Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I wanted to do a little write up detailing my thoughts on Warmachine MKII one month in for anyone else debating on taking the plunge.
As many of you know I've been an avid Warhammer 40k player for most of my gaming career. I've been at it a little over 15 years and have only strayed into Warhammer Fantasy a few times to spice things up. This changed just around a month ago.  A lot of the local crowd at my local gaming store were packing up their Warhammer stuff and it was getting harder and harder to find a game. What was taking its place? Warmachine MKII. Almost every weekend I was heading down to the store to find a game of 40k, only to be baffled that all the tables were taken up by Warmachine and Hordes players. Not wanting to feel left out, and a bit curious as to what was attracting everyone like moths to a flame I decided to take the plunge.

I purchased a starter set, the rulebook and a faction deck. It ran me just around 100$. After a week of being up to my elbows in paint, zip kicker, and pewter shavings I had my force built and painted. Another few nights of reading and I had a fairly good grasp of the rules. It helped that I had seen some games played but over all the rules come very easily. One thing that I noticed was the style of writing that Privateer Press used. At first it seems a big akward and clunky, but you soon realize they word everything just right so there is no confusion when checking a rule. This to me is simply amazing. Over the past month we have had to look up numerous rules, and not once has the gaming group needed an FAQ, or to "4+ it". Quite refreshing. In the instance that something ever does come up, you can simply post the question on Privateer Press' forums and the game designers themselves will answer you. On to the game play!

So naturally being a big Warhammer player I spent a lot of time crafting my list and trying to figure out what optimal configurations were. The result was me smashing my head against the wall because everything was good when used a certain way. There is a distinctive lack of "no brainers" in each faction. Which makes us Warhammer veterans feel like our "list fu" is weak. Sure there are some better than average units, but you army will still do just fine without them as long as you know how to play it, and that is the catch. You can build an army around just about anything and make it work in your army. You like that model? Well buy it, and paint it cause you can make it work.

Another hurtle for me was the 2d6 swing. You can get some wonky results on the 2d6 swing, but in the end once you get used to it its not much different than a 1d6 swing. The real craziness happens when you start getting to the 3d6 and 4d6 swings. Whew... crits ahoy! Range is another important factor in Warmachine. Seeing as you don't have weapons with much over 14 - 16 inch range (there are a few exceptions) your close ranges need to be spot on. Being an Imperial Guard player I was much more comfortable in the 24 - 48 range. This took some getting used to. Everything happens fast and furious when armies get close to each other so be prepared, know your ranges!

The best part for me of this past month was being able to craft an army that plays how I want it. You can come up with an idea in your head and figure out how to make it work on the battlefield. Then when you grow tired of that play style, you simply have to change 1 or 2 models and your army plays in a completely different way. Enter the Warcaster (Or warlock for you hordes players). Each Warcaster will augment the way you play your army and bring a distinctively new feel to it. In most cases this can happen by simply changing 1 model in your army. I in fact have 3 different casters that run the exact same list, however each one plays in a completely different fashion. So when it comes to overhead I would say that Warmachine is about the same price as Warhammer to get started, but the upkeep fees down the line are significantly reduced.

The most refreshing part of Warmachine for me however is the ability to introduce new players. Our gaming store went from having roughly 3 - 4 regulars to having well over a dozen. Most of them first time war gamers that saw us playing Warmachine and wanted to try it out. I have no problem finding a game and I can actually fit 2 - 3 games in a night if I play my favorite point size (currently 25 - 35).  All in all I have to say I'm extremely impressed with Warmachine MKII and I don't forsee myself giving it up anytime soon. In fact I've been working so feverishly on my Khador force that its almost complete and I'm thinking of starting a 2nd faction!

~ So there you have it, my thoughts in a nutshell on Warmachine MKII after 1 month of starting. I tried to keep the article as unbiased as possible, but its a bit hard when a game system has impressed you this much. It maybe hard for you to find a Warmachine game at first, but I assure you if you play it, they will come... Get a few of your friends together and buy some Battle Boxes, decks, and rulebooks. It will grow exponentially.

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