Sunday, 4 May 2014

Warmachine: First Impressions

So I bought my Warmachine starter box in February, and here we are at the start of May and I haven't really said much about it. I have yet to play a game, but since I have a deep aversion to playing with unpainted miniatures, that first game is still a way off. I began by painting High Exemplar Kreoss who was featured on the blog a while back, largely because he looked more imposing and interesting than Kommander Sorscha. I am happy with what I achieved, but as I intimated in my earlier post, I am finding working with restic a little irritating and I find it a little disappointing that Privateer Press would stoop to using such a nasty material. 

However, I suppose that these are starter set figures, so I will hold off further judgement on the quality of Privateer Press until I pick up some other stuff from blisters and other boxed sets. My point stands though, with Games Workshop the beginner is treated to lovely miniatures, such as the Dark Vengeance boxed set; contrasted with the offerings for Warmachine I would say that Games Workshop wins this round. I have almost finished my first Warjack, a Crusader. I find that most of the Warjacks look the same to me, so I need the cards to help me differentiate between them. Once I become more familiar with the game I am sure that I will remember what is what. 

In addition to trying to get the feel of Warmachine in a tactile fashion, I have also read the rulebook. Again, I am disappointed in my $100 starter set. I have flicked through the rulebook several times, but not that much, and already the central sheets of the booklet have come loose. What a shame. I have never had this happen to me before and I am shocked and appalled! Well, not really, just disappointed. Again Privateer Press aren't putting their best foot forward. Given that for most people a starter set is the "gateway drug" into a miniatures game, the combination of restic miniatures with odd flash and strange sprue joins, and a rulebook that collapses in your hands, this is a major misstep for Privateer Press. I know that the wider wargaming community criticises Games Workshop for many things, including pricing and their shop floor manner, but the one thing that they really get is how to sell a game system with a single box. I remember getting into Fantasy and 40k via the starter sets in 6th and 3rd Editions respectively, in the end I didn't play any of the factions in either set, but the rulebook and the contents of the boxes got me hooked on a world which I love visiting time and again. With Warmachine I simply don't get the same feeling of excitement at discovering a new world, the Iron Kingdoms is just a little dry.

I get the feeling that Warmachine was designed first and foremost as a game, and then someone decided to bolt on some background story. This is of course a gross simplification, but I get the sense that the "fluff" of Warmachine is entirely secondary. That said, I have been watching loads of battle reports and introductory games on YouTube, and the actual ruleset seems water tight and elegant. So inasmuch as I don't care much for the setting, I am actually intrigued by the mechanics of the game. I will however have to hold off final judgement until I have had a chance to play with my toy soldiers. 

In the meantime, I am preparing for my imminent return to the UK on the 14th of May. I am looking forward to being reunited with H, and my dogs. Furthermore, I'll have my wargaming infrastructure around me so that I can hopefully produce some better YouTube content and take some decent pictures.