[Archive] Kings of War - first impressions

Grimbold Blackhammer:

It’s not Warhammer. But it scratches the itch. 7 out of 10.

I have watched a handful of games and finally threw my hat in the ring today against an undead army. The game is fast paced, fairly simple (which is both good and bad), and best of all - my evil dwarfs don’t suck.

I think the simplification of movement is what really speeds up the pace of the game. Less chances to fudge, make silly wheels, or break the game. Part of me misses the random charge distances from 8th edition (ironically I hated them when it first came out) but it’s now a game of chess as opposed to luck. I’m not a huge fan of being locked into unit formations but I see why they did it and the good just might out-weigh the bad (not sure yet though).

Magic spells are few and under-powered so they don’t break the game. I minor heal here, +1 to hit there…I miss the back and forth of casting and dispelling but it’s perfectly acceptable.

Missile fire is now a strategic aide and not I-did-6-wounds-go-pick-up-your-model overpowered nonsense. I fielded a rocket launcher, 2 flame cannons, and 20 Decimators (Blunderbuss unit) plus a unit of fire-breathing Gargoyles. I think they only outright killed two units. Instead I found putting a handful of wounds on things before they got into combat with my blocks helped made battles a lot more manageable.

Combat is what I really enjoyed. The lack of champions and characters inside of units seems less strategic to me but that’s more than made up for by how clean and fast the combat round is. And since you don’t remove models as casualties, the opportunity to model awesome dioramas is fantastic. I’m really looking forward to putting some creativity into this and seeing what other people can do as well.

Overall I like the game. It’s less complex than Warhammer which I view as a negative. But I found it a hundred times more exciting than AoS. For me, Kings of War is still worth a trip to the game store every Sunday!


Pretty much exactly my experience too, we played at the 1000 points only. I had a block of elf spearmen, a block of elf elite, small group of archers, fast calv a bolt thrower, a unit of knights and a noble. I fought against a block of orcs (chaos warriors) two giants, a group of trolls, and a orc warlord on giant lizard (maggoth lord). I could not put a dent on the giants with shooting so it got very scary when finally got into charge range at about full strength. The elf spearmen only held out against the Giants due to my opponent rolling pretty terribly, twice in a row, so that was very exciting. I dont think KoW truly shines until you get to the 2k to 2,5k level, that should translate into some pretty massive armies facing off against each other.


One advantage of not having to remove individual models, is that your carefully converted and painted (and varnished…) metal miniatures wound end up with chips in their paint job after endless removal. I find this to be a problem with Dwarf models in particular, who fill out their space and are so close to their base you often can’t avoid toucing the miniature itself ever so slightly. One haphazard solution has been to convert horns, head spikes, trophy fangs on shoulders of whatever and layer them with both super glue and varnish to make the paintjob resistant, but it’s far from an ideal solution.

I’ve only tried Kings of War twice, and that was a couple of years ago, yet the mentioned advantage might be enough to hook me onto the game eventually.

Grimbold Blackhammer:

The rulebook that was just released for Kings of War apparently fixed a lot of things from its first incarnation. Take that with a grain of salt as I’m repeated what others have told me - I never saw the original rules.

I should also make one other declaration - some of the basing sizes are different and I’m am not prepared to rebase a bunch of my models until I have tried 9th Age. Warhammer is a great game and I would prefer to stick with it if I can. But at least Kings of War is a fairly viable alternative.


The rulebook that was just released for Kings of War apparently fixed a lot of things from its first incarnation.  Take that with a grain of salt as I'm repeated what others have told me - I never saw the original rules.

I should also make one other declaration - some of the basing sizes are different and I'm am not prepared to rebase a bunch of my models until I have tried 9th Age.  Warhammer is a great game and I would prefer to stick with it if I can.  But at least Kings of War is a fairly viable alternative.

Grimbold Blackhammer
There's no real need to rebase your minis, just use a movement tray that's the right 'footprint' as it's the footprint which matters not what bases the individual minis are on ;)

Grimbold Blackhammer:

Oh man…I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. Thanks Dinadan! For all the work you just saved me, slaves to you!


'Welcome.  It’s an easy thing to overlook because we’re all used to having individually based minis for Fantasy and other games. :wink:


Movement trays are your friend. An Age of Sigmar player with Sigmarines on round bases could put them on square movement trays and use them in both Kings of War and 9th Age, though Stormcast Eternals would have to be rules proxied. A friend of mine played his Daemons of Chaos on square bases, but the Bloodletters were impossible to rank up, so he rebased them on round bases to solve the problem.

