Here are some reasons as to why it can be good to play multiple factions in Warmachine/Hordes (WM/H).
It happens to all of us at one point or another in our wargaming hobby: the allure of a shiny new faction. Sometimes it comes up because you want a break from what you’ve been playing. Maybe you were on the receiving end of a model combo that was really impressive. Or you saw some models that you just had to own.
Regardless of how you get to the point where you’re ready to take the plunge and buy into a new faction, sooner or later you’ll be starting at that shopping cart or auction, debating whether or not to go through with it.
Assuming there aren’t any financial roadblocks (oh what a wonderful world to live in), there are a number of benefits to playing multiple factions in WM/H.
Sometimes, The Grass Is Greener:
We all pick our starting faction for different reasons. Background story, models, purported playstyle, straight-up gifted by someone; whatever the reason, everyone has to pick a starting faction and go from there.
Some players are lucky enough to get it right in one try and end up loving their initial faction choice forever. To those fortunate few, I send you a spiritual high-five and encourage you to check out the parallel post to this one which will be more useful for you.
For everyone else, it is likely that you realize after playing the game for awhile that your initial faction choice may not have been the best one for you in the long term. Maybe the faction doesn’t play the way you expected. Maybe the models don’t look as good in person as you expected, or you really don’t like painting them. Or maybe you just ran into something across from you on the tabletop at some point that seemed way more interesting to you.
WM/H, like all tabletop wargames, is very time intensive in terms of preparation (model assembly and painting) and very demanding of your focus and dedication if you want to get really good at it. That process can be pretty painful if you’re fighting an uphill battle against the faction you’re using (and don’t like as much). If you find yourself feeling that way, it may be worth looking into another faction that is more inherently exciting to you.
A Matter of Perspective:
It is also worth bearing in mind that owning another faction (or many other armies) doesn’t mean that you no longer play the faction you switched away from. That is obviously a good idea if you end up realizing that you really, honestly didn’t like playing your other faction(s), but otherwise there is nothing preventing you from switching between two or more different factions to experience different views on playing the game.
This diversified perspective can be extremely valuable when returning to a faction you’ve been taking a break from. Playing a different faction can give you a profound appreciation of the strengths your other faction has. It is easy to take something for granted; having to do without it (“man, this faction has a *way* harder time cracking armor”) can be deeply educational.
Improve Your Game Knowledge:
You’ll never know an faction better than when you’ve actually put it on the table yourself. You have a firsthand knowledge of that factions strengths, weaknesses, and overall game plan, which helps tremendously when planning for match ups and actually playing the game out on the tabletop. WM/H is a game that greatly rewards a deep knowledge of the game itself, and one of the best ways to internalize that knowledge is to play the faction yourself.
You can also get a helpful crash course just by doing a faction swap with someone for a game or two. That can be a great way to get some insight into a different faction (or list) that has been giving you trouble, and give you a nice “test drive” experience if you were considering expanding out to that faction at some point.
There are a lot of virtues to sticking with one faction , but you also shouldn’t be afraid to try another faction if it really seems appealing. If nothing else, it is almost always a fun experience to buy the models, put them together, paint ’em up, and get them on the table!
Has a faction switch ever worked out particularly well for you? Do you keep a rotating stable of factions that you like to switch between? Let me know in the comments!
Also check out Sticks and Dice for more Warmachine and Hordes content!