by Matt Wilson
Everything you want to know about WARMACHINE: MKIV and more…
We have been hard at work.
On behalf of everyone at Privateer Press, I must qualify that as a gross understatement. I also can’t sufficiently describe how excited we are to finally be able to share everything we’ve been working on.
I believe it comes as a surprise to almost no one that today we have announced the next edition of WARMACHINE—MKIV. There have been many clues along the way, but certainly the most telling factor has been the long absence of new releases for WARMACHINE and HORDES. While to some this may have given the impression that we had taken our attention off WARMACHINE, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We have been intensely focused on the development of the new edition’s rules and models in the years since the last release. So, the drought of new content for WARMACHINE is about to change very soon: the floodgates are about to open.
What follows is an account of how we approached the development of MKIV, the challenges we have aimed to address and the reasons we have made the decisions we have. This will serve as a roadmap to the future of WARMACHINE and HORDES. It comprises all the things we have wanted to say out loud for the past year but couldn’t before the time was right. Hopefully, this answers all of your questions about the past, present, and future of WARMACHINE. In the event we missed something, we’ll be adding to the accompanying FAQ along the way. So, grab a snack and a beverage, and find someplace comfortable to read, because there’s a lot to say—and I am not one to spare words.
WHY, OH WHY???
The Driving Reasons behind Embarking upon a New Edition
• New editions are controversial but necessary.
• “Living Games” have a shelf-life.
• Maintaining positive perception requires a constant stream of releases.
I’m going to start with the hard stuff.
Changing editions for a game that has enjoyed twenty years on the tabletop is a nearly insurmountable task. It’s not the making of the new edition that is so difficult; rather, it’s making everyone who has a vested interest in the game happy that you’ve done it. The meme goes, “There are only two things wargamers hate: the way things are. And change.” So, we’re starting from a position squarely lodged between the proverbial rock and hard place.
If we know a new edition is going to be controversial, why wade into that battle? We wrestled with this question for a long time. We’ve been making games for over twenty years—award-winning games, no less! We love making games and like to think we aren’t half-bad at it. And new games are fun to make. But new editions of existing games…that way lies madness and pain. We considered encasing WARMACHINE in amber and calling it a “finished” game, only to be touched through occasional updates to maintain balance. But in the end, we love the game and community too much to ever walk away from it. And as we headed toward the sixth year of MKIII, we found many reasons to take on a new edition.
The funny thing about miniatures games is that, unlike a board game you can play and shelve and then play again years later even though nothing new has been added to it, there is a perception that a miniatures game is thriving only if there is a constant stream of new releases. There is no sense that a miniatures game can ever be complete or that it could be just as playable five or ten years from now as it is today if nothing new has expanded its catalog. But there comes a point in the lifespan of a perpetually expanding game—and we surely hit it—where continually adding to the catalog reaches a point of diminishing returns. The icing gets spread too thinly on the cake, and the new releases are no longer as sweet as they once were. But the effort and cost that goes into creating new content doesn’t change, and it’s at this point that a new edition needs to be considered.
Beyond feeding the perception that WARMACHINE is a “living” game, there are very practical reasons to change editions. Over time, the audience for an ongoing game wanders and atrophies. A new edition provides an opportunity for lapsed players to come back and for new players to jump in for the first time. Further, trends that might have been popular years ago don’t necessarily stay as popular as the years move on, so a new edition gives us an opportunity to update the game and embrace the times. For the existing community of players, it’s a chance to renew excitement, to introduce the game to new friends, and to savor that new warjack smell. And for us, a new edition is a thrilling opportunity to put twenty years of experience and wisdom to work and make the best version of WARMACHINE that has ever been done!
But here’s where it gets tough…
HOW TO BLOW UP THE WORLD WITHOUT HURTING ANYONE
Understanding the Reasons behind the Difficult Choices We Have Made in the New Edition
• The existing catalog of miniatures for WARMACHINE and HORDES is overwhelming for players, retailers, and distributors, and continuing to expand upon that catalog exacerbates the problems that result from it.
• In order to maintain the playability of the entire catalog of existing models, we have created two arenas of play: Unlimited, which will allow all existing and new MKIV models to be playable; and Prime, which will provide limited model options in building armies from the preexisting catalog as well as incorporate all new MKIV releases.
• New mechanics created for MKIV, such as warjack customization, are not “backward-compatible” with existing models.
• It will take at least until the end of 2023 before we can release MKIV rules conversions for all existing models.
Before discussing a single rule or model for the new edition, we identified our most critical issue that MKIV would have to address. Every decision we would make in the design of the new edition would have to take this issue into account; the catalog of available models is just too large.
