Iron Kingdoms: First Impressions

When I was in college, wargaming was the flavor of the time. Warhammer 40k was the major event for my college group. But, in 2007 I discovered the new thing, I found Warmachine. Warmachine was all about giant steam mechs pounding each other into dirt and I was captivated by this steampunk world with its extreme violence, unorthodox magic, and black powder weapons. Unfortunately, 40k continued to be the top game at my school. Warmachine, despite my best efforts, never caught on.

Years later, I’m offered a spot in a game of their new role playing system. I jumped at the chance. The first thing I notice about this game is it plays exactly like the tabletop game. Combat is identical to the point where you need to have miniatures and terrain to get the full effect. That’s one downside, if you don’t have the right miniatures, your experience will suffer. You use only d6’s, just like the tabletop game. You have a brace of weapons that work exactly like in the tabletop game. And you have spells that not only look, but function like the spells in the tabletop game.

The high point of this game has to be character creation. It’s quick, easy, and really open. You can make a character that emulates one of your favorite characters in Warmachine or you can go nuts and make something really unique and your own. What you do is pick one of three Archetypes and then two careers. Archtypes are things that decide the overall major aspect of your character like if he’s strong or magically inclined, while careers are more specific to what you character can actually do like Knight, Gun Mage, or Warcaster. Creation takes less than an hour all together.

Combat is smooth and incredibly fast. I don’t think we had a fight last longer than half an hour. It takes a cue from the game it’s based on by minimizing math and rolls. You’re always rolling the same die and the numbers don’t change that much. Health is on the low end, so things die before the fight starts to drag on. And random damage allocation adds an exciting element to overall experience.

Iron Kingdoms is a blast, there is a very clear reason this game is selling out everywhere. The game is slick and a lot of fun. I can’t wait to play it again. This book is a definite buy.

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