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Balanced sides for a 3 Player game


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I'm looking for a little advice based on experience. I've just recently bought Puppet Wars Unstitched and have managed to get in a couple of games with my wife using the recommended Armies within the Rulebook, however I now have the possibility of showcasing the game to a couple of friends who have never played, later this week. My question to all of you in the know is; 'Using only the figures/puppets in the box, what would be your recommendations for 3 (relatively!) balanced armies to allow an evening of fair(ish) game play?'

As mentioned, I've only played PWU a couple of times now but have a fair amount of Malifaux experience, so the systems and gameplay are certainly not new to me.

Thoughts and suggestions very welcome, so over to you........

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I've only played a handful of games myself so I can guarantee that these lists aren't balanced but hopefully this will kick off some discussion. With all three of us being new to the game we wanted to keep it small so only 5 puppets each. The idea was to get the hang of the rules more than anything so each side has one out of faction puppet pretty much just to demonstrate the differences for activation.



Pokey Vik



Convict Gunslinger

Razorspine Rattler




Bette Noire


Rotten Belle



The Guild:

Lady J


Death Marshall


December Acolyte


We had fun with these, though as I say none of us has experience and we're a fairly casual lot anyway. It usually seemed to come down to one or two catastrophic moves which wiped out one side and left another severly weakened, though mostly down to 2 puppets against 1 rather than a whole crew left.


Hope that helps

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Many thanks, looks like an interesting starting point.


Just had a 'proper' look through the puppet cards and realised that it only comes with 5 sidekicks so obviously 2 per side even at shoebox level is out of the question; Must pay more attention!!  I like the idea of a suited out of faction puppet though, that will certainly be used with friends and at home.


Interesting that you have generally kept the factions together, and I totally understand why. For some reason (probably just reading the fluff) I was expecting more inter-faction armies. 

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I'd love to hear from some more experienced players but aside from a few useful tricks that certain puppets provide (like the nurse's healing (probably not a great example(yay nested parentheses!))) the difficulty in activating an out of faction puppet generally outweighs their usefulness.


I don't know how other people have found 3 player games but even these 5 a side games have taken a long while. I think larger games may take too long.

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I would keep it to 5 puppets for people's first game (Depending on the players. See below). The lists above are fine. They give a taste of the factions and are pretty straightforward. In fact, I would just have a master and a sidekick if you want people to learn the basics. 


I've found that (well besides how awesome unstitched is (I like the original rules a little better (but have pretty much just added some of the old rules to the new (like some hybrid freak rules baby)) but the unstitched rules are fine as is (yay nested (did I do it right?) parentheses!)) this game is more about how the players act and how well they understand their master more than what is in your toybox.


So I've now just taught new players with a master and sidekick so they can understand how their master works, how the game works, how their master can deal with situations, and how to work as a cohesive team. Then add more puppets. Then add enough that they can not feel bad about murdering them for the upgrade. This game is so thick with theme and subtle strategies (which is why I like some of the original rules more) that with too much going on, players get muddled.

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