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    Chapter Master Emeraldw's Avatar
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    Nov 2007

    Want to start Warmachine/Hordes? Look Here! General Q&A Also!

    Hello Everyone! Emerald here to tell you more about Wamachine/Hordes! Now there has been a growing interest in Privateer Press games with Warmachine receiving its 2nd ED rule set (To be referred to as Prime MKII). The purpose of this thread is to help you understand what Privateer press games are about, how to get started, what you need to get started and some helpful tips. Finally at the bottom I will link as many resources on the web as I can find to help you in your quest to crush your enemies beneath your steam powered boot (or if wild things are your fancy, Maul them!)

    Basic Gameplay:
    Warmachine and Hordes are played with two armies controlled by their general, referred to as a warcaster or warlock, depending on the system. These are your most powerful resource but are also your most treasured member, because if they die, game over! This is one of the reasons I find the game compelling, you never know who is going to win by turn 4, a random assassination can and has happened to all of us.

    To make a 40k comparison, it is like if Marneus Calgar had 3x his current stats and had psychic abilities to buff all your squads, but a single dreadnought was possible to walk up and kill him in one turn. Be careful!

    The idea is that you need combine various elements together to get the best effect. For example I play Retribution of Scyrah for Warmachine. My basic Houseguard Rifleman are a decent unit on their own. But with a warcaster like Ravyn, The Eternal Light makes these Rifleman deadlier! Understanding some of the interactions might take time but that is what we here at the Privateer Press forums on Warseer can help you with! I will list some resources at the bottom for when you get to this step

    More info by ICLRK625:

    Warmachine/Hordes is a whole different beast than Warhammer/40k. Basically, your force is built far more around your Warcaster (think HQ/Lord) than anything else. Your Warcaster comes equipped with special abilities and spells that dramatically alter the way your army plays, the same force can literally play a completely different game just by switching the Warcaster. On top of the caster, you have Warjacks/Warbeasts, which are both built to synergize with your caster, in fact, Jacks/Beasts are far less effective without a Warcaster around to give them focus or force them (basically, this is how you get your big guys to kill stuff, focus/fury are resources used to buy extra attacks, roll extra dice for doing damage and using special attacks like throws or headbutts).
    How to play:
    The basic idea is that of opposed rolling. You take your offensive stat to hit them first, (Ranged Attacks use RAT, Melee attacks use MAT) +2d6. If your combined roll is higher than or equal too, the targets Defense (listed as DEF) then you scored a hit. Next you roll for damage. You take the Power of the weapon (POW for Ranged weapons and P+S for melee. P stands for the power of the weapon but for melee attacks you add the models strength, Privateer press has already done this for us so to keep it simple, use POW for Ranged and P+S for melee.) +2d6. For every point above their armor (listed as ARM) the target takes one point of damage. An Example:

    My Khador Berserker makes a single melee attack against a Cygnar Hammersmith. The Berserker has a MAT of 5. I roll a 7 on 2d6 and add 5 to that, bringing my total to 13. The def of the Hammersmith is 11, so I hit the Hammersmith. Next, I roll 2d6 and get 5 (doh!). I add the P+S of 15 for a total of 20. Hammersmith is armor 19. 20-19= 1, so the Hammersmith only takes 1 point of damage.

    Hopefully I explained it well, but once you do it a few times, it quickly becomes second nature.

    Size of game:

    One of the things about 40k or Fantasy is that the game might not start until you get to say 1500 in 40k and 2k in Fantasy. But in Privateer Press games, the game starts at even low point values. It just becomes more complex as you add more unit interactions.

    However the typical point game is 35 and 50 for a full sized game.

    What is up with the books and cards?
    This is probably the most confusing thing getting into the game right now. Let me explain:

    Warmachine and Hordes ran for years prior to Prime Mark II. Each book expanded on every faction in the game, adding new rules and progressing the story. They had never planned to release a second edition, but they have. Prime Mark II is the starter Rulebook for Warmachine. It details all the rules for the game and has some rules for models from almost every faction in the game in it so you can play games even with the basic rulebook.
    There are also faction books. With the rerelease of the game and new rules, all units had to be updated to Mark II. This where faction books come in, they detail the rules for all models inside that faction as of Mark II’s release. So once you have the starter book and want to expand into a new faction, get the Faction book of your choice.

