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Warmachine/Hordes


Ersatz Nihilist
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Well, there's a 40k thread, so I thought I'd shove one up for Warmachine/Hordes, on the offchance there are a couple of people interested in it around here.

In case you've not come across it, they're two seperate gamelines which are compatible with one another and set in the same world. Warmachine is very much a steampunk setting (with the occasionally spike of high-technology), where fighting forces are supplimented by multi-ton steam driven Warjacks and a resource management system - Hordes on the other hand has gigantic monsters and runs on risk management.

The armies tend to be a lot smaller than something like 40k, and each model in a unit fights and is targetted individually - so half the unit might be caught up in melee, but those that aren't are still free to shoot etc. It makes for a fairly open game, where individual troop placement means a lot more. The key figure in the force is the Warcaster, who controls the Warjacks/Beasts, and if they're killed you automatically lose the game - however they tend to be amongst the most powerful figures (as you can imagine), so it's not always a good idea to hang back with them.

I'm currently collecting and painting a Hordes Minions army - the Blindwater Congregation, who are essentially highly carnivorous 'Gator men. Here's some stuff I've painted so far - apologies for the poor quality, light is terrible in my flat, or perhaps it's just my camera.

img0212df.jpg

img0216bt.jpg

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Anyone else play?

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If it enthuses you at all, my entire Gatorman army at 50pts (the tournament standard) will come to about 25 models when it's all bought, built and painted... which is less than the sum of Orks in a full Boyz unit in 40k. I won't even start on Fantasy.

The great thing about Warmachine is that all levels of points are fun to play. The lowest level is 15 points, which will generally just involve the Warcaster and a few 'jacks - the terrain becomes important as you stalk one another due to the low model count. At higher points, you are able to protect your 'jacks from charges with infantry lines and the like. The big boys are interesting as they represent your armies prime hitting power, but you can't let them get bogged down in crappy infantry, as even with the warcaster pouring focus into it, it won't be able to kill enough.

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I don't play minis games but they look very cool and nicely painted. How many do you have? I like the one on the left in the last picture, he's looking like a bad dude. :D

I've only just started with the Crocs, but I've got a fair bit of Cryx stuff from Warmachine as well. The guy on the left at the bottom is Wrong Eye, and unpleasant mercenary type - he makes voodoo dolls to mess with the capabilities of the enemy force. He's always paired with Snapjaw (the big one), who keeps him safe.

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To clarify my comment that "I don't play minis" this isn't because I don't like the idea but I have no artistic ability and storage, which is already an issue with me, looks rather problematic.

The people I can get to play games with also wouldn't invest time in learning the games on their own whereas I can shove a board/card game down in front of them, run through the rules and they can enjoy it without doing any preparation or hard work.

Or am I missing something here? Are minis games intrinsically more complicated or not?

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Or am I missing something here? Are minis games intrinsically more complicated or not?

I've found Warmachine/Hordes comparable to Warhammer in complexity, despite having fewer models.

A nice'gateway' wargame is Malifaux. It has a small model count (typically 5 or so) and uses a deck of cards rather than dice to determine results. The models are very nice too, with a unique style to them (one of the characters is called Lord Chompy Bits). Oh and anything with a sadistic teddy has got to be pretty cool:

teddyj.jpg

Anyway, back to Warmachine. I've got a very small Khador collection but have only played a few times. It took a bit of getting used to the fact that once my warcaster was dead the game was over, but I really enjoyed having a load of different options available for the 'jacks. The image of a walking tank picking up and throwing another warjack across the table certainly was memorable.

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I've found Warmachine/Hordes comparable to Warhammer in complexity, despite having fewer models.

Aye, I was surprised when I looked into the ruleset of Warmachine (and, I assume, Hordes) that, for a system that's praised for being elegant and neat, it's, um, very convoluted, seemingly based around buffs and debuffs and hand management* rather than battlefield tactics. Which is the main thing putting me off it. Well, that and the fact I like certain models from certain forces (e.g. the Khadorian Widowmakers and Scrapjack, the Retribution's Mage Hunter squads, the Mercenary Eiryss, and Alexia and the risen), but don't like the look of any force as a whole. And generally don't like the look of most of the 'jacks, aside from the aforementioned Scrapjack and some of the other, more clunky Khadorian 'jacks. I may at some point buy up some of the units I like, and I wouldn't mind trying out the game, but can't see myself ever collecting an army :(

To clarify my comment that "I don't play minis" this isn't because I don't like the idea but I have no artistic ability and storage, which is already an issue with me, looks rather problematic.

The people I can get to play games with also wouldn't invest time in learning the games on their own whereas I can shove a board/card game down in front of them, run through the rules and they can enjoy it without doing any preparation or hard work.

