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Steamroller 2013

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Earlier last year I posted some of thoughts regarding the 2013 version Warmachine/Hordes tournament format, Steamroller. Now the full version is published and I’ve now played it, I get to share my experiences of Steamroller in general, and Steamroller 2013 in particular.


Steamroller is only the beginning…

One of the most interesting developments in Steamroller this year the fact Privateer Press have split the format four ways. The base point is the standard Steamroller pack. This is a more highly polished version of the pack from previous years, complete with variants so you can tweak the format.

This year Steamroller has 12 scenarios and only uses two standard control zone sizes (12″ diameter circle and a 12″ x 6″ rectangle), plus all of the objective cards are printed with the scenarios. Together with removing flanking artifice and radial scenarios, the whole thing is cleaner and simpler.

As I mentioned before, I also really like the move to five control points to win a scenario and the dominate mechanic.

Beyond Steamroller, PP have also published separate documents for Masters and Hardcore tournaments.

mastersMastering Masters

Masters is essentially a more formal and limited version of the Steamroller pack. This is intended for big 32 player plus tournaments. The big two differences are the number of scenarios (Masters only has six) and game timings which must use deathclocks.

This brings me to one of the other differences in the 2013 packs. In games played against a deathclock, the clock is started with pre-deployment. This means the clock starting ticking when you deploy. While this initially filled me with dread and fear (I hate timed turns, and chess clocks are only a little better); having played a tournament using these rules, I have to say it is quite ok.

However I would not want to use an infantry heavy army because you only get an additional four minutes (at 35 points) to deploy in. I know some players hate this idea because it detracts from the social side of the game, but I think it is ok. Especially as I’m never going to use an army with a large model count at a tournament.

The reduction in scenarios and removing variants makes Masters very straightforward which I think is a very good thing, especially in big events which is where this format is aimed.

Coming from the GW hobby, I’m a little disappointed that there are no painting requirements for Masters but that is more of a personal thing. This said, I’m still really liking this format.


The final ‘standard’ Steamroller format is Hardcore. If standard Steamroller or Masters isn’t fast enough, Hardcore is probably for you. It gets its own scenario, requires fully painted armies, and use very short timed turns.

The idea is to promote short and very brutal games which should normally end in the death of a warcaster or warlock.

The big change here are in the scenario and the condition for the Mage Hunting award.

Not my thing, however I see the appeal.

Best of the Best

In addition to these three, Privateer Press also announced the Iron Gauntlet tournament series at Templecon. As far as I can tell, this is a variant of Masters meant for the very very best players.

The one big change as that player can bring army lists from different factions. I suspect a number of eHaley/pDenlgara combinations will show up.

Again this looks interesting and different, and really plays up to the hyper-competitive end of the game.

For more on Steamroller, and a very good scenario by scenario coverage, check out Chain Attack’s Steamroller 2013 episode with Jamie Perkins.

The Steamroller packs themselves are available here and after my experience at Open Fist last weekend, I can thoroughly recommend checking out Steamroller tournaments. I will be attending more this year and if I can (and life doesn’t get in the way), I will probably also organise a few.

However, if you play slow like me, remember to bring a small army.

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