How to Play Warmachine and Hordes

Warmachine and Hordes are two separate miniature games that share a common game system, allowing them to be played against each other. Warmachine includes the industrialized nations and groups of the Iron Kingdoms, while Hordes represents the wilds and other supernatural groups. The key difference between the two games, play-wise, are the Focus system (for Warmacine) and Fury system (for Hordes). In Warmachine, armies are led by Warcasters who can manipulate their magic (Focus) to cast spells, protect themselves, excel in combat, and, most importantly, increase the power of their Warjacks- the huge magical robots that make up a major part of the game. Conversely, in Hordes, the armies are led by Warlocks that are accompanied by their personal Warbeasts. The difference between the magic (Fury) of the Warlocks and those of the Warcasters is that the Warbeasts help create it. From there, the Warlocks siphon the power to fuel themselves. However, if not enough Fury is absorbed, the Warbeasts have a chance to Frenzy and attack whatever is nearest to them. Beyond the battlegroups of Warcasters/Warlocks and their Warjacks/Warbeasts, players’ armies can be filled with other types of models, including units, solos, battle engines and sometimes even structures.

As is typical for most miniature games, range and movement are measured in inches on the play space. Each individual model has their own speed stat. Combat is resolved with two six-sided dice, where the number rolled is added to the attacker’s combat stat. In doing so, the attacker attempts to equal or exceed the target’s defensive stat. If they do, a similar roll done to check for damage. Many models will not survive being hit the first time, but Warcaster/Warlocks and Warjacks/Warbeasts are suitably beefy so that they can survive multiple attacks. Warcasters and Warlocks in particular need to be hardy enough to survive a few hits, because they are just as critical as a King in Chess. When a player loses them, they lose the game. The need to protect Warcasters/Warlocks is counterbalanced by the sheer power that they bring to the table. Not only are they extremely powerful in combat, almost all of them have some combination of spells and abilities that increase the effectiveness of a player’s army. Each Warcaster/Warlock is so unique within their faction that replacing one can drastically change how that particular army will perform.

All in all, if you enjoy strategy-based games with a hint of either Steampunk or Primeval, you’ll love Warmachine/Hordes!

~ Jimmy Campbell