Saturday, December 31, 2022

My 2022 retrospective, and a bit of looking forward into 2023

It has been quite an odd year for me.  With the new child and long commute to and from work, I did not get as many opportunities for gaming as I usually do, but still pushed myself to try some new things and move my hobby status forward.

Let's start with some numbers: I managed 60 plays, spread out over eight different games.  My most played game was Marvel: Crisis Protocol at 30 total plays (some of these being two plays to finish a single game on Tabletop Simulator).  Most of my gaming was miniatures games (36 plays - MCP, Warmachine, Skytear, and Core Space), followed by card gaming (20 plays - all Marvel Champions).  This is the least amount of gaming I have done in several years, but with the one year old, that's not surprising, nor is it likely to change for a bit.

With that said, I did manage to accomplish a few things this past year.

First, I actually did a good job getting some painting done.  My painting situation changed, but I have a good schedule for it now, still managed to complete some models (Stormsmith Storm Tower, and Sir Dreyfus), and have a few painting projects in the works.  I am getting more comfortable with painting, which should finally result in me completing projects faster.  Based on the 'painting points' system I've used in the past, I only managed 7 points this year (down from the previous year's 11), but I think I'm in good position to beat that by quite a bit next year.

Second, I finally played in a miniatures game tournament!  I played in a Marvel: Crisis Protocol tournament back in September, going 2-1, good enough for second place (losing only to the eventual winner).  I played a Dark Dimension/Wakanda roster.  My game results:

Game 1 - Win with Dark Dimension against Web Warriors

Game 2 - Loss with Wakanda into SHIELD

Game 3 - Win with Dark Dimension against X-Men.

I felt good about all three games, even the loss, and finally feel comfortable with both Dark Dimension and Wakanda.  Overall, a very positive experience that leaves me eager for more chances to play.  Also, I got a sweet trophy!

As I'm thinking about next year, I am not going to bother with resolutions, because I just don't have the time nor focus to manage them.  I do have some small plans for next year, however.  I'm finding my gaming tastes are changing a bit as I get older.  I went through a phase where I was buying a ton of old CCGs, mainly for nostalgia, but I realize that I’m just not going to ever play these games, and don’t want to keep a bunch of games I’m not going to play in my house.  I will sell what I can and likely trash the rest this upcoming year.  This will probably extend past CCGs, if I am being honest.  I love games and gaming… but my time is unfortunately limited, and that’s unlikely to change for several years.

However, I am finding myself more interested in miniature-agnostic rulesets.  For example, for Christmas I asked for and received a copy of Xenos Rampant, from Osprey Games.  This is a science fiction ruleset without a miniatures line, so I can use all the 40K miniatures I have laying around, in addition to whatever other miniatures I own (say, Zombicide: Invader or those from Mantic).  Some of these sets of rules seem like a lot of fun, and the financial investment is minimal (you know, just a rulebook).  I will see if I can wrangle someone to trying them out.

I am hoping to attend more gaming tournaments this year.  I am aiming for at least two.  These will likely be for Marvel: Crisis Protocol, but I would love to attend a Warmachine tournament, as I know there are some within driving distance. One such option that I’m thinking about (and my brother may join me) is going to NOVA Open.  I’ve never gone, but it is certainly somewhere I could drive to (so I can get home if needed), and it looks like a lot of fun.  I’ll need to start painting more, however, because I do not want to be the guy running unpainted minis!  Going to such a large tournament will certainly results in some pretty one-sided losses, but my ego can handle that- the larger experience would be great for developing myself as a player on top of being a lot of fun.

I am also hoping to get heavily into Warmachine MKIV (and hoping I can make it to a tournament in 2023).  My excitement level is certainly high, although I do have some concerns about the rules.  I love the new miniatures, and am actively painting some, which I hope to complete by the end of January.  With some luck, I can start getting this new edition on the table soon to see how it stacks up, and see what the interest locally is.

A few other miniature games are on my list to get on the table in 2023.

A Song of Ice and Fire is starting to gain some traction with my group.  This is great news, since I bought a bunch of stuff during its initial Kickstarter (as in I have playable Stark and Lannister armies), but have never managed to get a game in.  With the group’s interest growing, I decided to pick up Targaryen as the army I will start with, just to have something different from everyone else.  Going to be a little tough, of course, since the dragons feature in so many lists, but the Mother of Dragons box is extremely expensive (come on, CMON, how about a reprint?).  I’ll make do with other units until they are available, but having such iconic and unique figures missing is a bit of a letdown.

My group has not played Malifaux in a long time (since 2018), but has been calling out to me lately.  We always liked the rules, but the transition to third edition caused us all to fall out of the game.  I quite like the app and current rules, however, and checking it out has really caught my interest.  I have picked up a few models in the last couple of months, and would love to play this again.

Finally, Bushido is a game I have never played, but I bought the starter set, and have been reading the rules and looking at the models.  I could see myself enjoying this, so hopefully will invest some time and money into it in the upcoming year (likely starting with Clan Ito).

Anyway, my love of gaming and the miniatures hobby certainly hasn’t dipped at all, although my available time has.  My hope is that I can focus on getting some minis finished and some games played, and work to build on my progress year to year.  With luck, maybe I can find some patient opponents to start writing battle reports again.

Hope to see you all soon!

