Sunday, 15 October 2017

Kings of War - Past, Present and Future


I have recently listened to a new episode of the Counter Charge podcast. It was a big one to celebrate the fact at it was episode 200! If you haven't listened to it yet, I really recommend it to any Kings of War enthusiast, here is the link:

Rob and Mark have been delivering fantastic episodes and 200th one was truly special. Congratulations once again! Such a great achievement for sure and it is great to know that they have plans for more! The episode contains some very interesting recollection of the KoW past, the way the game evolved in time and how did the hosts of the podcast participate in that process. It also had a discussion of the way people see that state of the game at the moment and continued with a very interesting discussion about ways the game could evolve in the future.

I have played quite a few games recently and I was more focused on the global campaign but after listening to the podcast I started thinking about the future of Kings of War again. There were some thought provoking ideas in the podcast. Initially I considered short feedback about these but the more I thought about the more it was obvious I may need a bit more space. Hence, I decided it may be a good option to write a post blog instead. :)
As a player I obviously want the game to grow. I don't have knowledge to even discuss any possible ideas how to make it happen. But I can provide feedback based on what I like about the game as it is and hopefully that can be of some value for Mantic too.

Kings of War - the past

I think it is a good idea to start with a simple explanation why I play Kings of War. There are so many different games out there that a person who wants to dwell into a realm of miniatures, painting toy soldiers and then aligning the armies for battle is simply spoiled for choice. 

I was interested in a game that would allow me to use my collection of models to fight battles in fantasy world with rank and file units. 

I also wanted to play a game that was relatively straightforward, i.e. the set of rules should be relatively simple to learn. The reason was that I simply wanted to focus on the game itself.  I didn't want to spend time in searching for the rules in various rule books. Or trying to find a solution where two sources were providing conflicting explanations. 

It was also important that the game of my choice would be known to enough other players so that I would not have trouble finding an opponent, be it locally or online.

In 2015 Mantic was about to release 2nd edition of Kings of War and  I decided to give it a go. After first 2 games I was not yet sure if I want to play it but I liked the fact I could learn the rules fast, use the models I have and focus on developing successful tactics to win my games. 

Kings of War - the present

After two years I can comfortably say I made the right choice and found the game that suits me perfectly. I am still learning how to use my army to the fullest potential but I enjoy my game a lot already. Playing games and writing battle report motivated me to paint more models from the collection I have. 

I made the decision to completely switch to multi-basing and I really enjoy that aspect of modelling. I think it makes units and armies look fantastic, even if the unit base itself is relatively simple. But it also opens some awesome opportunities for creating small dioramas or even entire display boards too. 

Multi-basing is great!

In other words, I seem to be in that perfect situation where I think I have the army I don't want to tweak anymore (even if I haven't much anyway), I want to keep painting new models to replace the old units that need to retire after all these years of service, play games and write report. 

I think I am very close to the perfection now :)

Kings of War - the future

I may be lucky to be in the situation where I have more opportunities to play than I can find time for. There are enough local players to organize regular gaming nights in the local stores. The events attract enough participants, people keep bringing new armies or expand existing ones etc. However, maintaining the interest of the existing players and attracting the attention of the new ones requires some effort anyway. 

Rob and Mark discussed the way players can engage in making the game more popular. I believe I can contribute to that effort a bit too, so let me elaborate on that part now. 

1. Being active in social media.

It goes without saying that thanks to the internet one can reach to a lot of people. I have my personal experience with forums and this blog that show it is a very good option for an individual player to support the game. 

My initial aim with the blog was to have an archive for battle reports. But I realized I can add a bit from myself to make Kings of War more popular by advertising these reports on forums. That is also why I set the twitter and facebook accounts. 

I was also happy to be accepted by much more popular bloggers like Natfka or Creative Twilight for the blog exchange. I was very nicely surprised by the fact that the article I wrote about converting and painting Drakon Riders was considered worthy to be published by GoldenD6, Volomir and BrokenPaintbrush.

Last but not least I was greatly honored to be the guest on Counter Charge podcast itself! 

The main thing these examples show is that there are so many ways of engaging with people all over the world to make Kings of War more popular and that it is what every player can do. You can inspire others, exchange the ideas and simply let other people know that Kings of War is a great game and is worth trying.

I will do my best to continue contributing this way. In addition, there was an advertisement from Mantic itself and I sent an email to Robert Burman that I would be very happy to contribute my battle reports. Hopefully he will find them worthy publishing :)

2. Support local players and shops.

I am very lucky that there are great and experienced tournament organizers as well as shop owners here in Canberra. Matt and Tas are doing a fantastic job organizing the local events at ThreeD6 while Chris is putting a lot of effort to make regular gaming nights at Jolts a thing to attend. 

My little bit is to try and attend as many events as possible to increase the number of participants, to meet new players and do my best to give them as best experience as I can while playing Kings of War. I simply noticed that while tournaments are competitive events they also attract people who may have little opportunities to play otherwise. If I can give them a good and entertaining game then there is a chance they will continue coming on as regulars.

It is probably even more likely to happen with campaigns. That's why I did my best to participate in the Edge of Abyss one and I am very happy to hear there are plans to organize a local campaign. Such events allow for even more casual games with a bit less time constraint. 

