Category Archives: Warmachine

Warmachine: The Battle Boxes Part 2

 

Khador

Like a lot of things with Khador this thing is as subtle as an axe to the face.  The Destoyer will shoot things and then bash them in the face with its axe.  The Juggernaut will hit things really, really hard.  Over and over.  Both of these bastards are tough as nails.  Very high armor, an incredible number of damage boxes, weapons that hit like trucks gone wrong.  Slightly slower than rocks going uphill.  Sorscha is the key to the box.  She is a missile.  The heavies herd the enemy, thrashing what they can, chasing away what they can’t.  Sorscha can race across the table as fast as any battlebox caster and hit hard.  Not as hard as a heavy, but still hard enough to crush any light or any ‘caster.  This is a fun, challenging, and tough box.

Caster – 8/10 – Sorscha does a little bit of everything, a solid spell list, a great feat, and a good weapon.  No one is going to complain about her.  She’s an aggressive all-rounder and that’s good in this game.
Destroyer – 6/10 – canted a little bit to the shooting side, and too slow to be really really good, but not something you want to underestimate.
Juggernaut – 7/10 – Nearly 8/10 he hits like a truck, but is just too slow.  Way too slow.

Protectorate

A great box.  2nd only to Cryx.  There’s a lot of fun to be had here.  Kreoss is a bastard.  He’s got decent spells.  He’s got an amazing feat.  He hits plenty hard.  Backing him up are the Crusader, an unsubtle, hard hitting jack with some power to it, while Kreoss can’t buff it, he can support it by clearing out enemy buffs and debuffs.  There’s a Repenter which is great at clearing out infantry (and pretty useless in a battle box) and a Revenger which gives you an arc node.  This makes Kreoss even better.  This allows Kreoss to move about freely and still affect the battlefield as a whole with his spells.  Most factions you buy models and use their abilities to support each other.  Protectorate operates differently.  You buy models and use their abilities directly on each other to build massive combos so something that looks unimpressive but cheap is just an empty canvas waiting for paint.

Caster – 10/10 – A dominant caster who is tough to play against but not in the crippling oh-god-let-this-game-end fashion as Denny.

Crusader – 8/10 – Slow as a Jugg, it is just a better value and is far better supported by the other elements of the box.

Repenter – 6/10 – It beats the defiler.  It can hit the broad side of a barn if it’s standing inside it (which the defiler CANNOT DO) and continuous effect: fire is plain MEAN.  Even in a battle box facing mostly jacks.

Revenger – 7/10 – It’s useful to Kreoss but it’s not essential to him.  It does make him better and helps make him dominant in the battle box setting but it’s just not quite there as a choice for him.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

Advertisements

Warmachine: The Battle Boxes Part 1

Ok I’ve been knocking around the idea for this post for a little while.  Privateer Press offers what they call Battle Boxes.  These offer a ‘caster and some supporting ‘jacks that give you a balanced, fun set for some really basic games.  I’m going to run down the boxes for the factions I have seen.  I haven’t seen Convergence or Retribution, the rest I can speak about.

Cryx

Cryx has become my primary force.  Their battle box has a lot to do with it.  Deneghra (pDenny) is an immensely unbalancing walking catastrophe of a ‘caster.  Her ability to cripple and nullify the enemy at extreme range, using the excellently supportive ‘jacks in this box makes this a singularly not fun box to play against.  For strength it’s about a 12/10, for representing how fun the game is as far as your opponent is concerned it’s about a 2.  pDenny is just that un-fun to play against.  The ‘jacks are a solid supporting cast, although not superlative.  3 Arc Nodes make Denny that much more powerful, but the Slayer and Defiler are under-powered, in a battle box or a regular fight.

Caster – 10/10 – because if I voted lower than that she’d cripple me and finish me off.
Deathrippers – 8/10 – Fast, fairly accurate, hit somewhat hard, arc nodes are awesome with Denny.  You get two of them in the box.
Defiler – 2/10 – Just an arc node.  Doesn’t do a lot else.
Slayer – 6/10 – an heavy.  Focus intensive with a caster that wants to cast.