    Now some books are still being released. Hordes has undergone its field test and will be getting its main rulebook later this year but they have rules for the game to tide you over till then in a PDF. One PDF contains the main Hordes rules and the other has the Stat Cards. These are subject to change in the final version of the game due out when the books finally arrive.

    The cards serve primarily as your “codex.” Every single model/unit has a card. The card outlines the abilities and rules for the model or unit. This makes it quite convenient to find rules, just find your card! They also serve as a function to keep track of damage on beasts or warjacks.

    Currently, when you buy a model, they come with their card. But there is an issue. They come with their Mark I card on older models. This will not help you in Mark II. So Privateer Press has released faction decks with cards for all the older models that do not have their Mark II cards yet. These are called Faction Prime Mark II decks for Warmachine and Hordes will be coming out later this year.

    To add to the confusion, there are decks labeled “Mark II” this is NOT for Prime Mark II. It must be labeled Faction Prime Mark II for it to be the right one.

    Basher adds a little about cards:
    you'll get them with the blisters and boxs, some have mk1 cards but most have mk2 now but if you email pp they will change them free of charge.The book will tell you every thing thats on the cards and more
    Emerald Note:
    Many people had to get the deck because of the transition to Mark II, but if your just starting you might not have too. The most important aspect of the cards honestly is for ease of use and damage tracking. Mark I cards can at least work for damage tracking till you get the Mark II ones if you have the Faction Book for rules.

    If you want to try a game here are the quick start rules for Wamachine and Hordes. Hordes Quick start rules for MKII are not out yet, but the basic idea is similar. I will in a below section describe the differences between the two games. If you just want to test out the system, I would try these quick start rules for warmachine.

    Warmachine and Hordes? What is the difference?
    First, let me say that the two games are completely compatible against each other. They were made to be played together so don’t worry if you like hordes and your friends like warmachine, you can still kill them

    ICLRK625 Gives us a basic description:

    The primary difference between Hordes and Warmachine are the manner in which Warcasters/Warlocks interact with their Warjacks/Warbeasts.

    In Warmachine, you start each turn with a set number of Focus (except in rare cases, such as Epic Butcher), and use that to cast spells, crush face with Warjacks, or use a special ability that requires Focus. This allows Warmachine to be an extremely consistent force, never having to alter battle plans due to a bad threshold check. It's worth noting that in Warmachine, you must allocate Focus (up to 3 per Warjack) to your Jacks at the start of your turn, and can not decide to throw an extra Focus on your Juggernaut to make extra sure he kills whatever he's attacking, he's stuck with what you gave him in the Maintenence Phase, so careful planning is required. Another extremely important element of Focus is that any Focus leftover from your phase of the turn is turned into a bonus to your Warcasters Armor stat (this stat directly reduces damage, so is extremely useful), meaning that a viable strategy is to use as little Focus as possible, and keep the rest around to make sure your Warcaster is safe during your opponents phase.

    In Hordes, instead of focus, you have Fury. Fury starts the game much like focus, you have a set number, and it's used for all of the same tricks with your Warbeasts as with Warjacks, with one very large exception. Rather than removing Fury from the Warlock when you, say, buy an additional attack for your Dire Troll Mauler, you add a Fury to the Troll. This is called Forcing, and is the biggest difference between Warmachine and Hordes. Each Warbeast has a Fury stat, just like your Warlock, and this is the maximum amount of Fury they can have on them at any time. So it would be possible to charge (1 Fury), boost to hit (1 Fury), buy an additional attack (1 Fury) and then both boost attack and damage on the second attack (2 Fury) with a Dire Troll. This means Hordes can do a lot more per Warbeast than Warmachine can do per Warjack, as you are limited only to their Fury stat, and never the universal 3 Focus capacity. Another important element of Forcing, is that you do not have to decide upon the amount of Fury each Warbeast receives during the Maintenence Phase, you can instead choose when you will Force them, making whiffing an attack less hazardous to your battle plans. This is not, however, without it's drawbacks. At the start of each turn, a Warlock has the chance to "leech" Fury from Warbeasts nearby, limited only to his capacity on Fury (so Thagrosh could take 7 Fury off of any nearby Warbeasts), any leftover Fury on a Warbeast then goes on to modify their Threshold stat (think Leadership in 40k/Fantasy) by -1 for each Fury point. You then take a Threshold Check (identical to a Leadership Test in 40k/Fantasy), and if you fail, your Warbeast goes nuts and attacks anything nearby, friend or foe!

