Overview: Prime & Primal – Warmachine & Hordes MkIII


Privateer Press has a new edition out for Warmachine & Hordes – come see in the insides of Prime & Primal!

If you’ve been on the sidelines waiting to see how Warmachine/Hordes MK III shakes out it’s time to dive back in. Prime/Primal are both out and we got a chance to sit down and look at each one:

Both of these books are must-haves for fans of the Warmachine/Hordes franchise from Privateer Press. Having both books gives you access to the full picture of Immoren from a Lore standpoint as well as access to the new Warcasters and Warlocks of each faction – and of course all the current updates to the units and rules!

Speaking of updates to the rules, the BIGGEST change to the Warmachine side of things, to me at least, is that if a Warjack starts in it’s controller’s influence area it starts the turn with 1 Focus for free! Running a ‘Jack heavy list just got a lot more manageable! We’ve seen Privateer Press try to promote more ‘Jack heavy play in the past – MK II introduced Warjack and Warbeast points which your ‘Casters got as an additional bonus to encourage you to take at least 1 Warjack or Warbeast. Now, this boost to Focus helps Warmachine players close that gap between Focus and Fury in an appropriate way.

Aside from that big change, there are lots of little things that got cleaned-up, tweaked and tuned. We won’t go over all the changes here but roughly 1/4 of the rules were removed and EVERY UNIT got a look and re-balance. This new edition really is NEW and improved. It’s still one of the most tactically challenging games out there and the rules are still some of the tightest rules out there for a tabletop wargame – this new MK III edition just makes everything you loved about Warmachine/Hordes BETTER.

At the same time the game has never been more newbie friendly. The new battlegroup boxes are some of the best starter products we’ve seen in the market – ever! Don’t take my word for it – we did unboxing for the Cryx & Cygnar and the Trollbloods & Skorne. For what you get in the boxes you can’t beat the price!

Another thing that makes the game is newbie friendly is that each of these books actually has the other books unique mechanics included. So if you’re a Warmachine player and you want to lean how Warlocks, Warbeasts & Fury all work together you can flip to the Hordes appendix rules section and read those rules! Same for Primal! And because the core rules are the same across both books, you won’t feel blindsided by anything.

Now, if I could backtrack for one moment, I did mention the lore section and I wanted to touch on that very quickly. The timeline has advanced a few years and while the landscape has stayed roughly the same there are some new things happening in the lands of Immoren. If you’re a Loremaster or a huge history buff, I’m not going to spoil those changes for you so go pick-up the book(s)! If you’re not familiar with the lore at all these books are PERFECT for jumping in. Both of these have been out for about a month – so what are you waiting for? Go check them out for yourselves!






It’s a new edition and the best time to jump in to Warmachine/Hordes! 

  • I feel compelled to point out, since the article didn’t, that the hardback Prime and Primal are only necessary if (a) you care about fluff, (b) want the small handful of new unit entries but aren’t willing to put a few dollars into War Room 2, or (c) are a completionist.

    Those are all valid reasons, by the way; I’m not disparaging anyone by this.

    If none of those are true for you, the FULL rules sections of both books are available legally for free online:

    Warmachine: http://files.privateerpress.com/allnewwar/Prime.pdf
    Hordes: http://files.privateerpress.com/allnewwar/Primal.pdf

    • Richard Mitchell

      Also the battleboxes carry full rules as well. I like the MkIII rules and changes more than MkII and I really like MII

      • True, but my point was that at no point do you actually have to buy anything in order to take a look at the full rules of the game.

  • Hawt Dawg

    These books are da bomb. Great art, good stories, and well full of packing.

    Get them!

  • wibbling

    A shame there’s little new art. I can’t agree on the starter boxes either. Yes, they’re very well priced but equally they’re a sort of PVC plastic.

    • James DeGrey

      the PVC type plastic seems to have improved quite a bit since the last round of battle boxes and kits such as fennblades and winterguard. It seems harder, more detailed and takes filing better.

    • Damistar

      Miniatures aside, these are really good starters for new players. They come with a mini rulebook (all the rules but no fluff or unit stats), counters and tokens, the included unit stat cards, a paper map for a play area and an introductory scenario book that teaches you step by step how to play. It even includes paper counters for an adversary force. I was really impressed at the thought and effort they put into them. The new minis are not the top end plastics, but they assemble well and are serviceable.

      • wibbling

        Yes, credit where it’s due, that’s the sort of effort that means a good bit. It’d be nice if the models were sprue? plastic from the outset, but a ‘getting going’ guide is really positive.

        • Damistar

          Injection molded would be nice, and someday I think PP means to do that. Given the variety of their product line and the immense re-tooling cost I think it will be more gradual shift. After all GW took like 25 years to transition to all plastic and even they are not wholly there yet. Wyrd has pulled it off but their line is much smaller.

    • Michael Vaillancourt

      There are 120 new illustrations between Prime and Primal.