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.