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Warmachine MKIV Preview Battlegroups have arrived!


All three battle boxes, with their magnets in the white containers

I didn't have a whole lot of time to dig into them quite yet, but getting these table ready will be my priority.  I did get a chance to pop open the Cygnar box, however.

Inside the Cygnar box:

Packaging for individual models:
There were complaints about pieces breaking, especially the polearms, so seeing them pulled off and packaged to themselves seems pretty smart.  I had no breakages in this box, I will mention ahead of time.

Major Anson Wolfe:
Detail looks good, or at least it looks as good as other PP miniature do, to my eyes.

Courser Warjack:
Pieces all have good details, I think, and the printings look fine, although I do see some shiny parts on the shield:

The pieces don't seem soft, so this doesn't seem to be uncured or under-cured resin, but rather some reside of something.  I'll try to clean that up this weekend, and see how it goes.

The Stryker polearms were packed on their own, and made the trip undamaged:
And the rest of the Stryker Warjack:
Quite a lot of pieces, but looks pretty straight-forward to assemble.

Anyway- the first box all looks good, with no obvious problems, I tried taking a close look to see if I can see any printing lines, and none immediately jumped out at me, which was another concern.  Overall, I'm pretty pleased, and I'll get working on these minis this weekend (including my first try using magnets!).  I'll make sure to post some updates (and I'll open and unbox the Khador and Orgoth boxes tonight).

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Examining Prime-legal legacy armies and my collection, Part 2

Continuing from yesterday, I am going to look at the remaining Prime-legal legacy armies, and try to figure out where I stand with each of them.  This will help guide my purchases before the rules come out, and give me some idea of what to expect.

One thing to note is that when I count units, I'm really counting MK3 units- sometimes this will actually translate to more MKIV units than I have listed, but I can't know that for sure until the rules come out.

Mercenary (Blindwater, Cephalyx, Farrow, Privateer, Rhulic, and Steelhead):

Quite a lot of armies here!  Blindwater I am well set on- I own plenty of beasts, units, warlocks, and solos. I expect I will be able to be able to put this army on the table from day one.

For Cephalyx, I have one warcaster (Exulon Thexus), a unit of Mind Benders, a unit of Overlords, an Agitator solo, and a Dominator UA.  Depending on how the Dominator ends up, maybe that will become another unit.  Clearly, I need some Monstrosities.  Even with them, it would be a stretch to play this army for a bit.

I had been slowly getting into Farrow, but my collection is pretty sparse.  I should have most of the warlocks, at least, as well as five beasts (although two are Razor Boars), a unit of Brigands, a unit of Valkyries, and a good number of solos.  Honestly, I might just be a few units away from this being playable.

I own almost nothing for Privateers.  I would have to buy this army from scratch.

I think I should be well set up for Rhulic at least.  Two warcasters, ten warjacks, five units, and almost all of the relevant solos.  I might actually be close to full Field Allowance for Rhul, honestly.

Finally, Steelheads are not in a great place.  I assume Damiano will be one of the casters, and I own him.  I can only guess on the warjacks.  I own a unit of Heavy Cavalry and a Mortar, and I'd have to guess on the solos (I own no solos with 'Steelhead' in the name though).  Not quite starting from nothing, but I'm not very far along, either.

Protectorate of Menoth (Exemplar and Flameguard):

Based on the current beta rules for the Exemplar army, I can field 75 points.  If that ends up being the standard point level, great!  If the standard is 100... well, I'll have some buying to do (although Mercenaries and Cadres may help me out here).

For Flameguard, I do not own a relevant unit or solo.  Yet another army I would have to build from scratch if I wanted to play it :(.

Retribution (Dawnguard and Mage Hunter):

I do own two units of Dawnguard Invictors (which will become 3-4 units in MKIV).  Hard to say which jacks will make the jump, although I expect Imperatus will, and I do own him.  Therefore, at a minimum, I expect I will be able to field a small, very specific, army for Dawnguard.

The story for Mage Hunters is much worse.  I own a couple of relevant solos, but I don't own any of the units.  Yet ANOTHER army I would have to build from scratch, sadly.

Skorne (Immortals and Praetorians):

I own a minimum unit of Immortals, most of the Immortal related solos, and likely, whatever beasts and warlocks they decide to include.  So this would involve just a few unit purchases. 

The news for Praetorians is better- I own a unit of Swordsmen, a unit of Keltarii, a minimum unit of Ferox (which will likely just be a unit in MKIV).  Solos would be a guess, along with beasts, but I strongly suspect I can play the Praetorian army the day they release rules for them.

Trollbloods (Northkin and United Kriel):

I own almost nothing for Trollbloods, so unfortunately, both of these armies would involve significant purchasing to become playable.

There is a chance I will see at least some of my collection become cadres that some of these armies can take, so there is hope that I'll have a bit more flexibility than I've listed.

In summary, the news is not as good as I would like (the result of spreading out how I purchased things over the last couple of years instead of focusing), but I will have plenty of choices going into MKIV, at least.  In addition, since I will buy into a few of the new armies, I won't have to worry about when things rotate into Unlimited.

Now, back to waiting for my battle-boxes to arrive...

