Sunday, 27 November 2011

Formations, Formations, Formations...!

Formations can play a big role in a game of Warmachine. Depending on how you place your unit, it can protect your unit’s back line or screen your caster from LOS and slams. The 2 abilities that benefit the most from various formations are Shield Wall and Vengeance. Let’s first explore Shield Wall formations.

Straight Line

This is the standard straight line formation. It is fairly straight forward, with each MoW standing side by side. One of the biggest benefits of this formation is that it blocks LoS to your caster in the largest arc possible.


Next we have the W-Line formation, where the MoW stands besides each other but at in the same rank at intervals. The gist of this formation is that if your opponent does not have reach, he is forced to charge at an angle in order to hit 2 MoWs. The MoWs, having reach, will still be engaged with the enemy.


This formation totally blocks LoS to (and of) your warcaster but the biggest draw of this formation is that it is flexible enough to be converted into an angled Flying-V formation (more on this later). This allows you to expect a charge on the right or left directions by a slight re-organisation as shown below. The drawback is that your warcaster is dictated by the shield walled unit’s movement speed and he/she does not have LOS to anything besides the sides.


Here’s the much touted Flying-V formation. Due to the nature of this formation, breaking the shield-wall advantage is pretty tedious, if not nigh impossible. It also acts as a 'solid-wall' from jacks slamming into your MoWs, hoping to clip your caster along the way since the back rank of the MoWs will soak up the hit instead. The caster depicted in the pic being B2B with the MoWs are just an exaggeration since your caster can be further back from the wall, as long the wall acts as the barrier.

Mini-V (for single-wound shield walled units)

Shield Wall buffs up a unit’s ARM but let’s face it, they still have one life. A model with a POW 12 gun only needs a -6 on damage rolls against an ARM 18 unit (under the effects of Shield Wall). Worse still, should they suffer the corrosion continuous effect, chances of them living is 1 out of 3. Hence, it is not wise to “brick” them up. Most of these units brick up in a mini-V formation instead. Blast templates would get 3 at most (rather than 5+ if you brick them up all together) and they hit hard as a mini-unit of 3 men. If one dies, the other 2 would still be under the effects of Shield Wall due to being B2B.

The other question that people tend to ask is what kind of formations would you deploy to fully maximise the Vengeance ability?

Mastershake from the PP forums ( wrote up an interesting article which I believe is worth sharing.

Vengeance Formation
Vengence formations in general are usually spread out and you'll also often models turned at wierd angles to make it exceptionally difficult to charge models in ranks further back without getting free-struck. This forces you to fight a handful of models which means almost the entire unit can get Vengence. It's not a bad idea by any stretch of the imagination to play all Reach infantry formations like this to minimize the damage you'll take from charges, but with Vengence it's how you get the most out of the unit.

For units with an inherent Vengeance ability, you’d want to spread them out as much as possible like the picture below but at the same time, get your back rank within charge range should the first rank fall apart.

For units with a Granted: Vengeance ability (i.e. Dawnguard Sentinels), you want to spread out the unit too but you need to protect your officer at the same time. The picture below is a good example of how you’d deploy a unit with a granted Vengeance ability. The LOS is well blocked to the officer and the enemy would have a tough time reaching him.

So there you have it. Formations that one can use when playing units with Shield Guard or Vengeance. It is interesting to see how unit formations can actually play a role in a game of Warmachine. It is simple details and tactics like these make me love this game.

What kind of formations do you tend to use? Any other formations you would like to share?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Painting Burnout

All miniature tabletop gamers who paint have been through a painting burnout at least once in their lifetime. It is a rite of passage. You have not fully matured (as a painter) unless you have been burnt out before! Some people get it only once in their lifetime while others experience it pretty often.

 Reasons of Burning Out

-        Too many miniatures to paint
This is the most common reason of burning out. When you step back and think about it, you have tonnes of miniatures to paint. Worse still, this does not include the minis from other game systems that you play!

-        Real life issues (i.e. no time, etc)

Work gets in your way all the time. The lack of time makes you feel that it takes ages for you to paint something and by the time you are finished with it, you already got bored playing with that miniature.

-        “Bored” of the same paint scheme
Painting the same scheme over and over again can frustrate you. Imagine having a difficult scheme to paint with and you need to cover 50+ miniatures of it. The tediousness of it does creep into some people’s head out there!

-        Slow painter
You may be a below average painter, or you may simply be a perfectionist. The bottom line is, you paint slow. You wish you can speed paint as fast as some people out there but when you do it, the satisfaction simply isn’t there. It takes months to finish a simple 10 men unit and it is making you go crazy.

