Tuesday, April 12, 2016

All New War - A New Edition for Warmachine and Hordes

After months of relatively little news and almost no new product announcements, Privateer Press finally dropped the bomb that people have been speculating about for awhile: Warmachine and Hordes will be getting a new edition this year (announcement site).

Full day one info dump after the break (and damn is it a lot more information than I thought we'd have!)

Of note from that announcement site: this new edition will see the first ever major revision of the faction Battlegroup Boxes. Each has had at least one warjack/warbeast changed (except for Retribution, which appears to have the same myrmidons):

 - Cygnar: Charger changed to Firefly
 - Khador: Destroyer changed to Decimator
 - Protectorate: Crusader changed to Castigator
 - Cryx: Two bonejacks (Deathripper and Defiler) changed to Reaper
 - Retribution: No myrmidon changes
 - Trollbloods: Impaler changed to Bouncer
 - Circle: Argus changed to Gorax
 - Legion: Two Shredders and Carnevian changed to Nephalim Bolt Thrower and Neraph
 - Skorne: One Cyclops Savage changed to Cyclops Raider

Interesting to note that Convergence is not getting updated Battlegroup box at this time.

And that is least interesting change with the Battlegroup Boxes!

All of the warcasters and warlocks from the old Battlegroup Boxes have been given the boot and replaced with the new crop of warcasters and warlocks that PP talked about a couple of months back. The full list of new blood is:

 - Cygnar: Major Beth Maddox
 - Khador: Lord Kozlov, Viscount of Scarsgrad
 - Protectorate: Malekus, the Burning Truth
 - Cryx: Bane Witch Agathia
 - Retribution: Magister Helynna Vahr
 - Trollbloods: Ragnor Skysplitter, the Runemaster
 - Circle: Tanith the Feral Song
 - Legion: Kryssa, Conviction of Everblight
 - Skorne: Beast Master Xekaar

Models for the new 'casters/'locks can be seen in the new Battlegroup Box images:

Two big things stand out about these new Battlegroup Boxes:

1) The changes to the battlegroup will, hopefully, create a better player experience at the starter box level. The old Battlegroup Boxes were fairly horribly balanced, against each other and in general. These new boxes will hopefully allow for players to engage in Battlegroup Box games without having to deal with the horror that is a Denny1/Sorscha1 feat turn.

2) These Battlegroup Boxes are all inclusive starting points to the game. Not only do you get some models to start playing, but you also get dice, tokens, a ruler, and some basic terrain. And, going by the listing of June/July products (collected here), these boxes will be a goddamn steal, selling for $39.99 retail.

The downside to this is that it seems like that low cost may be the result of PP making the starter models out of the same plastic they've been using for their recent board game efforts. That is somewhat disappointing (especially if the quality ends up lower than their current plastics as a result), but it is hard to argue with that price for a starter, and the models in the box will still be available separately (I'm speculating that the 'casters and 'locks will be for sale separately somehow, similar to how Syntherion was available through the PP store if you didn't want to buy the Convergence box).

Credit where it is due: this is exactly the sort of product you want to put out to capitalize on a revised product line. Cheap, all inclusive for play, and hopefully better balanced. A dramatic improvement over the current environment where Battlegroup Boxes are largely avoided, or at least recommended against.

Getting back to the new edition in general: in line with general speculation on when a new edition might come out this year (if it happened), this new edition will be debuting at PP's convention, Lock & Load, this year. The new core rules for Warmachine and Hordes will be released digitally on June 12th, with the full rule roll out happening on June 29th. Anyone at Lock & Load will get the chance to play the game for the first time using the new edition's rules, and will likely get to see revised model rules there as well.

As if that wasn't enough, PP also released a Primecast episode (Episode #30) going over some of the rough changes in the new edition, plans for rolling it out at Lock & Load, and the confirmation that we'll be getting a new Hordes faction in 2017, with some discussion of it happening at Lock & Load this year.

The contents of the Primecast have helpfully been summarized elsewhere (from atlantean on the Fire Fingers boards) so I'm just going to dump it here for reference:

They discussed announcing the edition April 1 because they are assholes.

It was called eggroll internally "for years"

What does the new edition offer players?

Re-balance of every model
Each caster has a unique spell or rule
Doubled point scale, last point scale was not quite granular enough
Address differences in focus and fury (focus too strong late game, fury too strong early)
New mechanic "Power-up", each jack gets a focus for beginning the turn in their caster's control area
Spirit bond mechanic where Warlocks can gain fury for beasts they have lost each turn
Upped the bonus points for jacks/beasts that each caster has (doubled or so)
Each battlebox is actually 0 points
This was the right time to introduce a new edition based on feedback from community

Lessons learned from MK2?

