Warmachine is a tabletop steampunk wargame produced by Privateer Press.
The game is played with white metal and plastic miniatures manufactured by Privateer Press representing military characters from the Iron Kingdoms setting. Battles are fought between warcasters from rival nations, the large steam-powered warjacks that the warcasters control, and troops consisting of humans and fantasy races.
Warmachine has been the recipient of the 2003 Origins Awards for Best Fantasy Miniatures Rules and Best Fantasy Miniatures Series. In 2005 Warmachine won Game of the Year at Origins and Gamers Choice for Best Miniatures.
A compatible companion game involving the savage factions is named Hordes.
Warmachine's most distinctive feature is the inclusion of Warcasters and Warjacks (the war machines from which the game derives its name). Warjacks, or 'jacks for short, are techno-steam powered constructs designed for waging war. They are, in general, powered by a coal-burning steam engine and guided by an arcane supercomputer-like 'brain' called a cortex. Heavily armored and often carrying oversized weaponry, 'jacks fill a role similar to traditional military armor such as tanks and artillery. They are several times more durable and powerful than normal troops, but are far more costly.
Warcasters are the pivotal characters of the game. Warcasters are powerful generals and spellcasters who have learned to control warjacks. Warcasters serve multiple roles: in addition to guiding the warjacks' destructive power, they are the army commanders, potent combatants, and powerful spellcasters. Each warcaster has a special feat that can be used once per battle; their effects range from subtle to explosive and can be enough to change the tide of battle.
In addition to warcasters and warjacks, armies can field supporting infantry troops of many varieties, powerful machines of war called battle engines, durable structures that support their infantry troops, and even more massive versions of warjacks known as colossals. Some are infantry or gunners, while others have more specialized roles, from warjack repairmen to "journeyman" warcasters - novice versions of the models that command armies. Most of these troops come in groups and move in formations, but there are also independent characters called solos.
In the first major expansion, Warmachine: Wrath, battle engines were introduced. Battle engines are huge mechanical constructs that are not warjacks and thus does not require focus. Each faction has one battle engine available at the moment.
The second major expansion, Warmachine: Colossals, gave each faction towering warjacks known as Colossals. Taking a role similar to a battleship, each Colossal is heavily armed and capable dealing and receiving large amounts of damage. Their powerful presence is balanced by their high cost to include them in an army, making the loss of a Colossal during the course of a game a heavy loss of resources.
The third major expansion, Warmachine: Vengeance, added new Epic versions of older warlords, as well as new units, solos and warjacks. The new journeyman warcasters introduced with the video game Warmachine: Tactics (see below) were also added.
Most recently, through the CID or Community Integrated Development process, a new model type has been added called structures. These immobile models often deploy far ahead of normal forces, but may not change positions throughout the game, and provide a powerful, if situational, bonus to your army. Stationed atop the largest base size in the game, these massive buildings can be seen from anywhere on the battlefield, making them tempting targets, but often powerful fortifications.
The overall gameplay is supposed to encourage aggression rather than defensive tactics, such as sitting behind fortifications. This was referred to among players and the game's developers as 'Page 5' in previous versions of the game, however in the "Mark 3" rules, the company has pushed into a more balanced direction with regards to both aggressive versus controlling strategies, and the previous performative masculine rhetoric.
Warmachine is similar to many other miniature wargames in that each army consists of several units, each of which acts during a turn. Individual units move, attack, and may perform other actions such as repairing a warjack or using a feat. The primary mechanic unique to Warmachine is the use of focus points. Each warcaster receives a certain number of focus points each turn, which represents that warcaster's power. At the beginning of the turn, focus may be spent to pay for ongoing abilities and allocated between the warlord and 'jacks in the caster's battlegroup within their "Control Area" or sphere of influence - a distance based on the 'caster's focus stat. Focus allows warjacks to become more accurate and powerful by "boosting" their attacks, and to perform special actions called "Power Attacks" such as slamming a model across the battlefield with their heft or throwing an enemy model at another model. Additionally warcasters can use focus to cast spells performing all manner of arcane effects from attacks, to movement bonuses, to offensive/defensive enhancements. Good focus management can often be the difference between winning and losing. The warcaster is the single most important model on either side in the game. If a player's warcaster is killed, they lose the game, no matter how many casualties, or how much damage, they have inflicted on the enemy.
