Thursday, 21 February 2013

Game review: Warmachine.

Game review: Warmachine and Hordes.

Today I will be writting a game review, I have a whole series in mind promoting other games that deserve your attention.

Warmashine is reaching its tenth year on gaming tables and has quite allot to show for it.

Before I start I think I should disclaim that I am no expert
I was a  promoter for the game (press ganger) but I have been inactive for 4 years, so I was playing just before I started this blog. So have in mind I am no expert and I have not played since the version 2 ruleset. I am aware of the mechanics and the beauty of the game.

And now we go to page 5 of the warmachine rulebook.

1) Thou Shalt not whine.
2) Come Heavy, or don't come at all.
3) Give it as good as it gets
4) Win graciously and lose valiantly.
5) Page 5 is not an excuse.

This game takes its self quite seriously, no "lets have a fun game " talk here. Its a highly competitive game, set to reward the most skilled and efficient players. But I will get back to the tournament seen in a bit.

Game Mechanics
Currently the game has 6 factions to choose from. With a sixth one coming out this year.
You have Cygnar, blue and gold they seem to be the jack of all trades, Civil war American themed.

Khador is the second biggest faction in the story, they have the biggest toughest warmashines, based on Russians.

Cryx are a mixture of robotics and necromancy, from undead pirates to nightmare warmachines.

Menoth are desert dwelling religious fanatics.

Retribution of Scyrah are an elven race with agile sharp curved warmachines.

Mercenaries are a mixture of units warcasters & solos, they can also be added to the five major faction as allies (some restrictions apply).

Each model/unit costs a certain amount of points. There are 4 types of models: Warcasters, warmachines,units and solos.
The warcasters are legendary characters from the story. They generate an amount of steam points each turn to cast spells or distribute to warmachines. If your warcaster dies you lose the game.
The Warmachines are large metal robots that operate on steam. They use Steam points for their actions. For them to be affective they must remane inside the Warcasters command area.

Units act  individually and have many different roles: as defence lines, for ranged attacks, for magical attacks, stop magic, unit hunters, repair warjacks, protect warjacks.

Solos are individual models that run solo. Quite useful tools.

Game costs.
The game is not cheaper than gw, depends on the list. The tournament size for games is 35 to 50 points.
A Warbeast/warjack can cost from 4 to 11 points. Units are roughly x points =x models and solos are 1-2 points too. The warcasters/warlocks are free and they give you some bonus points to be spent on warbeasts/warjacks.

A starter will cost you 34£ and will give you a warcaster or warlocks with 3 warmachines or warbeast.
All the starters are now plastic and are about 15 points in the game.

The true benefit of warmashine is that you do not need to paint multiple 10 man units to play.
A 50 point list could be 3 warbeasts 1-2 units a solo and your warlock. Nice to play and easy to paint.

Game mechanics
Just because you have less models does not mean that it is less fun or less challenging the opposite actually, but I will get to that in a bit.
The game is player turned based, you have a turn to activate your models and your opponent waits for his turn. So if you do not enjoy the "sit down until my player finishes his turn" you might want to look for another game.
 This may seem a disadvantage but it also allows you as an acting player to achieve great combos.
You activate each model one at a turn (units as one) you move, make ranged, combat, magical or special attacks and then move to the next unit.
The Warcaster each turn generates a number of steam points indicated on the warcasters card. These steam points can be used to cast spells, make extra attacks, boost attack and or damage rolls or distribute a number to your warjacks.
The warjacks been steam powered machines are very dependant on the warcaster, they need to be near the warcaster to offer protection and fully operate. Warjacks can move, shoot and make ranged attacks on their own, but with steam points they can charge, run, make extra attacks, boost attack and or damage rolls or make special attacks. You can throw an opponent model, hold him down, knock him down or even headbutt it.
I can't explain a whole rulebook in one post but each models comes with a stat card and describes its abilities and bonuses.

Damage dealt.
Warjacks and Warbeasts can take a number of damage before they are destroyed, on their stats card there are small boxes that are filled based on dice rolls. once certain boxes are filled in the warjacks warbeasts start to lose attacks damage and movement.

A Heavy warjack card.
A light warbeast.

 plays on a 4x4
Does not need loads of miniatures
Stat cards
You can start with a small investment
Good quality metal and plastic miniatures
Rewards the skilled player.
Becomes as complex as you make it.
Powerful combos
All factions get 3-4 new models simultaneously, no 2-3 year wait for new models in your faction
Well written rules and balanced for competitive gaming.

One player plays at a turn.
If you make a mistake it can be very unforgiving.


  1. Thanks for this. I have been wondering about this game. and nice to see you making good on moving away from GW... I'm not *determined* to move away from 40K but i do like the idea of trying something new (and a game that doesn't involve buying 50+ models to get started). now seeing this, i'm curious about Hordes...

    1. Thanks, hordes is almost the same, I plan to do a post just for Hordes, mostly pics.