It isn’t just the ancient adversaries that have lines in the Book of Grudges. Indeed, the younger races can do plenty to earn the ire of dwarfs. Lately, the humans have drawn the attention of the dwarf king through several border skirmishes that show their artillery has improved over the years. Have played three games of Kings of War by Mantic Games in the last week all against my friend, Ryan, and his Kingdoms of Men army.
I’d already faced Necron_99’s Basileans once in past so thought I had an idea of what humans were like but Kingdoms of Men have hard hitting, armored cavalry, cheap hordes of pike (+20 attacks!), ogres, and artillery that hits on 5s with neither range nor cover modifiers. Ouch, and they are so much cheaper than dwarfs.
The first two battle were fought back to back with the first as a Kill scenario and the second as a Kill and Pillage scenario. When playing Ryan it is imperative to get the first turn because if he does, whatever army he’s running, he is unloading ranged death. His artillery proved accurate numerous times while he deftly skirted hills to avoid mine. Very frustrating for one who’s army relies on its guns.
Ryan was able to keep pounding my forces with accurate artillery while moving his forces forward behind hills and forests. I was able to take out one unit of knights before the other crashed into my Berserker lord on brock. When the infantry units finally closed on one another the bloodshed began in earnest. The game went to twelve turns and ended with a close victory for the humans. Hurrumph, upstart races.
The second battle found us trying to end with units closer to objective markers as well as kill each other. That seems to be a recurring theme in our games, no matter the genre’, now that I think about it. This one was much closer even with his horrifyingly accurate artillery fire raining death from on high. I swear, I don’t understand how the humans get so many indirect fire weapons. I’m just glad the dwarfs finally got one in the form of the Jarrun Bombard. Typical of dwarfs, it is very expensive (100points) so I haven’t added one yet, not yet.
Since he blasted apart my long range artillery on his first turn (did I mention it sucks when he goes first?) it all came down to the combats on my left flank. I was able to kill off just about every scoring unit he moved into the village square but he kept dropping rocks with such accuracy that he even took out the army standard bearer (rolled a six!). My berserker lord was able to take out the rocket team holding an objective and the game ended in a draw. Now, in hindsight, if I had trusted in my Headstrong and not used my Inspiring to make Ryan reroll the Wavering result the unit wouldn’t have been wiped out when he rolled an eleven. Sigh, if I had a dollar for every time I miss judged that I could pay for the next pizza.
I decided I needed a few changes in my force after those last two close ones. We have been playing 1000 points a side and I have really been struggling with whether the regiment of Brocks is worth the points. It is nice to have a high Nerve(20/22) and 30 Attacks but it eats up a lot of points (280 with Brew of Strength) and really needs another fast unit or mounted character to back it up. Again, a lot of points for a 1000 point force. In the end, paint jobs won and the regiment of brocks stayed. I switched to two cannons, dropped the army standard bearer, and traded the crossbows for rangers while kitting out some units with magic. Still felt like way too few units when I saw his army.
Despite getting the first turn, Ryan, rather uncharacteristically, rolled poorly for his artillery, barely wounding one cannon and leaving some wounds on the rangers. Just to show what a fair player I am I also rolled poorly with all my shooting and his knights slammed into one of my cannons while artillery finished off the other. Another game where I would have no long range shooting after my first turn. Meanwhile his other knights charged the rangers. This time he rolled really well on his attacks and Nerve so they routed. My infantry did take some revenge on both units of knights but knew they were all just sitting targets now. The Berserker Lord tore one apart by himself. Everything had to advance or be blasted where they stood. By the end of turn nine I had my Bulwarkers, my Brock Riders, and the Warsmith remaining, everything else was dead or routed so I advanced, The Brocks closed the distance so the artillery couldn’t target them while the Bulwarkers moved forward to face the pike horde.
Ryan’s Priest and my Warsmith went one on one, neither able to score a wound, the two phalanxes faced off, and the Brock Riders, carrying over 15 wounds at this point started laying waste to artillery. At the end of 12 Ryan rolled a five and the game went another two turns. His Priest was just able to reach the Brocks, scored a single wound then rolled and eleven on their Nerve, finally wiping them out. Damn, they were about to charge the sole artillery piece, the rocket launcher. To add insult, the pike block skewered the Warsmith, guaranteeing I had nothing to do on my final turn. My entire army was gone and it looked like and overwhelming defeat until Ryan pointed out he had less than 300 points remaining on the field, those pike horde are cheap, so it was only a close loss. Still, it’s going into the Book of Grudges because my short warriors are going to need some pay back.
In conclusion I must say I am really enjoying Kings of War. It is fast paced, simple, and a lot of fun. We played two games in one afternoon. The time to set up, play twice, and put all the tables and terrain away was just over four hours and that includes lunch. I just have to find a better balance to my army construction. I will have my revenge, Mr Ryan, rest assured. I will have my revenge. Now, back to painting more dwarfs…