The Warmachine game is set in the world of Caen, upon the western portion of the continent of Immoren. Western Immoren is divided into the following political powers:
The kingdoms of Cygnar, Ord, Llael, and Khador are the main human kingdoms of Western Immoren, collectively referred to as the Iron Kingdoms. They were created four hundred years ago by the signing of the Corvis Treaties. In the in-game storyline that unfolds through the fiction in game manuals and other supplements, Cygnar and Khador are currently at war, and Khador has annexed almost all of Llael. Ord is decidedly neutral in the war, though it chafes under the imperialist designs of Khador to the north. Rumors of a militarization among the Golden Crucible (an order of alchemists and arcanists within Ord) abound throughout the free states.
While the Protectorate of Menoth was historically part of Cygnar, it has recently declared independence (and in fact war on Cygnar). The Protectorate is populated by members of the Menite faith, historically alienated by Cygnar's Morrowan government. Recently, the Protectorate has declared a crusade against Cygnar, and is mobilizing secret armies that were in existence in breach of treaties with Cygnar in addition to police forces and temple guards. Additionally the Northern Crusade, led by the Harbinger of Menoth and Hierarch Severius have marched into Llael - both to push back against the encroachment of the Khadoran expansion and a more insidious goal of converting old-faith Khadorans back to modern Menite worship.
Cryx is an archipelago off the coast of Cygnar. It is ruled by Lord Toruk also known as "The Dragonfather" as he is the sire of all the dragons of Caen and is a haven for piracy and other evils. The raiding parties of Satyxis and undead are constantly harrying the shores of the other kingdoms. The powerful Lich Lords rule Cryx with a (predictably) iron fist, scheming against each other as well as the Iron Kingdoms with the singular goal of dominance over Western Immoren
Ios is the country of the elves. Little is known of it as their borders have been closed for years. What is known is that the elves have lost their gods, but one has returned and another was imprisoned (until recently) by Khador. These titans are dying, and the elves believe that the arcane magic used by the humans is what is killing them.
Rhul is the country of the dwarves. It is currently neutral in the Cygnar-Khadoran war, but it has recently had a friendly attitude towards Cygnar.
The cult of Cyriss is a secretive cabal operating in service to the clockwork deity, their shadowy machinations ever ticking in the background as their machines of war assault member-states of the Iron Kingdoms on the field of battle. Few escape their grasp, though one such warcaster is Master Necrotech Mortenebra, a Cryxian warcaster.
In Warmachine, the focus is on the four major factions: Cygnar, Khador, Menoth and Cryx.
There are currently seven playable factions in Warmachine.
Cygnar is the most prosperous and most technologically advanced human nation of the Iron Kingdoms. Recent releases (specifically the Retribution of Scyrah and the Convergence of Cyriss) imply that other nations may surpass Cygnar's technology in at least some areas. Cygnar's ballistic technology is highly advanced, and the Cygnaran specialty, arcane electrical energy, can fry opposing warjacks' cortexes, rendering them far less effective in combat. Prominent Cygnaran warcasters include Lord Commander Coleman Stryker and Major Victoria Haley. Recently, the Thunderhead, an advanced jack powered by electricity, has been developed by Commander Adept Sebastian Nemo. Cygnar also has two Colossal-class warjack called the Stormwall, a lightning-based warjack which deploys powerful "lightning pods" to extend its destructive power and the Hurricane, a more artillery-focused colossal with the power to disrupt flying models in its area, which are among the largest warjacks in the Iron Kingdoms.
The Protectorate of Menoth
The Protectorate of Menoth, formerly part of Cygnar, is a nation of devout religious practitioners. Menite troops are sometimes individually weaker, but their abilities combine to great effect, and they are often designed for denying opponents the opportunity to attack. Menites have a penchant for setting their heretical enemies on fire. Led by the charismatic Hierarch Severius, the Protectorate has embarked on a holy war against their great enemy, Cygnar. Prominent Menite warcasters include Grand Exemplar Mikael Kreoss and the Harbinger of Menoth, a young woman killed directly by the Menite titan. The most powerful Menite warjack, the Avatar of Menoth, is guided by divine power rather than a warcaster. The Judicator is the Protectorate's first Colossal warjack, built from designs stolen and modified from Cygnar. Recent sightings of the Revelator (another Protectorate colossal) have been reported, its divine reliquary illuminating even the most hidden targets from its view.
