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A Veteran's Take On Kings Of War 2Nd Ed.


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#1 Gorrin

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 12:24 PM

I would describe myself as a veteran casual gamer. The first wargames I played in the late-seventies were from the Usborne Battle Books, I arrived at Warhammer in the mid-1980s as an impressionable teenager due in part to memories of Radio 4’s LOTR serialisation. Yes, that kind of veteran (otherwise known as an old git). In between I played various historical rulesets with names like “To the Sound of the Guns”; “Cry Havoc” and “Fire and Fury” and Fantasy sets like “The Necromancer’s Bane”. At least 30 years’ experience. I’m that kind of veteran.

 

A week or so before Christmas, I watched with horror as the start of a “Dropzone Commander” game was held up by 40 minutes by one of the players laying across one of the table edges while he “checked LOS” to get the absolutely perfect deployment position. This is why I rarely, if ever, play competition games. This kind of opponent (“<unts” as I call them) is my idea of absolute hell, they are a perfect advert for solo wargaming – but good for little else. Spending 40 minutes arguing over line of sight does not make you a tactical genius, it makes you an expert in the art of £uckwittery. I’m that kind of casual.

 

As a dyed-in-the-wool Oldhammerer of the 3rd edition vintage, I know little of later versions. I’m sure we all have our favourite, while quietly ignoring the fact that there were dozens and dozens of other “fantasy mass battle” rulesets available, we went with the one with the biggest marketing budget. That’s the way of the world. “Warhammer isn’t mass battle…” Rick Priestley himself said “…it’s a punch-up in a pub car-park!”

 

I played my first game of Kings of War 2nd Edition about two weeks ago, and I just wanted to share my lumbering, poorly-constructed, badly-written ten cents’ worth into the bargain.

 

I’m sure many people on these boards have already congratulated Mantic on the presentation of the rules themselves. As far as I am aware there is a free PDF download of the basic rules; a £10 “gamers edition” and a £25 full rulebook. I’ve read them all, and have to say gold stars all round for the production values. Warhammer as we know is a hard act to follow, especially at half the price.

 

I’m sure most people are also aware of the way the game works, how units are organised by troop type and as unit types of “troop”, “regiment”, “horde” or “legion”, so I won’t go into these or the game mechanics in any great detail as you can find this stuff written elsewhere on the web or in the press written by better qualified and more intelligent persons than I. Indeed I must echo the sentiments of the venerable Mr Priestley’s own foreword to the rules thus:

 

“…converts [to kings of war] have found themselves won over by a mixture of solid gameplay, straight-forward but elegant mechanics, and an approach that plainly puts the player first.”

 

I found the game to be fast, enjoyable, easy to pick up and easy to play. I’ll mention the things about the game I like first and then one or two of the things I have some issues with. Some things I like and dislike with equal measure. That’s how difficult I am to please.



#2 Gorrin

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 12:25 PM

The good stuff...

