I remember a game that went to pre-measuring and random charge ranges. It was ****ing awful.
I remember a game that went to pre-measuring and random charge ranges. It was ****ing awful.
I support non-image bloated signatures. My sense of humour is deficient.
Post count equates time spent typing online and nothing more.
My r̶a̶n̶d̶o̶m̶ extremely specific batreps
The reduced aggression is not on the slower side. It's on the faster side waiting for the slower to come up and waiting for a guaranteed alpha. During our JML where the objective were relatively far back it was worse. You had two armies just staring at each other for multiple turns. This is less true in tournaments with clocks and scenarios with more going on the center, but it was definitely an annoyance here. Slightly randomized charge distances would have made it possible to break the standoff because stopping just out of threat wouldn't be 100% protection.1) One side has the longer threat ranges. Any attempt to stay out of them is just delaying the inevitable, and would require backing up until your army falls off the back of your own deployment zone.
Here's a very specific example: I run into this a lot with running Cryx into Strider Scouts under Lylyth1. The scouts wait outside the scenario areas for my Raiders/Witches to come up and shoot them off the board, backing up a few inches each time. There are potential solutions to this (Stealth on Raiders to out-threat the scouts, shield guards on Riders to keep lylyth1 from parasiting them) but they rely on Rube Goldberg tricks and not just "take the 33% chance that my witches reach the scouts when they charge".2) One side has superior ranged output. The other side will need to close regardless of the other's threat ranges, because eventually they'll be whittled down otherwise. Even if the side with the superior shooting has to come within charge distance in order to actually leverage that firepower, most of the time they will do so (it's not dissimilar to point 1 in that respect, their option is either commit and get the early damage in or back up until they fall off the table).
What I run into is that the army with longer threat can sometimes sit just out of threat range and shoot/charge the slower player when they try to take scenario elements (especially when I have the first turn and need to establish myself on the flags/objectives) and run something disposable to contest. Again a greater risk of reprisal would reduce this kind of camping.3) Scenario pressure. One side may start scoring first. Regardless of what the threat ranges at play are, the other side now needs to commit or else they lose the game.
I typically play Cryx and I actually notice this kind of behavior a lot mostly because Cryx doesn't have many easy ways of spamming armor. Cryx does have solutions to the problem (eg. the Coven, Agathia) but having the ability to punish shooty/fast armies that hide just out of my threat range would be huge.All premeasuring has really done in terms of "reducing aggression" is that it allows those players who weren't already good at guesstimating ranges to avoid throwing away models before they had to (i.e. before forced to by scenario pressure or enemy ranged output).
The only real reason lategame upsets are available in WM/H is because of the assassination angle. In IGOUGO, things can snowball out of control a lot faster than AA especially in high level play - in well-designed AA games it's rare for one piece to be entirely able to remove another in a single activation (or if they are, they're worth the points and are telegraphed clearly), but in Warmachine it's possible, likely, AND recommended for one side to remove key pieces entirely before they have the chance to influence the game state at all - it's one reason why WM/H only seems to 'work' at higher point value because you can have several of those key game pieces and not be reduced to a "Well, the only way I can win is assassinate!" gamestate after a single turn.
Or one politician telling a pack of lies, and while those lies are being debunked telling another set of lies, and continuing the cycle infinitely... the responder is always behind and never has a chance to catch up.
I prefer a rap battle where both of them control the tempo, rather than one dictating the tempo entirely and the other can only dance to it.
1) Warmachine pretends that lots of complicated special rules for dozens of minis that you HAVE to remember or lose is complexity of gameplay
2) I dislike and/or am bored by about 70% of the models (I picked Cygnar solely because Haley2 and 3 looked fun to paint)
3) I am uninterested in the fiction (the battle scenes remind me of Battletech novel scenes where "Invincible Mechwarrior Fights", and the warnoun characters have such a great selection from: religious soldier, sorcerer soldier, inventor soldier, mercenary soldier, bloodthirsty soldier, princess soldier, rebellious soldier, necromancer soldier, reluctant soldier, loyal soldier, "Insert one-word description here" soldier)
4) the gameplay is okay at best and at worst makes me feel like a grown man kicking a toddler because there's so little forgiveness for inexperienced/bad players
5) there's no 'narrative structure' system in place, making each session just a random killfest, and lastly
6) it's expensive to get to the level where it feels like a 'real' game - close to Warhammer 40k levels of expensive.
WOW. Why did I not mention #1 in my OP? HOW DID I OVERLOOK IT?!
Any one or two or three of those things by itself I could ignore, or mention as potential downsides while I try to sell the game. All of them together make it hard for me to want to play it and recommend it to people and build a community around it.
But joining a good community of wargamers and playing a game - ANY game! - is more fun than being that guy who just watches everyone else play and whines because "You're not playing a good game, that game sucks." And there are models, mechanics, AND characters I do like in Warmachine.
