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Subject: First Impressions- the good, the bad and the shoulder pads rss

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Joe Wagle
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First off - the important part:
I didnt think I would like Warmachine. I tried it, I've played about 25 games now and I like it. A lot.
Strangely I am still turned off by many things in it, but there is goodness here. I will play it many more times and promote it with some of my board-game focused friends.

Will you like it? It depends. It was actually a struggle for me to get to full acceptance that this was something I wanted to spend gobs of time and money on.

The Good: I think a lot of gamers will like it because of:
1) the game system is designed well. Its designed for short, intense games, reasonably sized tables and clear, simple rules. I understand its a great system for tournaments and competitive play. I cant vouch for that, but the legions of players at tournaments backs this theory up.

2) the focus/fury resource/risk system adds an important dimension on top of a solid miniatures game. This system forces you to make important and interesting decisions every round. I learn something about the game every time I play. I learn from my opponent and from his list. I learn things about my own strategies, and how to improve them constantly. This may be due to the nature of the rules, or perhaps its the low model count- I'm not sure. Either way, it is complex enough to make every game interesting, but simple/small enough to allow for solid analysis. I lose a lot, by the way- but I'm learning. This may be the biggest reason to try this game.

3) the products are excellent. Books, models, supplies- everything is of good quality. The images and models are well crafted and are attractive (if you can put up with the Anime styling). Every quare inch of every box and every page is covered in lots of nice artwork, and everything is stylized. This game looks great.

4) Privateer Press is an exciting company to watch and purchase from. They seem to create and support a big community of players, and spend a lot of time and energy doing it. They communicate their plans, their events, their products very clearly. Most importantly, they listen to their players- they let them in. Privateer Press is present at every major convention. Their product is available in many stores (many of these seem to come with their own Privateer Press evangelist- cleverly called a "Press Ganger"). Their tournaments seem well organized and executed (with legendary prize support! or "Phat Loot FTW!")

5) Quick start. Faction battlegroup boxes, quickstart rules. Well distributed products. Excited demo staff at tournaments and conventions. Its easy to get started learning the game and collecting an army.

Now the bad. To get any enjoyment from the above, you will have to endure the following:
1) The philosophy of the game. "Play like you've got a pair" and "Page 5" are problematic for non-zealots and anyone over 16 years of age.
For a simple "core philosphy" it seems schizophrenic. At the same time you should be aggressive and anassailably confident, you're also supposed to not pick on the little guy, or be an "a** hat" This is kind of confusing.
Regardless of what it says, what it does is far more strange. In October 2011, I was at a New England gaming store where there were Warmachine/Hordes games being played. I saw a teenager in his black tee shirt tell his opponent (a man in his 20's) that he was going to do unspeakable things to his mother. The other black t-shirted players cheered on the malicious teen. a High-5 was performed as the teenager yelled "Page 5!". Maybe its me, maybe that just how kids are these days, but I've seen similar behaviour by players at a few conventions.
If you're just going to play with close friends, this is no big deal. It can be a huge deal and perhaps a show-stopper if you plan to play at stores or conventions with new people.

2) the Anime-inspired art will be ridiculous to some and ugly to others. It is well-executed art, but it is still Anime: Steam-scifi- fantasy with spiky hair, massive shoulderpads, swords the size of a family car and all that.

3) The story/writing is problematic. There is a ham-fisted attempt to weave a Soap Opera into the story line in the books I have read. "This army's warcaster is this other warcaster's sister. One is bad, and one is good." *Sigh* "This warcaster is mad at another warcaster in the same army because he's a "renegade" or something" I dont know. I stopped reading.
I think its supposed to make you more willing to play the same warcasters again and again and again. Maybe this is more Anime influence? Whatever it is, its useless and distracting.

4) Lack of variety. 5 factions in Warmachine (5 more in Hordes). At BEST, you will be playing one of the same 4 or 5 warcaster/leaders every time. This gets worse in competitive play, as you find there are 1 or 2 warcasters that play better than any other in the faction. I hope you like your epic Haley and Asphyxious, cause you're going to see a lot of them.

All this said, I'm in.
I'll be playing a lot more games and learning more about a very complex, rewarding and deep game system based on art and story I find ridiculous. Maybe it will grow on me. I'm taking the good with the bad, but I'm in.
I wont be running in the tournament circuit or attending any Privateer Press games days, but I really enjoy the game and will continue to try and get my friends into it. Just be warned this well-designed game produced by a well-run and exciting company will be hard for some to love.
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Carlos Saldanha
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You forgot to mention one of the big Goods in this game:
A well designed and tested tournament rules pack filled with scenarions that will offer a player variety and more important, winning conditions available to all the factions of the game, minimizing the PowerGaming creep factor as seen in other games.

