An Economic Guide to Warmachine and Hordes
by Micah Walker · Published · Updated
First off, let me introduce myself. Folks in Cedar Rapids know me as Micah Walker, and my friend Dan White recently invited me to start writing here. I had already started working on the numbers before he talked to me, but I figured I might as well write an article about it. So here it is, a comprehensive guide to the dollar cost per point of models in Warmachine and Hordes. Let’s dive right in.
So why an “economic guide”? I had a couple reasons. Players generally perceive some factions as being more expensive than others. The Mercenaries faction exemplifies this tendency due to its wide range of models. Another reason is purely financial. Some people budget less money for miniatures games than others, and playing a faction with a higher bang for your buck matters to them.
My personal reason for this was a little bit of both. I bought into Trollbloods early MK3 as my Hordes faction. I was not intending to play them a lot, but I thought they looked interesting. A lot of people were trying to get rid of their trolls, so I picked up a few inexpensive used lots and quickly had a decent army. Because of buying things used, I did not have much of a personal reference point for the MSRP of Trollbloods.
I greatly anticipated the Northkin theme release, but the prices took me by surprise. Not only was I not used to the retail price of Trollbloods, but the Northkin prices also seemed a bit higher. The 10 point bear unit costs $40, and the Northkin Raiders, the signature unit of the release, cost $85! To me, that last price point appeared substantially higher than the other Trollblood models, possibly higher than any other non-cavalry unit in the game.
So that is how I got here. Northkin sparked the curiosity to find out what really were the most expensive things per point to buy in this game. Being the number fiend that I am, I had to make a spreadsheet and run the equations. I needed to see the data for myself, and numbers do not lie.
After pouring over the Privateer Press website and cross-referencing Conflict Chamber, I came up with a spreadsheet. I took the MSRP information from the Privateer Press website for each model or unit and divided by the command point cost for that model or unit. This gave me a statistic I refer to as “cost per point.” I did this for every faction, further categorizing the models by battlegroup, solo, unit, and battle engines (includes structures). Warcasters and warlocks required more information, but I will write about them next article.
I showed an early graphic to some friends and posted it on Discord and Facebook. Folks immediately responded by asking how field allowance was accounted for. Initially, I arbitrarily assigned FA 1 to everything. I was mostly curious to see how the cost of each item you could purchase stacked up in game versus out of game. However, when I calculated faction averages, I saw that I really needed to selectively weight the data in order to be accurate.
Revisions and Results
I made some adjustments to my spreadsheet. Models needed to be weighted according to their point cost and Field Allowance when considering averages. FA C and FA U pieces in particular can dynamically change the way the numbers shake out. When comparing a selection of models, I multiplied the MSRP and the Field Allowance together for each model. After that, I made a sum of all the products for my first value. The next step involved multiplying the Field Allowances by the points and adding those products up for a second value. I then divided my first value by my second value, resulting in the average cost per point weighted by Field Allowance.
Please note that this data has been updated since this article was originally published. The original data allowed Character models to disproportionately influence averages. I also moved around the values for FA U to better reflect support pieces and spam trends.
Winners and Losers
The winners here are Circle, Cygnar, and Legion. It turns out having expensive warbeasts like Feral Warpwolves and Ravagores really increases your dollar’s worth. Cygnar does not gain as much from that, and their score comes more from their range of light jacks. Legion had a few extra odd things that added to its score. Typhon costs $50, but with a point cost of 24 he becomes an exceptionally economical model in terms of cost per point. Also, you can get 16 points of Shredders in one box, making them the only model in the game to have a cost per point of less than $1.
Khador suffers because of low point cost heavies like Marauders and Juggernauts. The typical heavy kit retails at $35, and a lot of Minion heavy kits cost $40. The Nomad pushes up the Mercenaries average.
Cygnar has many small based character models that have high point values. Retribution as a faction owns very few medium based warrior models, and small based models cost less in general. Surprisingly, Skorne has a lot of $10 solos, which has a similar effect on their average despite all the medium based warriors.
Enigma Foundries are simply expensive models, and even with all the servitors Convergence cannot dilute their cost. Grymkin lists a 1/2 point solo that massively skews their average cost per point. Khador fields a few medium based support solos, and their Man-o-War solos run up their tab.
The more expensive your max units are, the more likely you are to get good dollar value out of them. Any unit kit that includes an officer or weapon attachments with it substantially increases the value of your dollar. Retribution and Cygnar fulfill both of these conditions. Convergence’s medium based infantry are an example of the first, which is enough to push them to the top three.
Cryx and Grymkin own a large number of units with low point costs and high field allowances. I knew that Trollbloods can cost a lot, but I was surprised to find that their cornerstone unit, the Krielstone itself, is even less economical than the Northkin Raiders I was complaining about.
Battle Engines and Structures
This is a much smaller field, so the results are a lot less interesting to talk about. I will say that there really is no excuse for Convergence players to not own two TEP’s.
Also the relatively high price versus other model types is something to note. I still do not own a Vessel of Judgment specifically because I would rather be spending that kind of money on multiple heavy kits or the new Revelator.
I will wrap up for tonight with the best and worst overall models. Shredders are a steal, coming in at $.94 per point. Too bad you cannot spam them, unlike the runner up, the Woldwyrd, at $1.11 per point. The Cephalyx Dominator comes in at $18 per point, because it costs $18 and just one point. Funny how that worked out. Side note: single point models really mess up the math here.
I have a whole lot more data to unpack now that I have it all compiled all of this. Warcasters and warlocks form the topic of my next article, but in the future I will also be doing a breakdown of the monetary cost of each theme by faction. This article turned out a bit drier than I prefer, but a lot of people expressed interest in my methodology. On the plus side, I have less to explain next time and can jump right in to the fun analysis.
Upkeep and Updates
I updated the data graphic on January 22, 2018. It will probably need updating again. The data shifted slightly, so I changed the Winners and Losers section as well. I edited out some other paragraphs to improve flow. My methodology needed revision to match the new graphic.
Let’s keep those dice rolling!
Wargamer, miniature painter, and now blogger for Midwest Wargaming. I love crunching numbers, and I can nearly guarantee that my articles will be the most boring, but you will learn something, damn it!
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