Vancouver's always been a pretty hot city for Warhammer, with very dedicated groups of tournament players willing to travel to various locations to compete. I say this because when 8th edition Warhammer ended there was—and still is—a schism in Vancouver's gaming community. Some people have moved on to Warmachine and Hordes, some people have gravitated deeper into 40k, or into SAGA and Bolt Action, while others (like myself) are very excited about Age of Sigmar (AoS).
Then there are some of us who hope that the majority of the old Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) crowd will want to play Kings of War (KoW) to sate their tournament needs. I'm actually glad AoS split the tournament crowd here. If it hadn't, I don't think I would've given KoW a second glance. I'm having loads of fun with AoS, but I also had a ton of fun at yesterday's KoW tournament. I think the two games compliment each other better than others realize.
Anyway, enough of my yammerin' about the crowd here; let's get into the tournament: It was put on by Wargaming Without Borders (WGWB), which is a charity event run by a combination of the three biggest clubs here in Vancouver: WCP, A-Club, and CHOP!. This year they ran the gamut of popular miniatures games, but eschewing AoS, they instead ran a KoW tournament.
The tournaments these clubs run are great. They often involve a great "soft score" element—that is to say, sportsmanship, painting, etc.—and they're very well-run. Some of these guys have been running tournaments for over a decade, so they're always tight. They tend to have amazing prize support, and this was no exception. They raffled off about a dozen prizes and I managed to get the new Khorne Bloodbound Battletome for AoS, which, as one of the more enthusiastic AoS players in the city, was fitting.
There were four games at 1500 points each, using the scenarios from the KoW book. There were twelve players and the overwhelming majority of the armies were painted, with so few exceptions that they could be counted on one hand.
Hilariously enough, when I first signed up I thought this tournament would be a bit of a cinch for me. I'm not the most competitive gamer, which often means that I get rocked in tournaments, but I had been playing lots of KoW, and had even begun playing well before anyone else in the city, so I thought I'd at least give my opponents a run for their money. As we'll see, this was not the case. I was surprised to see how much experience everyone had with this game. Two people even had glued their models to the movement trays! Which is something that I had only seen my friend Paul do (and he's been on the KoW band wagon since day one). I had a great time, and I definitely would do another one.
So let's look at some pics I remembered to take (sadly, while I was prepared to bring my camera, I instead forgot it in typical Carmin style, and had to rely upon my cellphone):
|We played the "Loot" scenario from the rulebook.|
The blue counters are loot counters.
|I was feeling better this game, so took more pictures.|
|Game three against another dwarf army. This|
one was hilariously the "Invade" scenario, which
meant that two dwarf armies had to get into each
other's deployment zones to score.
|This game was against my good buddy Calen.|
A guy I've known for almost a decade. He's a
skilled gamer in almost any game he sits down to
play, and only lost one game this whole tournament.
|This was the dumbest move I made all game|
(or maybe Calen's smartest), which is going up
against a dwarf king with regeneration and De: 6+.
Needless to say, the dwarf berserkers were a minor
speed bump in Calen's path to victory.
|Little tactical tip for those that are thinking about|
getting into KoW: Units with De: 6+ are really
hard to kill.
Here are some observations about the game in general:
1) KoW is more relaxing to play in tournaments. WFB, and to a greater extent, Warmachine/Hordes always left me exhausted by the end of the day, unable to think or do much but pack up models and grab a drink in silence. This was not the case with this game. I could've easily played another one or two games that day before feeling wiped.
2) Games of KoW are quick. Paul and I have been playing with chess clocks and our games of 1500 points have come in at just over an hour. I never had a game go to time in this tournament.
3) Every time I play KoW I like it more and more. When I first looked at it, I thought it was silly, but felt that I had to try it. My first actual game felt boring. But every game after that has had me like it more and more.
4) KoW is a better tournament system than WFB ever was. I love(d) WFB. For years it was my favorite game, and I tried to become a better gamer with every game I played, but for tournaments it was too wacky; too much variance in both the army lists and what happened in game. This made it amazing for club or campaign play (which I think was its intent), but for tournaments, organizers had to create a list of exceptions and rules (again, I think this was its intent). KoW was designed to be a tournament game and I think it excels in this regard. I can game comfortably knowing that this will be my tournament game.
So there you have it: A glowing review from someone who loves AoS, doesn't play a ton in tournaments (though that may change), and at first didn't think much of KoW. If you have been thinking of trying this game out, and have fond memories of 6th or 7th edition WFB, you should give it a go (I mean, you already have the models, and the rules and army lists are free). And if you're ever in Vancouver, BC and your models are handy, pop by an event held by one of these groups. You won't be disappointed.