  • Selecting forces and putting together a list is uncomplicated and quick. Points and options are listed for the whole unit of one of only two or three standardized sizes of units so there is no need to mess about with points for individual models. Some may not like this (I do) but musicians and standards are for decoration only. Apart from the army banner the standards of individual units have no effect on the game unless they are magical. So no need to factor in the costs of musicians and standards into your units.
  • The fact that all the army lists come in the rulebook is great. Warhammer 3rd required you to buy a separate “Warhammer Armies” book for your army lists (dwarf cavalry disappearing at some point between the rulebook and the army lists) and subsequent editions required you to buy a whole book for every race you wanted to collect (kerchiiiing!) every time a new edition came out. I suspect that all over the world there are gamers with every edition of the rulebook and every dwarf book produced complete with the obligatory GW fluff u-turns. The books alone cost hundreds and hundreds of pounds, and as such I suspect that many long-suffering Warhammer players will be suspicious as to why a company is not trying to rip them off. Time will tell if Mantic stay true to this “players first, business second” approach.
  • Heroes, war-machines and monsters are limited in your army to how many “core” units you have. If you have ever played WFB 3rd against someone who had a unit of Chaos Warriors mounted on giant chaos mountain lions who decimated your ironbreakers in one turn without you laying a finger on them – this should make you happy. It also prevents warmachine heavy armies decimating the field from the safety of the table edge.
  • Differing scenarios and objectives – I’m not massively sure about this one – but for the most part I think this is a good thing. In my first (1000 point) game I brought a strong but relatively static dwarf force based around Warhammer tactics that would have typically seen me statically dominating the high ground with Thunderers and cannon and waiting for my goblin opponent to be softened up with missile fire before drawing them onto my axes, swords and spears. We rolled for random scenario and got “loot” – straight away negating the game plan I came with as I couldn’t win without getting at least some of my army to the centre line of the board. “No battleplan survives contact with the enemy” as Napoleon may or may not have said. I found the possibility of differing objectives battle to battle on the whole – refreshing and tactically challenging – but I’m not certain everyone will see it like that. If used at tournaments it will at least require players to bring balanced armies and master more than just one tactic.
  • The game is quick to learn and fast to play. It follows a traditional UGOIGO mechanic of “move, shoot, fight”. Phases rattle through quickly so there is not a great sense of disengagement that there can be in games when it is not your turn. I have only played thousand point games so far (for dwarfs that was 3 regiments, 3 troops, a king and a warmachine) so the period of inactivity may increase with larger games, but I suspect it will never really be a problem.
  • Everything is in the stat line. There’s no need to have a playsheet or look up tables, and you can literally have every stat you need for you army for the game written on the back of a postcard. For a regular historical gamer of say “Fire and Fury” like I am, combat and shooting feels clunky – but then Warhammer mechanics always felt a decade or two behind the times. Rolling to hit, rolling to wound and then rolling a third time to save always felt laboured to me but will be so familiar to regular Warhammer players that actually losing one of the three rolls will actually seem like streamlining. I never understood why the saving throw wasn’t included in the toughness stat in Warhammer (possibly because they wanted to differentiate between shield-armed troops using weapons that required two hands), but that is what Mantic have done with KOW here. It works for me and…it doesn’t, as I’ll (struggle to) explain later. And as far as the rolls being laboured is concerned, on a page that escapes me at the time of writing – either Priestley, Ansell or Halliwell declares: “Rolling lots of dice is really cool!”
  • The game is quick and builds in some vital tactical necessities missing in some other games. If your flank or rear is exposed…you are in real trouble.

Edited by Gorrin, 16 January 2016 - 12:26 PM.


#3 Gorrin

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 12:26 PM

Cons:

 

I don’t want to say “what I don’t like…” because I understand that most of my reservations have either been ignored for the sake of speeding up the game, or because they have never been addressed in Warhammer either so may not be seen as a problem by most players…but here goes…deep breath.

 

