Musings on Warmachine

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.

14 thoughts on “Musings on Warmachine

  1. If you want a game with tight rules, releases every year for all factions and forums were the designers of the game listen and respond then WM/H is it.

    Are models broken? Hell yes, but then so are your opponents so all’s fair 🙂 Just seems that everyone else’s are more broken than yours 😉

  2. Aesthetic appeal cannot be argued but how people or a company paint their models does seem a bit of a strange deterrent. I can’t paint like a ‘eavy metal painter and none of my 40k stuff ever could look ‘grim dark’ nor do any of the dozen people I play at my LGS. I personally find most jacks unappealing aesthetically. But then I find SM Dreads comical little waddlers and SM vehicles the antithesis of appealing design. Warmahordes is a fantastic game, though personally I prefer the Hordes side of things. Like mephistonag says.

    1. What can I say; I must be strange. Between the style and the overly bright colours it just didn’t do it for me. And majority of the time our first experiences of a range are those painted by the company. If they don’t float your boat the first time round it takes a lot to bring you back to it.

  3. I quite like the models (I ought to, given that I have a massive Khador army, a Skorne army and a Cryx army!) but I do have a beef with the rules, and that is the age-old problem of not knowing what your opponents army is capable of. The number of times i’ve been completely stitched up because I didn’t know a specific rule that an opposing model had…

    My most clear example was attempting to charge one of the trollkin casters and my opponent let me go through the motions and then, just as I was about to move my model said “you can’t do that because of this rule here on my card”. I’d planned my entire turn around getting that charge off. Malifaux is another game that suffers from this even worse than Warmachine does, and is the main reason why I think it died a death at my local club.

    Now I know a few people are going to say “well, you should take the time to learn the rules of other factions models” but quite frankly I have better things to do with my time and money than to buy all the faction rulebooks or cards and read them endlessly. Like paint and play other games 🙂

    Personally i’m still trying to find the perfect Game that scratches my fun, tactics and strategy itches all at the same time. Whether it exists, I don’t know but I intend to try and find out 🙂

    1. Drop Zone Commander may be up your ally. Hugely tactical, awesome models, distinctive styles of play for each faction. Combined arms approach makes for some pretty tasty furballs.

      1. I hope so, I’ve got a large scourge army on the way! If nothing else, i’m going to have an awesome time airbrushing up all those tanks in the most hideous reds and purples I can find!

      2. Awesome. I played with the Scourge. Damn tricky to get to grips with but very cool. Speed is the key with them.

  4. Maybe you should spend some time getting familiar with the Iron Kingdoms background. The RPG books are filled with detail.

  5. I feel you on how the bright and shiny can throw you off but by no means do you have to follow that at all. I myself chose to paint my forces more grim/dark/dirty and there are plenty of others out there that do the same. Heck, even one of the PP Staffers have a Cygnar force that’s totally painted all dark grey and grimey and it looks 10x more awesome to me than the superman blue style. PP wanted to make them vibrant and more colorful on purpose but by no means I don’t ever let a company set the standard on the style I want to paint and picture. WAR IS DIRTY 🙂

  6. The reason that the artwork looks a bit cartoony is because of the legacy of the main man involved Matt Wilson, thing is he started working for WotC doing Magic the Gathering Art and so his art has always been a bit more shall we say vibrant also the Iron Kingdoms started as a setting for the D&D 3.5 OGL and so I suppose the art work might have been done in that way to appeal to D&D players.I was at first a bit underwhelmed by the Jacks but have grown to love some also I choose the less goofy ones. As said above paint it how you want it your models,also you might like the cover of the new Iron Kingdoms Roleplay Game, that seems a bit darker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s