This box will leave you with a lot of choices.  You can sacrifice an arc node early to get some upkeeps out there early.  Crippling grasp does what it says on the tin.  It slows down faster models so you can catch them, and slower models may as well go home.  They can’t even run.  Parasite is another fun one to throw out there, helping Denny be a bit less helpless should someone look at her funny.  The defiler can actually be a tiny bit of a threat to an enemy caster, but don’t count on it hurting anything else.  Keep the slayer far enough back that it doesn’t eat any charges or heavy hits on the way in, with its speed delivering it won’t be a problem in most battle boxes.  Also figure out what you want to do with it, the one huge benefit it has is that it can do pretty much everything.  3 decent P+S attacks.  2 Open fists (meaning: all the power attacks) and a combo-strike to drop the open fist attacks and get 1 HEAVY attack.  It still dies if you look at it funny, but if you’re playing Cryx you’ll need to get used to that.  The Deathrippers are just solid little toys.  They move fast, hit pretty well, and are supremely accurate with their attacks.  They die fast, but I’m sure you were expecting that.  They make great flankers and if one can get a charge lane on an enemy caster that isn’t camping focus you might want to let them know they can start cleaning up the table.

Cygnar

Cygnar loves to shoot.  Despite a purely meh ‘caster this is a really really solid battle box.  Ironclads are very very popular, potent heavies that mix accuracy, power, and a great support ability.  The lights are a mixed bag.  The Charger is the premier shooting light in a faction that loves shooting.  The Lancer is a very defensive arc node.  In a game that loves offense, defensive abilities just aren’t as fun.  This ‘jack is far from as weak as the Defiler, and it has its uses, but it’s not ideal.  This box won’t dominate or cripple the enemy like Cryx, it cannot disrupt the enemy with nearly as much ability, but it can still set the tone in a game.

Caster – 5/10 – I’ll admit I’m not a pStryker fan.  He’s very defensive.  Warmachine loves offense.  He can be tough as nails, he can support a few models, again mostly with defensive buffs.  Just not inspiring.
Ironclad – 9/10 – probably the best heavy in a battlebox.  The only chink in the armor is… its armor.  It’s fast, hits like a truck, with accuracy, and it can knock down the enemy to ensure successful follow-up attacks or clear the way for the:
Charger – 9/10 – Ok Warmachine doesn’t like shooting.  It’s just not as potent.  It’s also very focus inefficient.  Except for this bad boy.  With 3 focus it can give you two very accurate, fully boosted shots.  With snipe it can shoot a long way.  With Ironclad you can knock down bad guys blocking Line of sight to let you see the target you want.
Lancer – 5/10 – a terribly defensive arc node.  It’s more useful than the Defiler.  Probably.

This is a schizophrenic box.  Stryker can help deliver a jack by boosting it’s armor and defense, and he can throw Snipe on the charger to give it more range.  He’s also an incredibly accurate attacker in his own right, even if his strength is pretty run-of-the-mill.  The one thing he really has going for him is that he can boost the heck out of the Charger.  The key to this box is clearing line of fire.  Ironclad can drop the hammer to knockdown an enemy, this could let the charger pop off two boosted shots at something your opponent thought was safe IF the Ironclad itself didn’t move into the way.  Remember, you do not have to charge directly towards your target, you can charge tangentially.  Don’t block line of sight in order to clear line of sight.  The Lancer is best served as an extension of your caster, being an arc node it can apply Stryker’s buffs or other spells at arms reach, however you really want it in close to your battlegroup as it has the armor of a heavy and a defensive ability that simply demands your opponent find a way to work around it.  See the card.  The Ironclad is a beatstick with 1 fantastic attack, 1 decent attack, and a game-winning special ability.  It’s not unbelievably tough (see Warjack, Heavy, Khador) but it can take a pounding.  It also has pretty good speed for a heavy and it synergizes well with the Charger.  The Charger is your all-star.  It’s fast, fairly tough, fairly hard to hit, accurate, and it does more with three focus than any jack in the game.  2 Fully Boosted shots from a fast, accurate platform.  This is your game winner here and your opponent knows it.  Your Lancer will probably spend more than a little time charging around keeping this guy safe, and that’s ok.  Unfortunately this box is far more predictable than the Cryx one, as you will pretty much be running around with Stryker a little behind and between the Ironclad on one side, and the Lancer/Charger on the other, trying to find a good angle to smash the screen your enemy is setting up in front of his Caster.

