Friday, April 5, 2013

Warhammer, Warmachine, Battletech, and other games that have "War" in the title

PAX was just this past weekend, and I spent a good chunk of my time trying out miniatures games.  Something about army men with rules is incredibly compelling to my spergy mind.
I tried Warhammer, Warmachine, BattleTech, and X-Wing while I was there.
What I'm looking for in a tactics game are these criteria -
1. Crunchy battle system.  It should have tons of rules, and give me room to strategize my movements and attacks more effectively than my opponent.
2. Metagame - I want to buy a game (army?) that I can pick up and bring to a game store and find people to play with.
3. Cost - I don't want to break the bank here, if possible.
4. Flavor - It's gotta have hooks that get me interested.
Warhammer 40k
As far as I know, Warhammer is the original.  It's been around for years and years, and features various space races battling each other.  I played a group of Eldar which are sort of like Protoss, against a team of SpaceWolves.  There's also vanilla Warhammer, which is a high fantasy version with similar rules.
B+ on Battle System - it's fun, but it seems kind of slow, and I had trouble intuiting how powerful a unit was versus the other.  Also, I had a situation where my units were completely unable to damage one of my enemy's units, which is rather frustrating.  There's also a lot of dice to roll when your infantry shoot 3 times each from a group of 8 soldiers.
A on metagame - People play this game all over the place.
C on cost - There was an intro set available for $100, but it seems like a true army is quite a bit more than that, and then you have to buy all the paints, and the sheer amount of units means more painting.
A- on flavor.  I guess it would be higher if I had played the Orks or whatever the Necromancer race is.  They've got some good stuff to work with here.
Warmachine is only a few years old, and has a "Hordes" version as well which is akin to vanilla Warhammer.  However, they are designed and balanced to be able to be played against each other, which is, as they say, valuetown.  I played the Protectorate of Menoth vs. the Cygnar Dominion, which was like crusaders vs Terrans.
A- on Battle System - fewer units than Warhammer, and there were sweet spells in addition to just shooting.  Not as many units, its more of a squad than an army.  There was a lot of decision making about how to use the units, and how to power them up. Where Warhammer was more, these guys move, these guys shoot, Warmachine had decisions about how many shots the units would get, saving "Focus" for spells, etc.
A- on Metagame - I haven't tested this thoroughly, but it seems like there is slightly less Warmachine than Warhammer at stores.
C+ on Cost - Fewer models = less paint, less buying.  Still a significant cost here - the starter was also $100.
A+ on Flavor - The races are just awesome.  The firey crusaders, the Siberian Russian tank-mechs, all of this stuff really works for me.
For those not in the know, this is the universe that spawned MechWarrior.  It's got lots of history, and the game has been around for a while, but I had only played it once before.  The way they had it set up was like Deathmatch - you spawned in a mech, and fought until someone died, then they respawn as a bigger mech. We had a strange duel since I one shotted Kevin with my SRM in the second volley.  Right through an exhaust vent, just like bullseying womp rats back home in my T-16.
A+ on Battle System - Kevin couldn't handle the number of dice, but I loved the level of detail.  You track hits to your mech on their actual armor, and you can blow arms legs, engines off if you hit in the right spot.  Because its Mechwarrior, I imagine there is a lot of customization you can do before the battle to decide what weapons to have for a given battle.
C on Metagame - Sadly, I've never seen someone play this before.  I imagine you could run it like DnD and get games with your friends, but that's not reliable enough for me.
A+ on Cost - the starter set was $60, and if you're only playing with friends, thats all you need.
B- on flavor - It's just mechs.  Not a whole lot else going on here.
A miniatures game using the various ships from Star Wars.  I was falling asleep while I watched this being demo'd, but it plays a lot like Steambirds, an iOS and Flash app.  Unlike the other games, you set your orders in secret, and execute them simultaneously.  So you have very set moves you can do, with corresponding templates.  Interesting mechanic.
A on Battle System - I can't really comment much on this, as I didn't play as thoroughly as the other games, but it seemed fun, so I don't want to ding it here.
B on Metagame - I've also never seen people playing it, but it seems like a much easier game to play in small doses with friends than BattleTech.
A+ on Cost - $40.  And that's really all you need.  No painting.  If you want, you can add on ships like the Milennium Falcon or Slave I ($30 each).
A+ on Flavor - Cmon, it's Star Wars.  And OT, as well. Which stands for "Only Trilogy".
I didn't end up buying anything, but if I lived closer to a game store, I would be dropping cash on Warmachine.  It ended up mainly coming down to Metagame. I want to be able to play if I'm going to spend money and time on a game like this.

1 comment:

  1. My Thoughts:


    Way too simulationist for me. I really felt bogged down calculating tables upon tables of things that I didn't particularly care about. So I would go C- There.

    Star Wars X-Wing
    The cost of Star Wars is deceiving. The basic set doesn't give you much at all. You really need 2 and maybe 2 15 dollar add ons to have a full scale 1v1 battle. That's like a $100 investment, same as the others.


    Actually has $40 single person starter armies, and is likely the most cost efficient starter of the bunch (except Battletech, unless you measure time as a cost....)

    Additionally, the Warmachine system was something I found SUPER sexy. A+ There. Crunchy as hell, and filled with all the things that makes D&D 4e tactical combat really sick, while cutting out some of the fat, and instead adding robots.