Friday 25 November 2016

Kings of Cro-Nation 1 - Game 1 - Elves and FoN - 2016/11/25

First game during the  Kings of Cro-Nation 1 and it was already Civil War! I had a pleasure to play against Richard aka fued and his 4 "dragon" army! Fighting against 1-2 big fliers is a challenge for me and here I have 4! :) But the best way to learn how to deal with the enemy is by facing it. 

Let's have a look at Richard's army again:
Elves - Army List

40 Kindred Archers, Horde, Heart-seeking Chant - 280
- Dragon Kindred Lord, Hero (Monster), Blade of Slashing - 315

40 Kindred Archers, Horde, Brew of Keen-eyeness - 295
- Dragon Kindred Lord, Hero (Monster) - 310

3 Forest Shamblers, Regiment - 125
- Dragon Kindred Lord, Hero (Monster) - 310

Forces of Nature Allies 

3 Forest Shamblers, Regiment - 125
Beast of Nature, Monster, Fly, Vicious, Lightning Bolt - 240

Only 8 elements in the army, that is probably the lowest I have faced so far. Potentially it gives me an advantage but in this case it is nicely negated by the fact half of the army is incredibly maneuverable. But let's start with the shooters.

2 x 40 Kindred Archers  - 20 shooting attacks each, with Elite means that they will harm even the units with the best armor. One of them has additional Piercing (1) while another has +1 to hit that simply means the expected number of casualties will be higher. 

The horde formation means that they can take some hits and keep fighting so I had to find a way to shut them down quickly. I had some fast elements that could do this but reaching the Archers may not be easy. I would need some cover for sure. But once engaged the Archers may not be tough enough to survive the second wave attack. I just needed to make sure I had that second line intact and close to follow up.

3 x Dragon Kindred Lord  - the most dangerous part of the army. A single Dragon is already very dangerous beast. Very maneuverable, fast, with very good armor and high nerve, it is quite a task to hunt one down. It can hit hard even in a frontal attack. If something is tougher, you can always send more than one against it because there will be room for all the Dragons to charge. In addition, 15 breath attacks each (with Elite!) means they have an effective range of 22". As this type of an attack is not affected by cover or movement, it is indeed a very dangerous weapon.

The most difficult part for me is the fact that thanks to such a huge level of flexibility it is hard to predict what the Dragon will do next. And trying to cover all angles may mean that I start reacting to the movement of the enemy. 

I intended to try to hunt them down regardless. First, as they didn't have usual protective artifacts, they could be harmed by my own shooting. Defense 5+ is great but it still allows for some attacks to do damage. Then it would be important to attack them, possibly with one of the fast elements, to pin them down. Again, I need a second wave to help but if I can do some damage with shooting, then some more with first charge then the second attack should have a good chance to finish the beast.

Easier said than done, of course, and because there are 4 big fliers there it means there will be a high price to pay for any of such attempts.

2 x 3 Forest Shamblers - These two regiments are very interesting addition, that seems to be an odd element of the otherwise fast army. However, with Vanguard, good armor and the fact they cannot be wavered they are very useful. Their role is to distract the enemy, be a road blocker and allow the Dragons to move to the favorable position. At 125 points per regiment it is quite a good price for what they bring to the table.

Beast of Nature - fourth "dragon". Thanks to the allied regiment of Shamblers a fourth big flier can be incorporated. Otherwise the rule of three of the same kind would have been violated. It brings longer range attacks and while armored as well as dragons, it does not have such high nerve value. From the gaming point of view I wonder if there was actually a need for 4th big flier. But here it was and I had to apply the same approach in hunting it down. In fact, due to lower nerve it was a bit easier to get it, at least in theory.

Richard's army had an obvious shooting advantage. It could hit harder on a smaller frontage, it protected the points better and was highly maneuverable. Despite small number of units it could still control enough zones/tokens to win scenarios. Expensive dragons are ideal for Dominate or Invade too. 

I didn't have much time to consider the best approach so I simply decided I wanted to avoid first turn shooting by deploying out of range of the archers. I also hoped to use the advantage in units number to make charge attempts too risky and to have enough elements left to counter the enemies that decided to commit anyway.

