Friday, January 21, 2011

I Suck at Warmachine - Part 1 -

Greetings everyone and welcome to the first installment of my new Series, "I Suck at Warmachine".

Since I have a deep seeded hatred of having to repeat myself, and can only imagine how much detail I will need to go into later to keep everyone up to speed with whats going on, I have decided to get all the ground work out of the way right now. I know you were probably expecting some initial battle reports with lots of pictures and what not, but the people who don't know anything about the game will be left behind (slackers...) With that said, I'll start by explaining the game itself a little bit. Beginning with basic information and concepts, then, more importantly, the different factions you can choose to play and their different play style nuances.

I did a lot of research so you guys don't have to and even got my hands dirty playing some games to learn everything I could so you guys don't have to! (seriously, there was a lot and you all owe me now... In case you're wondering, I love burritos from Chipotle, and giftcards are accepted.)

After this initial blog entry, I will dive right into buying, assembling, and playing my army (aka losing a lot), with all the pictures my camera can muster.

Anyways, let's get started!

Warmachine is a turn based, steam punk themed, table top strategy game made up of 4 waring factions: Cygnar, The Protectorate of Menoth, Khador, and Cryx. Each army is lead by a Warcaster (your magic weilding, reasource managing unit, that commands the rest of the army), Warjacks (the powerful hulking warmachines that do your bidding), and troop/infantry units (the guys who usually make up the meat of your force and can be used as excellent cannon fodder). Each model, or unit of models, cost a predetermined amount of points decided ahead of time. Battles are fought with armies comprising a set amount of points (minimum sized armies consist of 15 points). Your local hobby shops that run tournaments will likely be running between 25 and 50 point games. Warmachine runs on dice rolls and there are stat cards available for each model for very easy referencing while playing.

The "Starter Box" for each army will set you back $50.00 (ouch), and contains just under the 15 point minimum, meaning you will need another model or two to finish up your first army. The official rule book is $30.00, and each faction's rule book runs $35.00 (you only need your faction's, thankfully). All the models come unassembled, and unpainted, giving you a lot of room to be creative when putting it all together. Between glue, paints, and other supplies you will need to pick up the game, you are looking at an initial investment of approximately $175.00. (Exciting, isn't it?)

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, there are four factions in Warmachine, and each one offers a unique way to experience and play the game. For your benefit, I have condensed each factions basic concept and play style to help you better understand, and eventually decide which sounds like the most fun to you.

Cygnar is the most technologically advanced of the factions, and have a theme of lightning. Their preferred method of combat is ranged combat. Almost all of their units have some sort of ranged attack available to them, and a lot of the tactics you will be using revolve around this fact. This is not to say you couldn't run a completely melee oriented force if you desired and fare well, but you would need to put a little more planning into your strategy and force composition in order to do so. Cygnar units are very decent stat wise and point cost wise allowing them to field a nice array of unit types to make a very balanced army composition. These factors combined with your Warcaster (leader of your army), give Cygnar the ability to adapt well and assert control the flow of battle. Overall Cygnar is a very diverse and well balanced faction that have many options available to them. If you prefer sitting back and watching your opponents forces wither under a storm of your firepower as they vainly attempt to engage you, Cygnar is the faction for you!

The Protectorate of Menoth are religious zealots that have a theme of fire and fetish of melting their opponents with it. They are also a faction that rely on synergy and special abilities. A lot of their model's stats do not seem very intimidating at first glance, and some look just out right depressing. They make up for this deficiency by being on the cheap side for point cost, and being able to boost each other's stats and abilities. The army as a whole, provides a 'veil' of buffs and protection for each other that greatly enhances your seemingly weak fighting power. Some Menoth units actually grow stronger as others are damaged or die nearby. With a wide array of ranged, melee, and support units, Menoth enjoys a diverse list of unique units available that can seemingly perform miracles if planned for properly. If you enjoy watching your opponent beat their face into the table as they try turn after turn in vain to topple your forces, or if you're a pyromancer at heart, then The Protectorate of Menoth is calling!

Khador are essentially the Russians hanging out in the snow; and as such, have a theme of ice/cold. Khador's niche is having very strong, but expensive units. Your opponent's forces will pretty much always outnumber your own, and usually outpace you. Sadly, not only are your units expensive, they are also usually the slowest. The good news is that your units incredibly strong, as well as having some of the highest armor values in the game. So while it may be easy to hit your slow moving forces, it is very difficult to actually do damage to them. Khador seems to have a slighty better melee game than ranged, but are very capable of both. If you enjoy the the thought of watching a small force of elite troopers march omniously forward, unscathed by most attacks, and then visciously ripping your opponents wind pipe out of their ass when they get close enough... then you're a sadistic freak. And you should also definitely be leading the forces of Khador!

Cryx are the hordes of evil undead and wicked necromancers that plague the living. They have a theme of acid/corrosion. Cryx is a faction that has cheap, quick, expendable units and enjoy debuffing their enemies. Most units are a lot quicker than the other faction's units are, which allows for quick positioning, hit and run tactics, and gives your opponents the psychological feeling of being surrounded. Being quick lends most Cryx units the advantage of being rather tough to hit with attacks. However, they are very fragil and quickly die when attacks start connecting. As such, you will almost always outnumber your opponents and, sadly, lose more forces than them. Although this can leave a bad taste in your mouth as swathes of your forces are cut down before they even get to do anything, you should not lose heart. Every Cryx unit has a very specific role and being a meat shield is sometimes one of them. Luckily, even if you lose a handful of guys before your opponent loses even one, it still balances out due to yours being so darn cheap. Cryx also tend to have the more powerful damage dealing spells and debuffs in the game which can quickly ruin anyone's day. If being a debilitating, spell slinging necromancer, with swarms of undead minions running around the battlefield sounds like fun, then go dress up in your best Halloween costume and take up arms for Cryx!

In the end, all the factions are very balanced, and no one is "over powered" or "too weak". Each offers a unique experience and lots of fun and different ways to play them. With a little luck of the dice, and some good planning, anyone can come out ahead in this game.

I hope you have enjoyed this first installment and you will stick around for more. Next week I will reveal which faction I have decided to play myself, and rant about my difficulties putting them together, and then losing my first game.

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