Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why you should play Warmachine

I'm taking a break from 8th Ed. rumors because they're driving me crazy.  Fresh rumors come in every day and things get discredited left and right.  Bah.. that's what rumors are after all.

So for now, let me make a quick post on why you should get into Warmachine in case you haven't already.  Take everything you read here as honest opinion, coming from someone who has been a faithful GW player for 10 years.  There are 3 key facets that drew me to Warmachine and these are it:  Money, time and fun.

The first and most important reason to play Warmachine is because it's affordable.  I live in the USA and we don't have the greatest economy right now.  With the economy on the decline, hobbies take a back seat.  For me, 40K/Fantasy is the most expensive hobby that I ever owned.  When a box of 5 plastic dudes costs 35 bucks and you need 20 of them, things can get quite ludicrous.  Now I'm not saying that PP is dirt cheap, but when you factor in the cost needed to play a full scale game, the differences become quite noticeable.  For example, a 35 point game is considered the "standard" for Warmachine.  Compare that to 40K and you're looking at 2K points or 2250 points for Fantasy.  Let's be a little generous and say that 40K is actually 1500 points.  That's because 35pts for WM can be played in an hour and a half.. about the same time as a 1500 point game of 40K.  Don't worry; we'll touch upon the time issue later.

Let's look at my 35pt Cygnar army with eHaley vs. my 1500 Blood Angels.  I play competitively so I'll build lists for both games.. just to see where the ballpark is.  Keep in mind that your army can either be less/more expensive from mine.  This goes both ways for both companies.

For Warmachine at retail prices, it looks something like this:

eHaley = 17.99
Thorn = 27.99
Defender (old) = 27.99
Stormclad = 30.99
Squire = 9.99
B13 = 16.99
Stormblades = 42.99
Arlan = 13.99

Total: $188.92


Now let's see what I need for my Blood Angels army.  You'll notice below that I'm not even buying straight up DC boxes.  I'm going the "cheap" route by getting normal ASM boxes and using leftover DC shoulder pads and equipment to model my Blood Angels.  For my Sanguinary Priests, I'm kit bashing the Sanguinary Box with the DC box and coming up with something.  I mean I could buy the $15 dollar per Priest from the website or the Command Squad Apothecary sprue, but that would be cost ineffective.  For my flying Librarian, he's another kit bash experiment (see April's posts for a picture of him).

Here's what I need to spend for a 1500 pt army of Blood Angels:

4x 5x ASM boxes = 29.75 x4 = 119
2x DC boxes = 33.00 x2 = 66.00
1x Sanguinary/Honor Guard boxes = 33.00
3x Baal Preds = 49.50 x3 = 148.5
2x Razorbacks = 35.00 x2 = 70

Total: $436.50

As you can see.. in order for me to play 1500 points of Blood Angels, I need 2.3x the cost of my Warmachine army.  Not to mention, I took the cost effective option and cut a lot of corners to bring my 40K needs to a comfortable level.  If not, that would of easily costs me 500 bucks.

Money is one of the biggest factors when deciding a hobby for me.  Time is the other.  To play a game of 40K or Fantasy can take hours.  Warmachine, being a skirmish level game, can take anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour and a half.  Why did I say 15 minutes?  Because when you're playing high stakes herohammer and the game can end any second with a dumb mistake (getting your Warcaster killed), longer games is often a greater representation of skill.. rather than it actually took an hour and a half to move your 500 Orks across the table or fire 500 shots from your IG infantry gunline.

Warmachine takes up less time, period.  It sets up a lot quicker, cleans quicker, needs less to transport around, and only a limited number of dice to play.  Warhammer (Fantasy longer than 40K) takes at least 30 minutes to setup, clean and take/put models away.  This is not the case with Warmachine.. not even close.  The same principle of time applies to the number of models you have to clean, assemble and paint.  For Warmachine, I have under 15 models to do (these include the 'jacks).  I don't even want to count my 40K army.  It's something like 30+ models not including tanks.