Huge-based models threw a wrench into design
Too conservative with their design, want to push them further
Global reset to the rules, smooth things out for new players
New rule books have detailed examples and references to make getting into the game easier

Other big changes

Pre-measuring is universal now, felt like a loop hole because of what can already be measured, no more gotchas
Psychology is gone, no more fear and no more terror, no more 1 die roll making your units/models useless
Never wrote fluff of people cowering so removed it

Huge-based model changes
Learned a lot from making them
Watched how they impacted the meta in order to inform their new design
They now feel like "the monsters of the battlefield" due to the point value changes
Juggernaut vs. Conquest
Conquest is 4 times the points and 4 times the "badass"

Big changes to the story

Story is coming through the Skull Island books and the main fiction will not be in the rulebooks
Time jump to the story is about 2 years into the future from the wrap-up of the current timeline (Blood of Kings)
Flashpoint is the first volume in a trilogy for the fluff (called Acts of War)
Major Beth Maddox (Cyngar Battlebox caster) is a main character in Flashpoint
Cyngar has "changed rulership" (met by huhs in the podcast by other PP guys)
Fresh jumping off point, all bets are off
Flashpoint flips the script on aggressor and defender
Cygnar will be seen differently, not the protagonist
Not fighting in Thornwood, landscape will change
Stories were huge and epic so no one got a lot of screen time, this story (Flashpoint) is about Cygnar v. Khador
The trilogy will have an impact on the whole Iron Kingdoms (Acts of War)
"No favorite character is safe", "we have taken off the safety net", "we might not go all Game of Thrones"
Everything is integrated, it builds on itself, it has a path book to book and through new models and organized play, everything is interlocked

Lock and Load

L&L will be the big pre-release (surprise surprise)
There will not be a L&L like this ever again
No one wants to stand in line
Release is on Saturday night for all new edition products, after keynote and after final MK2 events
Crowning the best MK2 player in the world at L&L
Then change to MK3 they are preselling product at L&L
Instead of getting in line, at your leisure, you wander up to the store and make your purchase
They will bag everything and when the keynote is over there will be distribution stations to pick up your order (this is pretty sweet actually)

"There will be a MK3 game within 10 minutes", "that will be a fast reader"

On Sunday there will still be MK2 events but there will be MK3 scrambles with PP "ringers"
Keynote will lay out more info and previews "one really big preview, specifically for hordes" (new faction is confirmed for L&L 2017)
New faction teasers and artwork to show, "weird stuff", (laughs about how weird it will be)
Rules in the faction change the game in cool ways
Faction is built in the new edition, feels like one of the most completely though out factions
In the beginning they created the first 10 models and 3 casters for Warmachine factions, with this new faction they had all the tools to build so they built the whole thing (limited faction then?)
Feels like a complete ecosystem and has a very interesting reason for being in existence (he got cut off from talking at this point)

Blogs and Primecasts are coming with more details (2 more Primecasts in April, third will be Organized play focused)

Guarding the secret for a long time, glad to get it off their chest, "every time I go to a show I have to relearn the current rules"


After credits there are a few outtakes but no information.

That is a lot to process. Even after having a day to chew on all that information, I'm still struggling to really appreciate what it all means. I'll have at least two more posts coming with thought dumps about the new edition: one about the general rule changes, and one of course more Khador focused. Hopefully those will go up soon.

Until then, thanks very much for reading!


  1. Good post, but to make a quibble, the Circle battle box changed from Winter Argus, Argus, and Feral Warpwolf to Gorax, "Feral Argus", and a Pureblood Warpwolf.

    1. You are very right. I totally flaked on the Pureblood Warpwolf change. And I totally forgot that they ever changed from double Argus. I started way back in the hoary days when there were only Argus and Warpwolves, so I forget that any of them are Feral now. :)

      That sort of goes along with a theory I kicked around with some friends about how each of the new Battlegroup Boxes includes at least one warjack/warbeast that is not particularly beloved in Mk. 2. Firefly, Castigator, Decimator, Reaper (and the Slayer :P), Bouncer, Pureblood Warpwolf, and Neraph. While some of those models found niche success in their factions, I think it is noteworthy that PP felt they were worth including in the core boxes this time around.

      The Skorne box doesn't fit that model (the Savage is the least used of all those models in Mk. 2, but its also a BB OG), but it is very interesting that they add in the Raider.