Sunday, 14 August 2016

KoW Game 24 - Kingdoms of Men - 2016/08/14


I had another opportunity to play against my friend, Michael, who used his Basileans last time. We played over Universal Battle again, although knowing what Michael is assembling and planning to get for his KoM army, I can't wait and see it in real life!

I noticed that armies of Men in various systems often are portrayed as average. On the surface they don't seem to have any particular strength or eye catching center piece. Somehow, however, I always found them a very difficult enemy to defeat. It may be due to their numbers or maybe simply to the fact that in order to make the best out of these forces one has to play very well! 

At the same time I was always jealous about the fact that they have such a huge range of choices available, also in terms of models. That's why I was curious what Michael was going to choose for his army and here are the details of his list:

Kingdoms of Men - Army List

20 Foot Guard, Regiment - 135
- 5 Mounted Scouts, Troop - 100
- 5 Mounted Scouts, Troop - 100
- General on Winged Beast, Hero - 190
20 Foot Guard, Regiment - 135
- Wizard, Bane Chant (2), Lighting Bolt (3), Scarletmaw’s Fenulian Amulet - 90
40 Berserkers, Horde, Chant of Hate - 255
- Wizard, Bane Chant (2), Lighting Bolt (3) - 65

40 Arquebusiers, Horde, Brew of Keen-eyeness - 270
- Beast of War, Light Balista - 220

10 Knights, Regiment, Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar - 215
10 Knights, Regiment, Brew of Strength - 225

After a few games against Michael I noticed his favorite combinations, regardless of the army. Two regiments of Knights, one with Pathfinder and another with Crushing Strength became his trademark. Horde of shooters with +1 to hit also finds its way to the army as one of the first choices. 

But there were some new appearances too and I am sure the wizards with Lightning Bolts were definitely there thanks to the experiences he had last game. :)

 20 Foot Guard - two regiments of elite infantry of the army, this one is meant to soak up some damage with a very good 5+ defense. It can also do some damage with 3+ to hit but may require some Bane Chant to do so. Fortunately, two wizards are equipped with this very useful spell. 

40 Berserkers - hard hitters! With so many attacks, Crushing Strength and Vicious they will do a lot of damage to everyone. I would need to make sure then that they don't charge first and with 3+ defense they are easier to rout. However, I expected them to be protected/shielded from incoming fire by other units before they approach close enough to be unleashed.

40 Arquebusiers - These rifles are very dangerous as I have already learned. Magic artifact makes them even more so. Now they hit enough times to make a good use of that Piercing (2). I have also observed that due to wider frontage, the horde can actually see more targets and thus the Reload! disadvantage is a bit mitigated. I just need to disrupt them fast!

10 Knights - trademark units. They are well equipped to fight in the terrain too. Definitely a threat, in particular to my own infantry. And due to long charge range I would need to be extra careful where I position my own cavalry.

5 Mounted Scouts - this unit is a shooting type of a fast cavalry. They are not as good as Silver Breeze but are also significantly cheaper. And these extra shots may be what you need to rout damaged enemy that otherwise may escape the attention of Arquebusiers. 

Beast of War - a very interesting choice and the one I haven not had a chance to play against yet. It is faster than infantry, hits pretty hard in melee, especially when you consider its narrow frontage but carries a light ballista for a bit of fire power and flexibility. Well armored and with a good nerve value too. 

I like it a lot due to the fact it can be used in so many different ways, even in the same battle. Monsters in general are a bit more difficult to deal with because it is harder to attack them with more units at the same time. 

General on Winged Beast - at least one big flier is always expected and I find the General a very nice choice too. A bit more intimidating than Darkon Lord but not yet on the level of a Dragon. Still, with its high mobility he can easily get around the flanks where he can even risk some charges alone. His Very Inspiring rule is also a great one to have, especially that Michael's army has only him as a source of Inspire.