(and for people who say, "But Malifaux also has #1!" I'd point out that it would be a strategically complex game even if all models of the same rank had exactly the same statline and no special rules, thanks to the variety of scenarios and the hand mechanic. Could you say the same about Warmachine if you played the "Learn to play" warcasters and warjacks against each other?)
I really wish I had the cash to get in on their TOS kickstarter. But I am poor and have to eye in envy the Cthulhulian Deep One army as I try to build up an adequate Malifaux collection.
One of the things I LIKE about Warmachine is that you can calculate what you "should" be able to do fairly precisely - 2d6 is likely to turn up a 7 or higher so you know what you should be able to hit and so on.
On the other hand, a random charge range would mean that the fancy-dancing you see on the high-end tournament tables would be riskier and thus open the game up more. But I think SPD"+2"+D3" would be a LITTLE more even in that regard.
I also forgot to mention
7) Wild imbalance between the various warnouns, so if you find one whose story and/or personality you actually like but it's not 'good' on the tabletop you're cripping yourself - something beginners are prone to do.
And DID forget
8) The IGOUGO format.
Last edited by iamfanboy; 01-10-2017 at 09:48 PM.
What would be "less aggressive" is if players stopped making that kind of trade-off. What you're describing could also just be used as a descriptor for the difference between low and high level play in Mark II.
So, the faster side walks forward until they're just outside the slow side's threat range. If the slow side moves forward, that's exactly one turn of holding off. The only "lack of aggression" is that the fast side didn't choose to forfeit the advantage they gained from being faster. That's not really a staring stalemate.
And this game doesn't end on the alpha strike, I might add.
But in either case, this is what I was describing. The army with the guns is forcing the other side to push forward and be aggressive. That's no stalemate. That sounds like a gun line rather decisively demolishing a slower melee army
Maybe not a great feeling, but not really what I think you were describing.
This has nothing to do with the addition of premeasuring, I assure you. I saw the top tables (and even the middle tables) of just local Steamrollers play out the exact same way in Mark II.
Random charge distances don't fix this, longer charge distances do. The only way you "fix" this problem so that your opponent has to come into your charge range to shoot you is to make all guns in the game have a range roughly equivalent with a slow model's static charge distance. There's a reason your solution hasn't included "Make charges Speed+d3 inches" because doing so would leave you with the exact same problem you have now.
Interesting how sometimes the thing that really draws some people into the game is the exact same thing that is other people's biggest complaint.
IGOUGO cuts both ways, on one end: yes, less interaction. On the other hand it's easier to balance. I don't really mind it that much, although with premeasuring it might be nice to go for alternating activations. It prevents 30 minute long planning sessions that come down to "if I fail, I lose", which I see more often in mk3 than in mk2.
You had "faux" premeasuring back then so while you could get a fairly reasonable certain appromixation of a distance, there was no real garantuee unless a certain Gobber was involved or it involved a straight line towards/from your caster; so people went for it and won/lost.
PP says spatial awareness should not be part of the game, fine, and for new players, it helps, because if there's one thing new players tended to get butchered on it's the half-inches.
Deathclock was great in mk2 (IMHO!), but yeah, maybe it's time to go back to timed turns, put some pressure behind premeasuring everything if you so please
The one 'meh' I have right now is that the edition swap feels a lot like the pendulum swings of balance a certain other game had.
Mk2: Infantry. Yes. 'Jacks, little.
MK3: 'Jacks. Yes. Infantry, little.
I'm not saying it's completely screwed but it's the polar opposite, rather than wondering why I would take a Juggernaut when I can have a unit of Iron Fangs for a bit more, the question now is "what can I do with those Iron Fangs that I can't do by scraping off five points and taking a pair of Juggers"
Or a pair of Marauders if I only have like one point to play with.
It's not entierly black and white and there are expections but this is the theme, I feel.
Last edited by Havock; 01-10-2017 at 10:38 PM.
1) Warmachine pretends that lots of complicated special rules for dozens of minis that you HAVE to remember or lose is complexity of gameplay
6) it's expensive to get to the level where it feels like a 'real' game - close to Warhammer 40k levels of expensive
7) Wild imbalance between the various warnouns, so if you find one whose story and/or personality you actually like but it's not 'good' on the tabletop you're cripping yourself - something beginners are prone to do.
I can accept that IGOUGO is opinion, and of course finding the storyline/characters/models boring is opinion, but the above items are factual.
There are three types of rules-sets: simple, complicated, and complex. Simple is not a bad thing, if the game only covers a narrow idea (Ninja delivering hot burgers while dodging security and samurai!) then it works. If you try to extend out simple rules too broadly, though, it doesn't work.