Also, some of your bads are not correct.
1. since you're an American, this is a very Americanish way of selling a gaming system. Page 5 and "thou shall not whine" encourages gamers to deal with the game as a game. This is an attitude opposite from the attitude you see in other gaming companies, most of them UK gaming companies, who design and interpret their games in a more narrative fashion.
Warmachine is designed to be a game. It's not a vehicle used to sell miniatures. Page 5 is a way PP uses to "deal with it".
Now, your example shows a way some people interpret Page 5, the more immature ones. That's not a problem of the game, it's a problem of the players (and this kind of attitudes are also seen in other gaming sistems).

2. it's not really Anime inspired art, it's Steam Punk. Steam Punk differs from Victorian Sci-Fi, and is also related with Full Metal Alchimist anime but I guess it's a theme by its own.
And Theme should never be a Good/Bad factor, theme is more Like/Dislike.

3. Story writing in WM/H mythos is that. Family ties, lots of conspiracy, very well connected characters. It's also like Theme, a Like/Dislike factor. I really like the storyline in WM/H because of how the characters connect with eachother. And PP is really great in creating worlds and characters.
Also, I've never seen rewriting on the WM/H storyline as I've seen in other games where races were obliterated and then were inexistent, when a specific and very important act takes place three different times with three different characters (at first it was a Custodes, then it was a Guardsman...).

4. This one was the one I came here to reply.
If you say WM/H lacks variation, you're playing it wrong!
The awesome thing you'll get in WM/H is exactly the opposite, you'll have one Faction with # Warcasters and everyone of them plays in a very specific and different way!

Also, there are several factions and sub-factions in this game:

WM: Cygnar, Cryx, Khador, Protectorate of Menoth, Retribution of Scyrah, Mercenaries (Talion Charter, or Pirate/Privateer Mercs; Searforge Commission, or Rhulic/Dwarf Mercs; Highborn Covenent; Magnus, The Traitor)

H: Trollbloods, Legion of Everblight, Circle of Orboros, Skorne, Minions (Blindwater Congregation, or Crocodiles; Thornfall Alliance, or Pigs&Guns)

Every faction has at least 3 different 'Casters/'Locks (I'm basing it on the Minions book, the one that has the lesser), some have an Epic Variant, most of them besides the fact that by themselves they change your playstyle also have Theme Lists with Tiers and Bonuses.

So, WM/H lacks variety? No way!

WH/H offers more variety to me than 40K with all their factions (I play both gaming systems and I like them both, but I like more WM/H).

For example, I play Circle of Orboros and I've built a list to use with Epic Krueger. I now want to make a list for Primal Krueger and I'll have to go shopping because I need different Warbeasts from those I have. I've also thought about Kromac and it's the same deal. Mohsar, the same. Morvanna, yeah, I'll have to get my hands on Minion Croc Witch Doctors.
This game requires a lot of fine tune to be enjoyed at its best. It's not an easy game, a veteran can set you traps and condition your game a lot. But once you start bending the learning curve on your way you'll get one of the most tactic and intelligent game in the market.

Good Review! thumbsup
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Alexei Gartinski
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Warmachine has a strange, almost addictive appeal. I am totally indifferent to "Steam Punk" (until now I don't even know what it really is), I am totally indifferent to all the story "fluff" in the Warmachine and Hordes books (frankly speaking, I don't think it is done well enough), and yet I absolutely love the game, its various characters, solos, warjacks and units. It is a deep, engaging, very thoughful game that never plays the same and creates remarkably memorable game experiences every time I play.

One downside for the beginner that was not mentioned in the review (Ok, the OP plays ASL: compared to it any game system is "simple") is the sheer variety of individual abilities and spells the models have. Just remembering what your models can do is quite daunting in the beginning, so simply learning how to use all these abilities - not to mention how to use their synergy - will certainly take a while. But then, at some point it all clicks together, and you are in for a very varied and rewarding gaming experience.
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David Boeren
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You're the first person I've ever heard of who thought the game was remotely anime styled. All I can say is I disagree and am confused. Whatever though, not important. Artistic taste is personal and all that.

Lack of variety: Here's where I think you must be misunderstanding something. You've got 11 factions total. Each one has a variety of casters (there are well over a hundred now). Besides the caster, the entire composition of the army can vary quite a bit - much more so than in some other major games whose poor balance lead most people to play essentially similar armies. The variety is huge. Now I don't know who you're playing against but if you're not seeing a vast and widely different set of armies being played I would blame that on your opponent(s) and not the game.
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Joel Berg von Linde
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Page 5?

