Our Wild West Exodus journey started with the 2-player starter set and continued with a faction themed posse set. The next stage was to play a game with no help against my opponent Jinxy. He still assisted with rules queries, but essentially I was on my own. I was looking at creating my own Warrior Nation list, but as I hadn’t yet used the Hour of the Wolf theme posse, I decided to just stick with them straight out of the box.
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The Hour of the Wolf posse makes great use of Totems in WWX, which are used to travel easily around the battlefield. With the Warrior Nation’s focus on close combat, making good use of Totems is essential. In this game, we used markers for the Totems, but I immediately purchased a pack of Warrior Nation Totems after the game, which can be seen below.
Jinxy opted to take General Grant’s force out of the No Surrender! theme posse box which brings some very heavy weapons along. As it was my first non-assisted game, we decided to just go at each other, just so I could get a taste for the Hour of the Wolf, building in missions for my next game.
With the weapons that Grant’s force can bring to bear, I set up the entire force in cover. The Weylyn Spirit Walkers were placed in a forest on the right flank, facing Grant and the rest were placed in the cover of some buildings on the right flank. I got to place 3 totems, so I placed on in the center of the board, another near the cover of a building I was sure the Union line troopers were going to make a run for and the final totem within reach of Ghost Wolf and Moonswift.
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The first turn saw Woodhouse and Grant trying to bring their artillery down on the Spirit Walkers, who made all their Grit tests and were able to move up through the forest. Ghost Wolf was able to move through and engage the Union line troopers before they had a chance to fire their heavy weapons, and over a couple of turns was able to make short work of them. The Totem placement was key to this. The Union troopers had to move towards it to advance up the board, and the only cover was within distance of the Totem.
Ghost Wolf was followed by a pair of angry hunting wolves and Moonswift, who under the cover of Hawkeye, were able to engage the Attack Dog and William Sherman, taking both out.
The Spirit Walkers had to leave cover in order to advance on Grant, and unbelievably they both survived the dash into the open. Grant charged into combat with them, eliminating one, but leaving himself and Woodhouse alone to face the rest of the Warrior Nation posse. Jinxy called it there.
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The Totem placement and some incredible rolling took the game for me. The Spirit Walkers weathered an incredible storm of fire and somehow managed to hold the right flank long enough for the rest of the force to take out most of the Union posse. Had it not been for them, Grant and Woodhouse would have had some easy shooting against the out of position Ghost Wolf and Moonswift.
It was a very enjoyable game and tense throughout. The end tally doesn’t do the closeness of the game justice. The battle could have swung anyway at any point, even when it was going wrong for the Union, who had to run towards a Totem that they knew the Nation would emerge from.
We caught up with Yann "DevilSquid" Folange, Eric T Huffman and Paul Reg, WWX community members to talk about the game and get their advice for new players.
TechRaptor: Hey all. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. First off, a little about each of you. Tell us about your tabletop background and when did you first start playing WWX?Paul Reg: I’ve been tabletop gaming since 04. I’ve played just about every minis game out there. I’ve been playing WWX since June 18.
Eric Huffman: I started playing WWX way back in the spring of 2016. The game was in the 1st edition then and still under Outlaw Miniatures.
Yann Folange: I've been playing miniature gaming for about 30 years, in one form or another. My 'first' game was Space Marine that I played at a friend’s house, and it just grew from there. Currently, I play Guild Ball and Wild West Exodus, with X-Wing as an easy side game (no painting!). I was first aware of WWX with the original Kickstarter, but at the time other games were a priority. After Warcradle collected the property, I gave it a second look and liked what they were doing with it. It wasn't till end of 2018 that I started getting into it, because by then Warcradle had done a lot of work updating the mechanics and the cards, so it felt like it was truly their game.
TR: What first got you into WWX?PR: My co-host on Three Men and a Wargame won a Red Oak Starter. The models were great and the rules were unique and entertaining even though they were far from perfect
EH: What got me into the game back then was the lucky chance that I came across Outlaws booth at Adepticon and they were in the middle of their 2nd Kickstarter for the game. I stopped and talked to them at the booth about the game, the world, and was sucked in instantly. I have always liked the western theme and adding the Steampunk / Sci-Fi to it really interested me for a small model count skirmish game. Plus the models looked fantastic to paint and model.
YF: Steampunk Cowboys, right? The overall aesthetic of WWX is really appealing, and also pretty unique on the market.
TR: Which WWX factions do you play and why?PR: Warrior Nation. How often do you get to see natives represented well in a minis game?
