Off into Uncharted territory

At times it doesn't seem like it has been six months, but then it also feels like it has been forever.  Beta testing for Kings of War started in March, and it is now September.  The great news is that the new edition of the game is shipping - and in fact the first printing has completely sold out, and they have are already waiting for the second print run.  Even better is that the beta testing is nearing the end.

The Mantic Blog today talked about the new expansion, Uncharted Empires.  This is what I used to call the proxy book, and then was corrected to call the supplement book, and now has an official name.  The first iteration of the nine lists that are being publicly beta tested came out three months ago at the beginning of June (ok, so it was June 7th, not quite a full three months).  The beta testing for all the lists in this new book will wrap up by the end of this month so the book can go to print and start shipping in November (I was hoping and mistakenly said it would be October).

So what are the Uncharted Empires?  The main rule book has 11 army lists in it, fully fleshed out and balanced.  These are the major factions in the world of Mantica, the ones (except for Kingdoms of Men) for which Mantic supplies models at this point.  The Uncharted Empires are the minor races, those that are not currently major 'players' in the world of Mantica.  They still exist and have background, they just aren't as strong or plentiful as the other races.

If you want to try any of the lists in playtest, you can download the spreadsheet with them here.

So what are the Uncharted Empires?

1. Ratkin - A race originally created by the Abyssal Dwarfs (Evil)
These evil rat men gain courage from numbers - they have a special army rule that non-irregular infantry regiments and hordes boost the nerve of any other units within 6".  So the more rats there are nearby, the more courageous a unit is.  So if you haven't guessed, this is a horde army whose strength comes from lots and lots of rats.  They have slaves, warriors, armored warriors and even the disease carrying blight.  While not an army to pick if you like heavily armored knights, they do have a light cavalry option as well (and who can't use some nimble cavalry in their force?) If you want huge powerful creatures they have the Brutes (call the brute squad, I am the brute squad).  If you like to stand back and shoot at your enemies they have throwing weapons and long barrel rifles as well as a variety of war machines, including indirect artillery, the height 2 'shredder' and mobile weapon teams.  They are also set for big gribbly monsters with the Mutant Rat-fiend, Rattlewagon and Death Engine (shooting firebolts in all directions).  Of course they have characters, including a Blight Lord, War Chief, Warlock and Assassin.  If you have skaven models, then you should feel right at home fielding ratkin.

When I first saw this list the night I returned home from Origins, even though I was exhausted from running events and teaching people how to play the new edition of Kings of War, I immediately ran down to the basement, pulled out the half finished skaven arm I had started over five years ago and wrote up a list - fired up to finish and play this army.  I loved the clan skyre contraptions (the DoomWheel, the Screaming Bell, and the Warp Lightning cannon) enough to actually have finished them (well the first two, I have to kit bash a base for the Warp Lightning Cannon - I mean shredder).

Skaven Screaming Bell will be a Ratkin Death Engine
Skaven Doomwheel is now a Ratkin Rattlewagon

2. The League of Rhordia - an alliance of human city states and the halfling shires (Neutral)
I've been told that this lists can fit many Empire models than the standard Kingdoms of Men.  A wide variety of infantry and cavalry, they have the large cavalry, volley guns, Iron Beast and Battle Shrine that the KoM lists lack.  Sure half the army (see what I did there?) is short, expects second breakfast and has furry feet but that does not make them any less competent in battle.  Any human models can be used, or if you have some models based on the Lord of the Rings movies, then you have a force.

3. The Herd - satyrs, centaurs, minotaurs, owlbears and other beastmen. (Neutral)
Not just goat headed satyrs and minotaurs, this army includes many other beastial creatures, including the living version of werewolves (lycans, with Pathfinder instead of Lifeleech).  Some of the infantry is also based on 25mm bases, in case you have some models already based that way.  The have a couple of big monsters, and you can even field a stampeding herd of rhinos, elephants, etc.   A fast army that is all about getting into combat (with no real war engines and no long range shooting).  Dust off your minotuars and centaurs and give the herd a try.  (Me, I'm thinking about trying a small (1000 pt) army of all lycans using some of my really old Confrontation Wolfen (warriors and fang / great fangs as lycans, the larger Predator models as Guardian Brutes, and the huge Worg models as heroes (one that is barely started to be painted, while the other has yet to be assembled))).

