So, shortly after I wrote my article on what I would like to see in 2019 from Privateer Press, they responded. Well, actually, I don’t think they read my article, but I like to think of myself of having some influence over the mothership, even though we all know that that is completely unrealistic. Anyways, taking a break from the doom and gloom that has infested the Warmachine internet over the past several days, I figured I would take a look at what they have to offer.
Stormbreak is a series of narrative events for Warmachine which will encompass Winter Rampage, a spring narrative league, and culminate in a final event at Lock and Load 2019. This is something that we’ve seen before with their Crossroads of Courage league and the Battle of Boarsgate in 2017. However, the stakes are much higher; instead of simply deciding the fate of one character in the Iron Kingdoms, we’re influencing the fate of multiple key characters as well as the liberated province of East Khador (or “Llael” as some filthy southerners call it).
This sounds cool. While I’m not crazy about the possibility of Khador losing its newly liberated territory, I think it will be interesting to see how the story moves forwards. Ever since the launch of Mark III, it feels like we’ve been building up to something big between the rise of the Grymkin and the Crucible Guard. This could be it; an epic cataclysm that really pushes the story forward.
They’ve also announced a kickstarter for an art book containing the best art from 20 years of Privateer Press, not to mention a cool looking Riot Quest model to go along with it. This is going to be interesting. I’m a sucker for PP’s aesthetic, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to go all in on this. Of course, being a kickstarter, there’s a lot that can go either really right or really wrong between stretch goals, shipping, fulfillment, etc., but I think PP is a big enough and reputable enough company that they aren’t going to Ninja Division this thing.
Infernals are the newest faction to be teased for Warmachine, with a release date scheduled for Lock and Load 2019. These shadowy figures are known for offering backhanded deals, and have come to collect their due on a thousand year old debt that humanity owes.
To be honest, I’m a little apprehensive about Infernals for two reasons, one fluff-based and one gameplay based. First, from what little I know of the fluff, the Infernals are shadowy sorts working in the background. I suspect that this is the sort of thing that might be great fodder for an RPG, but in a miniatures wargame, it may be difficult to go from shadowy, powerful forces working in the background and translate that to an army engaged in pitched battle.
The second has to do with all the unique mechanics being promised. Quite frankly, we’ve seen this before and I don’t enjoy playing against Grymkin. Not only is their arcana system very different, but it can also be very punishing for the opponent who has to play around it to a much larger extent than against other factions for fear of activating their trap card. More often than against every other faction, I feel like with Grymkin, I need to work around these arcana for several turns, with the hope that by turn four or five, I have enough of my army left that we can sit down and actually have a game of Warmachine. Not to mention how annoying those Gremlin Swarms are.
My concern is that with Infernals, they may end up going a similar route with lots of special rules that really warp the game or force hard gear checks like with those damn Gremlin Swarms or heavy recursion lists like pre-nerf Ghost Fleet that demand Remove From Play effects (among other things) to even have a game. Already they’ve alluded to them being very different from anything we’ve seen before, and as someone who likes Warmachine as it is, I’m not sure that’s necessarily a good thing.
Following the release of the Infernals, PP plans to take us into the heart of the Infernal apolcalypse with Oblivion, a brand new campaign book.
This is something that I’m really looking forward to. First, a campaign book for Warmachine packed full of interesting narrative scenarios would just be straight-up cool. Second, it’s been a while since we’ve had something like this where we have a big release that has something for everyone in it, with Privateer Press instead preferring to bundle their releases according to faction. So, for example, one faction may get all their releases in one month, then the next will get their turn. While this may be a more manageable release schedule from a playtesting perspective, what it means is that at any one time, only a relatively small portion of players are getting goodies for their faction that they can be excited about. Oblivion, however, promises something for everyone, which we haven’t really had in a while.
And, perhaps with some focus on Morrowans, maybe Connie B might get some love?
MonPoc and L5R Mini-crates
I’ll be honest, this looks cool but it’s not my jam, so I don’t have a lot of excitement for it. But… it’s good for those who are into it, I guess.
We got some more information about Riot Quest! It’s going to be set in an alternate future in the Iron Kingdoms, where players assemble crews and duke it out on a hex map, each gang trying to “Wreck Face and Get Paid” in the chaos of the brawl.\
So far, I like most of the models that have been shown. Mixing classic Iron Kingdoms steampunk elements with some futuristic tech makes for some interesting models. My hope is that they are resin/metal and not some cheap board game plastic.
I actually think the use of a hex map is interesting. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and talking to some people lately, and to be honest, I don’t think miniature games with freeform measuring are that great to be played competitively. Trying to get measurements down to the levels of precision necessary for competitive play results in not just the obnoxiousness of having to bust out lasers and custom laser-cut widgets, but also compromises on things like terrain. Not to mention how easy it is to bump a model and permanently screw up the game state. With a hex map, on the other hand, it’s pretty easy to tell if someone is four or five hexes away.
Now, from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like Riot Quest isn’t intended to be a competitive game. However, the hex maps can also help take some of the pressure off for casual play, as we don’t need to stress ourselves out over precision measurements and the like.
The one thing that they didn’t really mention, that I hope plays a big role, is terrain. If the hex map is just a plain board, that’s going to get a little dull. But if we have Necromunda style scaffolding and industrial terrain, based around hexes to both look more futuristic and match the hex map… now we’re talking.
Despite on the doom and gloom on the internet lately over some staff turnover at PP headquarters, it looks like they have big plans for 2019. This is very reassuring, and I think 2019 is going to be a great year for fans of PP.
Also: Riot. Quest.