We’re continuing our coverage of the Kings of War Epic Mega Super Book with an interview with Matt James, chairperson of the Kings of War Rules Committee.
From the RC’s point of view, what was the objective of the updated Book?
The aim this year was to consolidate all of the rules from both the previous Clash of Kings books and the FAQ and Errata and have all of the core rules and army lists in one place, along with the familiar balance tweaks. We were also asked to introduce (or reintroduce in some case) some different ways to play the game.
It’s been three years since Third Edition was released. Do you think this is a good time for an update like this?
It’s probably the best time to do something like this, as over the course of an edition, people need to collect a small libraries worth of books. If we did it any earlier and we wouldn’t have much to consolidate, and by the end of the edition you’d end up with a small library again!
What would you say is the biggest update in the revised Book?
We’ve made some changes to the way that units create space for one another when charging, which should enable units to get into melee a little easier. This will likely mean the pace of the game is increased a bit, which is always exciting, but you’ll still have plenty of tools at your disposal to defend against multiple charges. We’ve also made some significant changes to the way cover works: introducing two types of cover. A lot of the units with the current “Ignores Cover” special rule will now only be able to ignore one type or the other, giving players a bit more defence against war engines.
What are you most proud of in the update?
Although people think of me as a tournament gamer, I actually have most fun playing games when doing something a bit different to a standard game. Perhaps it’s the novelty of these unusual games, perhaps it’s the epic cinematic side, either way, I’ve had a lot of fun in the past with things like Siege and Halpi’s Rift. This year, we have reintroduced rules for Sieges, updated for Third Edition, and introduced a new way to play large scale games, with some influences taken from Halpi’s Rift. There is potential to do some crazy things with magic here! Additionally, when playing large games you’ll be able to create your own legendary units and gargantuan monsters to unleash on your foes.
However, perhaps the most exciting addition is KoW: Ambush. This is a new version of the game designed for small armies of below 1,000 points, and can be played on a 3×3 table. This will be perfect for demo games, introducing new players into the game, and would make for a fun day with your gaming buddies where you’ll be able to get lots and lots of games in.
Having all of this in one book along with the core rules and army lists really feels quite complete and definitive.
The Clash of Kings 2022 supplement was (in)famously a no-nerf Clash… should we expect the same here?
No. Last year we attempted to bring everyone up to the same level as the strongest armies in the game and I think we managed to close the gap, but we can’t buff everything forever. This year we’ve had to take a close look at some of the worst offenders and given them an overdue nerf, but I think we managed to keep ourselves in check and not go too crazy binging on nerfs after a year of abstinence from the nerf bat.
Any armies or units you think will become more popular following the updates?
I’m not going to make any predictions! I’ve been wrong too many times before! I think we’ve taken another step towards making the game more balanced so naturally that will shake up the meta a bit.
Personally, I’ve been playing Free Dwarfs a lot lately, and I’m quite tempted by Ironwatch Rifles. I’m also quite tempted by Basileans all of a sudden! My Ratkin army has sat dormant for a while, and I’d like to get them back out at some point, perhaps with the addition of some Scurriers.
The new rulebook introduces the Ambush game mode; do you think we’ll see more people playing smaller games? How long does a game of Ambush take?
When everything reopened last year, I organised a 750 point event at my local club. The great thing was that it allowed us to play lots of games against as many people as possible, which was lovely as we hadn’t seen one another for a while.
We used clocks and we had around 25 minutes each (I may be misquoting my own tournament pack – but it was there or there about) so games were comfortably done inside of one hour. This is doubly beneficial, not just because you can get lots of games in, but you can get to the bar faster when the game has finished!
Anything else you want to add about the updated book?
Just that I hope everyone enjoys the updates and the new game modes are well received and generate more interest in this fantastic game!