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The raging, fast-paced HORDES game is set in the wilds of the Iron Kingdoms, an environment that combines the richness of traditional fantasy with the excitement of steam power and gunpowder. Across the realm, ancient rivalries among nations are exploding into all-out conflict, and the tameless factions of HORDES have joined the fight, whether to preserve their ancient homelands or with an eye toward conquest.

HORDES players take on the role of warlocks as they lead their wild forces into battle. Warlocks are formidable combatants in their own right, and their armies make use of both hardened and brutal warriors and packs of savage warbeasts, allowing them to contend on equal footing with the greatest armies of the Iron Kingdoms. Players collect, assemble, and paint fantastically detailed models representing the varied warriors, minions, and beasts in their hordes. HORDES is the feral twin of the steam-powered combat game of WARMACHINE, and the two are fully compatible.

A HORDES warlock's greatest strength is not his considerable combat abilities or even his daunting magical knowledge, but his synergy with the warbeasts in his horde. From the unflinching and ferocious trolls to the nightmarish and unnatural dragonspawn, warbeasts are dangerous creatures in any circumstance. Under the control of their warlock masters, they become nigh unstoppable.
A crucial component to a player's strategy in HORDES is how he uses his available fury points to boost his army's abilities. Fury points can be used to enhance a warbeast's already impressive combat power or spent on powerful spells to decimate opposing units or provide powerful benefits to a warlock's own troops. Properly managed, fury points can turn a warlock's army into a terrifying engine of destruction. Generating too much fury can backfire, though, causing warbeasts to frenzy and attack whatever is nearest—be it friend or foe!