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: http://www.talkwargaming.com/2013/08/get-started-kings-of-war-basics.html And here is part 2: http://www.talkwargaming.com/2013/08/get-started-kings-of-war-part-2-rules.html )
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.
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.