+ Concept inload: Engine War +

Zoggin' 'eck!

+ A slightly tongue-in-cheek title for this. I've been musing about scratching my giant robot itch ('you can get a cream for that') recently, and ended up thrashing out a set of rules to adapt the excellent Warmachine ruleset to work with the gigantic War Engines – Titans, Gargants etc. – of the 41st Millennium. 

+ I really like the Epic: Armageddon ruleset, but one thing that it doesn't do particularly well is Titans. The obvious thing would be to use the old Adeptus Titanicus or Titan Legions rulesets, but I enjoy writing. Besides, this is a fun project, even if it never becomes more than a theoretical exercise.

+ The abstract +

+ Write a set of rules that convert Warmachine to allow the use of Epic-scale Titans and Gargants. The ruleset should:
  • Be easily-digestible; using existing rules where possible.
  • Represent the factions as they are portrayed in the background.
  • Evoke a sense of size and power in the figures.
  • Keep both players involved.
  • Allow multiple strategies, whatever your choice of faction.
  • Be fun.

+ Specifics +

+ Additions to the general rules:

Primary weapons: When making a Shooting attack, any weapons with the Primary rule may fire as part of the initial attack. Resolve the attacks separately, one at a time, in the order you choose. 

+ This rule is introduced because Engine War is much more dependent on shooting than Warmachine. Allowing all weapons designated Primary to fire during one Shooting attack allows the main guns to speak; while you can also have non-primary weapons to allow for micromanagement. +

Continuous effects: War Engines are very large. Multiple fires can affect completely unrelated areas on the same Engine, for example. Unlike Warmachine/Hordes; you can be affected by the same continuous effect type multiple times. 

+ The fire mechanic from Titan Legions was a lot of fun, and having lots of fires raging evokes the idea of great land battleships billowing smoke while they continue to fire. +

Alternating activations: Players take it in turn to activate individual units. Turn order is determined as normal at the start of the game.
+ One of my favourite mechanics from Epic; I wanted to include this. Because War Engine doesn't rely on synergies (like the parent game Warmachine), the alternating activation should work fairly smoothly. In addition, because the use of individual War Engines is relatively complex (compared to a Warjack, for example), this mechanic is the best way to keep both players involved. It also allows for easy scalability and (potentially) multiple-player games. +

+ Currently, these are the only major changes; everything else works according to the slick and tight Warmachine rules. Of course, there are huge differences – the lack of Warcasters and the fact the Engines work slightly differently to Warjacks is obvious, and I'll have to come back and tighten up the general wording on those areas once I've worked out how each faction will function. +

+ Faction specifics +

The following (fragmentary) notes are taken from my initial draft; just to give you an idea of how I was thinking. If something comes up later that just doesn't work, I'll be able to come back to these basic ideas. 

+ As you'll see if you compare the specifics to these earlier notes, I've already moved away a little from some areas, but the core is there. +

General thoughts. 
  • Mainly based on Warmachine Colossal damage grid; including two banks of six columns and systems that can be knocked out.
  • Weapon types

Imperial Titans 
  • Few special rules inherent; instead purchased by weapon choice. e.g. Harpoon missile will disrupt
  • Void shields
    • Available in 'banks'. Each bank will stop X damage, then collapse and allow excess to 'bleed through'.
    • Banks can be regenerated by spending plasma.
  • Plasma reactor
    • Equivalent to Focus mechanic; but randomly generated per titan. 'Bled off' at the end of the turn.
    • Can be spent to:
      • Additional die to hit 
      • Additional die to damage
      • Run
      • Additional attack
      • Shake effect
      • Power attack
  • Structure
    • Hull
    • Weapons 
    • Head – Fire control: can +1 or -1 from column choice(?)
    • Reactor
    • Legs

