This week, Privateer Press has announced probably one of the biggest changes to their Warmachine and Hordes games short of MkII back in 2010: that of battle engines. It was something that was spoilered back in Gencon 2010, but now we have some concept art to talk about (and for the lucky Khadorans, myself included, the actual model)! But that begs the question: what are they gonna do? Fire up the speculation engines!
First up: 120mm base. This is huge. At more than twice the size of a large base, the closest thing we can compare it to would be to 40k vehicles. This means that either they can ignore small/medium based models (since troll infantry are medium), either via a trample/tankshock type attack, or they’re going to be primarily
ranged/support units. Let’s see what we’ve got…
Cygnar: Storm Strider. Giant walky lightning generator piloted by crazy storm smith.
Khador: Gun Carriage. Many guns.
Menoth: Vessel of Judgement. Looks like a super-ornate organ pulled by fanatics.
Cryx: Wraith Engine; giant undead wraith of doom.
Retribution: Arcantrik Force Generator. Floaty/Walky force platform that shoots skulls of hate (according to Matt’s doodle anyway).
Aside from the Wraith Engine, it does seem like everything else will be concentrating on ranged attacks, support or both. So it’s possible that they might not have trample type attacks (or maybe they would be limited to the Wraith Engine and possibly the Gun Carriage).
As DC said though, these things can’t just be neutralized by two or three reach troopers arranged in a ring like angry villagers around frankenstein. That would be pretty lame. Hence new ‘weapon platform’ rules. What are they? Damned if I know, but I would assume that the ability to fire out of melee to be part and parcel of that rule. And hey, if they’re allowed to melee and ranged attack in the same activation (a possibility for the Wraith Engine and the Storm Strider) maybe we could have something similar to the Behemoth’s sub cortex (post errata of course).
Then will we have firing arcs for the ranged weapons, like the 40k vehicles? I doubt it; things like the Storm Strider and Wraith Engine look as if they can pivot, which would make firing arcs a moot point. The Vessel of Judgment doesn’t even have any obvious weapons, so we can assume all the attacks are magical. The Arcantrik Forge Generator is obviously magical (see pew pew skulls of hate). And the Khador Gun Carriage has mortars on both sides, rendering the point of needing firing arcs moot (does that mean it would only be able to fire one shell a turn though? Shared reloading mechanism?) In the same way, I would be guessing that these Battle Engines would have a 360 line of sight for purpose of RANGED attacks (I doubt any of them excepting the Cryx one would be able to charge backwards).
Speaking of movement, I’m also guessing that these guys would follow the same rules as moving your other Warmachine and Hordes models. That means no weird turning rules and the like; I doubt they would do make movement so complex purely for just the Khador and Menoth Battle Engines.
And lastly: How are they going to impact the game? Again, DC has mentioned that these are going to significantly shape the battlefield, but they cannot outshine the Battlegroup (the Warjacks and definitely not the Warcaster). We also see that most, if not all of the Battle Engines are piloted by people, and it’s been mentioned by Ed that just because we don’t see someone piloting the Wraith Engine doesn’t mean it’s not piloted. What does this mean? I’m guessing if the Battle Engines can’t outshine the Warjacks then they can’t be exorbitantly priced. 8-11 points perhaps? Also, they’re likely to be less survivable than warjacks: either 10-20 hitpoints, or a 5-10 hitpoint model with a rule similar to the Covenant of Menoth.
So in summary, these are my guesses for the Battle Engines:
No Battle Engine wide trample rules.
Concentrate on ranged/support roles.
Probably able to to ranged attacks even when engaged in melee.
No firing arcs.
360 line of sight for purpose of RANGED attacks.
Follows traditional WM/Hordes rules for movement/charging/melee attacks.
Point cost comparable to jacks.
As powerful, but probably less survivable than jacks.
What do you guys think?