I get the feeling that this review is mostly written for people who play the game allready and know wth you are talking about?
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Jason Tuttle
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joelpetersen wrote:
Page 5?

I get the feeling that this review is mostly written for people who play the game allready and know wth you are talking about?


Page 5 is where the game designers "philosophy" is laid out. Basically it comes down to:

Play to win.

Don't whine when you lose.


It's been printed in every "Core" rulebook since the game has come out on Page 5 and on privateerpressforums.com if you see someone saying this or that's overpowered lots of trolls will post something along the lines of, "Have you read Page 5?".
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Arthur Dougherty
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The wording, though, makes it sound like a laughably bad Mountain Dew TO THE XTREME philosophy. I couldn't get through the whole thing without laughing out loud.
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Joe Wagle
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You're right. I should have explained or linked more about "Page 5". Sorry.

Here are some examples of "Page 5" from earlier editions of the game:
http://shin14n.blogspot.com/2005/12/page-5.html

I couldn't find an online "Page 5" from Warmachine MkII, the latest edition of the game.
Please post a newer version if you have it.

Suffice it to say "Page 5" seeks to create cultural and social norms for playing their game. Probably a good idea for a game played in public tournaments by strangers.
This stuff is probably only important if you want to play in tournaments and pickup games at your game store or convention.

It goes without saying I have a lot to learn about the game.
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Stefano Bastianelli
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It is always interesting see reviews about this game. Everybody has different opinions.
Anyway let me tell you that there aren't better warcasters than others. But I admit that some of them are easier to be played because you can understand faster how to play them and perform easier combos to execute than others. It is really easy to see new players trying to play not easy WC and fail miserably in a fist of turns.

Then you need to consider which minis you build around your warcaster, because you need to play in a way if you have list X with WC Y, or in another way if you have list Z with the same WC.
Obviously some minis are not great with all the WCs.
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Jason Tuttle
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Here are the 5 bullets from PG 5.

1) Thour shalt not whine.
2)Come heavy, or don't come at all.
3)Give as good as you get.
4)Win graciously and lose valiantly.
5)Page 5 is not an excuse.

Last sentence on PG 5

Play like you've got a pair.

Each of the bullets have a paragraph or 2 that expounds on them, but I don't think there's another system out there that basically tells you to play hard, play nice, and don't be a douche when you win or lose.

One of the other things that should be brought to new players attention is that the copyright notice in each and everybook is slightly different, and pretty funny for the most part. Bottom of PG 3 for most books. Jason sez, "Check it out."
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Jason Farris
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oDESGOSTO wrote:
You forgot to mention one of the big Goods in this game:
A well designed and tested tournament rules pack filled with scenarions that will offer a player variety and more important, winning conditions available to all the factions of the game, minimizing the PowerGaming creep factor as seen in other games.

Also, some of your bads are not correct.
1. since you're an American, this is a very Americanish way of selling a gaming system. Page 5 and "thou shall not whine" encourages gamers to deal with the game as a game. This is an attitude opposite from the attitude you see in other gaming companies, most of them UK gaming companies, who design and interpret their games in a more narrative fashion.
Warmachine is designed to be a game. It's not a vehicle used to sell miniatures. Page 5 is a way PP uses to "deal with it".
Now, your example shows a way some people interpret Page 5, the more immature ones. That's not a problem of the game, it's a problem of the players (and this kind of attitudes are also seen in other gaming sistems).

2. it's not really Anime inspired art, it's Steam Punk. Steam Punk differs from Victorian Sci-Fi, and is also related with Full Metal Alchimist anime but I guess it's a theme by its own.
And Theme should never be a Good/Bad factor, theme is more Like/Dislike.

3. Story writing in WM/H mythos is that. Family ties, lots of conspiracy, very well connected characters. It's also like Theme, a Like/Dislike factor. I really like the storyline in WM/H because of how the characters connect with eachother. And PP is really great in creating worlds and characters.
Also, I've never seen rewriting on the WM/H storyline as I've seen in other games where races were obliterated and then were inexistent, when a specific and very important act takes place three different times with three different characters (at first it was a Custodes, then it was a Guardsman...).

4. This one was the one I came here to reply.
If you say WM/H lacks variation, you're playing it wrong!
The awesome thing you'll get in WM/H is exactly the opposite, you'll have one Faction with # Warcasters and everyone of them plays in a very specific and different way!