So What do you do?
-        Visit online forums; view pictures for inspiration

Miniatures painted in an awesome manner could motivate you to do good as well. It could also inspire you on a new paint scheme! In my opinion, the best site for this is at Do drop by and have a look if you have not!

-        Flip through your books, read fluffs, remember the reason why you gamed in the first place
It’s easy to forget why we play this game in the first place. It could be the fluff, the ruleset, or simply the artworks. Rekindle that by going through things that contribute to it. The fire will be re-ignited!

-        Take a break
Sometimes one just needs a break from painting. Once you start burning out, you should not push yourself. Your body would resist it more and more up to a point of no return. If you feel tired, take a break! Do some outdoor activities! Take a road trip! Perhaps have a barbeque!

-        Paint miniatures from a different line
Maybe painting a fantasy setting over and over again is what bores you.  Try painting some sci-fi minis or something totally different like battleships (i.e. dystopian wars). Also, do consider painting up terrain!

-        Opt for a different paint scheme
Your whole army is red and black and you are sick at the notion of painting another red and black miniature. Consider painting it differently! If you do not want to side track your army’s scheme, then consider “inverting” the colours (red parts are painted black and black parts are painted red). By inverting the colour, you are not only painting something “different”, you are also making that particular model stand out amongst the lot in your army.

-        Buy tools that eases/speeds up the painting process

If you are like me, I find painting a lengthy process that eats up my time. I don’t want to spend another month to just finish another warjack. Sometimes I get burnt out from this fact alone. Therefore, I buy tools that can cut my overall painting time (and get motivated to paint again to try them out). Some tools that can speed up the painting process are sprays (for undercoating), air brush, dremel (to pin and other forms of cleaning your mini prior to painting), a new table lamp, wet palate, water pot that self-replenishes the water for you, etc.

-        Participate in a campaign/tourney
Most campaigns and tourney these days require a fully painted army in order to participate. Participating in one (preferably with friends) it can serve as a good motivation to kick start your painting habits! The paintjob may not be the best, but hey, you got an army painted and ready to play!

-        Paint in a group on hobby nights
I cannot stress how fun this is. Not only do you get to paint and finish your miniature, you get to listen and participate in other people’s banter, teases, jokes, rants, etc. If your LGS does not have a hobby night event, do suggest the owner to organise one!

 Hopefully this article helps you in future burn outs. Here's a toast to no more painting burn outs!

What do you do to overcome painting burnouts?

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Naming Warjacks/Warbeasts

Warmachine is a game based on characters. It is only natural to bump into a person who insists on naming his warjacks/warbeasts. For today’s article, I have decided to touch more on a personal note and would like to share warjacks/warbeasts I own that has been given a name.

Name: Bonine (boh-nahyn)

“Beast oh-nine” became somewhat tedious to call. Since it is usually abbreviated to B-09, I tend to call it “Bonine” last time and the moniker stuck. Unsurprisingly, Bonine has gotten me the most kills throughout my WM lifetime. I love this model because I took great care in cleaning up the model before painting it. It was also my first time applying long grass to the base and was quite pleased with how the icy runes turned out. Another cool fact about Bonine was that it got loaned off to a friend for a tournament which my friend eventually won with it.

Name: Big-B (Big-Bee)

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Khador’s Behemoth being named Big-B is a cliché. It is, afterall, the widely received nickname for him online. I love this name so much that I just don’t see myself calling him the Behemoth anymore. An interesting fact about Big-B is that I bought him second hand and painted already. The paint scheme differs from my army (especially the red) and the original painter applied dipping material on top of the paintjob heavily. Big-B plays a significant role in my pSorscha army but has unfortunately been disrupted by Eiryss one time too many.

Name: Dave (Deyv)

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Dave the Devastator affectionately got its name from its name (De-vas-ta-tor à Da-ves-ta-tor à Dave-stator à Dave). It’s silly, but I just find “Dave the Devastator” soo fitting! I posed it in its open position and gave it a ‘sharky’ look by flipping its horn/spike upwards. Besides obscenely flashing himself, Dave loves pushing things around. With its horn facing upwards and the odd love of pushing things, it tends to get compared to a dung beetle.

Dire Troll Mauler
Name: Cookie Monster (koo`k-ee-mon-ster)

One of the best sculpts I love from Privateer Press and one of the reasons why I bought a small Trollblood Force. The “I NEED NOMS” pose is simply outstanding! After reading the fluff in the Trollblood book, I decided that this guy also should be chained by the tree as the warlock waits for the battle. Naming him was easy (big, blue, and wants food).

Do you name your warjack/warbeasts? What is your inspiration behind the name?