With the new Vanguard two-player starter set now in stores and available to order from the Mantic website, we thought this was a great opportunity to revisit the game and explain exactly why it’s such a great narrative and competitive experience.
Over the next week we are going to be delving deep into the world of Vanguard. We’ll be covering how to build your warband, power dice, special abilities, the different factions, campaigns, advanced spells… the list goes on. Basically, if you’ve got even the slightest bit of interest in Vanguard and Kings of War, make sure you keep coming back to the blog every day to get the latest info.
Of course, you can always jump straight into the free rules, which are available here. But if you want to learn more, then make sure you read on and keep coming back for an in-depth guide.
WHAT IS VANGUARD?
Well, that’s a good question, imaginary blog reader. Vanguard is a fantasy skirmish game that ties into our hugely popular Kings of War mass battle game. It’s set in the world of Pannithor – a fantasy realm that’s full of powerful magic, towering monsters, warring factions, brave heroes and wicked villains.
Of course, we know there are a number of skirmish games out there, so with Vanguard we tried to do something a little different. Rather than being set in a ruined city or specific location, Vanguard battles can take place anywhere across Pannithor. One minute your warband can be duking it out on the plains of the Mammoth Steppe, the next they’re in the shadows of the Forest of Galahir and then they’re heading to the Twilight Glades.
The reason for this is that Vanguard is focused around the elite troops sent ahead of the main army. These are the handpicked fighters that have been carefully selected to disrupt the enemy’s supply lines, light the warning beacons to show the way or even capture a particularly powerful giant that can be used in the war ahead. Each of these action-packed missions is told through the 12 scenarios included in the rulebook. Even better, each of these scenarios has its own hook to tie into larger Kings of War games… something we’ll cover in a future blog.
These are the brutal battles before the armies clash. The desperate struggles to gain the upper hand. If you can win these ruthless skirmishes, then victory will be yours. Ronnie compares them to black ops squads sent secretly behind enemy lines to try and complete the mission as quickly and effectively as possible.
Vanguard can be played in one-off games where you select your chosen units or you can play linked games in a campaign. If you fancy watching how the game plays, you can see Ash Barker playing through one of the Ice & Iron scenarios.
WHAT’S A WARBAND?
Oh, you’re back again Captain Questions. So, we realise that ‘skirmish’ is a term that can mean a wide range of game sizes. You’ve got something like Deadzone, which typically uses around 10 miniatures and is classed as a skirmish game. However, there are also games like Firefight that use about 30-50 miniatures but are also seen as skirmish games.
In Vanguard a 200 points warband will typically consist of around 9-12 miniatures, and is the standard size for games. You’ll have your leader, grunts (the low level troops), warriors and then a mix of support units, spellcasters and a large model or two. Once you’ve selected your troops, you can also give them different equipment to help boost their abilities.
This means it’s extremely easy to get a warband painted up in a short space of time – particularly when compared to the amount of time required to get a Kings of War army ready for battle. This was part of the reason for us making Vanguard in the first place. Since Kings of War has launched, the background has grown massively and so has the number of miniatures. We know that a lot of people are interested in playing fantasy games but the time required to paint an entire Kings of War can be off putting. Whereas the great thing about Vanguard is it’s super easy to get your warband up and running in next to no time.
However, if you’re planning to play in a campaign then you’ll have 400 points to create your ‘company’ of fighters. Then during games, you can draw from your larger company to choose the units and equipment you want to send into combat. By performing well, fighters will learn new abilities and you can even assign them special roles that will shape how they develop across the course of a campaign.
We’ll be covering campaigns in greater detail over the course of the next week.
CAN I USE MY KINGS OF WAR MINIATURES?
Yes, you most definitely can. Oh, you want a more thorough answer than that? Ok! When we were designing Vanguard we always knew that we wanted it to complement our existing Kings of War range and also bring entirely new units into the game. This is the sister game to Kings of War. Not only does it share the same miniature range, but it also has scenarios that directly tie into your larger games of KoW.
Since Vanguard originally launched in 2018, we’ve now introduced warband lists for every faction in Kings of War – even the ones in Uncharted Empires! Some are starter warband lists, which are a selection of units you’re likely to have from your Kings of War army, e.g. a spare hero or two. Then since launch, we’ve also got full warband releases for the following factions:
- Northern Alliance
- Forces of the Abyss
- Forces of Nature
- Abyssal Dwarfs
- Trident Realm
When we do a full warband release – like the launch releases of Nightstalkers, Basileans, Forces of the Abyss and Northern Alliance – we’ll introduce more model options to fill out that initial starter list. These will be supplied via warband cards in the faction sets and faction boosters. You can download ALL the warband lists from the Mantic websites, and we’ve even included the cards, so you can print them out at home. Download the warband lists here.
There’s also a big cross over between Kings of War and Vanguard in terms of miniatures. Since Vanguard came out, it’s helped us introduce a load of cool new miniatures into Kings of War too, like the Warlock above or the goblin Banggit. Even better, we’ve extended the amount of Vanguard miniatures you can now buy separately if you just want them for your KoW army. Check those out here.
So there you’ve got a quick introduction to the basics of Vanguard. We’re going to have lots more blogs all this week about Vanguard, so keep checking back every day. And don’t forget to download the free rules from the Mantic website.