Featured Non-GW System of the Month - August 2010.
- Brief Introduction to Hordes
- The Creators
- The Game
- The Miniatures
- My Rating
Now, you are reading the 'Featured Non-GW System of the Month - August 2010'. This Months chosen system is 'Hordes'. During this article you will hopefully learn a little bit about the background behind the game, the company that makes it and the game itself as well as having a look at some of the miniatures that make the game what it is.
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Brief Introduction to Hordes.
Set in the wilds of the Iron Kingdoms, Hordes is Warmachine’s feral twin. Hordes is an award-winning miniatures game which is fast-paced. In this 30mm tabletop miniatures game, players jump into the action controlling powerful battle-wizards known as warlocks. Warlocks are formidable combatants in their own right, but their true strength is drawn from their synergy with packs of savage warbeasts that allow them to contend on equal footing with the greatest modern armies of the Iron Kingdoms. Players collect, assemble, and paint fantastically detailed models representing all of the different warriors, minions, and beasts in their 'Hordes'. This is by far one of the greatest 'Monstrous' miniatures combat games there are! That's my view of it anyway
Hordes is brought to us by the American company 'Privateer Press', which I'm sure most of you will already know. But for those of you who don't I will continue to give a little extra information about the creators of Hordes.
Privateer Press is an award winning role-playing game and miniature wargame production and publishing studio. Founded in 2000 by Brian Snōddy, Matt Staroscik and Matt Wilson, the latter of the three being the current owner of the company. Privateer Press is based in Bellevue, Washington, where they have their headquarters and American distribution center/factory. They have also licensed a factory in the United Kingdom to take the pressure off of the American factory to supply both North America and Europe.
"Hordes is set in the Iron Kingdoms, an environment that combines the best of traditional fantasy with steam power and gunpowder. Across the realm, ancient rivalries among nations are exploding into all-out conflict, and the feral factions of Hordes have joined the fight, whether to preserve their ancient homelands or with an eye toward conquest."
In Hordes, players control enigmatic warlocks who harness the strength and fury of the savage warbeasts that stalk the dark places of the Iron Kingdoms. Through their unique link to these untamed creatures, warlocks are able to drive their beasts to unparalleled heights of destruction, making them more than a match for any steam-powered warjack.
Each warbeast is a vicious monster of flesh and bone mighty enough to rend muscle and steel alike. From the unflinching and ferocious trolls to the nightmarish and unnatural dragonspawn, warbeasts are dangerous creatures in any circumstance. Under the control of their warlock masters, they become nigh unstoppable.
Hordes focuses on battles between warlocks and the forces that they command. A game is fought with the powerful jaws and flesh-ripping talons of warbeasts as well as devastating spells wrought by the warlocks themselves. Only one side can emerge victorious from the carrion-scattered field of war!
Just like Warmachine, gameplay in Hordes is supposed to encourage offensive play. You can go with defensive play, but the spirit of the game encourages more agressive play, it's not for pussies. Play is centered around Warlocks and their attendant Warbeasts, who may be supported by units and solos. Warbeasts generate fury, which can be controlled by Warlocks and used to fuel their spells, but if left unchecked can cause the beasts to go into an uncontrolled frenzy, potentially even attacking their allies or controlling warlock.
Hordes is similar to Warmachine in most aspects, if you already know how to play Warmachine then you already know the basics of Hordes. The core mechanic is the same as companion game Warmachine: roll two six-sided dice, add one stat, and compare the total to an opposing stat. Additionally, almost all rules mechanics from Warmachine are replicated in Hordes. Together, the two rules sets form a single rules superset, which consists mostly of rules common to both games, and partially of mechanics specific to one game or the other. The game-specific mechanics are generally those used by warlocks and warbeasts for Hordes, and warcasters and warjacks for Warmachine, while those rules which cover generally how models move, act, and how their actions are resolved are common to both.
For those familiar with Warmachine, replacing the Warcaster as the commander of the army is a Warlock, a powerful magic-user who draws upon the collective Fury of his warbeasts to cast spells and heal damage. As the four factions in Hordes use no steamjacks, their functional parallel are Warbeasts, large savage creatures. The Warlock is able to "force" Warbeasts to perform special attacks, which builds up Fury points. The Warlock is then able to "leach" this Fury to add to his pool, otherwise the warbeast will continue to gather Fury, eventually losing control and going into an uncontrollable rage. This system has been dubbed risk management as opposed to the resource management system in Warmachine.
The first book for the Hordes system is called Primal. It contains all the latest rules for the Hordes (and Warmachine) system, and army lists for the four 'factions' along with some Minions who will work for various armies. An expansion for the game called Evolution was released in August 2007. The next expansion,Metamorphosis, was released in 2009. The main rules are now in Hordes Primal MkII. Each faction also has its' own Legion book.
Hordes vs Warmachine.