  • No realistic or defined sense of scale. 20 figures at 1:1 scale is not a regiment on the battlefield. It would take 50 KOW regiments makes a 1000-strong regiment at 1:1 scale. Represent that against a 1:1 scale building to educate yourself about regiment footprint compared to building footprint. I suspect that the answer is that scale is proportionate and that KOW can represent battles from 1:1 scale up to 1:50 or 1:100, and that buildings as far as terrain is concerned should just be treated as open terrain, but I suspect that most people will treat buildings as blocking terrain and we do like to have pretty buildings on the battlefield. Warhammer never addressed this issue either (see: “punch up in a pub car park”) and most people assumed that the game was 1:1 with a badly skewed ground scale. For me 70 dwarfs versus 90 goblins is not a “mass battle”, this is maybe because I’m used to playing historical and Warmaster – I’m guessing this is not important to most ex-Warhammer players.
  • Shooting - There’s simplicity and then there’s “simple”. The rules state: “A number of factors can affect the chance of hitting a target”, however the “number of factors” is TWO. Did the firing unit move? (-1), is the target in “cover” (-1). WFB 3rd had 9 “to hit” modifiers and all are relevant in my opinion. In KOW it is as easy to hit a target at extreme range as it is to hit at point blank. There is no defensive fire. You cannot fire if you are charged. If you are charged by a unit that has a “Sp” of above 6, and your missile weapons have a range of 12” or less, then your chaps keep their pistols in their belts, don’t bother throwing their javelins and presumably talk amongst themselves while waiting for the charge to hit home. There are few things in warfare more devastating than receiving a volley of fire into the flank, yet there is no advantage to doing so in KOW. Would 4 shooting modifiers rather than 2 really affect the speed of the game that much?
  • Related to above, there is no modifier for shooting damage at extreme range. A goblin archer horde, can (for a relatively cheap magic item upgrade of 30 points) give their shortbows (+1) piercing which can be increased to (+2) with a fairly easy 4+ bane chant roll which is statistically successful 3 turns out of every 4. In our games this was enough for my opponent to wipe out heavily armoured dwarf regiments at absolute extreme range in two turns. OR if I was doubling forward and charging him…before I got within 8 inches. It didn’t seem realistic to me for armoured troops with shields to be decimated so easily by shortbows.
  • I understand that warmachines have had their power diminished since the 1st edition, in the games I have played my cannon has not “hit” once in 10 turns. Low rolling (5s and 6s basic and 6s for cover) on my part obviously, but twice these rolls have been at “grapeshot” range at which a cannon is devastating and cannot miss. It is up to a unit not to attack a cannon frontally…not up to the rule mechanics to unrealistically reduce the effectiveness of a cannon at point blank range. 3rd edition Warhammer had cannon issues also (they automatically hit) which I understand were ironed out in later editions. But it’s another thing that doesn’t seem realistic here. Oh…and cannonballs don’t explode people, and you can tell Hollywood I said so.
  • Melee: “A number of factors can make a hit less likely to happen…” – the number is just one. A “hindered charge”…apart from special rules or magic items.
  • Disordered results are asymmetric. You can have a HORDE of dwarf rifles protected behind a stone wall. 40 models. A massive, large mass of gunpowder armed chaps. You can be charged by a troop of 5 light cavalry. If they inflict one wound of damage against you (and it’s hard to not get at least one), your whole horde is disordered. In the real world…they (the light cavalry) would be repulsed easily with casualties and your troops would hit them at point blank or short range with missile weapons. The rules suggest that the other 97.5% of your troops not effected by the attack are so distressed that they can’t respond.
  • IGOUGO melee works up to a point. As above, you can attack uphill against a defended position without fear of damage to your own force, in the real world you would suffer massively in both approaching (say) a barricade and then attacking across it. In KOW…the defenders must “counter charge” across an obstacle to inflict damage against an enemy that logic tells us would be greatly reduced and weakened by its charge. If your counter charge does not break them then for the remainder of the combat the attacker can fight without disadvantage as a “counter charger”. I think that a “counter charge” is simply representative and that as far as the game is concerned your troops would fight back from behind the wall and that the 1” movement in both directions is just to denote you are attacking…but it’s not clear. After the first round the attacker suffers no disadvantage which to me is unrealistic if they are still attacking an opponent behind a barricade.
  • I might be being overly picky here – but for me the term “counter charge” is being misused. A real counter charge takes place simultaneously from the defenders as a tactic to prevent themselves accepting a charge at the halt. It is counter-intuitive to allow a mounted cavalry regiment accept a charge to the front without being able to charge themselves. This is not a criticism of KOW mechanics in themselves as this is a major problem with many rules systems. Over the years game sequences have been simplified to just three phases (move, shoot, fight) and morale and reaction phases have fallen by the wayside. I expect the designers would argue that these surplus phases have been built into the other phases for the sake of speed and simplicity and it’s hard not to agree. Just saying like.
  • The registering of hits works absolutely fine, but I know gamers who miss casualty removal in the same way that I miss formations. People like to see opponent’s forces reduced by their gunfire, and find it difficult to cope with the thought that a unit at half strength can occupy the same footprint as it did when at full strength. Although I didn’t use it for my games, I intend at some point to experiment with movement trays with numbered “spaces” running from left to right from the rear rank towards the front. When suffering hits I intend to remove models as casualties in the old style while the movement tray still occupies the correct footprint. Therefore a regiment suffering 4 wounds would have four models removed from the rear rank and the numbers one to four would be revealed on the movement tray - denoting four wounds. Best of both worlds surely? Personally though…I want archer wedges, I want squares and schiltroms. I want skirmishers. If only they were simpler to allow for in games!
  • It’s been said before I know, but many people soaked in years and years of GW Warhammer fluff are going to find the Mantica fluff a little on the light side. Personally I think it is unrealistic to overly criticise Mantic for this. GW worked on their fluff over decades, a writer of one of their Black Library titles described the Warhammer world as being a stinky blue cheese compared to the bland Red Leicester of (say) Middle Earth. GW had their RPG and novels which progressed and developed stories and locations. It’s worth remembering that at the start GW focussed more outside the old world for its scenarios with only the Terror of the Lichemaster mini campaign being set on the mainland of the Old World (Magnificent Sven, Orc’s Drift and McDeath being set in Lustria, The New World and Albion respectively). GW have also performed some fairly large fluff u-turns over time. The most hilarious of which for me was stating in later editions that dwarfs did not use wood, I am actually laughing as I type this – no wonder the dwarf holds are struggling if they are storing gunpowder in metal barrels in spark-prone stone magazines! But I digress – I imagine that Mantic are currently unsure how much time and money they should plough into Mantica’s development both in map development and hiring the right writer to produce the narrative. There is after all the very real possibility that (like me) many players are going to simply set their battles in the Warhammer World of the edition of their choice, or Middle Earth, or Westeros. Allowing campaigns and gamers to develop Mantica can only be a good thing so I am watching this space with interest.
  • No command and control – again, something that Warhammer never had either except maybe built in abstractly in some of the psychology. You can argue that as command and control is central to Warmaster, that if a player wants a more realistic generalling experience in a Fantasy setting, a player should just play that. Again, I agree partly with that. The thought of a unit not doing exactly what you want it to do is somewhat terrifying for most Warhammerers I imagine, so I understand why C&C was probably considered surplus.