Monday, August 22, 2022

Examining what the Prime-legal Legacy armies mean to me

With the list of 28 Prime-legal Legacy armies released last week, I have been trying to figure out what I can expect for my own collection, personally.  Maybe get an idea of what I should try to buy so I can get some games pretty early into MKIV.

Circle (Blackclad and Tharn):

I'm not sure where they will go with the Blackclad army.  The current 'Blackclad Theme' is Secret Masters, and I cannot really see that being ported the way it is (a Minion-focused Circle army?).  Maybe when they release the cadre rules, this will have some ways to interact with them.  I just don't know what to expect from this one.  I *think* this might be a Blackclad/Wold theme, but I can’t be sure.  Either way... I own a decent selection of Blackclad models (a unit of Druids, a unit of Mist Riders, various solos and warlocks).  However, without knowing more about this one, I just can't guess what I would need to field.

For Tharn, I own quite a number of relevant units and solos (as in eight Tharn units and five Tharn solos).  I would guess the living beasts would go into this theme, because they'll need some beasts, and I have plenty of those, too.  I would guess Kromac and Iona as warlocks... neither of which I own.  Aside from that, I think I'm well positioned to play Tharn right out of the gate.

Convergence (single army):

I own three warcasters... 3 non-colossal warjacks (we know colossals are not going to be usable right away), two units (assuming Asphyxious4 is Prime-legal), and about seven solos.  I *think* I will be able to play Convergence, or at a minimum, I will be one or two purchases from having them playable.  They will not be good... but if I can put them on the table, I can work on the quality of my choices later.

Crucible Guard (single army):

I should have this playable right from the get-go, with quite a number of choices.  To play 100 points (which may be the standard), I would have to buy one more warjack.  Easy enough.

Cryx (Bane and Blackfleet):

For the Bane army, where we've seen Beta rules, I can currently field 298 points.  I'm good, here, with lots of options available (and both warcasters listed playable).

Blackfleet is harder to say.  If they just take the Scourge of the Broken Coast theme, and stop there, I may not have enough to play.  A unit of Boarding Party, a unit of Ironmongers, a unit of Bloodgorgers... and maybe a bunch of solos.  If they include the Ghost Fleet items, I can add a unit of Revenant Crew.  Really should have bought Satyxis over all of these years, I just haven't gotten around to it yet.  So... yeah, may not be able to field these guys for a while.

Cygnar (Storm Knight and Trencher):

For Storm Knights, I should have a few relevant casters, a few relevant jacks, and I own two units of Stormblade Infantry, one of Stormguards, and a bunch of random solos.  I probably will be okay.  Maybe I need to buy some Storm Lances.

For Trenchers... I'm going to have to hope to get lucky on the warjack choices, to start with.  I own an Express Team and a unit of Trenchers, and very few solos.  Once again, might be tough to field these guys to start with.

Grymkin (single army):

I have been buying some Grymkin all year.  I have a pretty good collection, and I expect I'll be able to field them the day they get rules.

Infernals (single army):

I am not quite sure how they'll make this work out, but I do have a good collection of Infernals, and should be okay playing them immediately.  I may want to pick up a unit of Howlers, however.

Khador (Man-O-War and Winter Guard):

I really have nothing for Man-o-War.  Thankfully, two people in my playgroup do, so at least we'll be able to see them on the table.

I'm still surprised they are having Winter Guard as one of the Prime-legal armies, given the upcoming Winter Korps.  Baffling.  Anyway, I have some relevant models here - a Field Gun, a Mortar crew, a unit of Winter Guard Infantry, and Kovnik Joe.  Depending on what else is included (for instance, I have a decent number of Widowmakers), I might be okay here.  Probably playable.

Legion (Blighted Nyss and Blighted Ogrun):

I'm covered on warlocks for both of these, I think, and I'm probably going to be okay on the warbeasts (although I admit I do not own any of the character warbeasts).  For the Nyss, I own a unit of Archers/Swordsmen (unassembled, so one or the other), a unit of Blightblades and maybe a few solos.  Not promising.

Blighted Ogrun are even worse- a unit of Warmongers and a unit of Warspears.  No solos.  I might have a hard time putting any Legion on the table in Mark IV without buying quite a bit more.  Damn.

That's probably good for the moment, I'll think about the rest of my collection and how they relate to MKIV armies tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

PP releases actual list of Legacy armies!

Heh, got my post out JUST IN TIME to be irrelevant.  Here's the official list of legacy armies that will be Prime legal to start with:

I was right and wrong.  Some of these are a bit baffling to me (Winter Guard and Storm Knights?  We have new armies for those), some of these are obvious (how did I forget about Steelheads?), but hey, at least now we know!

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Warmachine MKIV: Thinking about Legacy armies

(Image from Privateer Press' website)

There’s nothing like the long wait between and announcement of a new edition, and the long gap until getting it, or at least getting enough new info to talk more about it.  I placed my order for the new preview battlegroups... but they mention they are just now starting to ship them, so who knows how long until mine arrive. 

Privateer Press released their most recent Primecast+ yesterday, with renders of new Khador models (they look great!), and released an article about the process they use when making resin models, and safety tips.  People interested in this game have probably already seen those though.

Since I have some time before new stuff arrives at my doorstep, a fun way to spend the time might be to look at what armies will be legal in the Prime format.  We know that every current army will get at least one (and likely two) Prime legal armies in time, and we did receive some information as to what some of those would be, but with a lack of other things to talk about for the moment, let's take a look at each faction, and come up with some ideas.