We got here by feeding the aforementioned “living game perception” and by trying to protect what we have always seen as an investment on the part of our players—your models. But we finally had to face the realization (and we see many of you commenting online about it as well) that the sheer massiveness of a catalog that has grown almost every month for twenty years is in a word, overwhelming. It is particularly daunting to new players who want to get into the game but walk away from their first contact with WARMACHINE feeling like they’ll never be able to play it competently without knowing everything about the thousands of different models they’re going to encounter on the tabletop. Even many veteran players were challenged in remembering what every one of over 200 warcasters and warlocks could do. And it’s virtually impossible for retailers and distributors to keep the game in stock, detrimentally affecting access to all but those willing to order direct.
And therein lies the rub: maintaining a continual stream of new content while ensuring that every model ever released is forever playable is an untenable, if not paradoxical aspiration. But like learning not to grab a hot pan off the stove with a bare hand, it’s a lesson you don’t truly understand until you have committed the mistake.
So, how do we solve the unsolvable? How do we create a new edition that introduces armies of new models and renews an environment welcoming and appealing to new and existing players alike while not invalidating the collections of existing players, many of whom have been involved with WARMACHINE since its inception?
We knew we couldn’t blow up the world and start over, no matter how easy it would make things for us. We all know how that plays out in the short term because we all watched it happen with another game. Whether or not a similar strategy could lead to a healthy place for WARMACHINE in the long term, we knew we couldn’t take that bet, even though from a sheer effort point of view, it would have been the easiest course. We don’t have the kind of resources the publisher of the other game has to contract marketing firms and PR managers. We’re not a publicly traded company with hundreds of stores with a reliable stream of foot traffic bringing curious new customers to their games every day. We’re a small group of people who are passionate about making great games and miniatures. And in the end, we have a lot invested in the Iron Kingdoms setting with more to explore and stories to tell. So, we didn’t want to abandon the setting, and more important, we didn’t want to abandon the people who had helped us get this far.
For a while, we pursued what we called “the squish.” With this scheme, we would have revised all the rules to existing models in a way that would remove individuality between units or solos or even versions of warcasters, such that the number of unique identities were reduced, but the models remained usable (at least physically) on the tabletop. So, your Exemplar Bastions, for example, would have gotten squished with your Exemplar Cinerators, giving both units the same rules. Ultimately, the whole notion felt as unsavory as I’m sure reading about it does right now.
After evaluating a myriad of different options, we did our best to split the difference and settled on creating two different arenas for MKIV: the Unlimited arena, in which all Legacy models (i.e., models that existed prior to the launch of MKIV) as well as any new models released during MKIV, would be playable; and the Prime Arena, where all MKIV-era models would be playable but only a curated selection of Legacy models from each preexisting Faction would be playable. It’s not quite having your cake while getting to eat it, but it offers a means for those who want to continue playing with their existing collections to participate in MKIV while creating a more approachable arena for players who don’t want to try to maintain a working knowledge of two thousand different models. With that said, there are several caveats that come with the Unlimited arena.
The Unlimited arena is going to feel a bit like the Wild West, where everything goes and there are few restrictions. While this might sound great if you’re an existing player, our expectation is that it’s not going to be the place that new or returning players jump right into, nor do we expect that anyone will necessarily aspire to do so. While we will hold Unlimited arena events in the future and support this mode of play, it won’t be the competitive arena because, as we’ve established, the back catalog of models is unmanageably large and every new addition makes it less viable to balance for competitive play.
We are introducing new mechanics in MKIV that are not backward-compatible with Legacy models, and some may see this as a disadvantage for Legacy armies, though we’re doing our best to balance it to make sure it all comes out in the wash, so to speak. MKIV warjacks, for instance, are being designed with modular parts. Arms and heads are designed to be swapped on the warjacks. The models are being engineered to be used with magnets, and magnets will be included in the warjack kits. So, between games, you’ll have the ability to customize your warjacks’ loadouts based on the strategy you wish to employ in your next match. Obviously, that’s not something we could make possible for Legacy warjacks, but on the other hand, in the Unlimited arena, players will have more warjack options than are available for MKIV armies.
We’re also introducing Command Cards in MKIV. When building an army in MKIV, you’ll also select a hand of five cards that possess one-shot abilities. While some of these cards are universally accessible and usable by any army, others are specific to certain MKIV armies. Legacy armies, however, will only have access to the general-use Command Cards that are available to their Faction. Maintaining the open anything-goes environment for the Unlimited arena means that Legacy armies are not tailored the way new MKIV armies will be designed, so army-specific Command Cards aren’t appropriate there.
