So! The cat’s out of the bag and we know that the Kings of War 2nd edition hardback rulebook is on its way! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Nick Williams (Daedle on the forums) and I’m part of the team of designers working on 2nd ed with Alessio. We’re very pleased with what we’ve put together – an excellent and exciting evolution of the first edition which adds some real character to the fantastic rules.

I’m sure the big question from most people is: “what’s going to change?” One of our main aims is to create a real, breathing and living world for players to wage their war in, but what about the actual gameplay itself?

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The biggest change is to the game balance.

We are taking the opportunity to review all of the units in the game and adjust their points cost (and in some situations their stats). Amongst others, cavalry will generally go up in cost while ranged infantry units will come down in cost. There will be lots and lots of little tweaks to allow people to create a huge variety of armies without worrying about “competitiveness”. That’s not to say that you can’t tweak your army list to better suit your tactics, but we want to get to the stage where you never pick one unit over the other because it’s simply better and cheaper.

As part of this, we’re looking at addressing the balance between ranged infantry and artillery. Ranged infantry isn’t so good in the current edition, and it’s often more expensive than the melee equivalent. By contrast, artillery can be absolutely devastating when taken in large numbers. We’ve decreased the amount of damage that artillery can do and we’ve improved ranged infantry. Now ranged infantry will do reliable small chunks of damage (generally not more than 1-2 points of damage per turn) while artillery will still do considerable, but not unit killing, hits. Of course, melee damage will always trump damage done from afar so you will need some melee units to protect your ranged ones!

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Line of sight is changing. At the moment we use True Line of Sight – meaning that if your model can physically “see” another model then it can see it in-game. While this is a great idea on the surface, when there’s a huge range of manufacturers and scenic basing being used in Kings of War then it can really cause problems. A player using one manufacturer for their Kingdoms of Men army might be able to see over their opponent’s human models from a different manufacturer.

The new LOS system is quite simple; units are given a height and you can see or be seen over any units which are smaller than you. Any unit which has an equal or greater height will block LOS. Infantry will be height 1, cavalry and large infantry will be height 2 and so on. This won’t have any impact on how people mostly play the game but it will allow you to go hog wild with modelling and not worry about any advantages or disadvantages you might get in game.

‘Disrupted’ currently has two meanings in the game – a modifier to hit when you’re charging through terrain and when a unit is charged and cannot shoot in the next turn. We’re calling the second effect (charged and can’t shoot) ‘Disordered’. This will have a bigger impact on the game since it’s not just ranged units which can become Disordered. Cavalry will be using the new Thunderous Charge special rule instead of Crushing Strength:

All melee hits inflicted by the unit have a +n modifier when rolling to damage. This is in addition to the units’ Crushing Strength (if any); however the unit loses this bonus when Disordered.

This means that Cavalry will have a devastating first charge, but when they get bogged down in a grinding melee then they will lose a lot of their hitting power. We’ve found that this really gives cavalry more character and emphasizes them as linebreakers. Cavalry heavy armies will still be perfectly playable of course, but you’ll need to learn to avoid protracted fights.

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There are lots of little tweaks here and there throughout the game and plenty of really cool additions (more spells and scenarios anyone?) but we don’t want to give everything away right now! We’re going to be running extensive public beta testing in the coming months to make sure that we get the balance correct and there isn’t anything we’ve overlooked.

Rest assured though that the heart and soul of Kings of War is very much unchanged. The game is still extremely fun, simple to learn, places a huge emphasis on tactics and it will of course be free to download along with all of the army lists from the Mantic website. We’ll do a one or two page summary of the changes for people who have the existing rulebook, though you may need to also print off your updated army list!

I hope that everyone does back the rulebook Kickstarter because the more funding we get through it, the more we can build up the background. If the funding goes absolutely wild then we may see some new models created (I believe some abyssal creatures are simply begging for models!) but the emphasis is definitely going to be on creating an amazing 2nd edition that drips character from every single page.

The new Kings of War Kickstarter begins next week! Let us know what you are looking forward to in the comments below, what army you will be playing and what you are hoping will be updated. To keep up to date with the launch of the Kings of War Kickstarter make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter, and give the Mantic Facebook page a like for daily updates!

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