I am basing my guesses on a few factors.  Things that are iconic for a faction, armies with new releases, and which themes PP has already mentioned.  I also think the warjacks and warbeasts will have to exist in more than one army, because I do not think there are enough unique jacks to create significant disparate groupings of warjacks.  To me, this lowers the chance of seeing jack or warbeast focused armies (except in some cases, like the mini-factions).

Circle Orboros

I feel like the way armies are being split now, the Mercenary/Minion focused themes aren't making the transition as is (although, we'll have to see how they implement Mercenaries and Minions in MKIV before we'll know for sure).  The most iconic and unique themes in Circle are probably Devourer's Host (Tharn) and Bones of Orboros (Wolds), and Devourer's Host, I believe, has the most recent set of new releases.  So my guess for Prime-legal armies: Tharn and Wolds.

Convergence of Cyriss

We have heard from both the August Primecast and from various posts on social media that the various mini-factions should be completely Prime Legal.  Convergence is the biggest of these mini-factions, but I don't think it is unreasonable we do see all of it make the jump.  I suspect that the Strange Bedfellows theme will not be playable in any form, so my guess for Convergence: Vectors and Infantry armies (essentially the Destruction Initiative and Clockwork Legions themes, as they are).

Crucible Guard

Again, they have mentioned that all of the mini-factions would be prime legal.  I suspect we'll see Crucible Guard just receive a single army containing the entire faction (so basically, what Magnum Opus is right now).


I think Dark Host (Banes) and Scourge of the Broken Coast (Satyxis/Scharde/Black Ogrun) will be our Prime-legal choices.  They have released a Bane army as a preview demo army, and I think it's both thematic and iconic, so I think it's likely a Prime choice.  I don't think there are enough jacks that aren't in the Bane army to make for an interesting jack army, meaning the remaining choice is between Scourge and Ghost Fleet.  Both feel iconic and distinct, but Scourge has recent-ish (2018) new releases, and I don't think they want a potentially heavy incorporeal army starting out in Prime. 


Clearly, they are releasing the Storm Legion this year, which will be a purely MKIV army.  I think this probably eliminates Storm Division as a Prime-legal army.  They hint (or outright say) that Gravediggers (Trenchers) will be Prime-legal.  So what does that leave?  Heavy Metal is too jack focused, and I think those are out.  So that leaves Sons of the Tempest or Flames in the Darkness... hmm. Flames has recent releases, which makes it appealing as a choice, but I'm actually going to go with Sons of the Tempest (Gun Mages) here, because it is purely Cygnar, and significantly more iconic for Cygnar as a whole.  So my guesses: Gravediggers (Trenchers) and Sons of the Tempest (Gun Mages).


Again, we're told that the whole faction is making the transition to Prime.  I suspect that we get a single army, including everything in the faction, because I don't think an infantry/beast split into two armies really creates two interesting choices.


Our final mini-faction.  Everything is in Prime, and I'm guessing they just get the one army, which is all of the Infernal models, and ignore Hearts of Darkness for purposes of MKIV.


Winter Korps is one of the early MKIV releases, so I don't see Winter Guard making the jump to prime.  Privateer Press has also mentioned that Man-O-War would be a Prime legal army. So what would be a likely second legacy army?  I think Flame in the Darkness and Warriors of the Old Faith are probably on the outside looking in, although I think both have merit as being Prime legal armies.  I think their warjack-focused army (Jaws of the Wolf) is out, because they will need the jacks elsewhere. That leaves Legion of Steel (Iron Fang) and Wolves of Winter (Doom Reavers and Greylords), both of which feel possible.  I'll lean slightly towards Legion of Steel.  They feel more focused thematically, and they provide a very different look to anything else that would be Prime Legal, so I think they are a good choice.

Legion of Everblight

I think Primal Terrors (Blighted Ogrun) are a shoe-in, given the recent-ish releases, and self-contained theme.  Using all of my guesses from above, I think we can assume Oracles of Annihilation will be out, because of the Minions.  Ravens of War doesn't feel terribly cohesive to me, so I think we are going to see Children of the Dragon (Nyss), which also have the benefit of including the Virtues, another recent Legion release.


Privateer Press did give us some information here in the recent Primecast.  Rhul, Cephalyx, and Pirates will have Prime legal armies.  What about the other themes?  I actually think Flames in the Darkness has a shot here- because we don't care about the origin Factions anymore, I think they'll move everything into a Flames in the Darkness Army (and give it the Mercenary Faction, because why not?).  There are lot of recent releases, and they can keep it pretty tight and interesting.  The other themes don't feel like locks to me, so I think that is all we'll see.


I believe they have mentioned that Farrow and Gators would have prime legal armies, and I don't think we'll see anything more than that.  Will Work for Food feels too general, and Vengeance of Dhunia feels like it'd be more likely a Trollblood army.

Protectorate of Menoth

We have received the beta rules for an Exemplar force, and I think that sticks into Prime.  For a second army, I cannot see Creator's Might (warjacks) for reasons stated above.  Guardians of the Temple (Flameguard) has potential, but instead I'm going to guess that we will see Faithful Masses (Paladins + the random faithful).  I think this has the benefit of covering a lot of random models, and may actually be representative of what the Protectorate's remaining forces look like (whereas I think the Flameguard fought the Exemplars and lost).

