Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kings of War: First Impressions (1)

So. Roberto Vo5 was in town on leave not long before the family and I left for our little holiday, and we managed a few days’ worth gaming revelry, which was then politely shoehorned by modest consumption.

Our first day, naturally, involved some 40K, of which you will hear about in the coming weeks. On day two of the gaming glut, we opted for something new. Roberto had brought his burgeoning and beautiful High Elf force. I have yet to finish reading the rules for 8th edition. What to do. What to do.
Kings of War. That’s what. It advertises itself as a “beer and pretzels” game. The rulebook is 12 pages long. It is free to download for one and all.

Done and done.

So, in a classic matchup, I dusted off my very, very old Dwarf army and we set about the field of battle. Howzahh!?!

First impressions (in two parts –the generalities today and the gameplay for next post) part one:

The Universe:
- there’s not much to say here yet. I have not been particularly aggressive or invested myself ambitiously with the KoW universe –though my impression from this distance is that it seems rather rote. Admittedly, I do not know much about the fluff such as they have developed it. My impressions on the matter suggest that they have developed a miniature range (see next section) and a ruleset to support those minis, but left the rest a blank canvas. At the end of the day, I think this is a positive step, as I am reflexively shy around rigid proscription.  

- one note: having said the above, I have noted that there is no “human” range yet available on the website, which surprised me initially (as I have been working feverishly on ye olde Bretonnia). Perhaps the more knowledgeable will have something worthwhile to say here, but until I hear further, I will simply hope that humans are somewhere down the road.

(that last point raises an interesting aside –a note on a note, if you will: I have often suspected that most rule systems work through increments of relativity based on the human as “standard” when creating the statistical lines that compose each race. Think of the 3,3,3 statline of the typical IG trooper, or the 4s found with the basic Space Marine as indicative. All else follows from there. Right? What happens in a game mechanism that forgoes the human baseline?)

The Miniatures:
- the KoW range looks really solid to me. The figures are not as epic, dynamic, or evocative as, say, the individual figures of Warmachine, but that stands to reason. The game is largely played en masse and for that mass you get quite a lot of bang for your proverbial buck. I am tempted. Sorely tempted.

- and of course, the proxy effect means that (as we have here) you can simply fold an existing fantasy army of almost any persuasion quite nicely into the mix. As I suggested above, KoW has breathed new life into my interest in Fantasy tabletop strategy –an interest that had otherwise been languishing horribly for months if not years. It’s good to be back.

- more on the miniatures soon, as I hope to have some firsthand experience in the reasonably near future.

The Cost:
- any way you want to slice it, KoW is a bargain. I am not one to whinge about price increases, but the models are both solid and wondrously cheap in comparison to any other range that I have seen. Above, I mentioned that you can proxy old WFB models to play KoW, but I expect to see as much or more traffic in the other direction: solid and inexpensive masses of KoW miniatures on the table standing in for High Elves or Vampire Counts, etc. It just makes sense (and I know one individual already working some of that undead magic… looking at your FrozenJoe).


The Angry Lurker said...

Sounds damn good.

Mr Saturday said...

After listening to the lads on Garagehammer bang on about KoW and reading this, I have to say I'm inclined to give it a shot.

sebastosfig said...

KoW seems to be more and more the way to go these days.

Porky said...

I agree with the points you make, about lack of proscription and miniature design and cost. The question of the human baseline is a very intriguing one. It makes more clear there's a paradigm that could be shifted.