 

Warmachine Coming Right Up

So I’m getting back into Warmahordes.  Dusting off the Cryx and blowing the dust off the books.  Warmachine has a lot to recommend it; not the least being that it isn’t made by GW.  I’m going to go over some things I think are awesome about it, some things that aren’t and some things that are both.

AWESOME

Ok the price of this game compared to most other minis based games is pretty darn low.  It’s not cheap, and some models/units are downright expensive (BANES!) but overall you can land more than a couple hundred bucks under a 40k army, let alone a fantasy battles army.

The Mechanics of this game are really neat.  So much more of your strategy will happen on your side of the table.  What order you activate units in, how you will set up your attacks, when to roll the dice and when to stand pat for a moment.

All offense, all the time.  Models die fast and furious.  You can delay it but you can’t prevent it.  People who turtle suffer.  I’ve seen people who are used to historicals, GW games, and a lot of other metas just get swallowed by a fast and aggressive Warmahordes player.  My fiancee crunched my nemesis in her 2nd or 3rd game because he’s used to doing nothing on his first turn from other games, and he still won’t play the game because his favorite strategy is completely useless.

The models are gorgeous.  Good lord these armies look fantastic.  The “Recommended” paint schemes are bold, simple, and effective.  You don’t have to be Mike or Allison McVey to make them look good.

The game is designed to be accessible.  $50 gets you a battlebox with a ‘caster/warlock, some jacks/beasts and rules.  That gets you a book in some other games.  Rulebooks are handy, but not required, and rulebooks, army books, and expansion books, are very reasonably priced.  Even with some minis being on the pricey side

NOT SO AWESOME

Rules Lawyering.  This game follows a very nice meta, saying “Here’s some simple basic rules” then following it with “And here’s more enough special rules to choke an elephant” This is fine in and of itself, but it leads to lengthy errata, as rules have to be bounced off each other, and the very lethality of the game means that such minutiae as measuring, and proper rolling will need to be followed to the letter.  This can really slow down the game, especially between new players, and in advanced games with death clocks… woof.

Knowledge is Power.  Players need to know at least their own army like the back of their hands.  It is very easy to fall badly behind an army you haven’t faced before and get trounced.

The Great Grey Horde.  People build armies fast.  The “I just need this and my army will be invincible!” feeling, combined with the moderate prices mean that every game shop and every gamer is faced by monolithic walls of grey or silver miniatures staring at him begging for paint.  I spray mine black to shut them up.

Assembling some of these miniatures is so frustrating that it makes me want to sit on the floor, kick my heels and throw a tantrum.  And I haven’t even bought Terminus yet.  I’m not kidding either.  Look here.  Honestly it’s one of the worse models they’ve made from a pose AND from an assembly standpoint but he’s so incredibly powerful I want to use him, I just do NOT want to put that mess together.

THE AWESOMELY NOT-SO-AWESOME

Now for the bits of both.

There are models that are so not fun to play against they can make people rage quit the game.  Without ever playing it.  See War Witch Deneghra, and most of Cryx.  Menoth and Everblight have this too.  But only Cryx has it in their battlebox.  That’s right, Privateer Press threw a rage-quit inducing miniature in the starter sets.  The alternate box with Asphyxious is an improvement, but facing Cryx can be soul crushing, and that is the right term.  The down sides of this is obvious, but on the plus side it inspires some gamers to say “well what does Cygnar have that will make people throw dice?”

The game can change so fast you have no idea what just happened.  Seriously I’ve seen whole games change so fast that the player that won literally doesn’t know they’ve won.  One lucky attack, one miss, one perfectly/poorly positioned mini and a game goes from a crushing defeat to a stunning victory.  This is awesome as it keeps you playing even in a game that you don’t think you have a chance in, but it also makes you want to cry when your perfect attack run falls apart because you rolled a 3 to hit on a sure-fire attack.

All in all I really enjoy this game.  Not everyone that plays it is a wonderful character and my last burnout was solely to do with people, not the game, time to toughen up and roll some dice again.

