For the last few weeks I’ve really been struggling with something, my impending appearance in the Malifaux tournament at Vapnartak. Malifaux is a game that I dedicated a number of years to (4 I think) and contrary to popular belief, I do want to like the new edition and that’s a big reason why I agreed to enter the tournament (that and being drunk and pressganged into it).
For me, Vappa was intended to be make or break for my relationship with Malifaux. My hope for the tournament was that the preparation would reignite the love of the game and I could be welcomed back into the fold with open arms. As Richi (@doctorloxley) eloquently put in his blog a while back, it’s no fun being the guy that doesn’t like it.
I approached this with gusto, purchasing the new plastic Justice box and the Guild arsenal deck with the intention of taking them to the tournament. I started by building the Death Marshals which I had previously been very critical of due to the flaming heads. I assembled them with the optional normal heads and was pleasantly surprised at how nice they looked. On closer inspection, the facial detail was not as crisp as on the old sculpts (eye sockets appear to be a 1.5 thing) but that’s nothing a head swap wouldn’t fix.
The judge was next, he was easy enough to assemble and isn’t a bad looking model, he’s just a bit bland. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an improvement over the original sculpt but the dead justice version really shows what they could have done with him. Then can the scales, a bit fiddly to assemble but not a bad looking model, his skirt does make parts difficult to access with a paint brush though (the crouching DM had the same issue).
Last but not least is the lady herself and there aren’t words in the English language to describe my distain for that model. For starters, the scale seems really off, she seems like an anorexic midget next to the rest of the crew. I’m not sure if this is a scale issue similar to the ronin or if they were just making the men in the crew extra large but either way it just looks wrong. Then you get to the model itself and my main issues centre around the sword. The contact point for the sword is tiny making it very fragile and if you can get it to stay in place, most of the face is covered and inaccessible with a brush.
As a crew there was also one general issue, I’m not sure base size was considered at all during the sculpting process. Of the six models in the box, three would not fix on the base that they were supplied with. This wasn’t a big deal for me as I was intending to build up the bases anyway, it was just interesting to note. I don’t know if these issues are a product of using digital sculpting rather than more traditional methods but it really detracted from the enjoyment of working with them for me.
On the gaming side of it, I’d had a demo of the final version but had intended the first round of Vappa to be my first game of the final version of the new edition. Having played first edition for years and extensively playtested the new edition, I was confident that I could muddle my way through the games no problem. I am normally a very quick player but my noob status did concern me slightly. So there’d be no risk of slow playing my opponents (one thing I’d never want to be is a negative play experience), I spent some time reading through the cards to familiarise myself with the crew.
Now, I’m sure the astute readers amongst you will have noticed how much past tense there is in this post and that isn’t due to bad grammer. I was looking for the build up to this tournament to be my decision maker, my shit or get off the pot moment, and that is exactly what it has been. Going into this I was fairly confident that although I wouldn’t learn to love the game as I did with first edition, I would be able to find a way to enjoy it enough that I could go to the odd tournament to catch up with people. Unfortunately that’s not really how it has turned out and it’s time to get off the pot. Due to the past I have with the game, I have given m2e many more chances than I would have any other game and at no point has it grabbed me in the way that I’d hoped.
As of yesterday, I have withdrawn from the Vappa tournament to be replaced by Dave Chandler (bit of a downgrade I know, sorry!). I did say to organiser Chris that I would only drop out if there was someone to fill the space. He had a full list of people which really does say a lot about how people are viewing this event and the amazing job he’s done organising it.
There is a silver lining to this slightly depressing storm cloud, I will still be in attendance as Chris’ minion for the day. The main reason I even considered this event is that I wanted to catch up with some of the great people in the Malifaux community. This change will allow me to spend more time doing exactly that.
This isn’t the outcome that I was expecting but I have to be true to what I want from my hobby and that will be whatever I get enjoyment from. Maybe the next edition change will see me returning, who knows but you can be sure whatever I’m doing in the mean time, I’ll still be drunk.