Friday, June 10, 2011

Kings of War: First Game

by SandWyrm

Farmpunk and I had our first Kings of War test game last Wednesday. How did it go?

Pretty much as we expected, with the MSU gunline handing the assault build it's rear over 6 turns. It didn't help that we went a little overboard with the terrain (some of which had been boxed away for years). But we did have fun and learned some things about the KoW system.

We rolled off for the pick of the two armies. Farmpunk won and took the gunline.


I screwed up and tried to push everyone through the choke point. I should have sent the Berzerkers around the other side of the house. Through the woods. While at least 2 of my units on the left should have gone through the woods for cover.

Some confusion on the movement rules had me moving slower than I should have over the hedges. Difficult terrain halves your normal move, while obstacles like walls and hedges only keep you from marching.

First unit runs. I'm thinking at this point that a proper assault build is going to need at least a cannon or two for plinking off enemy war machines and small units of riflemen. Both have lousy Nerve.

My King got into contact, but the Berzerkers got shot up and Wavered at the last moment. When they failed their headstrong roll (Dwarves have a 4+ to ignore wavering), we decided that the game was lost. So we went ahead and said they passed for yuks. But that posed an interesting problem.

If they pivoted and assaulted the guys attacking the King, they would kill that unit but be open to a charge from the riflemen in front of them. If they plowed straight forward, they would kill the rifles but get charged in the side from another rifle unit. They were dead either way.

Yeah, I'd forgotten about proper block tactics. It's been a while.

So I charged the rifles, got charged in turn, and the last block was shot off the table. That left the King at the mercy of the Rebels. Oh well. Game over. We were going to trade armies and mess with the lists some between battles, but Mrs. SandWyrm was 2.5 hours late getting back from a gig in Chicago. So we were slowed down by Daddy duties. :)

We did have fun though. We also agreed that if we'd not been distracted and knew our rules, we could have finished the game in about half an hour. That's pretty damn fast!

Some Interesting Insights

We did decide that the way to win the game is to manage the probabilities of your opponent's units running. The optimal amount of damage per unit is probably Nerve + 2 (or +3 with a banner), as this should give them only a 27% chance of passing their next Nerve test. Your cannons should probably be targeting Kings and Army Standard Bearers ASAP to keep your opponent from getting the re-rolls that these grant.

This will also likely be dependent on range, as it will probably make sense to try and spread a little damage around in the early game, so that whatever unit jumps forward later can be mowed down more easily when it matters. So getting a spread of units down to Nerve - 2 (72% chance of passing) will probably be a decent tactic.

Next Up

EvilTed has agreed to a 1500 point Dwarf on Undead match this Sunday, which should be a better test. He's warned me to expect large blocks.

I'll bring the camera.


  1. Glad you had fun. Better luck running through terrain next time. I am looking forward to trying out my Undead Catapults when I can get a friend over as there indirect fire rules looks like it could be useful...

  2. Kings of War really comes into its own 1000+ points plus it feels like you're playing some massive historical campaign with the added bonus of your armies being fantasy archetypes! I love it.

  3. well with a decent understanding of the rules under my belt now I am confident that my army will play very much similar to how I am used to it playing in previous versions of the Warhammer fantasy game. Other than out right routing, my units will be solid and unphased by wavering. Or at least that is how I understand it. It is going to be interesting.

  4. With your Beserkers, do remember you get a free reform if you rout an enemy so you can reposition after combat to block those flank charges.

    Getting a critical mass of nerve tokens then sniping multiple damaged units to repeatedly force nerve checks does seem like the best strategy.

    Some armies have ways to remove damage markers though. The elves have a heal spell while the Undead have heal and also a way to get it back from damage they do in combat.

    You can also move up inspiring units to the ones being sniped to force rerolls and screw with their plans.

    I can see situations where it's better to overkill units to be sure of removing their threat. After all, if you roll badly and get no dead units they will be striking back with 100% of their power.

  5. I've been waiting for this review since you started talking about this game. Mantic's stuff keeps getting better and the Abyssal Dwarf minis have almost gotten me to buy in (despite not being extra cheap like the rest of their lines)

    This has got me even more interested.

    Looking forward to more game results!

  6. Astute Observation Du Jour: So Alessio has basically redone sixth edition Warhammer (the 'historical with fantasy archetypes' edition) with more developed morale rules and slightly less "here is my twenty man unit, of which the rear fifteen are wound counters for the front five"? That's what it sounds like. Colour me vaguely interested.

  7. @Korona

    Ohhh! That would have helped. :)


    My only fear is that, being such a simple game, I'll figure it out too quickly. Can you have an interesting amount of depth without all the complexity? I guess I'll find out.

  8. I guess its dependent on the type of game you want. Fewer rules doesn't equate to less tactical + look at warmaster space hulk blood bowl for instance and thats not even counting the non gw games!


  9. Or Go! You can summarise the rules on a sheet of paper but the game requires a very cerebral balancing act. You have to offset territory acquisition with consolidating your gains. It gets so deep that it's actually really hard to programme an AI for.

    I'd be surprised if KoW breaks too easily. Alessio wrote the rules, I see Josh Roberts mentioned in the thanks section and he's a very good 40k player from the English ETC team.
    I'm guessing the playtesting is being done by highly competent disaffected fantasy players... so they should have caught any problems a while ago. The batreps certainly looked dynamic anyway.
    I'm hoping I can convince someone to play me at KoW in a few weeks at the club next monday.

  10. Yeah, Go is a great example. Maybe I'm just addicted to complexity? :)


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