Finally: a fantasy mass combat wargame I like.

Well, to be fair, I’ve played Kings of War with Mike over a Mikeopolis before. But that was months ago, and there was a dry spell with Treefort Games closing and a bunch of other stuff getting in the way.

Yet in the last two weekends we’ve gotten play Kings of War, twice, at Discover Games. He dug out his Italian Renaissance armies and I brought my Hundred Years’ War forces for a thrown down.

The first game was 3000 points per army, of which I forgot to take pictures. (Which is okay because I lost… ha).

Last Saturday’s game featured 3,500 points per army. (For those who aren’t familiar, those are large armies). A standard army is 2,000 points.

My archers, men-at-arms, and cannon face off against Mike’s hordes of elite pike, knights on horseback, and a steam tank.

Here’s what amazes me: the game took about three hours to play. Three hours.

A game with this many units in another set of rules would have taken all day.

Kings of War plays fast.

The battle began with my cannon and ballista opening fire while my forces advanced toward the center.

Mike responded in kind. The causalities on both sides were minimal.

To keep track of our turns, each of us had six dice of to the side. When one of our turns ended, we removed one of the dice. It helped quite a bit. (Last time, I think we lost count as to how many turns we played).

After suffering some hits from missile fire, my horde of mounted knights charged into a regiment of foot knights. My mounted sergeants tried to run down a used of mounted scouts. My Joan of Arc/wizard figure and my Army Standard Bearer bolstered them.

After the initial victories the flank stalled out as both sides fought (with penalties) in the woods. Next time I think twice before charging through the wood–even with a horde of mounted knights!

Heavy Elite Pikemen are some of most potent units in Kings of War. Charging them without weakening them first is almost out of the question–especially if you don’t have pike of your own.

I had large block of foot knights and men-at-arms with polearms. My archers screened their advance. The plan was to hammer the pikemen with artillery and bow fire, and wait for the opportunity to charge my foot knights into the weakened pike.

But the missile fire just did not inflict enough damage. One pike unit, however, almost routed.

Just as the left flank, the center stalled.

At the end of the game the pikemen charged and killed most of my archers. The game ended before I could counter charge with my foot knights.

Meanwhile, on my right flank…

Despite mounted knights charging them in the flank and suffering 24 wounds, the archers hold their ground! (Mike rolled double 6s on their Nerve test!)

My right flank was fairly solid. Even with losing a phalanx of spearmen, my legion of peasant militia supported by cannon and archers contested the hill.

Had the game lasted another turn, the unit of Mike’s foot knights which outflanked the legion. But the game ended.

We’d played six game turns.  At the end of turn 6, Mike rolled a die. A “3.” There would be no turn seven, where I might have had chance to cry havoc with my mounted knights…

“Hey, that cannon looks like nice prize. And those pikemen battered enough to charge. And if we play our cards right, we might get that general on the griffon…. what?!? The game’s over!?!”

The game ended in a Draw.

Neither side inflicted enough casualties for a decisive victory.

As we picked up the game we hashed things out:

–We probably should have had a seventh turn, since we started farther apart than the 24″ inches in the standard scenario. The first turn was just maneuvering. Not much happened.

–My archers may have protected my foot knights and men-at-arms, but they hindered me. My foot knights didn’t engage in single enemy all game. In the last turn the archers just added a few more points to Mike’s total.

–But one Pike unit did suffer enough casualties it almost routed. Had that happened…

–Had we played a different scenario from the rulebook, my tactics would have probably changed drastically.

Anyway, I’m sure they’ll be another (4000 point?) game in the near future.

Later this week, I have a proper review of Kings of War up. (Did I mention the game plays fast?)

Time to paint more figures…