Thursday, 26 April 2012

what are the odds?

Before I start, I just want to say I wrote this some time ago.
I've ummed and I've aaahd and I've decided that I will publish it.
But I nearly didn't.
I nearly didn't because Malifaux is a brilliant game with so much more to it than the cards.  Because, stripping out and looking at the cards in this way is perhaps not how I want to view my beautiful game.  But, I have written it, it is part of the game, and as I'm an entirely un-educated statistician it's probably meaningless anyway.

So, read it if you want.  Correct me if it's needed.  But don't get too worked up about it.  Malifaux is so much more than a card game that this is barely worth the effort.


Malifaux is a card game.  Well, at least partially, and as such is subject to chance, and these chances are measurable.
(c) Wyrd Miniatures
Do you know what the chances are of you picking up the Red Joker in a hand you draw?
Do you know the chance of getting the red joker on any given flip?
Do you want to know?
Any card player who plays bridge or poker or any other card game with any degree of seriousness will know the odds of key events happening.  Perhaps we should too?
I'm no mathematician or card sharp so anything I say here may be misguided and inaccurate but I do have some thoughts.

Basics - 54 cards 4*13 cards suits + 2 jokers.  Playing with the jokers gives slightly longer odds than standard card games that aren't played with jokers.

Chance of drawing the Red Joker in a 6 card hand?  6 chances from 54 cards = 6/54 or 11.1%  Which means that approximately one in 10 hands drawn will contain the Red joker.  Except that when we draw our hands some cards have already been flipped/ discarded.  Might just be one you discarded from previous hand - 6/53 or 11.3% or 2 6/52 or 11.5% or more, all of which increase the chance of you getting the Red Joker in your hand.
There are other factors too, such as ability to hold more cards in the hand such as minions or masters who add to your hand size.  Arcane Effigy lets you hold an extra card, combine that with a master who holds an extra card (Rasputina i think?) and you have 8 cards in your hand rather than 6.  that's 33% more cards.  but is it 33% more chance of drawing the Red Joker?
Hand Size Cards Chance %
6 54 1/9 11.1
6 53 1/8.83 11.3
6 52 1/8.67 11.5
7 54 1/7.7 12.9
7 53 1/7.57 13.2
7 52 1/7.43 13.5
8 54 1/6.75 14.8
8 53 1/6.63 15.0
8 52 1/6.515.4
please excuse the fraction decimal hibrid.

So that's a reasonable increase in chance of picking out that coveted card.  Also, with a larger hand size the odds grow faster as you loose cards to choose from.  So the change over 3 cards (54 - 52) at 6 card hand size is 0.4%, at 8 card hand size it's 0.6%.

Does this make the Arcane Effigy worth taking?  Well, it costs 4SS.  So that's 4 SS to increase your chance of drawing by a couple of %.  What else could you do with those 4SS?  take them as Soul Stones for one.  Each one giving you a better chance than any single card in your hand, of being the red Joker.
If the Red joker hasn't been played, as cards are played from your deck you get an increased chance of drawing the Red.  Two cards flipped, 6 in your hand chance of Red Joker being next is 1 in 46 or just under 2.17%.  2 Flipped 8 in hand it's 1 in 44 or 2.27%.  But, if half the decks been played without it popping up?
6 in hand 23 played 1 in 23 or 4.34%  Still not great is it?  But it is twice what it was before. For any given card in a 6 card hand the chances at the time of drawing your card are between 1/ 52 (assuming 2 cards flipped) 1.9% and 1/46 or 2.17%.  the thing with Souls Stones is though only one or maybe two models in a typical crew can use them.  If the RJ is in your hand anyone has access to it.

Apply that extra card in hand to a requirement for high cards in a specific suit, or even just high cards in any suit and it becomes even more useful.  I think I may well be acquiring an Arcane Effigy to run alongside Rasputina in the hope that the shortened odds will give me an upper hand, a lightly increased chance at least.  Of course, in play these odds may not bear fruit.  We're talking about shortening long odds by only a little, but I reckon it's worth looking at.

The point of this article then, is not to tell you the odds, I've probably got them wrong, but to get you thinking about them.  The card mechanic is core to the game we love and should be given due consideration, go give it some thought and try and calculate the odds that matter to you..  What are the chance of me flipping a certain suit for instance, might be worth knowing that one.
Nor am I claiming that the odds are more important than crew selection, crew knowledge and good tactics because I don't think they are.  But I do think having an idea of them is a worthwhile exercise. If you're hoping for a good flip, at least have some idea what hope you have.

