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Kings of War – Fools of War Tournament

Last weekend saw me taking part in yet another Kings of War Tournament. This time a six game two-day event at Element Games in Stockport.

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To save effort, I reworked my Leodis Bash 1200 point Undead list into something more usable at 200 points using the Clash of Kings 2017 pack. Tables were the standard 6′ x 6′ with very nice mats.

Foolishly i finished my army early and submitted my list. Had i known the deadline would be extended and that I would also have a new Ogre army completed in double-quick time I would have gone with that. Why? Well for a start in playtesting the two lists against each other I managed to get two resounding “wins” for the Ogres against the Undead. The Undead just couldn’t stand up to the brutality of the Ogres attacks.

Oh well. It was all set in stone now.

The event was set up well in advance by that well-known Event face Mr Darren Parkes.

Start time was a respectable 10am with a 9:30 registration.

So I turned up to the great venue that is the Element Games North West Gaming Centre to find tables set and a relaxed atmosphere as Darren and Centre Event Manager Tim King were all set to go.

Every player received a goody bag (Princess Party pack!!). The contents were useful. The free tufts from Serious Play are great and the MDF laser cut Arc. inspiring range AND tokens for the “Ransack” mission were most welcome. Very thoughtful.

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The first round draw had been done by Darren on a hangout and can be seen on Youtube (thanks to Waltz Sachem!)

Game 1

I was facing James Darcy’s Salamanders. He and I faced each other at Darren’s last event at Element Games in round 1 so this seemed a bit spooky.

The scenario was “Invade”. As usual you line up within 12 inches of your table side and at the end of the game after 6 or 7 turns you score for units wholly on the other side of the table. The new unit strength rules were in play not points values for scoring units.

1 point for a troop, monster or non-individual Hero. 2 for a Regiment, 3 for a Horde or Legion.

His battle line was beefed up a bit but otherwise this is the kind of list I know. James is also ranked about my level in the current UK scene so hopefully I can get a win or draw?

I can’t recall who went first, but I spread my battle line out to try to get across the table and then seemed to get pounded in the centre and right of the table. By the end I managed to hold my own in the Centre (werewolves!) and then spent turns 6 and 7 backing off into the other side of the board.

The Soul Reaver cavalry troop at about 215 points with the Helm of Confidence were about as useful as a bag of grapes in a bunfight. I put them on the far right with the skeleton archer troop and they didn’t know what to do. James just sent over some of his forces to wipe them out.

My centre failed and i lost a fair bit of my stuff.

Somehow at the end of the game we both ended up the same unit points (8  I recall) in each others table sides so it was a draw. Hey a draw – woot!

The Victory Points (attrition scores) were very similar too. James had about 8o points more than me so we scored 10 points each out of a possible range of 0 to 20.

You can find all the gamey details of missions and scoring in the CoK Organised Play Guide (Advert Alert!!) on sale NOW!

As James beat me in Attrition scores I think he drew Elliott next game and I got Sam Barker.

Game 2.

Sam Barker and his Orcs in the “Ransack” mission. Sam was a great guy and very forgiving. We set up the tokens as per the instructions (maybe hopefully). Sam I think won the roll for table sides and set off deploying his Orctacular force. This was a terrain filled looking table so would be interesting for my non-pathfinder army!

On paper Sam is a better player than me by some ways so I was not too surprised here…

My memory (I think that is what it is called?) lets me down here a bit. Age brings on the lack of mid-term memory recall and also the forgiveness of the loss of said memory!

I also went and bought a beer from the bar at this point to calm my nerves. Not sure it really helped but I doubt it could have skewed the result too much!

Sam basically trounced me (politely saying) as i learned nothing from Game 1 and didn’t do anything inspiring to try to win. I slowly watched my backside get kicked and Sam consolidated his hold over pretty much all the tokens on the table.  He helped me out a few times as I failed to recall basic facts like Healing spells and such. Thanks Sam.

Tactically, I should not have spread out so badly and not been so reticent. The werewolves on my left couldn’t really take down the two regiments of orcs on the other  side of the table. Sam’s advice to maybe have sent the skeletons in to help them earlier was interesting but i felt i need to support the Revenant Horde in the left of centre with them and the zombies. I keep hearing the phrase “battlegroups” but in this case I even split the wolves and Lykanis. Doh.

On my right I made the mistake of using troops to hold down the flank against stronger the units. My Soul Reavers were pinned down for the duration by the Krudger on Slasher (?) beastie. Another waste, though they did seem to get lucky on a Nerve Test at one point.

