[WM/H] Direct from Limbo-Land

Well, that’s put the cat among the pigeons and no mistake – Privateer Press have announced third editions of Warmachine and Hordes. Apparently:

  • the points system is being un-gimped. Over the years it’s gone from being too granular to not granular enough, in my mind, so hopefully 100 points as standard game size will allow some breathing room and appropriate pricing of things which are just like that thing except they have a gun that’s slightly better than this other gun on the same chassis.
  • theme forces are being reined in, by some means or another. A tricky one: some people have bought two or three of a given piece purely because of a theme force and pissing on their chips after the fact of purchase is a dick move, but some of those theme forces are out of control and make a joke of the balance which should be ensured by Field Allowance and the internal disadvantages of some pieces.
  • pre-measuring is now a thing, a proper thing rather than a series of “well, I can measure my control area at any time, and I know that scenario zone is this big and that far from the edges and blah blah blah” calculations. I am all in favour. I liked the “measure your control zone at any time” mechanic – that was fun and thematically appropriate for warcasters and warlocks with varying degrees of arcane perception – but I like flow and reduction of cognitive load more. Once we know that something is out of range we are able to make tactical decisions in a suitably pacy and forward-looking manner instead of hanging around either doing sums in our heads or umming and ahhing because we’re no good at sums. The modern wargame rejects such hesitance and stickiness and the Privateer lads are doing well to move with the times.

Fold in the last five years of errata documents, address some of the issues around legacy pieces (*coughGreylordTernioncough*) and put some decent scenarios in the core book at last (it’s 2016, we need to accept that Mangled Metal/Tooth and Claw does not belong on a random scenario chart and that Steamroller, for all its faults, has the right idea about objective markers and deployment zones), and I’ll be happy. It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad to see all the regular forum topics have been considered and addressed.

It does mean the three posts I’ve been sitting on for months (waiting for some painted models with which to illustrate them) are a bit pointless now, though. Bit daft giving advice on pieces and list building when rules for pieces might be changing and list building certainly is. I shall doubtless play the odd game under Mark II rules while they’re still valid, but acquisitions and content creation are on hold until I’ve seen the colour of the new black, as it were.

In the meantime, I shall finally be completing some of those single player computer games I’ve bought over the years. It’s insulting that I have never finished the original Baldur’s Gate or touched its sequel beyond a desultory clickabout. I bought Undertale, hearing that it was both new and hot, and have yet to touch it. I have also, at the indirect behest of my friend and comrade the Prince of Nothing, acquired Planescape Torment in the cause of giving it another go and seeing if my brain (addled and poxed by the sculpted, guided MMO experience) can handle emergent gameplay where investigation and initiative are the order of the day. I doubt it, but then I’m the sort of thickie who thinks Warmachine benefits from pre-measuring.

On that note, I’ve just finished Dawn of War II, though I have yet to assault it on any serious difficulty setting (I know myself: I am here to see the content and will ramp up the challenge if I want to rather than as a matter of course). For what it’s worth: original campaign = enjoyable but overlong and burdened with boring defence missions; Chaos Rising = solid, replayable, morality system with more than two endings and noticeable impact on gameplay; Retribution = actually a bit disappointing, faceroll on Normal difficulty and let down by a generic has-to-work-with-seven-different-factions core plot.

Blame this and the works of Aaron Dembski-Bowden for a brief resurgent interest in the Grim Darkness of the Forty-First Millennium. It hasn’t made me want to advance the cause of my Oldhammer Orks at all, but to be honest the thrill was in the chase rather than the capture there. Once I had them they were more miniatures demanding paint and paint is the most obligatory and tedious part of the process for me. The problem I have is that Chaos projects snowball into grand undertakings and Ork projects, while controllable, involve so many models that they are a grand undertaking in terms of labour and costs. Between that and the mounting cost of osteopathy (my crooked leg requires fortnightly straightenings at present, although new drugs have the arthritis in remission, praise Nurgle and hide the silverware) I might have to let the lead pile go.

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