I've been eagerly awaiting this book, Kings of War has been very well received in my gaming group and we've been having a lot of fun experimenting with new army lists. This book of new lists by Mantic is a very clever move, they don't make minis for any of them, but quite a few bear a striking resemblance to armies from the now defunct Warhammer Fantasy Battles. This will ultimately encourage even more people to give KoW a try and allows those of us who already have extensive Warhammer collections to use a lot more of our minis in our games, and ultimately for our group pretty much signals our complete conversion from Warhammer Fantasy to KoW. It sounds like a giant win-win, lets take a closer look.
The book is just over 70 pages, softback and in full colour, plenty of art and photos, some new some reused. The footprint is the same as the gamers edition of the main rulebook and the interior is done in the same style. This is all for the good, I like things to match, it makes it feel like there's a bit of thought gone into the range. There are nine new lists for some of Mantica's minor factions, and whilst a lot of them are shall we say 'Inspired' by Warhammer fantasy armies the included background section for each list grounds them firmly within the Kings of War world.
Lets take a brief overview of the Lists one by one.
Name: The Brotherhood
Warhammer Equivalent: Bretonnians
This knightly Brotherhood guard the southern realms from the depravations of the abyss. These are classic good guy knights and peasents, very closely following the Bretonnian mould, except with added water elementals. There are different flavours of knights, including the long lost and much asked for foot knights and some cool flying knights. And there is even a Robin Hood style unit which will allow me to use my 'Bowmen of Bergerac' minis again. It's not the most inspired list, but then neither was the Bretonnia one, but it is solid and I definitely plan on giving it a go.
Warhammer Equivalent: Lizardmen
This one like the Brotherhood is very inspired by the Warhammer equivalent, in this case the Lizardmen. The Saurus have been renamed Salamanders, the skinks Ghekkotah and the Kroxigor Tyrants. No sign of any Slann though. There are also added fire elementals to fit in with the Salamander background.
Name: The Herd
Warhammer Equivalent: Beastmen
Fauns, Stayrs, Beastmen, Centaurs, Minotaurs etc. This is my favourite list in this book, I love the fact that they made them neutral which puts a totally different stance on them. I think this makes a great companion list to my favoured Forces of Nature army. Nice to see Harpies and especially Lycans in the list as I have some being painted. Adding some units from this list to my collection is definitely going to happen.
Name: League of Rhordia
Warhammer Equivalent: None
I've said 'none' for the equivalent army here, but it's sort of old school Empire. This is a mix of fairly standard human troops, lots of
Name: The Trident Realm of Neritica
Warhammer Equivalent: None
This one was unexpected, finally the much joked about Fishmen list appears! Most of the troops are a variety of Naiad, which is handy as Mantic will be releasing plastic Naiads in the new year, this list is the converting opportunity list. Just how far can you push that one sprue? As well as the Naiads you get various water elementals and sea monsters. I also think calling the armoured Naiads Placoderms was inspired!
Name: The Empire of Dust
Warhammer Equivalent: Tomb Kings
The ancient desert undead, mummies, pharaohs, chariots, scorpions and plenty of long dead skeletons. Another pretty straight 'inspired' list here, nothing really exciting or radical, but of course welcome if you have a tomb kings army, or just really like undead chariots.
Warhammer Equivalent: None
This one is interesting. The night-stalkers are the embodiment of the fears, horrors, nightmares and dreams of mortals. A whole army of trans-dimensional Nightmares. Rules wise they are fascinating they have no inspiring of their own, but steal their opponents, they also have a unit that can use all their opponents fighting characteristics in combat. I'm not quite sure what to make of it all yet, but it certainly is interesting. I'm also not sure which models to use, Mike (my regular opponent and irregular contributor on this blog) has a plan to use some of his Tyranid minis to play this list. I'm looking forward to seeing what he comes up with and I'll see if I can persuade him to share it here.
Warhammer Equivalent: Skaven
Another pretty straight copy here, but nonetheless a welcome one. In the Mantica background they are a former slave race who have broken free. You have the various infantry you'd expect with a mix of crazy war machines. In a change from Warhammer you can also have Ratkin cavalry and you can give the Vermin Lord equivalent wings! I have small
Name: The Varangur
Warhammer Equivalent: Warriors of Chaos
These are the barbarian tribes from the north with attendant monsters. You have heavy and light infantry and cavalry a few specialist infantries (including some bowmen!), trolls and wolves. Pretty much what was expected (except the bowmen). The background is a bit different than I expected though and I like it. The Varangur don't worship the Abyssals as I was expecting, but a different older god of the north 'Korgaan' he is a many faced god and there is a limited 'mark' system here as well. As I have quite a big Warriors of Chaos force I'll be looking to try out this list at some point.
In conclusion I think this is a fantastic and imaginative product, and I have absolutely no qualms in heartily recommending this. In fact I would even go so far as to say it's an essential purchase if you're a KoW player. I also hope Mantic do eventually make some minis to support this, a single plastic kit for each of the lists would be a great start. Things continue to look very bright for Kings of War.