Deployment and Scenario

Battle field.

There were three types of terrain on the table:

Hills - height 1
Blocking - height 4
Pond - height 0, difficult

The battle field looked quite open so my first reaction was to use the hill and the blocking terrain on each flank as covers. That meant I decided to split the army in two and see if there were openings on any flanks to exploit. 

The scenario was Control. I thought that starting from each flank would give me a good chance to leave 2 units to control these areas and focus on winning 2 other, preferably with 1 of them being the center zone that gave extra objective points. 

The difficulty also lied in the fact that in Control it matters how expensive the units are. So in order to counter a single dragon I would need to have 2-3 units of my own in the same zone. Another option would be to reduce the number of enemy elements to 3 because that means they can control half of the board at best. And gives me chance at least for a draw.

In both cases I still need to keep enough units too. The minimum would be 6 so that I can potentially have one per zone.

Armies ready to begin Civil War.

Deployment after vanguard.

I won the roll off and decided to take first turn so that I could move to the positions on the right flank quicker. 

Outcasts - Turn 1

Outflanking on the right ...

And playing it safe on the left.

The Outcasts had to act swiftly to be able to keep the same pace of maneuvers as the enemy was capable of. The units on the right flank moved forward but due to the distance only the Sahmblers were in range for the shooters. 

At the same time the units on the left tried to tighten their formation even more!  

Elves - Turn 1

The dragons focus on the left flank

The power of the Elven shooting.

The Dragon Kindred army decided it is a good idea to focus on the left flank and deal with that part of the Outcasts' army first. Hence, all the dragons flew towards that direction. The archers on that flank moved at a double too so that they would be ready to shoot at any enemy unit soon.

In the meantime, the units on the other flank moved to defensive positions. Keen-eyed archers spotted the enemy commander who in his arrogance moved a bit too far and shot at him. The unexpected shower of arrows unnerved his mount and he had to focus on regaining control now!

Outcasts - Turn 2

First charges!

Dragon hunt begins.

The Outcasts pressed on the right flank, destroying the Shamblers on their way. The second wave was following while the shooters aimed at the nearest dragon. The beast roared in pain as quite a few arrows pierced its thick scales.

What would be the enemy response?

Elves - Turn 2

The dragons attack!

Powerful strike!
The two dragons on the left flank both chose to spit fire at Palace Guard units. The troop perished first, while the regiment could not hold after being a target for the enemy archers too. 

On the opposite flank the third dragon and the second unit of archers aimed at Drakon riders but this time the unit of Outcast army managed to survive and stay in battle. Last but not least, the Beast of Nature charged against the knights and obliterated them! 

The Outcasts have just lost three units, that was indeed a powerful strike!

Outcasts - Turn 3

Outcasts strike again.

Not all the attacks were successful though.

The coordination between the units was not perfect so the Outcasts had to continue the attack to reclaim better positioning on the right flank. 

The drakons charged the archers to disrupt their formation while Palace Guard pinned down the Beast of Nature. In fact, the attack was very successful and the Beast had to limp back to lick the numerous wounds.

At the same time the drakons and Storm Wind cavalry on the left flank wanted to repeat the result of their companions but somehow they could not land the blows. Instead of destroying the Shamblers they were now in a very bad spot to receive the counter attack.

Elves - Turn 3

Dragons attack again!

Left flank is lost.

This time the dragons didn't engage their enemies directly but breathed fire at them again. The drakons survived but were wavered. Nearby knights didn't fare better as the attack of Shamblers wavered them too.

On the right flank third Dragon stomped Palace Guard to death and the Archers managed to rout badly damaged drakons too. But both big fliers were not in a good shape either.

Outcasts - Turn 4

2 large fliers down!

2 to go!

With the left flank as well as gone, the Outcasts were determined to win something on the right. The Drakon Lord attacked the archers again to disrupt their formation. That bought time for the Chariots to attack the Beat of Nature and finish it off! Then the shooters all aimed at a dragon and killed it too!

Was there still some hope for the Outcasts?

Elves - Turn 4

Dragon Kindred does not plan to give away the initiative.