Or am I missing something here? Are minis games intrinsically more complicated or not?

Miniatures games aren't intrinsically more complex than other games - what they are for the most part is simplified wargames.** The main complexity that tends to crop up is the same as in CCGs - ever-changing rules for individual units (cards), the introduction of new units (cards), and the special rules from individual units (again, cards) interacting in unusual ways. As such, often the hardest thing to grasp isn't how to play, which is generally fairly straightforward,*** but constructing an army (deck). The main difference between a CCG and a miniatures game is that the latter lacks the large random element in drawing your cards - you broadly know what's going on the field, where and when. Unless you choose to field large portions of your army in reserve, in which case dice rolls can determine these things, but that's a usually choice, not a requirement.

Which, like CCGs, provides quite the barrier to entry. It means if you want to introduce people to the game, you'll have to have an army ready for them to play. Of course, Games Workshop get around that by having their own stores where you can learn to play, and are certainly the cheapest way to be introduced to the game, as long as you resist the urge to buy anything at the behest of the store assistant/manager.

As already mentioned, Mordheim and Necromunda are good introductions, though getting the models could be a pain. Heroscape isn't a bad introduction either, and won't require any painting. Of course, it's at a large scale, so won't give you the sense of massed armies that is a large part of the appeal of, say, Warhammer, but then you wouldn't expect it to.

Also, though it's much-maligned on some parts of the internet, GW's Lord of the Rings is actually a decent introduction - it's a skirmish game, but with small scale miniatures (smaller even than standard Warhammer ones), so is pretty cheap to put together a decent force.**** And, if you then want to try out massed battles, the same models will work in GW's LOTR massed battle system, War of the Ring. You'll still need to paint them, mind ;)

Finally, there's epic-scaled miniatures, which can be good if you want massed battles quickly and without a fuss - and, they tend to have the simplest rules, focussing more on battlefield tactics than individual units' special abilities or army selection. I feel like I'm pimping GW far too much here, but that's just because I know it better than other systems. In this case, you have Epic 40k and Warmaster, as the sci-fi and fantasy variants, respectively. However, as an introductory game, again LOTR is the best to go with, as it has a complete boxed game giving you two opposing sides to play with: The Battle of Five Armies, from the end of The Hobbit. Again, the miniatures need painting, but as they're so small you don't have to worry about detailing them - just basecoat them in a suitable colour (e.g. armoured dwarves in a metallic paint, men in earthy brown) and they'll look pretty much fine.

So, er, yeah. In summation, if you want an introduction to miniatures, without an exorbitant cost or learning curve or the requirement (or, er, even the ability, sadly) to collect more miniatures to expand your army, I'd recommend The Battle of Five Armies. G'wan. You know you want to! ;)

*or rather, focus/fury token management

**well, that or plain old complex wargames, but those aren't the type of game you tend to see boxed and advertised. Rather, with those, there's a ruleset, and then there are miniatures sold by all sorts of companies that you choose from if they're in a scale suitable for the game.

***for example, the standard Warhammer Fantasy arrangement is:

Player 1's turn:

'Upkeep' phase (check for any units that automatically move, and resolve their actions)

Player 1 declares charges (if they want)

Player 1 moves units.

Player 1 casts magic (if they have any)

Player 1 shoots (if they have anything capable)

Player 1 and Player 2 resolve any close-combat with much D6-rolling

Player 2's turn...

****there's also far less construction involved in most units. Aside from a few of the warmachines and cavalry, most units only need to be clipped from their sprues slotted into their bases, with a couple requiring an arm attached.

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As already mentioned, Mordheim and Necromunda are good introductions, though getting the models could be a pain.

You don't need the official metals, of course. A single box of plastic Empire/Skaven/Imperial Guard/whatever troops should provide pretty much all you ever need for a gang.

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I bought a few boxes of infantry models a few years ago after seeing this. Also, the local hobby store that I bought paints from actually manufactured the models for distribution in Europe and I liked being able to collect some freshly cast figures. I never got around to buying any warjacks due to the problems with assembly back then especially with the Khador but I am tempted by the new resin stuff. They are expensive though. Maybe not from the perspective of army building but I think I paid nearly £30 for six pikemen and with my painting backlogue I can't really justify spending so much on something that will sit in a box for years.

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Oh, I do like that figure. Um, any idea who/what it is? (I'm assuming Khador, but it doesn't look like any of the Widowmakers I've seen. So, is it kitbashed, or a solo unit I've missed?)

And, yes, the pricing's an issue for me too, meaning that I'd be hesitant to collect even if I could think of an army I'd like to do so with :(

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It's not that expensive to get started in WM/Hordes - the starter boxes are around £30 and you normally only need to add another light beast/jack or solo to bring yourself to the base 15pt level. The game plays well at this level and you can get through a few battles to help learn the rules.