Wizards - they are in the army mainly to cast Lightning Bolts which in combination with other shooters makes for a very good and flexible ranged attacks repertoire. Occasional Bane Chant may also help but against lightly armored Elves it is not that crucial. I assumed we will have some shooting duels between wizards and the one who shoots first will probably decimate the opponent.

I think Michael's army has a slight advantage in shooting but in general we seem to have a few quite similar units. Fast cavalry, heavy cavalry, some infantry. Speed seems to be my advantage and I would need to use it well for sure. 

Kingdoms of Men army has 2 units less than mine but two hordes, for instance, can absorb some damage while my regiments probably cannot. Here is the army list I took, similar to the previous list with a few small changes:

Outcasts - Army List

10 Stormwind, Regiment, Potion of the Caterpillar (Pathfinder) - 235
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- 5 Silverbreeze, Troop - 145
- Drakon Rider Lord, Hero, Large Cavalry - 160

3 Drakon Riders, Regiment, Dwarven Ale (Headstrong) - 185
- 5 Stormwind, Troops - 140
- Bolt Thrower, War Engine - 90

20 Palace Guard, Regiment - 15
- Bolt Thrower, War Engine - 90 

20 Palace Guard, Regiment - 150 
- Elven Mage, Hero, Lightning Bolt (5) - 120
20 Spearelves, Regiment - 140
- Elven Mage, Hero, Inspiring Talisman, Bane Chant(2) - 110

20 Spearelves, Regiment - 140
- Army Standard, Hero, Mounted, Boomstick  - 95

This time second mage is also on foot but Army Standard is mounted and has a Boomstick. The reason for the change is that I wanted him to be able to be more mobile and do something in addition to waving his flag. 



Hills - height 2
Obstacles - height 1
House - height 3
Forrest - height 4
Wheat Field - height 1, difficult
Pond - height 0, difficult

It was interesting to use this map, it was created with the principle in mind that no hills should be in the deployment zone. The terrain did not allow clear line of sight to a large area of the battle field. Such terrain set up inspired me earlier to start using mages as mobile artillery. 


I won the roll off and chose South. I decided to use the hills as initial cover and avoid the shooting horde until units on the West got rid of that mounted scouts unit and cavalry could potentially disrupt the horde. 

We played Push! scenario so I wanted to at least put up some fight over the middle token. Initial plan was also for fast cavalry to have the loot. The heavy hitters were on the flank to use the terrain to their advantage but not be affected by it thanks to Pathfinder and flying (i.e. I could fly over the forest for example, and not be hindered). 

Deployment and loot tokens.

Michael won the roll off but elected to go second. 

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elven cautious approach

Elves moved first and approached their enemy with caution. The units tried to stay out of range of the shooters but at the same time moved close enough to attack mounted scouts. Unfortunately, the damage done was not enough to get rid of any of the fast cavalry yet.

Kingdoms of Men - Turn 1

Dire consequences of miscalculation.

Humans were not that hasty to close the distance either and also moved in to get some targets into range. Due to some horrible miscalculations, a few vulnerable targets were presented and Elves had to pay the price. On the West, Elven cavalry moved a bit too close to the Arquebusiers and were shot to pieces. On the East, Elven Mage got singled out by his counterpart and he too died to well placed ranged attacks (Edit: Please, note, that both were in range of Inspire sources but were routed regardless)

Outcasts - Turn 2

Fast cavalry moves forward.

Elven fast cavalry dropped the loot and moved forward to finish off the mounted scouts. They succeeded but human wizards were still free to go. On the opposite flank Army Standard and Bolt Thrower tried to get rid of the second unit but they held against all odds! (Edit: I rolled double 1's for the nerve check! :))

Kingdoms of Men - Turn 2

Charge of the light brigade!

Remaining mounted scouts charged boldly against now exposed Elven Army Banner and manged to waver him! Meanwhile, General spotted a good opportunity to threaten the flank and rear of the enemy formation and landed in the safe spot behind the forest.

