[WM/H] Something’s Got To Give

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.

7 thoughts on “[WM/H] Something’s Got To Give

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  1. Realistically I think you already know the answer here.

    I have been limiting myself to one force per game for a while, using the logic that if I get a second force I’m getting only half the value from it, a third force one-third the value and so on, and that’s assuming I keep playing at the same rate. Owning more armies for a system has never made me play that system more in the past 20 years, rather it has worked the opposite way, and I am trying to keep away from that.

    1. That’s a smart way of looking at it and not one that had crossed my mind. The only time I can see an exception working is for something like 40K: a game with an irregular update schedule and a culture that accepts planned obsolescence in rules. Even then, for every “well, I have three armies, so with luck ONE will have had a recent revamp!” player there’s another “I’ve played Skaven since the year dot” player, so it’s hardly a given either way.

      Play time is the ultimate deal-maker, isn’t it? I don’t play anything enough to justify having too much stuff for it, and I think that’s what’s been nagging at me every time I see two Warmachine factions. I could just about justify something for Hordes since there is a palpable mechanical difference there, but even then… probably not far enough.

      The majority of my Retribution may well end up living a more fulfilling life in Sweden before too long; I know someone who’s interested in giving them a good home. I’ll have to take some decent-ish photos before they go, though.

      1. Measuring value through play time has helped me not go too broadly in certain game systems (I still have three SAGA armies though!).

        Last week I talked myself out of preordering Scum & Villainy for X-Wing on the basis that I have an Imperial fleet and will play maybe 10 times per year.

        Like many gamers I have a lot of models just laying around!

          1. Heh. I don’t have much of one, to be honest. My project cycle generally goes “unbox, build, play and paint for about a year, and then… leave.” I do have some boxes of Orks on the desk right now, but those are being built when I feel like it (and so far, I’ve felt like it enough to get through two thirds of them).

          2. Welp, I don’t hear THAT very often. Thanks though; once the unwarranted elves are allowed to slip away I’ll be back to one army per system I (seldom) play (and able to investigate Saga, Freebooters’ Fate, Deadzone et al with a clearer conscience than has hitherto been possible).

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