Like all wargames, Warmachine seems to come together at a certain size of games. This sweet spot is either 35 or 50 points, but so far, I haven’t decided which is the best.
As a game, Warmachine (and Hordes) is really cinematic and basically a small skirmish game. This is a little different coming from the Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40000 background I have where most games were epic battles involving between 50 and 200 models on the table. In contrast to these, Warmachine has greater complexity and a really tight set of rules. As I have never subscribed to the ‘bigger is better’ approach to gaming, it is interesting to consider the sweet spot for this system.
Unsurprisingly, I started playing Warmachine and Hordes at 15 and 25 points, and whilst great for learning the mechanics of the game, certain abilities become very unbalanced very fast. Anyone who has played against Goreshade at 15 points will know what I mean.
Last year, I started playing a lot more 35 point games. This is the minimum level for most tournaments and seems to be the standard at our club. At this level Warmachine armies tend to be lean and mean, and quite focused. As a synergy based game 35 points seems to provide just enough room to include some tricks and synergies, but not enough to cover a whole lot more. This forces some tough army selection choices which I like.
In the big wide world, 50 point lists seem to be the norm. This gives is enough points to cover more different tactical scenarios, but not so much that you cover everything, which is fine because in a tournament setting because you will normally have two or three lists. And certain lists, especially in Hordes but also including Rahn’s No Quarter theme, need the points to fit stuff in.
So which is best?
Well, in my experience 50 point games seem to flow better. The threat of assassination is somewhat diminished and the ‘gotcha’ factor of certain synergies is less of a thing. On the other hand, 35 point games are more accessible, both financial and in terms of managing models on the table.
So readers (or at least the ones that play Warmachine), this seems like an excellent opportunity for a poll and I want to know your opinions!