As we play in the local stores it also generates more traffic and I hope that also adds a bit for their owners. I believe that playing in their venues more often will show that Kings of War players are active and that it is a good idea to keep Mantic products in stock.

Kings of War - Mantic plans

Rob and Mark were discussing the options Mantic could consider to grow Kings of War further. Personally, I don't think I have enough understanding of the business to discuss if it is better to support 20+ armies or is it more feasible to focus on fewer factions, for example. 

I definitely agree that regular release of new models is important to maintain the interest of the existing players and to attract new ones. Even if I don't plan to buy the new models I want Mantic to succeed in producing new and high quality armies. 

It is, of course, difficult to make everyone perfectly happy, some would say impossible. However, it seems to me that as the game of Kings of War contains different aspects that are attractive to different players it may still be worthy considering how to address them.

It depends on how many resources Mantic can allocate to each. However, I can say that as a player who already has a collection of models, I can definitely support them by buying new supplements rather than new units. Hence, I am very happy to know there is a new Source Book coming and that Clash of Kings 2018 is going to be released too. 

I would be even more happy if there are annual campaign books, especially if they provided opportunities for games that are different to what one can play by following either the rulebook or Clash of Kings scenarios. 

Here is one thing I hope Mantic can consider. I would like to support my local stores by buying Mantic books from them. Last year, however, one would need to wait really long to be able to do so. It was much easier (although significantly more expensive) to order the same product online. I hope it can be addressed somehow so that local stores can place the order earlier and receive the products at the same time as everyone else in the world. This way players Down Under would not feel excluded and local stores would be able to support Kings of War.

I will probably write a 2017 summary in December but I can already say it really feels good to be involved in Kings of War and I am very enthusiastic about upcoming releases. I think the time from the release of 2nd edition was great, Kings of War grew and I can't wait to see what 2018 can bring!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great sum up Swordmaster. If you like your podcasts, can I also recommend unplugged radios kow podcast. It was the humour of these guys that made me a repeat listener.

    1. Hi Knoffles!

      Thanks for comment and a recommendation. I will definitely give Unplugged Radio a try too. Podcasts are great for painting sessions, I just need to do it more often and regularly :)

      What's also funny is that when I wrote the post down I immediately started thinking about other things I haven't mentioned yet. Hm, I may try to edit the post later ... or maybe just leave it for now and get back to the topic next year?

  2. I agree with you. That is a very valid point you bring up. Thank you for sharing this very informative and well explained post with us
    12:33 PM World History

  3. Thank you for that summary! i've been reading your blog for a while, i really enjoy your style of writing battle reports: it's one of the things that's been getting me interested in playing the game myself to be honest. And it's neat for a newcomer like me to see what's been going on for a while.

    I'm trying to learn more about the Historical side of the game myself. I wonder how much that book has had acceptance in the wider Kings of War community, i like it personally but it's hard to tell.

    But that's another subject. Thank you again for your excellent writing, here and throughout this blog.

    1. HI amazingturtles!

      Thank you very much for your comments, I am very happy to know you like the reports and find them helpful too! I am sorry I have not provided any new games recently but I intend to attend a local event this Saturday so that should be addressed.

      I really like KoW: Historicals because it allows to play some cinematic battles with a familiar system. I do not have miniatures, however, so it may be my next project some day. New models from Victrix attracted my attention, for instance.

      I also considered using my 10mm scale Successors with KoW: Historicals rules as I know some people do it. It looks really great too!

      We have at least one player in the local group who brings his Romans now and again to either casual games or tournaments. I believe that in general, people don't mind other players bringing historical armies as long as they are ok with playing against fantasy counter parts. In the events historical armies are being allowed to play too but the rules are still for fantasy version. For example, hills are not considered to be a difficult terrain.

      Another impression I read about is that it may be more challenging to play with historical armies against the fantasy ones. In the worst case scenario players who collect historical forces may use them as Kingdoms of Men armies instead with exactly the same units they already have.

      I guess there is no harm in asking your local players if they are interested in such games and if you intend to attend the event just drop a message to the organizers about it.

      Which historical period are you interested in and what faction do you collect/plan to build?

      Thanks again for your kind words and don't hesitate to comment more often! I am always looking for feedback :)


    2. That was a lot of very helpful information! Yeah, kindoms of men are my backup plan. I've always liked the "ancient" period, though that's such a broad area! the hellenistic age is what's always fascinated me, but the army i was planning on using from the historical books is probably Thracians. I like the idea of hard hitting infantry backed by peltasts. Plus i already have some of them!

      That's good to know about the fantasy rules being used in events. I'm guessing that applies to things like the artefacts too?

      I'll probably be around here some more since i got up the courage to comment now.

    3. Welcome back!

      My understanding is that when you build an army you can use the upgrades from the KoW: Historical and the related special rules. However, the rules for terrain do not apply. There was some discussion among local players about skirmishing units too, which was related to scoring for the purpose of the scenario.

      The good thing is that KoW: Historical is really not that far away from its Fantasy version which helps in playing both games in parallel.

      Looking forward to hearing from you again! No need to be shy :)