LPG - Steamroller

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This article is part of Warmachine University's Learning to Play the Game (LPG) series, which is "Intermediate Training" aimed at new players who are still learning the core rules.
(See also Basic Training and Advanced Training.)

We have two articles regarding Steamroller, you're reading the first.

  1. LPG - Steamroller - The version you're reading is aimed at new players, and explains the concept and rules of the Steamroller system.
  2. Lesson 6: Steamroller - This version is aimed at intermediate players, and gives advice on how to win a Steamroller game and tournament.
Download: Refer Useful External Links to get to the latest Steamroller


What is Steamroller

Steamroller is an official document updated annually and it does two things (1) It is the official rules for how to organise a tournament - how long games run, how to set out terrain, how to do tiebreakers, etcetera. As a player, you can ignore a lot of these sections. (2) It is a set of scenarios. These are considered superior to the scenarios in the core rulebook, and most players will always play Steamroller.

The key differences between a Steamroller scenario and a core rulebook scenario are:

  • Each player has two army lists, and they pick which one to play after seeing their opponent's two lists.
  • There are three ways to win: Assassination, Scenario, and Clock.
  • Scenarios contains a mixture of flags, objectives, circular zones, and rectangular zones in different layouts. These are used to earn "Control Points (CP)". Different model types have to be used to control different types of scenario elements.
  • If a player scores 5 CP more than their opponent, they win the game on Scenario. Neither player can score any CP until the second player's second turn.
  • Players use a "deathclock". You can take as long as you like for each of your turns, but each player only has 60 minutes to play their entire game. Your clock is paused during your opponent's turn. If your opponent's clock reaches zero, you win the game on Clock.
  • The game only lasts 7 rounds. If both players finish 7 turns without winning or running out of clock, there is a series of tie-breakers to determine the winner.

Download link

Refer to Useful External Links.

How to Win a Steamroller

This is covered further in Lesson 6: Steamroller of the Intermediate Training section.

Official Rules

This is a summary of the main in-game differences. Refer to the actual document if in doubt.

Game Setup

  1. Set up the terrain and scenario. (In a real tournament, the Event Organiser will do this. You shouldn't move terrain yourself at a tournament).
  2. View each others lists, secretly choose one of your own, and then simultaneously reveal your choice.
  3. Choose what objective you'll use.
  4. Roll to determine player 1 vs 2 and choose sides.
  5. Start the clock.
  6. Only after the clock starts can you declare any "before the game begins" abilities such as Grymkin Arcana, placing terrain that you gain from a theme benefit, etcetera
  7. Start deploying models.

Scoring Scenario Elements

You score a scenario point if you Control the scenario element and no enemy model Contests the scenario element.

    Controlling scenarios    

  • Circles can be controlled by units and/or casters that are within the circle.
Units must have all surviving members within the same circle, and they need to be in formation.
  • Rectangles can be controlled by warjacks, warbeasts, monstrosities, horrors, battle engines, and/or casters that are within the rectangle.
  • Flags can be controlled by a solo and/or casters that are B2B with the flag.

    Contesting scenarios    
Scenario elements can be contested by almost any model.

  • To contest a Circle or a Rectangle, you need to be within it.
  • To contest a Flag, you need to be within 4" of the flag.
  • The following models cannot contest:
    • Inert warjacks and wild warbeasts
    • Models out of formation
    • Casters.

    Warcaster Units and Warlock Units    
These change the contest/control rules slightly.

  • The caster cannot contest scenario elements, but the other troopers can.
  • To control a circle or rectangle, only the caster needs to be within the zone, and the other members need to be in formation.
  • To control a flag, you need the caster in B2B with the flag and the other members within 4" of the flag.

2019 Scenarios


2019 Objectives

Scenarios that have objectives will have one per player. There are six different types of objective, and at the start of the game each player chooses which one they will use.

All six objectives share these following rules:

  • Immobile - This model has no Normal Movement or Combat Action, cannot become knocked down or be moved, and is automatically hit by melee attacks.
  • Objective
    • Objectives are friendly Faction models to the player who owns them.
    • This model cannot be placed, cannot channel spells, and cannot be chosen as a Prey target.
    • This model cannot be targeted or damaged until the second player’s second turn.
    • This model cannot engage or be engaged.
    • Models never gain a back strike bonus against this model. (Backstabs are ok though)
    • Friendly models can ignore this model when determining LOS and can advance through this model if they have enough movement to move completely past it.

