In the spirit of lifelong learning, Necron99 and myself headed to the local game store (House of Games in Danville), our toy soldiers in hand, to try out the fantasy miniatures battle game Kings of War by Mantic Games. I’ve been interested in trying out the rules since I first read that they were designed for large armies. When last year’s Kickstart campaign hit and unloaded hundreds of cool new figures I knew I had to learn these rules. That they are supposed to work well for multiplayer games was very exciting, given the style of my group of friends but the fact you can download them for free (http://www.manticgames.com/free-rules.html) meant it would be easier to get said friends to try should they prove fun.
Having a solid collection of painted undead figures (many of which are Mantic) I opted to try running them. Delighted to learn I could use a Liche King as my general I immediately put one in charge of my zombies, skeletons, and werewolves while Necron99 fielded his beautiful Brettonians using the Basialian army list. This is a long running grudge match between us though nothing to compare to our two thirds of the Porridge Wars but that’s really for a future post or posts. I digress.
While I love learning new games, new miniatures systems can be complex and sometimes frustrating until you get a couple games under your belt. Not Kings of War. By the end of each of our second turns we had the basics down and were already playing as opposed to figuring out. Now we kept it simple but it speaks volumes that we are both excited to not only play again but add more of the rules and troop types.
Game play was fast and simple with each player doing all the moving and dice rolling in their turn before handing it all over to the other player. Figures aren’t removed from the unit rather damage points build up as the game goes on. Two rounds of bow fire was just too much for my werewolves and they ran away. When any damage is caused through shooting, fighting, or magic the attacker rolls two dice adding both the damage just caused and the damage the unit is already carrying. The total determines whether the damaged unit is routed, wavering, or holding. Clean and simple.
While my shambling undead forces were able to kill or rout every human unit by the end the twin sisters leading the Basilian force focused their very limited resources on the final turn on my most wounded units and make some good rolls to squeeze a tie from what was looking like a loss. Another sign of a solid system, in my opinion.
Now we are both determined to play again with bigger, more complex armies as well as share this system with our friends. In addition, I’m planning several new units that are all based as one piece vignettes. Skeletal archers in a graveyard to begin with but my mind is already spinning over a regiment of twenty dwarf rangers moving through the frontier.