Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fantasy: KOW Batrep

Kings of War. I tried Kings of War first way back with the original beta lists. It can't have made that much of a favourable impression on me as I didn't blog it. It has accumulated a bit more detail since then. The official Kingdoms of Men army list has pikemen, and a warbeast. The Beta League of Rogaria list allows Halflings, war-engine (aka Steam Tank), pike, volley guns and even a war-alter. I think the game definitely needed more flavour than it originally had in the lists. The rules are just as stripped down as they ever were, but there have been tweaks. The outcome of this is the IGO (and you do nothing while I go) system no longer works as oddly as it initially did. First go of the V2 system was vs Andy, since he seems to prefer more streamlined rules to me any way and Kings of War looked like it would be perfect for him.

We did 2000pts. My army is at the bottom of the pic. Two 40 fig hordes of Pike anchor the centre. You definitely do get to put down big armies with this game. The flipside is supposed to be that 2000pts is a tournament size and you should be able to do 90 minute games with both players on a 45min chess clock. This works better in a lot of other games as the player whose turn it is moves and rolls everything.

The first adjustment I am going to need to make is that charges are really far in this game. Double move with no dice involved. Andy's army was emulating his usual forces of Dol Guldur/Darkness mixing orcs and spirits. Here Wraiths smash into scout cav on my far flank. I am too new at this game to realise, but this was the beginning of the end for that whole side of the table due to the rules and the knock on outcomes it produces.

More death-dealing monsters and Wraiths on the other flank but at least on this side the line is anchored with hard-bitten Ogres with Blunderbusses and the Guardsmen of Bravast.

With the Wraiths stuck in front of the Scouts, I decided to make my push a little closer into the centre with my two units of Knights and the mounted General along to provide morale rerolls. Casualties and morale are tracked as one statistic in this game.

And at first the plan went great. One unit of orcs was annihilated and so removed completely from a single knightly charge! Pity there were plenty more where they came from and here the IGO-UGO will bite me hard. I got to go, and everything seemed great when I was doing things.... but then Andy will get to go and enjoy the same unhindered freedom.

The Pike horde in the centre was doing well too, even if  these are supposed to be armoured Pike. However due to Mantic's cheekiness I was using the stripped down list with no such option. The way they pitched the rules release you would get the rules if you signed up to their newsletter. Turns out no newsletter required and the lists they gave missed about a third (including a lot of the interesting things) of the units AND no magic items. By the time I realised and we tried to work out was to do with Andy's V1 list, we just decided to roll with it. I will be using the beta spreadsheet from now on, they could have avoided a pretty confusing first impression of the game if they had just used a bit more plain truth in marketing...

Andy had managed to find an appropriate profile for this cool drake model using the V1 Twilight Kin list. Unlike the mess on my other flank, he ended up having to hunt the weaker crossbow while my elite infantry and Ogres were ready and waiting to counter-punch.

It's hard to position 200mm+ frontage units. Who knew? The V1 lists allow Trolls to be bought individually and here they are all over my flanks on Andy's turn. I take a lot of hits but a Horde of Pike with army banner to bolster them do not break so easily.

My Ogres however pose a bit of a puzzle and the Wraiths mill about in front of them.

My turn again and more push of Pike in the middle. I get to reface after that which is crucial to mending my flanks as I edge ever close to break point with each combat. The effect of hitting a flank in this game is double attacks.

And the rear is triple! Yep here is my problem: unless you are on the end and things are clear around you, flanking one thing exposes your Flank and potentially Rear to the enemy. Somehow my Scout Cavalry were holding on. Probably because there were juicier targets. Luckily there were two whole units of Knights (a 5th of my total points alone) adjacent to help out, right?

This expanse of white space is what was left of the Knights and General after they were beaten down by massed Axe-Orcs with crushing strength (2). You can see more pike and Muskets getting ready to take the follow-on attacks but that is the cream of my strike power gone for overall not enough damage. If your units get out of position, the IGO UGO nature of this game allows your opponent to really punish your error.

The left flank was much better. We called it for time at the end of this turn and by that stage Andy was the clear winner with no realistic way to come back vs his numerical advantage. Not only had the right flank folded but the front unit of pike were also wiped out. Everyone else would just be flanked and so quickly decimated.

Good game, Andy. Despite the crushing defeat I did have fun. The rules aren't bad and far less arbitrary than WHFB. I recognise them as a good set with an eye to quick balanced tournament set. Combos are inherently limited by the list design. Only one magic item per unit for example and overall the set of units and stats is in a focused band with no 'design by exception' to muddy things up. So if you want to win your list.
Also see how I got nearly all my Fantasy Humans on the table? Given the collection is a total 'Kitchen Sink', that's impressive as the game did not bog down. Sure I have more I can add but this game is definitely the best I've tries for fielding lots of our toys at once.

Next up this weekend. More Kings of War vs Jason. Longer term: I've been reading Warthrone and taking notes. I like it even more than I initially did. There are key differences to how I did things in terms of the Sequence of actions (ie Warthrone is more like War of the Ring, Kings of War and WHFB) but there are a lot of cool additions over the other games in other areas. Can't wait to try it, even if the list selection is currently a little limited in English Language.

Thanks for reading.

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