Lastly, let's touch upon the "fun" part of Warmachine.  First, it's a new game for me.  I love learning new things and exploring new game designs so this was a huge factor for me.  Second, the game is very engaging for a skirmish style game.  When your army lists only consists of 10 models, things are very high stakes and preforming the wrong move can mean game over instantly.  Third, there's a synergy here that's missing in GW's games.  Units activate one after another so in order for you to pull off the correct game winning combo or maneuver, you must activate correctly.  Every warcaster is different in terms of what units you can take with them and each one has a different playstyle, synergies and unit combos.  Unlike 40K where I come to the table with Blood Angels and I'm like, "OK, this game I'm going to stuff my opponent's face into the ground" 25 games in a row, every game that I take a different warcaster changes my playstyle completely.  One game I might play assassination with eCaine, another game would be control and disruption with eHaley and another game would be defensive power plays with Siege.  These are only 3 warcasters out of the many several that the faction has.  It forces you to change your playstyle and forces your opponent's playstyle to deal with the new threat.  If he's playing a different faction, he has the same amount of warcaster/unit diversity.  This adds layers upon layers of interesting gameplay way more than 40K.

Having spoken to Warmachine veterans who have been playing since MK1, they are still seeing new things with every game.  This says something.  I'm not even going to get into too much detail on balance.. all you have to know is that they don't do rolling updates like GW.. they update everything at the same time so things are balanced at the same time.  AND.. Warmachine and Hordes can play against eachother and be a very balanced and easy to understand game.  When's the last time you saw High Elves beat up a Space Marine battalion?

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please share!  I'm eager to hear what you guys have to say.


Drew K said...

im a warhammer 40k guy and I just see warmachine as a ripe off

HERO said...

How so? Completely different game designs. It's like comparing SC to WC3 in terms of gameplay.

Anonymous said...

I started WM late last year after playing GW games for about 12 years... I'm officially a bigger supporter of WM now.

Working on getting my group into it. It kinda reminds me of Chess only with cooler models.

Hudson said...

People frequently cite affordability by posting a single 35pt list for WM vs a 1500pt list for 40k. It's a bit of a canard I think.

For one thing most WM-Hordes tournaments are the steam-roller format which allows you to bring two lists within the same faction. Now you could do this with just swapping casters BUT usually a supporting list that may be killer with one caster is meh with another.

So, you end up building a second list around that second caster. So now you're could be looking at two 35pt lists worth of models. With up eight or nine casters per faction... well you get the picture.

Shelexie said...

I am a WM fan and I liked your write up. I like being able to take an all 'jack list and place 4-5 models on the board. I also like being able to switch casters and have the whole game change. Our metal mini addiction is still expensive but I find it takes a lot less time to paint the smaller number of mini's. Thanks for the good write up!

HERO said...

I can see that argument completely. In fact, I'm happy you brought that up. Now saying that you went in a completely opposite direction in your unit choices and took none of the units in your previous list, buying another 35 points would still be cheaper than one 1500 of the same Warhammer list. This can also mean that if I wanted 35pts of another army in WM.. say I wanted to go Retribution (which I did) on top of Cygnar, I would be able to financially. So for a the cost of one 1500 Warhammer list that's not even the "normal" amount of points where I play, I could have two Warmachine armies.

For Cygnar, on top of what's listed above, I have another plastic 'jack and a unit of ATGM with some Merc units. I also have a couple of Warcasters I can choose from. That probably comes out to another 35pts if I really want to knit pick, but I have all the units I'll ever need to play at the normal point level. I find that very attractive.

Death 0F Angels said...

Warmachine is a mixed bag for me.... mostly because of how its affected 40k for me. I find Warmachine to be superior to 40k in every area except fluff. Mechanics and list building are exremely smooth. As far as gaming goes, warmachine has stolen my heart.
I started playing about 3 weeks ago and I feel the same exitement for marmachine i did 12 years ago for 40k. Its revitalized my will to paint. On the flip side I havent touched a 40k model since i started, and that makes me sad.

Maine said...

Each of these games gives a very different feel, and each has it's own merits.

Cost is probably one of the weakest arguments you can use in comparison of the games - it's a defeasible argument. For example, you can look at cost per model - 13 models for $200 or 35 models and 5 vehicles for $450. Additionally, there are a lot of games that are much cheaper than that - Malifaux can have you playing for $30. There are some hobbies that are much more expensive - Airsoft or Paintball, you'll spend $400-800 on your airsoft gun or paintball marker alone, before getting into clothing, mask, consumables, field fees...

