Wrath of Kings 101

         Wrath of Kings Hadross versus Teknes

Let’s take a look at the basics of Wrath of Kings from CMON.

Wrath of Kings just released updated rules and cards for an entire book’s worth of new models. That means it’s a great time to discuss what this fantasy game is all about.

I guess the setting is as good a place to start as any. Fantasy worlds have a tendency to be predictable. No matter what crazy name they go by, they’re pretty much guaranteed to be home to some elves, dwarves, and probably some variety of goblin. Arikania, where Wrath of Kings is set, has none of these creatures. The only race that matters is the human variety. If that sounds a little dull don’t fear, they’re some of the weirdest humans you’re likely to run into.

Nasier Starter

Otherworldly beings are in frequent contact with these humans, and will offer them various boons in exchange for influence in the physical world. These boons can have profound effects on their physiology creating warriors like the towering Greathorn, ferocious Union Workers, or bizarre Sevridan. These supernatural abilities are augmented by technomantic wonders born of a centuries old arms race. Combine these themes with a unique visual style and you have a game with a look like nothing else out there.

Wrath of Kings Teknes starter

There are three recommended game sizes for Wrath of Kings. The smallest, a Patrol, may have as few as 8 models while the largest, a Battle, could have over 40. Instead of a points system, there are model types: Infantry, Specialists, and Leaders. The game size you pick will tell you how many of each you can take.

Wrath of Kings Hadross starter

Infantry are the rank and file troopers on the table. Leaders are better fighters who assist Infantry by granting them special abilities and allowing several of them to activate at once. Specialists are strong fighters, but may have more specific roles such as holding positions, assassinating enemy leaders, debuffing enemy troops, etc.

Wrath of Kings Shael Han starter

All model types come in two varieties: Rank 1 and Rank 2. Two Rank 1s can be traded up for one of the tougher stronger rank 2 varieties. So if the chosen game size allows for 12 Rank 1 Infantry and 2 rank 1 Specialists, you could chose to trade them in for 6 Rank 2 Infantry and one Rank 2 specialist, or anything in between. Some day we may even see Rank 3 models.

Wrath of Kings Goritsi Blood Engine

Like Dark Age, CMON’s other miniature game, Wrath of Kings is based on a set of core rules that are easy to learn and tricky to master. There are two gameplay concepts that really define Wrath of Kings. Let’s start with the Defense Chart.

Wrath of Kings Anatomy of a Card

Each attack in Wrath of Kings is resolved with one D10 roll. This roll is checked against the defender’s Defense Chart. If the result is one of the little lightning bolts a wound is caused. The skull at the top indicates two wounds. Other results mean the attack has been stopped in some way. The icons indicate things like blocks, parries, or even a magical ward. Some models have abilities that allow them to replace certain successful defenses on the charts with hits – turning a block result into a hit for example. Alternatively a defending model may have a special ability that triggers when a certain result is rolled against it. The most common example is Feedback which causes a hit back on the attacker when a Magical Attack generates a Magical Defense result on the chart.

Wrath of Kings Anatomy of a Card Back

The other most crucial concept to Wrath of Kings is Leaders. Without leaders, Infantry models activate individually, one after the other. When you activate models in the Sphere of Influence of a Leader however, you can have many of them activate at once. This makes planning activations important. Multiple simultaneous activations can bring a lot of force to bear at once. In fact this is one of the only ways to reliably kill some of the more powerful models in Wrath of Kings. But if you plan multiple activations poorly, you could end up with a large portion of your force exposed, unable to act until the following turn. This means every action in the game has to be considered carefully.

Wrath of Kings Hadross Pit Fighters

Additionally, models activating in a leader’s Sphere of Influence will be granted a special ability depending on the leader. With even more leaders available in the latest expansion for Wrath of Kings, deciding which leaders to take, and which one to activate your troops with can mean the difference between victory and defeat. All leaders are representative of a certain troop type, and can only activate troops of that type. This makes successfully coordinating your army an even bigger challenge when you take multiple troop types.

Wrath of Kings Goritsi starter

Like most modern games, Wrath of Kings also has a heavy emphasis on Objective play. Killing models will help you win, but a player who focuses on objectives should always have the upper hand. There are five categories of objectives, and each faction can choose objectives from two of those categories. No faction has exactly the same list of objectives to choose from.

That covers a lot of the basics. There are other things I could continue to paraphrase, but with the Wrath of Kings rules free to download, you can just click this link and read them for yourself. If you want to look at the faction cards, just head over to the Wrath of Kings homepage, mouse over the downloads tab at the top of the page, find the faction stat cards, and pick whichever one you care to read. Or read them all. They’re free too after all. And you can also check out this video we shot at Gencon last year.

Wrath of Kings Shael Han Fulung Devourer

~Hope you enjoyed the article. Who out there has been playing Wrath of Kings?

  • I got a starter set for this game at NOVA, kinda disappointed because the minis look bad (not technically bad, well sculpted and cast but utterly awful in concept) and don’t offer much use for conversion. Having looked at the minis and the other factions I can genuinely say they don’t make any id want to paint up. As a result it’s going on the table at the next hobby flea market

    • wibbling

      Why are they ‘awful in concept’. What do you mean?

      • As in the models are a goofy proportion, ugly, the pigmen take a cool concept and make it look stupid, the ones that aren’t over the top bad ideas are boring. Basically, the sculptor did a really competent job of translating hideous illustrations of stupid ideas into 3D.

