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Subject: Skirmish tabletop game: Malifaux vs Dark Age vs Batman rss

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Hi,

I'm a board gamer for years and always wanted to get into skirmish games (low count minis) but procrastinated a lot.
This time I'm doing it.

After searching what's on the market, these are the three games that really got my attention.

Malifaux because:

1) The fluff
2) The minis
3) The different ways to get VP's (killing everyone on the board is rarely the best strategy).

But not so sure about the card system though. Not a deal breaker but just not impressed.

Dark Age because:

1) The minis
2) Seems more of a standard skirmish game
3) Like the flow of it

But hard to get any in-depth review of this game to know what to expect. There's a video tutorial out there but not extensive enough to be sure about how I feel about it.

Batman because:

1) ...I'm a fan of the Gotham City ecosystem
2) The minis are phenomenal
3) The management of heights
4) Some innovations (reduced visibility,..)
5) The objective oriented goals

But I'm not a fan of the fact that you really need an advanced city terrain to make it shine. Gotham City is a character on its own when it comes to Batman and unlike the other two games, two trees, one wooden box and a big rock will probably not do the trick.
I like the idea of a magnificent terrain but I'm afraid it will be too expansive.


The notoriety of these games is not a factor as I don't plan to play with anyone else but close friends and I will have enough content to supply both sides.

I would love to hear from someone who played the three of them but I suppose it's unlikely.
If you have anything to say about these games, I'm all ears.

Just to be sure we don't go off topic, please just don't suggest anything else. I already browsed everything out there and these three games are what I'm interested in eventually.
Of course, new recommendations are always cool but if they just eclipse a discussion about these three games I want to know more about, it will kind of defeat the purpose of the thread.

Thanks!
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Pete
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I did not consider the card system a weakness of Malifaux at all.

Pete (hasn't played the other games so he can't offer any comparative opinion)
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My name is
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I don't see it as a weakness at all. It works very well.
I just don't really like the cheating fate system because it feels to me like the first blind draw is meaningless and you could directly manage a hand of cards instead.
I know it's valid and makes sense somehow but I'm just not completely attracted to the system.
But there's nothing wrong about it, really. Just a matter of taste.
It is still in my top three, for a reason.
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Jim Patching
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I haven't played any of the games you've mentioned but I'd be interested to see what people say about Malifaux too. I'm getting back into miniature gaming in a big way and I really like the look of Malifaux but the card combat kind of puts me off as well. I've never been one for card based combat - it's like leaving your sabres behind for a duel and bring handkerchiefs instead.
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Chris O
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I would go with Malifaux. Its the most solid ruleset of the three, has the best company support/organized play behind it, top of the line minis (which can be difficult to put together), a growing player base, interesting backstory, etc. Honestly, the card mechanics have kind of ruined dice for me.

Dark Age is okay-ish. The game isn't really all that popular and in general its just kinda "meh".

Batman minis have a lot of QA/QC issues, and Knight Models customer support isn't the best. The rules also aren't necessarily clearly written, etc. and as you noted terrain can be an issue.
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Cap'n Ginger
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If terrain is putting you off Batman (and it is a terrain-heavy game), there are several really good paper terrain manufacturers on DriveThruRPG. Also, the Suicide Squad starter box has some nice cardboard buildings in it.

As mentioned above, the rulebooks can definitely have translation issues, but there's a very active Facebook community (Arkham City Limits) that answers rules questions all the time.
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Niko J
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Quote:
I just don't really like the cheating fate system because it feels to me like the first blind draw is meaningless and you could directly manage a hand of cards instead.


It would be meaningless if you could cheat everything and always. But keep in mind you can't cheat if you're on negative flips, which you can sometimes force on your enemies with good positioning or by using resources.

In addition you only have six control cards to cheat with. My typical crews run 7 or 8 models and each of those models has two or more action points to do flippable actions with. Then consider that there's probably a few cards with low value or wrong suit that you won't cheat with. Simple math dictates that you'll be doing a lot of flipping and not a whole lot of cheating in any given turn.

Unfortunately I only play Malifaux so I can't compare it to Batman, even though both are somewhat popular in my area. Have you looked at Suicide Squad starter set for Batman? It has some pretty good terrain and overall is good value for your money, assuming you don't find Suicide Squad figures off putting. I guess you don't care about figure material?Malifaux is plastic, Batman is metal.

EDIT:

I know I'm stating the obvious but, with any game really, you'd do best to get a demo game from someone. Particularly for people who are unsure about how Malifaux uses cards. Plus it gets you in touch with local miniatures scene, if any.
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Freelance Police
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You might want to ask this on the Dakka "Dakka Discussions" forum for more opinions.

EDIT: And post what you find out! laugh
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Nekku wrote:
Quote:
I just don't really like the cheating fate system because it feels to me like the first blind draw is meaningless and you could directly manage a hand of cards instead.


It would be meaningless if you could cheat everything and always. But keep in mind you can't cheat if you're on negative flips, which you can sometimes force on your enemies with good positioning or by using resources.