In the end it doesn't matter how much money you save if you personally don't enjoy the game or lack people to play with. $400 spent on something you very much enjoy is far better spent than $200 on something you don't enjoy much or can't play for lack of opponents.

Find what you like, that has an active community to participate with, and that is within your budget.

Alex said...

I think that Maine already said most of what I would say, but I'll add one more thing.

For me, it isn't just about the game, in fact, I spend more time painting and assembling more than I ever would playing the game. While I like how PP handles most of their rules and playtesting, there are maybe a handful of models in their line that I actually like, where in the GW line, I could easily see myself being satisfied painting up any number of armies.

Finally, you mention game designs but isn't it worth noting that Warmachine and Warhammer (or 40k) are actually different scales? Shouldn't cost of a skirmish game like Warmachine be compared more to something like LOTR or Mordheim?

HERO said...

I wasn't comparing skirmish style games, I was comparing PP to GW. I was comparing the costs of getting into a "minis" game, the time it would take to get things together, and the differences in gameplay between the two. LOTR and Mordheim are not the popular minis game of choice between the two companies so its not a fair comparison. 40K vs Warmachine is.

Alex said...

My point, though, is that part of the reason Warmachine doesn't interest me is actually scale and that's one of the reasons it's cheaper. It requires fewer models (as was pointed out, when you start comparing model cost it isn't that much different).

It's why I don't think these kinds of comparisons are really valid from the start.

Your three reasons for getting into Warmachine are totally valid for you, but only one of them really matters to me: is it a good game. There are other aspects besides cost and time (is time really a factor that is valid for most miniature gamers?) that I'm interested in. It is important that it be at least a decent game, But, since it is a "miniatures" hobby, I'd have zero interest in playing any miniatures game if I didn't actually like the miniatures, regardless of how good it was.

HERO said...

Sure, you might not see money as a gauge to a hobby but I sure do. While I agree with you and Maine in saying that satisfaction shouldn't be gauged by dollar signs, my wallet doesn't share the same passion. I will spend good money if I feel that it's worth it, but for now I'll stay in Cygnar land and wait for 8th Ed. WHFB. Thank goodness I already have enough 40K and Fantasy to hold me over for a very, very long time.

Alex said...

That's fair, but it's not that I don't see money as an issue, it just isn't an issue in terms of these kinds of comparisons for me. While you might be thinking you are getting good value in Warmachine, it would be money I couldn't justify spending either, despite the fact that it's cheaper. Cheaper doesn't mean better, unless other things are equal.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 40k Guy and I don't play warmachine. 40k is more expensive than a 1500 point army. Most people don't play it especially with the new rules making the game much more interesting at larger point values. Most people I know have 3000 to 6000 points of their respective armies in order to play a few different builds and show up for 2500 point play.

Nick said...

I played WH40K for ages until one of the many GW rules updates ruined the game for me. I sold my army and I am so glad I got out when I did. While the games of both Games Workshop and Privateer Press are quite expensive, GW has reached the level of the absurd in recent years, particularly with the push into Apocalypse scale games. The continuous re-releasing of the base rule set and codices drives me crazy too.

I got into Warmachine/Hordes about 1.5 years ago, and in my opinion, the rule set is vastly superior, if a bit intimidating to start in on at this point. The interaction and synergy of different models and units makes Warmachine a table top game that plays like a CCG to some degree.

GW still has some great games, (Blood Bowl, Space Hulk, Battlefleet Gothic) but having played both, I think that Warmachine is vastly superior to WH40K.

Witchfinder General said...

I really like Games Workshop's stuff. Their world and fluff is amazing. However in terms of a hobby, I chose Warmachine over GW. Mainly because, as HERO stated - money and committment level. For years I played GW games with other people's minis. My friends strongly encouraged me to get into 40k. But in the end, I told them no. I didn't have the money and I didn't have the time to paint all of those minis. Then Warmachine came along and we were playing little tiny out of the box games for a low committment level. I got totally sucked in. For me, I simply don't have the wherewithal to build and paint a proper GW army. Nor do I have enough cash on hand to do so. However, with Warmachine I can start small and play with what I have until I build up to to 35 points. Which is still cheaper than a 1500 army for 40k.

