How to Play Machine Strike in Horizon Forbidden West

The following guide will explain just how to play Machine Strike in Horizon Forbidden West and how to win the minigame.

Machine Strike is a mini-game in Horizon Forbidden West that players can play as a side activity when they are not taking on the main storyline.

Machine Strike is a one-on-one game in which the players match their wits against the opponents. In this two-player mini-game, each participant has his own strategic board and set of pieces to play the game.

The following guide will explain just how to play Machine Strike in Horizon Forbidden West and how to win.

Machine Strike Mechanics and How To Win

Bearing a fair resemblance to a traditional chessboard, both players in Machine Strike will have specific pieces that they must move around to outperform each other. Like chess, Machine Strike will also present its own share of complications.

Each player has a limited number of moves and attacks at their disposal. Furthermore, each piece has specific stats such as defense, attack, health, range, and skills, and these stats are affected by the territory of the board in which your piece resides. Finally, pieces can rotate or overcharge their turns on the board for an added layer of movement.

Machine Strike in HFW is quite simple to win once you are familiar with its mechanics and rules. All you need is to score either Seven Victory Points or eliminate all the opponent’s pieces to secure a win. Each piece carries certain points, which you will be granted if you eliminate the piece.

At the start of Machine Strike, each player must place his or her pieces in the first two rows closest to him or her. Once this is settled, the opponent gets to choose who makes the first move and then alternates.

Machine Strike allows you to perform two moves per turn. If you only have one piece remaining, you can move it twice. You can end your turn once you have completed your moves.

Machine Strike Pieces have two sections: red and blue. The red sections are Weak Points whereas the blue sections are Armored Points. These influence how much damage a piece takes when assaulted.

  • If an Armored Point is being attacked, the piece gains +1 Combat Power.
  • If a Weak Point is being attacked, the piece loses -1 Combat Power.

The rotation of the pieces comes into play here. If you intend to defend, move a piece to the blue section.

Types of Machine Strike Pieces

There are six different sorts of Machine Strike pieces in Forbidden West. The differences are significant since they impact the nature of the piece and its mobility.

Swoop is used to attack the first piece within its Attack Range, and it also moves next to it. Swoop also gains +1 combat power on all terrains and has the ability to disregard any terrain disadvantages.

Melee piece strikes the first piece residing its Attack Range.

Dash advances to the end of its Attack Range and damages and spins every machine in its path, even your own. To attack, it must have an empty terrain to land on at the end of its Attack Range.

Ram constantly strikes and knocks back the first machine in its Attack Range. It will then proceed into the terrain left behind by the enemy piece.

Gunner attacks at the maximum of its Attack Range at all times.

Pull attacks the first piece in its Attack Range. Furthermore, it draws the enemy one terrain closer to it. On top of that, it gains +1 Combat Power while on Marsh terrain and can go through it without being hindered.

Aside from that, various pieces have distinct skills. Look into the skills of various pieces since they may come in handy in certain scenarios.

How to Get More Machine Strike Pieces

Machine Strike pieces may be acquired from Strike Piece vendors at the Hunting Grounds. You can trade machine parts for the Strike Piece you want.

If you don’t have the machine part for the specific Strike Piece you want, you will need to find it and then trade it.

Machine Strike Board

The tiles on a Machine Strike board are organized in an eight-by-eight grid. Each tile has a distinct elevation and color to depict a different terrain. The Combat Power of a piece is affected by certain terrains.

Combat Power in Machine Strike refers to the combined impact of a piece’s base Attack Power and the terrain value. The Combat Power of a defensive piece is merely the Terrain value.

The attacking piece’s Combat Power is compared to the defending piece’s Combat Power, and the difference determines the amount of damage done.

Chasm: It is the lowest terrain and is only accessible flying machines. Reduces combat power by -2.

Marsh Terrain: When you land in Marsh Terrain, you can’t move. Combat Power is reduced by -1.

Grassland Terrain: The most frequent and level terrain. Combat Power is unaffected by this terrain.

Forest Terrain: This terrain is a step above Grassland Terrain. Combat Power is increased by +1 in it.

Hill Terrain: This terrain is a step above Forest Terrain, with a +2 impact on Combat Power.

Mountain Terrain: One level raised compared to hill terrain with combat Power is increased by 3.

Advanced Moves and Special Attacks

Here are a few of the Advanced Moves and Special Attacks you can use in Machine Strike.

Overcharging: Overcharge allows a piece to move a second time at the expense of two Health points. The health points are depleted, however, after performing the Overcharge.

Defense Break: If both the offensive and defensive pieces have the same or lower combat power, both pieces lose 1 Health point, and the defending piece moves back one space.

Sprinting: Sprint allows a piece to move beyond its normal mobility limit. When you move a piece, you can see its entire range of motion. Sprinting is possible on the tiles with a dotted circle outside the indicated range. However, if you Sprint, you cannot attack until you Overcharge.

Knockback: As the name suggests, Knockback knocks back a piece of a spot back. However, if it is not possible, the piece will lose one health point. Also, if the spot is occupied, a Health point is deducted from both of the pieces.

All HFW Machine Strike Challenger Locations

Here are all of the Machine Strike Challenger Locations in Horizon Forbidden West.

  • Chainscrape: Beginner
  • Barren Light: Beginner
  • Plainsong: Beginner
  • The Base (Erend): Various
  • Arrowhand: Intermediate
  • Scalding Spear: Intermediate
  • Salt Bite: Intermediate
  • Hidden Ember: Skilled
  • Fall’s Edge: Skilled
  • Thornmarsh: Skilled
  • The Bulwark: Experienced
  • Stone Crest: Experienced
  • Cliffwatch: Experienced
  • The Maw of the Arena: Expert
  • Tide’s Reach: Expert
  • Legacy’s Landfall: Expert

Horizon Forbidden West Machine Strike Tips

Here are a few machine strike tips that will help you get going within no time.

We recommend viewing the In-Game Glossary. It contains all of the information you need on every aspect of the game and can be useful at times.

Chainscrape, your first opponent, walks you through some tutorials. To learn the game mechanics, go through the tutorials. Nonetheless, keep in mind that the best way to learn is to practice.

Last but not least, we recommend purchasing additional strike pieces. Get as many as you can so that you can always build a varied set. Never hesitate to try out new pieces!

Avatar photo

Ali is a passionate RPG gamer. He believes that western RPGs still have a lot to learn from JRPGs. He is editor-in-chief at but that doesn't stop him from writing about his favorite video ...