The perfect wargame? A game that looks the part and captures the drama of battle. Armies that are collectable and rules that are understandable. A set of rules that are good fun to play. Is this possible? Are the toy soldier general’s searching in vane. The latest trial was Manticgames’ “Kings of War”. Banished are the orcs and dragons, and one is left with the ultimate quick play set of ancient rules. And if you really want magical items and the like, they can be re-inserted too!
The ruleset gives you generic units that the player can choose, together with a “theme” or armylist that details availability and extra units. Steve has based his collection on 10cm sabots but they will easily accommodate DBX units. The comparisons with Warmaster are a strength. All units can move each turn without restriction and Warmaster skirmishers are thankfully downplayed.
We were playing with 10mm figures and I must admit that I was so impressed with the look of the game. You can depict units at various strengths but the basing system is flexible. For the committed, it would be quite possible to use Impetvs style large bases.
The main rulebook depicts all the expected unit types. Some, like the Gaul’s above, are quite vanilla , but the fan base has produced some high quality resources for even more period flavour. We played a two thousand point Punic Wars game and it had us all on the edge of our seats for a good two hours.
We used the 28mm measurements in good old inches and so the units positively zipped along. I held the Roman left and centre. Facing rampaging Gaul’s, I refused the flank and prepared to face the impact. There was only six turns in the standard game so by move two I could smell the onion breathed Gauls.
Skirmishers are neatly represented. There is a large amount of dice throwing but quite rightly, they struggle against heavy foot. At the end of each phase one adds the number of hits received to the score on two D6. If the breakpoint is exceeded, the unit either suffers disruption or possible loss. It is the same system with combat, simple and elegant.
Less simple and elegant was Steve’s elephant charge on my veteran spear! Two turns and my veteran citizens were evaporating. It was the prospective citizen soldiers on my left who proved their worth, holding and then pushing back the Celts.
Officers, heroes and general’s are all included in the rules. Hannibal seemed to be ubiquitous, throwing javelins, blocking charges and trying to swing the tide when the last reserve of Carthaginian spear was committed.
By the close of the game every single Carthaginian unit was dispersed. Was Steve disheartened? We tried to take Hannibal down and complete our victory but the one man army would live to fight another day. Kings of War is a great game and I heartily recommend the system. My thanks to Steve for the use of the armies and thank the Lord I can use the newly based armies!