The next Big Thing here at Chateau Argentbadger is Warmachine and Hordes, hereafter known as WarmaHordes. Of course, there are always reasons for choosing to buy into one game or another, and (for me at least) there has to be a good reason to spend my limited time, money and attention on a particular game. This goes double for a new game where we all have to learn new rules and buy new books and miniatures. Since this is one of the few games I’ve bought into with even a modicum of thought beyond ‘looks cool’, I decided to show my workings.
This story started when I started using my Ogre Kingdoms in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I am not an especially good player, but I have literally never lost with this army, and in almost all battles I felt that there wasn’t even much of a threat of that happening. The feeling of being unduly powerful was compounded by Furycat picking up Tomb Kings at the same time and going through the sort of process I expected – i.e. losing a lot until finally getting the hang of the army after significant practice. Worse, I proxied a single game of Lizardmen against the Tomb Kings and won crushingly despite playing terribly for the entire game. This contrasts with my experience with Beastmen, where I always feel that I have to either play well or get lucky (or both) to avoid defeat. To summarise, I felt that there were serious balance issues between the Warhammer Fantasy armies. This isn’t going to stop me from playing the game, as it’s still a lot of fun (especially with Beastmen), but I have been a bit frustrated by the feeling of choosing to play on ‘easy’ or ‘hard’ mode depending on which army I select.
The first part of what I needed was a game with tolerable balance between armies so that I wouldn’t feel like the army was playing itself without me, or that one side was facing a significant uphill struggle solely as a result of faction choice. For clarity, I’m not thinking about army building here (which I see as a skill in wargaming) but rather selection of which faction to play.
Next, Mrs Argentbadger and I have decided to try a bit of wargaming together. She isn’t a natural geek like I am, so we’re going to take this slowly and see how this goes. We have busy lives, so this was suggested as a possible way to dedicate an evening to sharing a hobby rather than watching television, or simply indulging our own separate forms of entertainment even when we’re in together. The main criteria here for game selection are rules which are tight and reasonably simple (by which I mean that they can be followed with logic rather than interpreted) and low model count armies for speedy games.
So, in a slightly roundabout way, I found that I was looking for a wargame with good internal balance, with a simple set of core rules and a relatively small model count. A bit of looking around suggested WarmaHordes as that game. Let us see if that turns out to be right.
A few tries with the free-to-download rules seemed to be fun enough to entice Mrs Argentbadger back for more tries. I imagine that I am going to need to give myself a bit of a handicap to begin with, but I think that if this proves to be fun then she could easily become strong enough at the game to beat me without assistance. She can defeat me at chess without difficulty, though admittedly that can be said of a lot of people.
In the interests of putting some pretty pictures into the post, I have selected Circle Orboros as my faction. Choosing a force in any wargame always begins with the miniatures for me, and I like the variety of styles in Circle Orboros, ranging from werewolves, stone monsters, druids and barbarians.
I’ve (somewhat arbitrarily) decided to use Morvahna the Autumnblade as my initial Warlock to learn how to play, since her rules look amusing.
Mrs Argentbadger has chosen the Retribution of Scyrah, a faction of angry Elves. After a bit of research they seem to be regarded as a ‘new’ faction with fewer unit choices compared to the others. This might turn out to be an advantage as it will be easier to focus on learning how to play the units that do exist well, rather than swapping out frequently (which I expect to do).
Furycat has, as expected, decided on Cygnar. He always seems to prefer to play the protagonists in any setting (Empire in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Imperial Guard and/or Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000). We’re going to get in at the deep end and play larger games straight out of the gate as it looks like the test games we’ve had have been a bit imbalanced due to the low army size.
Finally (out of those who’ve expressed an interest in playing at all) Aramoro has looked at Cryx. They’re the evil undead faction, and seem to revolve around crippling the defence of their foes. Still, as he put it: “I don’t always select the annoying faction on purpose”. Here’s a random picture of a group of Cryx Warcasters that I think look cool.