Also, there are several factions and sub-factions in this game:

WM: Cygnar, Cryx, Khador, Protectorate of Menoth, Retribution of Scyrah, Mercenaries (Talion Charter, or Pirate/Privateer Mercs; Searforge Commission, or Rhulic/Dwarf Mercs; Highborn Covenent; Magnus, The Traitor)

H: Trollbloods, Legion of Everblight, Circle of Orboros, Skorne, Minions (Blindwater Congregation, or Crocodiles; Thornfall Alliance, or Pigs&Guns)

Every faction has at least 3 different 'Casters/'Locks (I'm basing it on the Minions book, the one that has the lesser), some have an Epic Variant, most of them besides the fact that by themselves they change your playstyle also have Theme Lists with Tiers and Bonuses.

So, WM/H lacks variety? No way!

WH/H offers more variety to me than 40K with all their factions (I play both gaming systems and I like them both, but I like more WM/H).

For example, I play Circle of Orboros and I've built a list to use with Epic Krueger. I now want to make a list for Primal Krueger and I'll have to go shopping because I need different Warbeasts from those I have. I've also thought about Kromac and it's the same deal. Mohsar, the same. Morvanna, yeah, I'll have to get my hands on Minion Croc Witch Doctors.
This game requires a lot of fine tune to be enjoyed at its best. It's not an easy game, a veteran can set you traps and condition your game a lot. But once you start bending the learning curve on your way you'll get one of the most tactic and intelligent game in the market.

Good Review! thumbsup


Allow me to retort your retort. I played a lot of Warmachine before MK II. I cannot comment on the balance part but I can still comment on the rest. Power creep was a huge problem in 1st ed, thus needing an MKII. Many new warjacks were better than old and cavlary dominated until they rebalanced. I find it unlikely that MKII will reamin unscathed. Given enough time, power creep will come back.

1. page 5 is over the top and intentionally silly, but I think it does led itself to the "jerk" complex over the friendly player complex. Also, they used to promise being full metal fantasy and used that to differentiate themselves. from GW. They used to talk about how you would never get plastic from them. Yeah, right. We all see what happened there.

2. It is hugely anime inspired. How do you not see that? Coleman striker is Cloud from FF7. Look at the Elven forces, they look just like Mecha. Over sized weapons are just part of it. I'm sorry, but Mecha and big swords are not a hallmark of steampunk. Steampunk is a "dark future" genre set during the age of steam. Giant robots run on oil and steam being the classic example form the game. It can look anime or not and still be steampunk.

3. have to agree here. The storyline was a little too soap opera, but it did get me into playing my faction (The churchies, aka Menoth).

4. Lack of variation does crop up in this game because some units and casters are silly good and others not so much. You can claim someone is playing it wrong, but I'll stick with probability here. For all casters/locks to be equal and all units to be equal, designers cannot make mistakes. with thousands of people effectively playtesting your game, they will find the cracks and exploit them. Thus, the best lists will start to get a sameness to them. and you see them all the time in tournaments.

The other thing that increases sameness is money. Some units are strictly more versatile than others. Players tend to buy these swiss army units first and only get the more specialized units later. Thus you tend to face the same staple forces over and over again. I'm not saying there can't be variation, but in practice there is less than there could be.

I think Warmachine is a great game, but it is a money sink and everyone should be aware of that. There will always be more units, more mercenaries, more factions. They need to sell more stuff to make a profit. Thus the game will never be finished. They are not GW, but they have moved a lot closer to the GW machine then I feel comfortable with and some day the journey to the dark side may be complete.
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Agreed with the above.

GW are one of the five worst companies I've ever been embarrassed to have bought something from. I utterly stand by any attempt, however childish, to besmirch or generally degrade their business. They are scum.

However, I had a lot of fun playing their games once upon a time, and Privateer Press certainly tapped into my disillusion with a great system that 'evolved' Warhammer for adults.

However, recently I dabbled again when a few friends and I tried to play a few 15pt battles. We just couldn't hack the commitment, cash and timewise.

It's a great game, the best at what it is, but geez it's expensive. It's not just the cash, which is considerable, but the time to get it together, paint it and make the experience worthwhile.

