Time to hit the fan again

You knew it was coming.  And soon there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth across the interwebs.  "They have ruined my army and made it unplayable."  "I'm never playing this game again."  Etc, etc, etc.  Of course things will eventually calm down to a normal level of whinging, but once again the fecal material is hitting the rotational cooling device.

Clash  of  Kings  2019  Edition
MGKW16  £14.99/€19.99/$24.99
The    world    of  Mantica    trembles    once    again    as    armies    march    to    war.    This    year’s    annual    organised    play  supplement  includes  all  of  the  balance  tweaks  to  continue  to  keep  the  game  fun  and  competitive.  There’s  also  new  magic  rules,  stats    for  new  epic  monsters,  rules    for  playing  grand  sieges,  and  stats    for  using    the  brand  new  units  from  Kings  of  War:  Vanguard  in  you  games  of  Kings  of  War! 

So what are we getting into this year?

The first big item is SIEGE RULES!  like people asking when the new Twilight Kin list is coming out

you have regularly seen people asking for siege rules since 2nd edition came out.  (First edition had them, but they didn't work).

The rules, much like the rest of them for the game, are fairly simple.  Once you pick a game size, the attacker gets and ADDITIONAL 25% (so for a 2000 pt game, 500 pts) to buy siege equipment.  The defender, on the other hand, can spend up to 25% of their points on siege  upgrades - but gets the castle/fortress for free.  The base fortress is three walls in a U formation in the middle of one long side, with the center one containing a gate.  12" walls are recommended.

You don't use much terrain, as traditionally you clear the area around the fortress - you do NOT want enemies to get cover or be able to sneak up on you at all (yes, you want a "killing field" around your fortress).

Castle walls are tall and tough - normal infantry cannot touch them, and only siege equipment can damage them through shooting, and you can only damage them if you have a bonus to your wound roll (i.e. Crushing Strength, Thunderous Charge or Piercing).  Natural 6's DO NOT result in wounds (sorry, no amount of your puny goblin arrows is going to cause any damage to a castle!).  Damaging the gate is much easier however.

Units can be garrisoned in the walls, and get protection (always in cover or defending an obstacle).  Of course siege engines help to fix that (you do NOT want a siege tower to get to the wall!).

Attackers can get bomb wagons (thing of goblin blasters), artillery, ladders, battering rams and siege towers.  (What, no Mantlets?  These rules are broken and I'm quitting the game forever!  (just kidding)).  Defenders can fortify the walls, add butresses, add towers (or towers with artillery), trap the gate or walls, or a secret tunnel.

Finally, instead of normal scenarios, each player picks from a list of objectives for their side - the attacker can choose Capture, Destroy or Kill the Defenders, while the defender picks from Breakout, Supply Lines and Kill the Attacker (for a total of 9 different possible combinations).

I've played a few siege games, and they can be fun, but are typically a lot of work (just building the castle and all the equipment).  They don't tend to be a spur of the moment thing, but are usually planned far ahead.  Campaigns are great ways to add siege battles.

However, (unfortunate as it is), far too many people will be skipping this section completely to get to the rule changes.  Most of these are the same as last years CoK, though there is an update to nimble.  In addition Dread and Steady Aim are new.  Plus you now get cover against Alchemist's Curse and Bloodboil.

There are 14 artifacts in the book (plus updates to 3).  Among the new ones are the Orcish Skullpole, Whip of Celerity, Hann's Sanginary Scripture., and the Mournful Blade. Zephyr crown is back, but changed.  Black Iron Crown and the Circlet of Blood are the only ones that are removed from last year.

One of the biggest changes (and one I am very excited about) was breaking out the extra spells into Common and Legendary spells.  The common spells are Mind Fog, Weakness, Drain Life and Hex.  These can all be bought by any spellcaster in your army, as many times as you like.

Legendary spells are like artifacts, they can only be taken once per army.  And if you have a special character that gets the spell automatically then it counts against your being able to take it once.  In addition, some of these can only be successfully cast one per game (you don't lose the spell if you fail to score any hits when casting it).

There are quite a few legendary spells
  • Alchemist's Curse
  • Aura of Heroism (Neutral Armies only)
  • Barkskin
  • Blinding Light
  • Blizzard
  • Blood Boil
  • Critter's Call (one use only)
  • Guiding Light (one use only)
  • Martyr's Prayer (Good Armies only)
  • Spell Siphon
  • Teleport (one use only)
  • Veil of Shadows (Evil Armies only)
Then of course are the unit changes for all the armies.  This book now now only replaces prior editions, but also Destiny of Kings and Edge of the Abyss - those characters are now in this book.  This is great, as it no longer requires people to keep taking those books with them (and if they are not out of print, they eventually will be).

Every army gets a third formation, though several of the existing ones are changing as well.  A lot of monsters have a new version (in addition to the current one) intended for a 75x75 base (as opposed to the 50x50 one).  So there is a giant, and a Collossal Giant (faster, stronger, more attacks, higher nerve, fearless, but loses fury).  Dragons get this as well.

Of course the big news are the new units from Vanguard for Kings of War.  Nearly every new model (though not the new sculpts (like gargoyles)) now has unit stats.
  • Forces of Basilea
    • Sisterhood Scouts*
    • Ogre Palace Guard*
    • High Paladin on Elder Dragon
  • Dwarfs
    • Flame Priest
    • Steel Juggernaut
  • Elves
    • Mystical Dragon Kindred Lord
  • Kingdom of Men
    • Giant
    • Colossal Giant
  • Ogres
    • Colossal Giant
    • Kuzlo & Madfall
  • Abyssal Dwarfs
    • Overmaster on Ancient Winged Halfbreed
    • Supreme Iron-caster on Ancient Winged Halfbreed
  • Empire of Dust
    • Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm
    • Revenant King on Undead Great Flying Wyrm
  • Forces of the Abyss
    • Hellequin Blood-masque
    • Hellequins*
    • Succubi Lurkers*
    • Abyssal Warlock
    • Abyssal Despoilers
  • Goblins
    • Mincer Mob
    • Colossal Giant
    • Kuzlo & Madfall
  • NightStalkers
    • Reaper Souldrinker
    • Butcher Fleshripper
    • Horror Riftweavers
  • Orcs
    • Krudger on Ancient Winged Slasher
    • Colossal Giant
  • Ratkin (ok, these aren't from Vanguard, but from Warpath instead!)
    • Tunnel Runners
    • Nightmares
    • Night Terror
  • Twilight Kin
    • Reapers*
    • Scarecrows*
    • Fiends*
  • Undead
    • Revenant King on Undead Great Flying Wyrm
    • Revenant on Undead Great Burrowing Wyrm
    • Vampire Lord on Undead Elder Dragon
  • Varangur
    • Ice-Queen
    • Frost Giant
Finally, there are the scenarios.  Again there are twelve, however "Take and Hold" and "Eliminate" have been replaced with the new scenarios "Plunder" and "Raze".  In addition, "Secure the Field" has been replaced with the old fashioned "Kill" - a way to help bring balance back to the "midwest trash meta" that has been destroying elite armies due to cheap unit strength.  Changing these out is sure to keep people interested (and while I don't mind the return of kill, I do hope it doesn't become overused.  Though once a tournament is not a bad thing).
  1. Pillage
  2. Loot
  3. Push
  4. Dominate
  5. Invade
  6. Control
  7. Ransack
  8. Kill
  9. Occupy
  10. Scavenge
  11. Plunder
  12. Raze
So it looks like a good 2019 for Kings of War!  Of course, this being the internet, people are going to complain (a lot), but I think the Rules Committee has done a great job.

Because it is all fun and games . . .