Warmachine is generally played at the skirmish level of about 35-50 points, which usually translates to a game that runs with any combination of 1-2 main units, 1-2 support units and 2-3 Warjacks/Warbeasts. This is perfectly fine for a normal game, but sometimes we want something a little bit out of the ordinary. And that’s when Unbound comes
Unbound (or Warmachine Apocalypse as some like to call it) is a scale up of the usual Warmachine game. With at least 150 points and 3 warcasters it becomes less about skirmishes and more about full blown out war, with flanks, clashes of multiple units, and the like. One thing we realised though was that even with the streamlined rules in NQ 36, Unbound starts to drag on. Our first try with Unbound ended up with a fizzle after we decided to call it a day halfway through. The slog of trying to kill 3 warcasters generally ended up killing the game for us; after 1-2 caster deaths it becomes a little bit of a foregone conclusion.
This changes with the introduction of scenarios in NQ37. You have some of your more traditional ‘occupy-given-space’ steamroller type scenarios, but you also have more out there scenarios where the terrain changes (flashfloods) or where a defender has to hold an army out from rampaging through a town (scorched earth). Personally, I prefer the more extreme scenarios. It may not be balanced, but considering how different a 150 point army is from your traditional Warmachine/Hordes game, you might as well go the whole hog and try something you never get to play under normal circumstances.
It’s this reason that we decided to go with Scorched Earth in our 150 point Khador vs Cryx grudge match. While I personally feel like the Defender gets the short straw in this game (the attacker only needs to destroy 3 out of 5 key buildings in order to win), I had more Khador terrain and I felt that theme and visual impact won out against strict ‘balance’ in games like this. Plus we had nice painted armies (only 2 unpainted minis in a force of about 90 models iirc), so we got the moral victory.
In this scenario the defender lays out most of the terrain and deploys first. In this case we made it look like some kind of wooded Khador trainyard that the Cryx were ravaging. We had Vlad and pIrusk (understandable, since they give out lots of buffs) and eSorscha (for that second unit of Iron flesh), facing against eSkarre, Terminus and eGaspy (LOTS of vectors of attack).
Even though we were the pretty-darn-thick red line, the deployment of the Cryx forces were quite frightening, with 110 models to our 88, and 46 (46!!!) weapon masters. Seriously. How are we supposed to defend 3 buildings against 46 weapon masters?!
The first turn saw one (and almost two) building go down to the Cryxian onslaught. A battlegroup and a full unit of Banes made quick work of the Khadoran industrial complex (the Cryxian side even kindly forgot to roll weapon master dice for us) while a group of mechanithralls dropped a building to about half health. We won the moral victory (and dinner) because one of the Cryx commanders made a boast that both buildings would go down on turn one, which it didn’t…. 😉
But still. The zombie invasion was far from over.
The gun carriages did their work of putting out rough terrain templates, and being the hard Khadoran Kommandants that we were, we hung out a group of Widowmakers out to dry in order to seize the initiative for the next turn.
They will be posthumously promoted.
Because we ended up contesting more zones that the cryx, this enabled us to seize the initiative for the next turn, allowing us to put a serious dent in the Thrall offensive. Widowmakers with shatterstorm were especially effective.
It is at this point of time where the Cryxian overlords started bickering amongst themselves, very much like how their faction always does. I don’t really recall the reason; probably something to do with how to implement cunning plan number 45617.
In order to put the pressure on us, all their warcasters pushed forward and Terminus popped his feat.
At the end of turn two all their casters were around the middle line, with Terminus standing on 10 focus. We knew this would be the do or die turn, but trying to defend 3 buildings from multiple attack vectors (especially Terminus, who could have flown to 2 buildings) was going to have to be nigh impossible.
Thankfully we managed to go first again. pIrusk popped his feat, and casted 2x battle lust on a unit of shock troopers and kayazy assassins, which managed to clear of the right most threat of Skarre’s battlegroup of jacks. The battle engines tried to block off the left flank from attack by interposing its bulk against the oncoming horde.
Oh, and eEiryss went for a shot at trying to deprive Terminus of his focus. 5’s to hit.
We rolled (well I rolled) a 4. And it would have made a difference too! All the lichlords forgot about Terminus’ sacrificial pawn.
In the end though it was still all for naught. Even if we had successfully cut off two attack vectors the one we didn’t notice would kill us.
First the remnants of the Bane knights got rid of our gun carriage meat shield.
Then a jack came in to take a few points off.
Then Asphyxious popped his feat, summoning ten more weapon masters to finish the job. Charge lanes were pretty squeezy, and the Cryxian commanders had to kill off some of the models that already attacked to clear lanes for MORE charging weapon masters, but in the end they toppled that third building quite handily.
As I mentioned earlier, we were knew going into the battle that it’d be an uphill battle, but in the end it was still a pretty fun match! Especially considering it was a relatively quick game, finishing at halfway through the third turn. Unbound’s a great way to try something different every once in a while, and I’m looking forward to a grudge match in the future. 🙂