If you're going to do it, do it with PP, but know what you're in for, and that it's becoming more like GW with each passing quarter.
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Jason Tuttle
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I'll be up front that I'm a Privateer Press fanboy. The power creep that's been talked about is something you can expect in almost any game system. How else will you get folks to buy your junk if you don't continue to come out with the next bigger and better thing? PP manages about as well as can be done in that everyone gets the next bigger and better thing at the same time due to their release style. About once per year Warmachine will get a book full of shiny and Hordes will get a book full of hairy. Each book will have releases for every faction in the system so instead of one faction getting a bump in power and another being overlooked or never supported anymore it's all at the same time. To me there's also a lower "get into it" price. I'm not saying the game isn't expensive, becuase it certainly can be, especially if you're like me and play more than one faction. The game has a lower model count than lots of them that are out there, but not the lowest by any means. Is there a big time investment? Yup, but if you're playing a minis game you can expect that from pretty much all the systems that don't use pre-painted and pre-assembled minis.

I do have a bit of an issue saying that PP is becoming more GW like every quarter. PP has a very supportive and direct relationship with their fans. The developers have a large presense in their online community and step into their forums to answer questions on what seems like a daily basis. They have a rules forum that has moderators with direct lines of communication to the developers and if you ask a question that is a real problem those moderators will contact the devs and get an answer on how to play that rule. PP is in business to make money, but they listen to their base. There was recently a campaign to make an official Iron Fang Pikeman Black Dragon unit. This Black Dragon unit had been mentioned in some old fluff and a paint scheme presented for them in No Quarter magazine (PPs version of White Dwarf). While it took about a year there is a unit attachment now that is offical and usable in any game you play. They are not afraid to own mistakes they make and have an official errata that's updated every 4-6 months and they actually changed the rules of a miniature that totally fucked over one faction (Satyxis Blood Hag vs Trolls).

All in all I think PP does a damn fine job, especially with support. I'm sure we'll get a Mark III version of the rules in a couple years. But PP has repeatedly said they will never make any of their current models unplayable. The game is certainly not for everyone, but if you'd like a fast paced miniatures game I think Warmachine/Hordes is more than worth a look.

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tuttleboy wrote:

All in all I think PP does a damn fine job, especially with support. I'm sure we'll get a Mark III version of the rules in a couple years. But PP has repeatedly said they will never make any of their current models unplayable. The game is certainly not for everyone, but if you'd like a fast paced miniatures game I think Warmachine/Hordes is more than worth a look.


They also said they would never use plastic. Companys say many things and the people who run them often beleive what they say. PP moved to plastic when pewter had a huge upswing in cost. The realities of the market made them change their minds. I see nothing that tells me the realities of the market could not make them change their minds on "retiring" models either.

For what it's worth, I think those who run the company do try to listen to their players, but the bigger a company gets, the more it changes. Wizards didn't survive it unchanged, GW didn't survive it unchanged either. I personally think PP will eventually make the same changes or get bought by a company that does it for them. Keep in mind that Warmachine is a very young game compared to GW.
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Alex Brown
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Yes I may have sounded too forceful being more and more like GW. The early day boasts of pg 5 and all-metal have been scaled back and they are very supportive; the whole Mk II thing was incredible
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Matt Shinners
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Smilinbrax wrote:

They also said they would never use plastic.


I'm just getting into this game, so I missed a lot of the history.

To me, however, saying that they'll never retire a model is a completely different claim than that they'll never use plastic.

The former is pretty much completely a decision that is up to them - there are really no relevant outside forces that would force them to change their minds on it. It'd be completely internal.

The latter is heavily determined by outside forces - if the cost of a material goes up, you either have to use something else or charge more for your product. Also, without getting into a metal vs. plastic debate, if technology increases to allow for very good plastic sculpts, that affects the decision as well (and it's my understanding that technology has improved).
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MattShinners wrote:
Smilinbrax wrote:

They also said they would never use plastic.


I'm just getting into this game, so I missed a lot of the history.

To me, however, saying that they'll never retire a model is a completely different claim than that they'll never use plastic.

The former is pretty much completely a decision that is up to them - there are really no relevant outside forces that would force them to change their minds on it. It'd be completely internal.

The latter is heavily determined by outside forces - if the cost of a material goes up, you either have to use something else or charge more for your product. Also, without getting into a metal vs. plastic debate, if technology increases to allow for very good plastic sculpts, that affects the decision as well (and it's my understanding that technology has improved).


what makes it similar was that both claims were used to promote how their game was different and better then the competition, which was basically GW. I do not think they can continue to release new factions and models that are flavorful for those factions indefinitely. Age this game another fifteen years or so to put it where GW games are now, and PP will likely either be continually reprinting books to make money or retiring models. Oh wait, they are already printing and reprinting books like mad.

So really the only thing left that makes them not like GW is retirement.
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Matt Shinners
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Smilinbrax wrote:

what makes it similar was that both claims were used to promote how their game was different and better then the competition, which was basically GW.