The biggest caveat with regards to the Unlimited arena is that it will be a work-in-progress for some time. When we created the third edition of WARMACHINE, it took nearly three years for us to revise the rules on the existing catalog of models, and even then, there were some rough spots with many model rules at the time of launch. We knew going into MKIV development that we couldn’t go through that process again, especially with the catalog now nearly 50 percent larger. So, with the MKIV launch, we will release rules for one Legacy army from each currently existing WARMACHINE and HORDES Faction, but many Legacy models will not have rules at launch. We will continue to develop them over time with the goal of completing the conversion to MKIV for all Legacy models by the end of 2023. Certain models, such as Colossals and Battle Engines will only get MKIV rules when those model types are introduced into MKIV armies. Everything will be complete eventually, and we’ll be recruiting help from aspiring game developers in the community with the hopes of accelerating the timeline, but it will take time to chew through all of that back catalog. It is the only practical way for us to provide rules for all existing models until someone creates an A.I. that can automate the process for us. (Gauntlet dropped!)
FACTIONS AND ARMIES AND CADRES…OH MY!
The New Hierarchy in Factions and Armies and the Introduction of Cadres
• In MKIV, the force you put on the tabletop is an Army, which is a subset of a Faction.
• Models from Armies within the same Faction are not compatible.
• Cadres provide small subsets of a Faction that are compatible with all Armies within a Faction.
A fundamental change in MKIV is that you will no longer play a Faction; you will play an army that is part of a Faction. The Storm Legion, for instance, is an army under the Faction banner of Cygnar. While it will possess many different model options from which a wide variety of army compositions can be built, armies will effectively be finite and closed. Each new army will have its own selection of warcasters and warjacks, units and solos, all of which can only be used in that army. And while we’ll always reserve the right to add new content to an army, armies will not be continually expanded in perpetuity. Our current schema for an army includes three warcasters, two warjacks, five to six units, and a handful of solos.
Cadres are smaller subgroups of a Faction, usually specialists, that can work with multiple armies within a Faction. So as a completely hypothetical example, let’s say we create a Gravediggers army for Cygnar in the future. Then, any models in the Stormsmith Cadre would be able to be used in a Storm Legion or Gravediggers army. Similarly, larger and more expensive models like Colossals and Battle Engines will most commonly be available to multiple armies within a Faction, providing more bang for the buck for those interested in exploring different armies within a Faction.
By restructuring model offerings in this fashion, we hope to be able to offer a wide selection of different armies without creating the expectation that armies will be continually expanded or repeating the problems that come with such ongoing expansion. A more contained approach to the armies, we hope, will also make them easier to learn and understand, even as the overall game catalog grows over time.
WHERE’S THE BEEF?
An Explanation of How HORDES Will Be Incorporated in MKIV
• HORDES will no longer be a separately maintained brand; HORDES rules will be rolled into WARMACHINE.
• The first four armies for MKIV will be warcaster-led.
• Two all new warlock-led armies will launch in 2023.
If you’re strictly a HORDES player, you might be getting a little nervous by now. There’s a lot of mention above about WARMACHINE and warjacks, but few references to HORDES or warbeasts. I’m going to try to provide some comfort, but it’s probably going to require a successful fury check.
For the new MKIV edition, we made the decision to roll HORDES into WARMACHINE. For three editions, we have maintained them as one game with separate brands. While it was a great way to launch four new Factions into the meta and establish the identity of HORDES, this has, over time, only exasperated our biggest problem with the ever-expanding catalogs and is often seen as confusing because we produce two game brands that are really the same game. We’re keeping all the original flavor and mechanics of HORDES distinct. Warbeasts and warlocks and everything you love and we love about HORDES will still be part of the game and better than ever, but the Hordes® brand name will be honorably and lovingly retired for now, so we can truly have one game.
That’s acceptable, you might be thinking, but that still doesn’t explain why you haven’t seen any previews for HORDES content. About that…
As we began the development of MKIV, we made the decision to focus on only warcaster-led armies for the launch. There are two reasons for this: first, we felt this would make it easier for new players to get into the game. Part of the complexity of jumping into WARMACHINE and HORDES is learning the difference between the way warcasters and warlocks, warjacks and warbeasts operate. Removing half of that felt like a good way to make the MKIV experience more accessible from the outset. But the much bigger reason we queued our development up this way is that trying to develop a new edition for both WARMACHINE and HORDES armies at the same time makes the task exponentially more difficult and splits our focus over two different modes of play, which would effectively halve the amount of effort we were able to put into each side of the WARMACHINE/HORDES experience. We know this from experience developing both in parallel for MKIII, and we wanted to ensure that when we began working on warlock-led armies, they were getting our full attention.
