Info for returning players
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- Beware, gentle reader, for you have stumbled upon an article hidden within The Vaults. These dim and dusty halls are a resting place for articles that are seldom read, seldom updated, and sometimes woefully obsolete. Plus, you know, all the other junk we can't find a better place for.
This article is written for players that stopped playing several years ago, started again recently, and want to know what's changed in the meantime.
- 1 Mk2 Reboot (2010)
- 2 Mk2 Expansion (2011-2016)
- 3 Mk3 Reboot (2016.06)
- 4 Mk3 Expansion (2016.06 - 2019.08)
- 5 Oblivion Remix (2019.08)
- 6 Post-Oblivion Expansion (2019-08 to current)
Mk2 Reboot (2010)
- Point scale changed more or less entirely. What used to be a 500 point game in mk1 was a 35 point game in mk2 (and is a 50 point game in mk3)
- LOS entirely dictated by model volume.
- Clouds now provide concealment.
- No more screening.
- No more "waterfalling" damage from charges.
- Many special rules simplified. If there were multiple similar rules, they got condensed into a single version. Some special rules were eliminated.
- Many common rules are now icons on the front of the card.
- Introduction of Retribution of Scyrah and Minions as full Factions.
- Warcasters no longer cost points to add to your army. They also come with extra points that can only be spent on warjacks.
- Warjacks need to be completely destroyed to be removed. Crippling a warjack's system(s) now has some different effects.
- Warlocks have battlegroups now
- Warlocks no longer cost points to add to your army. They also come with extra points that can only be spent on warbeasts.
- Warlocks can no longer reeve from beasts they transfer to.
- Frenzy simplified.
- Formation just in CMD now
- Units come in specific sizes. Normally you can choose between a "Minimum" or "Maximum" sized units, but some units are a fixed size. No spending points on individual dudes.
- Theme Forces introduced. They are rules which restrict which models you can take in your army, but give you in-game benefits as a reward.
- Theme Forces were completely restructured in the mk3 reboot (more detail below). In mk2 they were weak and optional rules, in mk3 they are strong and all but compulsory rules.
- Steamroller became official ... I don't know when exactly.
- Steamroller started out as one player writing a guide for "If you are going to host a tournament, this is what you should do." It has become the default way for people to play, whether or not you're at a tournament, and affects the way players design their army lists.
- It has custom scenarios that change annually.
- Side note: The player who wrote the guide went on to eventually become lead developer at PP.
Mk2 Expansion (2011-2016)
- New model type Ranking Officers
- An attachment for mercenary units which makes them a Faction unit, letting them be targetted by "Faction-only" buffs and spells.
- New model type Battle Engines
- A huge-based (120mm) model with a power level approximately equal to (or slightly above) a heavy warjack/warbeast. But they're not part of your battlegroup.
- New model type Colossals
- A huge-based (120mm) warjack with a power level to match.
- New mini-faction Convergence
- A cult of machine-worshippers who have managed to transfer their souls into robot bodies.
- New model type Gargantuans
- A huge-based (120mm) warbeast with a power level to match.
- New Mercenary contract Cephalyx
- Cephalyx dwell underground, are powerful psychics, and capture live creatures and transform them into mindless drudges to be their combat troops.
New model type Warbeast Packs
- A mixture of the unit rules and the warbeast rules.
- The rules for Warbeast Packs were removed in 2019.07. The models were updated to be Lesser Warbeasts instead.
Mk3 Reboot (2016.06)
- Rules (both the core rules and the model rules) can be downloaded from the PP site for free. See the Useful External Links article.
- Point scale basically doubled, and more points shunted into either your warcaster/warlocks free points, or into your theme free points.
- What was a 1000 point game in Mk1, or a 50 point game in Mk2, is now a 75 point game (plus about 45 points of free models)
- As of the time of writing (2019.01) the standard game size is 75 points. However some people (including one of the Game Devs, Hungerford) are starting to encourage going back to 50 point games.
- You can premeasure everything.
This led to the knock-on effect of people putting down approximately 1000 proxy bases so they could mark out everything in advance.
The developers weren't ecstatic about that, and added rules to Steamroller to reduce the use of proxy bases:
- In Steamroller, you're only allowed to leave two markers on the table for stuff you've measured. Whether it's where you want to move your own model, move an enemy model, the enemy's max charge range or shooting range, the ambush zone ... anything you want to mark out - Two markers max.
- If you have to put a proxy base down because your model overhangs its base and can't fit, that proxy base doesn't count as a marker.
- Many special rules simplified. If there were multiple similar rules, they got condensed into a single version. Some special rules were eliminated.
- Many more common rules are now icons on the front of the card.
- Incorporeal models:
- They still ignore non-magical damage rolls,
- They no longer ignore non-magical effects. For instance a non-magical gun with knock down will make Incorporeal models be knocked down.
- They cannot make free strikes any more. They can still engage enemies in melee, though.
- No more distinction between Light Cavalry and Heavy Cavalry (other than their base stats, and how good they are at Repositioning).
- Models need to be completely within forests/clouds/hills to benefit from it. No more "toeing in" for the concealment/elevation bonus.