Complicated... some game designers are under the impression that adding new and unique rules in a new book will add more fun to the game, when it fact all it does is necessitate more tedious book-flipping, arguments, and ends up in players losing games because they don't or CAN'T memorize everything by heart before playing a game. That's a symptom of bad design.
Complexity's harder to achieve, but it's easy to tell if a game's complex or not: Distill it to its basic models. Would Warmachine be fun if both sides had the same warcaster without any fancy feats and could only choose from four different jacks (shooty light, arc node light, melee heavy, shooty heavy)? Would THAT be a fun game to play Capture the Flag or Capture the Other Flag or Capture the Flag But This Time You Can Be Farther Away or Assassinate the Leader over and over again?
Every game has a level where it's balanced - where most of the playtesting takes place and in an intentionally unbalanced game like WM pieces are jiggered to be above and below the curve. Warmachine's level is 75 points. The problem is that a player has to drop around $300 retail for ONE 75 point force, if they plan super-duper well and know exactly what's good and what's not - and if playing in a competitive environment, it's likely that beginners will make mistakes and buy models that aren't good. Also, plenty of Warmahordes tournaments have strict rules about bringing multiple warcasters and/or force lists that have to have a certain variance in them, making that cost even higher.
The journeyman league is all well and good, but the game simply doesn't balance well below 50 points, and most of the league takes place AT that size.
Lastly, there's the balance problem. As I alluded to above, there's a definite intention to have some models above and below the curve of what should be 'average'. The problem is that the warnouns are balanced against each other, but the game is balanced to favor the control/support/hide warnoun HEAVILY, with a little bit towards the warnouns that can threaten assassinations... which leaves warnouns designed to do anything else at the bottom of the tier.
And there's a lot of those.
Making it worse is that coming from 2e there are still warnouns designed for that meta, without accounting for the fact that it's changed so much these pieces are useless.
Forcing variety by restricting players to certain warnouns is patchwork at best; it doesn't do anything to address the underlying problem.
Last edited by iamfanboy; 01-10-2017 at 10:39 PM.
IMO, the "meet target number to hit" + "damage roll + POW - ARM" is one of the more intuitive parts of Warmachine, since the damage roll isn't a binary success or failure - it's a how many boxes roll, really.
Tables would be nice. Point balance and model balance is ... not perfect, though I think that's improving incrementally and the patch system seems like a good idea.
Lack of filler points (or an edge for being under) is a little frustrating, and I think the point that the core mechanic of "I go, you go" does have dead time where one or the other player may be getting bored.
Re: Alternating Activation type games, I have to disagree strongly with Kaiju. iamfanboy is correct.
The one I'm familiar with the most, of course, is BattleTech, where damage is effectively resolved simultaneously - which means you have a movement phase (alternating), a firing declarations phase (alternating) followed by a resolution phase (which is essentially simultaneous). The "I go, you go" system causes more lopsided damage allocations even vs systems with alternating activation and non-simultaneous damage, since the whole force is activated at once.
It's like this:
Alternating model/units: XOXOXOXOXOXO
Alternating sides: XXXXXXOOOOOO
With alternation on the level of side it matters a lot who gets the "alpha" - first turn of effective combat engagement - which means it's much easier to build an early advantage in attrition (which then snowballs). In extremal examples of the format, you have games that are effectively over after the first turn. This bothered me early in my Warmachine experience, though I haven't thought about it in a long time. (It also introduces some verisimilitude issues when guys with short-ranged blunderbusses can walk forward into a prepared line of riflemen and get the drop on them.)
WMH remains (relatively) dynamic in the late game not because of an alternating side system, but in spite of it, because the linchpin piece is so important. The ability to pop a feat and change the entire board state is what drives that, and the fact that the warcaster / warlock generally has more impact on the board than a heavy warjack / warbeast.
1) The idea that Warmachine masks its alleged lack of complexity by flooding the players with a heap of special rules is something a lot of people would disagree with, and as someone who played this game way back in 2003 when there were far fewer options for each army (and less than half the armies in the first place) I would disagree with the claim that the game's complexity is dependent on overwhelming the player with tons of individual models' special rules. The game might not be Advanced Squad Leader, but it's a far cry from VS System.
6) After Mk.III came out, I started my Rhulic army. I've spent less than 200 dollars and can already field a several distinct 75 point Ossrum lists. If you think you can build multiple distinct 2000 point configurations of a Space Marine army for anything close to 200 dollars, then you haven't looked at the recent 40k pricing model: a 10-man Tactical Squad plus Rhino runs $75 now.
7) Have you ever thought that a lot of "beginners" don't care about whether their warcaster/warlock is tournament viable? To a lot of players, a model is "good" if its story and personality is reflected on the tabletop. If someone chooses to play the Old Witch of Khador because they like the idea of playing an army lead by Baba Yaga, and they have a good time, who are you to tell them that they made a bad choice?