The rules for warlock-led armies will still be included when the new edition launches, and there will be playable armies for each existing HORDES Faction, but we focused our new development on four warcaster-led armies for the launch of the new edition in order to make sure we dialed the new content in as best as possible.
Next year, however, we will introduce two new warlock-led armies, and we’ll be getting into the development of those armies before the end of this year. Fortunately, we won’t have to operate as secretively now that everything is being laid out for what’s to come, so we’ll be able to share that development with you along the way. There is a hidden benefit to going second: the new warlock-led armies that we’re starting work on are already benefiting from what we have learned over the last year of developing MKIV, and they’re going to be two of the best things we’ve ever done for the HORDES side of the game. We can’t wait to be able to share it with you!
WAR ROOM IS DEAD! LONG LIVE WAR ROOM!
Details about the All-New App That Is Being Developed for MKIV
• War Room will be a function within the new, FREE WARMACHINE app.
• The WARMACHINE app will provide the game rules and all model rules for FREE; no “card deck” purchases will be necessary.
• The WARMACHINE app will offer a subscription option for storing multiple army builds and receiving monthly premium content.
There is so much to detail here, it’s difficult to know where to start.
Over the past two editions, the War Room app was treated as an accessory, a way to play WARMACHINE that provided tools and accessibility to information but wasn’t deemed necessary. In MKIV, War Room isn’t an optional accessory—it’s where the game exists. And to be more clear, it’s not an app unto itself; it’s part of what will become the WARMACHINE app. Stick with me because there is a lot here to unpack…
The new WARMACHINE app will supplant War Room. It will be a free-to-download app and it will provide all of the up-to-date model content available for WARMACHINE, including new and legacy models, no purchase necessary. You’ll be able to build a force list from any supported army with it. The app is where the rules of WARMACHINE will live. We’ve posted a PDF for the beta rules that can be downloaded now, and we might print a book in the future that will be more of a world guide than a rules manual, but this is where the game exists for real. Once the app is finalized, it will be the singular source for new model content. There will not be an online card data base or printed cards. You will need to access the WARMACHINE app with a smart device.
Why? Because this is where everything has been headed for years. As much as we love cracking that new book smell, for games like WARMACHINE, we need a delivery system that is current. Housing not just the model rules but the rules of the game in an app instead of in print means that if we must make an adjustment, we can apply it across all existing documentation. There will never again be an errata document; there will just be updates. Everything the app delivers will always be current and up-to-date.
But there is so much more…
In the new WARMACHINE app, we are building in tools to provide feedback on miniatures rules. Preceding every new release, we will conduct a beta test of rules. Players trying out those rules will be able to provide feedback directly through the app, allowing us to gather data that will inform the final rules before a model’s release, ensuring we have the most solid, tried-and-true rules “inked” for a model before it lands in a competitive game. And if for some reason we miss something that later proves to be under or- over-performing, we will have the ability to issue an update that brings things into balance. Our intent is to be able to ensure the best possible game experience by incorporating the real data and feedback from our players at the tabletop. This won’t be approached haphazardly. Updates will be scheduled in advance, and ideally, infrequently, because the whole idea is to create the most stable game environment possible, not an environment of constant change.
Wait, there’s more!
We’re building tools into the upcoming WARMACHINE app that will facilitate the localization of rules in French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. While we’ll be looking for community help to create those translations, the app is being built to make sure that as translated content becomes available, we’ll be able to implement it in the app as seamlessly as possible.
The new WARMACHINE app will provide access to the game rules as well as all model rules. You’ll be able to build an army with it and play a game using the tracking tools provided. Basically, what is currently offered through War Room right now will be enabled through a free download of the new app. While you’ll be able to store your three tournament armies locally on a device, what won’t be free is the ability to store army builds across platforms. Storage of information in a cloud has a cost, so storing army builds will require a subscription to the WARMACHINE app. You will have access to all model and rules information without a subscription, but if you wish to store army builds, you will need a subscription. However, with a subscription, you will also enjoy much more.
The WARMACHINE app will be the primary delivery system for new content for WARMACHINE. With a monthly subscription of $4.99 per month, you will not only have the ability to store force builds, but you’ll also receive fiction and lore, strategy articles, new scenarios, Organized Play content, previews, and more. For those of you who enjoyed No Quarter in the past, that’s the sort of content we’re aiming for: a monthly delivery of new content, through the app, that you’ll be able to access at any time with your subscription.
