Friday, June 3, 2011

Kings of War - A review

Oh man! Long time ( please accept this You Tube video as an apology) Hand cannon has been going well though. And for all of you following this blog thank you :) here is a preview of the new article I recently finished on a kings of war review.  This is a great game. Something that I believe should replace Warhammer.

What happens when former GW employees decide to break away and indulge their creative desires? No, not genetically altered moles that look like goblins, you get Kings of War. This is a new large-scale table top warfare game that at first glance will have people saying, “Oh that’s just like Warhammer”. If someone sees this game, says that and you are around tell them they are wrong and should feel bad for saying such things. Then hit them with a stick. This is most definitely not Warhammer.

I was fortunate enough to see this newly released UK based game in action. A friendly Boston area player of the game ran some very well done demos at the local gaming store. While going through the process of learning the game the thing that struck me most was the fluidity of the rules. There was little to no referencing of the rules, and game play was concluded in about 45 minutes. I can’t play a game of Warhammer: Warbands in 45 minutes! 

The armies in this game are composed of block units just like Warhammer. The difference is that your units are purchased in blocks: such as 5 troop, 20 troop or 40 troop blocks. These units then have base statistics that are dependent on the size of the unit. During the game no troops are removed from the unit, that unit is either alive or dead. Period. No fumbling with ranking, no piles of dead bodies on the side of the board and it affords many good modeling opportunities.

The statistics of these troops are very easy to read and understand too. If a unit has a melee score of 4 that means it needs 4 or better to hit. If it has 10 attacks it rolls 10 dice. Then to wound you look at the defense stat of your opponent, if it is say a 5, then you need to roll your hits and get 5 or better to inflict a wound. And a unit is destroyed when it reaches 0 wounds right? Wrong.

The only way to destroy a unit is to make it route. A unit tests to route after each wound it takes. How this works is the opponent rolls two dice, and adds the wounds to the result. You then add the wounds and subtract the unit’s “nerve”. If the result is 7 or less it is fine. Above that means the unit is either shaken ( incurs certain penalties on it’s turn) or routes ( dies and is removed from the board).

That’s it. I was shocked. There are of course a few movement rules and simple modifiers on shooting and some special abilities that can modify die rolls but the rules turned out to be incredibly simple. While playing and watching the game in action I found things to run incredibly smoothly and quickly.

There are a number of other simple rules that set this game apart as well. Combat, for instance, takes place only on your turn. After combat one unit is pushed away from the other. There are cool unit upgrades that can be taken too. My favorite being: throwing mastiffs for the dwarves. This “pet upgrade” ( each race has one) is the dwarves taking a dog with a handle, and throwing it at the enemy. The dog then mauls the chosen victim. There is even a model for it! 

So it’s a large-scale war game, expensive right? Well certainly not what everyone is used to spending. The good folks at Mantic games (the producers of Kings of War) have taken their extensive gaming experience and created elegant plastic and resin models that are highly affordable. The scale is even right. No more looking like your knights are riding ponies or your orcs have some sort of huge head syndrome going on. Their army boxes can be procured for as little as $100.00, and that seems, to me at least, to be a fully functioning army.

The models are well thought out too. These aren’t throw-away bendy plastic things that you will never paint. The quality and expression of models is wonderful when you consider the company is new, and it’s a large scale warfare game. In fact I know some people that take these models and substitute them for their logical GW counterparts ( though that was before the game was released…)

All in allthis game rocks. As far as large scale wargames go this is the one to watch. Unfortuantly since it is relativly new you might have some problems finding opponents, but if you have a gaming group that wants to get into it this is the way to go. 9/10 for it's genre. Super fun. 

Now for some eye candy for all you readers out there. 

First of all some Infinity Morats that I did for my favorite client! 

I have been working on some gators too, this one i modded up to look like bowser:

And finally Caliban the Grave Walker with a custom base:

Peace out all, I hope things find everyone well! I will try and post some more cool stuff eventually. I have some pretty cool irons in the fire, I hope they heat up!

- Steve (Terrasaur menace)

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