19-1 to Sam. Well earned and I slipped down the ladder toward that gloriously wooden prize.

Lunch consisted of Subway sandwiches and crisps. No more beer for me.

After a wander round the shop and a chance to take some pictures of armies on tables the fun continued…

Game 3

Another table and a very bright snowy mat. The mats were neoprene or some kind of rubber that lays flat. Very nice.

My opponent this time turned out to none other than Mr. Ross Diggle himself. If nothing else this turned out to be a fun 100 minutes. Ross even kindly bought me a drink at the end. Thank you, Sir!

Ross had a fantastic Halfling based Rhordia army. Nice to see short troops without beards and sporting things like pot helmets! Very nice paint job and lots of pictures this time.

The mission was “Control”. The one where the board is divided into 2’x’2 sections. At the end, you score 1 for each section you control, 2 for the section in the opposite centre. Control is having more Unit Strength (not points).

Ross deployed his Halfling archers in the centre on the difficult ground and the rest of his troops lined out from there. I had a bad feeling about this and tried to avoid the centre. I weighted my troops to the left hoping to turn a flank and just hold a bit on the far right with wraiths, archers, ghouls and cavalry.

The Rhordian forces had a cavalry unit on my right which I recall Ross saying actually had the right sort of creature – dog like beasts. These must have been Honour Guard – hard hitting given I only had a troop of skeletons opposite. Oh dear.

To cut a long story short I thought I managed to lose the right flank then the centre and finally the left flank. The wraiths proved their metal and also got lucky. They spent this game as well as some others parked behind an obstacle with their Defence 6+ and even throwing double 1 Nerve checks!

Sad to say I was spliced and diced and the superior tactics and cavalry of my opponent took me apart.

19-1 to Ross. Well done I say. Good luck next game though!

Game 4

As my decline to the wooden fate continued I found myself against Ian Davies and his Ratkin/Abyssal force.

Ian had a very nice Ratkin based army. His monstrous Rat thingy was imposing and impressive. Very nice indeed. the painting and modelling at this Tournament was of a high standard.

The mission was Eliminate. I didn’t like it. You place a bounty token on your three most expensive units. One token is placed in the centre. The enemy wins by claiming more bounty tokens than you. At the end you score 1 for holding your own token, 2 for an enemy token taken in melee. An enemy that Routs outside of melee with a token is worth nothing.

We set up and started playing.

I found Ian a difficult person to read and so never really got to feel a rapport with him. He certainly played well with another hard-hitting army and his “poker face” really helped him.

for some reason I had put one of my three bounty units on the far right side to take advantage of the flank. these were “supported” by some units in the wood nearby.

I had no idea that the Absyysals opposite me on that flank were so damn tough.

I soon found myself harassed by two troops of succubi whose job was to get a few wounds in and hold me in place till the cavalry arrived.

Like a fool I played along and lo and behold found my right flank crumbling and despite taking out those two troops I lost my werewolves bounty unit. Dohh.

On the left flank, We played a waiting game. There was a lot of bolts of shooty stuff coming my way. I decided to wait it out. Not a good move. As Ian said afterwards, he was surprised I didn’t come and attack on that flank. Well, not really. Its me here!

In the centre I played the “get to the centre and hold in the difficult terrain” game. I knew what was coming. The little ratty vermintide chaff unit coming in to stop me moving forward… all that stuff. Then inevitably at the end game phase, Ian pushed his big monster out to contest the centre and beat me to the fight. He took the centre and most token value.

19-1 to Ian. Have to say I didn’t like this mission. It felt like you were sitting around waiting for the end so you can pounce and get that winning point.

Then the day was over.

Sunday…

Walked in to find Nick looking alive and well… okay feeling worse for wear perhaps?

Sounds like a fun night was had by some!

Game 5.

I now found myself facing Keiron Allison and his fearsome Ogre army. The Mission was Push. You just try and get your tokens to the other side of the board by carrying them. I put mine on slow units. Surprise! there were two tokens each I recall and one in the middle of the table.

I had not played Keiron before but soon found him to be one of the nicest guys you could wish to play against. Not only did we have a fun game in which I felt a decent match up against but he also helped me to understand the Arc of Sight template too! Some hints on where to put my Wraiths (not there!) were most welcome. I really thought his help would tip the game. It ended up a 17-3 to him. Well earned. You are a gent Sir!

As for the game details (do you really need to know?) I used my wraiths to hold the centre by hiding behind a wall. The wolves went to the left flank, the chaff and cavalry to the right flank. The Ogres had a strong centre line with support from fast cavalry on the flanks. Kind of the way I built my new Ogres really. Strange.

