Sunday 16 August 2015

Kings of War - Humble Beginnings

Kings of War is one of the systems that people currently consider to start playing. I must admit I am hooked by the new rules simply because I like the games with square units. Don't know really why but skirmish systems do not appeal to me that much. I read the rules for KoW 2 and they seem much simpler but not too simple. I do think that the system is as the designers advertise it, easy to learn, hard to master. I think it is definitely worthy giving a try and I am currently in the process of coming up with some kind of an army list that I would like to try out.

There are a few basic self-imposed rules I wanted to follow in doing so. First, I wanted to try to transfer the army list I have at the moment into a new system. The reason is that I already have the models so playing games should not be a problem. Second, I want to transfer the concept of MSU as much as it is possible to do under these set of rules. After all, the designers also claim this game is won with superior deployment and careful movement, the concepts I was trying to emphasize in my games since I have started MSU few years ago.

I chose to use Elves of course but I have not explored the possibility to use allies yet as it might be the way to further support my idea for an army.

I also assume that whatever I learned in Warhammer may not be transferable directly and in some cases it might be a "bad habit" so to speak. I am fully prepared to keep trying though until I find the army I am comfortable with and that, hopefully, will resemble MSU style I like so much.

The composition of the armies in KoW evolves around Regiments and Hordes that unlock other elements that can be taken with the army. For the purpose of following the theme I don't intend to take hordes. I am aware they have significant advantages but I believe that it is possible to build a successful army without them. What makes the job more difficult, though, is that 2 regiments cost more than 1 horde and the scaling of cost and abilities is not linear.

This is the "first" draft I am still thinking about. As the typical size of the game in KoW seems to be 2000 points this is the limit I imposed as well:

Outcasts in Mantica - Army List

Stormwind Regiment with Elven Wine - 255
- Silverbreeze Troop - 145
- Silverbreeze Troop - 145
- Drakon Rider Lord - 160

Palace Guard Regiment - 150
- Palace Guard Troop - 105
- Stormwind Troop - 140
- Wizard with Banechant and Inspire - 110

Sea Guard Regiment - 170
- Hunters Troop - 135
- Archers Troop with Oil - 120
- BSB on Steed with Heal - 95

Sea Guard Regiment - 170
- Bolt Thrower - 90

This comes to the total of: 1990

Technically I have space for two more troops but definitely no points for that. In this army list I have 14 elements total which is important because in KoW every single war machine, character, monster and unit are deployed as a single drop. Let me first start with the description of the units:

Stormwind Cavalry - Elven heavy cavalry, faster than counterparts with M9. They have very good number of attacks (16) hit on 3+ with re-rolls of 1. They also have Thunderous Charge (2) rule which means they can do some proper damage. For example, if the enemy has defense 4+ (good infantry), meaning that normally the enemy needs 4+ to do damage, TC(2) improves that result by two and now you "wound" on 2+. However, TC bonus can be lost when cavalry is hindered which is easily achievable if it takes wounds in previous turn or has to charge through difficult terrain. It is also negated if the target unit has "phalanx" rule.

Elven wine is a magic item that costs 40 points and gives the unit "Nimble" special rule. In KoW the unit can move up to twice its movement allowance but can do it only in straight line. If you want to pivot, you can do it at any time during the move but it can be done once only and if you do it you can move only the normal movement. Nimble allows you to make one extra pivot (up to 90 degree each). It can be very helpful in getting in the position so while it is quite expensive for the items in KoW I want to see if it is worthy. Looks very good to me on paper.

Silverbrezze Cavalry - fast cavalry. They hit worse in combat than assault troops but have Nimble special rule as default. They also come with bows so that you can shoot and either keep softening the enemy troops or combine the effort with other regiments. They are not cheap though (especially when you consider playing at 2000) so they probably should not be used as sacrificial units that often. There is not such a thing as "flee" reaction in KoW so it is one of the areas where I think I will need to learn how to move and use them properly.

Palace Guard - These are elite infantry meaning they hit better than regular troops (3+), have better nerve value (slightly harder to rout = be destroyed) and in addition have Crushing Strength (1). That improves their chances to do damage (much like TC for cavalry) but is not negated by phalanx. They don't have many attacks but hitting on 3+ with re-rolls of 1's should get some damage through.

I have one regiment and one troop choice for both, trying to find equivalent of Swordmasters.

Hunters - these are my Lions. They are totally different troop choice here though. They have 20 attacks, which is huge but hit on 4+ with no rerolls (no elite for them) and no crushing strength. They can vanguard though and are pathfinders meaning they move through terrain without penalties (i.e. they are not hindered when charging through and don't suffer -1 to hit penalty for doing so).

