Friday, 10 February 2012
Dwarf Kings Hold: Ancient Grudge - A Look Inside
This is my look at the third set in the Dwarf Kings Hold series by Mantic games; Ancient Grudge. I had a few issues with this, being sent two copies without rulebook (see here), but I then contacted Mantic directly and they sorted it out easily and quickly. Putting that aside what do we have in this set? The first thing to be aware of is that unlike the previous two sets this is not a stand alone game and you will need at least one of the sets to be able to use this. Too get the full use out of this you'll need both sets really and I'd advise you too get both the origanal sets before looking at getting this.
The box is exactly the same shape and size as the box for green menace which is good as it stacks nicely on the shelf with the other games in the series. Again the box art matches the previous sets and is another great throwback in style to the 1980's dungeon sets I remember so fondly.
Ok time to start looking at what you actually get in the box, forst off the box conatians a single sheet of card which contains two new large board sections and nine counters. The board sections are both new big pieces with new 'icy' artwork, all very nice. Most of the counters you will have seen before, with 5 more bloodied tokens and 2 more green rage tokens, which are nessacery for the bigger battles this set enables you to play. The two new counters have a big 'R' on them and are for showing when dwarf ironwatch are reloading their guns.
The set conatains 12 miniatures in all, 11 plastic and 1 metal, all of which are from the standard mantic kings of war range. You should have one of the other DKH sets if you're looking at getting this, but just in case, all the plastic models require assembling with glue, no issue here just something to be aware of.
The above 3 pictures show the plastic models you get in the set after I've assembled them. You get 2 elf scouts, 2 dwarf ironwatch (can be assembled with either guns or crossbows), 4 ghouls and 3 zombies. The quality varies quite significantly, I'm really not keen on the elves and the dwarves are only average, luckily the ghouls and zombies make up for this by being brilliant.
The metal Dwarf Berserker Lord you get is shown above (in both painted and unpainted forms). It's a really nice model, but I liked him enough that I'd bought him some time ago from the Kings of War range and you can't use two in the game, so having a second one is pretty pointless and I'll have to sell or trade it on. This is the problem with recyling models from other ranges, whilst everyone can use a few more ghouls and zombies I really feel that Mantic should have offered a unique hero scuplt. Of course if you haven't already bought him then don't worry he's a great fig.
As ususal with the DKH series you don't get any square bases which would enable you to use the miniatures for other wargames as well, as usual I find it a tad annoying, but hardly the end of the world.
The rulebook is the same small black and white format used in the other sets in the series, we get 20 pages of rules this time. We start off with an introduction and then a reprint of the shooting rules just in case you haven't got green menace where they origanally appeared. After that we get the new rules, which basically break down into 4 sections; The rules allowing you to use any race in any scenario and the points system, then rules for 20 new adventurers (5 for each race), rules for multiplayer games and finally 2 new scenarios (designed as 3-4 player games but that could be played with 2 players).
This all adds a huge amount of variabilty and replayability to the game. The multiplayer rules are fine and no doubt useful, but certainly for me its the ability to add different troops and to switch races around in the scenarios are what's so great about this set. As well as rules for the new troops included in the box there are rules for a number of other troops that you will have to buy (or proxy) to use the rules for. The whole approach is pretty good as it allows players to add a few bits of pieces here and there to their collections and use them without having to invest in a whole army. There are some really interesting choices as well, like a large werewolf (hopefully a model will soon be forthcoming), the dwarf driller (see my painted version here), wraiths (who can walk through walls) and even tiny little orclings (hope you didn't throw away the ones that came with green menace). It also means its very easy for Mantic to add new pieces to the game now that everything has a points value and a new scenario isn't needed each time. The only slight gripe I have is with the lack of any real background information on the new troop types, whilst experienced gamers will be familiar with most of the troops just by their names, I've always thought DKH would serve as the perfect introduction to miniature gaming and a little bit of background would really help people new to the hobby, but I'm just nit-picking really, it's not a big deal.
I'm also very glad I bought the Mantic crazy christmas bag a couple of months ago, as as well as providing more of many of the new troop types there are enough parts on the sprues to allow me to knock together a few more grander pieces to represent the unique characters in the game such as the dwarf prince and elven lord and captain..