Playing Warmachine

wh39kWarmachine (3)I’ve played one game of Warmachine in my life.  Or maybe it was two?   If that second one happened it was on the same day as the first though, so I probably should’ve just said that I’ve played one day of Warmachine in my life.

Well, that is until now.

Years ago, I wound up picking up a Chaos army from a local player, and also trading a bunch of my skaven for his IG.  The guy I picked them up from is named Ryan, and he was selling off his armies because he was moving out of state to go attend school.  Well, as things often work out, he wound up moving back not too long ago.  I recall seeing his face on the facebook group and thinking that he looked strangely familiar.  It took me a little while to place him, but sure enough, it was the same guy.

Now that he’s back, I extended an invitation to join our regular gaming group.  He doesn’t live terribly close by, but he does drive by my house on his way to and from work, so he stopped in last week for a game.  Sadly, he couldn’t stay for the actual festivities as it conflicted with date night with his wife, but we did have an hour or two to kill, so he wound up bringing over some Warmachine models and reminding me how to play that game.

From what I remember of the game(s) I played with Cole, the game was pretty fun.  I liked the overall look of the models, and the flavor/style of things.  I wasn’t terribly fond of the golden snitch rule in that, no matter what the objectives of the mission were, if you lose your caster, you lose the game.  It provides depth, for sure, but it just seemed like that it meant that a stroke of dumb luck could lose you a game far too easily.

wh39kWarmachine (2)He brought over a few painted starter boxes worth of models, and I chose one based upon asthetics, opting for the greenish pirates (which I knew by name, Cryx, because that’s what Cole used to play) while he went for the Russian-looking models (Khador, I believe?).  His models were certainly more straight forward and to the point: charge forward and beat me to death.  My models, on the other hand, were more subtle.  Though there were more of them, none of them were as tough as his units, so I was apparently supposed to play a finesse game with magic.

For the mission, we didn’t have one, and just played a straight forward “kill the caster” kind of game.  I don’t recall who went first (I want to say him).  He buffed up some units and moved forward.  I wound up spreading my units out a bit to see how cover worked, and tried to keep his units out of charge range.  I’ve played enough miniature games to become pretty adept at gauging range, so that wasn’t so hard.  In his next turn, he got off a single shot (apparently neither of our models really had guns–only one gun per side) and then I stacked up focus on a couple of units and charged in.

Ryan figured that should be enough to take out one of his jacks, but he’s never seen me roll dice.  Not only did I not take him out, but I did very little damage to him overall.  In retaliation, he popped his feat and used a bunch of other abilities that basically made him slaughter every unit I had that was already in combat.

In my turn, I wound up doing something similar: popping my feat, and stacking whatever debuffs I could on his caster, and then beat on him with my surrounding units.  Again, he assured me that I would easily dispatch with the model, but again I wasn’t so sure.  To play it safe, I positioned my caster in such a way so that she couldn’t be charge by any of his units.  Of course, utilizing all of my focus, I wasn’t able to kill off his caster–falling two piddly damage markers short.

Since I’d popped my feat and debuffed his caster, most of his units couldn’t really move (my feat stopped them from charging and reduced their overall movements anyway), so he killed off the only unit in assault and ended his turn.

wh39kWarmachine (1)In what would be my final turn, there was some debate about the right action to take.  He suggested that I load up on spells and cast two on him to kill him off.  Though I only had to do two damage, I ignored his advice and charged in, figuring that I could expend all of my focus to buy extra attacks as needed.  Sure, I would do less damage per attack, but I only had to hit and do two measly damage.

That worked out for me though, and he said it gave me some extra bragging rights for killing his melee based caster with a weaker one.  Frankly, that didn’t come into consideration with me–I just felt it gave me the best odds at a victory.

I have to say that the game is pretty fun; then again, I think I felt that way last time.  The reason I didn’t get into it before was because–while it’s billed as a small skirmish game that’s easy to get into–it has so many units that it really snowballs quickly.  I know guys that have as many models (or at least as much money invested) as I have in one of my large 40k forces.  And I know my limits: I’m a completionist, so I would eventually want to own everything.  Getting into the game would be akin to writing a check for a couple of thousand dollars (albeit over time), and that’s something I’m not interested in doing.

So, I think I’ll play it when people want to (assuming they have spare models), but I don’t foresee myself buying any myself.  That seems like the prudent solution to me…




4 comments on “Playing Warmachine

  1. I currently own a Khador Warmachine army.

    In comparison to 40k.
    Pros: I find the strategy to have greater depth, while army creation has less depth with a focus on the character and his retinue. Which appeals to me. The game mechanics are extremely well designed with very little to misinterpret.

    Cons: The aesthetic of the game has always bothered me. Oversized shoulders and arms, tiny heads and legs. The jacks remind me of bad bodybuilders.

    Overall I enjoy it though

    • I’m not opposed to the aesthetic myself. Not super keen on this particular battle, but I’m willing to chalk that up to chance at the moment. We’ll see in due time…

      On Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 10:02 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  2. Don’t forget that Warmachine (and Hordes) have just (last week!) had a new edition released. Free core rules are here (

    Early views are that the focus of the game (especially the Warmachine side) has been pushed towards the warjacks and to some extent away from units, so you may need fewer models to have a decent game. All the jacks have had their efficiency increased via a new game mechanic, usually combined with a relative points drop compared to units/solos.

    • I knew that it was impending, though as I don’t really play the game, I haven’t been paying much attention to it. I figure if Ryan wants to play again, he’ll teach me whatever it is I need to learn…

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