As regular readers of my geeky musings will know, I recently got interested in Warmachine by Privateer Press. Following my intro game (written about here) I ordered the Two Player Starter Box via the nice chaps at Firestorm Games. Following a one week delay to the release date. I finally received my box early last week.
Although I’ve been looking at Warmachine stuff for a few months now, this is my first ever purchase. So this is very much a newcomer’s perspective.
The first thing I noticed was how small the box was. It was perhaps a third of the size of the similarly priced Games Workshop starter sets. But I had certainly not been short changed. The box contains two small forces, for Khador and the Protectorate of Menoth, as well as a ‘travel sized’ rulebook, introduction guide, quick start rules, unit stat cards, a card ruler, and a mini-issue of No Quarter magazine.
The only thing the box really lacks is a set of weapon effect templates. This is probably my biggest quibble about the contents as I know some of the models in the box have weapons that use the templates.
The mini-issue of No Quarter is a nice touch offering a bit more insight into the world of the Iron Kingdoms and including a brief Khador vs Trollbloods battle report. The introduction guide give a brief but useful overview of the Warmachine factions (and an even briefer rundown of the factions from Hordes) as well as a more detailed look at the factions in the box, including a look at the specific models included.
In total the box contains two warcasters, four heavy warjacks, one light warjack and ten heavy infantry models. Not a bad haul, especially one you realise The models are actually resin rather than plastic as I initially thought.
Part of the reason the box was so small was that the miniatures don’t come on sprues the way those in GW starter boxes do. All the parts are clipped out and bagged up nicely into the respective sets so nothing gets lost. That said, a lot of the parts – most especially weapons like axes, maces and polearms – in my set were slightly warped. I’m not sure if this happened during casting or this was the result of loose parts being crammed into a box. Still a bit annoying however it happened.
The biggest challenge with this box was assembling the models. Initially I had problems because I tried to use poly cement as I had not realised the models were actually resin rather than plastic – though in my own defence this is not really made clear anywhere. Even when I switched to superglue though it was slow, frustrating going. The time involved in having to hold pieces together while the superglue set was a a bit frustrating. It wasn’t helped by a lot of the joints between parts not fitting as well as I would have liked. I recommend to anyone assembling the contents of this box to have some podcasts lined up or to stick the extended cut of your favourite film on the DVD.
Of course, the figures you get in this box are not specially designed for the starter box the way the miniatures in the Assault on Black Reach or Isle of Blood boxes are. So on one level it’s nice that you are getting the ‘real’ miniatures and will not have to worry about integrating starter models into an army. But the advantage of of the models in the GW sets is that you can clip them out and click them together in a relatively short amount of time and get on with playing your first game. There is going to be a significantly bigger lead in time needed to build these models.
On the other hand, the miniatures in the starter box set do represent legitimate, table-ready armies (20 points for Khador, 21 for Menoth). Given that 25 points is a very popular game size, players starting with the forces in this box only have to beg, steal or borrow four or five more points worth of models – for example a unit of six Khador Winter Guard Riflemen – to be playing games at a reasonable size. There certainly is not the same pressure to get out buying extra toys straight away.
The fact that Warmachine requires a relatively small number of models somewhat mitigates the frustration involved in assembling them. Certainly I will never have to assemble that many multi-part resin models all at once ever again.
Of the models in the box, my favourites are the Khador Man O War Shocktroopers. Nice chunky models with a decent amount of detail and relatively easy to assemble. The hardest to build was probably the Repenter light warjack, but by least favourite overall are probably the Menoth Cinerator heavy infantry. Though that is just a matter of personal taste rather than anything inherently wrong with the models, though they are the least poseable of the models included.
Whether this set is a good investment is a bit of a subjective question. If you are interested in collecting Khador and/or Menoth it’s a steal. Even if you only really want one of the factions you do quite well even before you factor in the possibility of selling or swapping the stuff you don’t want. Plus you can delay selling off the unwanted stuff until you have had a few practice games that will help you get your brain round the rules. You might even convert a friend to the game and sell your spare stuff to them. If you’re not interested in Menoth or Khador you might be better off steering clear of this set. The small rulebook is handy, but the standard Warmachine Mk II rulebook isn’t exactly huge (It’s maybe a quarter of the size of the Warhammer rulebook) so if you buy the paperback version it should prove fairly portable. Players starting with the standard rulebook and a battle box might not get quite as good a deal. But there’s no point getting a good deal on something you don’t really want.
Overall, I’m fairly happy with the contents of the box, though I feel slightly disappointed by the number of warped models in my copy. I was also extremely frustrated by assembly of the models, which is galling in a starter box which is supposed to help people ease into a hobby. I look forward to being able to have a few practice games with the set. Maybe I can even convince @CaitoGalenus to give it a go in the name of game related blogging.
My feeling so far though, is that while Warmachine is a good game with a cool setting, I’ve not yet been impressed enough for it to be anywhere near overtaking Firestorm Armada or Dystopian Wars and becoming my ‘main’ game for now. We shall see how I feel after a few games.