We have taken what we’ve learned with War Room over the past two generations and have reimagined it as the central hub of the WARMACHINE experience, making information as accessible as possible and enhancing your gaming experience through the use of functionality that only a digital app can provide.
EVOLVE OR DIE
The Primary Differences between the Current and the New Editions
• MKIV is an evolution of the game.
• MKIV will support 50-, 75-, and 100-point battles
• MKIV introduces Command Cards, which provide one-off effects (like mini-feats) and can be purchased as part of your force construction.
• MKIV warcasters have customizable spell racks.
• MKIV warjacks are customizable with multiple weapon and head (cortex) options.
Like every new edition of WARMACHINE, MKIV is an evolution of the game. With this new edition, we have endeavored to retain the spirit of the game while introducing new mechanics that bring the game in line with what we perceive to be the way wargamers want to play today. We have streamlined several aspects of WARMACHINE in an effort to help the game play faster and to reduce the amount of rules players must remember. We have also introduced some new unpredictability into the game because we believe that a strategy game should not be able to be “solved” based on a particular force construction or by going first in the turn order. We are standardizing multiple sizes of games to buck the idea that there is only one way to play WARMACHINE, which we have never subscribed to but we know has been widely propagated in the current edition. MKIV will support small (50-point), medium (75-point), and large (100-point) battles, with models specifically tailored to different sized engagements and other models restricted from certain sized battles in order to preserve balance at all game sizes.
Going into detail on the differences between the current edition and MKIV would basically entail copying excerpts out of the rules document. But the rules, in what we are considering their beta form, are available to download so that you can examine them in detail and digest all the nuance of the differences on your own. In the end, MKIV is WARMACHINE, and we believe it to be the best incarnation of the game yet. But as is the point of a new edition, there are changes, so brace yourself.
Aside from evolving standards like unit movement and area-of-effect weapons, there are some noteworthy additions to MKIV that offer new strategic depth to the game. I mentioned the Command Cards earlier, which are not just one-off mini-feats, but are also part of force construction. While standard Command Cards don’t have a cost, there will be some that provide a little more oomph and as such, they will have an army point cost associated with them, which is great when your force construction has a couple remaining points left over.
We are also introducing a concept that has existed in WARMACHINE fiction for some time but has never been realized in the rules: the rack. In the fiction, a warcaster’s rack is their list of spells that they have access to during a battle. In MKIV, warcasters in the new armies will have some spells fixed, but you will also be able to customize a spell list from a menu of different spells, allowing you to tailor warcasters to your strategy and playstyle.
And finally, after twenty years, we are embracing true warjack customization in WARMACHINE. The first warjack kits we’ll be introducing in MKIV will come with eight different weapon arms (four for each side) and four different heads, which represent different cortex abilities. During force construction in War Room, you’ll be able to customize each of your warjack’s loadouts to best support your strategy and playstyle for your upcoming scenario. But we didn’t just reflect this in the rules—we made sure the models support this new concept as well.
ENGINEERING THE FUTURE
Our Production of WARMACHINE Models Is Changing with the Times
• Metal is no longer a viable material to produce models with due to rising costs.
• Overseas plastic product is rising in cost and possesses supply chain risks as well as difficulties in keeping products stocked.
• MKIV models will be produced using 3D printing technology.
• Warjacks are supplied with multiple head and weapon options and are engineered with cavities ready for magnets, which are supplied in the warjack kits, so loadouts can be easily changed between games.
• 3D printing production allows us to localize production in overseas markets to address accessibility of the products and eliminate additional costs of shipping and import fees.
The warjacks* created for MKIV each come with an assortment of weapon arms and heads, which are meant to be easily interchanged between games. We have engineered the models to take advantage of magnets, which can be affixed to the shoulders, weapon arms, head, and neck sockets of the warjacks and which will be included in the model kits. No drilling or carving or additional modeling is necessary to set up the warjacks with the magnets; the models have been designed to be as easy to make war-ready as possible with just a bit of cleanup and glue. This has been done due to our new manufacturing process using 3D printing.
All MKIV models, not just warjacks, will be produced using 3D printing technology. We chose this route for producing MKIV after extensive research into the various options we had. As mentioned earlier, metal production is no longer viable to ever-rising costs, and once our supply runs out, we will no longer produce metal models. Additionally, supply chain issues and minimum-order quantities make plastics an undesirable option because of the inevitable issue of dealing with out-of-print items as well as the continually rising costs of overseas production and transportation costs. We also researched a recently popular line of miniatures-production equipment that enables injection-molded resin. But that technology possesses all the limitations of traditional metal and resin casting while also limiting options in obtaining the materials that can be used with it, exasperating potential supply-chain issues.