Anonymous said...

Personally I find that warmachine tourney gaming is a lot more enjoyable than 40k tourneys. On the whole I believe the players are far more sporting and are far less prone to taking those cheesy unbeatable units that auto win you games- like the Orc nob bikers with ridiculous amounts of power claws.

Anonymous said...

I am about to start WM because the initial glitter of GW games simply wore off.
Especially WHFB was a constant fail to me, for it's sheer title of "strategy game" which in the end involved "forget's all about heros anyway.."

40k is a great game, great models, lots of factions BUT in the end streamlined to a degree where the aspect of having to take decisions is vanishing from edition to the next.
I think THIS explains why HERO is so interested.
I've read the rules and a "Codex" *g* and must say in terms of quality and "drool-factor" it has awoken the same feeling when I started 40k (in 1995 ...2nd ed...).

When coming to the financial aspect of the game it looks like this (we assume nobody is starting an army from the factions of Black Reach..).

Rulebook: 50€
Codex: 25€
Beginner-Army-Set: here I would not take an extreme example as you did Hero.
the typical beginner isn't aware of what he "really" needs. Instead he would "rely" on prepacked deals..
Army-deal (SM): 80 €
One HQ.choice: 15 €
170 €
for 3 troop, 1 assault and one transport (27 models..)
+ HQ

THIS will let you into the hobby. The smalles faction of people is interested in the tournament-mumbo-jumbo which is so "hyped" at BOLS.

Compare this to WM
Rulebook: 30 €
Faction Book: 30 € (SC)
Starter-Pack: 50 € (any given faction..ranging from 3- 6 models..)
110 € for 3 (khador) - 6 models.

In terms of "pricing" I think 40k is not that bad as you seemingly get "more" to put your hands on :)

However: Expanding your force from here on maybe tricky.
WM is more about detail and seems more like Magic the Gathering(ccg) combined with minis which because there's way less of them on the table have more detailed rules.

I remember 2nd ed 40k which was way more detailed than the nowaday "you can play it half drunk"-edition..

This is where WM will gain attraction. It allows for more "micromanagement" and wont slow down because you're playing with far fewer models

I think it's time&money which you would have to consider together.
If your goal is to start easy, get finished models faster and keep playing forever I suspect (!= know) that expanding your army will be more expensive for GW in terms of "money/pts"-ratio..
BUT you have to take into account that there're several people out there that enjoy the aspect of actually having to collect lots of minis and even painting them if only to stare on them :)

As I said.. I play 40k for a long time now and will stay. (Fluff, models all cool...ruleset..well matter of taste.. designed for speed...although epic-fail on wound-allocation here.. )
WM is interesting because you can have quick results and sorry but several Cryx-Warjacks/Units look like cool additions for my Iron Warriors :)
Therefore I am starting CRYX and I understand that the rules offer so much "new" to explore.

AS with every ruleset however...there will come the time where you'll met somebody thinking to have a brilliant idea exploiting some rule and spoiling the fun for everybody..

In the end it's pure personal whether you like it or not.. Both games have their pros and cons and 40k is the WoW in terms of tabletop-games..

I hope I'll enjoy WM too :)


Anonymous said...

I think the writer for this article has hit the nail on the head. I played Warhammer Fantasy for over a year and have been an old school 40k gamer.

To my disappointment, Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition is Games Workshop's way of selling more models. The game has forced you to % point brackets rather than number of troop choices, which basically forces you to buy lots and lots of rank and file units to be able to play a 2500 point tournament list.

There were some new rules such as large targets gaining slam vs smaller units and the 2nd rank being able to attack back, but this could have been easily implemented in the previous structure instead of forcing to make people buy more models.

Also, cavalry has been shat on, no longer being able to break rank bonus from a flank unless you have 2 ranks of cavalry.

So what does this mean? In order to play a tournament game I must have upwards of 50 infantry models (5 x infantry box sets, you do the maths), to constitute the compulsory 25% infantry point value.

I think need to buy any combination of specials, heroes, Lords and rare's, which have an ungodly cost.

