Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Malifaux for Beginners - Schemes

Editors Note - This tutorial is for version 1.5 of the Malifaux rules and has been left available for reference only. Some Malifaux 2nd Edition Tutorials can be found here...as well as quite a few of these old ones, lol.

Somewhere between 'Hiring Crews' and 'Deploying Crew' we have the 'Choose Schemes' part of the set-up procedure. This gives us a ridiculous combination of choices and can be a bit confusing the first time you stare at the list of options.

Firstly, schemes are completely optional. Though you can select up to two you are not obliged to do so and your Soulstone cache is increased by two for each scheme you choose not to take...however I wouldn't recommend this as a regular course of action as you are depriving yourself quite a few potential Victory Points (VP) by so doing. The other issue is that you are still limited to a maximum cache of 8 Soulstones at the start of the game so by not choosing Schemes you could potentially be wasting Soulstones...and one thing we don't want to do in Malifaux is waste one of our most valuable resources....

Broadly speaking schemes come in three different types.

General Schemes - These are Schemes that pretty much any crew can take generally have fairly straight forward requirements such as assassinating a certain model, keeping your Master alive or getting a certain amount of models to a certain area of the board, etc. These tend to be the best ones for a beginner to pick as they have fairly clear and simple to understand requirements.

Faction Specific - These are Schemes that can only be selected by a particular Faction and tend to play to that Factions strengths. Resurrectionists (for example) have a scheme that requires you to finish with more models than you started with, Arcanists have one that requires them to perform a set of magical rituals and so on. These schemes more often than not are biased towards a certain crew configuration so you need to think about what models your using before you decide on a scheme. As you select your crew after the main strategy is flipped this isn't a major issue.

Master Specific - Rather obviously these are schemes that apply to a single Master and invariably play to that Masters strengths, however their requirements are so specific that they may not suit your own play-style. Seamus's Scheme requires him to perform a particular task using his Totem and Sonnia Criid's requires her to use a specific Spell to gain a particular effect, etc...this is great if you were going to do these things anyway...but not...if your not...

There are some additional limitations as well.

1) Schemes generally give you more Victory Points (VP) if you announce what your up to rather than if you keep it a secret. Obviously this will depend on whether you think you can still accomplish it if your opponent knows what your up to ;-)
2) Any number of your selected Schemes can come from the General Schemes section but Faction Specific Schemes are only available at one per Master. At the point levels at which your playing most games you'll only have one Master so you'll be limited to just the one Faction Specific Scheme. In the event that your Master has more than one Scheme available to him you can only take one Master Specific Scheme per Master.
3) Some Schemes specify a particular terrain feature or model. Only one feature or model may be specified per Scheme per player. However there's nothing to stop you picking a scheme that coincides with your previously flipped for Strategy.

Obviously when picking Schemes it makes sense to select ones that compliment your Strategy and personal play-style.


A Resurrectionist Player is having a 35 Soulstone game of Malifaux, has flipped 'Claim Jump' as his Strategy and has chosen to use Seamus, the Mad Hatter and crew for the game itself.

In order to supplement his Master's meagre Cache of 2 Soulstones, his player has selected only 32 Soulstones of models during the Hire Crews phase so his starting Pool of Soulstones is now 5 and now moves onto the Choose Schemes part of the Encounter set-up.

At this point he could opt to not take any schemes at all and take an extra 4 Soulstones (2 per Scheme not taken)...but as he already has 5 Soulstones in his pool those extra 4 would take him to 9 and he's only allowed 8 which is quite obviously a waste of a Soulstone. This would also limit him to a maximum available Victory Points (VP) of 4 (If he successfully fulfils all the requirements for the Claim Jump Strategy) which is somewhat of a disadvantage should his opponent pick his maximum allotment of Schemes.

Instead he looks at his Strategy (Claim Jump) and decides that as he's heading to a marker away from his deployment zone anyway he might as well select Breakthrough as the first of his Schemes and as his opponent is undoubtedly going to be attempting to stop him accomplishing his Strategy he announces his first Scheme for a potential extra Victory Point (VP). He's going there anyway so what the hell ;-)

For his second Scheme he looks at the Faction Specific ones and decides that neither of them are going to be particularly useful and the Master Specific one is no use as it requires the Copycat Killer Totem and he hasn't taken it on this occasion. He decides to play it safe and take Bodyguard as his 2nd Scheme (as keeping your Master alive is always a good idea) and being as he'd like his Master to not be the target of every attack he notes this one down secretly.

He now has a potential Victory Point (VP) total of 7 (4 for Claim Jump, 2 for the announced Scheme of Breakthrough and 1 for the secret Scheme of Bodyguard).

After a few games you'll quickly get the hang of picking Schemes that compliment the Strategy you flipped and the models you selected. These Schemes are a very important part of both the Strategy and the fun of Malifaux and I highly recommend that you don't skip this part of the Encounter set-up.

If you have any questions, find any errors with this tutorial or would like some further examples then feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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