Tabletop Game Warmachine Coming to PC Through Kickstarter

The tabletop wargame from Privateer Press, Warmachine, is coming to PC and Mac in a turn-based offering coming soon to Kickstarter.

Tabletop wargaming is a hobby with millions of avid fans.  The hobby was brought to the world of video gaming through the various games for the Warhammer universe.  Titles such as Dawn of War, Chaos Gate, and Shadow of the Horned Rat have sought to bring a similar sort of experience as what gamers find on the tabletop to their digital environments.  Now Privateer Press has formally announced their own upcoming attempt to bring a new tabletop universe to the digital realms with Kickstarter called WARMACHINE: Tactics.


Warmachine is a steam punk styled skirmish wargame, and is named after the massive warjacks that serve as the centerpieces in its armies.  It is one of the major tabletop miniatures games in an industry largely dominated by Games Workshop and its various franchises.

Technology in the world Privateer Press has created is often a mingling of steam power and sorcery, with each of the major factions adding their own twists.  Cygnar incorporates its technologically advanced electric power into its weaponry while Khador stacks on as much armor as its warjacks can carry.  Stretch goals proposed for the Kickstarter would also bring in the other factions, with Cryx bringing its necromancy and the Protectorate of Menoth its holy fervor and fire.

What's the difference?

What sets this attempt to take a tabletop game digital seems to be how closely it seeks to mirror the tabletop experience.  Dawn of War and its sequel are both loads of fun, but they are very clearly not the same experience.  The only game I have seen brought in a direct port from its tabletop equivalent is Blood Bowl, and while the game is a load of fun, it has built-in imbalance openly admitted to, and is a different sort of game on its own.

WARMACHINE: Tactics is looking to create a turn-based version of its tabletop game, not simply a digital game based upon it.  A single-player campaign can give players a chance to ease into the game and its (surprisingly simple) systems, while multiple varieties of multiplayer might actually deliver something the table gaming community has been seeking for ages.

A familiar experience

Magic: the Gathering has been done in many games as a direct port from its tabletop version, and every one of those games has people flock to it to experience their hobby from the comfort of home.  It does not give them a similar experience, it gives them the same experience.

These games are, by their very nature, games of infinite variable capacity.  In a game of Warmachine for example, I pick my faction, then my warcaster, then my warcaster's warjacks, then the rest of the army.  Each configuration plays entirely differently, not simply by changing faction but even within individual factions.  If done properly, each warcaster completely changes how their army plays.

Perhaps most obviously, the game is fun.  Warmachine has millions of players all across the planet, but many of them are unable to interact with more than their local area.  Even within those small groups (my own gaming group has about ten people) we keep coming up with new ways to build our forces, new ways to apply them, new ways to enjoy the game every time we sit down to play.

Why wouldn't we want to be able to do that online with all those others players and people all over the world?

Privateer Press is creating a new publishing entity within its infrastructure specifically for digital media called, obviously, Privateer Press Interactive.  They are teaming up with Whitemoon Dreams to create WARMACHINE: Tactics, a company with veterans from the Ratchet and Clank, Fallout, and other games.  The two groups will be starting a Kickstarter funding drive soon to get the game made.

Tabletop fans... our fix is coming.

Featured Columnist

Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.

Published Jun. 27th 2013

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