I can't even think of a wargame that's fun by that metric. Let alone "complex".
Runs $120 for a tac quad and rhino here. Because regional pricing is "fair"...6) After Mk.III came out, I started my Rhulic army. I've spent less than 200 dollars and can already field a several distinct 75 point Ossrum lists. If you think you can build multiple distinct 2000 point configurations of a Space Marine army for anything close to 200 dollars, then you haven't looked at the recent 40k pricing model: a 10-man Tactical Squad plus Rhino runs $75 now.
You can get enough GunBunny's to get bad looks for $120...
Last edited by Sletchman; 01-10-2017 at 11:05 PM.
This tradeoff doesn't require any risk, that's the problem. This is why historical wargames have all sorts of tricks to keep players from relying on threat ranges and deterministic order of activation in their strategies. By having some aspect of randomization in turns, activations and threat ranges it encourages risk taking play.What would be "less aggressive" is if players stopped making that kind of trade-off. What you're describing could also just be used as a descriptor for the difference between low and high level play in Mark II.
Certainly, but the more determinism you add to a simulation, the less reason players have to take risks.In the scenario you describe, the stand off could only really be one turn without a lack of aggression on the slower side. The faster side has the option to hold back until they get a guaranteed alpha on the enemy. Of course they do. That's the advantage of playing the faster side.
The stalemate occurs when you have armies that are roughly the same speed. You get all sorts of toeing for advantage before making a decisive move. That's why some element of randomness encourages risk.So, the faster side walks forward until they're just outside the slow side's threat range. If the slow side moves forward, that's exactly one turn of holding off. The only "lack of aggression" is that the fast side didn't choose to forfeit the advantage they gained from being faster. That's not really a staring stalemate.
It doesn't but it's often what decides the game.And this game doesn't end on the alpha strike, I might add.
Neither of us was, because my army got shot off the table. I adapted but it illustrates the point that my opponent was never threatened and never really had to think. Some element of threat/activation randomness helps when on player bring rock and the other scissors. The ability to play for a win other than assassination even when you have the wrong drop makes the game more rewarding for the player who brought the wrong list and keeps the player with the lucky list on their toes.If the scouts are outside the scenario areas, don't you win on scenario in the end?
I don't disagree, but I'd argue that the game would have more depth if my opponent had to make harder decisions.But in either case, this is what I was describing. The army with the guns is forcing the other side to push forward and be aggressive. That's no stalemate. That sounds like a gun line rather decisively demolishing a slower melee army
My gripe is not so much about losing (I have drops into gunlines) so much as the determinism of gunline games. Both sides press forward, gunline attempts to kill enough to keep other side from winning on scenario, melee player runs to engage if they can't get into charge range. Some element of randomness (eg. being able to use randomized charge ranges to make it into combat some percentage of the time) forces the gunline player to be much more careful about their resources.Maybe not a great feeling, but not really what I think you were describing.
Yeah, but that's how a gun line plays. They lose when you clear that disposable something each turn and win on scenario in 2-3 turns total, unless they shoot everything off the table or you actually manage to close with them/force them to commit to melee.
It just brings it to the fore. One veteran player in our meta stomped off in the middle of a game because the premeasuring was making the game frustrating (no clock that day).This has nothing to do with the addition of premeasuring, I assure you. I saw the top tables (and even the middle tables) of just local Steamrollers play out the exact same way in Mark II.
Random charge distances fix two things, they keep guns honest against stealth (9.5" threat can percentage 11" threat guns some percentage of the time) and it keeps equally matched melee armies from doing the chargey dance.Random charge distances don't fix this, longer charge distances do. The only way you "fix" this problem so that your opponent has to come into your charge range to shoot you is to make all guns in the game have a range roughly equivalent with a slow model's static charge distance. There's a reason your solution hasn't included "Make charges Speed+d3 inches" because doing so would leave you with the exact same problem you have now.
I'm not saying that random charges are necessarily the way to go, but they're definitely a potential solution to a real problem.
I prefer to play female warcasters, but some of the casters I really wanted to give a try (both Caines, Nemo1, Siege, Vyros2, Rahn, Ossyan, Garryth, Baldur1, Krueger2, Bradigus, Kreoss1, etc.), so I built female versions of them, which encouraged me in turn to come up with my own backstories. My Nemo1 is regular Nemo's niece who got his old MK1 warcaster armor as a present when she graduated her journeyman years. My Caine is a very disciplined officer horribly annoyed by that drunk loser sharing her name and dual-pistol style. And so on. Sure, little micromanagement of equipment, but I still get to decide what parts to equip the models themselves with!
That's just not my experience. But I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree, since this is completely subjective perception, I guess...I'd characterize it more like AA is each guy gets a stanza (as per standard rap battles), and IGOUGO is each guy gets a whole song, one of which is released in stores weeks or months before the other guy's and has the chance to be wildly successful at dissing the second rapper before he even gets his version out.
