Sunday, July 26, 2015

Trying out Kings Of War

With a day free, as the rest of the family were busy, I got to try out Kings Of War from Mantic Games, with mate Matt.

Matt is a WFB player, from the local KWC club who has been adversely affected by the GW switch to Age of Sigmar. Obviously feeling shafted by GW's complete change to their fantasy gaming system, Matt and several other local WFB players are looking to change over wholesale to Kings Of War from Mantic games.

I stopped playing WFB about 20 years ago... so this game change has not affected me. I did have a dwarf army still from around that time but I have largely sold most of it off over the last year or so...

However I did used to play WAB and have a medieval army that has been sitting gathering dust in my display case for several years now as WAB went 'phutt' a few years back too, another kick in the bollox back then from GW to its existing player base...

Matt had spotted this over the last few visits when I had been introducing him to Flames Of War, and had thus suggested todays game, as once dusted off my Medieval army will do very well as a Kings of Men army for KoW.

So having set the scene with free rules and army list downlaods from Mantic website, we were off...

Matt brought his WFB Undead army he had, and we played a ~1600pt game in a straight up battle, with a 6 turn game limit.


Matt takes 2 catapults, skeletons , ghouls, zombie horde, werewolves and Soul Knights, led by Vampire, Mounted banner and Necromancer.

I took 1 x Knights, 2 x Scouts, 2 x Archers, 1 x XBs, 2 x Polearms, 1 x Footknights, Peasant horde, and a cannon, and led by General, mounted Hero and Foot banner, with basic Wizard.

Matt gets first turn shambles forward and starts his flank attack with his cavalry.

I start my own cavalry flanking move, and take a cannon shot at the soul knights, killing a couple.

Matt continues his cavalry advance and moves to adjust his flank to deal with my cavalry

Sensing Matt is going to over run my canon, I put a speed bump in the way with my polearms, thinking they'll be able to withstand the soul knights charge and then the second polearm unit can hit them in the flank next turn.
My canon hits the knights again but again only causes a couple of wounds.

The soul knights in turn charge my  polearms, and obliterate them in one charge, the remnants fleeing. Ouch!

My own cavalry charge into the skeleton spears and my hero peels off to charge a loan undead hero - who I thought was just some minor dude, not the army leader - oops!

My second polearm unit looks to become the next speed bump to hold up my flank... in the face of the soul knights.

Woohoo, I manage to kill the skeletons with my cavalry charge but my hero bounces off the Vampire.

I re-position my scouts looking to overrun the catapults next turn, and get ready to face the ghouls.

The Vampire charges my hero and kills him...(causes him to flee)...and my knights take some licks from the ghoul and evil standard bearer. Lightning from the Necromanacer sees to my scouts with some lucky rolling, saving the catapults. My 2nd polearm unit is severly battered by the soul knights but the miraculously stay on the field though are now wavering - no surprise by that!

 I manage to now catch the soul knights in the rear by my second scouts and in flank from archers... I have them now???

Nope, I do little damage... the soul knights keep after the 2nd polearms... and my foot knights are next in the speed bump line after that having moved across with the general to try to help 'hold' the flank...

The polearms are crushed and the knights re-position for their third meal of the day...

Payback time and I hit the knights in the rear with my scouts and archers and in the front with my footknights and general and in the flank with my wizard... They're dead this time right???

Meanwhile I advance in the centre for the hell of it...I might as well make the soul knights march a little further for their dessert course...

So what happened in the fight... yep I bounce off after causing a few desultory wounds...

The soul knights continue their merry jaunt and destroy the footknights, cheekily turning to break wind afterwards in my genrals face, having now enjoyed 'three courses' they are getting rather full...

Having destroyed the flank of my army, the soul knights now catch all manner of shooting, ... fortuneatly my cannon hits and and actually does a little serious hurt this time, and the archers, scouts, XBs and wizards fireball all contributing a few extra hits, with what they have been carrying from the melees , the soul knights finally break and rout! Yippee! The archers breath a sigh of relief as they were probably next on the menu for the soul knights...

A turn or so ago the vampire had also flank charged my own knights and routed them... the rest of my shooting had been slowly picking off the werewovles at range and after several rounds of fire they too had finally routed...

And with that the game pretty much came to an end after the prescribed 6 turns. After totting up points of destroyed troops the game has ended in a draw. Victory is only achieved if you destroy 20% more enemy points in troops than you lost yourself.

The soul knights were about 300 points and they ate about 300 points of my foot troops. The skelies and werewolves were worth about the same as my knights and hero. So it all ended up pretty even...

So what did I think?

Well the game play was fairly fast and furious with no great rules difficulties. I liked the use of casualty markers rather than removing figures. and liked the wavering morale issue...

I did feel the game was still a bit herohammer-ish... with the vampire being able to wade in and kill off a knight unit himself and the soul knights were over the top powerful to my mind... being hit in the front, flank and side, they should have died and when they shrugged that off I felt something wasn't quite right...

