Clock in Malifaux and Longshanks

Recently there was a Swampfiends episode about using a clock in Malifaux. I am not going to re-emphasize the points that they made there, but here are some links to Cody’s thoughts on the subject:

Check the link to Swampfiend’s Clock episode HERE.

There are a couple of reasons why I like using clocks in Tabletop games:

  1. It speeds up play. Players who play on the clock play faster. This means we can play more games. Playing a 5 hour game of Malifaux is not super fun for most players.
  2. Playing on a clock can train you to get all 5 turns of Malifaux in a tournament setting.
  3. Playing on a clock rewards the player who is more familiar with their crew and the game.
  4. Playing on a clock is fair. If you use your time poorly, that is on you. Everyone has the same amount of time, but if you use yours poorly, you may lose points or give your opponent points.

Clock Management

I like a system that gives each player the same amount of time. Malifaux currently has a problem where certain crews are going to bogart 65% of the actual gameplay time. This means that the opposing crew has to get their points in way less time. That is why in the way tournaments are currently set up, I think aggressive crews benefit the most. You can score a lot of points early to win tournament games. Crews like Nekima, Kin, Seamus, Parker, etc can get points quick depending on the pool. I purposefully will not play Som’er because he would take a lot of reps for me to play quick enough to be successful in a tournament.

How a Clock Could Work in Malifaux?

So some ideas that I have seen floating around include some combination of the following:

  • One hour for each player using a Chess clock. This is time that is used for activations, triggers, questions etc.
  • Generally speaking, if you take longer than 5 to 7 seconds to answer something or make a decision, the clock is going to be put back on you. This could be debating to use a trigger, ability, cheat, etc.
  • Like Warmachine you could do a death clock. When a player runs out of time, they lose. I am not a fan of this clock method.
  • Like Guild Ball, when you run out of time, you start surrendering points. At the end of the turn, you surrender 1 vp for being at 0. However, you do not automatically lose the game.
  • Use the clock differential as a tie breaker. You tie your game 4 to 4 vp. You used 10 mins less on the clock, you win.
  • Use the clock differential as a bonus if you win. You won and played fast on the clock, you get more points for point differential.
  • You can use a clock in casual play, but if you hit 0 on the clock, just keep playing.
  • I do think clocks would be beneficial to speed up play and reward well practiced players in a tournament setting.
  • The clock helps take off some social pressure on slower players. No one likes being hurried or hurrying slow players. Clocks get rid of that pressure, because I can use my clock as fast or as slow as I want.
  • Social norms and rules will become more fine tuned for players in Malifaux as clocks are introduced. Guild ball did not have a clock for a long time, but competitive play benefitted greatly. Very few games ended before the game was finished.

Longshanks.org Available for Malifaux

Longshanks.org is a good tournament tracking website. This is similar to Bag’o’tools. However, I have found that Longshanks is better. I like the functionality of it and I also like how it tracks player stats, win/loss, and more. I am hopping more Malifaux players will use this to keep track of tournaments. The creator, Sam, always does a good job upkeeping and developing the site.

Longshanks.org also helps run events for Guild Ball, Godtear, Crisis Protocol, and X-Wing. Really excited to see how well developed this is for Malifaux.

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