Kings of Elves – A Kings of War BatRep

Looking around at different fantasy rule sets, its time for Kings of War to get some test runs – as tradition tells, its Elf against Elf time.

With Age of Sigmar coming and putting an end to the Warhammer Fantasy progression as we know it, we have taken the opportunity to look around at different rule sets. The Ninth Age was the first, being rather close to its “inspirational mother” and being free to boot. The rules are nice, touching up some of the major flaws of 8th edition – the development team are undoubtedly working hard. We got left behind quickly with different versions popping up all the time, though.

Now it was Kings of War’s time to get some testing, as we had got a few free rule books with a random order from Wayland Games. (Awesome campaign btw, I now also have some Beyond the Gates of Antares rules I’ll have to try!) Mr. Easter had been preaching the game for a long time too.

The Kings of War rules are very neat. All excess, and some more, have been cut away. I would go and say they have cut away a bit too much for my taste (but reap the benefits of doing so); Mr.Easter thinks they have cut down to the exact core of what is needed – no more, no less. I miss some tweaking in army list building, and the large number of spells and army specific items that you can plan about. Mr. Easter doesn’t mind and points out a series of benefits (for instance balance) in doing so.

We played the game once before, just testing the rules a couple of games, and now, having a bit of feel for the game we return with slightly larger armies – 1500 points. The mission is 6 objectives that we can add 150 points for holding at the end of the turn on top of kills.

Kings of War Elves vs Twilight Kin

↑ The terrain set up and objectives. We used a map generated from those available on www.epicdwarf.com.

Kings_of_war_elves_twilight_kin_DSC0585

↑ Deployment. Twilight Kin (top) left to right: Hydra (behind the ruins), a peggy hero, a reaper guard regiment (with extra crushing strength), a buccaneer regiment, (in the forest) a spearmen horde and a witch, a reaper guard regiment, and finally a troop each of Dark Knights and Heralds of Woe.

For the (High) Elves, the deployment is (again left to right) a troop of stormwind cavalry, a bolt thrower, a troop of archers, another troop of archers (with a Jar of Four Winds -extending their range), a horde of tallspears and an army standard and a mage, a bolt thrower and a dragon!

A Comment at this point – you can see that both forces lack chaff as such. The Dark Elves have a few small units of cavalry which could be used as such. Going back, I think we both would change this and add a Troop or two. I like how the two hordes of spears look! I might need to put three hordes of spears on the table at some point!

Kings_of_war_elves_twilight_kin_DSC0586

↑ Turn 1. The Twilight Kin start. The Hydra moves up (I think the first cursing one forgot you can’t march and turn happened here – it was definitely not the last). The Pegasus moves up into cover by the wall, ready to strike ahead. The rest of the battle line moves conservatively forward – the exception being the Heralds that try to put pressure on the left flank.

The High Elf line approached similarly. The Stormwind cavalry took up a supporting position, still ready to charge where needed to. The tallspears move slightly up in cover from the hill. The dragon also takes it first move to attempt to get over the enemy line. All archery fire was directed at the Pegasus, but in spite of a few wounds it, unsurprisingly, held.

Kings_of_war_elves_twilight_kin_DSC0587

↑ Turn 2. The action starts. The Pegasus has a target of opportunity in the bolt thrower, and even defending over the rough terrain it cannot defend against the hero’s charge. The Heralds put a wound on the dragonlord.

The archers counter the move of the peggy rider and shoot him down while covering the flank of the spears and the characters. The stormwind cavalry see a target of opportunity in the flank of the reaper guard. Even over the obstacle the flank charge devastates the dark elf elites. On the left flank the dragon and the bolt thrower slay the vanguard riders.

Kings_of_war_elves_twilight_kin_DSC0589

↑ Turn 3. The buccaneers move to counter the stormwind cavalry, and with the witch’s support they manage to put some hurt on the still steadfast riders. The dark knights dodge the dragon’s path by falling back. The hydra moves forward to strike at the High Elf flank as soon as possible.

The stormwind cavalry charge the buccaneers, the obstacle proving to be a real hindrance. The dragon prepare to threat the rear of the dark elf flank.

 

Kings_of_war_elves_twilight_kin_DSC0590

↑ Turn 4. Its my turn to curse, as I move up my spearmen a bit too close to the enemy spear block. Could this mistake crumble my line? It turns out no, even though a good number of damage was done the large unit is durable enough to take it and remain in the game; Inspiring support also helps.

The hydra is now ready to punch, and the dark knight also start pushing forward again. The bolt thrower manages to waver them, though, and so another turn is bought before they can take it out.

The Stormwind cav and the Buccaneers are still fighting, both piling up damage turn after turn. But neither giving an inch.

The big fight of the turn is the counter charge by the High Elf tallspears supported by the dragon. That is an insane amount of damage put on the spearmen, and the fighting formation is inevitably scattered.

