Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Journal 22 KINGS OF WAR

Hello All,

I have recently read the 3rd edition of Mantic’s “Kings of War” (KOW) and all I can say is WOW!
I know I am a little behind the times as most folks who were going to chime in did so over a year ago.
Better late than never. :)

My thoughts: For what it is and what it does it is superior to WHFB in most ways. The system lacks in some important areas but overall is the better game system at its core. I have compiled a list of what brought me to this conclusion with a few details thrown in for fun.

Here we go-

In favor of Kings of War
1. Simple Army building- The KOW system uses a simple Force organization system (FOS) where heroes, monsters, and war machines are available on a one for one basis depending on the number of “Solid” Troop units (generally 10 or more models in the unit) you select.

2. Easy to remember stat line:  Easy to remember and work with (Below is from this review: And here is part 2: )
Speed (Sp): How far the unit moves, in inches.
Melee (Me): The D6 score needed by the unit to hit in melee combat.
Ranged (Ra): The D6 score needed by the unit to hit in ranged combat.
Defence (De): The D6 score the enemy needs to damage the unit.
Attacks (At): The number of attacks the unit has.
Nerve (Ne): The scores needed by the enemy to make the unit waver or rout.

That’s it!

3. Better movement system- No more Wheeling BS and I can actually back up!

4. NO MORE REMOVING MODELS FROM THE TRAY- With the way modern miniatures are designed  in such dynamic poses it can be difficult to remove even a single model without screwing up the ones around it. With KOW the models stay on the tray till the entire unit is destroyed.

5. A stream lined rule set- KOW does in 33 pages what WHFB could not do with 100+ pages. Have a complete rule set ready to use. And best of all ITS FREE!

6. You are not required to have any characters in your army- That’s right folks no characters required. You can have an entire infantry horde just block after block of troops if that tickles your fancy. If you decide to have a character you can but from everything I have read they do not join units but tend to be butt kickers on their own! (BTW You  can give magic items to most units so I guess unit leaders could be seen as officers or a general if that helps your “fantasy”) 

7. Mutable background- The background Mantic came up with for their game is usable if  generic. It certainly allows itself to be used for just about any setting. (And lets face we KNOW what background it was designed for…)

8. Easy to make variant armies- by changing the “Official” army special rule you can change the entire army. For instance changing the Orc’s army special rule to elite creates a workable warriors of chaos army. There are also tons of “fan lists” for various armies out there including using warmachine or Lord of the rings and of course WHFB. It’s as easy as making it up (which is what most folks did.) Most are a little on the overpriced side as they are mimicking GW versions and tend to have unnecessarily complex special rules to give them flavor. I prefer this last option.- Use the allies rules to grab units that fit the theme- use the models you want and call it “That” army. For instance I made a Cav list that used Both of the Undead Cav choices, the Twilight Elf knights,  Human Knights, and Orc Boar riders to reflect Chaos knights with various marks. It was pretty cool and 100% legal in game terms (as long as allies are allowed.)

Now it would not be fair for me to talk big about this game without going into some of the issues I have with it. As with most things there are down sides. Here are the ones I feel are worth noting.

1. Less options- Personally I feel like this could be a boon as well as an issue but I guess it fits better here. The game is very stripped down and as such units don’t have the flavorful options other game systems have to color them. For instance elves get “Elite” which is a catch all for the cool elf stuff they get in other games. It kind of reminds me of TWERPS. While this helps make the game run smooth it can make units seem generic at times.

2. Character cannot join units. Unless I missed something (and please educate me if so) characters cannot join units. This is a big change from WHFB where many characters MUST join a unit or where joining a unit can be the difference between life and death. From what I have seen it is harder to kill a lone character than it is in other games. The jury is still out on this one.

3. The Default Background- average at best. WHFB and Warmachine have richer backgrounds with more verity. I feel this has more to do with the age of the system than anything else. Let’s give it a few years then look again.

4. Lack of a defined Magic system- Heal, Blast, and ZAP- that is the KOW magic system. Quick and easy but a little boring. Where are the unit buffs and curses that make it feel like “Fantasy.” I see where they are coming from but a little bit more would have been nice.

5. Units- they need more per army. I intend to use this system with my WHFB collection as well as my growing KOW stuff. I would like official units that can simulate more of my collection. (I know it’s a little early on this one but I cannot help myself…)

Well that’s all I have time for this week so till next time.



  1. I'm glad you're enjoying it: it's left me pretty cold... as have the models. (Worse yet, I haven't much luck eBaying all that Kickstarter'd stuff.)

  2. Sorry to hear that. (all points)-

    what don't you like about the system? I seem to be drawn to the simplicity of the game. I often feel like Fantasy, Warmachine, et. are too bloated and gimmicky. That they rely on funky combos to win games and that tactics (in the traditional sense) take a back seat to this.
    To me it seems like KOW will allow me to get back to the level playing field I prefer where it comes down to who is the better player not who picked the newest hot combo.

    As for the ebay/kickstarter stuff I will be happy to post some links if you think it will help. :)

  3. I'm looking to get into the game for the simplicity as well - I'll be subbing my Skaven as Goblins starting out.

    I'll admit KoW's models and story are a little hit or miss, but that's why we have 3rd party companies (leftover GW minis in this case).

    WFB's over-the-top magic phases killed any interest I had left in the game. Most of my games seemed to boil down to both sides simply trying to get those upper tier spells off, like the Dreaded Thirteenth, Dweller's Below, Purple Sun, etc or shoving a super-buffed horde straight across the table with little thought.

    Supposedly one of the KoW expansions expands Zap spells with 3 different attack forms but I haven't read on that yet. Otherwise, I see the 'magic artifacts' as being a substitute for buff spells.

    Otherwise, KoW's gameplay looks players are definitely more reliant on army-wide maneuvering rather than magic or super-units (have I mentioned how much I hate that yet :P).

    Only problem I have right now is figuring out what I'm going to do for Fleabag Rider proxies. Finally a reason to convert up some Skaven cavalry. :)

  4. The book with the Zap variants is the Basilean Legacy. I pretty good book for what it is. The Zap variants are just minor tweaks to range and special effects. Any unit with zap may choose any variant each round. One of the variants is called lightning bolt and is the normal Zap power unmodified. It's all condensed to a single page for ease of use. Good Stuff!