I've heard a lot of people say that Malifaux 2.0 contains all the flavor of Malifaux, while streamlining the rules and making it much easier for new people to understand it. I'm not entirely certain how true that is at this point, but I am trying to get a few games under my belt before I decide too much.
One thing I can say with absolute certainty is I do NOT like most of the new art. In fact, when I got to the Outcast section of the stat cards, I actually started crying... one, because I am a girl - and two, because I felt like they were ripping out the personality of characters I had come to love, and replacing them with something generic. It isn't to say that the art is bad... its not bad art. Its just not Malifaux, in my opinion.
I didn't get a "western" feel. I didn't get a "steampunk" feel. I didn't get a "Victorian" feel. All I felt was "grotesque". Everything is very horror and punk, and neo-asian themed. Its almost sort of dystopian futuristic.
Case in point? The Ronin.
The Old Ronin:
The New Ronin:
One wonders exactly how they morphed from being samurai cowgirls to white girls dressed as neo-asian lingerie and bow-wearing punk sluts, but I'm sure there must be something in the fluff?
I've had people argue that this is more true to what a "ronin" should be, anyhow. Really?
At any rate, artwork aside, I played my first game of Malifaux 2.0 yesterday. My friend and I decided not to use upgrades on our crews, because we wanted to focus on the feel of the new rules before adding other things to worry about. I am not a quick learner when it comes to rules, so this worked for me. I'll try upgrades the next time I play it.
My friend Stephanie decided to play a 30ss game. She took a Sonnia crew consisting of Sonnia, Samael, 3 witchling stalkers and a purifying flame. I took an Ortega crew with Perdita, Francisco, Nino, Papa Loco, Santiago and an enslaved nephilim.
Initial thoughts on the cards: We were both weirded out by the lack of abilities on the cards. It was weird for Nino not to have trigger happy. Weird for Santiago not to have the ability to get an extra move action. Francisco as a henchman? Wow! He is no longer the 5 point model you take just to have another Ortega. And Ortega striking is mostly a thing of the past! I kind of like that. Although it really does make the Ortegas quite different for me to play.
Initial thoughts on game setup: The new deployment types are weird, but potentially fun/scary. I really like the randomization of schemes and the option of five to pick from. It really stirs things up quite a bit, and keeps people from picking the same thing over and over and over. Scheme counters will take quite a bit for me to get used to. This new poker-face-bluffing-element to schemes is a bit weird for me.
Initial thoughts on game play: Soulstones are a lot less useful! Not to say that they aren't useful at all, but... no more insane casts of 30 or more, etc.! I'm not sure how I feel about having to declare if you are using soulstones before you start flipping stuff around, but I guess with the way things are it makes sense. Its a bit of a gamble, a push in your favor. It makes soulstones go very fast, say in round two. I've watched three games of this now, and almost all soulstones are gone in round two. May need to learn to work on conservation? Are we all just too eager to use them? Being able to pre-measure everything feels cheap. I don't like it. Not at all. It takes all the risk out of what you are doing!
The game went quickly and smoothly - probably because we weren't worrying about upgrades. We had reconnoiter, and she took bodyguard on Samael, and Power Ritual. I had bodyguard on Nino, and my other scheme was Protect Territory. The Ortegas insane damage profiles quickly beat down the opposing crew, and I spent most of my time shooting, then using my enslaved nephilim to influence my own crew to keep plopping down objective markers.
Francisco protects his territory with five scheme markers at the end of the game. Maybe a bit excessive?
Papa Loco and Perdita ended with two scheme markers each. I think I nailed this scheme!
With most of her crew dead by turn three, it was easy to score points for Reconnoiter. The game ended with her at 2VP, and me at 8VP (though it would have been way more if we weren't capped at 8!)
Thoughts on the game: It feels to me like beating down the opposing crew is going to be the easiest way to VP. Less strategy, more beat down? We'll see after I get a few more games in.
My verdict so far: I like Malifaux Classic better, but I did have fun, so I'm willing to give Malifaux 2.0 another go.