Friday, November 24, 2017

6 Tips For Playing Brotherhood [Gaming] Kings Of War

In my short run as a blogger thus far, I would imagine those who have read some of my articles have
noticed I mention the Brotherhood allot. I love the Brotherhood as a faction, this is mostly in a competitive and game play sense as I do deviate from the canon Brotherhood background fluff, but never the less I love it. To me it really embodies the heart of a fantasy setting, the sterling knight on a quest to ward of magical beings and evil, the standard fantasy troupe of humans ranking up behind uniformed colors with symbols of mythical creates emblazoned on their shields while carrying magical swords to slay demons.

Most like to say Brotherhood within Kings of War is a non-competitive faction, that they can't win because their list is not strong enough. Firstly I 100% disagree that there is any such thing as a "non-competitive list" within Kings of War, it is all about the player and how they perform as a general. With that being said, I do agree it is harder to play as Brotherhood than some other factions within Kings of War. This is why I often say "playing on hard mode" with pride. As a faction that is all about maneuvering (with little forgiveness), there is little room for tactical mistakes. Thus this may ward of some players from dedicating themselves to our knightly oaths.

In this article I want to give some tips, and encouragement, to all Brotherhood players, and prospective Brotherhood players out there. Hopefully if I am doing mi'lords work right I'll convince some new blood to join our faction.

I will preface everything I am saying here with the fact that not all Brotherhood players may agree with these, and that is fine! Kings of War is beautiful because each faction can be played a myriad of different ways. But I do hope these tips will open up some dialog about the faction and how it is played.

Hang on to you saddles and couch your lances, here are my 6 tips for playing Brotherhood.

1) Take the First Turn

This is pretty bold right? You are sitting across the field of battle from your opponent, the ranks of knights formed to face the bloody hordes of *insert here*. The dice falls to the table and WHAM, you get to decide who goes first. What do you do? 

Take this into account, Brotherhood is about maneuver and speed, and for us speed is security. After all deployment is done your opponent knows that he is facing down a fast moving and reacting force, one that can redeploy and reach flanks and objectives (terrain dependent ) potentially far easier than he/she can. If your opponent takes that first turn, they are going to take measures to ensure you do not get the charges you need/want, that you are denied the objectives you wish to reach, and that your maneuvering area is lessened. 

However, on the flip side of that coin, if you take or are offered the first turn, you now can easily determine when and where this battle will be fought. If you opponent is a slower army they are pretty much locked in to how they deployed, but if you deployed smartly, you left room for yourself to redeploy, changing the battlescape on turn 1. You also can press the first turn advantage, maneuvering your anvil and hammer, flanking forces, harassing forces, and objective grabbers to where you want. This allows you to set up traps, tempting your opponent to make charges he/she may not want to do, as your follow on forces could easily get in that flank or double charge as needed.

Bottom line here is, dictate how the battle is going to be waged, if you give that advantage to your opponent, then you are allowing them to choose (to an extent) where you will be able to meet and face them. Despite all this, all hope is not loss if you lost initative and are forced into the second turn, you must now using these principles dictate how the battle will go beyond what your opponent has already done.  

2) Firing Lanes Are Your Charge Lanes

Mind the Gap
You have a gap in the terrain, no forests? no hills? no blocking? What a perfect lane to shoot down! Except as the Brotherhood, that is where you Cav needs to charge down. Thunderous charge being what it is makes our charges pretty finicky. So if you do opt to bring some Bowmen or Swain's Rangers, you are going to run into some conflict with targets and being able to hit them. 

Most recently I decided to bring some Siege Artillery to Crucible GT for my 2000 pt. Brotherhood list. While I bemoaned its effectiveness as a single unit (you really need a couple artillery pieces to make them effective), I still attempted to strategically place it in ways that would allow me to fire around my Cav as it charged across the field. Most of the time that meant keeping it on the far corner of the deployment zone so that it could shoot diagonally at targets as my forces moved up. Here is where a laser pointer came in handy to shoot through those tiny gaps between my units and try to hit enemy units. 

For the Brotherhood, Swain's Rangers are the best bet for that shooting touch, however they are pricey. The Vanguard makes them very usable as it lets them position in a way as to not be interfered with while your cavalry makes use of those lanes within the terrain. Furthermore, like all good shooting players know, grabbing that nearby hill top is good for shooting units, though it does make them exposed to enemy attention. 

Bottom line, watch how you deploy with shooting units as you will more than likely be running down their lane of fire as you avoid the hindered and TC'less charges in your game. 