EH: At this point, with all the time I've been involved in the game, I have played almost all of the factions at some point. My regular factions are the darker nasty ones. My first love is The Enlightened followed by The Outlaws and The Hex. I love the look of the Enlightened and all the reanimated Frankenstein monstrosities. They drew me in because of the hobby side with the painting fun I could have, being an artist. The Outlaws have so many choices in the faction and the tie into the historic names made them comfortable because of the familiarity. The Hex just have some crazy models that look so creepy but are fascinating to build and play with. Overall I think I play these factions, which you could say are the bad guys. I have always found the bad guys more interesting, their stories richer and deeper.
YF: Play, or own? If you're asking which I own, it's only two, in case my wife reads this. My 'main' faction is Union, but I have Outlaws, Lawmen, Hex and Order as I enjoy collecting the models and assembling them. But Warcradle is doing a great job making the game interesting because when new releases come out, I'm always excited about them. I think I'm going to give Lawmen a go for a bit though because they really hit that "Weird West" aesthetic square in the bullseye. Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill, Lawbots, Rangers on bikes...it really gives you everything cool to look at.
TR: If a new player was looking to get into WWX, how would you describe each faction? What are they good at, bad at, how do they play?
PR: Medium range with some melee. They don’t hit as hard and depend on rerolls from double stun to get modes off the table.
EH: Heavy elite historical named guys. Your classic western good guys here. These guys are real good at gun fighting but have been getting more and more specialized models that can melee fight well to put conditions on enemy models.
YF: Synergy and supporting each other. Maybe a little weaker individually, but like a proper law force, strong when working together. Good ranged options, with some melee shenanigans.
PR: No one way to lock them down. Everything is in here but you also won’t find a single unified look.
EH: Outlaws are like Lawmen with the historical named models, but these are the classic western bad guys. This is the largest faction in the game with variety and very flexible when it comes to building posses. They are not good or bad at just one aspect but are more like jacks of all trades. They are middle of the road and can handle any play style reasonably well.
YF: Jack of all trades. A bit scattered in identity as a whole, but with some of the cooler individual sub-factions. I mean, Pancho Villa with a Gatling gun? C'mon. They do a bit of everything depending on who you bring.
PR: A combined arms army with long range and melee capacities. Like Lawmen, they don’t pack a severe punch but they will make you roll lots of grit checks.
EH: The Watchers are the little green men in the Wild West. They field less models, but they hit hard whether it's shooting or melee and are tough enough to hold up to superior numbers.
YF: I'm not saying it was Aliens...but it was Aliens. Definitely a ranged faction with close range support, with specialist units. They can't flex their battlefield roles well, but the models fill their roles really well.
PR: Big beasties and tough monsters.
EH: They have lots of creepy crawly models and dark named guys that excel at board/model manipulation as well as control. Lots of tricks these guys can pull off, but that can be based on the situation.
YF: Eeeeeeevil! Masters of dark tricks, with some various aesthetics depending on which flavor of bad you like. They bring a lot of fortune to the table and can mess with your army more than anyone.
PR: Alpha striking melee army. Deliver a devastating first blow but can’t necessarily survive a counter.
EH: The Native Americans of this western game are melee beasts. They are fast on the board and if they get to you it's going to hurt. The cool thing about this faction is in their fluff, they are shapeshifters that can take the form of spirit animals like werewolves and such.
YF: Fast moving army of short to mid-ranged attacks. Best melee faction overall, but weakest shooting. Lots of Spirit Walkers available, so if the idea of 'were creatures' makes you happy, definitely check them out.
PR: The true gunline army. Tend to bring lots of dudes especially with Custer.
EH: Another faction with many historic names that are recognized, like Abraham Lincoln. The Union can be troop heavy when building posses. You can have lots of riflemen of the Union army in the classic military style but have powerful units that benefit from one another too.
YF: All around good. Not really special at anything, but has some of the most well-rounded forces available. Brings the biggest guns to the table, and lots of support characters. Also, ROLLING THUNDAH!!
PR: Elite army can be good at both melee and ranged but will often be outnumbered.
EH: The Order are another hard hitting very durable faction that uses specialized elite units.
YF: The specialist force. Lots of strong rules you have to lean on to win, and pricier choices than other factions, but lots of abilities you have to utilize well in order to win, as you'll likely be outnumbered.
PR: Tend to be the horde and control army. Lots of hands and manipulative bosses.
EH: I always say this is basically the undead faction, even though they are not undead but upgraded. Lots of Frankenstein monsters in this faction led by mad scientist. A big part of their strategy is the horde aspect and numbers, but also that they can reanimate units to bring them back. Something that helps this faction being that they are the slow moving faction.
YF: Recursion and grind army. Waves of cheap troops and stronger constructs that just absorb firepower as they steadily advance against your enemy. Steampunk Zombie Horde with Frankenstein Monsters for back up.
TR: What advice would you give to a player looking to get into WWX?PR: Don’t get overwhelmed by the common rules at first glance! They are surprisingly intuitive.