I disagree. The epitome of complicated but not complex for me is still what GW has been cooking up over the years, telling you exactly how models have to be moved once a charge is initiated or how wounds have to be assigned following a six-step-process.1) Warmachine pretends that lots of complicated special rules for dozens of minis that you HAVE to remember or lose is complexity of gameplay
What I strive for is the opposite, simple rules that create interesting choices for the players, and while WMH may not be perfect, it's certainly a lot better than GW games, and certainly not worse than the numberous conditional effects in Malifaux. Infinity is probably a bit better as far as special rules are concerned, but there's a whole section of exotic equipment in the core rules, everything from gas-filters to black noise grenades...
Entirely subjective.2) I dislike and/or am bored by about 70% of the models (I picked Cygnar solely because Haley2 and 3 looked fun to paint)
Then don't read it. You wouldn't be the only one. Of course, if the fiction matters to your overall gaming experience, then I guess it's a legitimate concern, albeit a subjective one.3) I am uninterested in the fiction
True. The game rewards skill, requires skill, and punishes mistakes harshly.4) the gameplay is okay at best and at worst makes me feel like a grown man kicking a toddler because there's so little forgiveness for inexperienced/bad players
I've gathered a group of rather casual players, and we get by with friendly warnings if the other person is unnecessarily stepping right into an assassination vector they probably didn't see, by allowing takebacks, and by generally teaching new players all the strategies and tactics we've learned ourselves, rather than brutally stomping them.
But yes, if you're looking for a more forgiving game, WMH may just not be for you.
I disagree. Every game I played developed its own narrative, by the choices both players make on the table, by the threats they are avoiding or mitigating, by the preasure scenario generates, etc. In addition, we tend to craft our little back stories before some of our games. Don't believe me? - Browse the batrep collection linked in in my signature for a bit. You'll also find more than one game decided entirely by scenario there, I promise!5) there's no 'narrative structure' system in place, making each session just a random killfest
Again true. But in exchange you get whole armies facing off against each other. If money is a concern, play a skirmish game, not a battle game.6) it's expensive to get to the level where it feels like a 'real' game - close to Warhammer 40k levels of expensive.
You mean like spending focus to boost dice rolls?I won't lie, it's the hand mechanic (and the minis!) that draw me to Malifaux most. Having a resource to influence luck, like Blood Bowl's rerolls, is vital for a wargame to even out the 'bad' moments and give players at least some feeling of control over the randomness of dice.
I guess you've ever rolled double-ones thrice in a row on Caine2's feat, or watched a crucial charge fail to remove it's target due to excessive 1s and 2s coming up on the dice? How is that any different than failing a charge outright?On the other hand, a random charge range would mean that the fancy-dancing you see on the high-end tournament tables would be riskier and thus open the game up more. But I think SPD"+2"+D3" would be a LITTLE more even in that regard.
I don't get it btw, if you don't like warmachine and you like malifaux, why are you here?
I'm not in the malifaux community telling that i don't like malifaux and i like warmachine O_o
Issyria vs Kromac2  Cat and Mouse
Caine2 vs Skarre2  Forlorn Bay
Vayl2 vs Morvahna2  The Road to MK3
(They are all MK2, though, we've had some troubles making time to play since the new edition came out...)
If you can do a little bit of math and are able to remember cards seen (of high importance, such as Red Joker, Kings, Queens and Jacks) you can quite savely steer trough a turn with bad cards (altough you can also easily spend one Soul Stone to 'cycle' two). If you want the % of bad, decent to great cards you'll come out at:
Because of how a deck usually is shuffled well you can also expect to see a high card after having seen 'two' lower cards... usually. But that's enough for today :P
I completely agree. However I will also say that it's very difficult to balance things out between them. As the pieces are very hard to compare.Originally Posted by Havock
On one side a Warjack has the 'damage options' of 5 or 6 warrior models but at the same time he cannot engage that many or cannot easily be engaged by that many.
We also should not forget that the name itself implies that Warmachine should indeed revolve around Warjacks and Hordes around masses of monsters, Warbeasts. So in terms of brand recognition I think Privateer Press improved it's game brand and thus uniqueness by a lot.
Last edited by JDAntoine; 01-11-2017 at 03:34 AM.
I am glad you changed the title of the post, more fitting that way. Second, try minions or legion or something like that, we have countercharge, retilitory strike, counterblast and all kinds of fun that triggers during your opponents turn, you will never be bored again!
When life gives you lemons: Gurgle gurgle tapeworm
Also see post #177 (I wish I knew how to quote multiple posts in a reply), why are you here if you don't like and want to play the game? Do people on other game forums go online to say how much they don't like the game and why they play other games? Is that like a thing that happens? (honest question)
I would also argue that you need not spend excessive amounts of money on the game to be competitive, but that is also subjective. You claim #6 to be fact, but whether something is expensive, cheap, or reasonable is dependent upon the purchaser.
