Monday, September 7, 2015

An unexpected Kick

I'm not always known for my patience, especially when I start seeing others getting the thing that I'm waiting for.  Well today being Labor Day, I wasn't even looking for anything since the banks are closed and mail is not delivered, but about 10 am there is a knock at the door, and there is a small but fairly heavy box from DHL - who apparently doesn't give their drivers the holiday off.  (I was also surprised to see it wasn't sent until the 2nd - so DHL got it here in only 5 days).

So my Kings of War 2nd edition Kickstarter wave 1 has finally arrived.  Of course, that means I'm going to share (well, pictures and opinions) everything with you, my loyal readers.

First off, of course, is the main focus of the Kickstarter, the 2nd edition books.  Now I bought a copy of the Gamer's Edition just to have and show off at Gencon.  I also added a copy to the kickstarter when they changed the shipping (so I had a little extra).  They also switched out the map of Mantica for a print of the hardback cover - no big deal as the map is in the book, plus I have one from the first kickstarter somewhere.

Hardback, 2 Gamer's Editions and the print
The hardback is a beautiful book, though I was a little surprised when I first saw it that it was smaller than expected.  I had just just expected it to be the same dimensions as the previous book - which is the same as the Dreadball and Deadzone books, as well as the three first edition expansions.  The first edition was 8 1/2" x 12" and 148 pages, with 8 army lists in it (and a few pages of kickstarters names (pg 146, 2nd column, almost half way down)).  The new book is 6 5/8" x 10 1/2" and is 208 pages (with no kickstarters names, nor is it signed)).  This is the same size as all the Mars Attacks! books as well.  The binding is slightly rounded instead of flat, and the book stays open nicely.  It is small enough that it would work fine at a game table - but isn't needed.

Size comparison between 1st Edition and 2nd Edition hardback rule books
The Gamer's Edition softback version is actually the same page size as the hardback (once you account for the hardback cover overlap of about 1/8" per side).  This one is 80 pages, and is all the rules without at many pictures or fluff in it.  There is one page reference that for the Individual rule (the Gamer's Edition references it on page 71, which is the hardback page for this rule (it should be page 22).  However I don't find that this detracts from the book at all - I'm definitely not one that can fault anyone for an occasional typo.

I did notice that when I got my Dreadball Xtreme Wave 3 kickstarter, the books were separated from the rest of the package by a piece of cardboard to protect them.  Unfortunately they did NOT continue this practice for this shipment - the art print is dinged at the bottom, the cover of one of the Gamer's Edition has a slight crease in the upper right corner, and the upper right front edge has a scrape on it and lower right front corner is slightly bent.  The idea of separating the books was a good one - they need to make sure they do this in the future.  Now I'm not buying these as collectibles, and they WILL get additional dings from wear and tear, so it is overall not an issue for me, but some people are not as forgiving.

Now, I (like all the kickstarter backers) received a PDF of the hardback edition some time ago, so I actually didn't need either of the books (as well as having a Gamer's edition for a month already).  It is the rest of the new toys that I wanted.

One of the things that I thought was a great idea for the Kickstarter was the counter set.
Counter Set.
There are 7 objective counters, a turn counter, an arc of sight and a 6" ruler (in green).  (Interesting how my phone balanced these against the green backdrop differently than the rest of the pictures (using green since the grey and metal miniatures area a little harder to see against the grey backdrop)).  Then there are a red and blue set of counters containing 8 nerve check counters, 8 two sided wavering / disordered counters and 2 spell target counters (for bane-chant, as that is the only spell that has any kind of lasting effect) each.

Quality of these is great, though I personally don't see a use for the disordered, nerve check or spell effect counters (these conditions just resolve too quickly to need to mark them).  Wavering yes.