Sadly for me. Keiron knows how to push across the table and win fights. I managed to take down some chaff on the flanks and one or two of the Ogre Hordes to earn some points. Sadly it was not enough.

My Revenant Horde could not last out the game as it was assailed by three units at once.

The star unit of the game was my cheap archer troop. If you check out the pictures you will see it last until about turn 6 with some 30 or so damage counters on it. Talk about making Nerve checks. Keiron could not budge it due to some awful dice rolls.

Game 6

I found myself back on the snow table this playing the final game and the mission was “Dominate”. At the end you get Unit Strength points for units within 12 inches of the centre of the table.

My opponent was Ben Edwards. Nice guy. Well until he beat me! No, seriously Ben was great. By this time my back was giving out so I sat for most of the game and used reach ability to play. Sadly for me the game did not go well.

I put some chaff on my left flank to stop that up and pretty much failed there. The Revenants ended up being beaten by the Primes and support and my left flank folded.

In the centre not a lot happened. All the action was in and around the wood on the centre right. I have not seen so many units in so small a space. My Wolves and Lykanis ended up fighting around the wood. Bad idea. I had no pathfinder which weakened me.

Also I discovered all those orange flaming units that were Fire Elementals had support from two castery types who could wait until they positioned well then used Surge to push them into my lovely fighters. Bad Fire things. Nasty.

In the end I was outgunned and my forces dwindled. In fact it got so bad it became a total Rout. Ben was very apologetic but had no need. I had not played well and deserved to be beat. I couldn’t even do more than kill a couple of cheaper units.

20-0 to Ben and well deserved. As he said later, if I had not chosen to fight in the wood and had I taken out his Surge meisters the game could have been very different. I guess so. Maybe 19-1 instead? No, it was a good game and I really liked Ben’s army. It left me with a warm glow… (sorry!)

Conclusions.

I had a fantastic weekend, Thanks to all involved. All those I spoke to or gamed with were lovely guys. Darren and Tim again ran an excellent weekend. Dan on the bar was friendly too. Really like the Gaming Centre.

What did I learn?

Well that’s a good one. Don’t bring a fluffy army to a Tournament. Well yes.

Troops are not going to last against all those horrible Hordes.

Flyers could be useful but hard-hitting units with back up of things like Healing are good. Pathfinder is VERY useful.

The skeleton Regiment could be useful at 90points for a fearless 16 nerve rating unit but at 12 attacks hitting on 5+ it was nver going to kill anything.

The Soul Reavers were hopeless with their low nerve and Hight cost. I hear that a regiment is the way to go. I am really not convinced. So much out there can reduce De6+ to De4+ easily that I wonder if they are worth it at all.

The Wraiths held out well but didn’t really act aggressively with their Fly 10 ability.

The Revenant Horde failed to stand up to serious opposition. Again I really failed to keep my unots supporting each other to stop the multi charges on my units.

So many times Thunderous Charge was nerfed due to Hindered charges that it becomes obvious Crushing Strength is the way to go for assured damage. After saying that what did i think of the artefacts and magic I took.

The Lute of Insatiable Darkness hardly ever worked. Very unlucky Bane Chant (2) dice rolls for me. Not sure it was the best use of 20 points.

Blood of the Old King – I forgot to use it at the right time a couple of times. It didn’t make much difference really – just one turn per game. It helped in one game, was crap in another and not much use after that.

Helm of the Ram – I don’t think I got to use it. The wolves with this one were either nerfed by hindered or killed before it could be brought into play.  Wish I had just bought “Elite” / “CS1” / “Maccwar’s Potion” upgrade for more points for my wolves.

Hammer of Measured Force – was okay but again is situational. It costs you points to maintain a 4+ damage roll and you may well face 3+ troops. May be worth getting a +1 CS hike from elsewhere (Brew, Bane Chant…).

Dragonshard Shield. Used on my skeletons. Helped once but only if you don’t intend moving. Many missions involve moving somewhere not holding ground. If you have a large unit of De3/4 it might be worth it. I doubt I will try it again.

Next time I should focus on the possible scenarios and working out “how do I cope in that situation?” Building a force that can work together to achieve that end rather than start at the “this is what I have” end or “I like fluffy lists” end. Who knows what army will come out of that end of a design process!

Armies with abilities like Pathfinder or even Vanguard as well as speed and crushing strength seem to be the way BUT you have to use them as a coherent force.