#4 Gorrin

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 12:29 PM

Will it make me buy Mantic miniatures? / Are all my existing dwarf models valid?

As a Dwarf player – I’m afraid not. To both questions.

 

I already have around 5,000 pts of minis and I’m only missing earth elementals…something that Mantic don’t actually make at this time. As such, I’m sculpting my own greater and lesser earth elementals. I find it a little strange that some of the models that will be “new” to the Warhammer players that Mantic are surely trying to attract, are ones that Mantic do not produce models for at this time. Earth Elementals and whatever a steel behemoth is are probably things I would have purchased. I suspect that by the time these models are available I will already have scratch-built my own.

 

I think that many of Mantic’s miniatures are great, some of the Dungeon Saga miniatures are really, really great…and they are (for the most part) really well priced. Unfortunately the dwarf models just don’t match up in quality to the mid-80s to early-90s GW dwarfs. It is absolutely amazing to me that no miniature manufacturer has cottoned on to the reason why these Perry sculpted minis (and the Marauder ones) change hands for such silly money on Ebay. It’s because to the dwarf connoisseur, these are the best dwarfs ever produced. Everyone produces LOTR influenced high-fantasy dwarfs…why do Mantic feel they need to add their flat-headed chaps (whose heads definitely do not go all the way to the top of their flat helmets) to this plethora of similar models? Why does no games company just make the Perrys an offer they can’t refuse to sculpt some more in the old style?  I guess it’s up to fans to pay sculptors to produce decent dwarfs these days, such as Bood-Miniatures and White Knight (which I can both recommend).

 

Are all my dwarf models valid? No.

 

No dwarf fliers. So your gyrocopters (and my 4) are useless.

