Monday, January 19, 2015

Of Kings And War

I had a chance to play Kings of War last Sunday. It was the second time I've played this game, and like the first, I was pleasantly surprised.

Here's the scene: A friend of mine has a 12'x4' table, which, as a gamer, is Shangri-La. He also has enough painted undead figures to line up along the length of that 12'x4' table. He invited over myself and another friend to ally against his dread legions. We played 3000pts and it only took us three hours.

This is the major benefit of Kings of War over other regimental games—being Warhammer, as I think the two games are the only regimental games on the market right now—that it's quick. Every time I look at Kings of War I always think it's going to be boring. I will admit, it is a bare-bones system. You move, you shoot, you fight in combat, sometimes you can cast spells—which are fancy (but not that fancy) shooting attacks—but really everything does what you think it's going to do outside of the normal randomness of a dice-based system.

Some (like my friend with the table) look upon this as the highlight of the system, but I look at it as a drawback (albeit one with potential). I like a game system with variance and options. Warhammer has drawbacks, sure, but a dearth of options is not one of them. In Warhammer you have an arsenal of stuff at your disposal, hell even the terrain on the table can give you things to think about other than "I can't see through those trees."

So naturally every time I read up on Kings of War, and set up a game my eyes hurt from rolling in my skull, and my lungs are well stretched from the constant sighing. However the game is super-intuitive and quick. Like I said, a 3000pt game (which is probably 3500–4000pts in Warhammer) played in three hours is unheard of in most miniatures games. Also, I've only read the rulebook once and the gap in time between my two games is most-likely longer than a calendar year, yet it was all in my head.

The game is written by Alessio Cavatore who used to work for Games Workshop, and was the principal author of Warhammer 7th edition. 7th edition was (in my humble opinion) fun, but it was the most ho-hum of Warhammer editions. Sort of a clean up of 6th edition, and a forgettable transition between the kind of game 6th edition created (streamlined tournament-ready system with some of Warhammer's traditional wackiness), and the game Warhammer is now with 8th (which is to say, great). So when I read the rules and saw who authored them, it made sense to me. But now I've developed a whole other respect for Alessio's work (my comments about 7th still standing). I see that what he was trying to create was a fast, simple, and intuitive miniatures system.

Kings of War will not replace Warhammer for me. I won't turn down a game, and I may even tailor an army specifically to the system. I can even see myself entering a Kings of War tournament and being satisfied by the state of the rules while within that medium, but it's not replacing Warhammer. What it is is a solid, fast, big-battles, game that would provide an excellent framework for customizing.

This kind of brings me to an aside: I think all too often (especially now as opposed to in the '70s or '80s) miniatures gamers get hung up on a "tournament ruleset," which is understandable, as it gives us the framework to not only play in tournaments but to facilitate one-off games against strangers in shops, clubs, or conventions. Having a set of house rules is tons of fun and can be pretty creative, but it's also something you need to inform people of when they want to join.

But one of the benefits to tabletop games (versus electronic game, for instance) is that they're malleable. Kings of War is a great example of a game system that provides a solid framework upon which I would love to see stuff added. I would love wackier units to add to my army, and a more robust magic system. Hell, even some interesting scenarios would spice things up. As it stands, the game is a set of vegetables. Good, but it needs something done to it to really be a favorite of yours truly.

Anyway, enough from me, enjoy these, passable, pictures of our game. I thought the lighting in my friend's place was too dark, so I turned on the flash (something I never do on cameras). After I got home and sobered-up (Kings of War also works when you've polished-off seven cans of beer), I immediately regretted my flash decision, and promise that I'll never, ever, do it again...

12' of Undead.

The grand alliance of elves and dwarves (and a
can of Cariboo beer).

Some o' my dwarves.

A rollicking fight in the center of the table.

Generals and gentlemen.

A big ole scrum against some zombies.

My dwarf general vs. a necromancer that the
undead player forgot to do anything with the
whole game (much to my benefit).


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tournament Wrap-Up

I went to a Warhammer tournament on December 14th, 2014. It was at a Games Workshop retail store, and there were ten people there. It was a three-round, 2000pt, tournament where anything goes provided you had the book to back it up. This means that if I wanted to use the Chaos Ascendant rules, I had to have the Glottkin book with me (which I did!).

