Kings of War – Getting Started

I’ve been looking into Kings of War quite a bit recently and more than Ninth Age I’ve been getting quite excited about trying it out. As with all new systems, my first step is to swot up about it first. I’ll be posting a series of articles on it and i’ll kick off the first one looking to compare it with warhammer.

Comparison vs 8th Edition whfb

As I’ve posted before, Mike Carter, on his blog, has written an excellent post on switching from 8th Ed. to KOW.

  • Rules

There are a plethora of rules which are different from whfb. I’ll pick out some of the key differences that jumped out for me (and note that the rules section of the book is only around 40 pages long). The basic rules (and limited army lists for each race) are also free to download from the Mantic website.

Charges are double movement. No random 2D6 (although this was one thing I really liked about 8th over previous iterations of whfb).

You can only attack during your turn.

Each unit has a fixed to hit roll and a defense figure that attackers have to beat to wound it (though these can be modified by magic items and special rules). You could say this is similar to how GW went with AOS.

Each unit has a nerve value, normal 2 numbers e.g. 12/15. If you wound the unit you roll 2D6 and add the wounds caused. If this beats the top value, the unit is removed from the table (there is no fleeing on the table, think of it as you auto rundown the unit). If the roll beats the lower number the unit is wavered and it limits what they can do in the next turn – such as counter charging (you could compare it to punching someone in the face and them reeling back stunned and unable to retaliate – not that I condone violence off the tabletop!)

No panic tests, so flanks won’t randomly collapse.

If you charge to the flank, the units attacks are doubled. If you charge to the rear they are tripled!

There are only around 5 spells (2 damage, a heal and 2 that impact movement). Magic is also done in the shooting phase.

You pivot around the centre of a unit rather than wheel a unit. (Most units can move and pivot once up to 90 degrees, however if you march you cannot normally pivot).

Charging can be done at any time during movement (and there are no charge reactions).

You can move (but not charge) through units. This makes having screening units and layered defence very viable.

No casualties are removed, wounds are just recorded.

  • Unit Sizes

The first thing noted was unit sizes and footprints are fixed (no conga line antics are allowed here). There are 4 unit sizes:

Troops: The smallest of the unit types, your basic chaff. Typically 10 infantry arranged in a 5 * 2 formation, or 5 Cavalry in a 5 * 1 formation.

Regiments: Standard unit type. 20 infantry in a 5 * 4 formation or 3 large infantry (e.g. ogres) in a 3 * 1 formation, 10 Cavalry in a 5 * 2 formation or 3 large cavalry (e.g. chariots or Demigryph equivalents) in a 3 * 1 formation

Hordes: As the name suggests, very much similar to whfb in size. 40 infantry in a 10 * 4 formation or 6 large infantry (e.g. ogres) in a 3 * 2 formation, 20 Cavalry in a 10 * 2 formation or 6 large cavalry (e.g. chariots or Demigryph equivalents) in a 3 * 2 formation

Legions: Anything larger than hordes. Not all armies have the option of taking Legions. Formations will be along the lines of 10 * 8 for infantry or 12 * 2 for large infantry or 6 * 2 for Large Cavalry.

It is worth noting that not all WHFB sizes match exactly (for example Gor are on 25mm bases but in KOW their nearest equivalent – Spirit Walkers – are on 20mm so you will likely have 4 * xx number).

Large infantry (40mm bases) normally come in either 3 or 6 models and are 3 wide and 1 deep or 3 wide and 2 deep (some armies allow bigger sized units such as ogres).

Individual monsters (Dragons/Giants etc have a standard base size of 50mm so this is one thing where anyone porting across their models will be at a disadvantage.

One thing that is mentioned is that unit size isn’t based on the number of models. It is all to do with the size of the unit footprint. It recommends that footprints contain a minimum of 50% of the models but preferably 66%. This allows mini dioramas to be created for each unit. This includes for large models, so if you are taking a regiment of chariots, the footprint is the equivalent of 3 whfb chariot bases but you only need two on the base (just ensure the movement tray is the size of 3!).

It’s worth mentioning that KOW does seem very much to be aimed at unit combat with heroes and wizards there to support the units (in the main), something I’m a big fan of.

  • List Building

List building is much simpler. You still decide on a point level (In KOW 2000pts is similar to 2500 in whfb) and then ‘buy’ units rather than individual models.

For example to buy high elf archers in whfb it costs 100pts for 10 and then 10pts each for any extra you want (+30pts for FC). In KOW, you pay 115pts for 10 or 150pts for 20 or 250pts for 40.

There are no Core/Special/Rare. Instead for each Regiment you ‘buy’, you can then take up to 2 troops and either 1 character or monster or warmachine. For each Horde or Legion you ‘buy’, you can then take up to 4 troops and 1 hero and 1 monster and 1 war machine. So taking bigger blocks unlocks more options but taking multiple smaller blocks also unlocks the options (you just need more regiments to do so).

Each army does have a multitude of units and support available to them but even with the magic items and my limited playing around, i’ve found the list building aspect is not nearly as fun as whfb.

Example battle reports 

There are plenty of good battle reporters out there, some who started with KOW like master crafted gaming on You Tube (though some of their videos will probably offend due to language and piss taking so watch with caution if you are easily offended e.g. Herd vs Twilight Kin), others who are more traditional bloggers and who moved over from 8th, tried both KOW and Ninth Age and settled on KOW like Swordmaster of Hoeth (note he plays most of his games on Universal Battle, an online system that negates the need to be in the same room as an opponent. It is similar in appearance to my battle rep diagrams).

Reference Documents

1) Until Somebody loses an Eye blog has posted:

Learn to Play KOW – quick sheet

Rules – Reference Sheet

2) Path of an Outcast blog has created:

Specific Rules reminders

Special rules

Or you can view them on his main post (section 3)

3) Fields of Blood – Blog has posted:

Common Misconceptions – correction notes

4) Most of the army builder programs cover KOW and Mantic also have a free army list creator (Link).

The next few posts on KOW will be me playing around with army lists (specifically Beastmen,elf and dwarf). Once I arrange a game I’ll also post that and some further thoughts.



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