 

No dwarf stone-throwers – another two of my models squatted (can I proxy them for bombards and just use them indirectly?)

 

No dwarf bolt-throwers – another four models I can't field.

 

It’s a shame but dwarf armies have the same limits on war machines as other “less technology based” races. It doesn’t sit right...but again…it’s probably all about the balance of the game.

 

There are no irondrake equivalents…so those of you that like their dwarfs looking like Tic Toc from the Return to Oz will be disappointed. Although I think you could base one on a cavalry base and use it as a driller.

 

My opponent was an affable chap and allowed me to use less than the standard amount of models for two of my units…5 slayers for a troop of berserkers, and 16 dwarf warriors for a regiment of ironclad. Hopefully you’ll agree from the pictures that they still look ok and they didn’t affect the game at all for being “under strength” as the footprint size was correct. Hopefully in tournament play the rules won’t be too harsh on this kind of thing. I think my berserkers can still be obviously seen to be a troop even though I was below the 60% recommended troop count.

 

gallery_12975_1207_1819375.jpg



#5 Gorrin

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 12:31 PM

So what do I really think? / Summary

 

Kings of War is a great ruleset. The game is fast, fun, elegant and (importantly for some) supported. Without an international chain of shops to support and without thousands of employees, Mantic are in the position where they can respond (often personally) to queries and FAQ, and where they can openly engage with players at wargames events. Refreshing isn’t it?

 

Like all wargames, it has its faults. I’m sure every negative point I have raised here has been raised at some point previously by a player or players connected with the rules committee and decided against for the sake of the rules as a whole, so who am I to disagree? The couple of games I have played have been incredibly enjoyable and I can categorically say that I will be playing KOW as long as I can find opponents. It’s a very welcome addition to my gaming collection and one I am expecting to enjoy for many years to come.



#6 Ozariig

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 01:32 PM

Great write-up, and fascinating commentary. Thanks for posting!  I especially value the comparisons with historical wargames (as well as with common sense).

 

I wonder if some of the things (shooting/melee modifiers, cannon mechanics, disordering hordes using small units, counter charges, combat across obstacles) could be fixed by house rules and re-costing units to preserve balance. Though that might be wandering into the land of diminishing returns in terms of what improvements would be yielded for the effort made...

 

Command and control or unit activations might be fun to experiment with as well, with a similar caveat.

I also find the scale issue funny. I suspect that it's a legacy holdover from a desire to use 28mm "heroic" scale figures (which I understand were originally intended for RPGs) to approximate war gaming on a table no larger than 6' by 4'. Would such small units actually manoeuvre in such a manner in real life? The only concession I could make to realism would be to play at a smaller scale, and to keep the heroic figures for skirmish games and RPGs. But I do like to use my figures for multiple purposes, which is why you probably wont see me multi-basing them KoW style (as tempted as I have been for the models I own that don't rank up very well).

I'd really like to see schiltroms and squares too, but I think it's much too fiddly to change formations for individually based miniatures. I wonder if there isn't a clever solution of some kind, maybe involving modular movement trays?



#7 Kallstrom

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 10:11 PM

This is why I rarely, if ever, play competition games. This kind of opponent (“<unts” as I call them) is my idea of absolute hell, they are a perfect advert for solo wargaming – but good for little else. Spending 40 minutes arguing over line of sight does not make you a tactical genius, it makes you an expert in the art of £uckwittery. I’m that kind of casual.

 

Sounds like you are approaching this game like I am, (and like people should) with true grit and with a laidback attitude - and with no lollygagging wasted on peculiar line of sight extravaganzas. I am also that kind of a casual player, so I approve of your statement!
 

“No battleplan survives contact with the enemy” as Napoleon may or may not have said. 

 

 

Food for thought!

 

Are all my dwarf models valid? No.

No dwarf fliers. So your gyrocopters (and my 4) are useless.

No dwarf stone-throwers – another two of my models squatted (can I proxy them for bombards and just use them indirectly?)

No dwarf bolt-throwers – another four models I can't field.

