Company of Iron is a squad-based skirmish game that reinvents WARMACHINE and HORDES battles as smaller confrontations between fewer warriors and their character leaders. Average games are played with 10–15 miniatures, and Company of Iron is compatible with the majority of the existing miniatures in the WARMACHINE and HORDES product lines. The rules for Company of Iron have been streamlined and do not include warcasters or warlocks but can include light warjacks and light warbeasts.
The Company of Iron box set is designed for two players and will contain two 20-point armies, including a unit of Cygnar Stormblades and a unit of Minion Farrow Brigands. Additionally, two all-new character solos will be included to lead their respective units: Lieutenant Gwen Keller and Agata, Queen of Carnage. These new models can be used in both Company of Iron and in WARMACHINE and HORDES. All components needed to play the game are in the box set, including rules, tokens, and two types of cards that allow players to choose specialties for their squad leaders as well as battle plans that can provide powerful effects and advantages in combat.
Company of Iron uses the core rules of WARMACHINE and HORDES but has been tailored for the scale of the game and the absence of warcasters and warlocks. Emphasizing its fast-paced skirmish scale and the focus on small squads and solos, gameplay revolves around players taking turns activating one model at a time as opposed to the alternating activation in WARMACHINE and HORDES, in which players activate their entire army during a single turn.