Rumble on the tabletop


Are you ready to rrrruumbbleee! In the red corner, weighing in at £126.million in revenue, with a record of 94% of the wargaming market, the monopolizing Games Workshop. In the blue corner, weighing at a measly £2.8 million in revenue, the underdog with potential, Privateer Press.

Let's face off their top dogs, Warhammer 40k and Warmachine. I will base it on six major criteria then go into some details.

1. Rules:  Warmachine wins this one. A tighter rule set that is updated regularly to fix any errors or imbalances. Although Warhammer 40k has a simpler to understand mechanic it is actually easier to apply the Warmachine rules because of the aforementioned tightness. In 40k the language and the time gap between army books is what complicates things. In some cases I have removed rules completely (homebrew) because of their imbalanced nature. (I am looking at you*non-space marine units falling back with less than 50% left of squad*.)

2. Models:  Personally I would have to say Warhammer 40k. There is much more flavor considering that 40k has much more units to select from.  Also Forgeworld creates some really cool models, albeit expensive, to add to your armies. I have also read many complaints online about the Warmachine warjacks being too top heavy. Warmachine sprues do not have the variety that Games Workshop provides for its units. Warhammer 40k has more over-the-top cool factor on more minis.  

  3. Competitive play: Warmachine without a doubt. Balanced armies are not a forte of Games Workshop especially because they release each army book with a six month gap between each which leads to an individualistic level of competitiveness instead of a comprehensive one. Tightness of rules from Warmachine gives little wiggle room for interpretation and exploitation. And last, but not least, the level at which luck plays a role. In Warhammer, it is very prevalent and the excuse might be that it is fluffy (story driven) but affects strategy which can be frustrating. Warmachine on the other hand has plenty of modifiers in both stats and abilities (spells) that can increase your chances or decrease your opponents allowing your chances to sway based on how effective your tactics are.

4. Fluff (back story): Warhammer 40k without a shadow of a doubt.  The Black Library, the plethora of novels written by GW appointed authors, is huge and contains amazing stories. Each codex (army book) has fun descriptions of unit or character backgrounds written an exaggerated mythological style always found in GW gaming books. I am not saying that Warmachine lacks a good back story but in comparison i can confidently say 40k is epic. The Black Library has even produced some of my favorite Sci-Fi novels (Dan Abnett's Eisenhorn or Ravenor).  


5. Cost: Warmachine period. Example beginner army lists based on the most common game point for each system:

Warmachine                                                                                                       Warhammer
35 point list                                                                                                      1500 point list

Cygnar Plastic Battlegroup $49.99
Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Unit $34.99
Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer $7.99
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team $16.99
Stormblade Unit $42.99
Journeyman Warcaster Variant $8.99
Squire $9.99
Captain Arlan Strangewayes $13.99


Forgefather Vulkan He’stan $20.00
Space Marine Terminators $50.00
Space Marine Land Raider Crusader $66.00
Space Marine Ironclad Dreadnought $44.50 X2
Space Marine Drop Pod $33.00 X2
Space Marine Tactical Squad $37.25 X2
Space Marine Rhino $33.00 X2



*These prices do not include army books or the rulebook

  6. Scale: Warhammer 40k; although, Warmachine is trying to expand.  Still, 40k offers large to humongous (apocalypse) scale battles and the Warmachine rules would have trouble scaling without becoming difficult to play. I guess this one really depends on what you like, whether it be special operations type game with a few models tactically attacking each other, or grand battles where whole battalions are going at it.


It's a back and forth bout but it boils down to the judges. You. Are you a gamer who puts rules and competiveness above all? Then Warmachine is for you. Or are you a hobbyist who loves the fluff and models above all? Then Warhammer 40k is for you. Price not included.


Bonus post: Why I am moving to Warmachine.

I love 40k, it is what got me into this hobby in the first place. I remember getting my first models almost ten years ago and (unsuccessfully) painting them. Eldar were my first love. Look at them today, an extremely point-cost inefficient and an outdated codex. They have not had an update since 2001. Let's face it; GW is now a large corporation... with shareholders. Profit is the main motivator and the hobby comes second. For example, Space Marines are the bestselling army in their line. Guess which army is updated and strengthened the most? Yup, Space Marines. Another example, in the 5th edition rule set, vehicles have become much more effective, and their game point cost is reduced. Why? Vehicles are expensive and if the gamer cannot play effectively without them then he/she will pay more for more vehicles. Let's see if they can do better in 6th edition coming out next year.

It wasn't just GW's recent actions (see video), but also the fact that I introduced 40k to my friends and they were disappointed. For new players in the game they chose weaker armies (e.g. Orks or Tyranids) and because of their lack of knowledge they lost... badly. But it wasn't the knowledge part that aggravated them, it was the luck part. My friends have good tactical acumen but when their plan falls to pieces based on a few D6s, they QQ. When I introduced them to Warmachine recently... they did much better primarily because what they spent in effort planning almost always came to fruition and only failed from a cleverer tactic by their opponent. Don't get me wrong, I personally find 40k a wonderful game as long as you don't take it seriously.  Privateer Press is a small company, still all about the hobby and their fans. I like that and I am planning to enjoy it for a long time.

I want to give attention to Mini war-gaming's open letter to GW. Hope they listen.




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  • Saad Alghawas

    I agree. Warmachine is a great game for the tactically minded. While Warhammer was fun I did freak out a few times when things didn’t turn out the way they “should have”. A vivid memory springs to mind.. Old One Eye takes a brutal swing at your demon spider thing. The attack should have blown your arachnoid mech back into whatever dimension it came from but for some reason I ended up rolling almost ALL ones! (and yes, we forgot to reroll those which just made it worse). That really sucked!