Thursday, August 11, 2011


What follows is a rant, so for those of you who look to this blog for gaming and modeling, feel free to skip this post.

Okay, so I've been playing a lot of Warmachine recently, and losing a lot of Warmachine recently, so I've gotten to thinking; what changed between last edition (where I won my coins and gold cards) and this one (where I can't win a game to save my life)? The answer, quite simply, is shooting. Ranged attacks were a good way to soften up targets for a forthcoming charge last edition, or at best a way to off an already hobbled model. I liked this. It forced aggressive gameplay and prevented "camping out" in your own deployment zone. Now, however, it's the way games are won and lost. This sticks in my craw.

In a game that aspouses itself to be pure aggression, firepower should not, I repeat not, rule the day. If I want to get in shoot-outs all day I have Warhammer 40,000 and Infinity. These games are dominated by firepower, and they should be. Not so much with Warmachine.

Now, one could say that the firepower has to be used aggressively to be effective, and I'll agree to that, but the threat range of it allows units to hide all game before peeking out just long enough to gun down the enemy that has been running across the board all game. Really heroic, guys. As far as I can tell, there is no longer any reason to take any of my melee units. If the Bile and Bloat Thralls can't get the job done, it's game over. My Mechanithralls, Bane Thralls, and all the rest of my melee units simply don't stand a chance against a gunline, even with Stealth. This is really disheartening to me, as a game I love is devolving more and more into frustration. I like melee combat, and I believe that firepower should be emploved in a support role, not to outright win battles. Again, if I want those results, there are other games to play.

I know Privateer Press could not care less about the opinion of a single player who thinks shooting is broken, but I just feel the need to vent a bit. I used to love the need to tactically balance your forces in Warmachine, but it seems that now all one needs to do is load up on guns and pray they don't face Vlad's Wind Wall shenanigans.

My feelings on this are indeed biased. I seem only to face an extreme firepower-based army. I'm not saying the army needs to change, it's effective at what it does, and good for it. What I am saying is that with my current bag of tricks, there's really no good way for me to defeat it, and I'm just not into the game enough to plunk down money purely to try out a unit that may or may not work. Perhaps that is why skirmish games hold such a dear place in my heart. If your force doesn't work it's not a $100+ investment to try to make it work. At most, and I'm talking some pretty extreme miniatures here, it's $50 to add a single new miniature and shake the whole game up. Usually the shake-up can happen for around $10. For the $100 you'd spend on a unit for Warmachine, you can get an entire force for Infinity, and two for Anima: Tactics. I'm not a rich man, and do not have the disposable income to toss around to grab such expensive miniatures (thus why you haven't really heard anything on the Dark Eldar front for a while, and may never again). To be honest, the money I just spent picking up an ALEPH starter just killed off my gaming budget for the month. Again, I love skirmish games for a reason.

Why do I keep getting my rear handed to me? Perhaps it is because I don't spend hours pouring over my army lists. Perhaps it's because I have not been able to adapt to the new edition very well (the stripping of my Arc-Nodes was an extreme blow to my game). Perhaps it's that I need to buy the newest and shiniest miniature (or several) to be competitive. I don't know. What I do know is that I'm really disappointed with what Warmachine, a game I have loved for a decade, has become.

My next post will be more upbeat, I promise, but this is something I've been needing to get off my chest.


  1. My reply got pretty long and rambly, but I think I can boil it all down. Adaptation is crucial in any endeavor, and I think that's your problem. It's well and good to have a favored approach, but you have to be prepared to tweak it. When getting shot off the table, either bring bigger guns yourself or render your opponents guns ineffective. If you're dead set on running across the table while brandishing an axe and screaming, then maybe you're gonna have to look into new ways of making that work. Warmachine is, to me, basically rock-paper-scissors. Everything has a counter. If my rock is giving you problems, your scissors aren't going to get you too far no matter how shiny they are or how well they used to work. Chances are there's a piece of paper that will get the job done though, and probably in something close to the way you want. If you're convinced that your faction is poo while my faction is the poo, then I'm glad to swap sides so we can see how the other half lives. I bet we'd both learn something.

    On the other hand if you're convinced that Warmachine is broken and want to mothball it, then there are few options I have to offer. Uncharted Seas was great fun until it got shelved, for reasons very similar to the ones you've raised here. I don't think 40k is going to be any better, but it is an option. You know my position on chasing the perfect system, and for someone concerned with cash outlay I find that chase a curious decision, but to each their own.

    Ultimately I don't think the system matters too much. Every game is going to have multiple options, either factions or models or both, and those options rarely match up evenly. Exploiting the good matches and protecting the bad ones is the essence of wargaming. If you think Infinity or Malifaux or some other system is going to be just what you're looking for then I wish you luck in your search, and if you're looking for a game of Warmachine or 40k or Uncharted Seas (and eventually Hordes) then you know where to find me.

  2. Okay, let me start by saying I'm not ragequitting Warmachine. Quite the opposite. All I'm doing is lamenting my inability to cope with the new system, my financial inability to keep up with the power curve, and the questionable shooting mechanics.

    I dislike the ability of sprays to pick models out of melee. In fact, I dislike the spray mechanics in general. They ignore too much stuff, and they seem to be the answer to every question. Perhaps it's the combo of the 3d6 to hit plus the spray, plus the fact they ignore melee DEF bonuses. It seems that warriors don't hold still for anything except for sprays, and that rubs me the wrong way. Now, I could use my own sprays, but only Deneghra has a spray worth a hoot.

    I'm having a lot of trouble dealing with the "alpha strike" ability of the Winterguard. They're capable of closing the gap too fast, and killing anything that gets near them. They are a very effective "Deathstar" unit, and I can't find anything to cope with it. Yes, I do eventually eliminate them, but they do so much damage and it takes such effort, it's usually not worth it.

    My Cygnar army has been pretty much mothballed. My old "Cryx Tryx" don't seem to work any more, and it's frustrating. I read forums and try out army builds, but to no avail.

    Ultimately what I'm saying is that I'm getting frustrated with the army, but I'm not quitting. My rants are just that, rants. They express what I'm thinking at the time, and not often in the most eloquent way. I can see how you may think I'm on my way out of Warmachine, but all I'm doing is blowing off steam. Perhaps in too public a way, but that's what this is- my adventures and views in and on wargaming. I accept that no system is perfect, but that won't stop me from expressing my views on it. I also accept that you're not into switching from system to system. That's fine. But as far as the financial outlay portion is concerned I'm just going to repeat what I stated before- the reason I like skirmish games is how cheap they are. Malifaux, Anima, and Infinity can be drastically changed for $10-20, it takes in the neighborhood of $70-100 for more "army" focused games. This is another of my frustrations with those games.

    Perhaps the answer to my issues lies in one of my figure cases. Perhaps it doesn't. I'm not going to stop talking about it, and I'm sorry you took my post in the wrong sense. Just take my rants for what they are- blowing off steam.

  3. Over the weekend I figured that the rant was just that, a rant. I probably came hotter than intended myself. The Winter Guard are like a Swiss Army knife, and a robust one at that. One day I'll get some more infantry, but as it stands my only other unit options are Doomies, Widowmakers and Greylords. While effective in their roles, they aren't the sort of unit that can do a lot of heavy lifting. At the same time I want to get away from the Winter Guard for a while because they do so much. It's too easy just to throw them at something and be confident that they'll deal with it and any bumps that come along. Good news for me is that plastic Man-O-Wars are on the horizon and Kayazy Assassins are on the short list of things to get. Whether that's good news for you is up for debate, but at least it'll be something different across the table.