We believe 3D printing is the future.
Year after year, 3D printing technology has improved in leaps and bounds. We are now printing models in our own facility every day that, ten years ago, we were paying hundreds of dollars for to produce mold-masters when we first started using 3D sculpting software. The future for 3D printing will only get better, and as it does, we’ll be able to keep pace, upgrading to improve the quality of the products and the options for our customers. Even now, what we’re able to achieve with the engineering of 3D-printed models has us revising what we have been doing with traditional manufacturing for decades.
The Tyrant warjack was our first test case. Our final 3D-printed model is seven pieces (not including the additional weapon and head options): two arms, two legs, an upper torso, a lower torso, and a head. Were this to be produced with our traditional methods using two-part molds, or even with the recently popular injected-molded resin options, a head would have been two pieces, the upper torso would be seven pieces, and the lower torso two pieces, making for a minimum of a fifteen-piece or more model. By using 3D printing for production, we can do things that are impossible for two-part-mold-making production. And while reducing the number of parts and making model assembly easier is fantastic, nothing illustrates the advantages of 3D printing more than warjack customization.
It’s easier to understand this if you have an idea of how parts are manufactured in a two-part mold, but the primary concept is this: with traditional casting or injection-molded resin or even plastic, every piece has to be able to be pressed between two halves of a mold and retain the ability to be released without an “undercut” catching on some part of the mold. This is why many of our traditionally produced models end up with so many pieces. But with 3D printing, the idea of undercuts doesn’t exist, and our only concern is making sure the production pieces have adequate supports during the printing process to form correctly and attain the level of detail we’re after. This allows us to create negative-space cavities in objects that were impossible with our traditional manufacturing process and that cannot be replicated in fewer pieces, at least not economically, in plastic production. Because of this, we are able to create the sockets for the warjack arms and heads that you will easily be able to glue a magnet into, without the need for additional drilling or hollowing out of the model. It’s not a “snap-together” process by any means, and it still requires some assembly with a bit of glue, but you don’t have to be an experienced hobbyist in order to put these kits together in a way that will allow you to easily change out your warjack loadouts between games.
And we’re just getting started! Our engineering and production teams have been experimenting and iterating on what we can achieve with 3D-printed production, and we’re only at the beginning of understanding what is possible. As we progress, we’ll be able to produce more complex sculptures that are still easy to assemble that would have been impossible with traditional manufacturing methods. As 3D printing technology improves, which it has been doing year over year, we will be able to evolve with it, meaning our capability, quality, and the options we can offer you will only get better.
This was not a direction we chose lightly. We evaluated the landscape of production options and, after extensive analysis, chose to pursue 3D printing production as the way forward. We are excited for those who will be attending Gen Con to be among the first to have contact with our latest models. The material feels great, rigid while not being brittle, and the details are crisp. Cleanup on the 3D-printed models is typically less than dealing with traditionally cast models, with no mold lines, just a few support structure nubs that our engineers typically can place in areas that are not normally seen on the miniature, and that are easily removed with the flick of a hobby blade.
We realize this may sound like an unlikely course change for a company that has produced miniatures using traditional manufacturing methods or overseas production for two decades. But we also know that 3D-printed miniatures are becoming more mainstream through a multitude of services that are fulfilling miniatures on demand, and we are confident there will be many other miniatures producers that adopt this production method in the near future because of the many ways it solves the challenges of manufacturing today. In the end, we know the quality will speak for itself, and we can’t wait for you to see these models for yourself.
There is one more aspect to 3D printing production that bears mentioning: we will have the ability to replicate our production capabilities locally in overseas markets, solving the current issues around the accessibility of WARMACHINE products internationally. We are currently exploring several options that will allow us to create a facility in Europe, for instance, that will supply the miniatures within the EU, avoiding costly shipping expenses and tariffs, and ensuring quick and reliable access to the products. And in theory, we can do this everywhere.
*Just in case you were wondering, yes, warbeast models will be customizable as well! And when I mentioned the benefits of going second, this is one of them, because we’re already brainstorming all the wild ways we can create customization beyond just changing out arms and heads!
The Rollout Strategy for MKIV
• Each MKIV Army will possess a limited number of SKUs, making the line easier to stock for retailers and distributors.
• Core Army Starters will contain enough models to field a 50-point army with options.
• Adding an Expansion box to a starter provides enough models to field a 75-point army with options.