3) Always Measure the Enemy Charge Distance

For Universal Battles 2 I often use the tape-measures to
measure out charge distance.
This may seem a bit gamey, and your opponent will probably look at you cross-eyed as you are doing it, but first turn I always place a dice at the "charge" distance of my opponents units. Why? I want to know what sort of envelope I am working with, where I can maneuver based on what the enemy's turn one or turn two movement options are going to be. I never want to be in a position that the enemy can charge me first, or your advantage being a mainly cavalry army is out the window and unlikely to return. This is the death dance of the Brotherhood. Most times I end up repeating this measurement for turn 2 and turn 3 as well, ensuring I am in prime position, whether it be flank charges or the tried and true head on charge.

Once that "commit" moment happens in the game, whether you charge in with a blow of the trumpet or your enemy falls into some sort of charging trap you lay, the utility of measuring your opponents charge distances is not over. After your Regiment of Mounted Brotherhood runs over that regiment of Orc Ax for instance, its important to look and see if either a reform, a move back, or a D6 forward would keep you out of charge range from a vengeful charge from a sister units of Orcs waiting in the wing. Or better yet, that you are within range of a flank or a rear charge next turn.

Just like in chess, you have to think several turns ahead with brotherhood because your power lies in being able to make a charge without being disordered or hindered. Anticipation of how your opponent is going to move based on the game scenario or obvious charges he/she may take is important. Measurement in all moments of the situation around you can significantly affect your strategy.

4) Charging is Maneuvering As Well

Forward or At the Double are not the only movement commands of the movement phase in Kings Of War. There is also the Charge, the moment you decide to bring hurt to the enemy. While sometimes there is an enemy unit there you just want to get rid of can can do so with ease, perhaps there are other situations you cannot take out that unit with a frontal charge, or perhaps you need to get around the enemy units. In these situations you need to look at what else your opponent has around that huge horde of Orc GreatAx, perhaps a unit of chaff you could easily topple is sitting off to the flank of the horde within your range. 

Evaluating these charges could allow you to pull off some pretty crazy maneuver stunts that will have your opponents head spinning. While they could of swore you were going to charge their large nasty horde of orcs head on, you now maneuvered in such a way to charge a unit of chaff off on the side, putting  your unit out of LOS of the Orcs and thus safe from a brutal charge next turn. After you have dealt with this unit successfully, you have either A) caused the Orc horde to maneuver in such a way that has exposed its flank to other units in your army or B) positioned your stunt performing unit in the flank of the horde and thus in a better position, or C) now have the ability to continue on past the horde and on to an objective. 

The best charge is not always the most obvious one, instead it is the one that puts you in the best position with the best outcome 1-2 turns later.

5) Brotherhood isn't Non-Competitive, its Learning the Game on Hard-Mode

Like I said in the preface of this article, there is not such thing as "non-competitive list" in Kings Of War, its all about the general playing it. However there is such thing as hard mode, and if you are a Brotherhood player, you live for hard mode. As a new player this may be a daunting thing, something you want to avoid as you are starting the game. But let me give you this piece of advice, if you want to be good at competitive play, Brotherhood is a perfect place to start. As I will continue to say in this article, Brotherhood is about maneuver or die, so what better way to learn how to maneuver then playing a faction that depends on it.

I enjoy Kings of War when I play it, not only if I win, even when I loose. And starting out you will loose a few times no matter what faction you play. But each time you should remember those key pivotal mistakes or missed opportunities that lead to your loss. Being that the elegant nature of Kings of War brings the true challenge of the game within the movement and tactical decision making of play, all factions rely on maneuver. So as you learn the little maneuvering mistakes within Brotherhood, how to reform, how to get the charge in without being hindered, where to boldly flank, those lessons will stick with you when you move on to other "easier" factions such as Orcs (using myself as an example).

So take heart Brothers, its a hard knock life being a Knight, but with each hard lesson we learn a few things too. So take notes, practice, game plan, learn your lessons the hard way. Just like in life I guess? The best lessons are learned the hard way, so is true for Kings Of War.

6) Don't Be Shy About Playing Brotherhood

Many people like to dismiss the Brotherhood as being non-competitive or that our faction was destroyed in Edge of the Abyss, and thus it's not a super popular pick in the eyes of those going in for a second army or new players. Lots of talk around the community is to just remove us in general, as we are "just another one of the too many human factions". While Mantic has said a couple of times they don't intend to remove the brotherhood (yet), there is allot of anticipation within our Brotherhood community and throughout Kings Of War that going into 3rd Edition there may be a shore up of armies, Brotherhood being one of them. 

