Welcome to the world of the Iron Kingdoms!
The steampunk fantasy continent of Immoren, created by PRIVATEER PRESS, is the setting for two tabletop miniatures games: WARMACHINE and HORDES.
WARMACHINE and HORDES are played on a 4' by 4' gaming table, usually with some terrain - forests, trenches, rock walls and so forth - dotted about the battlefield. The players deploy their armies of miniatures across the board, roll dice and have at each other with gusto.
While each is counted as a separate game in its own right, WARMACHINE and HORDES use a compatible rules set and can be played against each other. The key differences between the two systems are warjacks/warbeasts, warlocks/warcasters, and FOCUS/FURY.
Warjacks are the eponymous WARMACHINES: giant steampunk robots which the armies of the Iron Kingdoms use to wage war, controlled by powerful battle-wizards known as warcasters
. In HORDES, warriors from the wild places of the world fight alongside hulking monsters called warbeasts
, whose savage instincts are held in check by warlocks
Lastly, FOCUS and FURY is the most glaring difference. Warcasters possess a magical energy called FOCUS, which they can use to cast spells, increase their armour, or allocate to their warjacks to grant them an increased chance of hitting/damaging stuff and perform a variety of devastating power attacks. On the other hand, warlocks use stuff called FURY. FURY is similar to FOCUS in that it allows warlocks to cast spells, but instead of giving it to their warbeasts to increase their performance, warbeasts generate their own FURY when they are forced
to boost dice rolls or perform power attacks. During his or her next turn, the warlock will drain off the fury from his warbeasts and use it for spells and whatnot, and the cycle repeats.
The problem is, if your warlock doesn’t drain all
the fury from his or her beasts, there’s a good chance the monsters will hulk out and mindlessly attack those around them, friend or foe. So we like to say that while Warmachine is a game of resource management
(deciding where to spend your limited pool of FOCUS), Hordes is a game of risk management
(can I afford to leave FURY on that beast this turn?).
Hopefully that all makes sense. Now, let’s meet the inhabitants of the Iron Kingdoms.
The playable WARMACHINE factions include:
A wealthy, populous, and advanced nation, Cygnar are known as “the crown jewel of the Iron Kingdoms”. They are well known for their advanced technology which has ensured their place as one of the major powers in Immoren. Cygnar are very much the 'combined arms' faction in Warmachine, able to field a variety of troops and warjacks that fill all rolls - ranged combat, melee combat, support, etc. - reasonably well. If phrases like "Gun Mage", "Chain Lightning", "Rapid Fire", and "Storm Glaive" make you sexually excited, you might be a Cygnar player in your heart of hearts.
Unfortunately for Cygnar, their success and wealth has earned them the animosity of most of their neighbours, such as...
Khador is a large, wintery nation which bears an uncanny similarity to stereotypical depictions of Russia. The harsh and icy climate has produced a tough, rugged people who are fiercely patriotic and filled with disdain for the weak southern nations. The Khadoran military is characterised by huge, ponderous warjacks with nigh-impenetrable armour and which hit like a ton of bricks; supported by infantry ranging from massed Winter Guard conscripts to elite infantry like the deadly Widowmaker Snipers and the mighty Man-O-Wars. Khador have also recently made strides to modernise their military with more long ranged (if somewhat inaccurate) firepower.
United by the dream of a new Khardic Empire, the Khadoran people have embraced a policy of aggressive expansionism, which unsurprisingly brings them into frequent conflict with the other nations of Immoren.
THE PROTECTORATE OF MENOTH
Formed out of a civil war with Cygnar, the Protectorate of Menoth is the youngest of the Iron Kingdoms. Essentially, the fanatical devotees of Menoth, the creator of man, were exiled to a barren wasteland to the east of Cygnar. There they found oil, diamonds, savage tribes to convert, and built up an army to crush their heathen enemies. Praise Menoth! Protectorate warjacks (and many of their troops) are individually weaker than those of the other factions, but by buffing their armies with their warcaster's spells and key support pieces, the Protectorate become exponentially more powerful. They also favour denying their enemies the ability to shoot or cast spells, thus throwing carefully laid plans into disarray.
Also, fire. Fire everywhere.
The Nightmare Empire of Cryx is a series of islands off the western coast of mainland Immoren, and home to the immortal dragonfather Toruk. In addition to hordes of mindless undead thralls, Toruk's vassals include the Satyxis, a race of vicious warrior-women who practice blood rituals, the twelve Lich Lords, and a variety of other lifeforms corrupted and twisted by the dragon's blight. In battle, Cryx are fast, stealthy, and have a huge array of dirty tricks and debuffs up their rotting undead sleeves.
THE RETRIBUTION OF SCYRAH
The Retribution of Scyrah is WARMACHINE's newest faction. Formerly a fringe radical group hailing from the secluded elven nation of Ios, the Retribution has recently gained heavy political ground and acceptance in its homeland. They now have access to and support from some of Ios's greaet Military Houses, including the ranks of the fearsome Dawnguard and the power of Myrmidon Warjacks. They are technologically advanced. They have force fields. They hate you
They're out for blood and revenge. They are fighting the good fight for the survival of their species. Their last remaining Gods are dying, and they blame human magic use for it. They are damn good at what they do.
Solid units. Some absurdly powerful solos. Well-rounded if focus-hungry Warjacks. The Retribution plays differently and can be rather rewarding for those willing to put some effort into them. They shoot harder than most factions though aren't necessarily as accurate. They are potent in melee, but lack Warcaster support to the degrees most other factions enjoy. Their Warjacks are few in variety but can all do their task well. Take care of them, because they crumple like paper once their force fields are gone. Did I mention mage hunters? Oh yes. Mage hunters.
This is a world where conflict rules and wars are always ready to flare up. What kind of moron could pass up a chance to make a buck? Mercenaries come in all shapes and sizes. Some are exiles from their own land, called traitors by those they once called brother. Some are pirates sailing on the high seas. Others are freedom fighters working to save their ruined nation. Others are short bearded fellows who like money. It takes all kinds, right?
What do YOU fight for?