Monday, March 8, 2021

KoW- Kingdom of Men vs Dwarves

 Yesterday I had a game of Kings of War vs Gordon down in Oamaru, they have  a small group gamers starting out. I took a pretty generic Easterlings (aka Kingdoms of Men) list and Gordon ran some nasty dwarves.

I’d like to say it was a stunning victory for the followers of Sauron but alas, truth be told they got a shellacking, and by turn 5 the Kingdoms of Men had been decimated so the survivors limped off table to lick their wounds.  The only brightspot on the horizon being that they’d taken out a unit of mastiffs. The Dwarven rangers and other shooting troops decimated my units of bows and then proceeded to chew up my infantry regiments.

My list turned out to be a tad underwhelming- lots of regular troops and a smattering cavalry (knights) units and a monster. I kind of planned to pivot round a unit (horde) of spear troops and made the mistake of trying to play too defensively vs an army that seriously outshot me. Lesson learned!

I think next time I might try and run a 2e historical list—at least they get skirmishers- and see how they go.

Still, it was nice to get out roll some dice. I’m down in Oamaru almost every weekend now and so look forward to more games in vs Gavin, Gordon and Josh.

As for the rules, getting a drubbing probably didn’t help my cause, but don’t see them replacing Dragon Rampant as my preferred system- no skirmishers, no cavalry counter charges vs foot, it is definitely a game in the GW mould and nothing wrong with that just a tad too high fantasy for me and I prefer a bit more low fantasy where it is all about the rank and file troops if that makes sense? Still the game is fast and turns fly by and that is a good thing. I can’t really comment on the rules themselves as I didn’t really look at them at all, which again is probably a good thing. Nothing really stood out as a hmmm, really? Except maybe units being able to disengage from combat and charge back in, seems a tad weird to me. Once a unit is engaged it should remain engaged till it or its opponent breaks.

A couple of shots of the game



  1. Nice to see some KOW being played down South Craig. I'm in Chch where we have a small but growing number of players. I see your points, as a historical player here's a few comments on how I view things in KOW if using historical Kingdoms of Men lists.

    (1) Skirmishers I have to think differently about representation of these. Firstly, many shooting units can stay out of range and harass obviously because ranges are very generous (I might even use javelinemen as "bowmen", and think of he shooting as presenting them running up throwing javelines and then runing away again). But other "chaff" units I think of them as harassing speedbumps to disrupt the enemy line. I.e. They inflict a bit of damage maybe and then the enemy will disperse them, but they slow the enemy and give initiave of the attack to you, which is pretty much what skirmishers do in my ancients games using historical ancients rules (E.g. DBX, ADLG etc). Thus its often important to have your own "chaff" or skirmish units to counter the enemies ones. Also, note many such chaff or skirmish units have "nimble" ability which means they can run rings around enemy units (two 90 degree turns makes a big difference) - especially light cavalry, they can be a horror to try and deal with.

    (2) Cavalry countercharging - agreed, but also cavalry can always outrange infantry, so stay out of infantry range make sure you get the charge off, and then you get your charge bonus (thunderous charge). You have the speed to outmanoeuvre dwarves and gang up your knights on something and kill it. Note dwarves are pretty tough frontally (and just ignore the behemoth if you can), if you can get flanks good but not easy. If your knights get caught otherwise (left within 8" of dwarf unit), then you need to think of it as being caught without room to get a good charge up and having the psychological effect of cav thundering towards something. Note also that in subsequent rounds of combat if knights have taken damage in the previous melee round they lose their thunderous ability so much better to break something with first charge than to get stuck in a grinding match.

    (3). Charging represents weight of impact of unit and whether or not the enemy breaks, and then it is very likely an ongoing combat will follow (yes the term game term is "charge" or "countercharge", but you could just call it melee). In some situations you can disengage (particularly fast smaller or nimble units or characters), but most will in effect be stuck in a grind against the enemy unit(s), just because the alternatives like trying to disengage will be worse. The combat will go to whoever can grind the best, coming down to armour, number and strength of attacks together with size of unit (s) Each side only does movement, melee and shooting attacks in their own turn, which keeps things simple, BUT of course as in other systems we should think of all this representing simultaneous to and fro.

    (1) Lastly note that rank and file including infantry are good in V3. Shooting has been significantly downgraded (though small low armoured units like small units of archers or light cavalry are vulnerable to it). Just monsters, heroes, magic won't win games for you. For thoughts on relative worth of Kingdoms of Men armies (and more importantly how to use them), see tactics article here:

  2. Many thanks for your thoughtful reply Chassauer, I am looking forward to a rematch and am bulking up my light horse a bit to regiments and will ty to maximise my mobility. Lots of issues were the the general and not the rules (more aggression needed when out gunned!) but think we did a few things wrong so will see how game two goes. Not sure if I'll use the koW 3 or historicals lists for my next clash...

  3. Looks like a fun game. Kings of War. Such good rules.

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