Retribution of Scyrah

Well, they aren't going to be around in MKIV anymore (replaced by Dusk), so Retribution shows an interesting case- any Prime armies here won't be replaced by new armies, but instead, just rotated out someday.  Kind of a sad ending for the Iosans.

For MKIV armies, I think we get the Legions of Dawn (Dawnguard).  They are still active in the background, with Vyros founding a colony north of Rhul, if I remember the IKRPG background correctly.  They are probably a shadow of themselves, but they do have a cohesive self-contained army.  My second guess would be Defenders of Ios.  These again, I think, are at least partially active in the current world (as part of the previously mentioned colony), but they've also received a few new releases (the House Ellowuyr models), which would make them appealing to keep active.


My guess here is Exalted (Immortals) and Masters of War (Cataphracts and Praetorians).  I am tempted to just have Cataphracts be the army, but they don't have enough choices to be on their own, really, and I think even though there are enough Praetorians to be their own army, they just aren't visually interesting enough on their own to be the choice.  Immortals have had recent releases, and have a Battle Engine PP would be happy to sell more of, so I think they are definitely in.  


I think Storm of the North is a shoe-in, given that they had a full release a few years back, and were designed to work together and be a distinct force.  I also think Champions are a fairly iconic Trollblood unit, and you need at least one theme that includes them.

For my second guess, I'd guess Kriel Company, as this catches many of the other models, gives a good mix of infantry units, and plays and looks very different from Storm of the North.


Anyway, eventually we will know for certain what the plan is, but I think these are pretty good guesses.  I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially if you disagree!

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Warmachine MKIV Battlegroups available for order!


You can now order the preview battlegroups from Privateer Press' webstore!  Khador, Cygnar, and Orgoth.

Yes, I ordered at least one.  I can't deny I may have ordered all three.  What did you expect?

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

A bunch of Privateer Press/Warmachine news and updates

Well, PP isn't wasting any time with more MKIV news/previews and information.

A lore overview of the new Dusk faction (and House Kallyss army)

I would've preferred basically ANY art associated with it.  Give me a damn solo, or something.  This is fine, but come on- we want game-related information.

For instance, this is more like it

Some models for the new Khador Winter Corps army, some lore, and some rule hints.  A few interesting things coming out of this article.

Kapitan Ekaterina Baranova is going to give arc nodes to all of her jacks?  Khador with arc nodes?  Are you crazy?  That's amazing.  ESPECIALLY with the current way arc nodes stand, and the ability to give one of your jacks Unstoppable (with the Break Through command card), if you need to... this is going to make Khador very scary in the arcane game.  Plus, her feat could stock her up with focus.  She's going to be amazing, I think.

Dire Wolf looks amazing, of course.  The fastest Khador warjack ever built sounds great (EYE ROLL).  Just what I need, more Khador jacks in my face.  I'm glad they didn't give Khador a light, just to keep that thematic part of Khador around.  And hey, who doesn't love a Shield Guard?

The Great Bear looks fine... kind of just feels like a Mk3 Khador heavy, to be honest.  We'll have to see how it works with the weapon options.

And we see the full contents of the first to starter armies

So, for the Orgoth, that's a caster, a light jack, a heavy jack, 4 units, and a solo (plus various options).  Two hundred dollars is certainly a big ask to start with, but I tried throwing together a Crucible Guard equivalent, and came up with about 250 dollars.  The value seems to be there, at least. 

I could see myself grabbing both of these, and then waiting with the next factions, just to let my money catch up.  I already have a color-scheme for the Cygnar that I like (it's orange, I feel like I've put a picture up, somewhere).  For the Orgoth, I'm considering something with blues.  Maybe the US Navy's previous uniforms (the blueberries).

Image from Wikipedia

I'll give it a shot on one of the jack weapons first, and see how I like it, haha.

And now we get this article

Thursday!  Time to order stuff!  I like how the warcaster choice seems to be the Warcaster C one (i.e., not the warcaster in the starter or expansion boxes).  A smart move that won't leave people with bad feelings. 

Anyway, I am going to try to buy all three of the battlegroups, to give my friends and me toys to try out.  I'll work to get them painted quickly, too!  Exciting times for Warmachine!

Friday, July 29, 2022

Warmachine MKIV rules changes, and first impressions

Well, PP has put the beta rules up for the new edition! Check it out!  I was kind of hoping they'd have them up a little earlier, but I guess there was some issue holding it up, which given that they've been working on this for a long time, doesn't fill me with confidence.  Anyway.

Let's have a look, and see what the future holds.  They do a summary of the major changes at the link, so I encourage looking at that, first. 

I'm going to look at the changes, including some not listed above, and I'll talk about the individual faction rules... I don't know, likely tomorrow.  These are the Beta rules, so things could change between now and actual release.

Warcasters and Warlocks are now Commanders:

They still have distinctions in the rules in that one uses Focus, and the other Fury, but the combined term Commander will help keep rules a bit shorter.  Seems like a smart change.