But that doesn't at all even come close to the inconvenience caused by painting between 70-100 models. Who wants to paint the same plastic models over and over? Who cares if you can customise them a bit more?

I just bought a complete 35 point Warmachine list cheaper than what my heavily discounted Games Workshop starter box cost. The starter box came with Epidemus, Skulltaker, Masque, 1 unit of bloodletters, 1 unit of deamonettes, 5 flesh hounds, 1 karanak, 1 Fiend of Slaanesh, Daemons of Chaos rulebook, 1 Beast of Nurgle.

To give you an idea, here in Australia, a Greater Demon costs $96, whereas the starter box for a horde or warmachine army costs around $50. My legion of Everblight army came with 4 light warbeasts, a humanoid warlock and a Heavy Warbeast, the same size as a greater demon, plus all the rules I need to play.

Or if you want to be fair, just compare the cost of a single heavy warbeast to a plastic dreadnaught or a greater demon. Warmachine/Hordes knocks the pants off the retail price of Games Workshop models 1 for 1. I do not know where these people are coming from when they are saying you get more models with GW for the money.

Anonymous said...

Having recently come into WM from about 2 years of playing WHFB (wood elves to be exact) I must say that the primary reason that I shifted to WM is gameplay.

When WHFB 8ed rolled around I already had about 4.5k of wood elves, so the matter of cost was not too much of a problem



The main issue I found with WHFB was the massive alteration that it made to the playstyle. The shift from 7ed (which was, at least for me, heavily MSU) to 8ed (which I see as larger scale, war of attrition etc-just look at supporting attacks and steadfast)

This put me in the unenviable position of trying to alter my wood elf army to suit a playstyle it was never designed to work under, that is attrition.

Now I had 2 options-build a cookie cutter army with very limited variability which is designed to fit the mould but limits tactical flexibility OR start a new army. I toyed with the new army option, tried skaven, but in the initial stage decided that I did not want to spend that much money or time.

I like warhammer, the fluff etc is great and I really really tried to like 8ed, but just couldn't. I was frustrated that I felt that I was in a position where, to stay competitive, that I had only one of two options (as mentioned above).

On the other hand I find that the flexibility with WM is fantastic. Yes there are Overpowered things and ways people can exploit rules etc (but you'll get that with anyone in any hobby; and I have seen less of that in WM than WHFB). But the point is that there are many different ways you can play any of the factions and each way is viable. In WHFB you would have the 'standard' lists and character item loadouts etc (you all know what I mean, how many times do you look through the magic item list and cross off about 75% of it as either too situational or rubbish compared to the keynote items?!) WM seems to be in direct contrast in that there are many many different ways to build lists and each can be equally competitive if played intelligently.

If i may indulge in one last thing it would be an observation between PP and GW. PP, to my mind, still seem like an organisation that is driven by the fun of the game and not the dollar (or euro, pound etc). GW however seem to be so focused on the dollar that it has become too commercial and that a certain element of fun/connection to the player community/quirkyness/call it what you will has been lost.

So there you have it, just some of the reasons my wood elves are on the shelf collecting dust, sigh. When GW finally decide to re-release the wood elf army book then I may retry, but till then, go go WM!!



Anonymous said...

Add me to the list of WM converts. I played warhammer fantasy and had 4 armies: H Elf, Orc, Empire, Beastmen. My cousin sold off most of our armies while skipping away with the profits. Not to happy about it.

So a few years pass by and we start playing Mordheim and it is a lot of fun. While looking for terrain at the local hobby shop, I pick up the Hordes manual and that night I am hooked.Very interesting manoeuvres can be done for variety, but less ticky tack stuff like wheeling for your charge. It is rules light, yet option heavy. To be honest it plays a lot different than GW stuff. SO I got into it because if I was going to start mini-wargaming again, this is a much cheaper option than the 5 grand I sunk into fantasy and from the couple of times I have played, it is quicker and more enjoyable.

Just my opinion but I hate to think back about painting 80 units of night goblins, plus the ranks and ranke of regular orcs I had to paint. Yeah it looks impressive, but as other mentioned, It took me as much time to set up as it does to complete a whole game here. No need for army builder either. I can do it with the books in front of me and not some expensive software to do the adding.

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