Now I just need some mathematician to shoot me down in flames ;-)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

changing tides of malifaux addiction

I am nothing if not fickle and mercurial when it comes to my Malifaux addiction.
How I envy those who can stick to a single faction or even to a long term plan.
Stick to Arcanists was my motto going in to 2012.  how long did that last?
Looks like not long as I now have a Collodi hankering big time.
I have Zoraida sitting there un-loved, un-assembled and most definately un-painted.
Having looked through Twsting Fates Avatar Zoraida is one of the few Avatars  I'd consider that matches my current crop of masters. Avatar Justice, Pandora and Rasputina all being sub-par as far as I can see, although I'm beginning to wonder about aPandora (No, really, I have an idea, though I'm not sure it's one I'd want to play)
Collodi (c) Wyrd Miniatures
And those little dolls and marionettes look so frickin' cool, even Collodi is an excellent figure.
So, here's what I'm thinking of getting

Collodi blister
Marionettes blister
Puppet wars expansion pack three
Primordial magic (maybe)

Coppelius is not really part of this plan, but he's a figure I've wanted to add to my Neverborn collection for a while so I'm using this as an excuse.
As you can see I'm not getting the box set.  Why not?  Well, because I'm going to get a Puppet wars expansion set to use as my Wicked Dolls (my thanks to whoever posted that idea on the Wyrd form).  This way I get 8 wicked dolls that can also be used as the figures they actually represent, although I'll need to make some of them magnetised so they can be transferred to larger bases for that purpose.
Primordial Magic, I'm actually not a fan of this sculpt so I may drop this off the list unless it seems functionally too important to do without.

Overall plan then, with this crew, is fairly standard.  Zoraida does her thing, Collodi sods off and captures objectives etc.. Zoraida manifests and spawns more Wicked Dolls.  A mobile, fast crew with some Obey facility.. nice.  I've already got Stitched & an Insidious Madness to add to the mix as well if I feel the need.

There you go, nothing particularly original about this lot, need to read up and see if I can't spin my own take, but it's a crew I've been hankering after, so unless I stick to my Arcnaist guns and get mech Rider and December Acolyte, I think I've found my next round of purchases.  Shame I can't squeeze Avatar Zoraida in too.

And now, a week after originally drafting this I'm considering a change.. to Nicodem.  had a resur hankering for ages, couldn't pick a master but I recon' with Nicodem I may have found an Avatar I'd like to build and play!  But, would spamming Zombies be fun?  I dunno.. Argh  So then, Seamus, there's a cool Avatar.. No!!! Heeellpp Meeee!!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

twisting fates - first impressions

(c) Wyrd Miniatures
Any blog worth it's salt would have reviewed Twisting Fates within days or weeks of it's release, but not here, no, here we like to take our time, get to really know a book and then review it..  Alternatively we're skint and have only just been able to afford it.  So, somewhat late to the ball I've finally picked up a copy of Twisting Fates.
There's little here that'll be news to anyone, but for what it's worth here are my initial thoughts -

Twisting Fates is the 3rd (or 4th if you include the Rules Manual) rule book - or second expansion if you will - from Wyrd Miniatures for their Malifaux game.  The rules from the first two books, along with erata were combined into the Rules manual.

In terms of rules there's little here...  The rules included refer to the main focus of the book and that's Avatars.
Each master has specific conditions under which they may, or must, change from their normal form into their Avatar form.  Once, or as, they convert to Avatar form various things can happen, depending on the Master in question.  Some can make healing flips, most loose effects and Totems.  You replace the masters figure with their Avatar figure, and replace their stat card with the Avatar card.
Once transferred to Avatar form each Master has a new set of powers.

What else is in this book?  Well, there is a handful of minions for each faction.  Some nice looking options, not much game changing here though, a few stronger minions perhaps but mostly fairly balanced.  I've a feeling resurs do better than most here but perhaps I'm wrong, always tricky to tell before you've played with or against.

Nicodem Avatar
(c) Wyrd Miniatures
And most of the book, and it's the thickest book yet, is a tonne of fluff :-)  I love fluff.  I love this book.  I've barely started the fluff to be honest but I've enjoyed what I've read so far and can't wait to read more.

Throughout the book is sprinkled a load of new artwork.  As usual some fabulous, atmospheric, pictures from Wyrd.  They're my favourite part of the fluff and you can't fault them, except perhaps there could be more.

So, any complaints?  Well, I love the look and feel of these books but I do wish they published them in the smaller format too (like the Rules Manual) so I could read them in the bath.  These books are wonderful to hold and look at and read sitting up, but lying in bed or the bath they're just to large and heavy.  If they published them large and small I'd buy both I really would.

Zoraida Avatar
(c) Wyrd Miniatures
So, the Avatars.  So far then I'm not awfully impressed.  The Avatars I want to run are for masters I don't have.  The Avatars for Lady Justice, Pandora and Rasputina are, or seem to me after a few readings, weak. I don't know why you'd spend 2SS to take the option of turning Pandora into an immobile weakling who can't do anything significantly better than when she could move.  I mean even the tentacles don't hit hard, a Slop Haulers bucket does more damage!  And she can not move!  In Malifaux that's crazy, unless she's sat on a target I suppose, but it's not like she's static and tough all of a sudden.  LJ and Rasputina are similar.  My other two masters may be more promising (Zoraida and Perdita) but even then I'm not sure.  So far the stand outs to me have been Seamus and Ramos.  Both look like a laugh and have fabulous figures.  Colette is an interesting one, 3 models, only one is actually her.. a good thing or just 3 chances for your opponent to hit her?  Might be fun but could end up being a weakness.

Also some masters are way easier to manifest than others. Not sure why.

So, I've still plenty to read here, including many of the Avatars, but initial impressions are that
this is then another fabulously beautiful book from Wyrd.  Adding some depth to the game without upsetting the balance too much, but I suspect your usage will depend on your master.