The turn counter is nice (cute that it has a die and a 4+ between the 6 and 7 to mark how you get the seventh turn.  The pointer snaps in, but fits very loosely - I wonder if I can find a rubber grommet to help it fit snugger and not just flip the pointer if it gets bumped.  One thing I just noticed looking at the turn counter (and then checking the book) is they have changed the numbering of the turns, so that there are now 6 (with an optional 7th) turns in the game, instead of 12 (with an optional 13th and 14th).  I like this, as it is the way I have always thought of turns (i.e each player has the same numbered turn instead of one player having the odd and the other having the even turns).

The arc of sight is wonderful.  Of course before Origins this year I made a bunch of these for my demos because they are simply so useful.  I find it interesting to hear a lot of people describing this for war engines - when it actually applies to all units.  Of course the short edge is 50'' to make it perfect for war engines as well.

Lastly is a 6" ruler.  Somewhat useful, but it won't replace the tape measure for me.

I have already seen some nice paint jobs on these - on making the arc and turn counter look like rusted metal, and another where all the markings are filled in with white.

Next up are the wound counters.  In the first kickstarter, people got a set of clear 'splat' wound counters, and Mantic made some red commercial ones.  I was not a fan, because it required you to keep this pile of tokens with each unit - and I could see where one set would not be enough if you wanted to go with several hordes (and now legions).

Wound counters - three 10's, five 5's and sixteen 1's.  Plus four bases.
The new wound counters fix the issue with having to take a big pile of tokens by putting a hole in the center and then having a spike to stack them on.  The spike fits in a base that is 60mm x 20mm - exactly the size of three infantry (so if you wanted to use them as the final middle three models they fit exactly).  The base is designed to hold three dice if you don't want to use the spike.  While better, they don't excite me.

A variety of wound counters, including the 2012 kickstarter clear splat, the red splat and the new grey splat with spike and dice holder.  At the bottom are knitting counters.
I saw someone mention knitting counters on either facebook or the forums, so I did a search on eBay and found these : Knitting Counters.  At $0.75 a pair they are the best deal I've seen.  Plus you only need one per unit and they can track up to 99 wounds (and while I once did 50 wounds to a horde of ghouls, generally you don't need nearly that many).    Free shipping, and these actually arrived two days ahead of the estimated delivery window.

Moving on, one of the the exciting new stretch goals was the new resin Tyrant King Blaine on raptor miniature.  Now, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, I thought that this would be a monster sized model.  There was absolutely nothing at any time that would have implied this, it was just all in my head.  So when I saw this, I was initially disappointed as I expected it to just be bigger.

As it is, it is still an awesome miniature.  I'm not sure why it is resin and not metal (simply because they can always  cast metal at the Mantic warehouse), but I do look forward to assembling and painting this.  I expect it will have rules in the upcoming campaign supplement.

Tyrant King Blaine on Raptor.  Raptor is in three pieces, and Blain is an additional three pieces.
The one thing I dislike is that Blaine's legs are molded onto the raptor body.  I really dislike when they do this, because it really limits your conversion opportunities.  However with only one right now I'm making it as is.

The last of the special Kickstarter models was the Ronaldo the Bard miniature.  Ronnie Renton, the president, CEO, boss and chief bottle washer at Mantic has always been a gamer, and one thing he hates is the idea of Bards in dungeons.  It really makes no sense for a performer to be down facing monsters and traps.  So as a joke, they set a stretch goal to make a miniature of Ronnie as a bard.  As you can imagine, the stretch goal didn't take long to knock down, and most people got one for free.  Me, I bought an extra (because why not!).  (Mantic already makes a 'Coach Ronnie' (available via Mantic Points) for Dreadball)
Ronaldo the Bard
So of course the kickstarter funded some other new models for general retail, and I had to get some.  Now I still have a couple of months to wait for the Abyssal Mega Army and Nature Starter Army that I got on the kickstarter, but the individual miniatures (well, except for the Abyssal Fiend).  So one of the first models I wanted was the new Necromancer for the undead army.
New undead Necromancer - with two arms and two heads
While I don't collect undead, when I made a demo army for them I just found and old Confrontation miniature to use for the necromancer, and I've wanted to replace it with a Mantic model for some time.  Now they came out with a very cool one.  This is a very nice, metal, detailed miniature with two head choices and two arms.  I already know I want the undead skull head, the bearded flesh one actually works if you want an evil wizard.  It also has two left arm choices - probably do the sleeve to match the right arm holding the book.