In addition you only have six control cards to cheat with. My typical crews run 7 or 8 models and each of those models has two or more action points to do flippable actions with. Then consider that there's probably a few cards with low value or wrong suit that you won't cheat with. Simple math dictates that you'll be doing a lot of flipping and not a whole lot of cheating in any given turn.

Unfortunately I only play Malifaux so I can't compare it to Batman, even though both are somewhat popular in my area. Have you looked at Suicide Squad starter set for Batman? It has some pretty good terrain and overall is good value for your money, assuming you don't find Suicide Squad figures off putting. I guess you don't care about figure material?Malifaux is plastic, Batman is metal.

EDIT:

I know I'm stating the obvious but, with any game really, you'd do best to get a demo game from someone. Particularly for people who are unsure about how Malifaux uses cards. Plus it gets you in touch with local miniatures scene, if any.


Yes I'm having an eye on the Suicide Squad starter set.
Not a fan of the paper terrains but at least, it's a good starting point.
In fact, I'm willing to have some badass terrains, it's just that it's a cost and all my minis will be painted by a pro (because I'm so bas ad painting) and if I have to make the terrain painted too, it'll be just too expensive. Not to mention the real estate to store terrains. My appartment is ok but it is still an apartment.

But still, I digged a little deeper and so far Batman has the advantage, followed by Malifaux.
I think that Dark Age is out of the race by now.

One thing I really like about Batman is the fact that the same character exists in different versions (different miniatures but different stats and abilities too).
So, you can play the same character but with completely different behaviors, mixing and matching the minis with the stats card you like and that's pretty neat.

About demos: Here in Brussels, I don't know anyone playing neither Batman nor Malifaux. It's all about Infinity (translated in French) or old and out of stock games.
Batman and Malifaux are not translated which makes it difficult to find on board game clubs around here.
So no, unfortunately, that's not an option.
 
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Sam and Max wrote:
You might want to ask this on the Dakka "Dakka Discussions" forum for more opinions.


Good idea. Thanks.
 
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James Arias
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I haven't played Batman but there are several DIY urban terrain options. I'm doing mixed-media lego, cardstock, chipboard, model train scenery, toy soldiers, diecast cars and some Tamiya props.
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I would suggest you seek out a skirmish system that's being actively played by the local game stores/groups. (This is coming from someone who is constantly system-intrigued, and goes probably too far buying/painting models and terrain. Lots of lonely soldiers sitting around.)

Infinity is a popular one, and very good. Same with Guild Ball, which is fantastic. Dark Age is coming out with a new starter set I believe. I know very little about the game, but I follow Ash (Guerilla Miniature Games) on youtube and he mentioned that it was an underrated system. I like the appearance of Malifaux models, and picked up a bunch on sales/clearance, but they can be a pain to build (some tiny, fragile parts) and I don't know anybody local who plays.
Frostgrave is super cheap to get in to, easy to teach, can use any fantasy minis, and a fun, silly time.
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gattz wrote:
I would suggest you seek out a skirmish system that's being actively played by the local game stores/groups. (This is coming from someone who is constantly system-intrigued, and goes probably too far buying/painting models and terrain. Lots of lonely soldiers sitting around.)

Infinity is a popular one, and very good. Same with Guild Ball, which is fantastic. Dark Age is coming out with a new starter set I believe. I know very little about the game, but I follow Ash (Guerilla Miniature Games) on youtube and he mentioned that it was an underrated system. I like the appearance of Malifaux models, and picked up a bunch on sales/clearance, but they can be a pain to build (some tiny, fragile parts) and I don't know anybody local who plays.
Frostgrave is super cheap to get in to, easy to teach, can use any fantasy minis, and a fun, silly time.


Honestly, it wouldn't change a thing as I plan to play with close friends anyway. The local game stores mainly propose the classic mainstream games and only the translated ones. For them, Skirmish games are very very underground. It's sad because I have to order online most of my games. And when I talk to local stores, most of the time, they don't know what the hell I'm talking about. When they pretend they do, they just do what I do at home: googling the game, order it and call me when they get it (which costs a little extra).
For instance, No one knew about Shadows of Brimstone.
I had to take the train for 45 minutes to find it in the country.

And there are local groups alright but these are not my cup of tea.
I totally agree with your points, they are just not adapted to my own personal case.
What I want is to treat the skirmish game as I treat all my board games: a thing for me and my friends only and within the scope of my living room.
And I played twice infinity in a local game group and wasn't impressed by the game. Nice mechanics but the sci-fi background and minis don't appeal to me.

Anyway, I compared the starter sets of Malifaux and Suicide Squad.
Both are nice but I went with Suicide Squad because of the minis, complete rulebook, full campaign and terrains that are included. Plus, I got to get the pre-order version which includes two badass extra minis.

https://www.laughingjack.de/en/tabletop-miniature/batman-gam...

The Malifaux starter set seems very nice as an introduction while the Batman one seems more like a totally full fledged game.

So I'll take the Batman route right now but I know that, eventually, Malifaux will be teasing me too.
It's less about which one I should get instead of the other than which one I should get first ;-)
 
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John Middleton
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The best current skirmish system is Frostgrave.