Kings_of_war_elves_twilight_kin_DSC0591

↑ Turn 5. It is looking grim for the Dark Elves. The hydra gets a counter charge on the spearmen, but it is not enough to break them still. The high elf retaliation takes it out. The dark knights are scattered under artillery fire.

Soon all dark elves are driven from the battlefield, and it is a solid High Elf victory!

Aftermath. It was a very interesting game. I think we got to see what maneuverability  is worth in this game. The question is whether I was pushing it too soon with the dragon? That the Dark Elves were more or less without ranged weapons, and had very little chaff gave the dragon very free reign. (The only ranged unit the Twilight Kin fielded was the Jar of Four Winded Buccaneers.)  That said, I believe the dragon also must be sneaky rather than a brute. A frontal charge won’t be enough to break most blocks and then just subjects it to probably fatal counter charges.

After being skeptical from the first impressions we got, I am now much more intrigued. Will it replace playing Warhammer for me? No. But I will be happy to play this as well every now and then.

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14 responses to “Kings of Elves – A Kings of War BatRep

  1. Hi! Thanks for the report. Great to see KoW getting some time on the pasture 🙂

    Movement and combined charges are definitely key in this game. Having also switched over from WHFB, I have very much found that I share your friend’s assessment of the strengths of the game. Another thing I’ve really enjoyed is the look of it on the table. Ironically, larger games of KoW often visually remind me of the epic battle shots from the old WHFB books – big armies of proper blocks closing in on each other.

    Thanks again for posting 🙂

    Cheers,
    Arctopithecus

    PS: Any chance of seeing you or your friend at the KoW tourney at Ropecon this summer? (You are located in Finland, right? :p)

    • Its a nice game, but we still need to dissociate the two from each other! I am a bit ambivalent with that large army – on one hand, if you have the models, its a very invoking sight. on the other hand you need to paint a lot of models to make a unit. The different perspectives [between different games] lends itself to make a multi-layered campaign too – Age of Sigmar for Skirmishes, WHFB (say pre-8th) for clashes, and Kings of war for grander battles!

      Thanks for looking!

      We are planning the trip, but we’re not confident enough with the rules yet to participate. Now we know there’s a KoW event will drop by for sure!

  2. Nice to see some Kings of War on the table. My group tried out KOW for many of the same reasons you identified, and we liked it a lot.

  3. Looking at those pictures I realise there are lots of thing I could have done differently. With this being a completely new set of rules for us there are lots of things to learn. I’m still being too much influenced by the tactics and list building experience from Warhammer fantasy.

    That dragon was really scary. In the end I did focus to mush on it, leaving the rest of my battle line vulnerable. But, it is fun to see that a dragon can be fielded without being overpowered or a waste of points.

    I have a positive first impression of the game. The game has the easy to learn, hard to master feel to it. It seem like Mantic has managed to make a complex game without the rules bloat seen in most GW games.

    • Yeah, I think I haven’t really realised I play another game than WHFB. Maybe one day though.

      I wouldn’t call it rules bloat, but rather a different approach to the scale. Mantic goes top-down, thinking unit-by-unit (like Warmaster). WHFB on the other hand takes it bottoms up, coming from (making rules for) roleplaying mass battles.

      The dragon might have been a bit too soon. 🙂 I liked how it worked though!

  4. Great report, glad to see the evil Twilight Kin vanquished 😉. I’ve really enjoyed my kow journey this year. It really helped that is was a simple rule set to pick up. If it was as large as whfb I probably wouldn’t have bothered. Not that is it a simple game, there are still lots of tactics and as Arctipithecus commented, it’s great to see large numbers of rank and file troops on the battlefield. Something that warhammer could have done with more often. I do find the list building not as enjoyable and miss the variety of options, whether units, upgrades or magic (but it does make it more balanced). Saying that, Mantic have added more spells and curbed the supremacy of flyers in the clash of kings book and in the summer campaign book there are yet more spells and additional special characters being added which helps with the variety. I look forward to seeing your next report!

    • Those pesky hedonists certainly deserve every beating they can get, and doubly so!

      I agree with you. I miss the tinkering with small details (full command or not, how many models etc.) and in a sense also all the gribbly little details in the heavy rules. But looking in the mirror – with WHFB, 40k, Age of Sigmar, Lord of the Rings, Malifaux, Dropzone Commander and Dropfleet Commander being played – a heavier rule-set is not missed.

      That Clash of Kings might indeed be something to look into. Especially ‘Weaken’ sounds like the kind of spell I am missing.

      • Agreed, I tried 40k last year for the first time and struggled with the depth of the rules. It did make me appreciate why they wanted to simplify them with AoS.

      • Having grown into 40k over some a few years the base rules is one thing. But trying to navigate all formations and how to work against armies with loads of formations – and thus special rules/abilites… Hhhh.

  5. Edge of the Abyss summer campaign book preorderd! Some figures might been caught in the order as well.

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