Whether these fears are founded on anything is aside from the point I wish to make here, but the biggest thing that we as Brotherhood players can do to fight stigma of being sucked into the Abyss is to be vocal about our love for our faction and what we have been able to accomplish hobby-wise and in friendly/competitive play. The cool thing about Kings of War is the huge social media presence that we have, and the ability we have through Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to share our work. So show the world outside the Brotherhood Facebook group or other closed forums what you have been working on with your army, any tips you have for play, some battle reports showing your victories (or even defeats with lessons learned). The best thing we can do is show that there are in fact people out there who play Brotherhood and enjoy it, the more we are vocal and outward about playing as Brotherhood, the less the stigma that we fell into the Abyss can stick. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Build Me An Army Worthy of Mordor, My Personal Army in a Weekend [Hobby]

Being a father of 2 and a husband I rarely get a chance to sit down and really solely focus on hobby
without interruption. Often this means that larger projects take exponentially longer for me, even though I set aside time to concentration best I can. I know many have these problems, so who am I to talk. But when the wife and kids went out of town one weekend, something in the boxes of unpainted models was calling to me... a harrowing spirit that could only say one thing....

Build Me an Army of Mordor...

Again I will mention that I am not the best painter out there, I am pretty average. But like allot of you out there I am trying to learn the tricks of the hobby and get better as I go along. So sometimes I like to push myself, like this army in a weekend or the sudden object source lighting that I tried, its all in expanding your knowledge and going outside your comfort zone.

I had about a 3.5 day span they would be gone, then take from that about a day that I thankfully got some Kings Of War games in, and further a few hours to do the honey-do's I was left with. So really about 1.5 days were mine, and depending on how much sleep I wanted on my vacation, I had a handful of hours to really crank out this Orc army I have been dedicated to.

Behind the scenes leading up to Zero-day for painting, I had one Mantic Orc Mega Army Box, fully assembled and primed black, two sets of MOMMiniatures Orc Command team assembled and primed black, a GW LOTR Mordor Troll assembled and primed black, a  MOMMiniatures Troll assembled and primed black, and two GW LOTR Ringwraiths Mounted assembled and primed black. I had already cut out my bases just as I had shown in my previous article on 25 cent multi bases, but nothing yet was decorating them.

Starting Friday after everyone was on their plane and I had time to stop and get beer to wet my brushes for this task (ok fine it was for me), I began to work on my first GreatAx regiment. I am not sure what my expectations were for speed in doing this, but when I finished this regiment and looked up at the clock I was surprised to see it was well into the evening, and I had sunk about 5 hours on this unit. Frantically I moved on to something more lighthearted, my two soon to be Giants, which ironically by both MOMminatures and GW were designated trolls. They just happened to be more in scale with Giants for Kings of War, so they were a nice break to paint after doing a ton of little orcs.

Thankfully  they only took me a fraction of the time of the regiment, and I was soon busting out the Ax horde which I knew would be an even bigger task. That big guy (or guys...) took me about 6 more hours, which kind of shows that the delta between painting a regiment or horde of the same thing was little when you had a process down and were warmed up.

Dry kitty litter dry...
By this time on Friday I was really sweating it because I had intended to have everything painted and based before I moved on to the next units on the next painting day. Being that it was 11 o'clock I got hot throwing kitty litter and shards of slate on my bases before spray painting the hell out of them. And then I was disheartened to figure out that the kitty litter I used for gravel was going to take a good amount of time to dry. So by that time it had been 13 hours since I started painting, and I called it a night to allow bases to dry.

I was able to play some games of Kings of War and Mordhiem that day, and I had every intention of having at least a few units done to have something to show. So waking up early, I began to finish off the bases by applying a few color layers of dry brush and a couple Shadow's Edge Miniatures grass tufts and viola. With a bit of super glue I applied the models to the base and after 14 hours had a GreatAx regiment, two giants, and a Ax horde all finished... phew.

So after some fun getting defeated by dwarves.... again... and then getting a "just barely" victory over Kingdoms of Men, I returned to the painting table Sunday, and deliberated over what my next steps would be.

To get the biggest bang for my buck I warmed up painting the two Mounted GW Ringwraiths I was to use as Krudgers. And at some point along the way I got sidetracked into learning and trying for the first time, Object Source Lighting on one of their swords. So given I was watching a youtube tutorial and painting ever so carefully it took me a lot longer than intended. After a few hours spending on two models, I went in on three regiments of Gore Riders... at once, cause that's less models right?... If you count the mount and rider as one that is...

So again I found myself late into the night before I finished painting all of the models, and then some more time waiting for kitty litter to dry on the bases. After what seemed like the longest day of painting, and about 8 more hours, I had two Krudgers and three Regiments of Gore riders!

At this point I knew the wife and kids were coming home the next day, and I still had those honey do's to take care of, but the hobbyist in me just knew I had it in me to at least top it all off with the Flagger and two Wardrums I had waiting. So about 3 hours of painting and basing and I was finished... my army in a weekend was complete with 25 hours of total painting, it seems crazy looking back at how much time I spent, but I really don't like sitting over a long period of time on one project (having taken like 3 years to do Brotherhood).