It’s a shame but dwarf armies have the same limits on war machines as other “less technology based” races. It doesn’t sit right...but again…it’s probably all about the balance of the game.

There are no irondrake equivalents…so those of you that like their dwarfs looking like Tic Toc from the Return to Oz will be disappointed. Although I think you could base one on a cavalry base and use it as a driller.


Luckily I do not have any gyrocopters (I must be the only dwarf without superior air support), and no Irondrakes (I stopped buying new models before the dwarf release). I reckon that the Stone Throwers can be used as Bombards, so that is good. I have some Bolt Throwers that I guess one can use as cannons (but that is not so fun..). 

Any ideas for what to use one's shieldbearers and thronebearers for in Kings of War? 

So I have some models I cannot use in KoW, but I also miss out on a lot of units since I don't own them (Brock Riders, Earth Elementals, Sharpshooters (weird base size), Battle Driller (weird base size) and a Steel Behemoth.
I am not so much for riding dwarfs, nor shoe-horning in monsters in my otherwise OOP metal dwarf army. So I guess I will have to build my lists around what I already have. 
The Battle Driller and Sharpshooters can probably be fixed with some rebasing, but then I will end up with units I cannot use in another gaming system. Hmm..


Your posts was a great read! Nice review and interesting insight!



#8 Montegue

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 03:11 AM

Uses for unused models - 

Bolt Throwers: Allied bolt throwers, or together on a proper size multibase, used as a Sharpshooter unit. 

 

Gyros: Brotherhood flying monstrous cavalry as allies, or Drakkon Riders as allies. Take a Diadem of Dragon Kind if you like. Furthermore, I have used one of my Gyros as a character with the Wings of Honeymaze. 

 

Our war machines are a touch better than other armies when combined with a Warsmith (giving nearby war machines Elite). However, I haven't found much use for cannon or bombards. Organ guns and Flame Belchers have their place, though. 



#9 Von Doom

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 02:40 PM

Great review ! Agree with your comments on the whole and a balanced review !

#10 jtrowell

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 09:10 AM

A ranger captain with the wings of honeymaze can make a fairly decent gyrocopter (fly, vanguard move, small ranged attack, inspiring rangers can be justified by him having an advance scouting and support role)

If you have irondrakes models, just add the diadem of dragon-kind to a heavy infantry unit.

I think than Ironguard with the diadem are probably the best fit (best armor possible, breath attack thanks to the diadem)

If you have a low-tech themed army, using dwarven ballistas as canons and stone thrower as bombard is perfectly valid.

The idea of using a ballista or two, with maybe some escoring riflemens, as a unit of sharpshooter is also a very good one, as long as the unit footprint is correct and there are no confusion about what the unit is, it's good for Kings of War.



#11 Montegue

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 12:48 AM

So far I'm really enjoying the game. Some of your points I think apply to most all fantasy wargaming. Historical mini wargaming is a different animal, and while I think there's lots of good stuff to mine there, i think KoW does a good job of striking a balance between game balance and battle simulation. There are levels of complexity I miss, especially in list building, but it's definitely growing on me every game. Mostly because I know that it's almost entirely on me to win or lose a match. 

 



#12 Gorrin

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Posted 24 January 2016 - 11:08 PM

So far I'm really enjoying the game. Some of your points I think apply to most all fantasy wargaming. Historical mini wargaming is a different animal, and while I think there's lots of good stuff to mine there, i think KoW does a good job of striking a balance between game balance and battle simulation. There are levels of complexity I miss, especially in list building, but it's definitely growing on me every game. Mostly because I know that it's almost entirely on me to win or lose a match. 