And you can use any minis you want.
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M Smith
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Some of the malifaux guys have dropped it lately and started playing Frostgrave.
They all have qualities and I still play the odd game Warlord with my son. Perks of being a Dad.
Personally I would second some replies already and always suggest the game where you can find the most committed opponents nearby, always a win.

Played a few games of Malifaux and fell in love with the miniatures. The quirky card system works surprisingly well.
Did manage over time to get good in game combos with the characters and troops.
The rank and file held up well in a fight and not no much 'cannon fodder' like other games of this type. Will need a lot of time invested into a faction to get the best out of the game.

Played Dark age once and it was okay but seemed over fiddly for a skirmish game.We need to play two more times to see if it hooks us and give it more mileage. It felt like playing the large scale Inquisitor with less figures.
If my brother had Necromunda or Combat Zone set up for apocalyptic skirmish I would have picked them first.

Not played Batman.
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I have a friend of mine who plays Frostgrave.
It seems nice indeed.
Just probably not the first skirmish game I want to have.
But it's in my radar too ;-)
 
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John Middleton
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Solo.
 
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galad2003 wrote:
Play what your meta is playing. It doesn't do you any good to decide on a game then go to your LGS and find out no one plays it. Too many times I have seen someone buy into a game that no one plays in their area.


You should really read before commenting...
 
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DegenerateElite wrote:
Solo.


??
 
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galad2003 wrote:
baylock wrote:
galad2003 wrote:
Play what your meta is playing. It doesn't do you any good to decide on a game then go to your LGS and find out no one plays it. Too many times I have seen someone buy into a game that no one plays in their area.


You should really read before commenting...


I did read your thread and offered my advice. Playing a poor game with a dedicated group will trump playing a better game with no one all the time. It does you absolutely no good to pick a game system that no one around you plays. But if you want to be rude about someone offering you friendly advice so be it. With your attitude I doubt you will be playing any of these systems with anyone.


Hold your horses...

I said repeatedly that I don't care about who plays it and where as I plan to play it ONLY with my close friends at my home with my own setup. What happens outside that perimeter is then completely irrelevant.
And I also said that I was hesitating between two starter sets.
So, I don't think I'm rude when I say that your comment doesn't seem to take into consideration what has been told repeatedly before.
If you don't modulate your advices according to a situation, don't be chocked if it looks like you are coming out of the blue.
Your advice seems quite fine for someone who only read the original post, that's why I told you to read the rest of it to be on the same page.
What's rude about that?
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Erik Bade
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ANYWAYS.....

I am very much the same type of player. I don't play at my local store, I just buy everything and play with friends. I'm broke but happy

I was a big necromunda player and still get a game in now and again. I decided to buy into Malifaux and absolutely love it. THe catch is that it is by no means casual. Your friends will have to want to learn all the interrelationships between characters. Also I wish I could design my own characters but it wouldn't really work with the system.

I seriously looked into the Batman but the cost of minis and the somewhat convoluted rules drew me away.

I don't know about Dark Age.

I just picked up Blood Bowl so I'm looking forward to that.

Good luck on your decision.
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Martin Persson
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I recently got into Malifaux with my friends and the game is amazing. The cheat fate systems works wonders. You write that you find the first flip to be meaningless, but that is definitely not true as your hand is very limited so you must identify the most crucial times to cheat.

It adds a very fun resource management to a miniature game and helps give you some control over those moments when luck is screwing you
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Thanks Eric and Martin,

@Erik: convoluted how?
Don't get me started on Blood Bowl or I will have to also bring Guild ball to the table and I'll hesitate just the same :-)

@Martin: I'm pretty sure the card system is alright but, of course, it has to be played to see the beauty of it.
I saw several tutorials and for the explanation sake, they always do that:
- draw a random card
- the loser cheats his card with another
- Now, the other guy is losing and counter-cheats with another card too.
- They reshuffle their hand and repeat the process the next turns.
This basic example is probably just for the demonstration but when it's all you see, it doesn't look right.
Then, they explain the positive and negative flips and at that point you can feel that it's where the tactics will shine.
But from a distance, the general flow is hard to grasp.
 
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Niko J
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It's safe to say, and you seem to acknowledge it, that there's more depth to the system. Basic videos probably don't show people choosing not to cheat, since that wouldn't show case the mechanic of cheating a card from your hand. Suffice to say one of the differences between a new player and an intermediate player is that former cheats when they can while latter cheats when they choose.

Just to give a few perhaps non-intuitive reasons you cheat beyond "it wins me the duel":
Cheating in lower/losing cards to get suits you want
Cheating in lower cards to make sure you yourself fail the action
Cheating in moderate cards to force your opponent to cheat really high cards
Cheating in cards that still make you lose but put the attacker on a negative damage flip

But I'm rambling at this point. I know the local guys are really excited about Batman. I'm confident you'll enjoy it if the setting is at all up your alley.
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Nice breaking down of the possibilities, thanks!
 
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