So now that I have regaled to you the story of my 25 hours of my own personal army in a weekend, lets show off the unit by unit paint jobs.

GreatAx Regiment 

The big ugly guy in the middle is one of the MOMminiatures command Orcs. I figured he looked nice with the Mantic models as some sort of Warboss. 


So I had this Mordor troll sitting around for a LONG time as part of the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game collection I had since I was about 13. He was painted before, but I  Simple Greened all of that off and primed it once more to get his new colors, with his new army.

The MOMminaitures troll is just such an awesome pose that I could not pass up having him in this army. The sweeping motion of his twin clubs screams D6+6 and Crushing Strength (3).

Ax Horde

So the opportunity to multi base a horde is never one to pass up. And since Orcs are very much a horde army I knew that dedicating the Ax as one would not be a problem. Plus I wanted to have a creative way to show off an army standard or hero without having to dedicate a specific model to it. So on the ledge of the small hill that I modeled into the base with pink foam and plaster, I made a 25x25 size indent that lets one of my unused heros sit nicely in the middle of the horde, like they are marching around their inspirational leader to battle. 

"Krudgers" mounted on "Gores"

I write this in quotes because I took an artistic liberty here with my narrative spin. The Orcs have such funny names for things. Who would have thunk such an elegant name as "nazgul" would come from some mouth breathing Orc? No, they say something basic like "Krudger". 

Consequently I wanted these guys to pop, specially my Witch King model which had such an awesome rearing pose. He ended up being my first model that I tried Object Source Lighting on by watching this awesome tutorial from Colour of the Gods. I can't say its the best OSL out there, but for my first go I am pretty stoked about it. 

Gore Rider Regiments

So for the most arduous of the units I painted, the Gores did come out quite nice. The Mantic Mega Army set even came with 2 extra riders. I assume this was to allow you to switch out the Krudger models they give you, but I had two LOTR SBG Wargs sitting around that needed a brave Orc to mount them. Thus two of my regiments get awesome leader models. 


So the MOMminiatures command spru came with some cool drummer orcs that made it pretty easy to call them Wardrummers. They were larger than normal orcs, though they don't fill up the whole 50x50 base, so they get the job done.


I really wanted a cool looking banner to represent my whole army for my Flagger. I typically have not been that great at freehanding banners, but with this one some touch of god (maybe Sauron) allowed me to create this pretty awesome montage. 

The Age of Men is Over...

And so that about wraps all of my accomplishments this weekend up. Super excited I have a partially painted army on the table and that I can get some games as Orcs in. I even just found out the wife is gonna let me go up to Jekyll Island GT  in Georgia in the beginning of December. Though this means that I have to get the rest finished before then.... well there is always Thanksgiving break?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Battle Tale: On the Snows of Abercarr, Orcs Vs. Dwarves [Gaming]

Beneath the Blanketed Sky...

Clenching the trim of my thick red robe my captain gifted me, I watched the steam of my breath float toward the grey skies. Perched on a tall hill far above a snowy valley we listened to the distant clanking of metal and chain as the Dwarves of Abercarr mustered from their holds under the mountains, marching towards the battlefield which sat below us. My commander sat ahorse next to me, ever silent and without expression. The darkness of his black hood and robes were all I could see of him, the creaking of his steel gauntlets all I could hear.

My Orcs called him Krudger, as elegant of a name I’ve heard from them, a title they often give to fierce warriors and leaders amongst their ranks. Though the silent and brooding nature of the man like figure hidden beneath his cloth would suggest a deeper history, and a long lost name.

The trumpets began to blare, the drums quaking as the battle was about to begin. My armies were about to take the field for the first time, the christening of a dark horde. From our hill my commanders watched as the first ranks of growling beasts came into the open, and opposing them the shimmering armors of the dwarves which stood to defend their homelands.

They had told me this would be our first target, Abercarr. Win or lose here we would stand no chance to reach the homes of the Ice Kindreds on our campaign if we did not sort the angry and bitter dwarves of Abercarr. So from our place of strength we marched and pillaged our way through the Ardovikian Plain, till we came north near the Bitter Lands. Fumbling with the threads of my red robe I thought of who my Orc captain may have taken this from, it was devoid of rips or blood, was it adorning the body of the dead before it was given to me? I have learned it's best not to think of such things, my master told me to not dwell on the past, it was gone now. Now I am more powerful. The pitiful villages of man which my horde had razed were of no consequence.