Being a Better Opponent

Time for some tabletop Real Talk.  One of my biggest pet peeves in gaming is… well… gamers.  How many times have you brought out the dice, the books, the minis, the plethora of gaming accessories, spent hours preparing the perfect list, the perfect scenario, you have everything ready, and you plunk down at the table to find that your opponent is just a rotten tomato.  Literally.  The guy stinks, is sloppy with how he uses table space, proclaims ignorance of the rules when he makes a mistake, but is an absolute legal expert when it’s in his favor.  His measuring is suspect, his rolls are fishy, and the arguments loud and braying.

I’ve yet to see a gaming group that didn’t include this guy, and there’s more even than that that they do.  So I’m going to run down a list of things that you should pay attention to if you want to encourage people to play with you.

The List

  1. DON’T show up like a slob.  Seriously.  Most gaming places, even modern ones with great setups turn into sweat boxes when you pack 40 fully grown men in there.  Don’t show up smelling like you never encountered a shower in your life.  Brush your fangs, wear deodorant.  You know, high school stuff.  Do some laundry once in a while too.
  2. DON’T hog table space.  Again this is pretty basic manners.  Some game nights there’s barely enough room, or not nearly enough, a game of warmahordes shouldn’t be sprawled over 2 full 8’x4′ tables.  There is just no need at all for it.  use cases, to store minis, stack your books, don’t have templates and counters all over the place, be considerate of others.  Again not rocket surgery.
  3. Be knowledgeable about the rules, no more, no less.  Unless you are “That Guy” in your group.  Don’t feign ignorance on a special rule on a trooper you bring every battle.  Don’t be an absolute expert on an obscure mercenary solo with a special rule you’ve never seen before.  If there’s an actual expert, refer things to them, if not, make a note, roll off, and do the research later.  Unless the game literally rests on the interpretation then feel free to google away on your smartphone.
  4. Kvit your Kvetching!  In my gaming career I’ve ran into literally 0 people who have average luck.  0.  Everyone bemoans their luck, talks about how the dice betray them, how they are always JUST out of range.  Well people, let me tell you, you, yes you, each and every one of you, will roll a 7 or higher 58.3% of the time on 2d6.  You will roll a 1 on a single d6 16.6%. of the time.  You will roll a 6 a grand total of:  16.6% of the time.  Don’t bet your game plan on single dice rolls.  They fail.  Sometimes they fail a lot.  Don’t blame the dice for a loss that resulted from one roll.  Blame your planning that required you to make that one roll or lose.
  5. DO talk it out.  Whether it’s with your opponent or someone else, go over the game, what you were thinking, what your opponent was thinking, and figure out what you did well and what you shouldn’t do.  Both in game and meta game.  This right here will make you a better player, and a more fun opponent to play against.
  6. Bring a theme list.  Not every sunday morning pickup game is a steamroller tournament match.  You don’t need to bring the min/maxed list of death, or even a max sized army list every single time.  Mix it up.  Bring crappy casters.  Play the weird tier lists no one will touch.  Play Warhammer Fantasy with that all High-Elf Cavalry Army you haven’t seen on a table in 3 editions.  Play Empire with nothing but infantry.  Spam Tactical Marines in 40k.  Run an Ork Gunline (no, seriously, try it sometime) the point is play a game for fun rather than just to add a tally to your win column.
  7. Watch games.  See what other people do.  See what looks like it makes the game better, see what looks like it just drains the fun away.  Heck find a mentor if you are a nooblet, either a friend or a more experienced person to step you through your first few games.  If you are more experienced take someone under your wing.
  8. Don’t be a negative nancy.  Seriously, whining all game about something, about how you are doomed, and about how everything is against you, your army is crap, your opponent’s is OP, just makes people never ever ever want to play with you.  Get over it.  Check your attitude at the door.  If you are struggling with your army, look online, find ways to overcome its limitations, and realize that your army isn’t meant to be perfect.  Neither is anyone elses.

Remember it’s about having fun.  When I bring unconventional lists, I have fun.  I bring gimmick lists, I unapologetically bring solid blocks of cheddar, then I bring theme lists that have no ability to win a game.  I probably argue too much and I have to catch myself when I have a run of bad rolls, or even fail a key one, but I’m much better at keeping a lid on it.  

