How To Play (& Win) Machine Strike

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Machine Strike is a tabletop minigame within Horizon Forbidden West. The rules can be confusing at first, but a few strategies can be used to win.

One of the side activities in Horizon Forbidden West is Machine Strike, a chess-like tabletop game that can be difficult to win. While the best strategies will likely need to be developed over time depending on playstyle, there are a few key mechanics in the game that players should understand and use to their advantage. It’s recommended that players complete all of the available tutorials to become familiar with the basics of Machine Strike in Horizon Forbidden West.

There are many Machine Strike opponents to face throughout the Forbidden West, but the first one players can find will be in Chainscrape. This area can be accessed after completing the opening missions in Horizon Forbidden West. There are also 15 other locations to find Machine Strike opponents around the map, and each time Aloy beats an NPC, new pieces for the game will be unlocked. Machine Strike pieces can also be purchased from various merchants, and there are a total of 40 available machine pieces in the game. Machine pieces will have different movement, combat power, attacks, weak points, victory points, and skills.

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Each Machine Strike board is eight-by-eight with varying Terrain pieces. Players will be able to see the board before the start of the game, which will help with choosing which pieces to use for a particular match. At the start of a game of Machine Strike, the opponent will choose who goes first. Aloy will have 10 Setup Points to spend on pieces to place on the board. The cost varies depending on the piece, and players can’t choose more than four of the same machine. Once the setup is complete, players can focus on winning Machine Strike.


Tips And Strategies For Winning Machine Strike In Horizon Forbidden West

Horizon Forbidden West How To Play & Win Machine Strike Match In Progress

Each piece in Machine Strike is based on a machine in Horizon Forbidden West, and they each have individual stats to consider. Every machine will have specific attacks, skills, and weak points that vary in size depending on the piece. Some pieces will have bonuses for certain Terrain tiles. It usually pays to set pieces up in areas where their bonuses are active and let the opponent’s pieces come to them.

Players will need to move two pieces each turn, so thinking ahead is essential to winning. Coming up with a plan of attack and a way to counter any of Aloy’s opponent’s moves can make winning much easier. Machine Strike can only be won when Aloy has enough Victory Point or all of the opponent’s machines eliminated, so attacking will be necessary even for defensive playstyles. However, players can strategically set up their pieces and wait a few turns before attacking to be in a better position to win.


To increase the chances of winning Horizon Forbidden West‘s Machine Strike matches, players need to spend a decent amount of time considering the setup and each board’s Terrain pieces. Due to the differences in Terrain and the machines each opponent will use, sticking with the same machine pieces every match will likely result in a lot of losses. Winning Machine Strike in Horizon Forbidden West involves a fair amount of setup work, a lot of strategic movement, and the ability to plan a few moves ahead.

Next: Horizon Forbidden West: How to Unlock (& Equip) Face Paint

Horizon Forbidden West is available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.



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