The first ranks of my Gore Riders chanted my name atop their wild hogs as they charged like a tide across the snow. Yet I hardly heard them, my eyes fixed on the purple regalia of the dwarves as they marched forward. The color infuriated me, reminding me of that place I came from, and the men who killed my family. They wore purple too, surcoats of violet adorned with the white hawk of the Kingdom which had been my home. All of that was in the past now, I could hear my Master’s voice telling me. But it left me little relief from the anger.

Suddenly a loud bellowing shout like the wind chanting across the mountain filtered over the battlefield, and from the forest the product of dwarven rock magic burst forth on our flank. The orcs called them Stone Golems, but I knew of their true sorcery that was cast by the Stone priests of the Abercarr mountains. The large elementals took to the field to oppose my Gores, while the legions of dwarves challenged my army’s center.

For what seemed like an age the two forces led by my horseback commanders pushed against each other like two great waves. The purple bearded folk were fierce in their resistant to my fanatical Orcs, but even the fear of leadership and the devotion of my beasts could not keep the dwarves fighting for their futile homes back. It was not long before my commander beside me in his usual low whisper informed me that we must leave, and ride to join the remainder of our forces. I implored him to allow me to take the field, wielding my powerful magic which was gifted to me from my master. But his dark hood only shook side to side, it was not yet time for me to join the battles of our army, not yet time for the mortal realms to fear my name.

While the disappointment of defeat in our first battle was enraging, there would be other battles. And for now the Dwarves of Abercarr would bask in their victory, yet be forced to lick their wounds as we marched north along the road. Dwarves were slow after all.


The Battle Report

So this is the first installment of what I will be calling Battle Tales, a series of narrative battle reports that will give a fluff story mixed with a battle report about games I have partaken in that I wish to highlight. The story you see above is about my first game as Orcs against Cody S’s Dwarves of Abercarr. I sort of wanted to keep theme with it being my first battle as orcs so I let that trickle into the story a bit as the leader of this Orc horde assembles her army into a formidable force.

Sadly since this is my first game as Orcs I do not have any of them painted or based as of yet, so therefor the pictures of the game that I was able to take won’t be as nice. Unless you look at Cody’s dwarves which are magnificent.

My 2300 pt list
My list for orc is still under development as I am still trying to figure them out (see my list in image form to the right). I guess since I am coming from being a Brotherhood player that I still can’t break away from having several units of cavalry. The main idea was to have the Ax and Greatax be the

main anvil of my forces while the Gore riders cleaned up the flanks under the cover of the Varangur Horse Raider allies. We played at 2300 points as both Jamie W and Cody are getting ready for Jekyll GT coming up in December.

Deployment seemed to go allot easier than my games as Brotherhood. It felt as if I didn’t have to deploy so carefully as to get the perfect charges but instead I just had to line my Orcs up in formation and proceed forward. Our objective was loot so all I needed to do was push forward and grab tokens. At my center I placed a Ax and Greatax regiment with the goal in mind to move them forward, grab tokens, and pass them back to the horde of Ax behind. It seemed to me that would make the objectives pretty safe. To the right flank Cody had deployed his elementals next to a tower which was impassable terrain, so I set down two regiments of Gores to quickly move and claim to loot token there and then get out of the elementals way. The left flank a regiment of Gores and the Horse Raiders would harass and hopefully grab the token there, but so long as I got the other two all they needed to do was distract the berserker brock riders opposing them there on the left.

First through second turns were just a slow march forward as the dwarves came to meet my horde. Some shooting happened, I believe Cody’s rangers which had vanguarded were in range to put wounds in my units early game along with his sharpshooters. Around the 3rd turn our centers met and my Ax regiment and Giant faced a horde of Ironclad which had made it to the objective first (don’t ask me how the dwarves made it to the obj first, I can’t remember but there must have been a reason). So at this point I'm realizing that Dwarves and Orcs are very much the same style of army, push forward and grind against the enemy. And thus our forces did.

On the right flank one regiment of Gores engaged a horde of earth elementals in hopes of stopping their advancement, while the Krudger fought a greater earth elemental to do the same. All the while the idea was to let the second regiment of Gores grab the objective token and then run off into the snowy sunset. However during the two turns this took place I made a tactical error which Cody in a very sportsman like way pointed out. It was very clear I had missed the fact my gores with the loot token had an available flank charge on his Ironguard which in my haste to get my gores out of dodge missed. Being a nice guy he was going to let me take the flank charge, but since I didn’t see it and I had moved them already I stuck to my mistake in hopes of making a learning experience out of it.

And boy did I learn a lesson. At the center with his horde of Ironclad destroyed and all three loot tokens in my possession (Horse Raiders on the flank did well and grabbed the left token), I was in the perfect position to receive several counter charges and flank charges which caused my orcs to evaporate. Even the war drummer on the right side was not spared as he was crushed by the greater earth elemental who still wore the blood of my krudger on his hands.

