By: Kirk Buckendorf
Disclaimer – I’m a total noob, but I want to sound like I know what I’m talking about, so if I use the wrong terminology here and there, forgive me!
I’ve been a gamer for over 30 years and in that time I’ve dallied in a little Miniature Wargaming in the form of Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Blood Bowl and a few other Games Workshop properties. But it’s been a LONG time – about 17 or so years to be honest. The one thing I’ve always remembered fondly as a somewhat passable artist was painting the models. Lately, I’ve even been converting some Warhammer Orcs that I bought a couple years ago into a Blood Bowl team just for the fun of it, not even expecting to find anyone to play with. Luckily they are re-releasing Blood Bowl later this year and I have a Games Workshop store near me that has even begun to support the already large presence of Blood Bowl players here that I didn’t know about until recently. But that’s for a different article series I’ll start later.
Over the last 5 years, I’ve had my eye on Privateer Press’ Warmachine & Hordes line of gaming. The models always look great and I like the fact it’s centered around Warjacks and Warbeasts that are bigger than your average “human-sized” models. It gives painters a chance to show off their skills a bit. Here’s a pic of a human Warcaster, his Heavy Warjack and Colossal Warjack for size comparison.
I really like the Steam Punk themed Warjacks of the Warmachine line, but the Faction that speaks my soul has been the Trollbloods from the Hordes version of the game. Warmachine and Hordes share some basic core rules that make them compatible to battle against each other, but individually they have their own mechanics and quirks. Warmachine was first and has a resource system where the Warcasters (like your King in Chess) give orders and control the Warjacks. They get an amount of Focus every turn to cast spells with or give to Warjacks to take special actions. Hordes warps that resource system a bit and its Warlocks mentally dominate and control living Warbeasts forcing them to take actions which generates Fury. If a Warbeast’s Fury gets too high, they can go into a rampage, attacking the nearest model, even your own, essentially being out of your control for a turn. Warlocks can prevent this by leaching the Fury from their beasts and harnessing it into their own spells or use Animus abilities inherent to the beasts they control (Animus are like spells that Warbeasts come with, but need a Warlock to cast/use).
So Warcasters give Focus to their Warjacks and Warlocks leach Fury from their warbeasts where Focus and Fury are the resources they use to do things. Note that to win the game you need to destroy your opponent’s Warlock or Warcaster.
That’s a super basic rundown of the two factions, but it gives you an idea of how cool and diverse the system is. Both sides have a unique feel to playing them, I’m sure.
So why have I decided to jump into this game after just looking at the pretty models at Gencon and in any gamestore I walk into? Privateer Press has just released a new revamped version of the game called Mark III so it seems like a good time for a noob to jump in. Also, a local shop near me posted an event called a Journeyman League where players start with a basic small Battle group of 3-4 models and then add to it every week for 6 weeks, eventually settling on a 75 point army. The one I’ve joined is a bit modified from the Privateer Press suggested League rules, but I have no idea what I’m doing, so I trust it’ll be a cool learning experience and a chance to paint new models every week.
I joined a Trollbloods Facebook group a few months ago to just lurk and look at the cool models, and decided to ask for help in how to start out my Battle Group. Here are the basic rules for the Journeyman League (Click the link to see the full post):
The League will be 6 weeks long, and will start with 1 of 3 casters. Every week, you’ll be able to add 15 points of models to your list- a new Jack, some bloodthirsty hordes, or valiant solos! Starting at week 4, you’ll build a second list from scratch, and be able to play with either!
After 6 weeks, every player will have 2 full 75 point lists, and we’ll cap off the League with a fun tournament to test your lists against one another!
Week 1: 0 Points, Battlegroup Only, No Characters
Week 2: 15 Points
Week 3: 30 Points
Week 4, 2nd List, 45 Points
Week 5: 2nd List, 60 Points
Week 6: 2nd List, 75 Points
Your 1st list may contain the caster or warlock from either the old battleboxes, the All In One box, or the new battleboxes. If you’re new to the game, the new battleboxes will give you a 0 point list to play with right out of the gate! Mercenaries and minions have more of a spread to fit the varied nature of their factions.
The League also limited which Warlocks/Warcasters you could start with, but I bought the new Mark III Trollbloods Battle Group Box which comes with Ragnor Skysplitter and some Light Warbeasts, so I’ll be using him. I also let the Facebook group know that I’d bought a cool model, Dozer & Smigg, from a store a couple years ago with some store credit and I wanted to include him, because why not. I don’t think he fits best with this Warlock, but I’m just doing the league to learn so I don’t mind sacrificing optimal army builds for a fun learning experience and a chance to paint the model that’s been sitting on my shelf for two years. Which, I totally painted last weekend because I couldn’t wait, so here it is:
I’m actually not happy with the Blue Skin, it’s a bit dark, and while I don’t mind going completely different from the Privateer’s recommended colors, I think a lighter blue will contrast better with the darker colors of his armor and cloth. I’ll repaint his skin this weekend and share some new pics in my next article. Also, here are the two model kits I’m starting the first week with. I’ll post pics of their assembly and eventual painting as I this series continues:
The League starts on Sunday, July 2nd, so I’ll report back with how it went. Here’s the basic list I came up with along with the Trollbloods Facebook group’s help. It may change as I learn to play, and I still don’t know if I want the pressure of coming up with a second list week 4 so I’m going to play it by ear. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Hit me up on Facebook or here in the comments section.
- Week 1: (using 29 of Ragnor’s 30 point allowance, so just 1 under Zero Points)
- Ragnor (from the Battlegroup Box)
- Troll Axer, Light Warbeast (from the Battlegroup Box)
- Dire Troll Bomber, Heavy Warbeast
- Week 2:(15/15 Points used)
- Trollkin Fennblades (Full Unit)
- Week 3: (27/30 Points)
- Week 4: (44/45 Points)
- Dozer & Smigg, Heavy Warbeast
- Week 5: (59/60)
- Week 6: (??/75)