This week's 'In Focus' is very special. Many moons ago, we started making tokens for a unique, delightful and intriguing game called Malifaux. Now, we're releasing a revamped, invigorated, totally re-imagined set for Third Edition! We can't wait to share this with you... so here we go!
[For more insight, don't forget to read our Designer's Notes at the end of this article !]
Malifaux was one of those games that got under my skin and never really left. Part of it was the models, these ornate and original sculpts that were crammed with character. I was sold immediately on the game after seeing the Death Marshals, and I still say that there are very few miniatures, anywhere in the world, that compare to a bunch of burning skull-faced cowboys jumping off coffins that were also on fire. Then I found out you could put enemies in those coffins and run off with them. As soon as I experienced the card-driven gameplay mechanics, my love affair with Malifaux truly began.
When Third Edition emerged, we knew that we would have to revamp our current line. Our latest token sets, for games such as Blackstone Fortress, Infinity and Apocalypse, highlighted how far we'd come as designers, and we couldn't wait to see what we could do with our Malifaux products. As ever, we wanted to create a set of tokens that helped people play their games; they didn't just need to look great, they had to evoke the world of the game too, and be easily recognisable and simple to use.
We also love the idea of tokens being something you can be proud of. In some games, they're perfect for replacing cardstock, sometimes including innovations such as dials to reduce the need for too many tokens (as with our Fallout range) but other times, they need to be a work of art in their own right. When it comes to Malifaux, you want to place your Scheme markers with pride, so we took real care to make them as stunning as possible!
In Malifaux, conditions play a huge part. Now, the most important thing a token can do is help players focus on their game. So the conditions are colour-coded as well as meticulously designed, so you can tell at a glance what status effects are in place, assisting you in concentrating on your strategy. No more head-scratching, trying to work out which model is afflicted by what effect. Now it's absolutely clear to both players!
These fit snugly to the base of the model, so even when the fighting is at its fiercest, you can see precisely who is affected and by what! We've worked really hard to develop designs that continue to evoke the style of the game world, to help retain a sense of immersion.
To dig a little deeper into the process behind the production of these tokens, here are some designer notes by Grantt, exploring what went into this new line:
Designer's Notes: Not many folk know this, but Art of War Studios started with Malifaux. I bought a small desktop laser back in 2014, and one of the first things I made for myself was some scheme markers. These went down an absolute storm at our meta, and I brought a handful to a tournament for everyone, who all recommended I sell them. Out of curiosity, I put the same tokens on eBay, and six months later, Art of War Studios was my full time job.
Despite the diversity of themes in Malifaux, I went with the wild-west poker chip design, as it just made sense; the acrylic already had a poker chip aesthetic, and there was a fantastic irony in using poker chips for a miniature wargame. After all, Malifaux already used cards and a bluff mechanic for its engine; why not have poker chips included too?
For the new range, we wanted to keep that core aesthetic, but we also wanted to make sure that all the tokens were distinguishable during a game. One of our core values for design at the studios is practicality, so we’re always trying to combat decision fatigue, and speed up play. As such, we’ve moved away from sets made in one faction colour, to individually coloured tokens - you will easily be able to tell the pit trap from a dust cloud, even if its been placed by the same crew.
We’ve also made the condition tokens a very different design, with edges that can be attached to a base to signify who the condition affects (big clusters of combatants can get confusing). It all comes together to make great looking tokens that make a big difference to the gameplay.
Lastly, the designs themselves are all helmed by Aerial Smith, one of our artists here at the Studios. Her work is phenomenal, and she always manages to capture exactly what’s needed for an image - and she always puts up with my unending requests for small changes and adaptations! We honestly think it’s some of our best work yet, and we hope you feel the same way!
So without further ado, we're delighted to unveil our Malifaux tokens for Third Edition. It feels great to be plunging back into this weird and wonderful world... so what are we waiting for? Let's go!