At the same time the rest of the army moved a bit backwards to keep the distance and patiently waited for the opening.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves charge through the center.

Elves decided it is now time to bring the fight to the enemy. The plan was to break through the center with heavy cavalry, while fast cavalry would delay the enemy reinforcements.

Storm Wind regiment attacked the slightly exposed flank of the Foot Guard and two units of infantry followed to help with the second wave of attack.

In the meantime, Drakons and other two infantry regiments turned to intercept the General if he wanted to collect the loot. Elves gambled a lot here and even divided their forces. A very rsky operation indeed!

Kingdoms of Men - Turn 3

Counter attack and beginning of encirclement.

Despite the loss of some units the Kingdoms of Men army was not pushed back. Quite the contrary, they mounted counter attacks! Both fast cavalry units perished but what surprised Elven general was the loss of the Palace Guard regiment. Elven infantry attracted the attention of the shooters horde and the rifles were a deadly weapon indeed.

At the same time, brave wizards moved in front of the Elven units to block them a bit longer and give time for the other units to complete the encirclement.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Another gamble - another failure.

Elves were now in a very big trouble. Thus they decided for yet another big gamble. Spears attacked the wizard blocking them with the intention to rout him and charge against Foot Guard. At the same time Drakon Lord attacked the exposed flank of the same regiment. If he and Tallspears co-ordinated their efforts it would bring the unit down and allow to reform in order to face enemy General and his Beast of War.

But in order to make that work StormWind cavalry had to rout second wizard and be able to get into contact with Berserkers behind. The chances were not obvious for the success but it was possible to rout even such a horde on the charge, provided enough attacks hit home.

Unfortunately, nothing worked as planned. Tallspears failed to rout the wizard at all. Storm Wind failed to reach Berserkers. And Drakon Lord, despite routing Foot Guard on his own, failed to overrun far enough to avoid Berserkers either.

(Edit: It was a very risky maneuver but the only one I came up with that in my opinion had a chance to give me an opportunity to turn the tide. I needed 4+ roll for Tallspears and Storm Wind to reach new targets. But I failed to break the wizard with Tallspears and got a 3 for the advance for Storm Wind. Then I needed 4+ to escape with the Drakon Lord but got 3 again.)

Kingdoms of Men - Turn 4

Kingdoms of Men getting an upper hand.

Exposed and out of position Elven units were now an easy prey for Kingdoms of Men regiments. It was clear now who got an upper hand. But Elves didn't plan to give up just yet as they were looking for a chance not to lose the battle.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Elves try to block the path to the last loot.

With the heavy hitters gone, Elves had to rely on defensive actions. Drakons collected two loot pieces and moved to the safety of the nearby forest.

Tallspears, supported by the mage, attacked the exposed flank of the Beast of War. They wounded it badly but it refused to give ground! At least the path to the last loot piece was blocked. For now.

Kingdoms of Men - Turn 5

Kingdoms of Men on the offensive.

The army of Kingodms of Men kept the organized battle line and pushed forward. Badly damaged Tallspears had absolutely no chance to stand against flanking Berserekers and perished. Their companions, however, held their ground against the Beast of War. Surprisingly, Elven mage survived the attack of the General and saved nearby Palace Guard. If he fell then enemy General would easily follow into the flank of the infantry and rout them!

Outcasts - Turn 6

Last gamble.

Elves could not hope to win the battle but if they could block the enemy from snatching the last loot piece then they would at least get a draw. Hence, the remaining elements moved towards their enemies in order to block them from doing so.

But would that be enough and would they really be able to block the enemy?

Kingdoms of Men - Turn 6

The Humans are victorious!

The Knights and the Berserkers attack their chosen targets and two more Elven regiments are utterly destroyed. Although their sacrifice prevented the human units from collecting the last loot piece, it was not enough to stop the General from doing so. With that attempt successful, Kingdoms of Men army emerged victorious!