Expanding your force will usually involve adding a heavy and a solo or another unit to hit 25pts, and so on depending on where you want to stop. Price is based on size/weight rather than power, so particularly if you're plating a WM faction your troops tend to be cheap. Add another warlock/warcaster (<£10) and you'll substantially change your playstyle.

Mark II really cleaned up the rules, standardised a lot of the abilities and reigned in some of the more ridiculous models. In a way it's closer to Magic than Warhammer in that the game is all about interactions between units - there aren't many models that are truly self-sufficient.

My best advice if you're new to the game is to try and find someone to demo it for you - it's by far my favourite game on the market.

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A couple of friends play Warmachine and Hordes at a semi-competitive level. They roped me into playing a scenario with them a while back and I wasn't hooked - tabletop's never been my favourite thing but all the discrepancies when measuring stuff out were just a little too much for me.

That said, piloting four trolls against a team of opposing weenies is a lot of fun, one of them had an ability that did something along the lines of letting you make an additional roll if you successfully hit an enemy, and if you passed, you could move up to an inch forward and make another attack; this led to mass extermination by angry trolls if you were lucky with the rolls.

There's an impressive amount of books and literature associated with the universe and the models have a pleasingly weighty feel to them.

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Warmachine does have a lot of rules that modify what you need on a dice roll but the basic system is so easy to pick because there's no abstract "to-hit" table for example:

Unit A wants to shoot at Unit B.

Unit A has a "RAT" (Balistic Skill) of 7.

Unit B has a defence of 13.

Using two dice and adding the total to the RAT Unit A has to match (or beat) the defencive value of Unit B, so Unit A needs 6 or more on two dice.

It's the basic principle for the whole game, once you've hit you then roll for armour penetration using the power of the weapon against the armour of the enemy. It's so simple, I don't understand why no one has used the system before now.

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I think part of the reason may be that it makes reading statlines a bit harder, at least until you've got a good idea of general stats across the board.

By way of demonstration, and considering only basic combat values (ignoring things like movement, leadership etc.), compare:

Imaginary Warmachine unit

RAT:7 POW:7 DEF:10 ARM: 10

Imaginary Warhammer unit:

BS:4 S:4 T:2

Simply put - at a glance, you can tell the Warhammer unit (and apologies for the example given being Warhammer again - once more, it's just the system I'm most familiar with for comparing) has notably higher shooting ability and penetration (assuming the S to apply to its weapon, rather than its sword-arm, in this case) than it has toughness: it's a ranged glass hammer. As far as I'm aware, the same would go for the Warmachine unit, but that's not so obvious, as in fact to a layman the DEF and ARM appear to be higher.

Of course, as long as you understand how combat works it's fairly simple to work out what's what, but you can never get the simple "4 is higher than 2, ergo this unit is considerably handier on the offensive than the defensive" from looking at the statlines, which makes reading an unfamiliar army's list, and building an army, somewhat harder.

Of course, it also translates to a far more straightforward system on the battlefield, so...

(also, Warhammer lacks any sort of dedicated 'defence' skill, instead having weaponskill as a two-way defensive/offensive skill. Having a dedicated attack and defence stat strikes me as a useful thing. At the same time, I think Warhammer's system of only allowing defensive bonuses for skill to apply to melee combat makes a bit more sense, generally. But that's entirely subjective)

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A couple of friends play Warmachine and Hordes at a semi-competitive level. They roped me into playing a scenario with them a while back and I wasn't hooked - tabletop's never been my favourite thing but all the discrepancies when measuring stuff out were just a little too much for me.

As you're not allowed to pre-measure anything (except for your Lock/Casters control range), most of the clever stuff in game is based around judging distances and threat ranges - when starting out it's definitely best to play at 15pts and avoid scenarios until you've got the hang of things. At 15pts people tend to just bring fighters and basic buffs to the table, so you don't tend to find yourself facing anything really silly. Of course, every faction has something which is generally considered broken so the game balance is in all the hideous combos which are possible - this is what makes it really stand out from GWs games for me.

The flip side is that the game world is really rich - it started out as an RPG based on the D20 rules, and whilst this has become secondary to the the miniatures games they've continued to develop the background. Unlike many games, there is an over-reaching story arc and events have moved on - Wrath and Domination will continue current story arcs, as well as introduce new models for every faction. Incidentally, PP have confirmed that a new version of their Iron Kingdoms RPG will be released this year at their own convention.