So play the game, and have fun doing it.  Quit making it miserable for others and for yourself.

(note:  I’m not sure where this came from, my last two opponents in DM have been an absolute DELIGHT to play against)

 

Warmahordes Wednesday: Not to Fifty!

So yesterday was to be Warmahordes day.  Didn’t happen as I got busy and distracted so I didn’t get to play my cookie-cutter pGaspy list.  Instead I settled in to paint gaspy.  Clear the desk, lay out the paints.  Find the mini.  Plan out the scheme.  Lay out the paints in a more organized manner.  Find the brushes.  No, find them.  You know you put them in a safe place before you cleaned everything out.  Just find them.  GRAAAAAAAAH go pick up D to get her rental car for snowmageddon.  Take a while driving all over.  Come back.  Find brushes and give up and go to sleep.

WHILE I was driving all over I was thinking about the current condition of games in my area.  Basically “Go Big or Go Home” drives the current meta.  With tournaments being a very frequent event, practically every game is played in the 50-point steamroller format, and I think that that is a shame.  The big reason is it’s hard for me to learn in games that big, and relatively slow-paced.  The second reason is I don’t feel like I’m missing something bringing 50 points to the table.  I don’t particularly like the Cryx Colossus, it seems to mostly be there, and while it is undoubtedly powerful, I just feel like I can get a lot more for the points.  Beyond that when I pick 50 points I get to the end and just think “Ok, 3 points left, now what?”  50 points feels bloated.  Even Count Rougan agrees.

NOT TO FIFTY!

To me, a skirmish game should be small, and Warmahordes is supposedly about jacks and beasts.  When you bring in tons of troops, as is inevitable in 50 points games, the game loses a lot of its distinctive flavor as no caster can run a 50 points army with a ton of jacks, the focus/fury management just isn’t there.  At 25 points I feel like I can run jack heavy in most scenarios with some casters, infantry heavy with others, and at 35 you can run some interesting mixes, but you will have to decide what your list will look like.  At 50 points I feel like I’m just putting in filler at the end.

Now to be fair my experience is 100% with Cryx at any scale above battle boxes.  Other armies may feel more restricted trying to get the perfect combination and then support it right.  Now I’m still a doormat on a GOOD day, hoping to hold out long enough for that crazy assassination run.  However, at the same time, I don’t feel my army selection is terribly flawed, I just don’t know all the tricks to the game yet.  Hopefully I can find some small to mid sized games before mid March when there’s a tourney scheduled to get me some skill at the game.  Or maybe I’ll just luck into an assassination.

So What Has Corelin Been Up To?

Warmachine.  That’s what.  Getting back into the tabletop thing and really having a blast.  I haven’t done well on the field yet, but I have had some very relaxing evenings painting, and gotten some decent results to date.  At first I thought I wanted to go with Khador, it suits my generally unsubtle nature that tends towards a rather unsubtle plan, that tends to surprise my opponent by not concealing any hidden traps, just being a boot to the head.

I came up with a variant of the normal Khador scheme emphasizing the bronze work of the steampunk theme.  This was the result I ended up with for the Destroyer Heavy Warjack:

Because Russians will always come up with Russian things. Even when they aren’t in “Russia” per se.

But that didn’t last too long.  I still like it but their infantry seems a bit meh and predictable.  So I looked at Cryx.  Wow.  Casters who do everything from cripple the enemy (For the EvE folks think an all recon gang with good coordination) to out and out smashing, lacking only staying power, unless they want to go heavy on that, then they can keep the crippling but generally hit like wadded up tissues.  I just finished basecoating some bonechickens:

And here they are

To give you an idea, the Bonejacks are about 40-60 percent done (only the one in the middle has any shading done, and all three heads need varying amounts of work) whereas the Destroyer is more or less good where he is.  Tomorrow I plan on painting one of my warcasters (Deneghra, or Denny) and the Slayer heavy jack.  Not particularly looking forward to the slayer, and I have a crabjack to assemble which promises to try my patience as well.  Priming with spray paint in winter in Iowa promises to be a challenge.  We shall see how it goes.  Tomorrow *MIGHT* be decent.  It also *MIGHT* drive me insane.

I’m using it every time I can