In the end my Ax horde which had received the center loot token on the pass back, and my sunset riding gores were both destroyed and their tokens claimed by the enemy, giving Cody the secure win.

Despite a loss it was still super fun and I am quite surprised how close the game was even though it was my first game playing as Orcs. I suppose all that time playing as Brotherhood on hard mode had payed off and I had truly learned some tactical skill that makes a more competitive army like Orcs easier to play.

As my Orc horde retreats from the Dwarves of Abbacarr surely Trinity the sorceress will set her sights on new battles to claim glory in Mantica.

Till next time.

-Fred On Fantasy.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Take On Kings of War: Vanguard [Opinion]

The hype is real right now as Mantic Games' Kings of War: Vanguard Kickstarter has risen to 83% of its goal. Lots of buzz has surrounded this long awaited edition to the Mantic Games inventory as talk of pledge levels and base reward content has been mixed prior to Mantics timely addition of the two-player set pledge level. I backed this project right off the bat, and once it was made available switched my pledge to the two player set, though I've never been a fan of Basileans (personnel preference), I hold out hope someone will trade me for some of those sweet Nightstalker models.

In this article I intend to lay out a few short fire-from-the-hip thoughts on the Vanguard Kickstarter and its path forward, but not so much the rules as I have not had a chance to take a dive into them yet (hopefully I can cover that in a future article).

The Pledge Levels

Starting out this Kickstarter a good amount of people were disappointed with the initial option of getting one warband, book, tokens, and a bunch of terrain from Mantic's previous terrain crate kickstarter. While the prospect of 10 models didn't seem super exciting to me, I did not back the Terrain Crate kickstarter and to an extent was looking forward to having a few extra pieces to play around with. Then again I am a terrainiac and like to make my own scenery, so when the two player set offered to give me more models vice  a bunch of terrain I could easily make myself, I sprung. 

However; I am sad I won't get some of the bigger Nightstalker models, I hope as stretch goals move forward I am able to get a hold of a few of the juicy extras that Mantic is teasing right now, like five Scarecrows, a pair of Horrors, and even the Sisterhood Scouts which would look nice as some rangers. Mantic never seems to disappoint with their kickstarters and all the extras that are given out, so despite some of the negativity that has been floating around I am pretty positive about the offerings that are to come. 

Whole lot of NOPE if I saw
 this on the battlefield


These look downright awesome! I think Mantic took the right path by not making them the most recent cliche of Lovecraftian tentacles, but still kept a hellish looking nightmare feel to them. I almost want to say they look similar to some of the models coming from Kingdom Death, which give me the wilys as I try to sleep at night. I especially like the very lanky looking inter-dimensional horror that is pictured on the right, it just captures a very "wtf" sort of unimaginable terror . I believe that is the Void Lurker, but I could be wrong, not really a Nightstalker player at the moment. 

For sure having a whole warband of these guys are going to be very fun to paint up, so the prospect of a years wait seems daunting. 


So I've never realy been into this faction, mostly for theme reasons as a army of angels just isn't my
thing. I've never really had a complaint about the models Mantic produced for them, and the models that are highlighted in this Kickstarter do look good. But never the less they don't generate much excitement for me. Most of the hype I've seen around Vanguard focuses on the Nightstalkers, which does not give me high hopes I'll be able to trade the Basilean warband for more Nightstalkers.

However; I do think the Basileans would look great in a Legend of Zelda them, so whoever paints them up and adds a few Zelda models in for theme, I'd love to see.

The Missing Pieces

Bask in the glory of my butterfly wings!
So like I said above I'm not really a Nightstalker player, I am in fact mainly a Brotherhood player. So the fact that we have only seen a few factions in the Alpha rules concerns me, mostly because none of those few are Brotherhood. But from random rumblings on the various groups and twitter its rumored that all of the factions from the main game will be ported over to Vanguard. Whether this is true or not is anyone's guess as I have yet to see an official word from Mantic. But until then I am at the edge of my seat as to if my fellow knights will ride their way onto my 3x3 table to hem up some Nightstalkers and holier-than-thou Basileans.

There was a pretty vague FAQ  item that talks about there being free sample warbands on the Mantic website vice them being placed in the book. It seems that stats are going to be on cards for this game, which I really dislike. Its a sort of Fantasy Flight, "oh you must buy these extra widgets to be able to play the game" kind of ploy. Kings of War is a miniatures game: dice, tape measure, flat surface, and models type of miniature game. I really hope that Mantic isn't stepping down the path of adding all these widgets and collectors cards as an extra expense.