• Add a warjack to have enough models to field a 100-point army with options.
There was a time when carrying the full range of WARMACHINE and HORDES models could easily take up twenty feet or more of gridwall space in a store. Not long after, as more and more independent game manufacturers were formed and new products began to flood the tabletop market at what seemed like exponential growth every year, the massive catalog of WARMACHINE and HORDES models became difficult for game distributors to keep in stock. This limited retailer access to quickly restock, and the wall space shrank to make way for the dozens of new games coming out every week.
Our approach to MKIV is to release a very limited number of product SKUs for each army so that distributors and retailers who wish to keep the products in stock do not have to devote yards of shelf space to them, and players do not have to sift through an endless catalog of codes looking for specific models.
Each of the MKIV armies will possess six SKUs that will roll out over the forthcoming year. The contents for each SKU are shown below. Pricing is currently estimated and subject to change.
Core Army Starter—With an estimated MSRP of around $199, the Core Army Starter will include enough models to field a 50-point army with options. As an example, the Orgoth Sea Raiders Core Army Starter contains:
1 Kishtaar, the Howling Silence warcaster
1 Jackal warjacks (4 heads and 8 weapon options)
1 Tyrant warjack (4 heads and 8 weapon options)
1 Assault Reavers unit + Standard Bearer (6 models)
1 Strike Reavers unit + Standard Bearer (6 models)
1 Ulkor Barrager (3 models)
1 Warwitch Coven unit (3 models)
1 Orgoth Commander solo
Army Expansion—With an estimated MSRP of around $175, the Army Expansion provides enough additional models to field a 75-point army with options. As an example, the Storm Legion Expansion contains:
1 Captain Madison Calder warcaster
1 Stormthrower Legionnaires unit + Standard Bearer (6 models)
1 Storm Lance Legionnaires unit (3 models)
1 Tempest Assailers unit (3 models)
1 Sharpshooter solo
1 Lieutenant Sara Brisbane character solo
Warcaster C—With an estimated MSRP of $15–$25, depending on the model, this kit will contain a single warcaster not included in any other box.
Warjack A—With an estimated MSRP of $35–$45, depending on the model, this kit will contain one of the warjacks included in the Core Army Starter with its full complement of weapon and head options and magnets. This SKU is offered for those who wish to build out the number of warjacks in larger armies.
Warjack B—With an estimated MSRP of $35–$45, depending on the model, this kit will contain one of the warjacks included in the Core Army Starter with its full complement of weapon and head options, and magnets. This SKU is offered for those who wish to build out the number of warjacks in larger armies.
80 mm Base Solo—With an estimated MSRP of $55–$65, depending on the model, this kit will contain a single solo model on an 80mm base.
The first year of MKIV releases will also include six mercenary solos that will each work with two different Factions.
What this means for distributors and retailers is that the line will be much more manageable to order and restock if they wish to carry the full MKIV catalog. The first year will only include a total of 30 individual product SKUs. But even if retailers don’t wish to stock the full line perpetually, by only carrying the Core Army Starters, they’ll be able to offer new players a ready-to-play army right off the shelf with a single purchase.
And what this means for players is that by purchasing the Core Army Box, the Army Expansion, and an additional warjack, you’ll have enough models to field a 100-point army with options. Add the 80mm solo and third warcaster to your collection, and you’ll have at least one of everything offered for the army with an abundance of options for a variety of force constructions.
For those looking to tailor their armies more granularly, Privateer will offer a la carte purchases of models in generic packaging through the Privateer Press Online Store 60–90 days after a product releases to retail. However, on a one-to-one basis, it will save you money overall to purchase the boxed sets, which we hope will encourage you to buy from your local game store.
We will be bringing a very limited amount of Orgoth Sea Raiders and Cygnar Storm Legion product to Gen Con next week, consisting of the warjack A, warjack B, and warcaster C SKUs for those two armies. They will be sold as a battlegroup for $75 (purchased a la carte, they would total $95 to $105.) We will also be selling the same items online during the course of Gen Con, and we are offering free shipping on all orders over $100 to anywhere in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the UK, and the EU until the end of August 10th. Just know that depending on the number of orders we receive, delivery could take significantly longer than normal. Our hope in offering this preview is to get some of these models out into the world and maybe even on some tables so that those on the front lines of the new edition will be able to show others a bit of what’s coming this fall.
TRANSITIONING FROM MKIII TO MKIV AND ORGANIZED PLAY
Our Plans for Events in the New Era of MKIV
• We are committed to supporting MKIII events through the end of 2022.
• Official MKIV events and Organized Play will begin in 2023.