EH: I always tell new people that I demo the game to, to check out all the rules and stat cards available online that can be download for free. Everything a player would need is online, minus models, for people to check out and look into and see what the game is all about. The easiest way to see what might interest a new player. There are also lots of videos online so you can see playthroughs of games. Or even podcasts, like The Blackhoof Saloon, that I do with 2 other community members where. We cover different aspects of the game. With these resources, players can see and hear all about the game at their own pace.
YF: Do it. Overall, the factions are well balanced against each other. They all have their own 'thing' and Warcradle isn't playing favorites with anyone over the other. You can be successful with whichever faction you choose to get into. Start with Aesthetics first, then learn about their play style. Finding a good balance between those two elements is what brings you back to the table excited to play another game.
TR: Any tips on the best faction for a beginner to start with?PR: Play what you like! There isn’t much out there on how factions play (check out Three Men and a wargame podcast who are going through deep dives on the factions to fill this void).
EH: When a player asks what faction they should start with, many members of the community will ask in return with one appeals to you. I tell new players to look at some of the models in the factions and if there's one or a few even that they think are cool, to try that one. If a player really likes the looks or even tricks of models they will be fun to play, then and they shouldn't get bored with them. Don't play something just because you think they are the strong faction. the game is very balanced and every faction has its strengths and weaknesses. It's a matter of playing up to them. If they still don't know what to try out and really just want to get playing the game, the Red Oak 2 player box set is a fantastic deal. 2 factions to try with everything to get going. The 2 factions that come in this set are very balanced and are big enough to start without feeling overwhelmed. They are also great because they are both easy to build onto when the new player is ready to start expanding one of the factions.
YF: The 'Core Four' as I call them are the best place for a new player: Union, Lawmen, Outlaws, Warrior Nation. These factions really stick to the core rules on how to play the game, with their own twists. The Outer Four (Enlightened, Hex, Order, Watchers) do things a bit differently, and maybe tricker for new players to grasp on top of learning the rules. Veteran Gamers should be able to jump in with any faction that catches their eye.
TR: Any tips on WWX list building?PR: It’s the most unique list building experience in wargaming. It can be challenging and frustrating but I look at list building as a single player mini-game.
EH: I would say start with small posse builds. The lower the points, around 700-900 points, the easier the faction and models will be to learn without feeling like there’s too much to learn at once. Then ready more models and units can be added. Look for synergy between models when posse building. Look at one model’s special rules or abilities and try to find another model in the faction that will play off those to help. This makes the models you pick have a job and not feel like they just don't do much in a game.
YF: Posse Box of choice, and a box of Hands. Play with that mix for your first few games to really get the feel for the core mechanics and how your faction interacts with them. Afterward, it's about the Posse Lists, and which Bosses you like, and what you can bring with them. Take the time to really look at all the options available when you build a force because WWX has one of the widest army building options available out there. It may be a bit daunting to start with, because ALL THE OPTIONS, but stick with a boss/posse you like first, and grow from there.
TR: Is there anything you wish you knew about WWX when you first started playing?PR: How much it would take all of my hobby and gaming time.
EH: I can't say that there is. I started long ago and I think it has more of a following now in 2nd edition vs. 1st. If I had to say anything, it would be that I wished I knew more about the community around the game then for ease of getting games in then and be part of the game. I think social media now has made the game much more available for everyone to be part of WWX in one way or another.
YF: Which faction I would want to be my main. I'll let you know when I figure that out.
TR: Any hints or tips for playing WWX that could help a new player?PR: Read the rulebook carefully. Things like charge has none of the conventions of other games. Much of the game is unique and you will flip through the book your first few times playing.
EH: Like I said before with posse building, start small. Don't overwhelm yourself with lots of miniatures on the table all with different specialized rules. As you play with them and get used to them, then start adding more. Also going along with this is to try stuff out. Don't be afraid to try a model out if you don't think it will work or "jell" in your posse build. That's one of the ways to learn in this game is trial and error. But the most important thing is to have fun. There are going to be many memorable cinematic story moments in your games of WWX. Take time to enjoy them and don't worry about winning or losing.
YF: WWX is about setting up your layers of defense for your models, and stripping those layers away from your opponents. There are some really hard to kill models out there, but the Ace of Spades gets everyone the same. Learn your modifiers because that's one of the core elements of the game, and never forget to go 'bang bang' when you shoot your pistols. "The objective of the game is to win. The point is to have fun."
TR: Thank you all for your time.You can find Paul, Eric, and Yann on The Dark Council Wild West Exodus Facebook group.
This copy of Hour of the Wolf was provided by Warcradle Studios.
A big thank you to ABZ Games in Aberdeen and Jinxy for their help in getting into the game.
Have you played Wild West Exodus? What's your favorite faction? What advice would you give to beginner WWX players? Let us know in the comments below.