Monday, 27 February 2017

Kings of War

AS I have mentioned in a previous post despite wanting to play a fantasy war game I could never get into the old Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Just far too complex a set of rules that I found was just not fun to play and I really did not like the setting for the game. The Old World was just a strange hodge podge that never really made much sense. Then along came Age of Sigmar. I rejoiced because the game was nice and simple, and I loved the setting - which reminded me of those old 70's progressive rock album covers. But as time has gone by I've found myself losing interest in Age of Sigmar. Partly because I am finding that I want a little more to the rules set and also because at the heart of it, I want to play a generic fantasy war game. Up on my radar suddenly pops Kings of War from Mantic.

Just watching a dozen or so battle reports on Youtube and reading through their forums, I have developed quite an interest. The system is simple - you can even download a basic set of the rules from their website as well as intro army lists for the main rule book armies. The setting is nice and generic as I like and because of the way it is set up there are some great opportunities for modelling the units. Thirdly, the game is miniature neutral. Although Mantic sell their own miniatures, the point is that so long as the miniatures are the correct scale you can use any model. Sneakily, the armies are also loosely based on what Warhammer Fantasy Battle used to have so you can just import your old established armies over.

Kings of War has 11 factions in the version 2.0 core rule book:

Abyssal Dwarfs: Chaos Dwarfs in Mantica. Simpler put, they're Nazi Dwarfs. Slavers who focus on shotguns, war machines, and fiery golems.
Basileans: Fluff-wise, the Basileans are a lot like the Byzantine/Eastern Roman empire but can summon angels. They have armoured knights, men at arms and nuns riding giant cats.
Dwarfs: Exactly like all other Dwarfs in all other settings, hard and tough and beardy, but unlike Warhammer or Lord of the Rings Dwarfs, they are an expanding empire. They have cavalry... BADGER CAVALRY!!!
Elves: The elite, noble Elves, who are better than you. The Elves are 'good guys' but are responsible for a lot of bad things in Mantica, including splitting the gods into good and evil half-gods, and educating a gifted human child who would grow up to be Mhorgoth the Faceless, the most feared necromancer in all of Mantica. Exactly like the Elves from every other fantasy universe then.
Forces of Nature: Exactly what it says on the tin.
Forces of the Abyss: Servants of 37 evil half gods who live with their masters in Mantica's Hell. They look like the horns and pitchfork devils, with some big ogre demons throw in for good measure.
Goblins: Separate from Orcs in the setting, although they can ally with each other.
Kingdoms of Men: Generic human army intended to be used with your other fantasy and historic miniatures. Different from Mantic's own human models described above.
Ogres: Mercenaries who sometimes get ballsy and make their own little kingdoms. They enjoy fighting, adventure and telling wildly exaggerated stories about their exploits. Ogres don't hold grudges or have any inherent racial prejudices, so they are happy to ally with anyone from Elves to Demons and everything in between. The ogre models produced by Mantic are excellent.
Orcs: Brutal and horde-based; called "greenskins" and "a sea of green," with the Ogre's tendency towards cannibalism thrown in.
Undead: Generic undead including everything from vampires and werewolves to zombies and mummies.

There are also 9 army lists contained within the Uncharted Empires supplement. These lists are intended to rip off a number of different fantasy miniature lines, particularly missing Citadel armies from the core rule book:

The Brotherhood: Another holy order style army, this one more inspired by Bretonnia and Azeroth. Has both big and small water elementals in addition to lots of cavalry options.
Empire of Dust: Essentially Tomb Kings with a larger emphasis on healing than the more standard undead.
League of Rhordia: An alliance of humans and halflings.
Nightstalkers: An odd list in that there aren't really any major miniature lines to represent it. Spooky and strange creatures that resemble Eldrazi and pumpkin monsters in the art. Mantic have announced they plan to release a full product line for this army in the future.
Ratkin: Pretty much Skaven.
Salamanders: Lizard people of a couple different stripes. Formerly known as Reptilians.
The Herd: Beastmen, either taken from the Warhammer Fantasy line or from another line, such as Wrath of Kings.
Trident Realms of Neritica: An aquatic faction, mostly consisting of fishmen and sea beasts.
Varangur: Vikings and raiders reminiscent of Warriors of Chaos. Formerly known as the Shattered Clans.

In addition there are future armies planned that don't yet have full lists yet, although some have beta lists available:

Northern Alliance: A good Elf/human faction from the far north. Said to field various ice-themed creatures as well, such as yetis.
Ophidians: A mix of Arabian and Persian motifs with undead servants and Conan the Barbarian style snake men.
Twilight Kin: Dark Elves with a bit of smexy Dark Eldar thrown in for flavor; live in caves beneath the desert after getting thrown out of the main Elf homeland. The Twilight Kin do have a temporary basic list you can download from the Mantic website.

I've already got a nice sized Tomb Kings army from the days of Warhammer Fantasy so I can field as either generic undead or more likely, the Empire of Dust. I'm also tempted by a couple others, mainly Neritica (cthulhu people!), Nightstalkers and Elves. The costs of Mantic's own barmy bundles is reasonable so I may pick up more as well.

I'm hoping to tempt a few of my fellow players away from Age of Sigmar to this in the coming months as I think they will enjoy this more than AoS for the most part. But the best thing is there is no reason to not play either game because of only one set of miniatures.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Where do we go from here?

Buffy fans will recognise that song. What does it have to do with a 40K blog? I'm glad you asked. The recent announcement that the game was getting it's first loyalist Primarch back has set the old internet forums going hell for leather again. Some of it positive as it should be but there is a lot of negativity that I feel isn't justified. The lyrics to this song are perfect for the current online atmosphere.

Where do we go from here
The battle's done,
And we kinda won.
So we sound our victory cheer.
Where do we go from here.
Why is the path unclear,
When we know home is near.
Understand we'll go hand in hand,
But we'll walk alone in fear. (Tell me)
Tell me where do we go from here.

For more years than I can count there has been a huge push from the fan base to advance the storyline. Now at last we are getting somewhere. The Doomsday Clock is counting down the seconds to midnight. Cool things are happening and... everyone loses their minds.

I was as shocked as anyone when Magnus the Red popped up and Fenris was all but wasted. I mean wow! We have a traitor Primarch and surely that meant that GW couldn't stop there. Which loyalist Primarch would make a return? Well, my money was on Leman Russ considering the whole Wulfen and Fenris business but no. Instead we get the fall of Cadia, the birth of an Eldar god and the Primarch of the Ultramarines returns! This is a great time to be a Warhammer 40K gamer. We are at last getting everything that we wanted.

So why is everyone so frightened that when 8th edition comes along that we'll be reduced to an Age of Sigmar type game or that the current universe will come crashing down and something new appear in it's place? GW have already said, and I have no reason to disbelieve them, that the game and the universe are not entering the "End Times". 

The problem is, in my opinion, that we have what we wanted but now fear of change and of the unknown is gripping people. I'm not a fan of change and I don't like new editions when they aren't necessary (and I don't consider GW making fresh cash every few years necessary for an edition change), but right now I am super excited for the game. These new characters, balanced super heavies and the direction that the game is going, is just going to make the game better. I recently said on a Facebook discussion that the universe has always been grim dark but now the game is becoming epic. Sorry, EPIC! 

In the years to come god-like heroes and villains from all factions will stride the battlefields of the 41st millennium and it is going to make the game better, whether you are a competitive tournament player or a casual play at home with your mates type player. This isn't a time to be frightened for the future. It's time to embrace the game, reload that bolter under your bed, and claim the galaxy for yourself!