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Why You Should Explore the World of Malifaux Through the Other Side Kickstarter

Why You Should Explore the World of Malifaux Through the Other Side Kickstarter

There’s a dark fantasy steampunk game that exists right now you should know about. It’s called Malifaux, and I’ve talked about it before because it’s simply awesome. Basically, the world of Malifaux (the game) is a dark fantasy steampunk verse that is evolving, compelling and unique. It’s a world of magic and technology, of power plays and intrigue. I love the game as a small skirmish (6-12 miniatures) sized game with its interesting mechanics, but I’m also drawn to the universe itself.

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It’s why I was stoked to discover that last month Wyrd launched its Kickstarter for The Other Side, a game set in the universe of Malifaux, but is significantly larger both in terms of game scale (25-40 miniatures, akin to Warhammer 40K and Warmachine) and scope of the universe (taking the game from a small corner Breach to one that influences global politics and entire nations). I wasn’t the only one excited either. After launching, the game fully funded (to its goal of $75K in less than an hour) and is currently sitting pretty at about $250K as of this writing.

The Other Side takes the concepts forwarded in the miniature wargame Malifaux and it’s sister RPG Through the Breach and expands on that world, exploring what’s happening on this side of the breach. Aaron Darland, Wyrd’s lead game designer, explained: “The Other Side has been in the works for a few years, though work started in earnest a little over a year and a half ago. As a company, we had a big meeting to talk about which of the ideas we’d been bandying about was the next step for us, and The Other Side won out.”

And this game grows the Malifaux verse significantly in new ways. Instead of small gangs, the game is focused on Allegiances (game factions) as large as nations. The King’s Empire, an army commissioned by the government of England due to the Breach existing within its borders was the first to form in the minds of the developers, as Darland points out, “We knew we wanted to have a huge fight in London.”

Cult of the Burning Man came second, giving those good Empire subjects (and the rest of humanity) a twist. “Cult arose as a great way to corrupt people from around the world and show how Malifaux’s influence has changed things Earthside.” Abyssinia emerged to provide a global perspective on the universe. “We planted that Allegiance firmly in Africa because it allowed them to sort of catapult onto the game world stage. The Guild’s history was very euro-centric, and this helped us show that there are those that never fell under the Guild’s control.” And finally as a fourth faction, the Gibbering Hordes emerged, nightmarish creatures that immigrated through The Breach and now dwell in Earth’s oceans, like steampunk universe kaiju.

Darland explained the challenge in developing the Allegiance: “They were the trickiest because we wanted Neverborn, the native monsters of Malifaux, but we didn’t want them to be the same as the Neverborn everyone was familiar with. Malifaux is a whole world, and humans have only seen a small piece of it. The Hordes were a great way to look at a collection of the forgotten Malifaux denizens”.

Engaging in the Kickstarter was an interesting approach for Wyrd, who has done Kickstarters for smaller games (like Evil Baby Orphanage) in the past. For him, engaging with the community through Kickstarter is both rewarding and challenging. “It’s rewarding to see how interested some people are in the game, and how passionately some people like the rules. It’s very fulfilling to know, after so much work, that I wasn’t just flat wrong about some of my decisions.”

Understandably, the flipside is that backers often have varying expectations, Darland explains. “Kickstarter is different things to different people. We are using it to help with the massive up-front production costs of a game of this size, but not everyone who was initially interested was expecting the Kickstarter to look like it did.” Backers carried their own expectations, with some wanting what amounts to be pre-order discounts, others expecting exclusive models. “I’d love to be able to give everyone what they want, but it’s just not a realistic prospect for where we are as a company and our long-term plans for The Other Side.”  You can however, tell that the company and designers have been working hard to adjust for expectations.  Stretch goals have been modified, with the most recent version of the stretch goals offering more value in terms of models to backers with every stretch goal met.

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Pre-assembled models also help entice both those new and familiar to the ‘verse (I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gotten very frustrated trying to build some of the most precisely yet bizarrely tooled models in the miniature wargaming hobby.) All in all, I’m personally looking forward to getting my box and basically recreating steampunk King’s Empire jager vs Gibbering Hordes kaiju battles, but I’m pretty easy like that.

What steampunk-inspired games are you playing? Let us know in the comments! 

Featured Image & Blog Image Credits: Wyrd Games

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