Unit changes:

Quite a lot is happening here.  As they mention in the article, there are no more command ranges or unit leaders.  It looks like you don't get to choose a min/max size anymore- the unit has a standard size, which is roughly what its minimum size was before.  Unit movement has changed to how it works in Warcaster: Neo-Mechanika- you choose a model, move it, and then place the rest of the unit within 2" of that model.  Additionally, Weapon Attachments have changed- you actually replace models in the unit for weapon attachments, keeping the size of the unit the same.  Units don't ever block the line of sight of models in their own unit.

When units deploy, they have to deploy so that every model is within 3" of every other model in the unit.

The way a unit charges is a bit odd now - the movement is as above, but the rest of the unit only has their attack count as a charge attack if they attack the model/unit the original moving model is engaging.  That's faster, but it feels like a bit of a strange rule.

Honestly, I do like these changes.  Units tended to be the most cumbersome and time consuming parts of the game, and although they were valuable, these changes will make them a lot more flexible as well, which will increase their utility on the table.  

Stat changes:

So they dropped Strength (STR), which wasn't meaningful except for power attacks and a few spells, and dropped Command (CMD) which is needed less due to the changes with units, and added Arcane Attack (AAT) (used when a Commander makes a magic attack), Control Range (CTRL) (same as the Mk3 control range, but now not tied to your Focus/Fury stat), and they changed Focus/Fury to Arcana (ARC).

Kind of hard to find any faults with these changes.  Indeed, separating a Commander's FOC/FURY into three stats actually will provide more flexibility for making the characters unique.  Finally, those 5 Fury warlocks might not seem like such a hindrance!


Some have probably been dropped, but it's nice to see that they've converted some special rules into Advantages, so you now just have an icon.  Ambush and Dual Attack are now Advantages, and Headbutt, Slam, and Trample power attacks are now permitted by the appropriate advantage.  It looks like Parry becomes Unstoppable (for a similar-ish effect with Free Strikes removed).

Gladiator is a new Advantage, giving a +2 on power attack damage rolls and collateral damage rolls.  Kind of a neat inclusion.  Again, these all seem fine.

Resistances have changed, dropping a die from the damage roll.  That's worse than they used to be, but better for the game health.  For plenty of models, the dropped die will still make them effectively immune, so another fine change.  Resistance: Blast was added, dropping a day, which helps standardized the Blast Resistance in the previous edition.

Melee range minimum increased to 1":

Per their article "We have increased the default melee range in the game from .5 ̋ to 1 ̋ to further deemphasize model placement and to account for base overhang. Coupled with the removal of facing, the placement of models has never been easier."

So, they took a game that really was all about positioning, and took it away.  This is a pretty minor change, but I don't like the change in focus, myself.  Of course, this isn't the change that will cause the biggest impact.  Overall, this particular change does make games a bit easier.

Weapon Traits:

The Pistol Weapon trait seems new.  You can fire them in melee.  They mention this in the article.  Anything that makes weapons feel more unique is a plus in my eyes.  They've changed Open Fists to a Throw quality.  I don't know that this has any real change on the game, other than making Power Attacks something that isn't intrinsic to a model's type.

Running is +5":

Great for slower armies, meh for faster armies.  I guess it's a good thing, but I don't really feel like this was needed.

One thing that they didn't call out is that you can cast spells before running now.  You are limited to what you do AFTER running, but you can do things prior, now.  Am I reading that right?

No more facing:

Boooooo to this one.  I didn't find facing that challenging or problematic.  Clearly, some people did, and it slowed the game down too much for them to keep it in.  I don't particularly care for this change, as I feel the positioning aspect of the game was a core identity of the game.  No longer, however.

The Free Strike change:

So, there are no more free strikes.  This isn't a change I love... but the more I read, the more I think maybe it'll work out.  There are definitely restrictions caused by being engaged.  You can't charge while engaged (this also stops that weird thing where you'd charge the model you're engaged with for extra damage).  You also lose your combat action if you leave combat (Disengaging).  This isn't actually a bad way to handle things, if you ask me.  Moving out of combat has a cost, but doesn't drag the game down at all.  

Being engaged doesn't stop you from shooting, but you can only shoot at who you are engaged with.  They may get +4 DEF as a result, if I'm reading that right (they reference that in the article, so I'm guessing that's right).  So engaging ranged troops is still useful, and again, I think this is a nice solution.

One thing to note is that there doesn't seem to be a penalty for walking an arc node out of engagement. As a former Cryx player, that's great, but I wonder what that will mean for balance and tactics going forward.

I think even in the span of this section, I'm starting to come around on this.  Easy and quick.

Power Attack changes:

Slam attack ranges are increased to 1" for non-huge based models.  Thrown models don't deviate, can't be targeted at another model, and don't require any additional work other than hitting with the attack.  Damage from power attacks depends on the difference in base sizes between the attacker and target (14 if the attacker is bigger, 12 in all other cases).  The POW of collateral damage is determined the same way, comparing the attacker against the model suffering collateral damage.

Height returns:

Hills are back, and that means that 3D terrain is likely back.  That's a good thing, and should make the game more visibly appealing to potential new players.  Falling damage is back as well, which I have no real opinion on.


