Friday, January 7, 2011

Hordes: First Impressions

Last night it was time to play my first game of Hordes. Look out! Here come some more first impressions!

What we played:
Although it was a lousy idea, I brought 35 points of Circle Orboros, nearly everything I've painted. That doesn't mean that 35 point games are a bad idea, but it was not a good introduction to a complicated Warlock, in a complicated army, in a complicated game. You know that "learn to walk before you run" canard that your mother used to tell you? Yeah, I forgot it too.

Here's what I had:

Cassius & Wurmwood
1 Feral Warpwolf
1 Woldwarden
1 Gorax
3 Warpborn Skinwalkers
Sentry Stone & Manikins
Shifting Stones
Druids of Orboros + Overseer

My opponent played Khador, with pSorcha, a Destroyer, a Juggernaut, a big block of Winterguard, Kovnik Joe, and two Mercenary solos that I can't remember (they both looked a little like puritans...militant...gun & sword-wielding puritans).

This game was more about learning the game than it was about competition. I suspect, after reading up on his army when I got home, my opponent could have assassinated Cassius by the end of the second turn. But he pulled a few punches, took the time to help me understand my units, and gave me the chance to try out a few abilities before the end of the game. I "won" this game, just like I "won" the last one, but I had a lot of help from my opponents.

What went well?
Most of the goodness came from my opponent and the other people at the store. Just like my last game, this is a wonderfully friendly and accommodating group of people. I found another great opponent who was willing to take the time to help out a new player. And I had some

On my end? Well...I made it through the whole game without falling down, breaking a model or putting out an eye in a freak dice-rolling accident.

To be honest, my favorite part of the evening was the time we spent after the game, talking about painting.

What didn't go well?
Too...much...information. I've mentioned this before, but when it comes to miniature wargames I'm more of a painter than a player. I had a lot of pretty toys, and even though I suspected it was a bad idea, I wanted to play with all of them at once. And since I chose my models by asking myself "what do I want to paint next?" instead of "how well do these models work together?" I had a lot of models, with a lot of special abilities, and not enough experience to see how they functioned as a whole. With more practice, I think I'll enjoy Circle Orboros, but this was a poor introduction to the faction.

When I finished my first 15-point Khador game, I knew I had a lot to learn, but I also felt like I had a decent understanding of my small army and of the game itself. This time, I was juggling so many unfamiliar concepts, I just felt exhausted. As a new player, I would heartily encourage other players to start small. Even if you have a lot of painted models...even if you have a lot of experience in other types of gaming...approach Warmachine and Hordes in small, manageable steps. This is a rich, complex game with a lot of options and nuances. There's no need to take it all in at once. Learn the game at a reasonable pace and you'll end up having a lot more fun.

What's next?
Before I play Circle Orboros again, I'm going to put together a smaller army with a more unified theme. My Khador army, with two warjacks, a warcaster and a single unit of warriors feels like the right level of complexity. So I'm going to aim for something similar with Circle Orboros. Cassius and Mohsar, my two painted Circle warlocks, seem ill-suited to these smaller games, so I think I'll add one more warlock. I'm thinking either Kromac, Baldur or pKruegar.

Sire-wise, I have photographs of a lot of painted models. Rahter than cramming them into one large post, I'm going to spread them out over the next few days.
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