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Blood and sweat. Hope and desperation. Gunsmoke and lightning. All these accompany the blue and gold of Cygnar into battle.

Cygnar stands on the cutting edge of technology in the Iron Kingdoms. While it’s smaller than other kingdoms’ standing armies, what Cygnar’s army lacks in numbers it more than makes up for in the quality of both its troops and their weapons.

The new editions of WARMACHINE and HORDES are only weeks away from releasing! There’s no stopping the hype train now—we’re full steam ahead. Oh, hey, that’s a nice segue. I’m proud of me.

The Circle Orboros is best characterized by its menagerie of wild beasts, dark rituals, potent elemental magics, and boundless maneuverability. It is a guerilla army made up of druidic spellcasters and savage feral warriors who strike without warning at the weakest spot in the enemy line. While the Circle has some access to skilled ranged combatants, it is in melee where its forces excel. Above all, the Circle Orboros is defined by its unparalleled ability to move across the battlefield and turn the terrain itself against the enemy. In other words, the Circle Orboros knows the lay of the land.

Sneak Preview: Flashpoint
The next offering from Skull Island eXpeditions takes you into a new era. With the release of the new editions, we jump forward to 611 AR, to a time when the lay of the land is changing quickly. In this exclusive excerpt from the first book in the new Acts of War series, Aeryn Rudel’s Flashpoint , old enemies threaten a new peace.

Khador values strength, loyalty, and ingenuity above all else. To its enemies, Khador is the wolf at the gates, a nation characterized by its armies of grim-faced patriots, hardened by the endless winter and dedicated to the dream of a restored empire. Behind them are the proletariat masses that spend their lives in the vast factories, expending their blood and labor to keep the Motherland’s great war machine moving. Where Khador’s armies march, the pride of countless generations follows.

A roleplaying game may not be a competitive experience, but that doesn’t mean Game Mastering can’t be.

The wilds of Immoren are ripe with treachery and danger. For the average citizen of the Iron Kingdoms, leaving the safety of civilization and wandering into the woods is almost a guaranteed death sentence. All manner of exotic and deadly creatures inhabit the wilds all with different strengths to offer savvy warlords. The less intelligent of these creatures are often subjugated and tamed by the more powerful organizations of the wild, such as the Circle Orboros or the United Kriels of the trollkin, while the more sentient creatures of the wild offer their services in return for food or supplies. I’m talking, of course, about the eclectic collection of scavengers, monsters, and savage warriors known as the Minions.

For me, one of the big aspects of entering into the new editions was the chance to jump ahead in time. This allowed us to set a number of changes and advances in motion, for individual characters as well as larger aspects of the setting itself. At the end of our Mk II narrative, we were at the beginning of 609 AR, while the new editions move us well into 611 AR. What can happen in two years? Well, quite a lot as it turns out!

We’re getting close to the release of all the new Organized Play documents and materials for the new editions of WARMACHINE and HORDES, which just so happen to coincide with the rotation of the Active Duty Roster (ADR)!

The Protectorate of Menoth is a nation defined by faith and fealty to the Creator, a powerful god who seeks to command the souls of all mankind. In his service, the armies of the Protectorate exhibit a mixture of great discipline and skill at arms on one hand, and divine inspiration that supersedes the inherent weaknesses of its outmoded machines and motley, teeming masses on the other. The armies of the faithful rely on daily miracles that inspire ordinary men and women to true greatness in hopes of earning a place beside Menoth in Urcaen.

Another short but important one: this time, we will be discussing ’jack marshals.

When we began working on the new editions of the game, foremost among our design objectives was to see more warjacks on the table. Once we saw the potential of the Power Up rule in action, we knew battlegroups were sorted, but ’jack marshals began to feel lackluster. This led to another round of discussions and playtests as we sought a means to let the more mundane warjack operators come to the fore. Eventually, this led to a broad re-envisioning of the ’Jack Marshal rules.

Our Faction review continues today with a close look at the opportunistic soldiers who battle for fame, fortune, and sometimes just for fun: the Mercenaries. You’ll often hear us speak about the concept of Faction identity, such as Khador’s resilience or Cryx’s swarm tactics, but doing so for Mercenaries can be a bit tricky. That’s because Mercenaries are, by definition, a mixed bag of many different play styles and identities.

With all the amazing minds in play here at Privateer Press, our creative process can take a few different paths. Sometimes, we gather together via email like a virtual cabal and collectively conjure forth a brief for the concept artist. And other times, WARMACHINE creator Matt Wilson says, “Don’t worry about the Cryx warcaster—I know what I want,” and a week later, Bane Witch Agathia concept art materializes in my inbox.

The last Faction to really take shape in Mk II, the Convergence of Cyriss was among the easiest to balance in the new editions. In some ways, the Convergence heralded many of the changes we made to the game and influenced how we saw the role of warcasters and warlocks going forward. For example, the success we had with the Convergence warcasters was certainly a topic of conversation when we discussed giving each warcaster and warlock a unique capability beyond their feats. At that time, we were, of course, looking at the Field Marshal abilities each of the Convergence warcasters has.

The military forces of the trollkin are made up of bands of heroes and common folk, skilled hunters, and savage trolls who follow their stone-faced chieftains and enigmatic shamans into battle. Alongside these traditional war bands are more modern fighters who have learned the tactics of their enemies and turned their weapons against them. Backed by healing prayers and earthshaking magic, the Trollbloods seek to arm themselves with every tool at their disposal, desperate to secure for themselves a degree of safety and security in this most dangerous of worlds. The Trollbloods fight to protect their lands, families, kith, and kin.

When we started talking about the new editions, one of the first things we did was conduct a big no-holds-barred brainstorming session. Prior to this, these sessions centered on generating ideas about the next batch of models for an upcoming expansion book. This time, however, the scope was much broader; this time, we got to throw out each and every idea we had on how to make the new editions of WARMACHINE and HORDES the best experiences yet.

Long hidden behind its impenetrable borders, the Retribution of Scyrah has become a new and dangerous threat to all who would threaten its secluded nation or its dying gods. Once an outlawed and radical sect, the many recent successes of the Retribution has seen its star rise greatly among its people, and now they stand as Ios’ greatest hope and most able defenders against those who would dare despoil their homeland.

In this second part of a two-part interview (part 1 is here), Douglas Seacat, author of the upcoming novel The Blood of Kings, talks about the challenges of writing from the perspective of a spymaster and his top three preferences for what to write next in the setting of the Iron Kingdoms…

The skorne are an ancient people with a proud and bloody history. Unbowed to any god and unrivaled in their thirst for conquest, the skorne are bound only to their traditions, rigid division of castes, and reverence for the spirits of their ancestors. Their warriors are the inheritors of a strict code that has spanned countless generations, and yet has maintained continuity through close contact with those who came before.

Due to our desire to keep warjacks and warbeasts at the cutting edge of military might in the Iron Kingdoms, we sometimes take a more conservative approach to the balance of other model types that could overshadow them. Along the way we have learned a lot of lessons and made changes accordingly, from suping up battle engines to increasing the threat posed by Weapon Crews. With a few notable exceptions, Weapon Crews have seemed largely underwhelming throughout Mk II. Well, I can say with a great degree of confidence that will not be the case with the new edition of the game.