Only works on a successful charge.  Good change.  It works a little weird for units - you can assault attack any model you are engaged with, even though there are restrictions on who you could get boosted damage against with your charge attack.  Strange, but probably the simplest and cleanest solution.  Anyway, this is all good


These have changed a bit.  No more templates, instead the profile will like something like this:

If the attack hits, you'll resolve the damage against the target, and then you'll hit the X closest models within X inches of the target, where X is the AOE value (so two closest targets within 2" in this example).  The directly hit target takes a damage roll with POW equal to the number to the left of the slash (15, above), and the additional models hit take a blast damage roll of the number to the right of the slash (10, above).

If the attack misses, but the target was in range, they would take the blast damage roll (10, above) instead.

This is a change that will speed up the game, but the lack of templates and lack of deviation is something I will miss a lot of.  I actually found the additional uncertainty to be quite enjoyable.  However, that's not a core part of the game for me, so this won't dramatically decrease my enjoyment of the game.

Spray Attacks:

As with Warcaster, spray attacks no longer use a template, instead you measure a line, and then attack all the models on the line.  One other change that seems notable is that Sprays don't seem to ignore the model in melee penalty anymore.  So being stuck in combat can help protect you from sprays.  Kind of nice.

This is another change that will speed up the game quite a bit, but unlike above, I actually quite like this.  Faster, simpler, and it actually reduces the area of effect for sprays without dramatically hurting them.

Warjack damage:

Mechanically, this works the same, but seem to be some small changes here.  The F no longer stands for Field Generator (for Retribution myrmidons), but apparently will correspond to the Front weapon system?  G is now the Power Field Generator, and the rules mention that this works just like the Warcaster version of a power field (reduce damage by 5).  Maybe the new Retribution/Dusk warjacks will work with that rule?  I think we're just going to have to see some more new warjacks to see what these look like.

Racking Spells:

This is mentioned in the above article, but I just want to mention that the article says the choices are based on the Army, but the rules state the choices are based on Faction.  This may not end up being a distinction, but I kind of like the idea that a Faction will have some special spells (like all Cryx can choose Occultation or something) but specific armies also have spells they could choose (the Bane army could choose Scything Touch, for instance).  We'll see!

Choosing spells at the beginning of the game is awesome- how many times have I played a game with a caster with an anti-warjacks spell (say, Grind) with no one to target?  Well, it's happened.  This is a thing of the past though.  I absolutely LOVE this idea.

Colossals and Gargantuans:

The Great Machine (and Great Beast) rule doesn't prevent a colossal from having to forfeit its movement or action from game effects (say, from Stagger).  I don't like that one bit- nothing feels worse than your huge investment in points being unable to do anything.  Now, the solution will likely just be the removal of Stagger and effects like that... but we'll see.

Jack Marshals:

They seem... pointless currently?  I have to think that Jack Marshals will have rules on their individual cards to make them worth taking.  We'll see when they release the rules for one.  But right now, they've basically been cut off from any form of utility.


Lost impact attacks!  That's disappointing, but with the current movement rules, it might have been too complicated to keep.


Apparently they aren't required to be on a base, but will count as 120mm models even if they are not. 

Assassination and Execution modes:

This is again, mentioned in the article.  The only change is that Execution mode is new, and requires the killing blow to be dealt by the opposing Commander.  It's interesting, and looks like a lot of fun.  We'll have to just see if it becomes the standard format for a game, because if not, it probably won't see a lot of play.

Army Construction:

A few things are new here.  First, you no longer have warjack/warbeast points.  Instead, you're force to take a certain number of warjacks/warbeasts (1+ for 50 pts, 2+ for 75 pts, 3+ for 100 pts).  I'm not sure what will become the standard size yet.

You are required to spend every single point you have available.  Thankfully, there are command cards to suck up some points, but we'll get there in a second.

We get a note that when playing in the Unlimited Arena, we can actually build a Custom Army, letting us play with any models in a particular faction. 

Warjacks (well, MKIV warjacks) can be customized - you basically choose one option for each 'Hardpoint' on a warjack, and the choice will change the model's cost.  In the samples we see, the choices are for heads (giving the model a special rule), and a left and right arm (giving a choice of weapons).  I imagine in the future we'll see a lot more variety in choices.  You decide the loadout during army construction (because it affects the cost of the warjack).  

Oddly, the addition of customizable heads adds a bit more interest to the jacks, because the H damage spaces in the damage grid will turn off a special ability.  Kind of a cool side effect.

There will also be customizable warbeasts with customizable animi at some point.  Again, really cool.

You also choose a hand of five command cards when building an army.  They each have a once per game effect, and you can play up to two per turn (but only one per model/unit per turn).  Your choices are not secret.  There are going to be faction specific cards at some point, it sounds like, but all they've shown us so far are Generic ones.  These could cost army points!  There are a lot of free choices (enough to take only free cards), and so far the most expensive card is Spotters at 2 points, which gives a warrior model/unit Mark Target (shooting at targets nearby gives +2 to attack rolls).  Kind of a unique way to customize your army.


Mentioned in the article- Terrain gives -2" of movement.  They added hills, as I mentioned earlier.

They also added in ladders and stairs.  Now that we have elevation again, you can move up and down on ladders to get to higher points.  The rulebook has an error, and it doesn't actually say what the cost to do so is, but hey, now we may see some really cool boards and some great battles over them.