- You can still "toe in" for scenario zones.
- No more fear and morale rules.
- The same spell is now more often found within different Factions.
- More spells and effects are "Friendly Faction only". This has decreased the use of Mercenaries & Minions in other Factions.
- Rather than "Prime" and "Epic" versions of characters, models just have numbered versions (Deneghra1, Deneghra2, etc).
- You can't declare charges vs friendly models.
- ROF changed. It now gives you multiple initial attacks with the gun, instead of needing to spend focus/fury on multiple shots. Many special rules like Multi-Fire, Strafe-Fire, Quick-Fire, etc were made into ROF 2 or ROF 3 guns. There are still a couple of guns in the game that can spend focus/fury for extra shots, with the Reload rule.
- Melee weapons now have a RNG stat. 0.5", 1", 2", or very rarely 3".
- You can't make Power Attacks vs friendly models.
- Push and Weapon Lock Power Attacks removed from the game.
- Throw rules simplified.
- There is now a better distinction between Throw caused by a Power Attack, Throw caused by a weapon/spell, and Being Thrown. Similar clarity for Slams.
- You can't cast a friendly spell on a model that is out of formation. (Offensive spells can target oit of fornation dudes just fine.)
- Unit Attachments (UA) now called Command Attachments (CA).
- Field Allowance (FA) of CAs matches FA of base unit now, so every unit can always have an upgrade.
Warcasters and Warjacks
- Warcasters no longer gain extra ARM for camping focus. Instead they can spend focus to reduce damage (up to 5 damage ignored per attack).
- Warjacks no longer leave wreck markers.
- Warjacks gain 1 free focus each turn. They need to be in a battlegroup (not controlled by a Jack Marshal) and be in CTRL range during the Control Phase.
- 'Jack Marshal rules rewritten, they're a fair bit better now.
Warlocks & Warbeasts
- Warlocks can leech fury from warbeasts that are already long dead. During the Control Phase they can gain a fury for every non-lesser warbeast destroyed in the game.
- Warbeast animi are always spells, whoever casts it.
- Frenzy simplified.
- Theme Forces were completely restructed. They're no longer "one per warcaster/warlock". Now they're "4 to 6 per Faction" and can be led by any caster.
- Bonuses aren't locked into tiers anymore - if you play in the theme, you get all the bonuses.
- You get "free cards"
for taking specific stuff. For instance, taking 20 points of Bane models in Dark Host will let you get a free solo. Taking 40 points will get you two free solos, etc.
- The way "free cards" are allocated was changed in 2019.07. It is now much simpler. See the Remix section, below, for more detail.
- Most themes only allow up to one Mercenary unit, and up to one Mercenary solo. This has decreased the use of Mercenaries & Minions in other Factions.
Mk3 Expansion (2016.06 - 2019.08)
New Factions & Model Types
- New mini-faction Grymkin
- A Hordes faction, they're sort of creepy fairytale creatures. Their warlocks don't have feats, but have 3 weaker "Arcana" instead.
- New model type Structures
- A huge based, immobile model. They tend to be support-orientated, with a powerful gun.
- New mini-faction Crucible Guard
- A Warmachine faction, they have straightforward rules (nothing like Arcana or Induction). They have an emphasis on guns and debuffs.
- New mini-faction Infernals
- Nominally a Warmachine faction, they use neither focus or fury but instead have essence. They sacrfice friendly troops to replenish essence. They have horrors instead of warjacks. They can summon new horrors during the game (one per turn).
The Theme Force Effect
What didn't become clear until about a year after mk3 launched was just how big theme forces would become. Nowadays, everyone plays in a theme force. Although you can play non-theme if you want to get a specific combination of models, the benefits of playing in-theme drastically outweigh the drawbacks.
Also, most themes only allow up to one Merc/Minion unit and one Merc/Minion solo. This has decreased the use of Mercenaries & Minions in other Factions.
There have been 4 key changes that have affected how people play the game and design army lists:
- Game length limited to 7 rounds.
- Terrain set out rules implemented, which require a LOS-blocking piece of terrain at or near the centre of the board.
- To win on scenario you need to get 5 points more than your opponent, instead of just 5 total.
- Although any type of model can contest a scenario element, to control it you need a specific type of model. Flags can only be controlled by solos (and flags are the only things solos can control) etc.
CID is a PP-run forum separate to their main forums, where every now and again they have a 2-week window where they ask players for feedback on new models about to be released, or existing models that are about to be errata'd. (The set of models would nearly always be related to each other, ie the new models coming out for a theme force plus a few legacy models that also fit in that same theme force.) Then they close the forum, run about another month of internal testing, before all the releases are made "live".
At "peak CID" they were happening about once a month (two weeks on, two or three weeks off), which caused a bit of burnout for both players and developers. At the time of writing (2019.06) the CID process is on hiatus, and we can expect them to occur at a more reasonable pace when they do resume.
CID can cause a bit of a weird play environment on game night because ...
