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dancater

The coming of the story encounter boxes

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Hello folks,

So not sure if this has already been discussed at length but thought I'd throw up my thoughts for the crowd.

While we've had one (arguably two) story encounter boxes already with Uni Transmortis (which only had Rezzer mini's) and the beginner box (Guild and NB) the coming months promise at least two more and hint at a new regular release item.

Now this is an interesting and cool way to bring out new models for the game, but it is also potentially problematic, so...

My positives:

  • Lets Wyrd release play-tested and thematic models without having to invest the time, effort and resources on a full book release.
  • Potentially can allow a 'spread' of faction releases which can eventually be the equivalent of a complete book release over time, and may (hopefully will) later all appear in a book.
  • Seems as though the encounter boxes are being used as a novel way of targeting releases towards certain 'holes' in current factions and targeting specific masters which need a little buff (at least this definitely appears to be the case with Arcanists, my primary mob, and the coming box).
  • Lets Wyrd release models at a steady drip level, not in a single here's what is out/planned one yearly book.  Means steady income of model purchases for Wyrd - good.  Means less people waiting for a book ruled model which is not released yet - good.  Means metas can deal, adjust and even errata new models in a bite sized chunk fashion, integrating small numbers of models is easier and less trouble prone then an entire book of figures - good.
  • Keeps my favorite mini's game Malifaux bubbling away with a steady supply of new models to tempt, amuse, inspire and horrify (when they are non-faction mostly) me.  Nothing like knowing your game is supported.
  • Lets Wyrd play test then wild-release interesting new rules, wordings and ideas in manageable chunks prior to larger releases and a eventual and hoped for Mali 2.5 or 3E some time in the future.  The more in the wild rules stress testing Malifaux does, particularly of the more outside-the-box ideas, the better. 
  • It provides instant two-player incentive, nice to get new folks involved, rebuild and renew game group interest and generally ignite small metas.
  • It is plain characterful and done right adds hugely to the atmosphere of the game, the story>game>story>rules>story cycle.  Also adds to things like TtB background, cross-pollination is always encouraged.

So on these points really like the direction, but, its not all butterfly's and blossoms:

  • Potential for less comprehensive play testing as small releases churn out and create spot fires of rules controversy and power shift eventually resulting in a conflagration.
  • While the factions that score a box now will celebrate the new hotness, others will languish and be frustrated as they wait and hope.  The advantage of the big 'all-faction' book releases is it lets everyone feast and at least partially reduces the perception and reality of single faction 'codex-creep', this release method invites it to return.
  • The encounter boxes are (not unreasonably, they contain many models) going to be costly.  If folks are from small metas, or have no one keen on the other mini's in the box then it is going to be damn expensive to buy one encounter box to secure one or two figures you want, this is even worse if you (like me) are a victim of Malifaux ADD and find cool out of faction models to be an excuse to buy cross faction.  Some folks will need to avoid the encounter boxes because the temptation to explode purchasing is large.  Understand the logic and business model, does not mean I like it.  But also doubt Wyrd will release the mini's separately anytime soon, why would they?  This means a significant number of players will be forced to buy a box with multiple mini's they don't want to get a few they do.  Secondary market will obviously help, but its likely to get bloated with some models while others are very tough to find.
  • This just plain increases the model bloat in a game, which while I love, is becoming very difficult to track and keep pace with, not just collection/finance wise but more importantly model/rules wise.  This contradicts my earlier 'keep the game ticking' point, I know, but these two things literally reside in opposition in my mind.  I want new shinies and rules and hotness but I also dread the new ever multiplying knot of rules, interactions and rules-rocks dumped into an increasingly heavily laden boat which is delicately striving to maintain its balance and not capsize and drown my joy in the game.

That is where my mind is at.  I am looking forward to the coming encounter box releases.  I like the idea and direction and am optimistic that Wyrd folks can generally make the idea work well for the health of the game.  But I wanted to voice my trepidation and also give word to some of my fears and the frustrations I've already seen articulated to some degree on the forums, particularly in the Monday preview threads. 

Carefully, carefully.  The only thing worse than a bad idea is a good idea poorly implemented.  I hope I'm as happy in 12 months as I am optimistic now.   