I'm not saying that they don't share similarities - name any two things and I can find something they have in common.

However, my point was that there is a huge difference between a purely internal decision and one that will be affected by outside sources. This gives a good reason to believe that, while they broke one 'promise', it's possible they won't break the second one.

Just saying that they're similar in one regard, so if one was broken the other will be, is a huge logical jump.
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jwagle wrote:

The Good: I think a lot of gamers will like it because of:
1) the game system is designed well. Its designed for short, intense games, reasonably sized tables and clear, simple rules. I understand its a great system for tournaments and competitive play. I cant vouch for that, but the legions of players at tournaments backs this theory up.

Completely agreed. I've been picking up Dystopian Wars as a side project and it made me realize I have been spoiled by the extremely clear Privateer Press rules writing. You won't find a better-designed system in any other minis game I've encountered.

jwagle wrote:
2) the focus/fury resource/risk system adds an important dimension on top of a solid miniatures game. This system forces you to make important and interesting decisions every round. I learn something about the game every time I play. I learn from my opponent and from his list. I learn things about my own strategies, and how to improve them constantly. This may be due to the nature of the rules, or perhaps its the low model count- I'm not sure. Either way, it is complex enough to make every game interesting, but simple/small enough to allow for solid analysis. I lose a lot, by the way- but I'm learning. This may be the biggest reason to try this game.

Also agreed. There are so very many things to do with focus that you intrinsically have to prioritize. Fury is easier to come by but easier to shoot yourself in the foot with. Fury also requires more aggressive play that hopes to settle the big parts of the battle in one or two overwhelming turns, while focus has more staying power. It's very well designed and very diverse.

jwagle wrote:
3) the products are excellent. Books, models, supplies- everything is of good quality. The images and models are well crafted and are attractive (if you can put up with the Anime styling). Every quare inch of every box and every page is covered in lots of nice artwork, and everything is stylized. This game looks great.

Also agreed. I think GW has minis that are a little better designed, and Spartan Games' miniatures have amazing detail, but for an overall system, Warmachine/Hordes is on top when it comes to design in all of its products.

jwagle wrote:
4) Privateer Press is an exciting company to watch and purchase from. They seem to create and support a big community of players, and spend a lot of time and energy doing it. They communicate their plans, their events, their products very clearly. Most importantly, they listen to their players- they let them in. Privateer Press is present at every major convention. Their product is available in many stores (many of these seem to come with their own Privateer Press evangelist- cleverly called a "Press Ganger"). Their tournaments seem well organized and executed (with legendary prize support! or "Phat Loot FTW!")

Yep. I haven't seen a company quite as responsive to customers as Privateer Press. They held an open beta for their Mk2 release, after all. That takes some balls and some real faith in your customer base.

jwagle wrote:
5) Quick start. Faction battlegroup boxes, quickstart rules. Well distributed products. Excited demo staff at tournaments and conventions. Its easy to get started learning the game and collecting an army.

This is one of the huge things with Warmachine. Smaller games are still fun and enjoyable rather than just seeming like you spent all that time setting up to play a "baby game" of the game you normally play. I prefer 35+ points, but I'm thrilled to run around with a 15 point list to go up against a player who is new to his faction and is just starting out.

jwagle wrote:
Now the bad. To get any enjoyment from the above, you will have to endure the following:
1) The philosophy of the game. "Play like you've got a pair" and "Page 5" are problematic for non-zealots and anyone over 16 years of age.
For a simple "core philosphy" it seems schizophrenic. At the same time you should be aggressive and anassailably confident, you're also supposed to not pick on the little guy, or be an "a** hat" This is kind of confusing.
Regardless of what it says, what it does is far more strange. In October 2011, I was at a New England gaming store where there were Warmachine/Hordes games being played. I saw a teenager in his black tee shirt tell his opponent (a man in his 20's) that he was going to do unspeakable things to his mother. The other black t-shirted players cheered on the malicious teen. a High-5 was performed as the teenager yelled "Page 5!". Maybe its me, maybe that just how kids are these days, but I've seen similar behaviour by players at a few conventions.
If you're just going to play with close friends, this is no big deal. It can be a huge deal and perhaps a show-stopper if you plan to play at stores or conventions with new people.

