After work last night, myself and Curis (graphic designer, master of obscure facts, Forge Father enthusiast) headed downstairs to the Mantic meeting room to play a game of Kings of War! As I mentioned yesterday I recently noticed that there’s never been an in-house Battle Report on the Mantic blog. That just seemed like a shame, so we took several photos and copious notes so we could let you guys see a game in action! So… let’s do this, shall we?
As a fledgling Undead general, I decided to command a legion of Ophidian nightmares. My army’s still a work-in-progress but we had more than enough models for me to put together a force capable of turning aside anything Curis threw at me.
- Skeleton Regiment with Banner, Musician, Spears and Undead Dogs – 140 points
- Revenant Troop with Banner, Musician and Blade of Slashing – 115 points
- Ghoul Troop – 60 points
- Zombie Horde – 95 points
- Wraith Troop – 110 points
- Werewolf Troop – 150 points
- Revenant Cavalry Troop with Banner and Musician – 85 points
- Balefire Catapult – 65 points
- Liche King – 180 points
Curis pulled a rather unexpected move and took an Ogre force with some allied Orcs. I’d half expected him to go for Dwarves, knowing how keen he is on their spacebound counterparts in Warpath, but apparently his recent work on the Kings and Legends book inspired him to try out the big guys! However, his maths skills seem to have deserted him last night, as upon writing up his list today he discovered that he was 150 points over the thousand point limit! What a dirty, rotten scoundrel.
- Ogre Warriors Regiment – 190 points
- Ogre Warriors Regiment with Two-Handed Weapons, Banner and Musician – 215 points
- Ogre Shooters Troop – 140 points
- Ogre Shooters Troop with Blunderbusses – 140 points
- Red Goblin Scouts Troop – 70 points
- Red Goblin Blaster – 50 points
- Ogre Captain – 125 points
- Wip the Half-Cast – 120 Points
- Orc Ax Krudgiment – 100 points (sadly absent from the photo above!)
Setup & Deployment
We rolled to see what our mission objective would be, and got Kill, the most straight-forward of the objectives. No need to worry about capturing parts of the board – victory would go to whoever caused the most carnage! We deployed our forces in the usual manner, taking turns to place a unit more than 12″ from the centre line. (As an aside, I’d like to apologise for the quality of some of the photos in this post – they were just quick snaps from my phone camera. We wanted to get on and play the game, not spend ages setting up beautifully composed shots, especially as one of the key points of a Kings of War game is its speed! Hope you don’t mind.)
I set up my force in a fairly standard fashion, with a large block of zombies holding the centre and fast(ish) units poised to roll up the flanks. I put my unit of Wraiths on the left flank where they could shelter behind the rock formation (the Fly special rule means they can move through terrain, so it wouldn’t impede their movement later). My Liche King took up position behind the lines, where he could cast Dark Surge and Heal on the Zombies, Revenants and Ghouls without being picked off by heavy crossbows, and my Balefire Catapult set up on the hill behind the Revenants – just out of frame in the photo above. Oops!
Curis made a bold statement with his deployment, setting up a mass of hard-hitting units in the centre of the table. I was particularly worried about that regiment of warriors with two-handed weapons and a command group – hopefully my Zombies would be able to weather their punishment. His Red Goblins held the flanks, with the Scouts lining up against the Revenants (good luck to them!) and the Blaster opposite the Revenants and Wraiths, not far from the Werewolves. If Curis played his cards right, that could potentially obliterate all three units in one fell swoop! Wip the Half-Cast took up position behind the Blaster and the Orcs that were stationed next to it, ready to lend a magical hand where it was needed.
With units deployed, we rolled for the first turn (Curis won and opted to go second) and got on with it. Here’s a shot of the pre-game excitement, in which you can see Chris’s patented Exuberance Pose:
Turn One – Undead
My first turn was fairly uneventful, as normal with an Undead army! The Werewolves zipped up the left flank – their speed would be cause for celebration in a normal army, but in an Undead force, where most of your units plod along at five inches per turn, they’re an absolute godsend! The Wraiths hunkered behind the rocks as the main force advanced. My Liche King cast Dark Surge on the Zombies, giving them a bonus five-inch move. The Balefire catapult aimed at the Ogre Warriors Regiment, but failed to achieve a hit. With that, my go was over!
