Sunday, 6 January 2013

Malifaux on a Budget: Core Box Set

So something has been bugging me, if you look at other miniatures games they mostly all have a two player starter box designed for you and a friend to chip in together and be able to play your new system right off with all the models and rules you need. Malifaux does not have one of these; so I thought I'd design one, attempting to keep it in line with other systems but as this is Malifaux on a budget also comparing the cost, model amount and game size the box gives you.

So lets begin with a look at the big behemoth that is 40k's Dark Vengeance box.

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance
The Box
Price - £61.50

The box contains a whopping 48 miniatures split between Chaos and Dark Angels, it also contains a slim version of the rulebook, an assembly guide, a quick-play reference guide, an army roster sheet, dice, templates and a how-to-play booklet; in essence everything you need to play.  
Dark Angels: 850 
Chaos: 495

While a large points value, both sides are light of the 1500 point standard game and the Dark Angel side actually needs another troop choice to make it a legal army. However you get a lot of figure for your money and even better for a new player all the models are snap fit so no pesky glue which can be fiddly for new players.

Lesson to take for Malifaux box
So what Games Workshop have always done well is aesthetic, both forces in the box have a very distinct look and feel, which I think is great especially for a new player. The fact that the box include all the ancillary bits you need in the hobby of ours (even if you will need more dice) is bonus, players will still need to pick up a tape measure but that's the case with all the boxes we'll be looking at.
Now to the bad. I want the Malifaux box to give a full force so you can play not just the other crew in the box but against other players too without having to buy a load of extra stuff. Dark Vengeance is good box set, especially if you want to start Dark Angels, but while you get a lot of model for your buck with the core box, to expand to a full force in 40k will cost you about £125 on top of your core box, more for the Chaos player. 

Our second stater box comes from across the pond. 

The Box

Price - £63.50

The box contains 17 models (5 of which are pretty hefty sized jacks) and their corresponding stat cards.
 You also get a slim Warmachine MKII rulebook, introductory guide, dice and ruler. Unlike the GW box the models are multi part and require cleaning and assembly but are the model you can buy of the shelf individually. I'm not sure if this is worse or better than GW's snap fit as I can see merits to both, but for beginners I think the Warmachine box could look a little daunting.

Khador: 20 (including 5 war caster points)
Menoth: 21 (including 5 war caster points) 
Similar to Dark Vengeance the Warmachine box is lower than a standard point game but comes with a heavy unit, and a caster for each faction and a couple of 'Jacks a piece too. My FLGS worked out for me that for £40 you can take both forces up to 25 points (30 with caster points) so expanding up to a regular game size is pretty affordable. (Lists and links at the foot of the page.)

Lesson to take for Malifaux box
Similar to DV both forces in the box are very distinct, no ones going to think a Khador 'Jack lives with the Menoth and vice versa. The box also includes the units actual rules card, unlike DV where a codex is not included. As Malifaux has a similar unit card system this is obviously how any Malifaux box would present its rules, but I do think including even a slim version codex in the DV box would have been a nice touch. 
The only real bad point about the Warmachine box is again that you can't play a full sized games but it is much cheaper to take your starter force to 35 points than it is to upgrade your GW starters. You also may find your self needing token in a Warmchine game, which aren't included like they are in DV/

I feel its worth mentioning here Warmachines battle boxes. These are 15 point boxes that contain on average 2 light jacks, a heavy jack and a caster. While similar to GW's Battalion boxes, they differ in that they are a legal (all be it low pointed) force straight the box allowing you to choose a different Warmachine faction to start quite easily. However Malifaux's crew boxes are similar, so I won't be focusing to much one these.

So now on to our what if Starter box.

Things to include:
  • Models - fairly obvious but we need to look at what models and keeping the cost reasonable
  • Rules - both boxes included a rule book and a condensed version
  • Ancillary gaming materials - In our case, card and tokens.
  • Points - Starting skirmish or full crew?
  • Cost - both these box sets come in at about the £60 mark, I will be attempting to stick to this. (especially as this is Malifaux on a Budget)
 So I'm working on two possible "Core sets" as it were, the first being the two poster children of Malifaux Lady Justice and Seamus.

The Box

The Death Marshals - £21
Redchapel Gang - £19
Two Fate Decks - £9.10
Rulebook 1.5 - £18
Total - £67.10

A little more expensive than the two "real" starter boxes, but it gives you a FULL rule book and two complete crews. Tokens are readily downloadable though I'm sure any actually produced box set would have some in or may be even pop out card ones (like puppet wars). Summary rules are a possibility maybe a separate copy of the table in the back of the rulebook.


Lady Justice - 19 SS
Seamus - 18 SS

This is a pretty even spread, especially as Justice has a higher starting SS pool and Seamus can re-summon his models (in game justice has a little advantage sure) but I think it work out quite balanced. Ideally it would include the totems for both masters but that would bump the price up to about £75 bought individually which seemed a little steep.

The second option I'm toying with is using Wyrd's new plastic box sets.
The Box

The Thunder - 22.50
Rail Crew - 22.50
Two Fate Decks - £9.10
Rulebook 1.5 - £18
Total - £72.10

This gives both crews a similar model count to the previous box but utilises Wyrd's new range and gives you the totem for both masters. While a little expensive it gives you a lot of soulstones for your money with little need to add more.


Ten Thunders - 29
Rail - 25

Both crews contain: A master, their totem, Three henchmen and a fourth that packs a hefty punch. Both can be taken up to the magic 35 SS with one one box set (Yamaziko and the Rail Golem respectively) and give a good flavour of the faction.

So if you and a friend fancy starting Malifaux or you have a few friends you want to get into it, let them get £70 quid together and show them what to get.

I'd like to do some more work on this in the future as is run up a summary rules set etc, so you maybe be seeing more of this sort of thing. Let me know what you think. @

Link to Titan Games is in the side bar and a big thanks to Adam & Martin for their help ---> all prices and rule correct at the time of writing.
And a big thanks to Gmort (link in the side bar also)

Menoth add ins

Choir of Menoth - 19.05
Vigiliant - 13.50

Khador add ins

Winter Guard + Command - 36.35
Old Joe - 6.35


  1. What are you adding to dark angels to bring them up 650pts and spending £300?

  2. TBH I was tempting the mistress of hyperbole there for effect I have adjusted the value down to a more realistic one. Not sure what I'd add until the new books out either, by preference more Termies.

  3. Just priced up the Dark Vengeance box, codex, a pack of terminators, the new speeder, a flyer, a tactical squad and 2 rhinos and that was £290; that's before you add any of the stuff to build and paint it!

  4. that's a more reasonable figure(by which i mean fair, gw pricing is never reasonable!)