In my opinion, that's really a misinterpretation of Page 5. Page 5 is basically shorthand for "come in with your meanest list, play hard against your opponent's meanest list, show no mercy, but don't be assholes to one another - it's just a game." This stands in opposition to the whining you tend to get about "broken" things in other minis games - almost everything in Warmachine is broken. The question is "can your broken army defeat your opponent before his broken army defeats you?" You found some way to take a model and use an element of the rules to have it do something indescribably awesome and pull a win out of nowhere? Warmachine says: "good job, buddy! You really found a way to pull victory from the jaws of defeat!" Most other minis games say :"man, that's totally imba! OP! That's cheesy as Hell!"

jwagle wrote:
2) the Anime-inspired art will be ridiculous to some and ugly to others. It is well-executed art, but it is still Anime: Steam-scifi- fantasy with spiky hair, massive shoulderpads, swords the size of a family car and all that.

There are elements of anime aesthetics in there (the aforementioned huge shoulderpads and large swords), but on the whole I'm not seeing anime as an overall aesthetic for the system. Retribution jacks DO look like anime-style mecha mixed with an Apple product though. I give you that.

jwagle wrote:
3) The story/writing is problematic. There is a ham-fisted attempt to weave a Soap Opera into the story line in the books I have read. "This army's warcaster is this other warcaster's sister. One is bad, and one is good." *Sigh* "This warcaster is mad at another warcaster in the same army because he's a "renegade" or something" I dont know. I stopped reading.
I think its supposed to make you more willing to play the same warcasters again and again and again. Maybe this is more Anime influence? Whatever it is, its useless and distracting.

As far as a storyline for a miniatures game goes, it's above-average. It all boils down to "let's find an excuse to have these two guys fight," but it does that better than a lot of other minis companies and it gives a good feel for how each faction behaves and what is objectives are and why.

jwagle wrote:
4) Lack of variety. 5 factions in Warmachine (5 more in Hordes). At BEST, you will be playing one of the same 4 or 5 warcaster/leaders every time. This gets worse in competitive play, as you find there are 1 or 2 warcasters that play better than any other in the faction. I hope you like your epic Haley and Asphyxious, cause you're going to see a lot of them.

I find that even though you have just a few less factions in Warmachine/Hordes than GW games (a total of at least 6 Warmachine factions and 5 Hordes factions, maybe more depending on how you slice up mercs/minions), each faction is much deeper than any factions I've played in other minis games. Sure, there are some units that are so good they're usually seen in armies (example: I play Protectorate and it's hella-rare to see a list without the Choir of Menoth, but it can happen), but they're the exception. It often comes down to caster choice, what sorts of units they support, and what other models you can get in there and what they work well with. There are some units that find a welcome home in many lists because they're pretty easy to work with (example: Temple Flame Guard are extremely easy to fit into just about any Protectorate list because they're cheap, easy to use, are great at clogging up charge arcs/getting in the way, and have a high threat range), but I guarantee you almost every unit has its place in the right list, with some thankfully rare exceptions.

Edit: I just wanted to clarify with an example here. When I played Warhammer Fantasy back in the day, I played Orcs and Goblins. Typically, I used the same unit choices for every game, because they were simply the best units available for their price. Then I sprinkled in a mixture of a big monster or two, some artillery, and heroes flavored to taste. The "core" of the army rarely changed. If anything, my force might alter about 10% to 20% of the points it spent from game to game. The same is true of how I ran my Eldar back in Warhammer 40K as well as the Chaos fleet I ran in BFG (although with BFG, it might be up to about 40% of my list might change from game to game, with a solid 60% as the "core). With Warmachine, so much is dependent upon what your warcaster does or does not support and it's rare to have instant includes, with certain exceptions (like the Choir of Menoth I mentioned above). For example: Cygnar Stormblades are hard-hitting melee infantry for Cygnar, which is fairly rare in-faction. This makes them a desirable inclusion in a Cygnar army. Unfortunately, the Stormblades suffer from being a little slow, being easy to hit with direct-fire ranged attacks with a mediocre DEF of 12, and those direct-fire shots will usually penetrate their mediocre ARM of 15. With casters who have access to Blur, that can increase their DEF vs ranged attacks by 3 up to a very respectable 15, they're good. With casters who have access to Arcane Shield that can up their ARM to a respectable 18, they're good. With casters who can speed them up (eStryker, mostly), they're good. With casters who can't do anything to resolve these shortcomings, they're not, so they don't get fielded with them. The whole game works that way when it comes to list-building. You get to the point where playing different casters can result in fielding entirely different lists. There was never a circumstance in any other minis game I've played where the choice of HQ resulted in me changing every single unit I wanted to field, and that's one of the things that makes Warmachine/Hordes so addictive and satisfyingly deep.

jwagle wrote:
All this said, I'm in.
I'll be playing a lot more games and learning more about a very complex, rewarding and deep game system based on art and story I find ridiculous. Maybe it will grow on me. I'm taking the good with the bad, but I'm in.
I wont be running in the tournament circuit or attending any Privateer Press games days, but I really enjoy the game and will continue to try and get my friends into it. Just be warned this well-designed game produced by a well-run and exciting company will be hard for some to love.