Turn Two – Ogres
When Curis gave me the first turn of the game, he was no doubt expecting that my first moves would bring me into charge range of his Ogres, knowing that I’m not the kind of player to hang back in a tactical fashion – however, he didn’t reckon on the fact that Undead are so ponderous! As a result he used his first turn to spread him battle line, holding his Shooters back while his Warriors, Captain and Orcs advanced. The Blaster almost reached the centre line, bringing it dangerously close to my force; I made a note to deal with it next turn. The Red Goblin Scouts moved to plug the gap in their left flank, using the terrain to their advantage to slow the Revenant Cavalry. If I wanted to get past them, I’d have to go through them!
In the Shooting phase, the Shooters with heavy crossbows opened fire at my advancing Ghouls, hoping to deal with them before they could flank the Warriors. Sadly, only three points of damage were caused – but Curis got lucky with the Nerve test, and caused them to Waver. (One of the few things in my army capable of Wavering – typical!) Wip tried to Zap my Werewolves, but their high Defence value meant that his efforts were wasted.
Turn Three – Undead
Here we go – time for some serious Kings of War action! My Zombies were now in charge range, and barrelled into the Warriors while the Revenants squared up to the Ax Regiment. The Werewolves pounced on Wip, whose pyrotechnic display had only served to get their blood up. My Wraiths hung back and waited, while my Revenant Cavalry – who were out of range of the Scouts – held their group to see if the Goblins would make a move first.
My Shooting phase began with a Zap! attempt from my Liche King, who completely failed to damage the Blaster. The Balefire Catapult lined up on the same target and let loose a barrage of evil, sorcerous skulls… and rolled a 2 to hit, for the second turn in a row. Ah. That wasn’t good.
Still, too late to worry about that now! Time to get started on the Melee phase. My Revenants caused three points of damage to the Ax Horde, nowhere near as much as I was hoping for. Despite this, I got an exceedingly lucky Nerve roll, scoring a double six! My Musician cancelled out his Banner, giving me a total of 15 – one point higher than his Rout level of 14. The unit was wiped out in one go!
The rest of my Melee phase was less lucky, but after that result I didn’t mind! The Werewolves failed to tear Wip limb from limb, instead causing four damage points and causing him to Waver. The Zombie horde damaged the Warriors three times, to no immediate effect, before backing away to prepare for the counterattack…
Turn Four – Ogres
The Red Goblin Blaster began the turn by advancing past my Revenants and positioning itself between them and my Wraiths. That didn’t bode well. On the opposite flank, the Scouts refused to call the Revenants’ bluff and shuffled back to close up the battle line. The Shooters advanced past them, splitting into a V formation to spread their arc of fire. Wip dashed away from the Werewolves as fast as he could, knowing that it wouldn’t be far enough.
Then came The Charge. Yes, it deserves capitals.
Yes, that’s both units of Warriors and the Captain, all charging my Zombie horde. I have to say, I wasn’t expecting that one! I thought he was going to split his forces, but Curis has picked up on the Ogre Art of War: pick a target and utterly destroy it. That way you won’t be outnumbered for long!
The Shooting phase started off quite luckily for me, with the Shooters failing to hurt my Ghouls or Skeletons. However, that Blaster was in a prime position…
…and Curis detonated it, rolling a 5″ blast which easily caught the Revenants and Wraiths! The Zombies were spared by an inch, so I was thankful he hadn’t rolled a six – not that it mattered, seeing as how they were about to get pulped by a bunch of Ogres. The Blaster’s explosion causes 2D6 hits with Piercing (4) to anything caught in its radius, and the Revenants took a massive ten points of damage! Unluckily, the Wraiths were spared by Curis only rolling 3 on his 2D6, but each hit caused a point of damage. The high Nerve scores meant that my units didn’t rout, but they definitely took a pounding. Suddenly, I saw how scary Blasters can be – and at only 50 points each, I’ll be amazed if Ogre players don’t take two or three.
The Melee in the centre of the board went as expected. It turns out that Ogre Warriors, hardened mercenaries who willingly step up against the mightiest warriors their enemies can muster, aren’t particularly bothered by a bunch of rotting peasants.
Turn Five – Undead
Well, it was a nice battle line I had once. I know they were only zombies, but I was quite fond of them! Time for some revenge. Curis had put all his Ogres in one metaphorical basket, and I was able to jump on them with the rest of my force. The Wraiths, using their 20″ charge move to full effect, swept in from the flank to take the Warriors Regiment, while the Ghouls leapt on the Troop. My Revenants swung around in a position to charge the Regiment in the flank later. “Ah, very clever!” exclaimed Chris, a Kings of War veteran compared to either of us. I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant, but I took the compliment with good grace and carried on. The Werewolves charged Wip again, certain of victory this turn, and the Skeletons charged the Shooters with heavy crossbows.