My opponents all pretty much used their forces with as plan in mind. I failed to have a plan in mind and failed.

As well as failing to win missions I also failed to kill much. Looking at the Final scores, I had the lowest attrition score because I failed to kill much at all.

Not sure the Undead are my way to go. I would want to have some more healing and make more use of shambling and possibly flying if I stay with Undead.

Results.

Trophies for the winners! I didn’t get last place and the wooden spoon. I came 22nd out of 24. Well done to Tom, Elliott and Alan. Poor Nick just failed by a whisker to get one more TP to get 3rd and had to settle for 4th on attrition score.

results

Gallery…

Kings of War – Ogre Army

Since finishing the Undead army I decided not to rest and build my Mantic Ogre Starter army. Having priced it up and added in a GW plastic Giant (plus some borrowed goblins – not pictured) the total comes to 2000 points.

What you see in the pictures is about 1550 points with the Giant and some additional artefacts added in.

1 x Ogre Warrior Legion

1 x Shooter Horde

1 x Boomer Horde

1 x Warrior Regiment

1 x Standard Bearer

1 x Grokagamok[1]

1 x Giant

 

I cut some hardboard to size and mounted the units. The Giant went on a custom plastic base 50mm wide and about 55mm long to fit its stride. The figures were glued with superglue but stuck to the bases with a cheap Grab Adhesive from a cartridge gun. Small stones were dropped onto the bases while the adhesive was still “wet”.

Black Spray Primer was used to undercoat (Halford’s own brand). Burnt Umber was painted onto the bases to give a rich brown finish.

The figures were drybrushed with Vallejo Game Color Chainmail. Flesh painted onto arms, hands and faces. Some brown and white were used to drybrush the faces. Nails were touched with bone white.

The cloth, hair knots and banner were offset in Warlord Purple (appropriate). The guns had some Terra brown on the wooden parts and finished with Bronze (as were the shield edges and sword decorations).

The stones on the bases were drybrushed with shades of grey (dark to light) then finished with an off-white drybrush.

I kept the colour pallet simple and the work was quick with drybrushing techniques.

I did use a flesh wash to darken the skin before finishing touches.

Once dry the models were dipped with Army Painter Quickshade Soft tone. After 24 hours the bases were finished with PVA glue and my own mix of basing materials to give a woodland feel.

Finally, Army Painter Anti Shine Matt Varnish was used to tone down the glossy finish of the dip.

End result as seen… tabletop standard. Very happy with a fast job (all in say 16 hours over 8 days).

The Giant was drybrushed with two shades of flesh and after some touches to clothes and weapons was given a watery flesh wash. Finally dipped and sealed as per the Ogres.

Kings of War – Undead army progress

I have an upcoming KoW 2000 point tournament in Stockport at the start of April. I have entered an army list for the event based on my 1200 point Leodis Bash tournament list.

So to build this more units were needed.

Using Mantic models barring three cavalry for a Soul Reaver regiment, I built up a mix of unit types and got on with painting and basing.

Bases were plastic GW trays adapted for Kings of War. the underside has sticky backed magnetic sheeting on to keep them attached to a carrying case. The blueness on some of the model bases is blue decorative sand (very granular) used prior to an undercoating with black spray primer (Halfords). I have a lot of sand to use up.

Going back to the start – this is what I had ahead of the Leeds 1200 point tournie….

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This is what i had at that tournament…

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This is most of what I prepared for the next part of the 2000 points…

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And here is one of the painted units…. a teaser…

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Kings of War – Salamander army progress

I picked up some GW Lizardmen and Empire models to try to convert some Ancients on Rhinosaurs models from Saurus cavalry and to make some Corsairs infantry.

The Rhinosaurs were Saurus cavalry with the legs extended. these will be covered with green stuff. The cavalry with have some work on the head done if time allows. The riders will have new longer weapons made. All in this should help explain the Crushing strength (2) rating and Thunderous Charge (2) rating.

The corsairs were regular Saurus Warriors with parts added from the Empire Pistoliers with a bit of jigging about to make two models into one (one guy is jumping into the other arms). I wanted a Pirate feel to these guys.

These guys will be supported by a Hero on Rhinosaur, some Kaisenor Lancers and a few other units TBD.

I want to do a more Salamander themed colour scheme (red based i suppose) rather than the traditional GW Lizardmen blue / green.

 

Flames of War – Version 4 Release Event

The 11th of March saw a Flames of War version 4 release Event being held by Andy Brown at my FLGS Element Games.