As for #7, you could play narrative leagues, the old ones or the ones that are coming out later this year, or you could use the old bond rules (do these still exist? they should if they don't) or wound rules from leagues to get things to matter over multiple games.
obviously nothing anyone says here will change your mind, things on the internet rarely change peoples minds, but hopefully you can take something form it and either enjoy the game more or at least not try to ruin our game experiences with your negativity.
P.S. thank you Mods, for changing the title of the thread.
If you don't like the thread then don't click the thread. You don't need to come into the thread and then tell everybody how you don't like the thread.
I think it would be nice if we could get away from the idea that there is some objective measure of goodness of design. All judgment of design is subjective. We can decide on design objectives and then try to judge how well the game meets those objectives, but the objectives are by nature arbitrary.
One example is complexity of the rules. It's not objectively true that simpler rules that accomplish the same thing are better. Some people enjoy rule complexity and increasing their mastery of the rules. Some people don't. There are games that are to some extent about remembering the rules - the computer games Papers, Please and Beholder come to mind. There's even a conspiracy theory that Warhammer 40k is designed to have complex rules to make it more kid-friendly, because kids may not have fully developed strategic minds yet but they can still improve by improving their understanding of the rules and how to use them.
We can set ourselves a design goal that the rules should be as simple as possible so that the game is easier to play for people who don't find it fun to try (and, sometimes, fail) to remember them, but there's nothing that makes the goal objective.
Another example is model by model balance. It's not an objective truth that models being balanced with each other is better. One thing some people enjoy in games is finding out what options are good and what options are bad. Some of the options being bad is fun for them. If we want model balance to be close, we have to set that up as a subjective goal and then evaluate it on that basis.
It's not helpful to say "the game is bad because it doesn't meet this objective measure." No measure is objective. All we can do is posit design goals and then try to evaluate how the game does on them. (Also, it's probably worth noting that while what the design goals are is subjective, we can still try to measure how well it achieves the subjective goals.)
Conversely, it's not helpful to say "all discussion is pointless because everything is subjective!" What the design is trying to accomplish - the design goals - are arbitrary, but the game needs to have these goals or we can't say whether one design decision is superior to another. Without them we are cast adrift with no guide to what decisions to make. We should posit design objectives (like: the player should find the game mechanics as easy to understand as possible) and then we have a way to think about which designs best meet those objectives.
But of course, the development team doesn't necessarily share those objectives or prioritise them the same way.
But in Malifaux that system is designed to be used much more as a core part of strategy and the soul-stone & card-hand mechanics allow you to trigger those effects when you need them (assuming you have drawn the cards or still have a few soul-stones). And the duel system really appeals to me because when combined with the card-hand it is one of the best systems that I have seen that allows you to actively prioritize defense of your models and try to actively prevent their deaths. Most games simply have static target values that you can sometimes buff, but generally the other player just rolls some dice and you see if your guy dies. The systems that allow you to take part in the defense of your key models are more interesting to me and in my gaming experience since the late '80s Malifaux's system works best in that regard.
But Warmachine is a whole different beast of a game. I think there is definitely area for improvement, and I share a lot of your nit-picks about the game. However, I think the area where Warmachine is most lacking is the scenario system. I don't think it is a good thing that the scenario system baked into the game is so utterly shallow. Steamroller and the other game types are separate add-ons to the system.
The core system itself supports little more than move a model to X space, try not to have Y model die, or kill model Z. There is really not much built into Warmachine other than combat - and so pretty much every single model has to facilitate that in some way. Now, the game is a game about battles - so combat should be the big draw, but battles are generally fought for a reason and that has never been well represented in the scenarios for any edition. In the current system, most of the scenarios are simple variations of stand guys in some sort of geometric area of the board and try not to die while killing all the other guys. Sometimes there is also an object you can blow up for a 1-time score. And you try to keep your caster safe from harm while doing this. Every scenario really boils down to a simple variation of that. If there was one area of the rules that would make the biggest impact on the play of the game if it was expanded - it would be the scenario and victory-conditions system.
As for the hand mechanic, as JDAntoine mentioned, there is more depth to it than simply the cards that you pulled into your hand versus your opponent. There are ways that most crews can use to cycle most of their own deck and the system also gives you ways to mitigate poor hands through actions such as charging to generate extra attacks, focus actions to improve your card draw on a duel (for instance handy for negating the defensive cover bonus of a target), or defensive stance to boost the defense card draws for your own models. There are also a number of effects that require you to discard a card to trigger and poor cards are very useful for that. Cheating values down is also a useful thing sometimes.
