“Play like you’ve got a pair!” is the catchphrase for these fast-paced aggressive games. If you like the sound of a wargame that has a stunning range of miniatures, is based in an immersive and compelling world, has some of the most beautiful books produced by any gaming company, is balanced and has a set of rules that are rock solid then Warmachine and Hordes are the games for you! Warmachine has been around for about seven years now and is produced by Seattle-based Privateer Press. Its second version, called Warmachine MkII, released at the start of 2010 after an open field test in which thousands of players contributed feedback to tweak and refine the game and model rules. This award-winning game has earned Privateer Press a devoted set of followers worldwide who love their games equally for their strong character-driven storyline and fantastic gameplay. Hordes is about three years old and is also in its second version.
I mean, what’s not to love, Warmachine is a game full of massive steam-powered machines of war that can headbutt, slam and throw their enemies to the ground before pounding them to oblivion. These machines, named warjacks (or just ‘jacks), are controlled by battle mages known as warcasters. In Hordes your warlock is struggling to control feral warbeasts that are every bit as potent as a ‘jack, but are always on the threshold of frenzying. The background of the Iron Kingdoms, a set of countries on the continent of Western Immoran, is one of almost constant war. The warcasters and warlocks are the powerful protagonists at the centre of these conflicts that are tasked with leading the armies of their countries. They are warriors beyond compare who can wield potent magics to cast spells and boost their ‘jacks and beasts in battle. In the world of Warmachine the warjacks are sentient constructs of armour, weaponry, pistons, gears and steam-powered might centred around a cortex. The cortex is a delicate piece of magically constructed engineering that gives the ‘jack basic intelligence and allows it to operate autonomously. It also enables the warcaster to see through the ‘jacks eyes and push it to extremes. This is the unique selling point of the game, the focus mechanic that represents magic. The fact that the game has exceptionally well thought out and balanced rules doesn’t hurt either! Hordes shares the core mechanics of Warmachine, making the two games compatible, but instead of focus the warlocks leach the rage and fury of the battling beasts to fuel their magic.
Starting the game is easy. Each faction has it’s own battle box that contains all the miniatures, quickstart rules and cards needed to get you on your way. So what are you waiting for?