4. The Empire of Dust - a ancient cursed race (Evil)
If you prefer your undead to be ancient, dry and brittle from the desert sands (as opposed to the wet and squishy variety normally seen in undead lists), then this list of skeletons, mummies, scavengers and giant guardian constructs is exactly what you are looking for.  Instead of the pets often seen in other lists, many units can take a one use upgrade that adds five dice when the unit is surged.  Since they are dead, most of the units have shambling, but chariots, worm riders and some of monsters have the speed to make up for it.  So dust off your old skeletons and give them a try.

5. The Varangur (aka The Shattered Clans) (Humans) (Evil)
Some people just like to watch the world burn, and the Varangur are worships of an ancient god who seek destruction of all who do not bow down before their deity.  All the units in the list have higher nerve values than 'normal' to represent their devotion to their god.  Unarmored warriors, slaves and sneaky, mobile short range killers are all there, but of course what people want to see are the Sons of Korgaan - heavily armored warriors (on 25mm bases) that represent the greatest warriors of the shattered clans.  Each unit of SoK can choose an option to indicate which of the ancient gods they follow - Brand of the Warrior, Guise of the Deceiver or Mask of the Reaper.  Of course there are cavalry and large cavalry options for these as well.   Plus they have cave trolls and large, broken, corrupted gargoyles.  One of the most interesting monsters has to be the Jabberwock - who gains an extra attack for each wound already on the target unit - truly a nasty combat monster.  One interesting idea is the living legend Herja of the Fallen - who is the bride of the Gargoyle living legend Ba'su'su.  (in the Abyssal Dwarf or Abyssal army lists).  So if you are tired of the wishy-washy neutral human armies - bring your warriors and monsters and fight for the shattered clans.

6. Salamanders (Good)
Born of fire, the salamanders are an army of fire and lizards.  The salamanders are on 25mm bases (including the ancients, ceremonial guard and corsairs (yes, lizard pirates!!!)).  They are accompanied by Ghekkotah warriors and hunters, the small, faster lizards with blowpipes, or cloaks that make them much hard to shoot at.  Fire elementals and some monsters, as well as both normal and large cavalry are all available.  If the poison blowpipes of the ghekkotah aren't enough ranged firepower for you, them you can take an Ankylodon Battle Platform as a monster choice, or Komodon Artillery as a war engine.  The new salamander plastic models coming out early next year were practically made for this army, as were you toy dinosaur collection.

7. The Brotherhood (Humans) (Good)
The last of the announced lists are the Brotherhood - for the player who just can't get enough knights in their army.   While they have a decent selection of infantry, most of them are villeins (or peasants or surfs if you like), though they do have a unit of knights on foot.  But it is the cavalry, the knights, that attract people to his list.  Four types of knights and two types of villein cavalry give them lots of powerful, fast forces.  Whether you take the standard Order of the Brotherhood, the flying, large cavalry Order of the Forsaken, the monster hunting Order of the Abyssal Hunt or the (irregular) regenerating Order of Redemption you will have no end to the pageantry you can display (and most knights are inspiring to the villeins).  Arthur himself would be proud of this force battling for good.

Did I say there were only 7 lists?  There are 9!  But the last two are being developed and tested in secret to give you a sweet surprise when you purchase the book.

The REDACTED REDACTED are an cool new idea that hasn't been seen in a mass combat game before.  Being able to field regiments of REDACTED, hordes of REDACTED and very characterful heroes and monsters like REDACTED and REDACTED make this a very different and fun list to play.

When the REDACTED hit the stands the internet is going to go crazy.  Not only does it have REDACTED and REDACTED, but awesome REDACTED, REDACTED and REDACTED.  Yes, you can now play REDACTED in Kings of War!!!  And if you are a fan of the writings of REDACTED then you can even play an army of REDACTED and REDACTED.

If you have ever felt that no one listened to your opinions, well now is the final chance to let your voice be heard.  The playtesting on these lists only goes to near the end of the month.  The rules committee isn't looking for thoughts and ideas on the lists, they want feedback based on playtesting.  So get out your knights, our rats and your evil warriors, play a few games, and submit the battle reports on the mantic forums.  Just remember the most important rule when playing a game - have fun!!!

* One last night - make sure to get your FLGS to order enough copies of this for the Christmas season, as they expect the first print run to sell out, and may not be able to guarantee a second printing will make it in time.