Way of the Totem

Four Tips to a Better Game, WarmaHordes Edition

by on Jul.16, 2014, under Opinion


There have been a lot of posts lately on various social media and sites in which people are very disgruntled at having lost a ton of games at the start of their WarmaHordes game time. I thought I would take the opportunity to share my thoughts on how to avoid being disgruntled and how to have a better game experience overall in warmahordes from the perspective of someone who a scant year ago had never thrown dice down in a warmachine game.

Just a heads up, I am not a tournament player and this is not a guide on how to win tournaments, this is my opinion on how to derive more enjoyment out of your games.

I’ve learned a lot in the last year of playing Warmachine. By no means do I know everything, I feel no one ever truly knows everything, nor am I the most experienced player but I am new enough to have the perspective of someone who started playing the game knowing almost nothing of it. Win or Lose I find every single game enjoyable and thought I would share my pearls of wisdom here on how to have a better game. Old hands may agree or disagree with me, but here’s to hoping that this helps someone.

1. Expect to lose games

The first and foremost is that at the beginning, expect to lose games. Expect to lose a lot of games. it happens. Warmachine is like chess in that it is easy to learn the basics but is infinitely deep in regards to nuance and there is a ton of things to learn about the game. Don’t expect to go in to the game and roll a bucket of dice and win. I find this happens the most with players transitioning from 40K to Warmachine. At this stage of your foray into WarmaHordes, don’t expect to win, but take the opportunity to learn more about your faction, your casters, the scenarios. Expect your first dozen or so games to be learning experiences, because that is what they will wind up being. Expect that even after that dozen or so games, you’ll still have more to learn and perfect and grow with. It’s OK to lose, you don’t have to win every single game.

Even further into your experiences, you will lose games. This as well is OK. There is no “God-Tier” list that you can pull from the internet and win every game like you can with Magic the Gathering. Warmachine is a much more balanced game with a surprisingly large number of viable tactics to each faction and force available. This lends itself more to a game-play focused game and a lot less about list building. I’m not claiming that some models don’t have better stat lines or effects than others, but nothing is useless in this game and nothing will 100% secure a victory just by including a specific model.

2. Ask a Million Questions

Ask questions every single time you have one pop into your head. My local gaming group not only put up with me asking a million questions when I was a noob in the journeyman league, but a million more since then. As I’ve stated that game can be surprisingly complex, and model ability and rule interactions can sometimes be unclear. If you’re not sure about how something works, ask. If you think you’re 100% sure how something works, ask. Ask to see your opponents cards and learn about the other models and factions out there. Trust me, it helps a lot. I played a lot of games against Menoth when I first started, and I think at this point I know their stats better than I know my own faction! It makes games go quicker and easier when you understand your opponents forces. Ask anytime you want to know something, even if you think it’s a silly question. There is no such thing as silly questions in WarmaHordes, and anyone who looks down on you for asking questions should get kicked in the face.

Privateer Press does a good job of clarifying rules and getting answers to questions out a head of time, but there will always be edge cases. This is how we learn beyond reading forums and sites. Ask. Questions. Always.

 3. Try Different Things

Try things. Try things that look fun. Don’t let someone tell you that your list isn’t good or that a model sucks balls and isn’t worth your time. Try something because it looks cool or sounds cool or just because you want to. From personal experience I can say that everyone told me the Night Troll was a terrible model. I bought it because it looked amazing and I wanted to paint it. Then I played some games with it and honestly I don’t think it’s that bad at all. He’s fantastic for taking out key solos and I’ve found viable tactics with him. I found a way to play something I thought was cool that works because I tried it.

A big part of the game is playing what you want to, and figuring that out comes from experimentation. If you don’t try out different styles of models and abilities, you never really find what suits you. You could be all about ranged combat and never wanting to get in close. You could be an assassination machine, winning your games via caster kills. You could love lists that dominate scenarios through mobility or maybe you just really like tearing things apart in melee combat. If you want to just play models that look cool? That’s alright as well! Totally up to you, let no one tell you otherwise.

Don’t be afraid to try something new and have it fail or not know exactly how it will work out. I’ve learned a lot of really weird and awesome tactics by trying new things like pushes, throws and such, and seeing how they work in my given situation. Sometimes it cost me the game. Sometimes it secured me victory. The fear of that mistake should not rule you. Take risks and try new things whenever you get the chance.

4. Remember it is Only a Game

This is the most important tip of all. No matter what happens, remember it is only a game. It is not a life and death situation, it is not something that will control the outcome of your life or define you in years to come. It is a game, meant to be played for fun. When you take it too seriously, you can lose site of the fact that it is a game, and ultimately it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day you are still just playing with little plastic army men. I’ve seen people get so stressed about losing that they’ve physically destroyed their models in a fit of rage, and that is no good for anyone. It’s not what the game is about.  Try not to let it become serious, try to just play a game, and let it be a game.

That’s it, that’s all I got. Four tips on how to get more out of your Warmahordes experience. I hope that this helps new players gain a little perspective, and hopefully you will find yourself taking a step back and getting more out of your games.


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