Choosing a Faction – Part 2

So after having a refresher game of HoMachine the other day, I’ve decided to give myself one last try at it. If I can get back into playing it properly then great. If I get to the end of 6 months, or perhaps let’s say the end of the year, and I’m still looking at no real progress then it’s not working and it can all go. There are too many games I want to play and I know I won’t play them all.

Anyway, the first step is to try to focus on a single faction to start with. Partly because of my nature and partly because of what I do for a living I am something of an omnivore when it comes to factions. I like to have them all. However, this really isn’t a good start point, and I do envy those folk who can focus on a single faction (let alone on a single game) and get really good with it.

Need to focus.

However, as I’ve decided to give the HoMachine a stay of execution I’ll stick the ones I don’t immediately need in holding rather than on eBay. Knowing what I’m like, if I do get back into it then I won’t stop at one army…

So, as I said before, let’s go through the list of considerations I put up yesterday and see how the theory applies. I’ll take them in a slightly different order.

Cost

This isn’t much of an issue in this particular case and doesn’t really help me choose any given faction. I’ll be starting fairly small and for all but the most obscure factions PP sells a good value entry-level starter set (assuming I don’t have the models already). If I’m getting into the game then I’m happy to spend some more adding to this, and I could always fund it with some of the things I clear out onto eBay 🙂

What You Already Have

Actually, it’d be silly to buy more when I’ve already got loads lying about. I should at least start with something I have a few models for. That’s a good way to limit me and limiting is helpful at this juncture. So what’s lurking in the piles?

Menoth, Cryx, Cygnar: nada.

Khador: pButcher¹. I’d cleaned up the model and green-stuffed some extra fur to hide a nasty infill on his back. I put it down when I couldn’t find a new haft for the friday afternoon job they’d done on Lola. Never went back to it, but because I was looking forward to painting him I kept him when I sold the rest of the army.

Retribution: heavy myrmidon, sentinels, Vyros, Kaelissa, chimera, gorgon, Garryth, arcanist, ghost sniper, Eiryss. I also have the army book for this lot – the only MkII faction book I have. I do have the Hordes Primal MkII though, so I’ve got stats for the basic models for those 4 factions too.

Circle: nowt.

Skorne: old metal warpack, bronzeback, rhinodon, beastmasters, extra brute. All still in boxes/blisters which is why I know their names 😉

Everblight: metal warpack, Thagrosh, seraph, deathstalker. Found the old cards for their names.

Trollbloods: probably two metal warpacks, mauler, bouncer, doomshaper, krielstone, thumper, earthborn, bunch more I don’t know the names of. I’ve got more of this than anything else as I got an army off eBay on top of the few boxes and blisters I had to start with. I just don’t remember what it’s all called.

Mercs & Minions: a couple of solos that go with factions. No jacks. Not an army.

So, ignoring a lone caster and a few solos that leaves me with Retribution, Skorne, Everblight & Trolls to pick from.

What Your Opponents Play

The local gamers play quite a bit of this which is why playing it myself is a good plan – plenty of opponents who already know the rules.

  • Retribution: haven’t seen a lot of this locally till one of the many Richards² turned up with the colossal in a Scyrah force the other day. Mind you, he’s got dozens of armies so he probably has all of them. The next time I saw him he was playing Menoth.
  • Skorne: this used to be one player’s main force, but I haven’t seen it in a bit. I always get the impression that they’re somehow not quite as well regarded, or perhaps used to be thought of as a little under-powered. Either way, it’s not a common local faction.
  • Everblight: despite Fiendl’s comment, the strongest WM/H player that I know locally has used Legion for years, and I feel that starting with this myself would be a poor plan as a first army to get back into the game. All the local players are used to seeing the naughtiness this lot can deliver handed out by an expert, so anything I do will be easily thwarted. For me, this is a good enough reason on its own to shelve the Everblight for the time being. Down to three.
  • Trolls: the club’s HoMachine gamers have entered a few tournaments over the years, and at one of the team tourneys they all took Trollbloods (with a red gingham theme). This means that pretty much everyone has Trollbloods, but they aren’t anyone’s main force. In some ways this means they’ve been done to death, and in others it’s nice because whoever I’m playing against can help out with my army because they’ll remember some of the rules too 🙂

Background

This is one that was suggested by CrazyZip in the comments for part 1, and it’s well worth adding to the mix. However, in my case these last three are all equally appealing in different ways. Sneaky elves out to save their god, S&M lunatics driving their monstrous armies from the East or the poor old trolls who just want a quiet life. I like them all.