• Privateer will focus on key signature events at conventions we attend while supporting third-party competitive events like the WTC and Warfaire Weekend, which is taking up the Iron Gauntlet.
• In-store and club Organized Play kits will be available early in 2023.
Because many important events are scheduled months in advance, we know there can’t be a full stop to one edition and a jump off the starting line for the next. MKIII needs time to wind down, and MKIV needs time to spool up. We are committed to supporting MKIII events through the end of 2022. Our events at Gen Con will be MKIII events, and with the generous hosting of Warfaire Weekend, we’ll be wrapping up the Iron Gauntlet that has been on pause since the pandemic locked everyone down. We also did not want to throw any sort of curveball into the upcoming WTC that we know teams prepare for all year. As far as Organized Play events go, they’ll be MKIII until we close the books on 2022.
We are aiming to release the 2023 Steamroller document at the end of November. This will be revised for MKIV, and beginning in 2023, we’ll transition our own events to MKIV, with AdeptiCon being the first of our planned public events.
While we still plan to host competitive events at conventions where we have a presence, we will be stepping back from running a yearly competitive circuit and will be passing the Iron Gauntlet to Warfaire Weekend. Organizations like the WTC and Warfaire Weekend are able to specialize and put more constant attention on the highly competitive events than we are able to with the broad range of different things we’re managing. Instead, we’ll be putting our support behind these competitive events in the form of promotion and coverage, and this year we’ll even be attending the WTC to stream the event. But this will also free us up to focus on key signature events at the conventions we attend throughout the year. These events will be heavy on narrative, highlighting in-setting historical or world-changing events, as well as experimental formats that will still reward skill and strategy but where participating in the unique experience is a prize unto itself.
At the store and club level, we expect to have Organized Play kits available in early 2023, and we will be leveraging the tools we’re building into the WARMACHINE app to enhance these experiences.
What to Do with This Massive Flood of Information
• Tomorrow, download the beta rule document, two Legacy demo armies, and the rules for both the Orgoth Sea Raiders and the Cygnar Storm Legion battlegroups, and take MKIV for a test drive.
• If you find typos, errors, or bugs in the docs, let us know at [email protected]
• New MKIV armies begin shipping this fall.
• WARMACHINE app beta release at end of October.
For anyone who made it this far, I commend you! I knew this was going to be a long-winded article, but I’ve even managed to surprise myself. While we’ve set out to try to anticipate every possible question that could come up and present an explanation ahead of it, we know there will be many we didn’t predict, so we will continue to be present across our social media venues to help answer questions, and we will be assembling an FAQ along the way.
Tomorrow, we’ll be posting the beta rules as a downloadable PDF document along with an article from the development team covering the changes between the current edition and MKIV. This is the only time you’ll see the rules in this format. The next time you see them, they’ll be in the WARMACHINE app, and we’ll be incorporating any corrections we receive from your reviews. Any errors or bugs you spot can be relayed to us at [email protected].
We will also be posting rules for two Legacy demo armies, tomorrow, for anyone interested in taking MKIV for a spin. And as well, we’ll post the rules for the contents of the forthcoming Orgoth Sea Raiders and Cygnar Storm Legion battlegroups that will be offered next week at Gen Con, perfect for a little Mangled Metal warmup practice before the Core Army Starters arrive this fall. More Legacy armies will be released every month from here on out until all Factions have at least two armies, after which we will continue fleshing out the remaining Legacy model rules as mentioned previously.
New MKIV armies and the beta version of the WARMACHINE app will ship this October, with preorder information going out to distributors and retailers shortly. As we close out the year with the last, if not the most important, MKIII events of the current edition, 2023 will bring with it a new generation of WARMACHINE, with all the heart and soul of the game that was born twenty years ago, but reforged and reengineered to keep pace with today’s audience and tomorrow’s technology.
We look forward to seeing you on the tabletop!
WATCH FOR MORE INFORMATION COMING THIS WEEK
WEDNESDAY—A thorough review of the differences between the MKIII and MKIV rules and the reasons behind the changes, plus the Beta rules document, two Legacy demo armies (Cryx and Protectorate) and MKIV rules for the Orgoth Sea Raiders and Cygnar Storm Legion battlegroups previewing at Gen Con next week.
THURSDAY—Hobbying with the new 3D-printed models and how to magnetize your warjacks.
FRIDAY—A brief description of Dusk: House Kallyss, so you know what to look forward to in
What follows is a timeline of important dates for document, app, and model releases. This is the roadmap we are following, but in this world of constant surprises, dates and details are always subject to change.