Monday, November 19, 2007

Miniatures Games: Warmachine

The first miniatures game I'm going to discuss is Warmachine by Privateer Press

Warmachine occupies a special place in my heart. as it is the miniatures game that brought me back into miniatures gaming after a long absence. Games Workshop had burned me with one too many rules revisions and game cancellations, so I was tired of miniatures wargaming.

I saw the Warmachine figures, and thought they were pretty cool. But cool figures weren't enough to drag me back into miniatures gaming.

I have friends who play - again, necessary. But not enough by itself.

Then I read a bit about the setting (which was published as a d20 setting). Again, it was cool - but a good setting isn't enough to get me into a miniatures game.

Then I read about the "No Army Books" concept - every book has units for every faction. This allows players to buy only one book, and have enough information to decide which faction fit their style best. In fact, their plan was to have each additional book split up the same way - each expansion book would boost every faction.

This was enough to get me interested.

Then, they pledged that every piece currently in print would always be tournament legal (and balanced enough for future play). In other words: No obsolescence, no power creep.

That was enough to make me consider the game. For $25, I had a rulebook. After reading it closely, I decided that it sounded worth trying. The rules were simple, clear, and straightforward. Including a stat card with all necessary information (and serving as a damage diagram for some units) was brilliant.

Another $40, and I had a starter box worth about 300 points. A bit more, and I had 200 more points (most tournaments at the time were around 500 points).

A playable (and competitive) tournament force for under $100 is good. When you consider the lack of obsolescence in the game, I consider it a win.

I haven't expanded my forces much past that original purchase. I've purchased a few pieces for their cool factor.

Here is how Warmachine stacks up with my barriers to entry:

1. Assembly Time: C
Warmachine uses all-metal figures. As such, most units require assembly. Some units need more than others.

2. Painting Time: B+
While there is a great deal of detail on most figures, it's not a frustrating amount of detail like you see in some games. This balanced has left a great deal of room for customization.

3. Gaming Buddies: B+
It's popular enough locally, I had no problems finding opponents (and tournaments).

4. Tournament Level Cost: B-
I had a low-level tournament force for under $100. If I want to play in larger tournaments, it won't be horrendously expensive.

Overall, I give it a solid B. The figures are cool, the rules are straightforward, and the game is fun without costing an arm and a leg.

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