Sunday, 18 January 2015

Play-Testing WarEngine v 3.0.1

orc warband

Aaron Overton, the author of WarEngine, is currently play-testing version 3 of his rules. You can contact him through his WarEngine Yahoo Group.

WarEngine is a generic skirmish game. It caught my attention a couple of years ago, when it was used by a group of French wargamers for their Golgo Island setting. The second edition of the ruleset is in my bookshelf but I never tried it.

I'm currently preparing an ancient campaign with fantasy elements, so a generic skirmish game would be an interesting addition to HotT and Warhammer which we play regularly.

Last Tuesday, Krüger and I had our first game of WarEngine 3.0.1. We played Hoplites vs Orcs & Goblins, using about 3800 points each. I played 3 units of hoplites, 2 units of slingers and 5 Thracian riders. Krüger played 4 units of orcs, one unit of goblins, a unit of wolf riders and an ugly giant.

WarEngine is a modular system. You need to define how weapons, figures and units work, before you write an army list. I gave the hoplites the tweak combat assistance, for example, and added a champion with 6 hero points to each unit. To be honest, during play I forgot most of the advantages the tweaks gave me, but it was ok.

WarEngine feels lighter and is more flexible than a game like 40K, without being too simple. It has some interesting game mechanics involving control, reserved actions, massed attacks and suppression fire. You can add powers to simulate magic or psychological effects. Since every figure only has one life point, the game is fast. This allowed me to finish Krüger's giant in turn 1 with a group of slingers.  (David and Goliath.)

The only doubt Krüger and I had about the rules concerns the use of hero points. Figures get hero points through tweaks. They can be spend in combat to alter the attack and defense scores, after the dice are rolled. Both players know how many hero points the other player's figure has. Our first impression was that hero points are very powerful. Maybe it would be more fun to spent hero points first and then roll the dice for the attack and defense scores.

All in all, WarEngine is lots of fun and we will have another game soon.


  1. Thank you! Thank you! I've been looking for WarEngine/Shockforce resources on the web the last couple of weeks to no avail. The Yahoo group I found was defunct and my attempt to join timed out. Thank you for posting this link.

    I don't know the rules for Hero points, but I think I agree with you. Points should be spent beforehand. Maybe you need the help, maybe you don't. You have to decide on how you want to gamble.

    1. Were you able to join the WarEngine Yahoo group?