Ork Titans
Easy to hit, slow, but monstrously resilient. Can repair. Slightly unpredictable; require more micromanagement. 
  • Power fields
    • Works like Warcaster power field (+1 ARM for each steam point)
  • Steam points
    • Equivalent to Fury mechanic; generated at a low rate, but maintained from turn to turn.
    • Steam can be vented voluntarily.
    • If too much is generated or spent in a turn, causes overload (like a threshold check). 
      • Causes the gargant to gain fire markers and lose steam.
    • If all steam is lost, gargant becomes inert and has to be restarted.
    • Bigger gargants can maintain more steam.
    • Can be spent to:
      • Additional die to hit 
      • Additional die to damage
      • Run
      • Additional attack
      • Shake effect
      • Power attack
  • Waaagh! points
    • Equivalent to Focus mechanic; generated across whole army and distributed from biggest Gargant downwards.
    • Can be spent to:
      • Add special rules (different costs)
      • Restart gargants
      • Get grots to put out more fires
    • Gargants are designated 'kunnin but brutal' or 'brutal but kunnin' before the game.
      • Kunnin but brutal get access to:
        • Awe; circular vision; defensive strike; finisher
      • Brutal but kunnin' get access to:
        • Aggressive; assault; brutal charge; bulldoze; cleave
    • Generated if: 
  • Mega-gargants:
    • Gunfighter, Virtuoso

Eldar Titans
  • Power-points
    • Automatically generate a static number of points.
    • Number of points generated is low because of Future Sight combined with generally better stats makes things more reliable.
  • Holofields
    • +1 def per power-point
    • Improve if on the move.
  • Wraithbone matrix
    • Is an arc node
    • Bushwhack
    • Future sight
    • Evasive
    • Swift Hunter

+ Starting points +

+ I didn't want to start by working out one faction (Imperial Titans, for example), then converting the others from that mould. This is because I think that approach can lead to awkward bodges to get things to work appropriately and thematically; and is also a bit unimaginative. Gargants are very different from Eldar Titans, and simply having the former as 'slower, tougher Titans' and the latter as 'faster, weaker Titans' sells both short. +

+ That meant I had to build all three up simultaneously. Doubtless there'll be areas of disagreement in specifics, buI hope I've done justice to the basic concepts, culled from the background of War Engines rather than the old rulesets. I decided to work from the iconic Battle Titans, as these set a basic standard from which the larger and smaller types can be distinguished: the Warlord, Great Gargant and Phantom. +

+ Statwise, all were going to be based on the Warjack rules, as these are nicely balanced across the factions while still getting nice themes across. They'll get tweaked, but I started with Cygnar, Khador and Cryx heavy Warjack stats for the Imperials, Orks and Eldar respectively. 

+ Because the game is much more based on ranged combat, and because War Engines typically have at least three weapons, the normal damage chart wasn't going to cut it – there wouldn't be enough space for a decent amount of boxes for each location; which would lead to weird lop-sided damage. On top of that, the War Engines needed proportionally more damage boxes because the number of weapons – and emphasis on ranged combat – meant it would be easier to damage them.

+ I decided to use Colossal damage charts. These are twice the size of Warjacks' damage charts, and split into left and right sides. This gave plenty of space for locations like legs, head, and – of course – the weapons. It also helps create a sense of scale and size while adding to the importance of manouevre: an opponent who outflanks you can only be targetted by the weapons on the relevant side, for instance. +


+ This is becoming rather a wall-o-text, so that's enough for the mo; I just wanted to lay out the basic ideas. Next time I will show the draft rules for one of the factions (or more, if I have time) and explain the different power generation mechanics. 

+ If you have any thoughts on the parts of the project I've laid out – whether general, specific or simply a bit of encourgement – I'd be keen to hear what you have to say. +


  1. Seems like a cool and interesting idea, the swetting of Titan combat has always intrigued me, and I love the models, look forward to seeing you progress with this and a battle report or two would be excellent :)

  2. Hmm, does this also mean you'll be building more (and crazier) titans, like lets say an Imperator based on the Imperial Knight kit and a Mega Gargant based on the Gorkanaut?


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