I have wanted the next miniature since I first saw the work-in-progress green sculpt a couple of years ago after someone posted a picture from a tour of their office.  When they added it to the kickstarter my inner Igor was shouting "It Must Be Mine!".

Ogre Warlock.
Well it wasn't just the Ogre Warlock that the kickstarter funded for the Ogres - but also the berserker braves.  These models don't hit as well (4+ instead of 3+ ME), but have a bunch more attacks (AT 15 and 30 for regiments and hordes, as compared to 9 and 18 for ogre warriors).  What surprised me is that there are three separate metal bodies; I actually only expected two varieties.  The arms fit on any of the bodies so you can mix and match them as well, plus there are four heads, to give even more variety.  Of course now I have to figure out how to redo my demo Ogre list to include these :-)
Ogre Berserker Braves
The last new model I ordered was the new goblin war engine.  This kit is designed to make both the Big Rocks Thrower and the Sharpstick Thrower.  I ordered three of these, because in my demo goblin army I had two big rocks and a sharpstick already.  These were scratch built from older models (I wanted to avoid GW models) and I really looked forward to replacing them.

Then the new starter lists came out - and these weren't included.  They are in the list, but not in the free download.  I had made the decision to have all my demo armies only use the starter lists (for those that were available).  So the remaining question for me is if Mantic is ever going to release the full lists for download, at which time I could add these.

It is a nice kit though
Goblin war engine kit - makes a big rocks thrower or sharpstick thrower
I thought people might like to see how to make the two different war engines.  The base for both is the same with four wheels.  There is then a piece that is planks set at an angle.  This is basically what determines which model this makes - and if someone wants to be able to use magnets or pins to make both kits, this is the piece that has to be moved.

For the big rocks thrower, the planks lean away, and you put the padded bar on the top.  The arm / basket has a pin that goes into the main body then.
Big Rocks Thrower (blu-tacked together)
For the sharpsticks thrower, you reverse the planks to face back,  Each of the bows goes over the bolt and then connects back to the bolt thrower frame.  This frame is then attached to the planks and again has a tiny pin that goes in the base.
Sharpstick Thrower, again blu-tacked together
There are a couple of shields as well - it looks to me like these can go anywhere to help 'proctect' the machine.  One last piece I noticed was the crew member firing the machine.  This is the middle goblin in the picture.  He holds a big bar that fits in a notch in the back of the machine.

This is a nice model, and the crew are VERY characterful (I really like the one with the spyglass).

The one thing I've found that I don't like is the 'firer' miniature.  Since war engine crew are purely decorative in Kings of War, I have typically glued them to the base for the engine.  War engines are now defined to be on a 50mm base as well.  My point is, this length of this from front to back wheel is close to 50mm - so the firer miniature won't fit on the base with it.  I actually have a lot of 50mm square magnetic bases specifically for war engines, large cavalry and monsters.  So for me to include the crew on the single base I need a 50mm x 70mm base (or have him separate, which I don't care for either).  This is just a nitpicky item for the way I want to model it, and should not be taken as something bad about the miniature at all.

So that's what I got in my box - now to decide what to paint up first!


  1. Based on the concept picture, I don't think the planks were meant to lean away from the big rocks thrower. That piece has the same orientation for each option. I agree with your gripe about the firer not fitting. I think I'm just going to have to leave him off.

  2. I can see that - with either shield going on the planks. Thanks

  3. I can see that - with either shield going on the planks. Thanks

  4. no problem. I had a bit of a head scratcher with it at first. Its a pretty cool model once its all together