Sunday, April 10, 2016

Loving Kings of War!

Hi folks!

Long time no update.

So. The way I can tell I really, really like Kings of War is:

- I can't get enough reading about it: blogs, forums, the facebook group etc
- I have actually finished an army for it (Undead)
- I want to paint pretty much  EVERY army for it (I have started on Orcs, Goblins, Salamanders, Varangur, Abyssals, and am eyeballing Empire of Dust and Forces of Nature so far). I'll insert some photos of the stuff I've painted (or WIP) throughout this post.
- I have played no less than 4 games in the last ~ 2 months. FOUR!

Now, that last point is really important. Four...that sounds like nothing right? But I actually packed up my army, went to a gaming club and/or person's house, and played a full game. That is like...unheard of for me. I haven't done that in like 10+ years (i.e. since having kids) and even back then my games were much less frequent.

The first unit I painted - Skeletons!

So yeah, I reeaaallly like Kings of War. It's nice to have finally found a game that is "just right" for me and my current life-style:

- I like fantasy more than sci-fi, steam punk or historical (although I do like pretty much everything)
- I like massed army more than skirmish or "big loose army" games (40K)
- the game I used to play the most was WFB


- my games of WFB were really long to set up, play and take down.
- I have way less time to play than I used to.
- many armies needed lots and lots of figures (usually rank and file) painted. Such as Skaven.
- I have a lot less time to paint than I used to.
- WFB (8th) was relatively complex.
- I have way less mental bandwidth for remembering rules minutia than I used to. Like way less. Work, family and general adulting have added so much stress and stuff to remember that I just get tired even trying to contemplate dense, detailed rule-sets.

Privateer models used as Wights for my Undead army
So along comes Kings of War 2nd Edition. When the first edition came out, to me it just seemed like a weaker version of WFB - I didn't really see the point in playing it. Plus the armies, models, fluff all seemed sub-par as compared to GW.
My very cool  looking Mantic Balefire catapult that never, ever hits a target.

My fast-as-hell, deadly Werewolves
Fast-forward to today:

- The rules are JUST right for my taste. They lead to engaging, tactical games that are very satisfying to play out, and don't bog down or lead to wins/losses based on finding loopholes or getting off one giant spell. As my friend put it "I feel like I can enjoy the spectacle of the game and these armies because I'm not wracking my brain and sorting through books and papers to play it!".  Bingo.  My middle-aged brain loves this game.  It's really easy to learn and to remember, but not "thin" or shallow.

- It's fast to play (relatively speaking). Usually a game of WFB took about 4-5 hours to play for my friends and I. This takes about 1.5-2 hours I think? For a good size 1500-2000 point game.

My zombie horde against a horde of Salamanders!

- I'm not sure what it is, but I've really grown to like the Mantic models. Even the much-maligned Dwarfs!  The only ones I'm not super fond of are the elves and goblins. But I like the Orcs, Abyssals, Undead, (Dwarfs),  Ogres and really like some of the new Forces of Nature stuff coming down the pipe, especially the Salamanders. It seems like Mantic's models are getting better with each new release.

My first unit of Mantic Orc Ax's

- I love the flexibility that fixed unit base sizes allows. That sounds contradictory I just realized....but for example you don't have to have the exact number of troops on a unit tray because you don't remove individual casualties. So you can "multibase" your unit. Meaning you can glue (or rank up) like 50%+1 of the unit size or more (that's the minimum) and you are good to go. And in fact it allows you (me) to try a new aspect of the hobby in terms of making interesting/cool multibases!  And on top of that, you don't have to use all Mantic models (even in Mantic tournaments) so what I really enjoy is looking online (even at GW) to find models to use for certain units. If I don't like a particular Mantic sculpt (which still does happen a fair bit) I just pick something from another manufacturer to use.

Getting a jump on a Salamanders force with GW Saurus
Revenant Cavalry using GW Black Knights
- the rules and forces feel very balanced. All but my very first game were close matches. The first game I got crushed, but it was a great learning experience.

So to sum up:
- easy to learn and play but not shallow or sacrificing depth
- nice, affordable models and high flexibility in terms of model count and manufacturer
- fast to play which fits my busy life nicely

I think I'm going to be sticking with Kings of War for quite a while - as long as I can still find opponents nearby of course. So far Age of Sigmar seems to be gaining steam locally, but there is still a healthy group of KoW players too.  I hope the game continues to grow in popularity.

Mantic, Privateer and GW models in a recent match


  1. One of us...One of us... Hehe !
    I love this game too for most of the same reasons as you. This made me come back to fantasy in more than skirmish games.

  2. It's good to find something you like and can play with fellow gamers. Kings of War is on my list, personally I enjoy skirmish games more than mass battle, but will definitely give it a whirl some time. Nice pics too :)

  3. I should probably give this game a try, as I really miss playing games of Warhammer Fantasy. But for all the same reasons as you listed, I just haven't played it much for close to a decade (ah, middle age woes).

    That being said, I have a hard time with the concept of NOT using individual minis as a form of "unit hit-points" though. I dunno why... I just like the idea of seeing units shrink as they get whittled down / slaughtered.

    And I think I miss the backstory and fluff of the Old World in Fantasy most of all. So much of my youth was spent obsessed with reading all the army books and novels, that when AoS came out, I absolutely hated the fact that they killed everything off in order to launch some sort of "otherworld afterlife" setting.

    I have no investment in the KoW fluff yet, and it's hard to imagine it's good enough to be very compelling compared to the good old days of Warhammer Fantasy.

    But it's good to hear that the game mechanics sound solid.

  4. Its been great seeing you out at the club Jarrett. Glad you've found a new system of enjoyment.

  5. Great painting, and I really like how you've based them.

    I've recently played my first few games of KoW (first games of *anything* in a few years.) So far my feelings on the game are almost identical to yours, and for the same reasons. It's not my idea game, but I also don't have the ideal time to commit to gaming -- so it's a good fit for me. I'm looking forward to playing some more.

  6. I haven't played yet, but it seems like a great alternative for the old school fantasy feel. While I've enjoyed painting 40k more, I always enjoyed the challenge and strategy that was required for fantasy so if ever I get back into the gaming side I will have to give this a go.

  7. Those Wight substitutes look superb!:)