Privateer Press Announces Company of Iron Warmachine/Hordes Skirmish Game

By Polar_Bear
In Hordes
Jun 12th, 2017

I originally picked up Warmachine as a “quick, small, fast game to play when I didn’t want to play a ‘big game’ of 40k.” Not long afterward, Warmachine turned into a pretty big game, all its own. Well, Privateer Press is pulling back and coming out with Company of Iron, a new skirmish game based in the Warmachine/Hordes universe.

From the announcement:

Privateer Press has announced its upcoming game set in the world of WARMACHINE and HORDES: Company of Iron.

Company of Iron is a squad-based skirmish game that reinvents WARMACHINE and HORDES battles as smaller confrontations between fewer warriors and their character leaders. Average games are played with 10–15 miniatures, and Company of Iron is compatible with the majority of the existing miniatures in the WARMACHINE and HORDES product lines. The rules for Company of Iron have been streamlined and do not include warcasters or warlocks but can include light warjacks and light warbeasts.

The Company of Iron box set is designed for two players and will contain two 20-point armies, including a unit of Cygnar Stormblades and a unit of Minion Farrow Brigands. Additionally, two all-new character solos will be included to lead their respective units: Lieutenant Gwen Keller and Agata, Queen of Carnage. These new models can be used in both Company of Iron and in WARMACHINE and HORDES. All components needed to play the game are in the box set, including rules, tokens, and two types of cards that allow players to choose specialties for their squad leaders as well as battle plans that can provide powerful effects and advantages in combat.

Company of Iron uses the core rules of WARMACHINE and HORDES but has been tailored for the scale of the game and the absence of warcasters and warlocks. Emphasizing its fast-paced skirmish scale and the focus on small squads and solos, gameplay revolves around players taking turns activating one model at a time as opposed to the alternating activation in WARMACHINE and HORDES, in which players activate their entire army during a single turn.


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  • Jared Swenson

    If this game has a more casual narrative campaign play focus than its main competitive counterpart, then I may give it a serious look. But if it’s still the same tournament-centric game just with smaller battles then I will be giving it a pass. I’ve looked into warmachine before, during mk1 then mk2, and while I loved the setting and some of the minis, everything else about it turned me off to it.

    • Over on the TGN Facebook page, there’s been a bit of talk about that same sort of thing. This past Saturday, I watched a couple games of Mk3, thinking I might get back into the game (I’ve still got a /massive/ Cygnar army, since I played from damn-near the beginning through most of Mk2). I dunno, just not much seemed to be pulling me back in. I think a lot of it was the IGO/UGO. I was watching some games of 8th Edition as well and felt much the same. It’d be one player’s turn and the other could almost go to get a sandwich, since there wasn’t much for them to do but mark damage and remove models. Company of Iron being Alternating Activations at least has me more interested, since it’s generally a lot shorter to come back to being your turn in games like that.

      • Andrew Franke

        I am wondering what game you are playing for miniature sci-fi that isn’t IGO/UGO. I am not a fan of any of the games you listed above. I liked 40k originally because of the Mini’s but honestly they just aren’t that special anymore and for the price they certainly are not worth the money compared to other alternatives.

        • Currently, I’m simply not playing Sci-fi minis. 😛
          For minis games, I’ve got Guild Ball and Bushido.
          Though I do have a Dark Age army that I’ve been meaning to brush off. With the new Earth Caste, I just might do so. I want to make an “Earth, Wind, and Fire” Dragyri force.

        • odinsgrandson

          Dark Age is Alternating Activations in pretty much the classic sense- activate a unit or character one at a time. I haven’t played it much- but their Brom aesthetic is similar to Blanche’s 40k- and the newer Dark Age minis are excellent.

          Relic Knights is a special kind of Alternating Activations (there are no rounds, and you have a ready queue for your next three activations). RK is currently in its public beta for 2nd edition. I recommend this game if you’re looking for something very different- the cards as mana system is very different from any other tabletop minis game I’ve played.

          Classic Battletech used alternating activations along with activation phases (moving then attacking). It is definitely old school.