Aesthetic

This is a bit like the background for me: I find all of them appealing in different ways. Perhaps the Retribution slightly less, but that’s mainly down to what I think is poor model painting by the PP studio. It’s really because of the lighting which forms an integral part of the art and which was always going to be a nightmare to paint, however good you are. I don’t think anyone’s found a real way round this yet, and that spoils the visuals for the Retribution. But they have such potential…

Models

  • Retribution: even though I bought some, I’ve never been entirely sure whether I like these or not (see above). I do most of the time, but I think that they suffer from a naff paint job, which isn’t helping, though exactly how I’d do it differently I don’t really know. There are some lovely models and some terrible ones. They also suffer badly from the infilled stupid shoulder pads and loincloths, and that’s a pet hate of mine. Lazy and bad, but a PP trait. So ambivalence all round here. I always felt that they could be great and that their visual potential had yet to be tapped properly.
  • Skorne: for me there are all manner of highs and lows in this force. There are few really terrible models, but quite a few that could be improved, perhaps by reposing or small conversions. However, they also have a selection of absolutely brilliant models and the new colossal looks great!
  • Trolls: possibly the most consistently good range of figures PP makes. I don’t think there are more than a couple of really awkward poses, though there are some meh ones. Their great models are really lovely, and in general this range seems more coherent than most.

Play Style

  • Retribution: never quite decided what they do – I’m not sure they have either. Have seen a wide variety of approaches including magic heavy, sneaky and shooty.
  • Skorne: great at thumping things, pretty good at absorbing punishment. Fabled for awkward synergies (“Skornergy”).
  • Trolls: even better at absorbing damage than Skorne with tough, regeneration and snacking. Not bad at doing the thumping either.

So The Decision Is…

Re-reading this I’ve talked myself out of starting with Scyrah. Too many ifs and buts for that lot to start with. This leaves me with the difficult choice between Trolls and Skorne. If I was starting from scratch I think I’d probably choose Skorne, but as I’ve already got a bunch of Trolls assembled they’re the better option. I can at least put the models on the tabletop without any delay.

Final Thoughts

When I started to look again at the PP site in preparation for the game the other day, I saw that they were adding a new faction. The Convergence of Cyriss is looking very tempting, and from the early commentary it sounds as if it would suit my play style. Luckily they aren’t out till July (at current guess). If I’ve done nothing in the interim that’s a good sign I should be saving my money.

line

1: Actually, while I was looking at the Skorne models I found the 2010 version of pButcher too, so I’ve got 2 versions of the same caster 🙂

2: My local games club is blessed with a superabundance of Richards.

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8 Responses to Choosing a Faction – Part 2

  1. fiendil says:

    “Retribution: [snip] I think that they suffer from a naff paint job, which isn’t helping, though exactly how I’d do it differently I don’t really know. ”

    Two approaches I’ve seen that I’ve liked. One was to paint the bulbous bits as gems, instead of glowy things. Looked so much betterer. (The pics may have been in No Quarter, but I can’t remember exactly where.) The other one was grayscale based on Star Wars stormtroopers: http://laughingferret.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/more-stormtrooper-elves-warmachine.html

    But yeah, Trolls is good. I don’t think we played them to death. And we certainly didn’t go with really mean optimised lists. Cept maybe Felix, with one of the Doomshapers and Mulg…

    • Quirkworthy says:

      That’s not a bad scheme at all. Like I said, I think it’s the lighting effects which cause the problems. Assume they’re something else and the problem goes away.

      • James Maz Marsden says:

        If i was to paint them i’d pissibly do it as fire in the cracks….no idea how it would look though.

        It won’t ever happen however as the only Elf army i have ever collected was a Dark Elf WFB force which was part of a staff challenge during my time at GW White Rose (RIP) where we had to collect and paint an army that was totally against what we would ever do.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Harking back to the background comment from CrazyZip, I’ve been inspired by stories for all manner of races. For me it’s more about the ability of the author to come up with a compelling narrative than whether their ears are pointy or not.

        • James Maz Marsden says:

          I think i’m a fantasty Xenophobe!

          No idea why but elves have just never floated my boat.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          They’re not very buoyant.

  2. azoxystrobin says:

    Trolls are always a good choice, but apparently Skorne is more of the underestimated faction, and is quite capable of winning,
    How many games can a busy person get in in 6 months? Remember that a new player loses the first dozen games. ><'

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I don’t know how many games I can get in, but it needs to be enough to convince me that it’s worth keeping. I suppose it’s more about a feeling than a specific number.

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