I’ve made no bones about the fact that Warmachine does not push my hobby buttons. I, like Warmachine, can’t really put my finger on why beyond I find the notion of the warjacks stupid. Some of them look cool and the artwork (below) is ace, but I truly loathe the get out of jail free card that comes with using magic to explain away how the impossible is possible. It’s lazy writing. I prefer my IP to think around a problem not just say its a magic spell.
I cringe when I hear magic being used as a justification or counter argument for something existing that makes no sense, particularly in a wargame. Obviously I have no problem with magic in games – although I try to steer away from it preferring to mang people rather than zap them – or with fantasy factions. After all what would Warhammer be without the Undead and the like?
Warjacks are cool to look at. Mostly. Usually anything large and smashy gets my vote. This goes double for the Colossals. Because, they are, well, Colossal. Beyond the reliance on magic I’ve never been able to articulate what my beef is with Warmachine because I’ve never even got as far as the rulebook. I also get stuck at the model stage. And I’ve always said if you don’t like the models you won’t get into the game because you have to care about what you’re collecting. The thing is; the models are actually pretty good and there’s a variety of factions to tickle most peoples taste buds. In fact my comrade in arms @DocBungle wrote a fantastic guest post a while back detailing the world in which Warmachine is set – you can read about it here – yet still something niggled at me and not even the recommendations and endorsements of my fellow #warmongers was enough to make me want to look into it further.
So what’s the point? Well, @DocBungle got one of these bad boys for his birthday today. And, aside from having an exceptional wife, it’s a really really cool model – gatling nipples aside. Yet still it didn’t move me to put my hand in my pocket. And then I Googled the Storm Strider because I had no idea what it was and saw, as well as images of the model painted by Privateer I saw the model in all its resin glory as well as those painted by other people and I think I’ve figured out the problem.
Everything is too clean. Everything is tool bright and shiny. Even with a world at war, the denizens of Immoren like to keep their uniforms clean and their warjacks cleaner. Combined with the stylised, arguably exaggerated, look of the models and it feels like a cartoon. And for someone brought up on the grim darkness of the distant future it doesn’t sit quite right. Especially as the artwork isn’t presented that way. The paint jobs clash with the background which makes me feel like I won’t know what kind of game I’m playing. A serious skirmish game or something with a little bit more light-hearted like Freeboother’s Fate.
I’ve decided that I need to at least try to understand this game better. I need to read the rules and even get my hands on some models to see how they look. And maybe even paint them how I paint. To project them into the world of Immoren I imagined from looking at the artwork and reading @DocBungle’s summary. Never it let it be said that I let a white undercoat or cheerful colour scheme to get in the way of the soul crushing drudgery of war. I shall investigate the game further and report back.