I am still not sure what role I want them to play. It seems to me they would be fantastic as a flanking unit. As a regiment they get only 5 more attacks and better morale so maybe I should rather go for regiments of infantry and troops of cavalry?

Sea Guard - it is a very interesting unit. It nicely combines the combat abilities of Spears and shooting of Archers but the designers found the right balance here in my opinion. You have fewer attacks than spears but more than Archers. You hit less often at range than Archers but have more shots per unit though. They also have this incredible phalanx rule and to me they look like a very flexible regiment. I want to take at least one simply because I have models painted. I also have these fantastic plastic models from IoB that would look amazing in this game. Until then I can also change the regiment of SG for regiment of Archers but I like the fact I could create some kind of battle line with PG and 2 x SG.

Archers - I added Oil simply to have an excuse to field Sisters unit. It has a little advantage against the targets with Regeneration but this does not work as in Warhammer. Only this small regiment can have the bonus. The are decent shooters and I like the unit.

Drakon Lord - I intend to use Griffon Rider from IoB to represent this model. Very fast it also inspires units nearby (i.e. in 6"). It has only 5 attacks but I think it can aid any charge, especially if I can position him well for flank or even rear attacks. It has good defense too.

Wizard - magic works differently in KoW. It is incorporated into shooting phase. You buy the spells instead of rolling them. Elven wizards come equipped with Heal spell that allows you to remove damage points. I decided to add Bane Chant too. It improves the chances to do damage for one unit be it in shooting or combat. I also gave him talisman that makes him inspire nearby troops. Inspire works in the following way, as soon as nerve test is failed (your unit would be routed) you force the re-roll. So it is quite helpful for your regiments indeed.

BSB - interesting concept is that you can have multiple BSB's in the army. I decided to get one to get one more source of inspire. BSB has no other role on its own but I also gave him Heal ability through magic item. I could also give him Lightning spell instead so I am just wondering it that is not a better option.

Bolt Thrower - War machine with 48" range. It works in a following way, you roll 2 dice, 4+ to hit normally with re-roll of 1's. Then whatever hits is multiplied d3 into number of attacks and then you roll for damage. It has "piercing (2)" special rule that works as CS or TC for combat. So the worst result to do damage is 4+. Essentially, single bolt thrower can do up to 6 damage points.

The interesting thing is that war machines also have arc of sight and some of them cannot be fired if moved in the same turn. BT is such war machine so positioning it well is also important.

So that is the army list I came up at the moment. There are still things I am not sure about. For example, there is an item that forces the enemy to deploy d3+1 units instead of 1 and that might be good idea for my army. I was also considering two wizards instead but if I take only 2 sources of inspire and one mobile that may not be close enough to grant it to the troops maybe it is too risky?

Another thing is that maybe I should rather invest in infantry regiments as they are cheaper and less sensitive to damage (i.e. they don't lose their CS when being hit) and get cavalry as troops only.

There are no stubborn unit here so I need to change the role for Lions too. I wish I would have more units than my enemy but it might be the best I can get anyway.

I have some other ideas in my mind as well. For instance, I have two griffon riders and they might be a very valuable addition as they are really fast so I could potentially set these flank/rear charges easier.

On top of that I am still quite ignorant as to what really works against what in that game :) But I think it is a good reference point I will try to work on further.



  1. Solid list so far, I like it. It incorporates your MSU into KoW nicely. MSU is harder to pull off in KoW, only because it becomes really expensive to have many units.

    I like the idea of sylvan kin as lions. You may consider giving them or the palace guard the CS item (30 pts for CS1 on the unit). Combined with bane chant it can make them pretty effective. I don't think I have made a list that doesn't have that item somewhere. 30 pts for CS 1 is pretty good.

    If you want a game on UB let me know!! Always looking for more opponents!!

    1. Hi Gatti,

      Thanks! I think once I play the game I will be able to tell better what really works or how to make it work. There are still things I am not sure about and I also have another list shaping up where I have 2 troops of heavy cavalry instead as well as a single Hunters regiment. It might even more resemble my WFB list.

      I like that CS(1) item and I think it would work nicely but as always it means getting rid of something else. I need to make a decision, however, what is more important to me because I like Elven Wine but also the item that forces to enemy do deploy d3+1 units instead of 1.

      The main challenge I find is that the things on paper look good no matter what you want to take but you cannot have everything of course.

      I would love to play a game against you so as soon as I clear out the schedule (still have a few other games, 9th Age including, penciled down) I will give you a shout!