I have a little bit of a dilemma on my hands, boys and girls.
This is the time of year at which money is not abundant, and at which a chap who’s bound to the sell-the-old-to-buy-the-new paradigm of hobbying looks at what’s there and what’s not there and wonders: what can I bear to do without?
I look at my miniatures shelf and I see an increasing lack of space there – especially since I have a new project taking shape on the desk over the room. In particular, I see a lot of Warmachine stuff, which makes me… nervous. It’s arguable that I don’t really benefit from having that much stuff for Warmachine, and that if I’m going to have a diverse collection for that game it’d be better to have one Warmachine and one Hordes faction than anything else. At the moment, I own Retribution and Cryx (and some token Mercenaries, but they’re less a viable faction than a collection of stuff I own for the IKRPG or my other factions, out of which I can technically make a Warmachine army).
I like the look of my Retribution immensely – well, not completely immensely. I like the job I’ve done Ravyn, Kaelyssa and Elara, on the Houseguard and, to a lesser extent, the Dawnguard infantry, and the Stormfall are OK. The Arcanists, the two myrmidons, and Ossyran, though… they’re oddly bad compared to the others, and it’s annoying since I need at least one ‘jack that I’m comfortable with fielding, and the support pieces for it, and since Ossyran’s my favourite Retribution caster it’d be nice if he was my best painted too. I’ve not had much success with the Retribution but the Houseguard and, to an extent, the Stormfalls, have done me proud. The ‘pick one scalable list and stick to it’ project has been pretty successful, although I’d rather have picked Mage Hunters over the Banshee and just stuck to a one-jack army.
I like the style of my Cryx immensely. The monochrome paint job has mostly worked, although I think the job of bridging the gap between casters and troops could have been done better; there’s too much of a stylistic jump between Asphyxious and his minions, too much rich colour to make him sit well with them. I’m settling into a play-style that I like with them; I play Cryx not as a horde but as a handful of scalpels being rammed into the opponent from every direction. The goal in play is not to outfight my opponent but to bypass them in sufficient strength to win by assassination; that’s why I seem to favour Deneghra, Mortenebra and the Coven as casters and battlegroup-focused builds in general. I don’t seem to find myself fielding infantry swarms very often, conventional wisdom be damned.
The problem I have is this whole “two armies for one game which arguably rewards deeper investment in one army” phenomenon. The other problem I have is the nagging itch to do Hordes. I do like the Hordes mechanics. I did like everything about Skorne except painting them and I think I know what went wrong there (I went inside-out rather than outside-in – with my Circle I painted the fiddliest bits at the basecoating stage and everything else was just putting colours around those bits). I could quite feasibly play Trollbloods again; I own enough blighted trollkin miniatures to do some dark, spiky trolls with the addition of, say, Doomshaper and a battlegroup.
What’s telling, I reckon, is that if I look back at my history with Warmachine, I have (barring a couple of years in the middle) always played Cryx, always had that primary faction – and then had something else that I’ve swapped in or out over the years. The Cryx have been the ‘collection’, the thing for which I bother with multiple builds – my off-faction has generally petered out at a single 25 or 35 point list, been played for anything up to a year, and then drifted gently away. Given that track record it’s perhaps not surprising that I’m considering letting the Retribution go… especially since, with the whole ‘one or two heavies and a bunch of infantry’ shtick, I essentially play them like classic Cryx anyway. Could I build a list heavy on Cephalyx or Bane Knights or Satyxis and effectively get my Retribution force within Cryx? Potentially – but I would really miss those Houseguard models.