- some players continue using CID rules even after the feedback window has closed (so for about a month or more they're playing with rules that "aren't real")
- some players don't play with models/factions that are about to be in CID, because either
- they're expecting the CID to give them a buff and, until then, feel that playing the unbuffed version is a handicap
- they don't want to deal with learning rules for models when all those rules are about to change.
PP Forums Downsized & Pressganger Programme shut down
At the end of mk2 PP closed down parts of their forum; General Discussion and all the Faction-specific subforums are no more. In the years since, players have migrated to a mixture of Lormahordes, Discord, Facebook, and Reddit. There has been a bit of community splintering as a result.
Around the same time, PP shut down the Pressganger programme (the mostly-volunteer-run recruitment/marketing/tournament-organising group). They shut it down because another game company with a similar programme had a lawsuit made against it and PP didn't want to be in the same boat.
No more paper publications
PP has moved to a digital-only format. In Mk3 they intended to release "Command books" for each faction followed by "Theme books" for each new theme, but not enough people were buying the books (why would you when the rules are free) so they stopped producing theme books and moved the "theme content" into No Quarter Prime.
But not enough people were buying the monthly No Quarter magazine so it was briefly discontinued, then came back as a once-every-3-months No Quarter Prime, only for that to get discontinued as well because people still didn't want to buy it.
The current plan (as of 2018.11) is to put that sort of content on to their online Privateer Insider. The Insider is a series of articles which are a cross between a blog, and news announcements, and "behind the scenes" articles, each written by different staff member.
BAHI, Special Order Models, and Mini-Crate
Black Anchor Heavy Industries is the name of PP's direct-order only range of models that they started in 2017. BAHI models can only be purchased from PP's own online store (or bought 2nd-hand).
Don't be (too) alarmed, not every new model is BAHI. BAHI is only used for huge-based models, and it's not every huge-based model (just most of them that have been released since 2017).
Special Order Models are older models that no one really buys any more. As of 2018.04 they have been removed from regular distribution and instead they're "special order only". Unlike BAHI, local retail stores can still get a hold of them (they just need to order them from PP instead of ordering them from a distributor).
Mini-Crate is the name of PP's subscription-only range of "bonus" models that started in 2017. They're not new models, they're alternate sculpts of existing models. They're mostly mercenary or minion resculpts. You sign up for a 6 month (or 12?) subscription, and every month a new limited edition sculpt gets posted to you. Plus one bonus one for when you first register.
Oblivion Remix (2019.08)
- Theme Forces got a major update.
- The core rules to the game got a minor update.
- Riot Quest game and models hit the market.
Oblivion Campaign Book
Theme Forces & Requistion Points
- The amount of "free stuff" you get is now based on the game size (One frew thing per 25 points of game size), instead of requiring you to field "X points of Y model to get Z for free"
- What you can get for free is re-jigged. Sometimes you can get a "two cheap solos for one" deal. Most armies end up with about 6 points of free stuff per 25 points of game size.
- Some theme forces got merged
- Some theme forces got their restrictions relaxed.
- Some theme forces got access to many more minions.
- Ranking Officers removed from most themes
Core Rule changes
- Hills removed from the game.
- Warbeast Packs transformed into Lesser Warbeasts. Packs were removed from the game.
- When you shoot into melee, and miss, you no longer randomise to a new target. Instead you just miss. (Sprays and AOEs still work the same as they used to.)
- 'Jack Marshals gained a new ability, Shake.
- Gunfighter and Pistoleer clarified so they work properly vs models that "can't be in melee" (such as knocked down models).
Riot Quest - Although this model has rules which allow it to be played in Warmachine and Hordes, it was primarily designed for the Riot Quest game. RQ is set in an alternate timeline where the Infernals won the war. Some of the RQ models have a deliberately goofy aesthetic.
Post-Oblivion Expansion (2019-08 to current)
2019.08 "Blended Themes"
- Blended themes are ones which allow you to take casters & troops from other Factions. Also, they can often be used by more than one Faction for list pairings. Blended themes normally have heavily restricted Warcaster options.
- Infernals: Hearts of Darkness gives access to one of either Cygnar, Cryx, Khador, Protectorate, or Mercenary forces.
- Khador/Cygnar/Mercenary Flame in the Darkness gives access to each other troops, but not each other's casters.
- Khador+Protectorate Warriors of the Old Faith gives access to each other troops and casters.
2019.08 New model "genre": Archons
- Although Archons are only solos, they represent a new level of super-solos. They are angels sent to fight Infernals.
2020.02 New model "genre": Super Juniors
- Although not a new model type, the new Battlegroup Controllers are a new level of power halfway between a Junior Warcaster and a full warcaster. They have a statline like a warcaster, but don't have a feat.
2020.02 Blended theme
- Convergence+Mercenary Strange Bedfellows is a very eclectic blend of Cryx, Cygnar, Convergence, and Mercenary.
You've just finished reading one of the articles in our Introduction series. The other articles are;
- What is Warmachine and Hordes?
- What do I need to buy/borrow?
- Faction Overview
- Starter Products
- Online Retailers & Secondhand trade groups
- Cheat Sheets
Once you've finished those, you may want to check out the Basic Training series.