I hope you grow to love the game more. I just keep falling in love with it all over again.
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Snipafist wrote:
jwagle wrote:
Now the bad. To get any enjoyment from the above, you will have to endure the following:
1) The philosophy of the game. "Play like you've got a pair" and "Page 5" are problematic for non-zealots and anyone over 16 years of age.
For a simple "core philosphy" it seems schizophrenic. At the same time you should be aggressive and anassailably confident, you're also supposed to not pick on the little guy, or be an "a** hat" This is kind of confusing.
Regardless of what it says, what it does is far more strange. In October 2011, I was at a New England gaming store where there were Warmachine/Hordes games being played. I saw a teenager in his black tee shirt tell his opponent (a man in his 20's) that he was going to do unspeakable things to his mother. The other black t-shirted players cheered on the malicious teen. a High-5 was performed as the teenager yelled "Page 5!". Maybe its me, maybe that just how kids are these days, but I've seen similar behaviour by players at a few conventions.
If you're just going to play with close friends, this is no big deal. It can be a huge deal and perhaps a show-stopper if you plan to play at stores or conventions with new people.

In my opinion, that's really a misinterpretation of Page 5. Page 5 is basically shorthand for "come in with your meanest list, play hard against your opponent's meanest list, show no mercy, but don't be assholes to one another - it's just a game." This stands in opposition to the whining you tend to get about "broken" things in other minis games - almost everything in Warmachine is broken. The question is "can your broken army defeat your opponent before his broken army defeats you?" You found some way to take a model and use an element of the rules to have it do something indescribably awesome and pull a win out of nowhere? Warmachine says: "good job, buddy! You really found a way to pull victory from the jaws of defeat!" Most other minis games say :"man, that's totally imba! OP! That's cheesy as Hell!"


I'd like to second that. I'm a relatively new player, but I also think that the OP has misinterpreted the "Page 5" rules. For me, Page 5 has always been a tongue-in-cheek way of giving simple tips on how to play and how to behave around other WM players. And as for the black t-shirt teenagers the OP wrote about - yeah, it's definitely about the kids these days... or any other days, I guess.

The OP finds the philosophy "schizophrenic". I personally find it very consistent. It basically tells us to play to the best of your abilities and to find opponents who you believe to be better than you. It tells us to be aggressive and ruthless ingame, and (at least) polite outside of it. Suprisingly many people find it problematic to grasp this concenpt. Why do I thinks so?

I've known a lot of Warhammer players and some chit'n'counter wargamers who basically fell into two categories: the Inquisitors and the shylings. The Inquisitors were always hellbent on winning, ruthless to no end, ready to not only play aggresively, but also to game the system outside of the table battlefield. You would have to watch your step around these guys, because there was nothing they would not do to win. During tournamets they would always try to exploit the rules and deny their opponents the same possibility whenever it was possible. And the worst thing was, that although loosing to them was not pleasant (actually - playing was not pleasant as well), it was winning that would let their inner dillholes shine.

The second category are the Shylings. You rarely meet them at tournaments, but it is quite easy to encounter them in friendly gaming environments. It's probably no surprise, that a typical Shyling is an opposite of the Inquisitor. The Shyling is polite and often just a little too compliant. Shylings are really nice to be around but they also believe that being polite means not doing the ruthless, most effective things to win - again - ingame.

The thing about Page 5 philosophy is simple. When you lead your units, be an Inquisitor. Use the most effective strategies, strike hard when you can and exploit the mistakes of your opponent. When you interact with other Warmachine players, be a Shyling. Do not abuse, do not bully(sure, a little trash-talking can spice the game up, but that does not mean you should make remarks about "terrible things" to be done to the opponent's mother) - what you do around the table should never aim at winning. It's what you do with your little metal dolls on the imaginary battlefield that should lead to a victory. So, sure, play like you've got a pair... and act like a gentleman outside of the game.

Oh, and one more thing - how is it, that people never notice one thing that is pure gold on Page 5: Thou shalt not wine. Whatever I play, I hate playing against whiners, and I think that a lot of people share this view. When I play against a whiner I always feel as if I had lost - because even if I win, the constant whining makes me feel almost guilty.

So, all in all, I really don't find Page 5 offensive or unacceptable in any way. Sure, the language and humour may not strike everyone's fancy, but I believe the advice given is really good.
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