I’m In Love With Another (Game)

Of Magic and Machinery

Oh it was a beautiful Gencon day, the overhead lamps blazed bright and in the air hung a pallid mix of fabric, freshly printed books, and.. farts. Before me stood a myriad of people pedaling wares both mundane and magnificent, baubles and trinkets are far as the eye could see! However on this day I was on a quest 2 years in the making and very, very much overdue. This day was a day that would change everything, luring me back into a world I thought I’d left long ago.

I must admit I’ve flirted with the thought of going back to it again, I’ve even dug up some old photos and snapped a few new ones and posted them on twitter a while back. The thought of leaving this comfortable home I’ve built up of hewn stone, goblins, and page XX errata is as scary as it is exciting, but I’m ready to venture further into the unknown. I’ve taken yet another dive into the deep end folks, and I’m about to plunge into the steam belching, spell slinging, fist-full-of-d6 rolling pool of wargaming – particularly that of Warmachine & Hordes.

I’m A Bad Role Player

Okay that was fun, dramatic intro is over now, you can all un-cringe. So, Warhammer 40k was my first experience with tabletop gaming really, I got into it at a young age and had no idea what I was doing. My poor mom’s bank account was taking multiple wounds on a bi-weekly basis because my brother and I wanted ALL THE ELDAR and space marines. Apparently our boyish charm had an AP of 1. Anyway, wargaming is something I greatly enjoy, which is why I think I was really enthralled with 4e D&D at first – the tactics were (and still are) immensely appealing. I should mention that I mostly enjoy losing at wargames but that’s okay, I’m a good sport about it, I swear. Something about miniatures and painting and all the cool little bits of scenery you can make, its part craftsmanship, part artwork, part pride, part strategy, and part slicing your thumb open with razors. A recipe for good stuff, surely.

I’ve evolved however, or at least I thought I had. I don’t have the time to paint a full mob of Orks or reference the biblical magnitude of the Warhammer 40k rulebook every single time I make a move. So I put down the hobby and intended on walking away for good, having younger kids leaves no time for the sweatshop painting process of dozens of minis just to try and get your army not be the laughing stock of the table. Well, until now. Enter Warmachine.

(You see there’s a trend here that all points to me being an ass backwards gamer. I played video games before tabletop games, and wargames before RPG’s so I’m sure that makes me a heretic in the eyes of at least 70% of the internet. Though having pretty good knowledge of the Warhamer 40k universe still does reserve me the right to spring one of these on unsuspecting trolls now and then.)

Born Again Tape Measure Slinger

See, a few years back I heard about Warmachine, it was my first gencon and I really wanted to demo the game but time and other constraints didn’t allow it. Fast forward to 2 years later and every time I attend a convention that Privateer Press is at, I froth at the mouth thinking about trying Warmachine, but I never actually go through with it. Until this year that is, when I forced myself to stop beating around the bush and stepped right up to demo’d a game with my wife.

We both love wargaming and were pleasantly surprised with how the game ran, how few models you actually needed to play a game, the Iron Kingdoms universe, and the extremely friendly and relatable staff over at Privateer Press booth. So, I’m sold. There’s no turning back. I’ve already dug my paints out of the shed and backed the Reaper miniatures Kickstarter. I’m looking forward to gluing my fingers together very soon.

Help Me Out Here

I’m heading into Warmachine/Hordes with the mentality that the game seems inherently simpler on the surface than Warhammer. I’m not looking for chutes and ladders here but I think you guys know what I’m getting at – I’ve seen the rule book and I know that it would not win in a fight against a cinder block. The cards for each your models is an extremely nice touch, and changing your warcaster/warlock means giving your whole load out a new feel. The gameplay actually feels more like an RPG to me than a wargame, in that there isn’t a move phase, shoot phase, etc. Each model acts and takes its actions and stuff and then it’s done, this not only feels more fluid to me, but just seems to make more sense. It’s also a huge comfort zone for me to have a wargame remind me of an RPG in some of its mechanics.

The world of the Iron Kingdoms is also extremely fascinating to me, one of my favorite PC games when I was younger was Arcanum and for some reason this kind of reminds me of it a bit. It’s steam and machinery meets magic and more familiar D&D-ish elements but it’s not quite steampunk and it’s not quite like any other “mashup” I can think of really. The universe feels unique, the gameplay feels solid, and I can’t wait to dive in. I’m also really excited about the upcoming Iron Kingdoms RPG too, because the world feels like one I could settle into and maybe run a campaign.

Heading Into Battle

So, I’m going to be getting some starter sets and learning to play both Warmachine and Hordes alongside DreadPixee who may also be starting up her own blog very soon. I’ve also got a few other friends interested in “WarmaHordes” as well so I should be able to get some good playtime in. I’ll be doing unboxings as usual too so keep a look out for those, I tried searching around youtube and didn’t find many warmachine specific ones, mabye I wasn’t searching hard enough though.

I also may or may not very soon have my hands on a copy of the new Iron Kingdoms RPG core book. I’ll be blogging about my adventures with Warmachine and Hordes alongside everything else I write about here under the category of Wargaming, so check it out if you’re interested, if not just skip on past to the next RPG related post or board game review! Thanks for reading everyone, I’m looking forward to any advice or tips you might give me as to what I’m going to need to start up my new side-addiction!



  1. This was a game I had always seen around, but never knew much about it, or anyone that played it. My start serious gaming was Battletech, and eventually that turned to Warhammer 40k down the road. I still have an interest in wargames, the tactics, the scale, but currently with my group of gaming friends the only war gaming I can get some of them into is Axis and Allies or Shogun, and occasionally a session of Battletech. I have some hope that the new X-Wing miniatures game could draw some of them in, but I will keep looking and see if I can find something that grabs their interest.

  2. If you are learning both FURY and FOCUS at the same time you’ll quickly find that FURY is more powerful and fun at the beginning of the game.

    Resist the “grass is greener” impulse though. They balance in many other ways and if you jump ship too quickly you may not learn about those ways and be left with a bitter taste about buying into FOCUS.

  3. I love Warmachine. I found it much more approachable than Warhammer (I like the design better, too) and they’ve done nothing but make the system better over time. Really, though, for me, it’s all about the sculpts. I’ve got a Menoth army basically ready to go that has seen very, very little use.

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