The Added Value to Kings of War

I'm not sure in Mantic ever officially came out and said that the purpose of this kickstarter was to also jump-start a new line of faction models such as the Nightstalkers for regular Kings of War, but allot of the speculation up until the release suggested this. While I will say time and time again that my favorite thing about Kings of War is I can use whatever models I feel like, I do want Mantic to have their income stream to keep this game going. So when I look at what Mantic is offering in this Kickstarter my main hope is that they are able to  leverage some of the models funded here towards the big game. 

Thanfully with some of the announcements today, it seems Mantic will be thinking of the rank and flank Kings of War, as the Basilean Men at Arms and the Nightstalker Scarecrows will be offered as an extra in packages of 20, or "regiment" size. Beyond this however,  the opportunity to draw more of the casual skirmish players into Kings of War is enormous. I am still trying to think in my head of a tournament format in which both Vanguard and Kings of War games can be played, perhaps this will be part of the Vanguard rule book much like the Clash of Kings books give some advise on how to run an event. 

Once I am able to dive into the rules,  I hope that I can give you all suggestions on how a tournament with both Vanguard and Kings of War could look. Can't wait to see whats in store!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

How to Make 25¢ Kings Of War Unit Bases for Multi-Basing [Hobby]

As I approach the ramp up for making a new army in Kings of War, I get excited about the prospect of all the miniatures I will buy and from what company or model range I will choose from. Setting out a budget as to not spend myself into oblivion, AKA the dog house with the wife, I often forget to set some money aside to base the army on something sturdy.

On the market, laser cut bases for Kings of War are a popular option for those who like to multi base their armies. And with multi basing for miniature wargaming being a fairly new concept there are only a few options to choose from. I will highlight a local favorite for me, Armada Games in Tampa which sells a whole line of Kings of War bases in all different sizes (FYI they also carry the full line of Mantic models *ahem* US players looking for a source on this side of the pond). These are nice bases, I based all of my Brotherhood army on them and I was very pleased. However I did spend about $25.00+ on these bases, which don't get me wrong, is a completely respectable and economic option for those who want to skip the DIY bit. However; being the penny pincher I am, I just knew I could find a way to make it cheaper.

Yes I need better desk lighting.

Pre-Work: The Materials

I am not sure how I discovered what ended up being my material for these bases, most likely the wife was dragging me through what is prob 1 of 20 Dollar Trees we have in Titusville, FL, but in the school supply section were these nifty wooden clip boards that caught my eye. Picking them up it was very obvious they were made out of wood and not a cheap card board, they felt firm and were not far off from what an MDF material would feel like. Penny-pincher senses tingling, and Kings of War hobby always near to my thoughts, I knew this was my solution for saving a few bucks to spend on nice miniatures instead.

Like everything at Dollar Tree, these clipboards cost me a whopping $1 (.75 GBP for our friends across the pond), a piercing arrow of a cost to my miserly and penny-pinching heart. However I recovered from this sticker shock, and pressed on with this great hobby investment.

Pre-Work: The Tools

Getting it home I broke out a few tools I would use for the job: A pair of good sharp snips, a metal ruler (any ruler beyond 250mm is fine), exacto knife (optional), and a fine point Sharpy. While I realize that these tools are an additional investment for those who do not have them, they are nice tools to have for many portions of the hobby, especially terrain making. The snips themselves I got at Home Depot for some other project, but have since used them for too many hobby projects to count.

It is true that if you have a table saw handy it may be even easier or cheaper to buy the nice wood in a sheet at the hardware supply store and cut it using the tablesaw, but this is for those of us who do not have such tools in our hobby room.

Step 1: Make a Plan

Starting off I would decide what sizes bases I would need to make with the amount of clipboards I had. Being that I was working on my Orc army at the time, I would have to make quite a few 125mm x 100mm bases. The clipboards themselves would allow me to make 4 such bases with a bit extra leftover where the clip is screwed in. This is where I get my 25¢ cost per base. Though most armies use the 100mm x 80mm bases which you could theoretically get more out of the clipboards, driving your cost per base further down.

Step 2: Measure and Mark

After I have determined that I need 4 125mm x 100mm bases, I took my handy dandy metal ruler and very carefully aligned it to the edges of the clipboard. Usually I would accomplish this by aligning the tick marks along the edge in a very exact fashion, ensuring my ruler was straight. From there I would mark off 100mm deep and 125mm wide with the sharpy, giving myself a reference before I sunk my snips into the wood.

Also as a tip, you have to decide now if the mark you are making with the sharpy are within your measurements, or are the outside border. It matters, as the sharpy mark is about a millimeter wide and will therefor mess up your width somewhere if you don't decide on this now.


Ha, you think I would let you cut without giving you the old saying your daddy never stopped nagging you with? Measure twice, cut once please. Seriously though, this is Kings of War, imagine someone is laser lighting the angle to get that rear charge, and they get it because you eff'ed up the cutting portion of this step. The menacing sound of triple portions of dice hitting the table made me fearful of screwing up this step. That and the cost of wasted materials.... *shudders*.

