Saturday, 30 July 2011

Marking Damage Grids / Life Spirals

It has come to my attention since I started playing this game that people mark their damage grids/life spirals differently. While it doesn’t tell you about the player’s personality, it does give you a glimpse of how a person perceives a damage grid/life spiral. Since this is not an article on psychology, I will leave the deduction of people's perception to you. Here are some examples of how people mark their damage according to my observation.


Thick Line
Don't worry, it's only the open fist that's busted!
This is the most common type of marking technique seen in the area where I reside in. This is probably due to the easily available whiteboard marker. The best part about this marking technique is that if your card is on the tabletop, the damage of your warjack is quite visible from eyeview level when sitting down at the table (subjected to individuals).

Thin Line
Cortex busted!! Eh? Wait a minute...
This technique is usually used when a thin whiteboard marker is provided instead of a thick one. It “feels” neater and it's easier to clean but it does play eye tricks on you. Most of us wear glasses (if you aren’t, you eventually will). The resolution generated from this technique requires us to actually pick up the card and glance at it closely in order to check if our warjack’s cortex is busted or not.

Screw the right arm, this Lancer is still a threat!
It doesn’t matter whether the whiteboard marker is thick or thin (picture shown above is from using a thin whiteboard marker), this technique is defined by the pressing and lifting motion of the whiteboard marker on each of the individual cells. It is time consuming, but some people mark their grids this way like it is their second nature. Not only is it tough to see, but a slight smudge (i.e. part of your resting arm accidently landed on the card) would result in a marked damage grid being lost without a trace. Unlike its thin counterpart, the thick version would at the very least leave some trace behind when smudged.


Didn't kill it? It's gonna kill you then.
When I see players mark their damage grid of a warbeast, I see the above technique a lot. Like its warmachine counterpart, both thin or thick whiteboard markers can be used. This technique makes it difficult to see which aspect is busted, but due to the design of the life spiral, this could be the most preferred method around the world for marking a warbeast life spiral.

Mind Blown!!!
Perhaps the easiest (and laziest) way to mark a life spiral. Unfortunately due to the "compactness" of the life spiral, one would still need to pick up a card to ‘double-check’ whether the required aspect is still online. Using thick whiteboard markers can potentially overlap the life spiral beside it. Hence, using a thin whiteboard marker for this technique is highly advised.

In case you have not noticed, various whiteboard marker colours are used when marking damage grids/life spirals. The most common ones I see are red coloured markers, but I do tend to see blue and black ones from time to time. Players who use black-coloured markers need to be careful when checking to see the damage inflicted on your model as it is easily obscured by the card’s background colour. This leads to a misjudged inflicted damage. Green colour is uncommon but I have seen it used once before. Red coloured ones stands out the most for easy identification, but it is interesting to note that green is the colour our eyes are most receptive to.

One thing I would like to add before I end this column. I notice a trend where players who started off from Warmachine tend to mark their damage grids in a line fashion, regardless of which game system (WM or H) they play and players who started out from Hordes tend to mark their damage grids in a dotted fashion regardless of which game system they play. Old habits die hard.

Not all players mark their damage grid/life spirals the same. How do you mark yours? Also, do you mark the “System Status” box under the damage grid once a system is busted?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Ridin' Solo

I'm puttin' on my shades to cover up my eyes, I'm jumpin' on my ride, I'm headin' out tonight, I'm solo.

Let’s have a look at some of the best 2pt solos in the game. For the purpose of this article, only Warmachine factions will be considered.

Kovnik Jozef

This solo only excels when working with a Winterguard Infantry (WGI) unit and excel he does. Jozef is one of the reasons why the WGI Deathstar configuration one of the most versatile units in the game. “Courage of the Forefathers” makes the unit Tough and helps Khador’s attrition cause while “For the Motherland” boosts the unit’s range attack rolls. This is indeed a very welcomed ability for a unit who is able to make Grapeshot spray attacks from each trooper model.

Warwitch Siren
Fanart by thevampiredio

This Orgoth witch is known to be a mini-Deneghra simply because her abilities are somewhat similar. She packs Power Booster (one of the best underdog spells in the game) and most importantly, that SP8 Venom. Infantries should steer clear away from her if able.

She tends to stick with warjacks, but do remember that she can also go more on the offensive route due to her  SPD 7, Reach and Shadowbind. For non-reach warjacks, it is absolutely disastrous to succumb to Shadowbind. It would require some form of support to take the warwitch down but at DEF 15, chances of her surviving is quite high.

Vassal of Menoth

E.N.L.I.V.E.N. Annoying as heck! Amateur players tend to get caught off guard by this ability and if played well, even experienced players find it tough to get around it. Enliven is one of the best defensive spells in the game and fortunately for the Vassal, he too can go offensive by making a warjack hit one more time via Ancillary Attack. Nothing beats the sight of a Redeemer launching an extra rocket or a Reckoner flaring up someone again…!