    Now, if you're savvy, you probably picked up on the fact that Warmachine Warcasters do not require Warjacks to replenish their Focus, it happens automatically every turn. Fury, on the otherhand, requires Warbeasts to replenish. If your Warlock is without Warbeasts and has no leftover Fury, he can't cast spells, boost his attacks, buy additional attacks or use a special ability that requires Fury, he's limited only to basic actions (at this point, the game is going to be very much an uphill battle, if you haven't already lost). So the primary difference in Warmachine and Hordes comes down to the popular mantra of both games; Resourse management (Warmachine) vs. Risk Management (Hordes). Hordes allows you do to more with Fury, at the risk of hurting your own troops, and denying your Warlock the chance to fully replenish his Fury, while Warmachine allows less per Warjack, but a consistent way to play your force and bonuses to a well planned out turn, thanks to Focus turning into Armor.

    Bell of Lost Souls on Warmachine:

    Bell of Lost Souls on Hordes:

    Page 5

    What is Page 5? Page 5 is a essentially a vision statement for what Warmachine or Hordes is about. I will not quote it word for word, but the basic idea is that these games are about aggression. Getting into someones face and wrecking it. When you play, be competitive with your opponent. This does NOT mean being a jerk or snagging rule advantages, it just means you play to the best of your ability and try to get the win by going into the fray. The next idea is to compete against the best opponents you can find. Challenge yourself, if you know of a guy who has gone undefeated, get your best list and kick his rear!
    So what is this saying in a nutshell? Play tough, play hard, play well and be a good guy while doing it.

    Hrafn adds a note:
    I feel there is a another aspect of page 5; which is in essence "don't be a sore loser" and "don't whine if you lose - stand up to the challenge instead".
    The Factions
    So you have decided on warmachine or hordes, but don't know what to start? Well, I am here to help you out. Each faction has a theme and a general focus, but to be honest, if you like a type of build, there is probably a warcaster to the faction to meet that build, it just does so in a way that makes sense for the faction. For example Cygnar is the "shooty" faction, but you can go toe to toe with big bad khador taking the right warcaster and list. Don't let these basic descriptions hold you back! If you want better specifics, Check out the links below.

    Focus: Ranged. Cygnar has some of the best ranged weapons in the game. Warcasters like Kara Sloan can blow away enemies before they get there and Long Gunner Infantry is powerful. But on top of that they have powerful electrical swords and powerful warjacks.

    Theme: Cygnar looks kind of like a mix between some WW2 uniforms, armor and trench coats. It can give off a more modern feel.

    Cygnar Model Gallery:

    Focus: Hitting stuff. Khador is good at beating the heck out of the enemy. They have some of the best weapons in close combat and have very high armor on their warjacks. They have no light jacks, but who needs a light jack when your heavy jacks are that beastly? If a bit slow.

    Theme: Khador has a Russian feel to it. They have those classic big hats and big men with big axes. Their themes are Ice and wind.

    Khador Gallery:

    Focus: Menoth is an army with strong close combat ability and some of the best infantry in the game. Examplars cover a strong variety of unit types with the big heavy and tough bastions to the highly flexible Errants with ranged weapons and good fighting power. They have a lot of defensive buffs and abilities to protect them from enemy magic. Menoth has some decent ranged options with crossbows and explosives and sprays.