Two more units perish.

The second of the Drakon Riders units finally meets its end. But the nearby knights still remain alive although they can only defend themselves now.

The shooters exposed themselves while hunting one dragon and allowed another one to attack from behind. That meant the death of Silver Breeze unit.

The archers tried to repeat the successful counter charge but this time the Drakon Lord was not even shaken.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Desperate attacks of the Army Standards.

Archers are finally routed!

Drakon Lord and Chariots continued their attack and charged the enemy Archers. This time the unit was finally routed.

Silver Breeze cavalry used their speed to move away from the dragons and claim control over one of the strategic zones.

Sea Guard and mage were left behind and tried to aim at the Shamblers but still could not damage them enough to destroy them.

Elves - Turn 5

Damn Elven shooting :)

Dragons claim next victim.

The Shamblers finally defeat the knights completely and start marching towards the right flank. One of the Dragons attacks Army Standard but somehow the brave knight survives!

Unfortunately, the War Chariots are not that lucky as enemy archers inflict enough damage to rout them. To make things worse, the Drakon Lord, although not fried to death by a dragon breath, wavers and cannot fly away to safety.

Outcasts - Turn 6

The battle is lost but ...

Bracing for impact.

The Outcasts are withdrawing. Only Sea Guard tries to inflict some more damage but they still cannot damage the Shamblers!

Elves - Turn 6

The Drakon Lord survives!

Was that the last charge?

The Dragon attacks the wounded Drakon Lord but he miraculously survives! (Edit: Richard was kind enough to roll double 1's! :) )

But the battle was about to continue for a while.

Outcasts - Turn 7

Sea Guard cannot find their mark.

The last attempt to  destroy Shamblers failed :(

The only thing Outcasts can do now is to shoot at the Shamblers one last time but yet again they cannot finish the stubborn walking trees.

Elves - Turn 7

Last charge of the Dragons.

The dragons attack one more time. Lucky Drakon Lord this time stands no chance and is finally destroyed. The Sea Guard, however, holds the line.

With the battle field under control the Dragon Kindred is clearly victorious.


Turn-by-turn animation summary

After-battle thoughts

Congratulations to Richard for a well deserved victory! He played to the strengths of his army and exploited my mistakes. Well done!

After the battle I was still happy to get 3 tournament points (I lost 17:3 after modification of the score based on the attrition points difference) and that I managed to hunt down half of the enemy army. Well, almost :)

When I looked at the game again and while writing this report I must admit I learned more than I thought at the beginning.

First of all, I concluded that my plan to divide the army and hide each part to avoid shooting was not a good one. I should have deployed with a single battle line to use the open middle ground for my shooting too. If I started just out of 30" from the archers I could still move my faster troops into range for some shooting in my turn. I could target one horde and while I don't expect to rout it in one go it would have helped to do so quicker.

At the same time fast units would approach the enemy either to engage the shooters or to try in pin down the dragons.

Another conclusion was that it was better to be second. First, Richard would have to move into the range of my shooting and possibly fast troops. If he did I could attack some of his units while still being able to shoot at something. If he kept his archers out of range they would not have shot either. And being second helps to send the units in the last turn to the right zones.

Even with the deployment I had I believe I could have done better. I obviously made mistakes. First one was to move Drakon Lord into range of Archers. I thought I am away but I should have made sure that he was.

Next, pivoting Storm Wind and not leaving any of the fast troops on the left flank to attack the dragons when they got close was bad. I also think there was no need for both army standards to be on the left flank, one was enough. And that extra model was needed more on the right flank. If only to add points for the sake of scenario.

Another mistake was not coordinating the units on the right flank enough so that I could not see the attacking enemy units after they finished combats. That slowed me down and cost me some units that I could have potentially saved if I could attack together. Not positioning Drakon Lord in range for Drakons to get inspired when countered by the Archers was another error. The wounded unit had good chances for survival so that re-roll was really important. And I still could move my Lord in a way that allowed to threaten the flank of the beast if necessary.

