I am in the countryside right now, with lots of silence and time to read. Of course I brought my recently acquired Warmachine rulebook. It’s a beautiful beast, full color, lots of pics, and in the case of the game, lots of amazing rules.

Now, one of the big differences between Privateer Press and Games Workshop is (no, not their prices) that the first ones wouldn’t translate their books to other languages. GW translates to various other tongues, with different books and websites. Dead and gone Rackham did this in every product. The basic book came with various languages texts in it, and the game system was designed so stats and abilities in the cards were mostly symbols. PP doesn’t care about this. And they know their game is played worldwide.

What does this imply? In my view, it forces PP to do better game design. Or at least better rules writing, clearer editing, and less confusing text. You can see that in every little ability explanation in any card. It’s amazing how concise and airtight the rules look like, even though that needs backup from actual play of the game. Does this make the rules less conversational, and a bit more boring to read? In my opinion, yes it does. But don’t be afraid, it’s not like reading a WRG ruleset (omg DBA, I still have nightmares about you). For us non native speakers this is a blessing though.

Something really weird happens to me reading this rulebook. I am one to read something and immediately a few questions spring to mind about stuff I’ve read before. It happened to me several times that these questions were answered in the paragraph next to the one that created them. Some other questions are simply answered by carefully reading something you read before, perhaps a little less careful on your first read through. Yes, it is a book to read while you’re very awake. Whenever I’m dozing off in bed I put this to the side and grab something else.

One of the most important factors that battle the small dull factor of the rules is that the rules themselves are fucking awesome. I just love reading about how my jack can do a headbutt and knock the opponent down, or grab the other model’s hand, crippling his weapon, while in the same activation ripping it apart with my chainsaw. Trampling over humans with a jack must be a sight for sore eyes. And they all imply a tactical decision. Sometimes you’ll want to slam a jack hard, while others you’ll want to push it to the side slightly. And every one of the abilities you read is simply amazing. You only think on how to destroy your opponent. Thing is, in his/her turn you’re gonna get beat as well.

It suddenly came to me that this game is just fit for solo play. There’s no hidden resources, or interrupting mechanics that have to be considered, not much stuff to carefully time other than on your own turn, and no hidden army lists or powers. It’s simply a matter of doing the best you can with one side, then changing seats and doing the same. Hell, I can even learn to be a better player that way and learn about other Factions’ tactics.

Merry christmas to all. Talk to you in 2011.

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