I think if you play with the system more you may come to better appreciate just how much a player can control and influence it. Yes, there is still elements of luck in regard to the cards you draw for your control hand and when you draw different values as you make actions, but there is a lot of deterministic things that are mixed into the random system. I really enjoy that blend.
The main reason I created this post and am following this thread are to get to the roots of why I find Warmahordes to be less than excellent, so that I can then explain those reasons to other people who play the game and (hopefully!) convince them to try something else - and to help other players who are in the same boat I am.
More often than not we wargamers play a game because it's what everyone else nearby plays, not because it's what we WANT to play - and because we want to fit in, we keep our mouths shut about maybe trying that game with the awesome horror steampunk minis, or that we should maybe go back to GW since they're re-releasing their best game, or that maybe this version of Battletech that promises to play really fast with big games could be fun.
Let's face it, wargamers are sometimes quite socially awkward, and can cling to our favorite games with all the tenacity of a Cubs fan circa 2015. That tenacity can lead us to reject alternatives rather, ah, fervently - there has been at least one quite aggressive (now deleted) posts in this very thread on that topic. Sunk cost fallacy can lead quite a few to conclude that even trying something new makes all their effort paying, painting, and playing totally worthless, and makes them get rather nasty when the button is pushed.
I'm not trying to convince the people here to sell their WMH minis and move to [INSERT GAME HERE]. Wouldn't want you to anyway, and I'm certainly not planning to do so myself! But I did want to sharpen my arguments a bit and see what the dedicated fans had to say about my points before I tried deploying them IRL.
And ya know, maybe open a debate about the good and bad points of a game on its forum. I can remember the official GW forum's response to such a thread - locking first the thread, then the subsection, and finally closing down the forum entirely because it wasn't what they wanted to hear.
There were also some interesting scenarios in some of the summer league events, like summer rampage, that were very varied and had quite different objectives. Some were very interesting, but some were very unbalanced as well. I recall a few scenarios that only required you to hold 2 points at once and you would immediately win. Those scenarios were nasty to play against Legion back in the days when you could simply fly over everything with no negative effects.
I understand that the scenarios operate to push the forces together. That is a necessary thing on the whole for this game. If you take scenarios out of the game it rapidly descends into a kiting exercise much of the time. That has always been an issue with the game.
But, I think there is a lot of variability that could be added to the existing scenario system while still keeping the framework that pushes the armies together. There is also something to be said about scenarios that force you to somewhat split your forces. Currently, even scenarios with multiple zones keep those zones relatively close together. The only ones that tend to have objectives a bit far apart use the flags. If the standard board is 48" wide why not make some scenarios that better make use of the flanks?
Also, there are ideas from other games that could possibly be adapted. For example, Malifaux's scenario system is at it's core a system with a main scenario scoring objective, which is usually mirrored for both sides, and then optional sub-scenarios that can vary between both players. So, both factions may be trying to control a space at the center of the board, but one faction may also be trying to break through to the other side of the table with part of their force, while the opponent is trying to place a number of scheme markers at a certain area on the board. There is a huge variance in the number of different schemes in the game, and many of them will have no real way to fit into Warmachine, but I think some of them could.
I think there is room for adding interesting asymmetrical play elements to the scenarios that will not only make the games more interesting, but also make many types of models more relevant. Malifaux's scenario system is the primary reason why the percentage of poor models in that game is so very low. Many of the poor or non-combat models are very useful for things like scenario & scheme running. Warmachine is so predicated on either killing or surviving that it makes a fairly narrow area where models are considered useful. If you widen the types of things that models can do to score points and win the game then it works to give more useful roles to subpar or niche models.
Last edited by Cannibalbob; 01-11-2017 at 10:25 AM.
There is plenty of room for better scenarios. Personally, I'm happy that over MKII and III, the scenarios are something that can actually be achieved. The thing is, Warmachine is mostly a game about two warcasters having their giant robots beat each other up. Its taken until MKIII for that to actually be how the game is played, but I believe its always been the goal. That being the goal of the game, the scenarios would be be intended to facilitate the robots beating each other up. Making scenarios that are more varied, asymmetrical, or whatever adjective you prefer as a synonym for better, without changing the focus away from giant steam-powered robots beating people up would be a challenge. Not impossible, I would imagine, just not easy. So far, a challenge that no one in a design position (either for core game system or steam roller) has taken on. Of course, I'm doing a lot of speculation. To be honest, warmachine as it exists today feels like a completely different game than it did way back when I started. But the one thing that seems to be the same is that the powers-that-be seem to want warjacks to be relevant, and what they do better then anything else is kill things.
Also, Malifaux models seem to look a lot better assembled than those weird pictures they have on the box. That can't do them any favours.
I think it could be cool to break away from that a bit more? I'd love to see some of the rulesets people could come up with that can use Warmachine's models and maybe represent the setting in ways the wargame's current rules can't.
