I've recently started my first Hordes army (Circle of Orboros). I've known about the game for some years now, but never ventured into it due to a variety of significant reasons, which were:
1. I was too motivated and inspired by Warhammer Fantasy at the time, so I didn't want to split my efforts between the two systems.
2. The scene for Warhammer was much larger and included a wider variety of people that I wanted to play games with.
3. I didn't like the Privateer Press models as much as the games workshop ones in general.
4. The scale and carnage of a game of Warhammer held a lot more appeal to me than the idea of an intimate, skirmish usually constituted by a WM/Hordes game.
5. Games Workshop models were generally cheaper due to plastic kits, and allowed greater modelling/hobby depth with superior options to kitbash, convert, and create unique and intersesting armies. With PP there is very little conversion, you can't come up with a (visual, modelling based) idea for an army in quite the same way that you can with GW - a good idea might be my buddy Simon with his Gobbtonia collection (google it if you haven't seen this).
And probably other reasons as well, but these are the main ones.
I've managed to overturn a lot of this, though;
1. Although I still enjoy Warhammer very much, and will continue to play friendly and tournament games with my armies, I feel that especially after 8th the game has started to feel a bit stale. The terrain rules, steadfast, more decisive magic, and a general shift towards luck & risk management has probably improved the game in a lot of ways and fixed some of the problems in 7th edition, but at a cost. I feel like the system has lost some of its charm & fun, and at high level there is definately a bit of a skill cap, and not enough ambiguity of optimal play. This has led me to start 40k again as well, and now, Hordes.
2. A lot of other people are switching over to PP as well after the recent GW drama and PP's great starter bundle move to attract fresh converts. I've got several people in the scene already that I am looking forward to playing with but it looks like it will soon swell a bit due to what's happened.
3. Looking carefully through all of the faction galleries i've found that at least 80% of the circle models appeal to me. I'll definately be able to play lists that 100% include models that I really like. And GW are putting out a lot of new models that I really DON'T like.
4. This will always be a reason why I continue to play warhammer as well, but as a gamer with a lot of spare cash and time, I know that i'll be able to get into hordes on a larger scale too. Hopefully it is as much fun.
5. An issue which still favours GW in my eyes, EXCEPT of course for the fact that plastic kits from GW have to be bought retail while I can still order metal models cheaper overseas for my Hordes army. A significant turnaround.
This in mind, I will be putting out a lot of material in future on the forums and on my youtube channel that has to do with Warmachine & Hordes. One pitfall that I hope to steer clear of in future is a lot of constant comparison between GW and PP systems, something that leads to a lot of argument and division, potentially offending people from one or the other communities, etc.
But since it will often come up, this whole post will be about some direct comparisons - that way I can keep the discussion off my forum threads and youtube video comments (one can hope) and nicely contained at my harmless little blog. I'll be able to simply reference this big wall of text for people that really want to delve into it, get my views on the matter, and we can all get it off our chests.
Enjoy, but there's a lot of pretty contentious stuff in here;
Warhammer Fantasy & 40k: Positives relative to WM & Hordes
* Deeper backgrounds and history - just a richer universe in general
* More evocative characters & units, better scifi/fantasy atmosphere to games
* Very gratifying scale. Units & squads with a great tabletop presence, lots more carnage and dice rolling
* Larger communities & more tournaments/events
* Plastic kits; more possibilities for conversion and individualising an army
* Greater detail in army list selection, with spell lores, magic items, and the option to determine an exact number of models in each of your units
* Bigger strategic emphasis on deployment?
* Usually a guarantee that a game will go on for 6 turns if you want it to, as opposed to an 'instant death' knockout style victory/loss, and the allowance for degrees of victory, as opposed to a simple black&white win, loss or draw.
* Greater emphasis on luck and variables which cause a much more frequent occurance of unusual scenarios that are of mechanical interest and inspire fresh thinking
Warmachine & Hordes: Positives relative to Warhammer Fantasy & 40k
* A game by Privateer Press, and not Games workshop! In light of recent events this speaks for itself...
* System is far more balanced, every faction has a stronger chance of winning against any other faction
* Units and abilities are generally much more balanced, which is very important because this way almost every model & unit can be viably used in a competitive arena, and list construction is much less of a 'no-brainer' affair as it often is in GW systems
* Less models needed in order to play - this can mean less overall $ cost and less painting/modelling time needed
* In-game combat mechanics are more complex, allowing for deeper interaction, and a richer variety of winning strategies and tactics
* The rules are written very clearly, so in general there is less room for ambiguity and rules arguments
* Privateer Press in general seems to have done a better job in fixing imbalances in the game, relative to Games Workshop, who will sometimes release an FAQ but often without enough done to solve problems, or in some cases making problems worse
So that's something to chew on, obviously anyone with a very strong bias towards either GW or PP could look through those bullet points and make counter-arguments for any of it, but I feel that is well clear of the point of this blog post.
The real purpose of this write-up has been to allow my youtube batrep audience to pick through some of the issues that have been in my frame of mind with respect to my decision to expand to this new system, without me having to talk at length about it on youtube. This way I can get stuck in to talking about the system itself and soon, some games.