One of the wonderful things about any tabletop wargame is how much depth there is, and how many options there are to a player each turn. Sometimes, there’s just too much to track and too much to do each turn. Warmachine/Hordes has its maintenance and control phases, each with different activities. It’s fine if you don’t have abilities that trigger during those phases of the “pre-turn,” but what do you do if you are new to a warcaster/warlock, and have to learn rules for things that happen before your activation phases?
Cheat sheets are the answer, and aren’t really cheating.
Turn guides, cheat sheets, crib sheets, whatever you wish, they aren’t actually cheating. There are no rules saying you can’t have a path, process, or quick reference while playing the game. That would be silly. It would be like saying you can’t have a rulebook with you. Having something that outlines your turn process and options available so you don’t forget something required makes good sense.
What do you put on your sheet?
I start with the Maintenance phase and Control phase. Copy/paste directly from the rulebook, and then personalize it for my warcaster/warlock. For example, look at the PDF below. For Locke, in Dessa’s Crucible Guard list, we don’t need anything concerning fury. The Maintenance phase is boiled down to remove focus from warjacks, remove excess focus from Locke (shouldn’t be any, so that could actually be deleted), resolve continuous effects, and make the ranged attack from Sentry.
Locke’s Control phase gets notes on replenishing Locke and Prospero, reminds to power up, and allocate. It has the note about the extra focus during allocation due to the theme, and the range needed for quick reference. There’s a note about reminding your opponent about resourceful as you maintain Locke’s upkeeps for free. Finally, in order, healing warjacks, and healing the Railless Interceptor. If we follow the checklist, everything gets done each turn.
You could laminate the sheet, or put it in a page protector to check off steps as you go. Eventually, the control and maintenance phases will be rote, and you won’t need a sheet. It’s helpful to have, however, while learning and if you jump back into an old list that you haven’t played in a while.
Other reference sheets
Other sheets could have a quick reference to power attacks so you can play them smoothly without help. Sometimes, an infernal ruling is helpful to have if it is a question that is frequently asked about your army. That can help reduce calls for judges, especially if it’s written up like a FAQ for your list, and provided to your opponent before the game starts.
A new feature for this site
I’ve decided to start uploading my reference sheets to this site, not so much for my quick access, but in case other people want to use them.