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Hello from northern Idaho

John Morris

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I can tell you what we did in Los Angeles to start up a meta.  Can't guarantee it'll work for you, so take it for what it's worth.


1.  Find a public place to play.  Preferably a Friendly Local Game Store that carries (or is willing to carry) the game.  There's nothing wrong with hosting at a private residence, but you don't get foot traffic there.

If you can make a FLGS owner an ally, for instance by being nice, cleaning up after yourself, bringing people in (preferably who buy stuff) it will really help.  If they are willing to carry some product, that could do a lot to generate interest.  Many people are drawn to Malifaux by the strong visuals.

2.  Get a few demo crews, paint them up and get to work on making terrain for a board.  It's shallow to say, but appearances matter.

3.  For the demo games, I very much suggest core box v core box.  I am not a fan of alternate game modes like Henchman Hardcore, because masters are a huge part of the game, and I think niche game modes for a niche game are questionable at best.

You want straight forward crews of approximately the same value.  We also give each side three soulstones, to teach what they do.

Basse v McMourning might not be a bad way to start.  Basically, any crews that are based on fighting, don't have summons as a core mechanic, and aren't based around combos.

Basse is particularly nice because his crew simplifies terrain quite a bit and all his models have bonus actions, which is useful for teaching the habit of bonus actions.

Ultimately you'll find the crews that work best for you.

I suggest fixed killy strat (we use Public Enemies) and fixed, public knowledge schemes (we use Assassinate and Spread them Out).

4.  Although physical tokens and markers are not necessary, I recommend them because they are easier for beginners and also they are quite visual.  Likewise, don't rely on the app for things like unit cards.

Having the Strategy and Scheme Cards printed out for each player, along with the rules reference card (again for each player) will make it more simple as well.

Again, appearances matter and you're trying to create a memorable experience that makes people want to repeat it.

5.  While on that subject, make sure you yourself are presentable.  Take extra effort with personal care, since you'll be in close contact with people for a few hours.  Invest in those breath strips.

6.  Make your schedule known and consistent.  Commit to it.  Understand that, especially as you're building up, it means a  lot of sitting alone scrolling on your phone.  But giving people the confidence that you will be there day X and time Y really helps.

7.  Once you've got people started, try to improve community interaction by extending activity beyond just games.  If your store has a discord, see if they will make a Malifaux channel and invite players to join.  If they don't have one, make one!  Point interested people to other Malifaux media. There's a ton of good podcasts right now, some active youtube channels, these forums, other discords, etc.

8.  Understand if you start the meta, you will probably become the de-facto authority.  That means making the extra effort to learn the rules, and researching the situations that come up during games to find resolutions.  You'll have to be referee, babysitter, and cheerleader.

9.  I have social anxiety issues, so I understand this is not easy for everyone, but if you're comfortable, be proactive in offering demos to people in the store.  Especially if you've established a schedule, after you've been in a few times, the regulars may be receptive to trying the game.

10.  Find out what it is about the game that interests you most, and try to find ways to share that.  People respond to authentic enthusiasm.  If you've got some buddies you can coerce into trying the game, that may be a good starting point but also, activity breeds activity.  If you can show games get played, fence sitters are more likely to give it a go. 

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