Iron Kingdom Warmachines
IK Warmachine takes place in a fantasy world where steam-powered machines called Steam Jacks are brought to life by magic. This fantasy world first appeared in the D20 Roleplaying game Iron Kingdoms and in this game the Steam Jacks are only a small part of the game, they simply do jobs that machines like forklifts etc would do to day, but with such awesome strength and potential of causing damage somebody ofcourse got the idea of turning this chunks of metal and steam into warmachines called Warjacks and this is where the game IK Warmachine steps in and takes over.
The world of IK Warmachine currently has four factions:
- Cygnar – which is a modern army with top equipment and is the most “normal” army with normal people and normal values. Slightly American “good Guys” inspired.
- Khador – A kingdom covered in bitter frost almost half the year. Khador relys more on heavy machine power than magic, hence they have the toughest (and slowest) war jacks. Very Russian inspired army.
- Menoth – is a nation of religious fanatics worshipping and old god which used to be the main God all over the Iron Kingdoms. They rely on faith and powerfull spells as well as some okay warjacks.
- Cryx – is not an Iron Kingdom as such, but given it is probably the largest Nation of the lot and is under a harsh rule of a near-God Dragon, noboby can ignore Cryx. Cryx is the fastest army of the lot which is weird considering it is an undead type army, but I think this idea is a very refreshing take on the whole undead theme.
All four nations are very individual and very well worked through from fluff to rules to the feel of each army.
On top of these four factions are a motley crew of freebooters and hired swords. Each very unique.
IK Warmachines Prime – The rulebook
The level of illustrations and stories and fluff is amazing in this heavy 200-page big book. It’s really up in the standard where one might consider putting it on level with the old Realm of Chaos books (you know of which ones I talk).
The book is not all fluff and nice pictures though. It has all the rules you need and has 4 very solid army lists for the four factions which are detailed to a level which leads me to believe there won’t be any force books out for each faction. I do hope they’ll release Campaign or supplement books with more troops and posibly new factions, but it is not at all neccessary. Prime has it all.
The game evolves around warcasters. You can have one warcaster for each 500 points. Each warcaster controls a group of warjacks. If your warcaster die all warjacks in his/her group stops functioning!
Each warcaster is also a magificent magician and an able warrior. Each warcaster has an amount of Focus points (FOC) which he can use to either manipulate warjacks, cast spells or heal himself.
These FOC points ar allocated before you move any of your minis each turn. This is really where you need to think. Will you make boost your Slayer Helljack in order to kill the opponent’s Jacks, will you cast a spell to get rid of some nasty troops or will you heal your warcaster? All is decided beforte you move a mini.
Warcasters can cast magic, yes, but most magic has a limited range, but fear not, your warcaster can cast spell through warjacks with an Arch Node thereby increasing the range of a spell.
I won’t go into detail about normal combat and how it works. I’ll just say it works. If there is one I would change if I could then it is that you don’t have alternate turn activation (you move a unit, I move a unit, you move a unit etc) which I really like about VOR and Dark Age.
However given the level of play testing this game oozes I am sure the games developers have their reason for not having it. The rest of the rules are a solid bunch no doubt about that.
Make no mistake, these minis are some of the best I have seen. There is no doubt in my mind that IK Warmachine as well as Dark Age have taken the miniatures of miniature gaming to a whole new level, each in their own way.
The IK Warmachine miniatures are very well designed, and I am not just talking about how they look, I am also talking about how the parts of the minis (esspecially the bigger Warjacks) fit together. A big mini like the Slayer Helljack (see right) would normally require a great deal of pinning, but the way the arms fit into the sockets etc. makes in not vital to pin it. I still recommend pinning some of the bits simply because it IS some heavy miniatures, so just to be safe…
All in all
Minis are awesome, the background-fluff and artwork is amazing.
One great selling point is that the minimum army requirement: 1 Warjack and 1 Warcaster, that’s it! It makes it a game competitive with smaller beer and pretzles games like Bloodbowl, but in time it looks like you can expect the game to be expandable into larger skirmishes, maybe even battles with many Warjacks on each side as well as specialist troops such as anti-jack personel, assasins, necromancers, gobo mechanics etc.