10 Mar 2015

To Play on the Table (part 2) - Table Top

EDIT: Here is the link to part 1 of this weeks breakdowns for the more popular games on the table.

Here is the preamble -

Unless it's a Games Workshop product or otherwise mentioned I found all my prices on meeplemart and they are all priced in the Canadian Dollar.

Below you'll see the suggested table size, average length of a game, and the size those games are played at. I’ve also included the sizes and lengths of listed tournament style events. I've included the price of tokens, templates, and rulers needed to play at tournament events. For most tournaments each player is required to have the minimum of all the templates, tokens, rulebooks, and non-proxy miniatures.

I will not add in cost for paints and tools - you're just going to guess based on the size and count of the listed models. The time to paint each miniature will also be ignored as each reader will build and paint at their own level of quality and speed. Transportation of miniatures is also a cost that is not included in the evaluation below. The variety of transportation options is too varied to be included in the comparison.

Terrain will not be included in the comparison. In many cases, players will buy some terrain to start up but afterwards terrain is free to use when playing at most local game shops (LGS). I'll mark down size of table and how heavy the table is filled with terrain. Readers should look at and determine for themselves the extra costs of terrain if they are prone to playing more games outside of an LGS.
Please pay attention to the notes at the bottom of each entry for more details.

The scenario for my comparison is:

Two folks are wanting to get into a new miniature game. They would like to put together their miniatures, play a few matches, before jumping into a few matches at the local game store. As this is not their first miniature table top game, they are assumed to already have all the paint, glues, brushes, and other tools needed to build and play the game.

They would like to play between 2 and 5 games before playing at the store. They expect to be ready after a dozen store games, at one game a week in three months. During this time they expect to buy more minis to round out their respective forces after some experience on the table.

Their goal is to be ready to play at a large non-expert level tournament by the end of the year. They don't expect to do well at the tournament but at least be ready to participate and have fun.

Today let's look at …

Warmachine

Warmachine has been around for over ten years and is considered by many to have replaced and absorbed the largest group of Games Workshop players. Recently it has taken over as the headlining tournament in many a US convention with a very strong competitive tournament scene. Due to this status Warmachine is second on this comparison. An introductory game is made up of 15 or less points and is only made up of a Warcaster and their Warjacks. A small game is 25 points and now units and solos are included. Warcasters in Warmachine are unique as they adjust the point value of your army and change the entire dynamic of your force. Each force is led by one Warcaster with some of the larger casual games (75 and 100 points) can be played with up to three Warcasters.

Each game players battle each other, with the objective to kill the other player’s Warcaster or by scenario. Most scenarios involve controlling various points or zones on the board. Players will play until the scenario conditions are met or the opponents ‘caster is killed. In tournaments players have a turn time limit set by type and size of tournament. Most tournaments will have players using two or three army lists within the same faction that cannot share models classified as ‘character’. Each list must have a different Warcaster within the player’s chosen faction and they will be shown to opponents before each match. 

Players can only buy model bits, starter sets, books, and special offer miniatures directly from Privateer Press. Most online sales are done through third-parties and LGS. Players are dependent on the LGS presence for events and tournaments but Warmachine is very wide spread and there are plenty of online support groups – official and unofficial. There is also a seasonal league that can be found at most LGS that is fully supported by Privateer Press. Each seasonal league has one time gameplay changes that last only that season and represent the ongoing story arc that continues to develope in the Iron Kingdoms setting. This is on top of all the tournament and release event support that Privateer Press puts out with help with their player reps, the Press Gangers.

Warmachine has a unique introductory event that spans six weeks and is run regularly at most supporting LGS called a Journeyman’s League. It starts players off with only using a Starter Box or the force within the two-player starters. Each following week increases the point value to 15, followed by 25 for two weeks, with the last two weeks being set at 35 points. Players will be limited to always playing with the starting Warcaster and Warjacks. As the League progresses, players will be given less restrictions and encouraged to build up their starting armies and trying out other models within their chosen faction.

WarMachine
Play Space – 4'x4' (Light)
Store Games: 45min – 1.5 hours at 25/35 points
Tournament: 1-1.5 hours at 35/50 points*

Two-Player Starter Box – 85$** 
Mini Core Rule Book

- Protectorate of Menoth (21 points)
1 Warcaster
2 Heavy Warjacks
1 Light Warjack
Unit of 5

- Khador (20 points)
1 Warcaster
2 Heavy Jacks
Unit of 5

Protectorate of Menoth
Forces Book (Soft Cover) – 25$***
Tokens Set – 10$
All in One Army Deal – 110$ (35 points)****

Mini Core Rule Book
1 Warcaster
1 Warcaster Attachment
2 Heavy Warjacks
1 Light Warjack
3 Solos
Unit of 10
Unit of 6

Khador
Forces Book (Soft Cover) – 25$***
Tokens Set – 10$
All in One Army Deal – 110$ (35 points)****

Mini Core Rule Book
1 Warcaster
1 Warcaster Attachment
2 Heavy Warjacks
1 Solos
Unit of 10
Unit of 6
Unit of 4
Unit of 2

Final Verdict
Together the two starting players will need to have spent on average 400$ (200$ each) in order to play at the store on the regular game nights. Already with only the above each player will have 55 and 56 points worth of models that can already make two different and competative 35 point army lists. Many starting players will keep a core force of miniatures and simply swap out a new Warcaster (10$-18$), have a solo to swap in (8-15$), and maybe a new Warjack (30$-35$) to build variety in their lists. Primarily the advanced (Hardcore) and expert (Masters and Iron Gauntlet) level tournaments play at 50 points with more than one list.

Expected final cost of the game: 225-250$ per player

Notes:
* Based on average game size of advertised tournaments, my experience with Warmachine a game will last longer. A small game is considered 25 points and is enough to start playing at a store. Most tournaments will require a second Warcaster.
** Templates can be printed or photocopied for free or at minimal cost
*** Every miniature released comes with a card that has the rules of that miniature(s). Faction army books are not needed but recommended or players can buy the mobile app for 8$ per faction for their forces current and updated rules

**** Each all in one army deal comes with a Mini Core Rulebook but each army deal is on a limited print run through the current year - It is unknown if Privateer Press will reprint these All in One Army Deals in the future with the same or different miniatures.