories to define the world of Malifaux, seek your fortune in this fast paced and brutal 32mm tabletop miniature skirmish game. Assemble your crew and stake your claim!
No longer do you have to trust the fickle fate of a dice roll, in Malifaux you use cards, a Fate Deck, as you lead your Crew to victory with strategy, tactics and resource management, and if that isn't enough, you can Cheat Fate. Looking for scalability? Malifaux has it. Jump directly into a Scrap with 4 - 6 miniatures, ensuring a quick and brutal fight with each character having unique skills and abilities. Want to escalate it? Take it to a Brawl, bring in additional members of your faction or hire out mercenaries to do your dirty work."
It sounds great to me and I'm intrigued by how the game mechanics might work using a deck of fate cards (no dice !) and a small number of extremely weird miniatures. I think I could come to love my Malifaux "scappers" given that I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to painting them.
The 4-6 miniatures part of the above blurb really appeals to me because it means I can actually try to perfect each (32mm) miniature without thinking I still have another 100 to get through. Also, the fact that the game is designed for play on a 3ft x 3ft board is a big winner in my opinion and should really reduce set up time and increase gaming time (I have to lay shelves across two dining room tables to set up my usual gaming area for Fantasy Battle).
The most appealing part of the whole game for me is the concept - a gothic, steampunk, victorian horror with a dose of the wild west ?!! I could have a lot of fun creating terrain pieces for that gaming board. Imagine the amount of character you can inject into your small band of brawlers. These will be the kind of miniatures that I will name individually, like I used to when I first started Warhammer back in the 1980's (a bit sad I know). Malifaux sounds like a world where good vs evil becomes very greyed out into good vs slighty bad vs very bad vs psychotic vs those with a mysterious unfathomable agenda.
"Trigger-happy gunslingers, misguided Victorian science, hungry undead, and monsters hidden in every shadow; these are the terrors that will plague you in Malifaux. Are you willing to risk your soul for a chance at great wealth and power? Because it's the only thing you have worth trading. In Malifaux, you lead your crew in the battle for control of The Breach, a dark portal to a world of limitless magic.
All aboard! Malifaux is the end of the line."
Well, my mind has already been made up, this is too good to miss so and I'm ordering the rules, just the basic rules for now (there is an expansion pack too). I don't see this as much of an investment risk, from the looks of it $35 for the rules, a few dollars for the fate decks and $40ish for some miniatures and I'm up and running for less than 100 bucks (or rather £60 in my currency).
For anyone thinking about following my example there are some reviews around, they are all very good with only a few niggles about rules which, apparently, Wyrd Games do address with errata and on their forums.
BTW, it looks like there are around 150 miniatures to choose from and importantly please note that there is a much wider variety of miniatures than I have shown below. Visit Wyrd Games online shop for a lot more.
Following below is a nice snippet about the various factions from the Warstore's excellent Malifaux review with some example miniature photos thrown in (with permissions from Wyrd Games):-
"* The Guild: The Law. Monster Hunters, Witch Hunters, and Zombie Hunters. Desperately trying to retain authority in a city gradually spinning out of control - the Guild will do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. Mechanically this faction has a lot of ranged attacks available to it, as well as anti-magic abilities and melee specialists. If you want a reason to hate the Guild, you don't have to look far on the tabletop.
* The Resurrectionists: Necromancers, Mad Scientists, and Zombies. Lots of Zombies. The Resurrectionists have no compunctions about sending waves of zombies at you, and building more out of what remains on the table after a brawl. Mechanically this faction focuses mostly on melee and corpse counter manipulation (playing with dead bodies), something that other factions don't really do. Most Resurrectionist models are tough to kill and generally there's a lot of them.
* The Arcanists: Beast and Construct masters. Wither it's ice golems, swarms of mechanical spiders or mole-men, this is the faction for it. They are the most "magic-y" faction, with masters that specialize in different areas. One is a melee expert/beast master, another works with ice constructs that she can cast spells through, and the last builds lots of little mechanical spider friends that swarm up and go eat his enemies.
* The Neverborn: Monsters from your worst nightmares. Babies with cleavers, giant carnivorous teddy bears, whatever Silurids are, and big winged demon things. This faction has a good mix of terrifying melee ability and spellcasting/control. They are generally quick on the tabletop and dangerous once they get where they're going.
[Ed. Spooky !]
* The Outcasts: The Mercenaries of Malifaux. This faction is comprised mainly of highly effective and expensive specialist models. Mainly melee and ranged attack oriented. There's also a kind of "sub" faction of Bayou Gremlins and their warpigs that are Outcasts - think redneck goblins with entertaining abilities (including making pigs fly) and you're on the right track. Mercenaries in Malifaux can be hired by other factions (at a premium), though not all Outcasts are Mercenaries."
It just goes to show that there is a gaming system out there for everyone, yesterday I blogged on Battle Reporter about a free PDF rulebook give away for Kings of War which only comes to 12 pages - the whole rulebook ! This time I'm delving into something a bit more involved and very, very different. I can't wait, I hope I get it in time for Christmas ! My only problem now is which faction do I follow ?