Fuggit Khan:

Movement trays are your friend.

Yep :cheers
There's a local Night Goblin player, who converted his Gobbo's to play Kings of War. He made these wonderfully detailed movement trays (the unit footprint) for his Night Goblins, they're miniature diorama's. Large 4 inch tall mushrooms, rocky crags with the Night Goblins running amok through it all. Very cool!


So, despite my initial dislike of KoW and Mantic in general, I too was lured by the notion of a non-crap evil dwarf army list and gave it a try. And its actually pretty good I think.

Firstly, it was most satisfying to field the equivalent of 3500pts(!) worth of LoA as 1500pts of KoW. Yes, really. That’s how ridiculous the LoA army list is.

Less chances to fudge, make silly wheels, or break the game.
100 times this. No silly 1" away dancing, rules-lawyering nonsense - just big formations of troops that fight each other like big formations of troops. It was great that I didn’t have to watch out for stupid BS from double-fleeing skinks, etc.

The way shooting and war machines work also mean cannons don’t immediately decide the game for big targets - you can field that dragon rider and he’ll actually get to do something.

The only thing that was even more refreshing than a not-crap CD list was a not-crap Undead list - Undead troops that can march, correctly-pointed vampire knights, no over-reliance on key characters; it all made me very happy.

Where it does fall down is it is perhaps a little too sensible and balanced - my Orcs and Goblins were nowhere near as much fun in this game as in WHFB, and both my opponent and I were hard-pressed to note any lol moments (something 8th provides in droves).

It is good though and the rulebook is also high quality (got mine today). I’m impressed.

Thommy H:

I think it’s a perfectly elegant system, but for someone who tinkers with rules much more than he uses them to play actual games, it doesn’t have enough nuts and bolts to hold my interest. It obviously addresses a need - it’s for gamers who want a clean, balanced gaming experience, and the rules strongly emphasise that. Everything’s pretty straightforward, and there are a very limited set of special rules and abilities. In a way it reminds me a lot of Epic 40,000, which I was a big fan of, but I felt there were more possibilities with that. Maybe it was having the whole 40K universe to mess around in.


I agree widely with Tommy H.
Yesterday I played my first real game with Abyssal Dwarfs, 1000 pts each side, scenario “Kill and Pillage”, vs. Undead.
The small rulebook is well written and much better readable in dim light than the WHFB small rules.
Gameplay is smooth and fast and there was not one open rules question in the whole game. No changing formations, no removing casualties, no dispelling, no flee moves, no complicated calculations for combat results. All special rules, spells and magic items in the basic rulebook.
That makes the pace of the game very fast and from the tactical view it is deep enough although not so complex and a little another kind of game than WHFB. From first view I would also say it seems very balanced. It is definitely a good game and I could play it with my normal Chaos Dwarf models.

I own only the basic rulebook so I have no Fluff. But I can definitely say that I missed the feeling of the old world in the game a little bit.
The game was fun and I will definitely play it again and KoW has for me the potential to be a long time alternative to play and further reinforce my chaos dwarfs. In the gaming club where I was yesterday an escalation league starts in December and Ill give that a try (edit: besides further playing 8th and trying 9th age).<br><br>Some words on the models:<br>I own no mantic models and probably will not own some in the next time. Some of the undead I saw yesterday looked okay in design and casting quality, but they are a little small and even the better ones look for me not so good as miniatures from most other companies. I dont like 90% of their abyssal dwarfs, so I will keep buying from other companies.

A big advantage for creating kind of mini dioramas is the fact that you remove no casualties. Your regiment stays the same size the whole game, so you can create nice scenes on the base, include great fillers, as much standards as you like and so on. Huge possibilities there.


I’m about 30 games into King of War, and I’m loving it. Abyssal Dwarfs are very competitive, but nobody is crying about anything being overpowered (IMHO, every iteration of the CD’s in Warhammer suffered from virtually every unit either not being not worth taking or being overpowered). The KoW system is very clean, balanced; and gets the focus back on strategy and maneuvering, rather than trying to remember random rules.

Also, using uni-bases means I finally get to do the dynamic dioramas I always wanted. Also, since I usually only put 70% of the models on a uni-base, the game is much cheaper.

10 out of 10. I’m all about Kow and not looking back!