Last time around I dipped my toes into the shallow end of a much larger conversation - that being that I have started up HoMachine again. Since then, I've managed to get a few more games in and I now have more than enough experience to draw any number of serious and ground breaking conclusions about how the MkII rules function as a game. I will also be proclaiming myself a master of this game followed by a cordial invitation for you all to suck it.
Haha! I guy can dream, amiright? Clearly that's all lies. Though you should go back and read the post I linked to - lots of good conversation in the comments and some of it doesn't even involve Frontline Gamer. Hoho!
All sweaty wrestlers and hyperbole for comedic effect aside, I managed to work in a couple more games with Legion battlebox. Fully painted, no less! I may not even have my brain completely wrapped around the game's basic rules yet, but I can talk about the learning experience so far.
1) The Battlebox: Only for use against other battleboxes
The battleboxes are great learning tools to get the player used to the mechanics of the game and a great way to get some models on the cheap to jump-start a collection. However, the actual army composition of these sets doesn't tend to make a lot of sense outside the limited scope of a starter product. This makes playing outside the battlebox a little rocky since you have much better things you could be doing with a list for a regular 15 point game then tacking 2 points onto a clusterfuck and hoping for the best.
Now, how do I know this with my limited experience? First, I do a lot of reading, so I'm aware of the general consensus of exactly how good a force 1 carnivean and 4 Shredders with a 5 fury warlock is (spoiler alert: not very). In a larger sense, I'm, aware that all of the battleboxes fall down in the exact same way: you get some models that just won't see a lot of play beyond the noob level (now we shift to actual, first hand experince here). Which means the established gamers aren't carting them around all the time (or didn't even bother in the first place). Which is a bit of a problem when you need the practice and your only options is to play your box vs. 13 points of whatever. I have had a couple of complete, yet educational, ass whoopings.
2) The MkII reboot makes MkI look like a dried out cat turd on a bad stretch of road.
Well, at least so far. But based on my limited experience so far, the new and improved HoMachine is has actually been improved. By a margin so wide that I managed to completely miss it during the MkII beta test while I was whining about warjack points and fixed model heights.
There was a lot going on with MkI at the end of it's life that the game as printed in the rule books was rapidly heading towards unplayable. And that is not hyperbole. The core rules didn't fit together well (especially awful for a game that had so many special model rules), the constantly changing FAQs were required to play (and wildly altered the games power balance), power creep was out of control and there were so many dead units in the game it was almost impossible for new players to avoid them. Even worse, most of those dead units were warjacks. MkI was awful and was such a bad experience at the end that it just killed the game for me
MkII, on the other hand, is an amazing success of a total and complete reboot. All the worst parts about MkI that ended up souring me on the game all those years ago have been dealt with. All in all, a much more refined product that I am actually capable of having fun with.
I could go into a lot more detail here, but that could easily end up being a whole series of posts. Suffice it to say that MkII is fun.
3) Fluff - a casualty of war
But MkII ain't all sunshine and skittles. One of the big things that sucked me into the world of Warmachine in the first place is that PP had a main characters that the story of the game focused on. Each book had all this wonderful action adventure pulp novel quality meat to it. It was such a refreshing change of pace from the much more historical text feel of the GW army books. Sadly, most of that awesome story telling has not found it's way into the current HoMachine books. So if you want to know exactly what happened at the Castle of the Keys, you'd better own the old rule books. There's just this whole well of old back story that new players just won't know about. Thankfully I own most of the MkI books, but having to dig those out for a lore refresher is kinda irritating.
4) Taking it slow is the way to go
If I had to pick a greatest strength of HoMachine I would have to say that it is both playable AND fun at low points levels. Which makes learning the damn game pretty easy since it works at 15 points and is dirt cheap to start at that level. Don't get me wrong, once you start looking to participate in the various tournament formats the price advantage over the Warhammers all but disappears, but HoMachine is a lot more noob friendly than I gave it credit for.
What's nice for me is that my painting back log for the game hasn't piled up to insurmountable proportions like it did with my Eldar army. I have a bunch of stuff that will be bare metal for a while yet, but I can always play at a lower point level and add a model here and there and still expect to have fun.
Well, I think that's all for now. More 'lessons learned' as they come up and as I get closer to learning how to actually play the game beyond the mechanics.In the meantime, I 'm hoping I can get a shot of my battlebox up here in the next week(ish) and show that off a bit.