Third Edition is out now, there’s a new starter box with a mini campaign, and a new army – if you’ve been thinking about getting into KoW this is a great time to jump in!
Look, we know that starting a new game is a challenge. You’ve got to learn rules, you’ve got to paint minis, you’ve got to find people to play! It’s a big commitment to play something new and starting something like Kings of War, with more than 20 different armies and potentially hundreds of miniatures to paint is enough to make even the hardiest gamer weak at the knees. But look, it doesn’t have to be scary. We’re here to hold your hand through the gentle first steps and explain why actually, it’s super easy to start playing Kings of War and there’s nothing to be scared of. Well, apart from the Nightstalkers because they’re super freaky.
The Rules are Actually Pretty Simple
Yes, there is a massive 400-page rulebook but a lot of that is introducing the lore of Kings of War and the various factions. KoW is renowned for being incredibly simply to pick up and play. In fact, most people have got their head about the rules by turn two. The game is split into three simple phases: movement, ranged and melee. You do all your actions in your turn, before handing over to your opponent so they can do all their moving, shooting and fighting. This ensures it’s also incredibly quick and a typical game of around 2,000 points can be easily played in under two hours. What’s more, the rules have been tightened up in Third Edition so it’s even faster to play… if your mind can even comprehend such a thing.
You’ve Got Some Nerve!
Another element that really helps speed things up is the fact you don’t have to remove individual minis when a unit is injured. Instead you just track the number of wounds a unit has suffered with dice or wound tokens. Each time you cause wounds on an opponent’s unit, you’ll roll two dice for a Nerve Check. You combine the result with the number of wounds and if the total is over the unit’s Nerve value, they’re immediately removed from the table (it’s up to your opponent if they want to smash them in anger). Not having to remove individual minis speeds up gameplay massively, so you can get on with the important stuff, like precise movement to deny flanks or capturing objectives.
It’s All About the Base
Talking of bases, the fact you don’t have to remove individual miniatures opens up some amazing modelling opportunities. You see, Kings of War has set footprints for different units, so a troop of dwarf Ironclad is 100mm x 40mm, while a horde of ice elementals is 120mm x 80mm. As long as your unit meets those dimensions you can actually glue all the miniatures to one large base, thanks to something call multi-basing.
This opens up some great modelling opportunities for mini dioramas that you move around the battlefield. You can make a dwarf brewery complete with kegs and beer barrels, or a goblin cave with mushrooms and stagnant ponds. The only limit is your imagination (and your hobby time). Also, the great thing about multi-basing is that you don’t always have to pack the base with the exact number of minis, e.g. 20 for a regiment of goblin Rabble. Instead you can aim for around 75%, which opens up room for more terrain or scenery pieces on your multi-base.
An Established Community
Kings of War is now on its Third Edition and there’s a lively and established tournament scene around the globe. Pretty much every weekend, you’ll find one or two tournaments being played. So, if you’re into competitive gaming, then this is the game for you, my friend!
Also, the global community means it’s getting easier and easier to play a game of Kings of War at your local club or gaming store. You no longer have to quietly whisper the name ‘Kings of War’ to someone while secretly hiding your Basilean army in a brown paper bag and then playing a game in the shady spot near the restrooms. Instead you can proudly burst through the door, wearing a ‘rank and flank forever’ T-shirt, clutching the latest copy of the rulebook and shouting that you’re ready to destroy an opponent with your Northern Alliance snow trolls. HOO-HAH! Or you can just play a casual game with a friend, while also having a few beers.
The Worst Kept Secret in Miniature Wargaming
Psssttt… ok, our final point is perhaps the worst kept secret in gaming. There are a lot of you out there with a lot of fantasy (lowercase f) miniatures on square bases that might have been gathering dust since… oh, maybe around 2015 (date randomly pulled out of nowhere). Well, the good thing is you can use those miniatures in Kings of War. You don’t even have to worry about that whole multi-basing thing if you don’t want. Just grab a movement tray, plonk the models on top and away you go.
If you’ve got a traditional fantasy (lowercase f, again) army like goblins, dwarfs, orcs, elves, etc. then you’ll find rules for them in the main rulebook. Plus, there’s an upcoming supplement (Uncharted Empires) which is coming out in December that has some of the other fantasy races in, like rat… people, lizard… people, very angry… people and naughty elves, among others.
So really there couldn’t be a better time to get into Kings of War! Third Edition has just released and there’s even a new two-player starter set – Shadows in the North – that includes two starter armies (Nightstalkers and Northern Alliance) along with a softback rulebook and getting started guide.