Each 6'x4' table had a special scenario attached to it, and you had to play that scenario while on that board. My personal favorite was the first table I played on, where there were no deployment zones—meaning you could set up anywhere you wanted on the table as close as 1" to the enemy if you dared—but every time you set down a unit you had to roll a scatter die to see which direction it faced (a HIT is any direction you want).

It was tons of fun, and I came in third place. I only won one game, but due to the inclusion of soft scores like painting, sportsmanship, and so forth, I rocketed to the top three. I lost out by one vote for best sport, so the award I usually win in tournaments went to someone else. I won the first game, and then proceeded to lose the next two, but the hilarious part was that I played all three games against people who were either in my gaming group, and/or were friends of mine. 40% of the people at the tournament I've known for 10+ years, and have, or still, game(d) with regularly.

Anyway, I was pleased to find out that they're doing the same thing this year, and that it is an escalating tournament (I just missed the first two parts in 2014). There's a tournament in Spring that's 1000pts, one in Summer that's 1500pts, and the last one in Fall that's 2000pts. I plan on bringing my old-school Lizardmen army to these three events, so keep up to date on that. It'll be like the tournament journal I've always wanted to write for this blog.

Without further ado, here are some pictures:
This is my army on display. Everyone did this
and people went around and voted on the best
This is actually the set-up for the first game—or
as much as I could include on my cellphone's
camera. See the 2nd paragraph for why it's so
chaotic (no pun intended).

A grisly shrine.

I didn't get a chance to finish painting my
daemonettes, so I had to summon plaguebearers.

Game two against Beastmen. I lost this one.

Final game against another Legions of Chaos army.

There used to be five knights with this fearsome
exalted hero of Chaos, however the winds of magic
are fickle indeed... 



Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Just a quick post to show you some pics! My saurus command arrived in the mail today, so I put them together. They came still in the blister pack! In the old style that's yellow on the bottom and red on the top (back row, left, in this picture). Anyway, they're cool, and now I have a full unit of 25 saurus to command on the battlefield.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Extract From The Prophecy Of Sotek

New year, new army!

I hope your holidays were as fun as mine! I didn't get up to too much gaming after my tournament, which I will write about later this week (gotta save something to write about on this blog, seeing as I do so infrequently), but I did get a pretty decent x-mas haul (Warhammer 40,000 Conquest, and a booster box of Khans of Tarkir), and some dude came into the shop and dropped-off a near-mint Warhammer 5th edition boxed set.

So that brings me to the allusion in this post's title, which is my new Lizardmen army:
The whole shebang (note the gap in the sauruses is for a yet-to-be-received command section)

The skinks

The sauruses (with gap for command)

I decidedin a moment of beer-fueled frenzythat I will take the 20 saurus, and 32 skinks, and use them to begin a Lizardmen army. After all, they're the only Warhammer army I haven't attempted to build, and until we can all be sure what is and isn't true in the (pretty incredible) 9th edition rumors I don't want to start my brand-new High Elf army if it means half-way through I have to do some unexpected alterations. Hell, with this Lizardmen army I may even get a chance to finally try out the Army Painter dips.

Here's the catch, though, the army will be made up of first-wave Lizardmen figures, such as the ones found in 5th edition. That means, wherever I can, I need to use a figure from before May 2003. This doesn't preclude me from using figures post-2003, but I can't use the new plastic stegadon when there are metal ones to be had, for instance.

Anyway, we'll see how far this goes. I'll keep you updated (albeit spottily). I have some ebay wins coming in this week or next, so you'll get to see more as this mad project reaches fruition.


EDIT (Jan. 14, 2014): Just wanted to pop in and say that I intend to command this fearsome army in a series of tournaments being run this year at my local Games Workshop retail store. The first one's in Spring and it's 1000pts, the second one's in Summer and it's 1500pts, and the third one's in Fall at 2000pts. Anyway, I changed the labels of this post to reflect that this is actually Part 1 in a tournament journal, wherein I'll describe my process of taking an army from zero to hero and throwing it to the dogs in a tournament. Stay tuned!