Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kings of War - First Try

Having got hold of the Kings of War rules a few weeks ago (see earlier post) myself and Ross got together to give them a try.

My undead and Dwarves neatly fitted into the three current army lists, and I found that my 3000 point Warhammer armies translated to 1000 point KoW armies. One thing to note straight away is that army creation as it stands is fast and straightforward. The initial rules make no restrictions on force composition and the units are largely standard with a few basic upgrades being available only.

In the end both armies numbered a hundred or so models, for what is a half recommended size game.

Our deployments in our first game were very Warhammer influenced. Which worked fine. Both sides sought to get stuck in swiftly. The combat system pretty much ensures that a large unit cannot be destroyed immediately unless it is flanked or attacked in the rear. Unusually for fantasy rules the opponent does not fight during combat, indeed the defending player in any turn has pretty much nothing to do but watch. However the game is very fast and so this is not to onerous, in fact this convention helps speed up matters even further.

Anyway, an attacker, rolling ten dice will be lucky to cause two or three casualties, and these will be hard pressed to cause a unit any concern. Morale is essentially variable from turn to turn a unit could be wavering one turn, rally the next and rout on the third.
Movement is very simply handled and works, but could seem too simple for rules lawyers, concerned about exploitation of the rules (and that is true of pretty much the whole set as it stands).
Magic, presently at least, is staggeringly sparse. Three spells. Spells can have different ratings however depending on the character wielding them. Essentially you have a magic missile, a heal spell and a dragon breath spell.
Shooting is handled essentially like melee, but at range. We found shooting units overpowered, not intrinsically because they are powerful at range, but more because as the army lists stand they are as good in combat as regular troops, for the same basic cost. I understand this is already being changed in the army lists by Mantic.
Characters move around and act independently, there is no critical need, as in Warhammer, to have them attached to units.
So overall, the game produces the very pure, tactical experience, one which you don't expect in a Fantasy game, where heroics, oddball units, magic items and special rules usually dominate. On both occasions the Dwarves won by dint of out manoeuvring the undead to turn their flanks and out number them in combat. Mantic seem to have recognised that with their comparatively cheap figures, they can encourage players to field big armies (of which I applaud), and the rules work with those in mind, I think our test games at a 1000 points let us learn the rules but were simply too small.
To conclude, I think we'll be playing KoW a bit more, it certainly has potential. I hope they don't spoil it by over complicating things in the future...

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