[WM/H] Educating Shiny: From Little Acorns…

I recently made the dubious choice to move three hundred miles away from all the people I play Warmachine with and relocate to a small provincial city where games that aren’t produced by Games Workshop tend to be of the old-school historical variety and scare me slightly. Did I despair?

Well, yes, I did, for a bit, but when I’d stopped despairing I decided to teach my best mate (who shall henceforth be referred to as ‘Doctor Shiny’ and who might well be along in a little while to talk about this learning process from the other side, if I can persuade him to) to play Warmachine.

He decided that years of ineffective faffing about with his fast, fragile, highly specialised Eldar and his hordes of disposable but rather useless Skaven probably indicated neither style of force was really him. He wanted an army of obscenely tough hardcases who could take as much damage as they could dish out, and he also wanted to be able to shoot things either from very far away or not at all.

A kind-hearted soul (who shall remain nameless) bought him the Khador starter box for his birthday last week, and he’s been around here playing his first ever games of Warmachine.

First up was the Magnus box. I picked the Magnus box because, of the two Battle Boxes I own, it’s the easiest one to beat. I felt it’d give Shiny a chance to make some attacks and learn how stuff worked and probably win unless he made a dire mistake.

He made a dire mistake, leaving Sorscha where a Renegade could shoot her and the Iron Aggression’d Mangler could charge her. I did point it out to him and offer a backsie but he said no, if he’d made a mistake he wanted to learn from it (good for him too!) so the Renegade went whoosh and the Mangler went thump and Sorscha fell down with two gaping holes in her.

Second up I broke out the Cryxies, with whom I had had problems beating the Khador starter back in the day, to see what would happen there. I also suggested to Shiny that he try what my old master had used on me – a fast but tight advance towards Deneghra, with the ‘jacks protecting her from direct attacks and the line only breaking once Sorscha could reach her. It worked for him. In theory. He took a chunk out of the Slayer, and Sorscha did chop Deneghra into tiny bits of frozen mince in the time-honoured Wind Rush > Icy Gaze > charge > murderise fashion. Picture perfect. If we hadn’t forgotten Sorscha had Crippling Grasp on her and so couldn’t quite move as fast as all that. Important lesson for Herr Doktor there: remember when you’ve cast spells on things and remember to remind your opponent too.

A quick rematch, with our brains screwed in the right way round this time, went slightly more predictably – a bonejack or two made it around Sorscha’s ‘jacks and Crippled her, and a spurt from the Defiler and a chomp from the Deathripper took the Khador Kommander down again. Shiny reckons it’s a casualty of the battle boxes, that Deneghra’s higher Focus, greater control range and numbers advantage make outflanking and assassinating Sorscha a bit too easy. I think he might be onto something there. I also think he’s learning fast.

Next time, I’m going to teach him about infantry and solos. It’ll involve him borrowing some of my Mercenaries to extend his army (also introducing the idea that Mercenaries are actually an integrated part of the game and not either a minority, seldom-seen army choice or a despised crutch for weak players… well, they’re more integrated and less neglected and hated than WFB’s Dogs of War are, anyway). Once we’ve got the hang of those it’ll probably go a bit quiet while he paints his stuff and picks up some infantry, and while I build something resembling a proper board so we can have some space and some decent terrain and, above all, something to take photos of.

Oh, and I’m Von, by the way. This is the first post. I hate writing vacuous introductory stuff for blogs and forums and the like and figured this would be slightly more interesting. Was it?

Author: Jon

Sententious, mercurial, and British as a bilious lord. Recovering Goth, lifelong spod. Former teacher and amateur machine politician, now freelance writer and early-career researcher.

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