Quake & Mourn Campaign: Session 4 Kings of War Report
Last week, Jon, Mattias and Tim and I got together for the fourth session of our summer fantasy campaign. However, we decided to mix it up a bit and play a round of Kings of War, the mass combat fantasy ruleset from Mantic Games. The game operates at about a company level, and the rules and army lists are free to download.
Kings of War's army lists cover a wide variety of fantasy armies, with units that represent or proxy virtually any fantasy unit. Jon and Tim allied to face off against Karl and Mattias. Here's what we played.
- Jon - Clan War fantasy Japanese mostly using the Kingdoms of Men army list
- Tim - Celts and Tharks using the Kingdoms of Men and Ogre army lists
- Karl - Chaos troops using the Kingdoms of Men and Abyssal Dwarves army lists
- Mattias - Chaos invaders using the Twilight Kin (dark elf) list
We played the "Pillage and Kill" scenario, where points are scored for both seizing objectives (six in this case) and killing the enemy. For the purposes of the game, we added a few more rules.
- Players were allowed to keep units in reserve and bring them in at any turn. They could enter the battlefield on either flank up to a number of inches equal to their standard move times the number of turns played.
- A move conducted entirely on the road gives a player a movement boost of 50%.
Both players on a given side would conduct their turns simultaneously.
We each fielded 1500 points. As we were playing on a nearly 7 by 6 foot table -- two feet deeper than a standard Kings of War table -- the first turns were mostly moving.
Tim used the road to great effect moving his Thark cavalry (which counted as six ogre chariots) rapidly towards the center.
I moved up my dragon (listed as an Overlord on Winged Abyssal) and flying vampire (General on Winged Pegasus in the army list) to counter his advance. The dragon made quick work of one of Tim's Thark shooters, but went down in the following turn. The flying vampire met his end shortly thereafter.
On the opposite side of the board, the werewolves' nimble characteristic allowed them to quickly maneuver around the table, causing much havoc before being taken down by a flank attack by Jon's units.
My Chaos Knights, the only unit I placed in reserve, charged out on the fourth turn into the left flank of Jon's dragon. They looked impressive charging down the hill and made some early damage, but were shaken the next turn and routed the following.
In the center, Tim pushed on the attack. His hordes of Warriors supported by the impressive Thark Thoat riders.
Mattias was finally able to defeat the rampaging Thark cavalry, but had moved too far (or not far enough) forward, choices that would hurt him later. I managed to take down a couple of his units, but Tim choose his targets carefully and continued to chew up my force relentlessly.
As we hit the seventh and last turn, a few more of the chaos units went down. Too late, we realized Mattias's movement choices had left him unable to claim one of the objectives on our side of the table, as his artillery was just a bit too far away.
Further, through over-zealous attacking early in the game, I had lost the two flying units that I had counted on to contest the objectives on our opponents' side of the board.
Kings of War requires that an opponent score 20% more points than their opponents in order to win. By the end of the game, Tim and Jon were holding more objectives (300 points per objective) and had killed far more of our units than theirs, so with a 36% lead, the union of Celts, Tharks and Japanese had thoroughly trounced the chaos hordes.
Having only played this Kings of War game about five times, I'm still working out a good strategy for the initial deployment of my units, and I've yet to discover how to use archers effectively. This game was also a good lesson against recklessly charging into battle, even with one's most powerful units. I think we will all be more mindful of the scenario objectives in the future.
Once again Kings of War proves to be a fun game for mass battle fantasy. It's remarkably streamlined, but I still felt that there is enough depth to reward good generalship. Players who enjoy the detail and wealth of flavorful special rules found in Warhammer Fantasy Battle will likely find Kings of War to not be as quite so satisfying. However, Kings of War provides a package of rules that are quick to learn and satisfying to play. This is certainly the largest fantasy game we've ever played, but I look forward to trying even larger games sometime soon.
-- Karl, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member