Aaaaaand, that's basically it.  There's quite a lot different.  Some things I like, some I don't, but overall, I think they've made an interesting and compelling system that I am eager to try out.  I definitely was more down on the news and rules on first reading... but they've grown on me.  I can't wait to try the new game, and I'm eager to both try my old models, and get some new ones to fully take advantage of the rules!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

New version of Warmachine announced!


Image from the Privateer Press website

Well, in case you hadn't noticed, Warmachine is getting a new version!

I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about my thoughts about the new edition, or at least what we know so far.  I'm a big fan of Warmachine, and honestly, a big fan of all of the Privateer Press games.  And I have proven that I'm committed by spending quite a lot of money on their games- I've backed all of their recent Kickstarters, and I'm own a ton of Warmachine miniatures (as in, I could play every faction).

There are things I'm very excited about, and things I'm concerned about.  Now, this is the same day as the announcement, and there is still a lot we don't know yet, so maybe my feelings will change in the coming days, as more info comes out.  Maybe I'll post my thoughts about that, too!

Anyway, let's talk about my concerns first.   

From the article: In order to maintain the playability of the entire catalog of existing models, we have created two arenas of play: Unlimited, which will allow all existing and new MKIV models to be playable; and Prime, which will provide limited model options in building armies from the preexisting catalog as well as incorporate all new MKIV releases.

I own a lot of models.  Like, A LOT.  The fact that they will all be available in an Unlimited format is great and all... but historically these 'Legacy' formats tend to be poorly supported, poorly attended, and just become the unwanted stepchild of the game.  I think of Malifaux, for instance, when they rotated some masters out as part of their "Dead Man's Hand" rules during an edition change.  I played Lilith, one of the removed masters... and I haven't played since.  Their inclusion in events was apparently up to the TO, but to the best of my knowledge, there hasn't been a compatible event in a long, long time.

Privateer Press will support the Unlimited format... for a time.  Or at least, I assume it will just be for a time.  They mention that these old models, unable to use some of the new rules (like jack customization or army specific command cards) will probably keep the older models on the lower end of the power curve... but what if there are a few choices that are too powerful?  What if one of the new models, played in the Unlimited format, make all of the legacy choices worthless?  Will PP actually change the balance of these models if need be?  It's not known yet.

Some of the old models being playable in Prime is great news, too.  I just wish we knew the scope.  One would have to assume that the models allowed will be generic units and solos- say, the non-character Trenchers for Cygnar, or the non-character Winter Guard, or something.  That's all fantastic, if so.  I just wish I knew about how much to expect.  About a quarter of the available models will be in Prime?  More?  Less?  What about Prime-legal models that run out of stock.  Are they going to produce more (given they are moving to solely the 3d plastic models?).  Again, who knows, and just too early to tell, I guess.

The app is the next thing I'm not excited about.  From the article: The WARMACHINE app will provide the game rules and all model rules for FREE; no “card deck” purchases will be necessary.

Later in the article, they mention that there will be no way to look at the stats or rules without the app.  Hey, this is the digital age.  I get the urge to do this... but this is a tabletop board game.  I hate the idea that I need to be tied to my cell phone or tablet just to play a board game.  Come on, I'm going out to socialize with some friends.  Why do I have to have my electronics with me?  Yuck.

Secondly, I spend a lot of time thinking about the game, and the minis.  Examining my casters, thinking about what I'm going to do.  Building lists.  I do it a lot during my down time at work... where I can't bring my phone or tablet.  So, I'm not thrilled about this.

Now, with all of that said, everything else about this announcement has me excited.

I think their reasons are great, and they make perfect sense.  The game is well balanced, but I can't imagine trying to get into the game as a new player.  There are so many models, and so many interactions, that I think PP is doing the right thing.  And hey, I get that they have to cut down the number of SKUs and move some items to the Unlimited Arena format (my first complaint).  I get it, I do.  It gives them their best chance of making this launch a success.  

I love the new army system.  I think small, limited armies is going to be fantastic for the game.  I can't wait to build new, little armies, each with their own unique character and separate choices.  And the cadre system sounds like a fine addition.  Seriously, I can't wait to see the first examples so that I can get to building.  I guess we get our first taste this week on that front, at least.

I'm not at all miffed about the delay to get Hordes into the game, or its transition to being under the Warmachine brand.  All things that will be great for the game long term and will just make it an easier sell.

I'll reserve judgement on the 3D printed models until I get some in my hand.  You can bet I'll buy some as soon as they are available.

The rules are the final thing I want to make a brief mention of.  I love the rules of Warmachine, and I've heard that this is still the same game at its core.  We'll see about that.  I hope they keep the pre-measuring and keep the facing, and keep the way damage is done, and keep the core mechanics.  Of course, we'll see. 

The changes they've mentioned so far are the command cards, spell choices, and warjacks customizations.  This feels like a movement of some rules from Warcaster into this game.  But hey, these all sound great.  Warjacks designed to be customized will mean fewer purchases to buy into a faction, and more interesting choices.  Command cards can help define your overall force's strategy.  And really, choosing your warcaster's spell list means I can adjust a caster to match my playstyle.  I think all of THESE changes will keep me very excited about the game.  

I'm nervous about the future, as I'm sure all of us are.  But I have to say, I haven't been this excited about the game in a long time.  I can't wait to see the new rules, and I can't wait to give them a try.

Anyway, I can't wait to talk more about the game as they release more information.  I hope you'll stick around and talk about it with me!