Monday, 8 June 2015

Country Mouse and City Mouse Death Match.

Once again a slightly rambling post which has a tenuous link to gaming (I feel tenuous and rambling is my niche in Malifaux so I’m sticking to it.)
Following a recent chat about prize money at tournaments and how I’m very against it. This got me thinking about why I’m so against having cash prizes in Malifaux, and I think the main word to sum up how I feel is community (not the TV show).
One of the best features of Malifaux in the UK and I hope the rest of the world is that it attracts a great community feel. I’m going to liken it to a country village, you know everyone or at least you know someone who knows them. You may not all be friends but we all work together and do what we can to keep things nice.
Now I know this might be a bit of a rose tinted view of the Malifaux scene but from the what I’ve seen and from the people I’ve met I’d say it’s true for me if not for everyone.

On the over side of this you have the bigger games (I won’t name names as I prefer not to bad mouth other systems unless I have plenty of experience of it). I’ll call these city games. They are big with loads of people and plenty of money flowing in and out. I’m not saying this is a bad situation for the right system but it has to be a system geared towards that. Also with anything that involves lots of people and any amount of money there is a chance of less than honest people (scumbags) cheating you out of your share.

So like I said Malifaux is a close community with a balanced system, because of this, events tend to be a fairly true representation of peoples skill. Of course people have up and down days and some people don’t perform well under pressure but from experience players I know who are good finish in the top half of the table and the less good players in the lower half (my collection of wooden spoons is proof of this). This is because on the whole people are playing in event with the main prize being who can I finish higher than. This ties into a recent debate about the pros and cons of ranking but that’s a post for another day.

Now if we start adding regular cash prizes to events then the cash will become the main reason for playing, and if you don’t agree with that watch how quickly cash prizes rise in any game or sport because adding a zero to a prize is an easy (lazy) way to make your event bigger than their event.

Okay so you have an event with a big cash prize which attracts loads of players. Firstly if you double the number of players you double the chance of having a player who without being too blunt is a dick. Every system has them be it moaners, whiners, cheaters or bigots the general term is dick (or the scientific name Dickium cockius). They are rare(ish) in Malifaux but you will find them and if you start waving cash around you will see them more often.

You also have the fact that people can do maths and will do when they think they deserve the cash prize. Player A has spent £20 on travel and £10 on ticket so they need to win at least £30 to make it worth their time. So if an extra inch or two on a walk is the difference between a position with a £10 prize meaning a £20 loss or a position with £40 prize meaning a £10 profit, then adding that inch seems like just good sense.  The second bit of maths you’ll see is “if you let me win I’ll let you have some of my winnings”.
We all know these things happen but if you doubt it just look at any main stream sport and you’ll find it happening every day. Or you could look closer to home and I’m pretty sure that we have all play someone who was less than honest.

All of this is just my opinion and I’m sure plenty of people will disagree and also some people will agree but be able to explain it a lot better than me. But I’ll sum it up with this I’m a country mouse and like the village that is Malifaux and I’ll work to keep it nice while I can.


  1. Prize events are cool as long as they are random and not for winners or spread (Top3 + x random gifts for example). This makes people who are not as good with the mechanics interested. (I was last but I got this miniature/gift coupon etc....)

  2. Nothing against prizes, just big cash prizes. The random prizes are always cool, people always remember the little spot prizes.