Thursday, 22 March 2012

A NOOBs guide to Warmachine - Part Three

A NOOBS guide to Warmachine 
Part three – Your first games, learn as you go
So, you have decided to give Warmachine a go…. good for you. Here is your “play like you have a pair” T-Shirt and matching cap, pick up your tesla cannon at the door. Welcome to the revolution comrade.
I’m not going to go into the rules, that’s far too complicated for a blog post. Your first game will almost certainly be a confusing experience, there is a lot going on in this game… what I can offer is some maxims and advice for how to pick up the system, and how to maximise your learning experience
I covered some of this in an earlier post, but I will remind you that it is easier to learn off a veteran player. So find a friend who plays or track down a “press ganger”, they should be easy enough to find at your local games store or on the privateer press forums



Start small

Take small steps when learning the system. The worst thing to do is to dive straight in and try to play a massive battle with multiple casters and 100 figures. Your brain will melt. The good thing about Warmachine is it works really well with only a handful of models. Start with what is called a battlegroup or a warpack. This is one Warcaster with a small group of warjacks and/or beasts.
Your first game should be a simple assassination mission. So the only objective is to kill your opponents Warcaster without losing your own.

Ask Questions

Never, ever be afraid to ask questions. If you are confused about something that is happening just shout out to whoever you are playing. Your not stupid for asking questions, I’ve played very experienced players and they still need to ask about various units abilities from time to time.


Learn your models powers

Starting small means you only have a few units to remember. Get to know them well and what they can do. Often the difference between a win and a loss is remembering that a model can do a certain thing that you forgot about until after the game.
Skorne Warpack


Know your enemy

Sun Tsu said “know yourself and know your enemy and you will totally crush everyone with your massive biceps of doom……” or words to that effect.
Ask to read your opponents cards and ask them if there is anything you should really know about (like that their entire army is ghosts and can only be shot with magic bullets). If a model does something that sounds odd or you haven’t encountered ask, about it.


Keep your caster safe – Line of sight

Most new players get killed by caster assassinations, we don’t quite realize how quick and deadly the game can be and want to use the casters awesome cool powers. Keep your caster covered until you are more confident with their capabilities.
Also, note the line of sight rules. If you can be seen you can normally be shot.


Pick up the rules, do this after you have played a game

Reading the rulebook cover to cover before you play the first time probably won’t help you that much, it a lot to take in. Pick up the rules after a game so you have some context for how everything works.


Get a postgame debrief

Talk about the game once it’s done. Often you can feel like you have been crushed only to find out that your opponent was really worried you might have done X instead of Y. Sometimes it’s just one mistake that means the difference between winning and losing. Find out what they thought of the game and how it went. I learn a lot from post match debriefs with good players
Everyone needs a mentor


Find a mentor – Talk to people

This should probably be the person teaching you the game. When you are learning its good to be able to talk about what you have done and what you plan to do next game (Shout out to Sean and the rest of the Port Nicholson Privateers).
Most gamers are keen to talk about the game they love, so just get involved in the conversations that happen…. Even if that means just listening in to what’s going on.


Go online, but don’t drink the Kool Aid

There are some great resources online, battle college , Forward Kommander and the Privateer press forums are good.
However, don’t buy into all the BS that happens on forums and don’t use “prepaged army lists”. Forums can lead to a group think that says “X is the winner, Y is the loser” and a lot of what is said is theory or relevant only to that persons local group.
I say read what is said, think about it, but don’t take anything as gospel (except this guide of course)



Losing doesn’t mean you suck

You need resilience when playing this game. When I started playing I heard that “You need to play 20 games before you start to win any”. While I have done a little better than that the sentiment is entirely true. The game is hard, its vicious and there are people who play it very well. Don’t expect to kick everyone’s butt straight out the gate…. This is especially true if you were very good at other wargames.


Look for the challenge

View the game as a challenge, ask yourself “how do I get better”, “What did I do wrong” and “How overpowered is that?”. I think of Warmachine like it’s a big complicated puzzle. I love figuring out how I messed up and what I can do better. 
I can’t stress this enough, don’t waste your hard earned (borrowed or stolen) cash on models for a game you might not end up enjoying. We shall leave the advice of loading you up with models for a game that you end up not liking for other game systems.
Beg, borrow or steal models until you know what you want to play and that you actually like the game.
Have fun!
I cannot over emphasis this enough. If you aren’t having fun, don’t play. It’s just a game after all.

See also

Part One -  An Introduction to Warmachine and Hordes

Read this to see if the game is for you

Warmachine and Hordes has a lot of options, figure out what one works for you

A quick highlight of the differences between the two systems, what they have in common and how they differ. 

A quick guide with some advice on how to put together an army list, and some of the common pitfalls new players fall into.

Part Six - Tournaments for Noobs

Considering going to your first tournament? Don't be too scared, read the helpful guide!

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