 

 

Hopefully I was clear in the post that I accepted that the mainstream "mass" fantasy battle games operate to similar simplistic mechanics. In order to appeal to disillusioned WFB players it was necessary for Mantic to make the game fairly similar to WFB from the usual British eccentricities of basing in millimetres and measuring in inches, to the need to laboriously resolve melees over numerous turns by rolling lots of dice multiple times. Mantic are trying to appeal to ex-Warhammer players with a game with similar mechanics. Too much removal from that kind of familiarity would of course be too risky. It's my personal opinion that it was really up to GW to modernise the mechanics of Warhammer long before it got to the point that they had to squat the game. It's a shame that they didn't at least look at doing so for a 9th edition, but perhaps that's what they tried to do with Warmaster. To open a copy of 8th Edition and 3rd Edition leaves you finding (nearly 30 years later) virtually the same game that has just been tweaked here and there (it's just that the minis in 8th are of a lower quality - certainly where dwarfs are concerned). I know that even in the 80s there were historical gamers that were astounded that saving throws were still being used in Warhammer, obviously a legacy of the game developing from RPGs. Both Fantasy and Historical gamers had a lot to learn from each other, 30 years later it's strange that Fantasy gamers turned out to be the more traditional of the two beasts and the most resistant to change. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I am really enjoying playing KOW - and the transition from WFB is a fairly easy one, but there are a few holes in the game that I can't believe didn't come up in the testing. As I mentioned in the post, it doesn't slow down the game massively to have say 5, 6 or 7 shooting modifiers instead of just 2. It's hard not to find it amusing that in the picture below, the red unit does not only not get a piercing bonus for shooting at point blank range into the flank of the closer blue unit, but also that the "to hit" roll is the same for the distant blue unit on the opposite side of the battlefield! 

 

gallery_12975_752_36674.jpg

 

As I've mentioned, one reason that KOW doesn't address many issues (the issue of scale leaping to mind) is because WFB never addressed them either, which is why the whole idea of representation on the model battlefield is often alien. When I suggested to my KOW opponents that buildings be treated as open terrain they looked at me like I was mad, believe it or not I have had the same discussion with Warmaster players over the tabletop (and also here: http://www.forum.spe...p?topic=7945.15) and some people really do have immense trouble with understanding the abstractions of representation on the battlefield. I've found that if you played historical first and fantasy second, your understanding of the difference between of mass battle (one mini representing more than one soldier, usually 20-25) and skirmish (any game where one model is one soldier and one building is one building) is likely to be better and if you started wargaming with Warhammer then it doesn't come as naturally. But that's probably a massive generalisation. 

 

I agree that KOW does most things well, and their answer to the scale issue is that players can decide the scale themselves, thus making it all things to all people - providing you are playing a like-minded player.


Edited by Gorrin, 25 January 2016 - 10:56 AM.


#13 Enakan

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 01:30 AM

Like you I started out in 3rd edition,

Felt totally betrayed by the morons in Nottingham with this latest "edition" of Warhammer.  

 

I played my first two games of KoW today, for an old dog it went pretty smoothly.  I'm looking forwards to playing more, kudos to Alessio and gang for putting this together for us. 

Wonder if they were psychic and knew what GW was going to do down the pike?  I'd like to give the current game designers there THE SHAFT!!!



#14 Old Bugger

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Posted 14 April 2016 - 02:17 PM

Great post. I ahve to agree with most of your points as I also come from a mostly historical gaming background. I played 2nd Edition WH a little but then moved onto WRG ancients and then DBM. Interestingly 2nd Edition is dedicated to Phil Barker so you can see the early influences on the game from those early days. Historical games moved forward (DBM - DBMM/FoG et al) but WH stagnated. Back to the point, I recently started with KoW and I too enjoy it. Yes, it feels simple and lacks command and control, but I like the nerve points and using 'elements' rather than individual figures. It is funny watching my ex-WH opponents stating how 'new and unique' this feature of the game is.... ah kids - they dont know they are born! lol  



#15 jtrowell

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Posted 15 April 2016 - 08:11 AM

About shooting modifier, for your information the early beta for 2nd edition has been in large part about shooting, and we did test additionnal modifier, mainly long and short range.

 

The main version tested where +1 to hit at short range, -1 at long range, or both.

 

In practice, the result was that they made the game harder to balance, made early game shooting much less useful with the long range modifier, and both the long and short range switched the balance to massed short range weapons.