Khador is the imperialistic, expansionist nation to the north. Their warjacks are much slower than similar combatants, but they possess several abilities and powers that allow them to move faster. In order to make up for their speed, they have the heaviest armor and can deal out massive damage. Khadoran troops, however, are some of the most mobile and best-trained in the game. Khador specializes in freezing enemy troops, making them much easier to hit and destroy. Prominent Khadoran warcasters include Forward Kommander Sorscha Kratikoff and "The Butcher of Khardov" - Orsus Zoktavir. Khador recently fielded the Behemoth, the largest warjack in the Iron Kingdoms, excluding Colossals. The Colossal Conquest is a brute-force warjack of enormous power with thick armour and heavy cannons, while the Victor carries a single massive gun with variable ammunition but a smooth, inaccurate barrel.
Cryx is a nation of undead monsters that serve Toruk, king of all dragons. They are the masters of evil. Their troops, nearly all undead, are numerous, and their warjacks are fast and nimble, but lightly armored. Cryxian attacks often coat their targets in acid, slowly melting flesh and metal. Prominent Cryxian warcasters include Warwitch Deneghra, Iron Lich Asphyxious and Pirate Queen Skarre. Lord Toruk's legions have finally managed to harness the power of the Deathjack, a fearsome construct commonly thought to be a myth. Additionally, the forces of Cryx have been authorized to use Colossals such as the Kraken and Sepulcher, which gain power as they slay living opponents with their mechanikal tendrils and caustic guns.
Retribution of Scyrah
The Retribution of Scyrah represents the secret forces of a rising sect within the elven nation of Ios as they fight to save their few remaining kings, and kill all human mages. Composed of covert mage hunters, soldiers of the noble elven houses, and the legendary Dawnguard legions, they strike against the arcane powers of human kingdoms using warjack-like constructs called Myrmidons, running completely on a power crystal as opposed to steam and coal like standard warjacks. Prominent warlords of the Retribution include Dawnlord Vyros and Kaelyssa, Night's Whisper. The Retribution recently received permission from the Iosan government to deploy the enormous Hyperion Colossals against their enemies. The Hyperion has the single most powerful cannon yet seen in Warmachine, capable of consuming man-sized targets whole, whereas the Helios is a field support colossal, able to transmit power to other Myrmidons, and manipulate the positions of its foes using its versatile tractor beam.
Hired guns and sellswords, mercenaries perform two roles within the Warmachine game. First, mercenary warcasters, solos, and units are able to be included in certain factions, defined by the individual unit's special rules. Second, mercenaries may be played as a separate faction generally, as well as through the use of theme forces. Themes represent "minor factions" and each theme has special rules to increase the effectiveness of the mercenary armies. There are currently a number of mercenary themes available: Llaelese Resistance, the Kingmaker's Army, Hammer Strike, the Irregulars, and Operating Theatre. While a few of the Iron Kingdoms' nations produce warjacks for mercenaries (specifically the nations of Ord, Rhul, and [Free] Llael), many mercenaries make do with scavenging surplus military warjacks, building their own custom warjacks, or converting laborjacks into machines of war, refitting them until they are capable of doing battle on par with the nations of the Iron Kingdoms. Ashlynn D'Elyse, Ashteth Magnus (the Warlord), and Gorten Grundback are prominent mercenary warcasters.
Mercenaries, while having more diverse model selections than any other faction, did not receive an official "Battlegroup Box" in the transition to Warmachine MKIII. As of October 2017, Mercenaries are the only Warmachine faction who do not have an "Army Box", which contains all the models necessary to begin playing a mid-sized game.
Convergence of Cyriss
The Convergence of Cyriss represents an underground cult of mathematicians and scholars who desire to physically manifest the deity Cyriss on Caen through a process known as "The Great Work". Previously acting in the background of the Warmachine setting by feeding technological advancements to Cygnar and Khador in return for access to sensitive locations, the faction recently came to the foreground of the conflict to coincide with the ascension of the Iron Mother Directrix and the entering of the time period they refer to as the "Phase of Alignment". The Convergence army consists of primarily clockwork soldiers and large mechanical constructs known as vectors, which differ from standard warjacks by lacking any form of artificial intelligence, instead interfacing directly with their controlling warcaster and adopting qualities and skills from them directly. The army is known for its synergy between its several units and vectors, and for requiring a "clockwork-like" efficiency in order to perform at the highest levels of competition.
Unlike other factions, the Convergence is considered a 'Limited Release' army, with a far more narrow selection of models in comparison to any other faction in the game. The Convergence also is one of two factions that did not receive a new 'Battlegroup Box' in the transition to Warmachine MKIII.