    Theme: Their look is that of classical knights and priests. Menoth is a highly religious state and you can see that in their model design. They have a powerful Fire and Anti Magic theme. A lot of their weapons either cause fire naturally, grant fire or can get fire on a critical hit.

    Menoth Gallery:

    Focus: Cyrx is fast, hard hitting faction that doesn't like it when they get beat on. They have powerful magic, sprays (think flamers, only Cryx uses a lot of acid!) and debuffs. They use a lot of "Dirty tricks" to get in and kill you, exploiting your weaknesses. They have a necromantic feel to them as some casters can bring back dead models and can make some models become ghosts.

    Theme: They are warmachines undead faction. Machines and undead combined to make a horrifying force that seeks to tear into you. Necromancy is a common element.

    *note* A warjack from cryx is called a Bonejack for a light and a Helljack for a heavy, however rule wise they are all warjacks and is merely to differentiate how they work differently from the other races. They are still warjacks.

    Cryx Gallery:

    Retribution of Scyrah:

    Focus: The Retribution is a fast faction with even their heavy warjacks being as fast as many factions lights like Cryx. The difference is that Retribution can take a hit better but don't have things to avoid conflict or exploit their enemies. But their warjacks are highly flexible with both ranged and melee weapons on the heavy warjacks. Their infantry is a combination of sneaky assassins and professional soldiers which work together to kill the enemy. Our Infantry can stand with the best and each fill a role. Halberdiers are a cheap tarpit, Sentinals can thrash the biggest and baddest of warjacks on the charge and mage hunters will pick off things from the shadows. Lore wise, they are called Iosans, in case you see a reference.

    Theme: These are Warmachines's elves, only these are Elves, pissed. They have sleek but aggressive looking soldiers and armor. They have a theme of arcane ability and sneaky assassins.

    *note1* A warjack from The Retribution is called a Myrmidions, however rule wise they are all warjacks and is merely to differentiate how they work differently from the other races. They are still warjacks.

    *note2* Retribution is a brand new faction compared to the others. They have not been out long and so don't have nearly the model count. Nor have all their models for their units been all released but most have. But they are a full fledged faction in the game as much as Cygnar, even if it doesn't look it in Prime, where they are not present. You need the Retribution faction book to really know what the retribution is about because of this, but they do not have a faction deck since all of their models come Mark II ready.

    Retribution Gallery:

    Finally, if you want to learn more about the factions, here is a link to the guides on Privateer Presses own site:

    *note* hordes are in limbo due to the field test, though their basics might not change too much, I am holding off till Hordes gets their release and see as I am a Warmachine player at this time, it might be better to let hordes players do it at that time.


    The 6th and final "faction." Mercenaries are unique in that they ally themselves with specific factions. Each mercenary will work with certain factions and they can give something to a faction, that faction might not have normally.

    For Example, Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios; will work for Khador, Cygnar, Menoth and the Retribution, but will never work for cryx. She provides a powerful way to disrupt warcasters from range that is available to all these armies.

    However, these mercenaries cannot benefit from faction advantages. They are not considered faction models, so if an ability or spell says "friendly faction model" and not "Target model" then the Mercenary cannot benefit.

    That is the basic idea of Mercenaries, a faction of allies. But you can take them as their own list. You take a "contract" that specifies what you can take in that list. They will be getting their own book after Cryx. Here is a link to their contracts in the short term:

    When preparing synergies, it is usually a good idea to flip through what mercs can do. Kara Sloan of Cygnar hits really hard with her gun, and with a 1 point Merc, she can get two shots. Doubling her firepower! Never forget you have more options than just in your faction

    Mercenary Gallery:

    Hordes: Instead of doing my own like I did above for WM, I suggest using the following link to the official one.
    Last edited by Emeraldw; 11-04-2011 at 21:35.
    "A sword doesn't have to have a fine lineage, it just has to be sharp" ~Luca Blight, Suikoden 2
    Warmachine: Retribution of Scyrah

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