The new rulebook was being offered to V3 players who brought in their books. Its a softback full colour A4 sized book with good bindings (we recall the free mini rulebook for v3 with its lack of spine glue!)

So, I collected mine from the store and then went to find Andy in the gaming area.

I was impressed with the hive of activity. Dave Green and Fraser Green were there lending support to the event.

In the end, 5 tables were all gaming away with players trying to get the rule changes into their heads.

Andy had set up a demo of 1200 points for people to try.

I was offered a learning game opposite a new player, another Mike, with Andy reaching and advising.

The game was fun and well done by Andy. My opponent was friendly and we both took the game in a learning spirit.

I have to say I am so far impressed with version 4 for late war at least as that is what we were playing. Some streamlining has gone on but the new Tactical Movement options really opened up the game.

I got a parachute company to use and Mike had a German infantry company. At three points I thought I must have been about to lose, but the game managed to stay going by a last-minute intervention (troops pushing forward at the right time and so on). It felt very dramatic.

Mike ended up winning after pushing me soundly off an objective. Lovely little game with about 4 or 5 platoons each.

I thoroughly enjoyed the event and credit to Andy for setting it up. Nice to see other faces.

I feel energised now and would be happy to have a game of FoW V4 soon.

Thanks guys.

 

Element North West Games Centre

A couple of weeks back I had an hour to kill in Stockport so headed into Element Games to look in the shop. I couldn’t help but go into the gaming area to get a drink from the bar and take a look at what was going on.

I counted 28 players in a Guild Ball (?) Tournament and 4 guys playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th Edition (with some great models guys) on a long table with those great “lave field” battlemats the store has.

I killed an hour, saw some good stuff in the shop and then went back on my way.Thanks for being there Element. Best stocked gaming store i can recall seeing anywhere. I really could have spent 200 pounds on models for Kings of War from a variety of manufacturers.

 

 

Kickstarter – Planetarium Game box opening

Last year I signed up for an interesting looking game from a Canadian Kickstarter.

The game is a science themed Solar System creation game.

The game arrived a couple of weeks ago so I set about opening the box.

The Objective of the game is set out in one of the images below.

Bottom line, players compete against time and each other to win as many points as possible by playing Evolution cards from their hands. These cards need resources from the solar system to activate them and to score points for the player.

Players take it in turns to either move one of four planet tokens or resources around the orbit tracks of our solar system.

Once they have the correct resources a card can be played (one per turn) to score points. The more complex the Evolution the more resources are needed and the more points are scored. At the end of each players turn they can draw Evolution cards to make their hand back up to 5 cards (or refresh a card from memory if they are stuck and need to try to score soon).

The final turn is triggered by one player reaching the end point on the Evolution marker track. At that point that player and then the following players have just that one turn to win extra points by playing any Final Evolution Cards from their hands.

Final Evolution cards can be held during the whole game or picked up later in the end game phase as the Evolution track is coming to an end.

A game can be played in less than an hour. It is designed for 1 to 4 players.

Opening…

The box is on the heavy side as it contains a large card fold out playing board, a number of thick tokens, a pack of Evolution cards, a lot of resource tokens, planet markers, player mats.

The artwork is of a good quality and all the parts of the game are glossy and have a quality feel. There are also some plastic scoring tokens to identify each players ownership and score progression.

There were two rulebooks, English and French.

My copy also had some extra Evolution cards (sci-fi themed) and a bag for the tokens.

The rules are pretty straightforward to follow. One practice game and I have them 90% down in my head.

The resource tokens need to be placed face down at the start, shuffled, placed on the orbital tracks and revealed – a bit time-consuming.

Thoughts…

The game cost $29 + $20 shipping to UK. About £35 UK.

That’s a fair price for a game of this quality. Strategy seems a little limited as players hold their cards in hand and moves can take player actions all over the gameboard.

However, even though my practice game ended up coming down to the wire on the last card play of the game I do wonder just how much excitement and replay value the game has. It comes down to just collecting tokens each turn and trying to play off Evolution Cards. Knowing when to take Final Evolution cards is one part of the strategy, but even so, there does not seem to be a lot of opportunity to interact or interfere with other players.

I need to play some more games to really find out what others think.

The solo game rules are to be honest not very interesting and I was a bit disappointed.

Bottom line would I buy this game off the shelf for cash in the UK if I hadn’t bought into the Kickstarter?  Probably not. I will give it a 6/10 for price, quality, playability, replayability and atmosphere.

Some wine and house rules would probably make this an “8/10” game.