Sunday, 22 May 2011

Things that I play: Warmachine and Hordes

Website ( Privateer Press )

Ostensibly they are two different games, in reality they aren't really. True Warlocks and Warbeasts work very differently to Warcasters and Warjacks but the two systems share more similarities than they do differences. One of the questions I get asked an awful lot is whether HoMachine is a good substitute for Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Now there's no easy or straight forward answer to that question. When people ask that though they normally mean is it a substitute for Warhammer Fantasy 7th edition. Put simply its not a substitute in terms of unit movement and getting flank charges etc, and nor is it a substitute for size either. The average game of HoMachince is somewhere between 35 to 50 points and to give you an idea my 35 point Retribution force has only 27 miniatures in it, whereas my average sized Warhammer 2000 point Dwarf army had easily over 100 mini's in it... BIG DIFFERENCE!!!

If however you're after a game where tactics are important and movement is key and all those skills around positional sense count for something, then yes HoMachine can be a sort of substitute for Warhammer, since 8th took out all the skill. However I think that does HoMachine a disservice to be honest, because it is its own beast, its all about synergies and using the tools your army gives you to the maximum, while trying to stop your opponent using their tools. I do think its fair to say that HoMachine does have an element of rock, paper, scissors to it, and that there can be some really bad match up. Thing is if you've got a rock army you can try to miss the paper elements of your opponents and head straight for the scissors!!! So to speak. But I see HoMachine as a mostly good honest fun game with just the right amount of depth and skill to offer something to tournament gamers, in short it has enough about it to be the one big game you play.

I think though what I was looking for in a game when I left Warhammer Fantasy behind me was a game that had a rich vibrant background, cool mini's, developed factions and a good level of strategic challenge, while still being fun. I think HoMachine hits that spot quite nicely. In Warmachine there are 6 distinct factions, Cygnar, Khador, Protectorate of Menoth, Cryx, Retribution of Scyrah and Mercenaries (which have 3 distinct forces within them as well). Hordes throws up 5 more factions with Everblight, Trollbloods, Circle, Skorne and Minions. Outside of Games Workshop monopoly here in the UK I think it'd be fair to say that currently HoMachine is the most played of the 'alternative systems' and God do I hate that phrase... I guess maybe Flames of War gives it a good run for its money.

However if you are a Games Workshop gamer worried or afraid of dipping your toe into fresh waters, let me please allay any fears you may have, this game is being played by a lot of people right now and if you turn up to your local gaming club you're bound to find people playing it. If you don't I bet you'll find there are people in the same boat as you who want to try it out but aren't sure they'll get a game. Take the plunge and don't look back, its more fun than either of the core Games Workshop products are right now in my opinion and you won't have to put up with the annual price hikes (probably) and all the other shennanigans that sadly seem to plague Games Workshop nowadays (it makes me very sad to say that). 

You'll be wanting to know about Initial costs I suppose!!! Well For a decent 35 point force, rulebook and faction book (not necessarily required) you're probably looking at spending £150 to £200 at your local gaming emporium. You could do it for less by picking up one of the starter faction sets for about £35 or so which come with starter rules and like all HoMachine mini's the rules cards to use the mini's you buy. Its a great system that means you only really need the core rulebook and the miniatures you buy to play the game, although dice and tape measures would help. Its not therefore as expensive as either games Workshop Games, which can cost upwards of £300 easily to get a decent sized army and in most cases way more. Peace out!


  1. Just finished wfb doubles tournament and possibly wfb for the next twelve months. Looking forward to painting infinity thus week

  2. Cheer up Chris, there are better games out there, I'm covering Infinity tomorrow.