        • Hildebrando Franco

          I am in total disagreement with you, the design is excellent both as illustrations in 3D. You have little sense of design http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eeae9f65acb67989bafa7396ea596da47e98370e28d5ac6dfb944648344bd8d1.jpg

          • The models look stupid, the art looks stupid, I’m not talking about the technical ability of the illustrator, the concepts are bad. Awful ideas rendered well are just as bad as decent ideas rendered poorly.

          • Hildebrando Franco

            Great miniatures, the concepts is very good.

          • Agree to disagree, I’m obviously not the only person who feels the way I do or they wouldn’t have been passing out free starter sets and full rule books lol. I just hope I can sell them

          • Drew

            I was at the CMON booth every day during the NoVA open, and they were not “passing out free starter sets”, nor rulebooks. (Though I suppose it’s possible you somehow sweet talked your way into one or they were trying to get rid of them so they wouldn’t have to take them home on Sunday night.) They had a build and play event, where the cost of entry included a starter box, and they had a coupon in the con swag bag for a free leader box if you bought a starter.

            It’s fine if you don’t like the minis (I personally love half of them and have no interest whatsoever in the other half, so I see both sides), but there’s no need to stretch the truth to illustrate a point.

          • Nah dude it was in all the super nova bags

          • Buuut, the Super NoVa bags were the swag bags that you got if you bought the limited-to-100-people, super expensive entry ticket to NoVa open. Only those 100 people got those bags, and part of the extra cost was to pay for the swag bag contents.

          • And most of the swag are donations from sponsors, including companies hoping to drum up interest in their games

          • Drew

            Sure, but there’s a huge difference between “they put them in some of the 100 super-exclusive, super-expensive swag bags for the highest paying con-goers” and “they were passing out free starter sets and rulebooks” as if they were just tossing them to anyone who passed by their booth.

            Again, not saying you don’t have some valid points about some of the models- while I love the Hadross aesthetic, I myself intensely dislike the over-sexualization of some of the other models, and still others just don’t appeal to me because I flat out don’t like them- but to use language that suggest that CMON was at NoVA Open trying to foist truckloads of inferior product off on people just isn’t accurate.

          • Sure, Totally

          • Hildebrando Franco

            I do not care about your opinion, the game is great, as well as its aesthetics, it is a combination of old school Rackham and anime. You can sell your models perosnas there are many who want to know the game and play it.

          • If you didn’t care about my opinion why did you start asking me about my opinion? That’s literally all we’ve discussed here. And I’m not as confident anyone will buy these minis, I don’t know a single store in my area that even carries WoK

          • Hildebrando Franco

            do not ask your opinion, I did not. I’m not interested. the game is growing and improving. Stop complaining and sell his miniatures, it is more I bought it.

          • You replied to my post, about my opinion. That’s exclusively what we’ve been discussing dummy

          • Hildebrando Franco

            not all warhammer 40K. What is the price of miniatures Wrath of kings

          • What?

  • DocNacho

    I have played a bunch and can say it does bring something different to the table. The story in the main rulebook is fantastic and really brought the world to life for me and my gaming buddies.

    • wibbling

      Much obliged for that. I’m always on the lookout for something a bit different to the tropes and these seem to have that.

  • Absolutely love WoK. The look of the figs is what caught my eye, but the rules just absolutely grabbed me. It plays quickly, makes great spaces for tactics, and is evocative as hell. I love rolling the dice and knowing if my swinging hook chain hit, was blocked, dodged, bounced off of armor, or defended against by magic, all with one roll of the dice.

    Cannot wait for the wave 2 stuff to pick up steam. My Nasier army must groooow!

  • euansmith

    There are some great, fun minis in this games; some are a bit, “meh”, but, on the whole, they are full of character.

  • jbrock

    The rule book is really great! As far as fluff goes, I’m looking forward to the next book.

    Personally I love the models outside of one or two sculpts that could have been better and those even grew on me some. The line as a whole is refreshing and I do agree that there isn’t much room for conversion but this is the first outing. Give everyone time to think creatively and I’m sure people will come up with interesting ways to make an army unique.

    Haven’t been able to play much of anything the past year but really am looking forward to painting these when I get some time. @GentleBen – I hope you have some inspiration for us on this game. Your paints are some of the best.

  • Hildebrando Franco

    Wrath of Kings is an Excelente game, Miniatures and rule sistem. Great game.

  • Matthew Pomeroy

    I love this game, I like it a heck of a lot more than warmahordes or aos. I am a big fan of the minis themselves and the rules are exactly what I have been looking for. I have each faction and love the differences in style. I would recommend it to anyone.

  • Frank

    I played a demo game of this a few days back and thought it was pretty fun. I like the minis and have been interested in it for a while, it just has the misfortune of being yet another miniatures game. My meta is very fickle and resistant to trying new games because what always happens is that a few people will buy into a new system, play a game or two, and just return to 40k or WarmaHordes. Our community is just too small to support more than a handful of games, sadly.

  • Drew

    I really enjoy Wrath of Kings- particularly the look and feel of the Hadross faction. While some of the stuff in the game does represent a continuation of CMON’s unfortuntate trend of playing to the lowest gamer population denominator by unnecessarily over-sexualized models, the game design is fluid, fast, and fun, with lots of depth, and a lot of the models are really neat.