The current storyline in Privateer Press’ Iron Kingdoms setting is leading toward the apocalypse, as otherworldly Infernals swarm across the nations of Immoren. Characters familiar from the Warmachine/Hordes game setting will (and already have) died, but others may escape Immoren to become the progenitors of the upcoming Warcaster science fantasy wargame (with 3 days left on its Kickstarter).
But what of those who survive, left behind on the Immoren after the Infernals have harvested souls, and broken the nations that make up the Iron Kingdoms? When the swan of Cygnar has fallen, and even the undead cannot remain safe within the land of Cryx? Well, at that point … might as well start some looting.
That is the theme of Riot Quest, released at GenCon 2019. It is a miniature arena game, where players field teams of models to go up against each other to collect treasure and cool equipment. As your team appears on the field, randomly located near one of 6 spawn gates, players try to make it to treasure chests located at randomly-determined treasure points. Once a treasure is obtained, another treasure spawns, and the race is on again. As you gain treasure, and defeat opponents, you gain loot tokens that can be used to buy special Riot Gear cards to boost your characters’ abilities.
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For twenty years, the folks at Privateer Press have been creating games, primarily set in their Iron Kingdoms steampunk fantasy setting. They began with a series of RPG volumes, including an award-winning trilogy of adventures from 2001. These adventures, later collected into The Witchfire Trilogy, was built on the D20 System from Dungeons and Dragons 3E.
Then Privateer Press really came into their own with the introduction of the Warmachine miniature wargame, focusing on armies that control massive metallic warjacks, one of the iconic creatures from their Iron Kingdoms setting.
It was Warmachine that got me into their world, in about 2005. I like heroes, so I went with Cygnar, the faction that is most stereotypically the classical honorable kingdom of knights and warriors. For those who aren’t inclined toward heroism, there was the religious fanatic Protectorate of Menoth and the undead Cryx. And for those in the middle, there was Khador, thematically based on Russia and known for having the most massive, hulking warjacks in the game. And missiles. Lots of missiles. This miniature line expanded, through Hordes, into battles with savage monstrous warbeasts, fully compatible with Warmachine. The Hordes included the blighted Legion, the druidic Circle of Orboros and their werecreatures, the Trollbloods and their giant troll cousins, and the sadistic Skorne.
It was actually my reviews of Privateer Press – both their wargame line and the RPG supplements – that first landed me in the pages of Black Gate, back in Spring of 2007 in Black Gate 10, when Black Gate actually had physical pages.
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For me, a good game is really a window into another world. It’s like a miniature story that is told with a set of pre-defined rules. The war games I play are rarely just games, like tic-tac-toe or chess, but instead a single battle in a larger war, which in turn is part of the story of the rise and fall of nations and the struggles of the people within them.
It was this perspective on gaming that first drew me to Privateer Press’s Warmachine line of miniature games. Though I loved the physical look of the figures, the fact is that I’m not an artist or a visually-compelled person as a rule, so it was really the setting that drew me in, the possibility to, in some small part, take part in the stories set in this world. And the giant warjacks didn’t hurt.
In fact, the first article I wrote for Black Gate was a review of Privateer Press’s Iron Kingdom roleplaying supplements, exploring their magically infused steampunk-style world of giant mechanical behemoths. Soon after, though, my involvement in Warmachine died off. I got married, became a father, and the disposable income to buy metal miniatures and disposable time to sit painting them went by the wayside (and there was a vast increase in anxiety, as little two-year-old fingers would inevitably seek to play with “Daddy’s dolls,” as they became known in my house).
Fast forward to the present, and it’s as if Privateer Press has found a solution to getting me back involved in one of my favorite gaming worlds. In addition to a whole new Iron Kingdoms line of RPG supplements (Amazon, Privateer Press) and digital fiction set in the Iron Kingdoms (Amazon), they have released a new deck-building game, Warmachine High Command (Amazon).
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