Although a standalone game in its own right, Hordes was heavily designed as a companion to Warmachine. The games are 100% compatible and share much of the same rules set, although the most important mechanics - fury for Hordes and focus for Warmachine - remains unique. Hordes forces and Warmachine forces often fight each other and wage war against each other both on the tabletop and in the background fiction. The games share the same setting which is the Iron Kingdoms (as I've mentioned several times previously), with much of the Hordes storyline taking place in the wild areas away from the 'civilized' areas where Warmachine's major action takes place (hence the Industrial, steam-powered twist seen in Warmachine).
These are a collection of various troll breeds, banding together to push back both the civilized nations of Immoren and the forces of the wild from their territories. Trollkin and the Pygmy Trolls (their diminutive counterparts) comprise the more intelligent, civilized troll breeds and fill the role of basic troops in a troll army, while the larger, stronger, and more savage cousins, the full-blood trolls, are used as light warbeasts. In play they are extremely tough and resilient, very strong melee fighters and have great synergy between various units and their Warlocks. To compensate for their strength and resilience the Trolls are largely regarded as the second slowest of the four factions, but with their staying power and strength of arms they can endure punishment that would shatter other factions' defenses.
A secret cabal of powerful druids, cultists, and wilderness tribes that command the forces of nature against their foes. Lead by the Omnipotents, a trio of master druids and spellcasters, the druids follow three primary paths of elemental power: Beast, Storm, and Stone. The Circle's play style is typically fast and furious, using existing terrain against their opponents and often creating terrain of their own while their beasts and units use both their high speed and various teleportation abilities (a trait fairly unique of the Circle) to get where they need to be when needed. Whether spellcaster or melee unit all Circle troops can move across any terrain without penalty. As agile as they are, however, the Circle does not have the armor or tenacity to stand long in a straight up, prolonged fight. In general a Circle army must hit hard and either destroy their target, or retreat to avoid any serious counterattack.
Legion of Everblight.
An army of draconic horrors and twisted creatures who serve the newly-reawakened (but not reformed) dragon, Everblight, the Legion is led by the blighted ogrun Thagrosh, Prophet and now Messiah of Everblight, who discovered the resting place of Everblight's crystal heart, or athanc, thrust it into his own chest, and thus unleashed the Legion into the world. All of the Legion Warlocks carry a shard of the athanc within themselves, linking themselves both to the mind of Everblight as well as each other. The Legion play style is similar to the Circle, fast and maneuverable but not very durable. The primary differences are that whereas the Circle relies on synergy between their units, beasts, and warlocks to get the job done each element of a Legion army is designed to function independently, with each element working alone but in sync with the others to get the job done. Finally while the Circle has a definite focus on magical attacks, the Legion is predominantly focused on ranged attacks.
A warlike, savage humanoid race invading from beyond the Bloodstone Marches. A Skorne army plays similar to a Troll army, with a few notable differences. Arguably the slowest of the Hordes factions the skorne excel at regimented, brick-style combat, with hardened melee troops and beasts forming a wall in front with ranged and support units behind, but whereas the trolls specialize in defense and endurance the Skorne specialize in offense and damage output, even at the expense of their own troops and beasts. Most notably the Skorne have access to several abilities that can turn their losses into advantages, more than any other Hordes faction, giving them an edge in battles of attrition. Several army additions released in Hordes: Evolution and Metamorphosis drastically changed the original Primal Skorne play-style, allowing them to field more varied types of armies, but the tried-and-true Skorne brick is still a powerhouse to contend with, for few factions can deal out more damage than the Skorne in straight-up melee combat.
Occasionally other creatures in the wilds of western Immoren are caught up in the bloody struggles of the region. Some are individuals seeking to profit from warfare and strife. Others are small groups of tribal creatures willing to offer their strength of arms to others, whether in return for protection or supplies or simply to preserve their home territories from enemies. Events can sweep up these minor players against their will as they are captured, enslaved, or coerced into doing the bidding of those who are more numerous or powerful.
To start playing Hordes, try out this free ruleset. It contains everything that you'll need to get started - Hordes MkII Quick Start Rules.
All miniatures are to a 30mm scale. All of their miniatures are supplies unpainted.
Here are some example miniatures:
Trollbloods - Dire Troll Mauler:
Circle Oboros - Wold Guardian:
Legion of Everblight - Thagrosh the Messiah:
Skorne - Praetorian Swordsmen:
Other Minions - Saxxon Orik:
Below you can find a list of stores that stock Hordes products that I know of however I don't know a huge amount of independant stockists so if you know of anymore please do say so so that other viewers can be aware of them.
For each System of the Month I will give a rating of what I think the game is like (1 being terrible, 10 being excellent).
My Rating - 9/10
- Hordes is by far one of the better games around. I'd rate it a 10 but nothings perfect and if I just kept rating every game I like a 10 I'd be a tad biassed
. There's nothing greater than seeing hordes of gigantic monsters fight against each other. Oh wait yes there is - hordes of great big monsters fighting against giant steam-powered machines. Both Hordes and Warmachine are great games that mesh with each other perfectly as I've already said. I really like how PP games encourage agressive gaming and Hordes shows that off brilliantly. Not to mention, the minis are lovely.
Thank you for reading!