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Just to add, Amphibious Assault, The Crossroads Seven, Brotherhood of the Rat and Creative Taxidermy are story encounters as well :)

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I detest the practice of bundling models from several factions in one box. So even if the Fire Golem end up being the perfect "fix" for Kaeris I wouldn't buy Backdraft as gremlins are useless to me and it's way too much work flogging them on the side.

Not super happy about models before rules either. This is not so bad as it will solve itself in time, but it sure stops me from picking up a product on release.

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7 hours ago, Bengt said:

I detest the practice of bundling models from several factions in one box. So even if the Fire Golem end up being the perfect "fix" for Kaeris I wouldn't buy Backdraft as gremlins are useless to me and it's way too much work flogging them on the side.

Not super happy about models before rules either. This is not so bad as it will solve itself in time, but it sure stops me from picking up a product on release.

I am with you on this. I want a fire golem but nothing else from the box so I doubt I will get it as I am not paying £40 plus for one model. its ok if you have a group that plays multiple factions but I only get to play at tourneys so cannot set up to buy with somebody else interested beforehand

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15 hours ago, Phinn said:

Just to add, Amphibious Assault, The Crossroads Seven, Brotherhood of the Rat and Creative Taxidermy are story encounters as well :)

True.  Each of these and Uni Transmortis was either mercenary or single faction and the beginner box was all mercenary as well.

So these boxes are (likely??) to be the first genuine split faction items where certain models will not have utility if the purchaser plays just 'faction x'. 

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8 hours ago, dancater said:

True.  Each of these and Uni Transmortis was either mercenary or single faction and the beginner box was all mercenary as well.

So these boxes are (likely??) to be the first genuine split faction items where certain models will not have utility if the purchaser plays just 'faction x'. 

I didn't realize that.

I must say that I am not sure where I stand when it comes to these new faction versus faction box sets.
I assume that all the models are a part of the next book.
I love that they are all highly thematic models for masters that could use some new additions and they all look amazing and sound very fun :)
Even though it is annoying to wait up to 9 months for the model you want to be released, while some other models from the very same book have been released a long time ago, I like that there is allways something to look forward :)
If Neverborn would ever get an Encounter Box with models-that-I-would-be-interested-in versus X and I couldn't find a friend who would be interested in X, I must say, I just wouldn't buy it. I am not sure if that is me being a filthy casual or other people feel the same way though.

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I think Amphibious Assault, Brotherhood of the Rat, and Creative Taxidermy are totally cool. They are not only single faction, the included models are summoning each other, so they are very closely tied together. If I played any of those factions (or crew in the rat case) they would be on my list. But even if you look at only the Arcanist models of Backdraft, all they seem to have in common is that they make some use of the burning mechanic and that is not a very strong tie in a faction with many options for burning.

But yeah, I'm also a filthy casual so I'm not going to chase or overspend on models for that extra oomph in some clever combo.

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I would also add the tortoise and the hare box, as the first story encounter box that was 2(3) factions, although that is not the only source of a model that fits the rules for them.

This is really a first for Malifaux in it being a box set where you can't use all the figures in the box if you only play 1 faction. (some of the duel faction masters sort of did that) but the onyl place where these figures are available. I'm guessing the success or failure of these 2 boxes will let us see if they are going to continue, or be a one off. 

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I only view upside (or at least understand the positives to out weigh the negatives). 

From a pure business perspective; if Wyrd is going to stick around in today’s economy it has to add a new way to generate revenue.  The story encounters meet both a demand by the public for more models and an incremental release schedule. There’s a debate to be had that there approach is the best - but best, better or just good - the business approach seems solid. 

My writing comes from a concern that Malifaux (one of my favorites games) could be small enough to fail.  The business is at a critical stage of development and its next products and business decisions could break the company. 

Just a couple of thoughts from some body who knows nothing about starting a small business. 

🧚‍♀️

 

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I see these encounter boxes as way to tempt players into new factions much like dual faction models and masters with expanded hiring pools do. A player that grabs an encounter box for the faction that they do play now has enough models that if they were to buy a master's box from the new faction then they'd have a playable 50SS crew. There's obviously some master boxes that wouldn't quite work (mostly summoners) but there's plenty that would. 

With the app, it's quite possible that we'll get the stats for the models before they are available, even if they come out before a new book does.

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A good fix for the most part is splitting the box. There's probably going to be someone in your local area interested in the other half (starting to sound like a dating app for middle-aged adults now, but it's true).

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