Friday, 17 June 2011

Warmachine On The Cheap

A while ago now, arabianknight posted about his proxy Trenchers for Warmachine, and made a convincing case for the act of proxying the more generic-looking miniatures in a Warmahordes army.

Now, Warmahordes is my tournament game, insofar as I have one at all, and so the decision is largely made for me; whatever I want to take to an Official Event (TM) more or less has to be Official Miniatures (TM) as I can't rely on the discretion of the tournament organiser being in my favour.  Nevertheless, I understand the case for proxying and accept that if you're never going to play in an environment where officialdom matters, th'art free to do as thou wilt.

Aleister Crowley approves of proxying.
No wonder he's the Wickedest Man in the World.

This morning, I stumbled upon an idea for expanding a Warmahordes collection past the initial investment that seems to dovetail well with the proxy practice.  I'll link to it in a moment, but first I want to brief the non-Warmahordes readership about a few truths.  Those groin-yards among you who already know their Slaughterhousers from their Doom Reavers can feel free to skip a paragraph.

Warmahordes revolves around the one figure at the centre of your army; the warlock or warcaster.  Change that, and keep the rest of your army list the same, and you change the way the whole army list plays.  The pieces still do what they do, but they're supported differently and often take on different strategic and tactical roles (what was once a line-breaking destroyer of meat and metal alike can become a disposable beatstick, a screening piece or a tough objective taker, depending on context).  The game also incorporates a variety of mercenary troops which can either join armies from one or more other factions or do their own thing as 'contract' or 'pact' forces with their own agendas.  The nature of mercenaries is such that, barring a few excellent pieces, they tend to appear in armies of their own kind; it's very rare that you'll see a faction army including more than one or two mercenaries.

Which is odd, as Raptor of Spite for the Unblighted pointed out this morning.  Building a solid core of generic mercenaries or minions and then adding faction pieces - mainly warcasters/warlocks and the warjacks/warbeasts that they control - to that affords a similar kind of variety to the change-your-warcaster-change-your-army approach described above, just on a slightly grander scale.  It occurs to me that proxying that core of generic mercenaries and then adding small faction battlegroups - possibly even the discounted starter boxes, which tend to include something for free - would result in a satisfactory-if-not-brilliant Warmahordes army, certainly good enough to just play the game.

Warmachine probably affords the best opportunities for this, given the greater variety of mercenary troop types available to the steam-powered factions, and the fairly generic nature of those troops (there's not much demand for giant crocodile men or pig-headed rifle-blokes, you see, so cheap ranges are harder to find).  Units of dwarfs with whacking great hammers or rifles plus tower shields aren't that hard to come by; neither are armoured infantry with polearms or firearms, matching cavalry and a mounted officer; and while the specific characters belonging to Privateer's proprietary fantasy species might be a bit tricky, pirates with cutlasses, pistols and rifles, plus a few gentlemanly character-solo-ish types are less so.  Build a core of faux-Rhulfolk, Steelheads or Privateers, with all the rules synergies that having broadly the same sort of stuff implies, and then add the starter battlegroups to create up to six different armies (depending on whether you can get hold of the old Mercenary starter sets or not) sharing a core of cheap proxied troops.

Things might not match up perfectly in aesthetic terms and you'll get Privateer fanboys and tournament players looking at you strangely, but you can laugh them off as you go to sleep on your pile of scrupulously saved money.  Except me.  Don't laugh me off.  I did tell you how to do this, after all.  Just wish I'd thought of it first...

ADDITIONAL: for those who care about the viability of this approach in terms of rules, Raptor is currently running a faction-by-faction breakdown of the various mercenary options available.  Go and have a look.


The Belgian, said...

The requested stickers arrived this morning, thanks a lot!

arabianknight said...

Getting a band of Mercenaries that can spread across several "main" factions would seem to get the best banger for your buck and finding some cheaper proxies more so - I fully approve ;-)

The one sticking point, as far as value goes, is that you have to find enough cheap proxies to offset the cost of the MkII Mercenary card deck which you would need to buy. Although with a few cheap generic units from EBay I'm sure the £10+ could be found.

Von said...

arabianknight, you make a good point: however, when we consider that the two Mantic Dwarf units I linked to plus ten shields for the proxied High Shields come out at £20 (call it £26 after suitable bases have been purchased), while the same units with official models would set you back close to £70, I think the extra £10 isn't exactly going to invalidate the choice to proxy.

Raptor1313 said...

Von, first off, thanks for the link. Current plan is to finish rolling through the Warmachine factions, though I don't think I'm going to do it for the minions. I don't think they've really got enough choices at this point to make it worthwhile.

As a side note, if you know what you want and have a mind to pick up some bits, you might be able to get what you want cheaper from the Privateer Press site, as the cards are about $0.25 apiece. If you can get a buddy in on the bits order, the shipping gets down much more.

Even as a fairly avid merc player, I still use about 1/2 to 1/4 of the deck. No need to dump for the entire thing.