They've got some very nice sculptors there. How is the game?
Manchu asked me about the game and I gave him the following review:
Judgement...kind of doing what Inquisitor tried to do once upon a time. 54mm MOBA
inspired Skirmish game.
I got into this game because one of my friends, regular Warmachine
opponent Chad Kaufman, got into it. We both also play "lite" the mobile
battle arena Heroes of the Storm, so seeing a company do a miniatures
game that's inspired by Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends is
The game is balanced around numbers like a MOBA. You play 3v3 or
5v5 matches where you select 3 or 5 characters. Generally that means
a ban and pick system. Two players show up to an event or pickup
game with 5 heroes for a 3v3 match, each one bans one of the other's
heroes, and then you select your warband from the remainder.
Pros and Cons
+ The models themselves are lovely. At 54mm you can see some nice
detail and people who can paint really take these to town.
+ If you play any MOBAs you will recognize some of the MOBA
inspirations. Heroes level up to 3 during the match, can buy magical
items, and an independent monster roams the field.
+ I always love trying to figure what geek media has inspired any
particular model. For instance there's a model named Skye,
an Elf monk. He's very clearly NEo from the Matrix, but his rules
resemble those of Shen from League of Legends where he has
an ability that lets him teleport to a friendly model being attacked
and put a temporary hit point shield on them.
+ The game designers like a competitive game and some of the rules
feel like Warmachine in their flavor.
+ Interesting character leveling strategy. Even though heroes have
certain level 2 and level 3 abilities, to actually get there they need to
kill a monster, harvest a soul, or kill an enemy hero. Those aren't
always possible to do in the span of a game, and the games I played
1 or 2 characters have gained a level and that's it , so you have to
+ My regular gaming people play. That's a good reason.
+ My favorite models resemble some pretty nice ips. Skye as Neo,
Thrommel as any jumping hammer dwarf (except he doesn't learn
how to jump until level 3) but I often think of him as Muradin from
Heroes of the Storm, Allandir as an Elven Rambo with explosive
tipped arrowheads. The list goes on.
+ Their minotaurs are TIGHT. (second attached image ). A lot of
interesting concepts in their races for the games. Dwarves are slower,
Minotaurs have regeneration, Undead models have the ability to curse
+ I like how they started mixing time periods with the fantasy concepts.
Nephenee, for example, is a rocket jetpack jedi with two laser swords.
Allandir is a a World War fighting elf archer with explosive ammunition
(and probably some unresolved PTSD).
+ The characters as characters are fantastic. I'm a weirdo who likes to
read the background information on Champions in League of Legends
even though it has no bearing on the game. There's a dwarf with a
crashed pirate ship who fires a ballistae that can knock you back. When
he reaches level 2 he essentially gains some kind of racism against
one of the other races in the game so he gains a bonus against them.
+ Full resin models. I think they have some plastic ones for the starter
set, but the resin is good and holds detail really well at this scale.
+ I like how they balance the warbands out. There's no points
system, and you're just choosing 5-7 heroes. Also intriguing is a
"full" MOBA experience where you pick and ban heroes from the
entire range of the game. Drafting strategy is a huge part of MOBAs,
and I think it comes across well in this game.
+As mentioned above, you play pick and ban or a crazy full draft
mode (most events are pick and ban). This forces you to synergize
your warband around different configurations of your starting pool
of heroes. Banning someone's highest damage output champion or
tankiest one changes which of your remaining pool you'll take. It's
a fun mechanic for a skirmish game.
+ Alternating model activation. Not only is it fun trying to set up your
plays and react to what's going on on the table, you also want to consider
how you want the next turn to play out especially if you an "steal" a model's
activation by killing them before they can activate that turn. (models respawn
with fewer hit points and actions, but it can be absolutely brutal to lose
a model before they can activate).
+ Fate abilities. The game uses a currency called Fate that you gain for
controlling shrines and holding souls. You spend the fate to get rerolls and
some other effects, but you also spend fate for Fate Abilities. Skye, for
example, can teleport to a friend and give them temporary hit points when
they get attacked. Thrommel at level 3 can jump and knock down everyone
in 2" area around him. Thorgar has a Bull Rush that bypasses armor and
knocks models to the side. Brok, a Dwarven Berserker, has a Fate Ability
that lets him attack everyone in his melee range. BRutal stuff.
- These models are expensive. 50-60 dollars per model and your
starting pool of models is 5? I guess that's a standard army.
- Australian based company. Distribution is rough and ordering from
there and shipping it out is an issue (I didn't get my Kickstarter models
- Gameplay is very not immersive unless you're familiar with the PC
games, I think. It's pretty much a mirror match arena where the goal is
to gather 4 souls without losing them.
- Fixed battlemaps. I guess this should be both a pro and a con, but
as a con this has become my response to anyone calling for fixed
map layouts (I know a few people who want it for Warmachine) : Fixed
map layouts means that people can game the map before they show
up and learn ideal positioning. It's absolutely a gameplay plus, but if
someone is looking to just jam adventuring warbands against each
other, this isn't the game to do it.
- Finding opponents. This is a niche game with a niche entry price.
There's no way you're going to get someone to casually start this
game without some work.
- Some bendy resin. Nothing hot water or a hair dryer won't fix, but
I'm often too lazy to try either and just go with it.
- Somewhat snowbally gameplay. Again, this is very much part and
parcel of playing a game like League of Legends, but if you're winning
the game, the game enables you to win even more. For example, the
goal of a 3v3 is to gather 4 souls. If you kill another hero, you gain
their soul, the killer gains a level and the killed model respawns next
turn with fewer hit points and one less action the turn they come
back. The player who killed a model just got 1/4 of the way to winning
the match, and getting a level 2 ability can tilt things in that player's
favor. Also souls held by your side generate the game's currency,
Fate tokens, which lets you buy rerolls, remove status affects, and
use the game busting fate abilities. It feels difficult to come from
behind, which is unusual for someone who's played so much
Warmachine to design into a game.
I'm sure I have more thoughts on the game, but so far I'm liking it
EDIT: Added a picture of Brok, a Dwarf Berserker whose specialty
is monster slaying. For scale you can see Privateer Press's
Supreme Guardian on a 120 mm
and other models on 30 mm