‘All New War’ version of Warmachine and Hordes hit the streets back in June, so some kind of review is probably in order. However, rather than talk about rules changes in anything but the broadest terms, an overview of the entire WarmaHordes eco-system is in order.
Just to be very clear here, the rules of Warmachine have not fundamentally changed between MK2 and MK3. All the changes in MK3 have tweaked around the edges of the ruleset instead of introducing new mechanics. This seems really good to me, and it means the rules were in a good place to begin with.
Where rules have been introduced, the designers have been changing power balance between the various components of the game. For example, warjacks are now significantly more potent than before. And this strategy has continued to the models themselves, so while there are changes, these tend towards re-balancing and toning down existing rules.
This has allowed Privateer Press to open some design space that did not exist before, and re-focus some models into very different roles. For example in Retribution Kaelyssa now plays very differently.
Books and Cards, and Not Needing Them
OK, this isn’t a massive change from MK2, but with the launch of MK3 came two PDF rulebooks and Warroom, immediately. So while physical versions of these are available, and they are very pretty, they are not necessary, and IMHO even desirable. This is because Privateer Press are making a big effort to update and re-balance the game on a continuing basis, and those digital channels are the fastest way to ensure everyone has the latest rules.
This was already the case, but I suspect I am not the only Warmachine player that has decided to not invest in either a rulebook or card deck with the switch to MK3.
All New Battleboxes
This in particular, is one of the best things I have seen from a miniatures company in a long time. Each of the new Battleboxes (and there’s nine to chose from), includes a new warcaster or warlock, tokens, a playmat, starter rules, and a copy of the actual rules. And each of these retails around £30 each. This is crazy good value of money and they have been really successful.
Hats off PP, this is how new players should be introduced to a miniatures game.
This said, I am sad to see the old token sets go because the new faction token sets have less variety. This said, the new status effect tokens are awesome, and plenty of third party companies now sell complete faction token sets containing everything you need for a particular faction. On a positive note, I did pickup some MK2 Convergence token cheap, so I have plenty of those now.
So finally, after four months there is the question of the meta and how that has developed. Contra to inter-webs, I actually think the meta is in a really healthy place now right. Yes, there are some models and factions are the upper end of the power curve, but in a casual format the games seem evenly balanced, which considering the options available is REALLY impressive.
Competitively, things are a little different, although with everyone trying to figure out how their armies work now, that meta is still in flux. While the obvious power options do float to the top, it is great to see a fresh mix of warcasters, heavies, and infantry in top level tournaments such as the World Team Championship.
January will see the first errata to address game balance so that will be very interesting, but compared to MK2 these time last year, I think MK3 is in a very good place, and for my part I’m really enjoying this brave new world.