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Me and a friend have been playing a few games of this over the last couple of weeks. We were using proxy models, quick start rules and simply what you get in the battle box as an army list. Pretty enjoyable stuff so far. Think i'm going to put the cash down for a battle box set at the end of the week :D

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Me and a friend have been playing a few games of this over the last couple of weeks. We were using proxy models, quick start rules and simply what you get in the battle box as an army list. Pretty enjoyable stuff so far. Think i'm going to put the cash down for a battle box set at the end of the week :D

Which faction are you going for?

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I've decided to go for Cygnar. I'm a sucker for blue. Its a bit vanilla but I thought they'd be an easy faction to use to get to grips with the rules. I do like how it wouldn't cost the earth to have two factions on the go though (compared to 40k).

Is it ok to post general questions regarding gameplay in this thread too?

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I think part of the reason may be that it makes reading statlines a bit harder, at least until you've got a good idea of general stats across the board.

By way of demonstration, and considering only basic combat values (ignoring things like movement, leadership etc.), compare:

Imaginary Warmachine unit

RAT:7 POW:7 DEF:10 ARM: 10

Imaginary Warhammer unit:

BS:4 S:4 T:2

Simply put - at a glance, you can tell the Warhammer unit (and apologies for the example given being Warhammer again - once more, it's just the system I'm most familiar with for comparing) has notably higher shooting ability and penetration (assuming the S to apply to its weapon, rather than its sword-arm, in this case) than it has toughness: it's a ranged glass hammer. As far as I'm aware, the same would go for the Warmachine unit, but that's not so obvious, as in fact to a layman the DEF and ARM appear to be higher.

That's a bit of an apple and oranges comparrision isn't it? Hampered by the fact you left out the warmachine's MAT. However generally speaking you can tell what a Warmachine unit is about by looking at it's stats, there's very few units that have a flat line of stats (all 7's and 10's or whatever).

I've decided to go for Cygnar. I'm a sucker for blue. Its a bit vanilla but I thought they'd be an easy faction to use to get to grips with the rules. I do like how it wouldn't cost the earth to have two factions on the go though (compared to 40k).

Is it ok to post general questions regarding gameplay in this thread too?

Cygnar? <_< You didn't play as Ultramarines in 40k did you? :P But yeah Cygnar are a no nonesence straight forward faction. I can't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to ask gameplay questions, I know most of the rules so if nothing else I'll be able to help.

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I've decided to go for Cygnar. I'm a sucker for blue. Its a bit vanilla but I thought they'd be an easy faction to use to get to grips with the rules. I do like how it wouldn't cost the earth to have two factions on the go though (compared to 40k).

Is it ok to post general questions regarding gameplay in this thread too?

It's okay, so long as you don't run either pHaley or eHaley. I hate Haley. I really fucking do :(

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That's a bit of an apple and oranges comparrision isn't it? Hampered by the fact you left out the warmachine's MAT. However generally speaking you can tell what a Warmachine unit is about by looking at it's stats, there's very few units that have a flat line of stats (all 7's and 10's or whatever).

Aye, 'flat' statlines are rare in any system - I was just using them as the 'easiest' to read for my imaginary units.

As for leaving out the MAT - that's because I was only including the ranged-relevant stats. Otherwise we'd have had MAT for Warmachine and WS for Warhammer. Plus all the other stats like speed/movement and command/leadership. In fact, I was specifically avoiding an 'apple and oranges comparison' by showing the directly equivalent stats (T being ARM and DEF, S being POW, and BS being RAT), as a way of showing that Warmachine's use of stats makes them a little harder to skim and understand, due simply to the way that numbers in the defensive statistics always appear of an order higher than the offensive stats, even if the unit is an offensive monster. Which is the only real downside I can think of to the system it uses.

And, again, Warmachine is far easier to work the rolls out for, which is a great boon. It also has one very useful tendency in its codexes, which is to display each unit's melee weapon power combined with their own strength for quick reference. Very sensible, and very handy.

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I bought the Warmachine Prime book.

Fancied something that didn't require you to paint 600 minis to play and I loved the look of some of the Warjacks, reminded me of steampunk versions of the mini one man Titans in 40k

But that's as far as I got :(

So sorry, I accidentally negged you on this bloody iPad. Sorry...

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yeah yeah I know Cygnar are a bit vanilla and boring but I don't have too much time to jump in and learn the nuances of each faction so I figured if i'm going to give it a go i'm best with a straight forward bunch. Guy i'm playing against gets quite involved, he's not someone who will abuse a rule to the point that its not intended for, but he will squeeze out the most of each unit. We had a quick go last week, he was Menoth and I was Khador. He absolutely hammered me :blush:

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Hmm, from what I'd read I thought Khador were the most straightforward faction, focusing on good value, well-statted units from the off, whereas Cygnar are a bit more oriented towards buffing and synergies in order to get the most from their units. Was this a mistaken impression of the factions?

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