 

Also without those other modifiers, it was easier to balance around a default 5+ shooting so that cover and the individual and stealthy modifiers could really matter.

 

Finally the solution that was used was giving less attacks/shots for most dedicated shooting units compared to their melee equivalent (units that kept the default number of attacks like the elven sea guard and the ogre shooters got their points increased, maybe not enough for the later)

 

It's not that the range modifier could not have been made to work, it's simply that when we tester the version without them (and with the lower attacks for dedicated shooters), the beta games showed that it worked well enough and with a correct balance between both long and short range shooting as well as with the melee aspect of the game (note that KoW has among its design specs that shooting should be a support for melee combat, not replace it), so it was decided by the RC that it wasn't worth adding them, and we continued the beta balancing the armies around that.

 



#16 Grim1

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 09:41 PM

Perhaps the idea that gamebalancing is all-important goes out the window when some fundamental wargame tactics are ignored. The flank shooting, the effect of range and "stand and shoot" all are major factors that simply ignoring them produces a massively less realistic game. I would go further and say that I detest the difficulty a cannon has shooting at a horde/legion of 40/60... especially when it is equally effective when shooting at a troop of 10. Sometimes the extra rules do slow the game down.... but without them the game is a bit of a let down. Don't get me wrong, I am helping organise a local KoW campaign... but a few extra shooting modifiers to unit defense and to hit would be a massive improvement well worth recosting all the missile troops used in the game.

 

Further, the lack of charge reactions make the chargers too over-powered, when charging a horde of riflemen.... a regiment of knights should be massively more messed up than when they started the charge, in warhammer I liked it that sometimes units panicked before they completed their charge. The fact that the knights are in no way diminished in any way is a joke.... the shooters can't damage the knights in their next shooting phase either due to being disordered and even worse if the rifles are killed to a man (or wavered) they cannot even get to strike back in melee on their next turn's countercharge. 

 

When I heard countercharge in the KoW rules I thought of it as a charge reaction.... not as a reaction after being smashed up in a charge.... not the same thing at all. I loved the idea of a group of knights charging into a charging unit to protect the archers being charged.... more complicated than KoW but more "realistic" and way more cool.



#17 Cuthbo

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Posted 17 April 2016 - 08:35 AM

Interesting read - cheers! I'm a similar kind of casual player and agree with a lot of this. I must say I am put off by some of the simplified rules! I never found any of the versions of Warhammer too complex/long winded, personally.

But I do think the company is fantastic and they genuinely seem to care. Refreshing!

#18 Montegue

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Posted 17 April 2016 - 06:20 PM

Mantic succeeded with KoW where GW failed with AoS - they actually made simple rules that foster a complex tactical game. 



#19 Montegue

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Posted 17 April 2016 - 06:20 PM

Mantic succeeded with KoW where GW failed with AoS - they actually made simple rules that foster a complex tactical game. 



#20 jtrowell

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 07:30 AM

From a fluff perspective, you do get charge reactions : they are what you make your unit do during your turns before and after the charge.

 

Your ranged unit moved back outside of charge range to get one more turn to shot

The gargoyles failed to inflict even one wound so you get to shot in reaction to their charge.

And finally, if pistols could serve as melee weapons in Warhammer, who said that the melee profile of most ranged unit is not simply them firing at point blank range ?

 

Real battles are not made in successives turn, some kind of abstraction will always be needed.

 

Sometimes certain aspect of the real world is simply not fun to represent in game (or would take too much effort relative to its importance), and it make for a better game to simply handwave it.

 

It's the same logic that when you tell a story, you don't stop to narrate your characters eating or doing some "natural business", it's not that they aren't doing it, it's simply something that would not bring anything to the story;

Of course, it might be dangerous going too far the other way, if you start to cut elements that are important parts of the story itself, but I think that KoW is at a decent place from this point of view.

 

Will a future edition try to incorporate range modifiers back ? Maybe, and it might improve the game or not.

 

But the thing is that the current system works.

 

 

 

 






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