In my Shooting phase, the Balefire catapult proved itself to be consistent if nothing else as I rolled a third 2 while attempting to his the Blunderbuss Shooters. Sigh. My Liche King declared a Zap! against the Ogre Captain, at which point Chris almost leapt off his chair. “Eh? What are you doing?” he spluttered. I gave him a blank look, at which point he was kind enough to point out my amateurish mistake. He’d assumed I was going to be awfully clever and cast Dark Surge to cause my Revenants to flank the Warriors. This hadn’t occurred to me at all – what a genius move! “That’s pretty much the main Undead tactic you need,” he informed me. Curis was kind enough to offer to let me take back my Zap, but as it happened the Liche King was slightly out of range of the Revenants. I was rewarded for my lack of foresight with an utterly underwhelming Zap, failing to cause a single damage point.
Melee was another good phase for me, but the Werewolves still failed to kill Wip! They were clearly having some fun with the runtish Orc, playing with their food, as they caused four more damage but only caused him to Waver again. Ideally I’d hoped they would finish him off so they could hit the Ogre line from the rear next turn, but no such luck. Elsewhere, the Skeletons caused a single point of damage to the Shooters and the Ghouls damaged the warriors twice, healing a point of damage in the process thanks to the Evil Dead rule. Most impressive of all, my Wraiths managed to rout the Warrior Regiment in a single round of combat! I couldn’t believe my luck – two decent-sized combat Regiments taken apart in a turn each. The dice were clearly working in my favour and things weren’t looking great for the Ogres!
Turn Six – Ogres
Curis knew he had to reclaim some points or risk losing the game, and he didn’t waste any time. Wip backed away from the Werewolves again; he might not survive another clash with them, but with his magical abilities he couldn’t be ignored, and that was keeping the lycanthropes away from the main battle line. The Captain and the remaining Warriors unit charged the Ghouls, while the Goblin Scouts and the crossbow-armed Shooters lowered their blades and rushed the Skeletons. Again, Curis was employing canny tactics here, focussing his attention on a couple of units at a time to pull them down, rather than attacking piecemeal.
The Shooting phase saw the Ogre Blunderbusses let rip at the Revenants in an attempt to rout them. Despite three further points of damage, a botched Nerve roll left them standing. The Melee phase was much more successful, with both the Ghouls and Skeletons routed in short order. It turns out that Goblins riding Mawbeasts are fairly terrifying when they charge your flank, which given their speed is quite a likely scenario! The Ogre line reformed, with the Warriors and Goblins pivoting to face the Revenant Cavalry and the Shooters turning to face the Wights and Revenants.
Turn Seven – Undead
We were past the halfway point of the game, and at this point it could have gone either way! I’d caused a couple of heavy blows to Curis and his army, but he had more than enough Ogres left to take me down. My werewolves weren’t in a position to do anything but charge Wip this turn, which they did without hesitation. The Revenants charged the Shooters that had unloaded Blunderbusses in their direction. Across the board the Revenant Cavalry took the plunge and charged the Goblin Scouts, hoping to rout them in a turn and break through to put some pressure on the Ogre line. I pivoted the Wraiths, heeding Chris’s earlier advice – Curis had left his flank wide open, forgetting that Ogre characters are too large to have the Individual rule. (Individual models don’t count as having a flank or rear.)
The Balefire Catapult continued its impressive run of 2s, proving once more that statisticians really haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about. My Liche Priest cast Dark Surge and only rolled a single success – however, it was just enough to get the Wraiths in. Phew! That could have gone badly.
In Melee, the Revenants caused four damage points on the Shooters, but their mounted counterparts weren’t as successful. Embarrassingly they only managed to wound the puny Goblins twice; however, thanks to their Musician, they at least caused the pesky Scouts to Waver. The Wraiths caused a pair of damage points on the Ogre Captain, who stood firm and prepared to attack back. I was overjoyed when the Werewolves finally dispatched Wip and used their Regroup move to turn towards the centre of the board – this was massively important, as their Crushing Strength and 3+ Melee score would make them great at killing Ogres.
Turn Eight – Ogres
With the Werewolves preparing to use their devastating 18″ charge range next turn, and the Scouts wavering on the flank, Curis was in a sticky situation. Rather than turning his Shooters, knowing that they probably couldn’t dispatch the entire Werewolf unit in a turn, he left them where they were. His Captain charged the Wraiths while his Warriors stood ready to provide support where necessary.