I unnecessary exposed one of the fast cavalries when I wanted it to add to the shooting against the dragon. I wanted to make sure it was dead but that was still a mistake. If I kept that unit alive I would have had better ranged attacks options and maybe I would have finished the Shamblers. Not to mention keeping fast unit that could add the points to claim the control over the zones that mattered.

If I had that extra unit left and if I managed to reduce the enemy army to 2 dragons and Archers there was a possibility to save the draw. My reasoning is as follows. I could move Sea Guard and fast cavalry to my center zone to have more points than dragon is worth to claim control over it. With correct positioning, I could keep them exactly on the border between the zones so that I could claim the one in which the dragon is.

Then in the top center zone I needed a bit of luck to keep the Drakon Lord and Fast Cavalry alive to keep them in two zones. That would have ensured I have 2 points vs 2. Of course it is all with the benefit of a hindsight but now I know better what to aim for!

Richard's army was tough but I think it could be even more difficult to deal with if he had two dragons, one with 6+ defense and another with 5+ regeneration and used his points for wizards with bane chant and additional units.

I hope these lessons will help me next time and I am looking forward to the opportunity for a re-match!

Thanks for reading!


  1. After reading a lot of your battle reports, it looks like the power gamers from WH have found a home in KOW. I guess that I shouldn't be surprised, but it is a little disheartening.

    1. Hi Stuart!

      Thanks a lot for your comment!

      Well, there are always players who will try to get the best army the rules allow. The definition of power gaming also varies among the players. And while this particular army was indeed tough, I actually enjoyed the game. Mainly because Richard was a good opponent. And for me that is an important part.

      You are also going to have one-dimensional armies or those that do not use too much variety in composition. Again, it is not too bad as long as the player is a friendly opponent. This way I can actually learn something from the game. This one was no exception and looking at the report I can see that I lost mainly due to many mistakes on my part rather than because the army I faced was so powerful.

      I gained valuable experience and while I am far from claiming how to hunt the dragons at least I know I have some tools that can work.

      It may be sometimes disheartening to face powerful armies and I have my own "favorite" that I think are quite lame. But I also found that if I complain about them it rarely makes any difference. I'd rather try and hone my own skills against such forces, trying not to lose and maybe even see I have a good chance to win. If that happens then I hope to achieve a few goals in the process. First, learn how to put up a fight against armies that are potentially stronger. Second, show my fellow players that there are other ways to win.

      Basically, focus on the positive aspects and keep encouraging people to play with armies that offer more variety and are not necessary weaker as the first impression suggests. It is of course a longer path but I am optimistic :)

    2. The big difference between WHFB and KoW is that in WHFB it would be impossible for a casual player with a fluffy army to win against a powerplayer (or against any competative army). But in KoW you can bring most army compositions and it is mostly down to plater skills, and not "netlists", to win games. I'm playing an all infantry dwarf list and I can still perform (and im not even a very good player).

      So Don't worry too much about these kinds of "power" armies. When you face them a couple of times the weakness of the armies becomes apparent. And keep being grateful that this is not WHFB and that GW never got a say in the making of the KoW rules.

    3. Thanks for the comment!

      KoW seems like a game that supports variety. Even if it may take more time to learn how to win with a particular army, I believe it can be done.

      The challenge is that there are so many possibilities out there, even if you don't include allies, that it is a bit more difficult to be prepared for a particular opponent. Maybe that is also the reason why this particular one looked so powerful for the people without much of experience?

      In any case, it was a good game and I not worried about such armies at all! And I do enjoy KoW a lot! :)

    4. I can guarantee t9a is the home of the powergamer, not KoW.

    5. Hi Andrew,

      Thanks a lot for your comment!

      I'm a bit sad to know that T9A may be the home of the powergamer. It is tough job to design the game that is tactically challenging, diverse and does not have loopholes that allow people to be gamey.

      I wonder how to promote the approach where you focus on how to outsmart the opponent by tactical manoeuvring, the use of terrain and good positioning of the army rather than by powergaming. What the particular system allows is only one part of the equation. Hopefully at least majority of players are interested in such approach rather than winning at all cost.


  2. Thank the abyss for war trombones.

    1. Yes, I hear they are very efficient against dragons :)