If they don't want to pic up the other game based solely on that other games strength, bashing the game they DO like is not gonna make you any friends.
I mean, it's okay if you don't like it. If anybody asks me why I'm not playing X I'll tell them, but if they enjoy it I'm not going to go out of my way to tell them that they're "doing it wrong".
If you want to play something else, just get a couple of starter armies and start asking your friends to sit down with you for a demo. That's how the PGs do it (not trolling the other companies forums to tell them how wrong they are for enjoying Mali-Ball or whatever).
Last edited by Ganso; 01-11-2017 at 01:35 PM.
This is so weird on so many levels. The op is asking in the warmachine community some help to convince people to stop playing warmachine and try something else?
I'll tell you a secret, one of the rules of us PGs is to never talk bad of any other game when we present warmachine to others. Maybe, just maybe, concentrate on the games you like instead of trying to badmouth the ones you don't (at least not with the people who are playing it).
Criticizing the game is fine, but this is just too absurd.
That isn't to say that you can't also avoid aggression by doing the same thing. It's possible to dance outside of the opponent's threat range for an entire game, never achieve anything on scenario, never make a convincing push on attrition, and just generally try to mitigate your own losses. That's usually, but not exclusively, a sign of a poor or a newer player though.
What brings "risk" into the stand-off play is losing ground on scenario or losing on attrition due to an opponent's firepower. If a list with no capacity to push either of these things runs into a gun line, then I'm afraid you've just found out what the definition is of a bad match-up. And yes, the fact that this describes most Cryx vs gun line games is a problem, but it's a problem with Cryx and gun lines, not the game as a whole. Generally speaking I feel a list that is slower, more fragile, and less capable of damaging or forcing scenario on its opponent should probably lose that match-up.
I played a game earlier this week in which my slow melee army went up against a much faster combined arms list. My opponent's concern about avoiding my threat ranges cost him the game. He hung too far back, let me get my chaff into scenario relevant positions, sacrificed some of my models to make cloud effects and make it so that his alpha strike would be sub optimal, and he chose to sit back and shoot. Two turns later I'd killed a small fraction of his army and lost most of mine but he'd been forced to commit his Warcaster to avoid a scenario loss and I won on assassination.
I don't think I should have won that game. I brought a bad list and dropped it into a strong one (and a bad match-up to boot). He had all the tools he needed to thrash me. But despite lacking everything else I could use the scenario to force a difficult decision and he plumped for an option that saw me win almost three full turns down the line.
It's also just a bad, bad counterplay. Having a 1/3 chance of making it into melee doesn't make you a good player if you succeed. It doesn't even mean you have an answer to a gun. It just means you roll dice good.
The only games where staying just out of threat didn't often happen by one side or the other was when a fairly new player opted to just run up into his opponent's face for no reason, or run models an inch or too into range of guns that he didn't need to get shot by that turn because he couldn't guess the range right.
I assure you, this tactic has always been a core part of even mid-tier Warmachine play. Like I said, I spent Mark II playing fast melee lists and I was pretty good at guessing ranges. I did this exact strategy in almost every game I played. It has always, always been "at the fore".
Oh, and just a quick final thing about the art - it's interesting, in that it's one of the only games where I both love it and hate it at the same time. I love all the kind of old west and steampunk stuff, all the cowboy models, and gremlins. It's the most demonic stuff that I don't like the style of, none of it feels as imposing as it should. I'm also not a fan of some of the random cheesecake, and some of the poses appear to disregard anatomy and human movement, but that is what it is. Luckily, I can play Guild, Gremlins, or Outcasts and love almost every model (as well as several parts of the other factions). Just need to dodge Neverborn really.
It's almost like psychological - don't convince someone who enjoys something that it's bad, it just makes them start off fundamentally opposed to you (because they already like what you're saying they shouldn't). Just note how successful it's been here - it's a 5 page thread of people disagreeing with you that the game is bad, that doesn't even seem to have accomplished the task you're now saying you originally set out to accomplish. So far, you've not gone past the OP of "I don't like alternating turns, or the steamroller system" in terms of what you don't like.
Be a positive force for change - bring a well painted demo set from a game you do enjoy. From this thread, I honestly have no idea what that could be, but figure out it, make up a set, and try get people to give it a game. Don't do this by crapping on Warmachine. Do this by talking about the positives of this new game, things they might enjoy. I don't know what it'll be, because I don't know what you actually do like, but give it some thought and I'm sure you'll come up with something. The essential key is to make it entirely about the positives of the new game, not badmouthing the old one. Ereshkigal nailed it:
Last edited by Sletchman; 01-11-2017 at 07:11 PM.
We are done here.
Warmachine/Hordes: New Jersey Facebook Group
Normal voice. | Mod voice.