In his Shooting phase, the Revenants were finished off with close-ranged Blunderbuss fire and the Heavy Crossbows caused four points of damage to the Liche King. The Captain then attacked the Wraiths for three further damage points, but their Nerve – or at least, the dark magic binding them to the necromancer’s service – held fast. All too quickly the Ogre turn was over.
Turn Nine – Undead
Things were definitely looking up for me by the start of turn nine. My Werewolves finally got involved, charging the Blunderbuss Shooters in the flank. At the same time, the Revenant Cavalry charged back into the Goblins who had been Wavering last turn, and the Wraiths attacked the Captain. In the Shooting phase I decided to Heal the Wraiths, but failed to score a single 4+. The Balefire Catapult bucked its trend, rolling not a 2 this turn, but a 1. This is what I call the “karmic slingshot” effect: my dice are rolling above average elsewhere on the table, so there needs to be a fall guy somewhere to even things out.
The Ogre Captain fell to the ghostly blades of the Wraiths, and the Werewolves made short work of the Shooters – eighteen attacks, hitting on 3s and causing damage on 3s… it was a foregone conclusion. Finally, the Goblins were unable to stand against the hellish Cavalry, and routed without a second thought.
Turn Ten – Ogres
We were now in the endgame, but the Ogre way of war doesn’t allow for cowardice, so Curis went on the offensive! His remaining Shooters turned to the Werewolves to avenge their comrades, while the Warriors hefted their weapons and charged the Wraiths. With no Shooting left, the turn went straight to Melee, where both units caused a trio of damage points on their foes. Unfortunately, the high Nerve scores of the Undead army once again stopped both the Werewolves and Wraiths from routing.
Turn Eleven – Undead
Games of Kings of War will either stop at the end of the twelfth turn, or carry on for two more turns depending on the roll of a dice. As such, this stood a chance of being my last turn. Thankfully I was in a strong position and charged the Shooters from two angles with the Werewolves and Revenants. The Wraiths held back from charging the Warriors, as I wanted to get a shot in with the Catapult first – surely it had to hit eventually!
Well, the Shooting phase began, and I can tell you in no uncertain terms that it missed again. By rolling a 2. I had a sudden brainwave and wondered whether it was being so unlucky because I hadn’t turned it to face its target each turn. I pivoted it on the spot, just to check, and tried rolling again to see whether it would have made a difference.
Resigned to the fact that the catapult was acting as a rather pretty paperweight for this game, I Dark Surged the Wraiths into combat, where they failed to cause a single point of damage! Suddenly I was nervous. Could Curis pull this back from the brink of defeat? Was I about to suffer Battle Report Syndrome and lose to the new, shiny army? Well, it would take a miracle, considering that the Shooters were torn apart in seconds by the combined charge of two of my beefiest units.
Turn Twelve – Ogres
One unit of Ogres remained on the table. They had three damage points, but they had just torn my Wraiths to pieces, so I remained wary. Curis now had one objective – cause as much damage as possible before the game came to an end, and hope we didn’t get another turn! He charged the Werewolves, but was unable to cause any damage to them. Still, his unit was alive, and unless we got another turn, they were going to stay that way! He rolled the dice…
Turn Thirteen – Undead
The game was clearly won, but at this point I saw it as a point of honour to kill the last remaining unit of Ogres. What sort of evil overlord would I be if I left survivors? Both units charged the Warriors, and my Liche Priest Healed the Werewolves of their damage.
The Ogres didn’t stand a chance, and were routed after taking an astonishing number of hits – so many that we didn’t even bother counting up the total number of damage points. The game was over – victory went to the Undead!
First and foremost, I want to emphasise how much fun we had playing this game. Kings of War is so quick to play and so dynamic that you spend each of your opponent’s turns plotting what to do in your own. I think my favourite unit in the game was the Red Goblin Blaster – well worth the time and effort needed to convert one! If Curis hadn’t rolled low for the number of hits on the Wraiths, it could have easily taken them apart in one turn, or at least weakened them massively, and that would have had a massive impact on the rest of the game! Similarly, the Ogre Blunderbusses are just nasty, and the fact that they’re no slouch in Melee either makes them a real winner of a unit. I’m definitely going to be adding some Ogre armies to my own Undead force, suitably converted to look as though they’ve been slain and resurrected by dark magic.
I asked Curis for a post-battle comment, and he said this: “Next time I’m making you drink more cider beforehand.” I won’t complain!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this battle as much as we enjoyed playing it. If you want to see more battle reports, let us know in the comments below! Kings of War week is almost over, but there’s still some more to come, so keep checking back. Thanks for reading!