Monday, July 25, 2016

Kings of War: is it possible to use a fantasy combat game with historical armies?

The Punic Wars trial run 1
I have wanted to game the Punic Wars for a long time and a few years back stupidly sold my 15mm armies as no one locally was all that keen on the smaller scale historical miniatures I preferred to play with.

28mm was out of the question initially as I had to buy, build, paint and base 2 whole armies. I just did not have the cash or time. Well skip a couple of years and some astute purchases (some not so astute) and a couple of school holidays to knock over the bulk of the painting and lo and behold I am the proud owner of a small Republican Roman Army and its counterpart a small Carthaginian army in 28mm. 

Carthaginian Right Wing

Carthaginian Centre and Left Wing

Republican Romans

Would anyone at the club want to give it a go? Hmmm the rules, what to use? With the demise of Warhammer Fantasy I felt that the Historical version, WAB, was not going to work. Many rules like Impetus (have not played this one yet myself) and FOG are just a little hard to introduce to club members on a normal games night. But we have discussed swapping the Warhammer armies over to Kings of War (KOW). Thus a plan hatched. Could I get 2 equal points armies up and get someone into it?
The Hours Of Wolves website by Neldoreth (see link on the side of this blog) has some great historical army lists for utilising KOW rules with historical armies. He has even kindly updated them to the 2nd edition of KOW. A Punic War list exists. You can of course use the KOW army lists as they are and build two forces using the Kingdoms of Men lists but I really like what Neldoreth has done with the “special rules”.  These additions lend a more historical feel to the forces than the original Kings of War rules allow.

So on with the game. I was just going to turn up with two matched forces and hope one of the regulars would see shiny new toys set up on a table and say “Gee that looks fun, can I have a game?”
A little over a thousand points a side, which is small by Kings of War standard but it should still give us an hour long game or so, I hoped.

Ready to roll

Que images of elephants and triarii and cavalry and spearmen marching to certain victory or doom which ever your prefer.

First couple of turns sees the forces move rapidly towards one another with march moves of anywhere between 10 inches and 18 inches. My, light horse move fast!

Elephants and Cavalry attempt to outflank the Romans

Roman Ally troops intercept the elephant and the Triarii turn to face the cavalry

Carthaginian left flank sees the Celtic allies heading through bad terrain to attack the Roman Hastati and Principes

Italian Allies take a pasting from the elephant but not before dishing out a couple of wounds in return

Centre combat, Spanish allies and Lights move in on the Numidian Light horse of the Romans

Roman general faces off alone against the veteran spear men. This is a nice heroic quirk of the KOW rules even if not very historical

Grinding combat of warband and spear men

Centre combat goes badly for the Romans

Ouch, flank attack by an elephant has got to hurt

Shortly after this a lone Numidian Light horse hits the veterans in the rear and "pop" no more spear

By now the Carthaginians have the best of the Romans but they have still been hit hard
The final combats between the heroes of the ancient world, Carthage is victorious this time.
Overall my opponent and I gamed for an hour and a half. With only 3 other KOW games under my belt I was no great expert but it all felt rather fun. To the purest there are elements of the system that may not suit, like the heroes actually being able to take on a unit on their own. The movement seems more flexible than what I feel ancient armies could move like. Yet  it was a lot of fun and was the first time for these minis to see service at the games club. Will I use the system again, definitely and I will give the historical armies another run too, as well as a few fantasy battles. But the paint brush calls. At least another 500 points per side I am after. Lets hope that another two years does not pass until they see the table again.


The Kiwi said...

Excellent! It's a great system and I have tried it with historical-ish games and it works well. Yeah movement is perhaps not how we imagine it to be but game wise it keeps it flowing along. Great report. Cheers

Cyrus said...

Lovely looking game Chris, the Punic Wars is such a great period!

Paul O'G said...

A favourite period of mine but unlike you I have never taken the plunge (though I too have been a victim of the non-astute purchase...) Looks great Chris!

chris said...

Thanks guys, I have to admit that I really enjoyed the flow of the game and feel that the big basing of KOW makes the game move fast. I also like not having to remove individual minis or small bases but this is not for everyone. And aside from the wavering or routed aspects your units don't lose their fighting prowess and this could keep some at bay. For me though I will return.

Drew McLean said...

So cool. Nice to see other ways that KOW can be played. It's a pretty basic ruleset, so I imagine it lending itself to a range of periods. Having never played anything historic, purists might disagree, but it certainly looks cinematic!

chris said...

thanks Drew, it does seem to work and felt about right most of the time and as I prefer history to fantasy it just seems to gel to allow fantasy gamers to play something with more elephants than mammoths or mumaks take your pick.

Drew McLean said...

I guess then, another selling point is that you can use your Roman army and I can use my goblin army and we could have a game. Obviously the aesthetics would be a bit weird, but the mechanics totally allow it.
I heard that Mantic's next book release for KOW will be a collection of Historical forces- do you know if that's still in the pipe?

chris said...

Drew we are playing with toy soldiers so aesthetics is no real issue for me. Love just pushing the metal and plastic around. That said a game would be nice maybe a convention some time. As I am in the far south coast of nsw, no where near you I assume. Also this is the first I have heard of mantic and historical lists but sounds cool. I do use the Hour of Wolves and Shattered Shields lists as they are quite good. Follow the link on the right side of the page.

Drew McLean said...

If Cancon runs, I've been given leave to attend in 2017. I'll give you a grudge if you're there!

Drew McLean said...
Here comes fun!