I was introduced to wargaming through Warhammer 40k, as I guess a large portion of gamers are. I started playing 40k just around the release of 5th edition, with the Assault on Black Reach box set. I started with Orks, then branched into Chaos, and then became one of those codex-hoppers everyone hates and used my one vaguely Chaos-y power armor army made from bits of Dark Angels, Space Wolves, and Chaos and vanilla Loyalist marines, and used it with whatever codex I felt like that fit, usually Space Wolves or Chaos Marines. I avoided Grey Knights.
But I found myself playing less and less because traveling to a store with your 2000 point army with vehicles and shit gets cumbersome, you spend as much on cases and foam as you spend on models, and playing a game is long and fiddly and movement takes forever and GW games, being the big dog on the block, tend to attract a wide variety of players, many of whom are terrible neckbeards who I just don’t want to play with. So I sort of fell out of it. I bought the 6th edition collectors book with the backpack and the special dice, I played maybe 2 games of 6th. I bought the Chaos and Dark Angel codexes when they came out on the iPad, but combined with the price hikes, Finecast problems, hating to paint vehicles, and price hikes again, I am basically done with 40k as a game and GW as a company at this point.
It also doesn’t help that I love to paint but HATE, and I mean despise, batch painting, and the thought of having dozens or in some cases a hundred, of effectively the same dude to paint makes me sick to my stomach. I spent a lot of time coming up with a marine color scheme I liked, and painted a squad of them, and then said, welp that was fun, oh look I have 30-50 more of this guy to paint, and then a dozen terminators in the same scheme, and some dreadnoughts, and some tanks and ugh. I basically burnt out and didn’t paint a thing for 6 months. And I missed it, but didn’t really have the motivation to get back in because every time I looked at a model to paint it all the frustration about the game and the fact that I had SO MUCH to paint to be able to field a painted army just put me back off it again.
That is how I initially got excited about Malifaux. You mean for less than the price of a Warhammer army I can basically get an entire FACTION, with which I can play multiple unique crews, and each model is pretty unique and I never have to paint more than maybe 3 of the same thing? Sold. I was sold before I learned and loved the card mechanics and the alternating activations and the fluff and such, which is a whole different article. Also, no vehicles! If I never have to paint a Rhino again it’ll be too soon. I looked at Warmachine/Hordes, but have been told that game is going through some scale creep and isn’t really a true skirmish-level game anymore. I looked at Infinity but within a faction most of the models look sort of samey. I think I would get tired of it after the 5th or 6th ninja robot I painted.
Traveling outside my house to play the game is also easier. I don’t drive, so I’m taking the Metro to wherever it is I am playing. With 40k that means either at least two cases or one giant wheely case, and that is really a pain to ride the Metro and then walk with. Malifaux is one case, and even that is only a full sized case because I am a crazy person who insists on bringing everything. I could easily get a skirmish sized case that carries one crew, throw it in a backpack with all my books/deck/cards/tokens and be off. Wouldn’t even get any weird looks on the train like I do now.
Also, the people who play Malifaux seem to just be more well adjusted than your average randomly selected 40k player. I don’t know if that is simply because it’s a less popular game, or because more adults play it than teenagers, or if skirmish games attract a better crowd, or if character and story-based games attract a better crowd, or what, but I’ve run into more insufferable 40k players than I can count and that’s only happened like once with Malifaux.
Never mind that I now have thousands of dollars of 40k stuff collecting dust on my shelves, and never mind that I do, admittedly, have dozens of unpainted Malifaux models to get to. Malifaux took me from being eh about painting and about the game I was playing (and by extension about wargaming in general) to being actually excited about it.