Beginning Playing Hordes: Some of the Basics, Cards and Combat
The Basics of Warmachine and Hordes
Warmachine and Hordes do have army books/codexes, but unlike Warhammer, they're not required for play. All of the characters and units come with cards with all of that unit's stats and abilities on them. This way, it's simple to have access to all of your unit's info and mark off damage on multi-wound models like warbeasts. Special rules are listed on the back of the unit's card and Warlocks have an extra card with their spells and feat listed. These cards have the unit point cost on them as well, so its easy to assemble and alter army lists with just them.
Units all have individual movement, strength, melee attack rating, ranged attack rating, defense, armor and command. Below these stats are the unit's weapon(s), which determine number of attacks. Weapons can be a variety of things, from a soldier's sword or axe to a beast's 2 claws and jaws. Special rules are shown by icons under each weapon listing and each weapon has a power rating which is combined with the units strength for their attack. These are general rules, all these stats can be affected by special rules.
Here are some of the basics. You can move your speed stat, charge your speed plus three inches, or run double your movement, but if you run it takes that model/unit's entire activation. Units can then use their ranged or melee weapons or abilities. For each respective type of attack, they use their attack rating and add the value of 2D6 to beat the target unit's defense value. If you successfully hit, roll 2 dice and add them to the weapons Power+Strength (P+S) listed under the weapon name to try to best the targets armor value. Every point you beat the armor by is one point of damage.
Warmachine and Hordes Appeal to New Players
There's a ton of variety in this game coming from so many variables, mostly from the special rules and abilities attached to each unit. One of the most appealing aspects of this game for new players comes in the form of the Warlocks. Every faction has a large variety of warlocks that can gear your army toward many different tactics. This is great for new players because you can keep every model in your army the same except swap in a new warlock, and you can play your army completely differently.
This aspect appealed to me because of the contrast from 40k. I only really played one style list with my Space Wolves because I didn't want to spend the money for new models to enable a new play style and I maintained a pretty small army. I didn't really even play that many games with my wolves, but it got pretty predictable. Although, that could have changed somewhat with the new codex release; I haven't gotten to check it out yet. My faction, Circle Orboros, has 13 different Warlocks, which can add a ton of play option to my relatively small force. Some of the warlocks have multiple variations, reflected by epic versions, which can be pretty wildly different from the previous version, so I did count different versions in that number.
This is just a quick run down of what's on the cards before I go into how a game plays out in a future post. I hope it wasn't too dry. I also have some more of my painting work on the way. Painting has been going well and this army looks way better than my Space Wolves, but has slowed a bit since I adopted a puppy. Until next time, let me know if you have any questions or comments below.