          There are a lot of science fiction games I haven’t ever played though, so this is far from a complete list.


        I appreciate having time to grab a sandwich or beer during the other guy’s turn, or just time to think. Maybe I’m just slow, but I still feel like I am playing a game, even if I am not the one actively moving models around or rolling wound dice.

        Alternating actions can easily end up too far on either end of a spectrum: being purely reactionary without planning ahead, or reconsidering the whole plan with every move, slowing the game down.

        And to continue with my usual rant: I never understand why people think IGOUGO is obsolete and alternating actions is modern. Chess has alternating actions. It’s pretty old. And if you really want a modern game, use a computer. Tabletop games are intentionally doing things the old-fashioned way.

        • I don’t necessarily feel that IGO/UGO is “obsolete” or that AA is “modern.” Just, personally, I’ve found myself moving away from IGO/UGO games in favor of AA.

          And yes, AA can be rather “reactionary.” In something like Guild Ball, at the end and start of a round, I’ll do my planning, figuring out what sort of things I want my team to accomplish for the upcoming turn. But then, obviously, as my opponent makes their moves, that plan changes in response to what they’re doing. Turns are still long enough that I can “revise on the fly,” such as it were. But that’s me.

          • odinsgrandson

            I can’t say that AA is more “Modern” since I first encountered it in Battletech way back in the day.

            It seems to me that people have become a LOT more concerned with downtime in tabletop games lately. There’s nothing wrong with that- unless it becomes the only way that anything is done.

            Honestly, I really like IGOUGO with single model activations (rather than activation phases).

            It allows for the sort of “Chess Puzzle” feel that you can get in Warmachine or Blood Bowl that I haven’t seen in an AA game (even Malifaux doesn’t really create this effect for me).

    • odinsgrandson

      It sounds to me like a Warmachine Malifaux mash up.

      I really loved playing Warmachine, but eventually the length of time and brainspace the game took up stopped fitting into my life (my wife and I still have quite a few armies).

      Smaller scale- with shorter play times- is definitely something that interests me. And, I mean, I’ve already got the minis for it.

  • Ghool

    It looks to me to be pretty much the same game, only smaller.
    It looks like the stuff they had in Escalation, and is essentially the same game without a warcaster/lock. But, the cards which allow specialties and battle plans sound a lot like Feat and Mini-Feat replacements.

    While I’m mildly interested, nothing here is really making it stand out, or for me to give it more than a passing glance. I’d like to see some more of the rules, and if it has some sort of campaign or leveling system in place. Seeing as how it is card-based, just like the main property, it’s looking like the same thing with more ‘doods’ no warnouns, and fewer jacks/beasts.

    I’m a solid ‘meh’, and have no need to consider this until I see more.

    • odinsgrandson

      It seems like it will clearly use the same 2D6/3D6 system that Warmachine/Hordes, Iron Kingdoms RPG and Undercity/Widower’s Wood use.

      I honestly have a hard time categorizing those as all the ‘same game.’ We have at least three very different systems with the same core, and this looks like it will do that as well. They’re a lot farther apart than Mordheim was from WFB.

      Ditching Warnouns is a HUGE change- since most of WMH center around focus/fury.

      • Ghool

        Yeah, but the resource/risk management is one of the best parts of the game. I’m not sure eliminating that will make this any better than the board games. Aside from being more abstracted (the board games), it’s essentially the exact same set of rules, simply used in a slightly different context.

        Ultimately though, the game engine is the same – the stats are all exactly the same, and use the same rolls to determine success or failure.

        It feels like the same game, only with less, which incidentally is exactly the way I feel about the board games utilizing the same engine.

        Of course, I am willing to reserve final judgement until I actually see some rules.

        • odinsgrandson

          I think I’m with you on this. Warmahordes is all about the Fury/Focus management. I think if you just play Warmachine without warcasters, you end up with a boring game instead of a dynamic interesting one.

          They definitely need to give us something interesting to replace the fury/focus part of the game.

          They’ve talked about cards- but there’s no telling whether or not it will work until we actually get to play the game.