Turn-by-turn animation summary.

After-battle thoughts

Congratulations to Michael for a well deserved victory! He was patient, kept his army together all the time. He also spotted all the openings I gave him and secured his success! Well done! :)

I made, on the other hand, quite a few mistakes and looking at the game again I simply took too many unnecessary risks.

Starting with the positioning of Storm Wind troop and the Mage with the Lightning Bolt as both didn't have to move that close to the enemy. Then I charged into the middle of the enemy army with not enough support. It was due to the fact I left the opening for the General on the Winged Beast and started reacting to Michael's moves. Instead of having more support I divided my army and allowed it to be destroyed piecemeal.

Even if my very risky attempts to rout the enemy wizards and get my units attacking new foes it was still not clear if I could have prevented the defeat. I actually think it would only limit the margin of it in the end.

In general, I think the following are the areas to improve:

1. Assigning loot tokens and how to protect them/win them from the enemy - assigning these to fast cavalry may not always be the best option. It slows them down dramatically and they are simply not contributing to the plan in their usual manner. They are too expensive to be kept in the rear doing nothing.

2. Managing mobile shooters - while I am very impressed by what can be done with such units, in particular wizards with Lightning Bolts, it seems I fail to use them properly. I constantly keep my fast cavalry either out of action or use them as road blockers. Not exactly what they should be doing here.

3. Using army strengths to the full potential - it seems to me that in this and recent games I forgot how to use speed and maneuverability to my advantage. I don't know at this moment what happened but I need to find out and fix it! :)

Michael made quite an interesting comment about my army after the game. He actually said that the earlier incarnation, the one with archers, 2 bolt throwers but no wizards with Lightning Bolts was a bigger problem than this one.

Is it due to the fact I can play better with units than with heroes? I am still concerned that with the regular shooting it is easier to limit its efficiency with the use of terrain. The maps I am using recently make it quite difficult for a static shooting elements that cannot ignore cover.

But I do remember similar situations when I simply had to improve the tactics with the same elements rather than tweaking the army list.

It is obvious that I made certain mistakes that resulted in defeats and it would have been the outcome regardless of the army composition. However, I wonder which army may pose a bigger threat from the point of view of the potential opponent.

In any case, it is clear to me that I need to stop making these mistakes and learn new tricks anyway!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Hi Swordie, Thanks for the game and finally, after I think 5 years of trying, I got a win.
    After studying your play for I while I sort of adopted your tactics against you - kept the army together and tried to not give you too many openings. I thought if I put the Arquebusiers down first you would deploy on the opposite diagonal to stay away from them and this would give me a tactical advantage in deployment.
    Losing the SW Cav troop T1 really helped freeing up that side of the board and that allowed my general free reign down the left side so that he was easily able to get behind your army and that gave you a dilemma as that is something you don't let happen very often.
    Also losing the LB mage T1 was a bonus as he was a real pain last game we played.
    Your T3 charges were a bit unexpected as I thought you would hold off for at least another turn – I didn’t expect the drakons to be taken out of the fight – I thought you would tie up the tokens with the infantry troops. Not having to have to deal with them was an added bonus. And as you say – after the T3 gamble failed I was able to take your units of reasonably easily with superior combat power.

    1. Hi Michael!

      Great to have your comments! I really appreciate you took time to post them! Thanks!

      I like the explanation about Arquebusiers, it definitely worked! I find such units a great psychological weapon as people don't like to be shot at in general. Here, I was nicely forced to do something that you wanted and that already set me on a back foot. Well done!

      I noticed I tend to leave a bit too more space for the enemy fliers though. In our game it was even more important as I started reacting to the presence of your general when I had to regain the initiative. Instead of doing so, I designed the plan that was way too risky while dividing my army in the process.

      Once again, thanks a lot for the game! I am glad to see you are solidifying some choices for your army and I am looking forward to the next opportunity to meet your army on the field of battle!