Kings Of War 3rd Edition- The BoLS Review
Let’s take a look at Mantic’s much anticipated 3rd Edition of Kings of War. It’s a winner!
Kings of War, Mantic Game’s fantasy massed combat game, has released its highly anticipated 3rd Edition. This stunning 400-page full-color book updates every aspect of the game in amazing detail. Let’s take a look at what this book has to offer.
What Is Kings Of War?
Kings of War is a massed ranked combat fantasy battles wargame. In it, players face off with ranked formations in epic battles across a fantasy world. Players can take command of any of fourteen different armies and chose from hundreds of units to battle it out in tense games. Over the last decade and with three editions Kings of War has risen from humble beginnings to become the largest and most popular ranked combat fantasy game in the world and is a staple of fantasy gaming everywhere.
Kings of War is ultimately a success story. Many games never make it past their first edition, for a huge number of reasons. That Kings of War is now entering its 3rd Edition, and continues to grow is a feat that the Mantic team should be very proud of. With this 3rd Edition, KoW feels like a full mature game, that’s really found itself. Often times first editions of games represent a formative and experimental period, with a game still in its infancy it can struggle to survive and thrive. With a 2nd Edition, the game grows into its teen years and is often still going through growing pains. By a third edition the game knows what it is and a solid product.
3rd Edition offers a concise clean set of rules. It’s a fun and well thought out game that knows what it wants to do and does it well. It’s both deeper and more accessible than the prior editions and represents the height of Mantic’s game design.
The 3rd Edition book is a beautiful 400-page full-color hardback rule book. The book is broken into three main sections, the core rules, the background, and the armies. As such the book contains everything you need rules-wise to the play the game. Thus while the book is a hefty tome at 400 pages, it is the only book you’ll need to play. While some games have bolted out, with a player needing close to a dozen books to play a single game, it is breath of fresh air with Kings of War that this single book fills all your needs. Well done!
The main rules take up 55 pages of the book. While this may seem like a lot of rules bare in mind that this includes rules for magic items, rules for how to build armies and scenarios as well. By making use of a lot of keywords and generic special rules the designers have put a lot of the unit rules in this area, keeping the unit stat blocks very clean. The rules themselves are well laid out, with many east to understand diagrams showcasing how they work. In addition, lovely full-color art and pictures of miniatures breaks up the text in a pleasing manner. My favorite detail is that each magical artifact has artwork showing what it looks like, a common thing in say D&D but not common for wargames and a nice touch.
The Background – Welcome to Pannithor
The middle 150 pages of the book are devoted to the background and fluff of the game. Here you can see the massive change from when the game first started, with in-depth lore and background for both the world and the many factions.
If you want to get a feel for a faction or the world they are fighting in, this section is for you. This section of the book really shines thanks to the art. There is a ton of art in the part of the book and its all good. In particular, the many detailed maps, ranging from nations to cities are a huge draw for me and my favorite part of the book. As someone who loves maps it is a lot of fun to see every section of the world laid out with such detail, in fact, it’s possible that the Kings of War setting of Pannithor is the best mapped setting of any fantasy game.
Army Lists – Lots of Them!
Finally, the last 170 or so pages of the book are given over to the army lists. These detail the 14 separate factions of the game, giving the complete rules to field them. In addition, you get additional background on the faction heroes and a large number of color plates showing off the models.
This is a really beautiful and well-done rulebook and ranks among the best examples of its genre. It’s well laid out, easy to use and provides everything you need to play. The sections are compact and the rules are kept to one place, you won’t have to hunt through it looking for rules buried in strange parts of the book. The copious amounts of art elevate the book to something that you could peruse even if you didn’t care about playing the game, and the game’s armies and models are shown off to advantage. Though the book lacks a comprehensive index, my one gripe, in every other way it hits it out of the park.
If you are a fan of fantasy games, or like ranked up mass combat tabletop battles, Kings of War 3rd Edition will help scratch that itch. Whether you are a veteran KoW player or new to the hobby and have that rank&file itch – this amazing new book is sure to offer endless hours of fun and epic battles. So go out, get your armies on a table and immerse yourself in the world Mantic has built.
Enjoy our video review of the core rulebook.
“Welcome to Kings of War, and prepare to rally your forces to fight epic battles in the best and biggest fantasy mass-battle game. Choose your side and then command an army of Mantic miniatures to represent incredible armies such as the stoic and pious Basileans, or plot your opponent’s downfall with the wicked forces of the Abyss. With a huge variety of models and armies to choose from and many stories to tell, Kings of War is truly an amazing experience.”