Each objective then has a unique rule. This rule boils down to "At either Maintenance or Control Phase, choose a friendly Faction model within 4" to gain [a buff]." The type and duration of the buff changes. Most objectives get to give out their buff each turn, but Treasure Chest is once per game.

Objective Name
Ability Name
Phase Effect
Superior Ammunition
Control Phase Chosen model's weapons gain Damage Type: Magical for its next attack.
Dug Out
Maintenance Phase Chosen model cannot be placed, and cannot be moved by a push, slam, or throw for one round.
Fuel Cache
Fueled Up
Control Phase Chosen model gains Pathfinder for one round.
Control Phase Chosen model model gains Eyeless Sight for one round.
Maintenance Phase Chosen model removes d3 damage points.
Treasure Chest
Good Fortune
Maintenance Phase Once per game, choose a friendly Faction model within 4˝ of this model. The chosen model can reroll one attack roll and one damage roll this turn.

Comparison to SR 2018

  • New scenarios, as always.
  • Scenario elements have been spread further apart, rewarding casters with large control areas and increasing the worth of models with Ambush.
  • 6 objectives instead of 3.

Rules Clarifications

Current version

None yet.

Previous years

Tip lightbulb.png

Tip !
About 75% of these clarifications are still relevant in today's version of Steamroller, because it doesn't change that much from year to year. However, I'm too lazy to sort them into relevant vs not relevant.

Steamroller 2017


  • Terrain that normally randomly expire (Dense Fog & Burning Earth) does not expire as per the Steamroller rules.
    • It doesn't randomly expire, regardless whether it was part of the original terrain setup or put into play by a Theme bonus (such as Dark Host). (Infernal Ruling)
  • The clouds can, however, be forced to expire by spells/effects that make clouds disappear.
  • If a "terrain cloud" is dispelled, the entire terrain piece is removed from the table.
    To reiterate: if you have a Forest which is also Burning Earth, it counts as a cloud. If that cloud is dispelled, the entire Forest is taken off the table. (Infernal Ruling)


  • Scoring is done very very last, even after stuff that happens "at the end of the player's turn" (such as triggering Last Stand). (Judge Ruling)
  • Units that contain non-warrior models (such as the Legion Spawning Vessel) are not eligible to score circular zones. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Any kind of solo is eligible to control flags, even if it is Immobile and/or Created (like the Stormwall's pods).

Steamroller 2016

  • You do not need to spend all of your Warjack points, but cannot play an army more than 4 points lower than the point level at which you are playing. Ref: niceas, 2016-06-17.
  • Terrain may be placed in such a manner as to block line of sight to a zone or flag from a deployment zone. Ref: niceas, 2016-06-20.
  • Ghetorix: The new model is tournament legal. The fact that one hand is open and it doesn't have a separate claw attack does not matter. Ref: DarkLegacy, 2016-06-29. Ref: PPS_Hungerford, 2016-08-11.
  • Objectives are a friendly faction model to the player who owns them, and models with the repair skill can repair objectives. Ref: bulldog, 2016-06-30.
  • Any player may score at the end of any player's turn, starting with the second player's second turn. Ref: DarkLegacy, 2016-07-07.
  • If you are going so fast your opponent cannot verify your dice rolls, you need to slow down. You cannot speed up in such a way that it is unreasonable for them to check. If you roll the dice and then immediately switch the clock to your opponent, you will get a warning for sportsmanship. Ref: DarkLegacy, 2016-07-07.
  • It is possible to get a tie in a game. Ref: rydiafan, 2016-07-08.
  • If you forget to prey, and you and your opponent cannot agree on the resolution of such, it is lost for the game. Ref: LEJ, 2016-07-11.
  • Flags are valid targets for chain lighting and e-leaps. Ref: bulldog, 2016-07-18.
  • Steamroller objectives do not have an activation. Ref: DarkLegacy, 2016-07-18.
  • Models not yet released cannot be used in organized play, including conversions. Ref: LEJ, 2016-08-11.
  • Theme forces in NQ are legal in pp organised play on the street date of the NQ issue. Ref: LEJ, 2016-08-13.
  • Arc Nodes are not weapons so you could remove them without falling foul of the official guidelines. Ref: LEJ, 2016-08-26.