The Skorne force book for Hordes is out this week as part of the continuing flood of new releases from Privateer Press. Let’s take a quick look at this book, shall we…
The book is comparable in size to the other faction books for Warmachine. You’ve got background and backstory in the front, a description and overview of the Skorne military forces in the middle, tier lists, rules and background for all of the models and units available as of early Fall, and a painting guide to wrap things up.
If you need a reminder, the Skorne are one of the “bad guys” in Hordes. They’re often generalized as being vampiric samurai bent on world conquest. As always, the truth is a bit more complex, and the full relationship between the Skorne and Cygnars exiled king Vinter is too long to delve into here. Suffice to say that where once the Skorne were being used as a mere tool for Vinter to reclaim the throne, they have now stepped out of his shadow and are forging ahead with their own dreams of conquest.
Yet again, the production quality of the book is excellent. The artwork is top notch, the background is new and fresh, and the photos are solid. The full color book is of the same size and cost as all the other Forces of Warmachine books and comes in both soft and hardcover. After looking over the book I could only find two areas where I can see some improvements: alternative paint schemes and maps.
New models and units include:
-Warlock Dominar Rasheth
-Titan Sentry heavy Warbeast. This has been available in stores for about a month, now.
-Tyrant Vorkesh, a unit attachment solo for Cataphract Cetrati
-Venator Flayer Cannon artillery
-Venator Reiver Unit Attachment
-Paingiver Taskmaster- shown in the most recent No Quarter magazine
-Aptimus Marketh, an Extoller character solo, and sort of a Warlock attachment
-Hakaar the Destroyer, an Ancestral Guardian Solo
Look for a review of these models in future posts.
A great deal of the fantastic Skorne background section references many, many places and battles within the Skorne Empire and along the eastern border of the Iron Kingdoms. However, a new player without a map and some prior knowledge of the game world would have a challenging time figuring out where any of these events were taking place. Even a blown up sub-section of the map from Primal: MkII would have been helpful. Map’s do a lot to really immerse players into the game universe, and as a “stand alone book” that is meant to reveal all the important background on the Skorne, the forces book should allow players to see where the faction is active without having to flip back and forth between it and Primal. Yes, Hordes factions are more difficult to represent on a map, due to their often widespread presence and lack of national borders, but even shaded areas overlayed onto the world map to show where they are active would help, and I’d be happy to sacrifice one page of artwork to know where everything is happening.
A couple of alternative painting schemes would also be a great addition. Every faction model has a picture in the book under the standard red scheme. Simply replace 2-3 of those with ones in an alternative scheme. It was done before in Warmachine: Escalation and Warmachine: Superiority. I really hope to see PP bring back the practice. Most of the military organization sections in the faction books describe different color schemes used by various divisions/groups within the faction, so it’s clear that the design staff has given some thought to the issue. It’s simply a matter of actually showing some of those schemes on a model or two. Considering how many “show me your alternative painting scheme” posts you see on various forums around the internet, I’m confident the demand exists amongst the playerbase.
Those suggestions aside, I heartily reccommend the book. I’m actually still reading my way through the new unit entries as of the time of writing, and I’m enjoying the descriptions of the many sub-factions within the Skorne. Heck, the release helped finally convince me to get off the fence and start a Skorne force of my own. I guess that’s about the best recommendation any game player can give.
Have at it guys, what’s your thoughts onthe book and the Skorne in general? Expect a more detailed tactical analysis posts of new units soon. -Lux