I did get lucky with the cannons - they only hit on one roll of a 5+... without that, the soul knights would have continued their unstoppable advance...

I think the game would have worked well in a Men vs Men, War of the Roses type setting.

I'll certainly give it another go though...

I guess I'll have to have a jigg about with my list and see if it can be made more effective and not just be fodder... maybe a bigger cannon battery - 3 not just one... make my own Knights unit bigger perhaps?

Options are also to re-purpose my LOTR figures; Men, Elves, Orcs etc - since individual figures do not need to be removed, whatever you can fit on the ascribed movement base for unit type and size would work well enough ... and still allow to me play SBG afterwards with the individual figures.

Not sure the Mantic Army lists quite accurately reflect the Tolkien setting, but it may be worth a try...

I still need to give Hail Caesar-Fantasy a proper try out as I instinctively feel this will give a better overall game - I like the idea of giving commands, having units take wounds and track casualties, rather than remove models, and reduce heroes to being commanders who give commands and can join a unit to augment their potential, rather than be roving powerhouses in their own right... Basically; 'Warmaster' - but adjusted to 28mm scale...

But until Warlord release an official Fantasy variant - the sought after 'ideal' Fantasy Tournament rule-set... may still be just out of reach?
I guess it all comes down to what you want from a fantasy rules set and whether this set of rules floats your boat, or not, and whether it fits your idea of a fantasy setting...

Thanks to Matt for taking the time to give this game a try out with me :)


  1. Hi Scott, I did a review of the options out there for fantasy rules recently, and one of the guys who does some of their black powder supplements seems to be doing a semi-official Hail Caesar fantasy variant.

    Seems to be pretty detailed in terms of the lists etc. if you like Hail Caesar, this might be getting close to official enough?


  2. Great report Scott! Very nice looking game too!

  3. Great looking game either way mate. I think Herohammer is a good thing though.

  4. Nice looking game Scott. I sympathise with your friend about what GW did to WHFB. They cannot help themselves but spit in the face of their veteran players. Like you said first WAB and now WHFB. Both were at one time my favourite games for their genres.


  5. Great looking game with nice armies, Scott. I've heard about KoW, and it certainly appears to work well with WAB or WHFB armies. I'm waiting for the release of Dragon Rampant to see it my Empire stuff can fit in with it.

  6. Very nice report Scott and a great looking game. I've been curious about Kings of War for some time, just never willing to try it out.

  7. It's a great game and I have a PDF version of KoW Version 2 and it has great improvements.
    I hope KoW gets the following it deserves. It's a flexible system for historical type forces as well. cheers

  8. Good report. Our group is also thinking about replacement for Age of Sigmarines. We are about evenly split between those who want to stay with 8th and those wanting to try Kings of war instead, me included.

    A fantasy Hail Caesar does sound intriguing though.

  9. Good report. Our group is also thinking about replacement for Age of Sigmarines. We are about evenly split between those who want to stay with 8th and those wanting to try Kings of war instead, me included.

    A fantasy Hail Caesar does sound intriguing though.

  10. Nice batrep scott, thanks mate 😃
    Im going to use the system to play "war of the ring" also, so great minds think alike.... dusting off the lotr models as we speak! Always enjoy ur posts on the hobbit and lotr so keep up the great work, loving it.

  11. Thanks for the game Scott. I think I actually might prefer Kings of War to Warhammer. The game play is definitely more balanced and you realy get a feel of the battle line. It will be interesting to see whats in 2nd edition. I think the fact the I can convert just about all of my Warhammer to KOW is a big draw card.

  12. For my big fantasy fix I think I'll be dipping into KoW too, simply for the ease of play and growing player base. Alessio wrote it so it has a similarities to lotr in its clean and neat mechanic.
    Good to see you cracking out the old WAB models. I knew you had them in your cabinet for a reason :-)
    Very excited about Hail Caesar fantasy for lotr. Why do you think I've been obsessing with my uruks?

  13. The Vampire Lord is probably the most capable combat character in the game, so don't be too put out by how killy he is, while the Soul Reavers are also immensely powerful. You just happened to wear both of them in the face.

    Soul Reavers on the charge are incredible, the trick is to somehow deny them that charge. They will lose the Thundering Charge (2) bonus in the second round of combat, or if charged, and 'only' have their Crushing Strength (1). But with Lifeleech and Def 6+, they are a tough nut to crack. Shooting and Lightning Bolts are the answer, and try to Bane Chant whoever is shooting at them or fighting them.

    But most of the rest of the Undead list is pretty poor in combat as it should be, so the awesomeness of the Soul Reavers and Vampires is balanced out.

    Overall, Kings of War is looking good to me. But then again, so is Warthrone and 9th Age, and I'd be interested in looking at Hail Caesar for Elves and Orcs too.

    So much choice.....


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