Not only is Gorman one of the best 2 pointed solo in the game, he is one of the best solo in WarmaHordes! For 2 points, you get a stealthed model that is immune to corrosion and fire. He is able to make a 3” aoe cloud effect and more importantly, able to throw a Black Oiled grenade at RNG 6. Black Oil does so many negative things to a model that for the most of them, it is pretty much out of the game for one round (considering it isn’t dead yet from other forms of attacks). Annoyingly, this sets up Gorman for another round of Black Oil should your opponent fail to kill him the turn it got black oiled. Gorman is one solo where if you see it across the board, he needs to die and he needs to die fast!

Squire or a mini-Mariner? (conversion made by CT GAMER)

A staple in a Cygnaran army and you need a damn good reason to not include the if you are playing the Yellow Swans of the Iron Kingdom. For 2 points, you get an additional focus for up to 3 turns. This means eHaley gets an effective 9 focus or pNemo potentially playing with 11 focus for that particular turn!

Besides supplying your warcaster an additional focus, it also extends his/her control area by 2”. Not only does this allow you to pre-measure more distances, some spells/feats that relies on your control area gains this benefit too. It allows you to pre-measure your weapon’s max range (i.e. Siege & Kara Sloan).

Retribution of Scyrah
Mage Hunter Assasin

Everyone fears her striking power. Noone wants to get hit by it and they will likely spend resources to kill it as soon as possible. You definitely one to field more than 1 of her and her FA 2 balances that out. Any damage over armour is doubled is indeed something to be worried about. Even though her PS is a measly 9, she has weaponmaster and with SPD 7 and a 4” melee range on activation, she WILL reach your lines. To top it off, she ignores buffs to DEF and ARM from spell effects. She still has abit of trouble breaking through a Khadoran heavy, but chances of it dealing >50% of damage to a light warjack is quite high. Reports from the interwebs have shown that she have one-shot killed the likes of Hunter, Bouncer, Seraph, Repenter, Dervish, etc…

There you have it. The best 2pt solos in the game from my point of view. Which solo do you think is the best in the game (of Warmachine) and why?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

On The Net #3

GenCon 2011

GenCon is just around the corner and the T-shirt design has been released ( It’s always good to see lady soldiers get some face-time in the iron kingdoms.

Papercraft terrain

Dave Graffam ( is one heck of a designer. In his site you can find paper terrain designed by him and some of them are absolutely fabulous. I recommend building them using cardboard though. Even though lifespan of such terrains are known to be short, you’d still want to make it last as long as possible as I doubt you’d want to re-make this over and over again.

Maelstrom ETC 2011

Maelstrom Games, one of the world’s biggest online retailer for tabletop wargaming, recently held a tournament called ETC 2011 ( Team Octopii lost out the first spot by a whisker but apparently they fought through some really tough teams. Sadly, they didn’t meet the German team who won this even throughout the tournament (meeting them could push Team Octopii to top spot).

What caught my eye (besides that buxom man-o-war pilot) was the papercraft terrain from dave graffam. Do you agree in using papercraft terrain? Is it worth the hassle to assemble them, only for it to have a short life span?

Friday, 1 July 2011

Changes I'd like to see in Mk.III

It’s been only 1+ year since Mk.II was released. Like all things in life, although the game is quite polished already, there are definitely room for improvements. Here’s what I’d like to see in Mk.III.

Elemental System
“A model/unit susceptible to a certain kind of elemental damage (i.e. fire) receives an additional +2 damage when hit by that elemental weapon/effect/spell.”

Double K.O.
There are a few models/units having elemental damage (i.e. fire, corrosion, etc) on their weapons/spells. New players tend to think of this as a buff, but in actual fact, it isn’t. Having an elemental damage on your weapon is actually a setback because unlike normal damage, there are some models out there immune to a certain kinds of elemental-based effects. If we actually include the rule as stated above, elemental damages now matters and can play a further role. I just think elemental damage have so much more potential compared to what it is now and I’d love to see this change.

Critical Hit
“When a critical hit is made, the attacking model receives +2 to attack damage rolls towards attacked model.”

Getting a critical hit is always fun. Currently, critical hit only happens when is tied to a certain ability (i.e. critical freeze). What I’d love to see changed is the inclusion of a “vanilla critical hit”. It adds more excitement to the game and gives a chance for weak models to “potentially” hurt a heavy model (I'd think that +2 to damage isn't game-breaking enough). Also, days of people screaming “CRITICAL NOTHING!!!!!” when scoring a vanilla crit will be gone! For balance issues (if it ever pops up), I recommend limiting this rule only to melee attacks.

So there you have it. The above are some changes I'd like to see in Mk.II on the general side of things. Surely there are some faction-based changes I'd like to see, but that deserves another story for another day.

What would you like to see included/changed in Mk.III?