Step 4: Make Your Cut

Now its time to commit after you did all that measuring... you did measure twice? RIGHT? If not please follow Jim to the Pit of Misery... Dilly Dilly... now return to Step 3. 

Anyways, now that you have measured, take your snips and carefully cut along the lines you made with the sharpy, keeping in mind whether you decided that the sharpy line is inside or outside the measurements. The snips I used I had to make a couple different cuts depending on the length of the side I was cutting. It may be even more exact if you are able to make any side in one cut, so if there is a tool out there that I am missing that could do this I'd love to hear about it.

Step 5: Verify Your Cut

Exactness is key like I said before with Kings Of War bases. Its a game at its core of boxes and the angles that they make, therefor you have to make sure that you have good measurements for the bases that you cut. After the base has been cut out I measured each side and the middle of the base to ensure that it is exact. If not I trim (very slightly) with either an exacto knife or the snip until I have reached the desired measurements. Typically at this point id use some sort of right angle to ensure that my corners were right angles (a good indication if you cut/measured right) it is also very key for obvious reasons you have right angles in Kings Of War. I would often use my KoW wavering or LOS widget to verify.

Step 6: Repair (As Needed)

Its OK to have made a mistake in cutting that resulted in a tear or some sort of damage. Its fairly ease to fix small errors to your bases with some good old wood filler or wood glue followed up with a verification with your your right angle/ruler. Pictured to the right one of my corners ripped off of my base, the best thing to do in this situation is to save whatever bit that fell off and try to reattach it. This ensures you keep all of your important measurements and angles.

You're Done!

All and all it took me about 10 Minutes average to crank out one base, give and take whether I was working on the same clipboard or not. While when you go for a cheaper option in basing you are paying for it in time, but usually even the cutting of bases is enjoyable for me in the garage after a long day (anything to get that army on the table).

So there you have it, a quick and simple way to make cheap 25¢ (or maybe less) Kings of War bases with some supplies from the local Dollar Tree. I'm super stoked to get to basing my orc army on all of the 50x50s, 125x100s, 250x100s, and 120x40s I cut out of this material. While I had a surplus of 20x20s and 25x25s for my Orc army, there is nothing stopping you from using this method for those size bases as well. In that case I could only imagine how cheap it would be to make lots and lots of bases (KoW: Vanguard warbands anyone?). 

As always if you have a question about anything from this post or others, feel free to tweet me or comment below!

Testing out the bases in my first Orc test game
Ready to Waaaggghhhh

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Orc Army Progress, Kings Of War [Hobby]

I’ve been making a lot of progress getting my Orc army assembled and preparations for painting to commence. I have a big weekend where all the fam will be out of town so I’ll have 3 days to paint all to myself which should be productive. This makes my Jan 1 goal of finishing this army pretty feasible! While I’ve been tinkering with lists for Forces Of Nature so I know what I will end up buying,  the recent announcement that Vanguard kickstarter will launch on Nov 1 brings me pause in wanting to spend all my hobby money on a new army rather than backing the kickstarter. But we will see.

Anyways, I’m holding my eyes open with toothpicks right now as it is 2am and I just finished the last gluing this army should need. As well as cutting out all the multi bases I will need. I plan to make a guide for how I cut out my own multi bases from wooden clipboards I grabbed at the dollar store, so stay tuned. Until then here are some pictures of the assembled unpainted models for my Orc army:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Making the Leap Into A New Army- Kings Of War [Hobby]

So coming off of Crucible GT I’ve been playing a human army for the entirety of my time playing Kings Of War. While I don’t view this as a bad thing, my loyalty being to the human race and all, as well as the fetish I have with knights (that I frequently mention it seems, is this a sign?). I think playing the Brotherhood has taught me allot about the game, as the speed and the importance of movement with his faction is very unforgiving compared to others. While KoW is all about moving, Brotherhood is all about that first charge, the “commit” moment. Because once a regiment of knights goes in for the kill, if they don't get it done in 1-2 turns, then without external intervention they may have laid down their lives then and there. From these lessons on maneuverability and speed, I think the next step for me in the hobby of this game will be easier.

Picking up a new faction is a cascade of options, I for one as a person slaves to theme and story had a hard time picking out one that felt right, something I was inspired by. I knew I wanted an army that was Mantic made so that I could support the company that made us this great game. I also knew that which army I picked had to be something that spoke to me, something I would be excited to paint, write fluff around, and think about while I trudged along on the 9-5 grind. Lastly I knew this army had to be something competitive, which since we play Kings Of War, all armies are, but I wanted to maybe not play on hard mode like I have been with Brotherhood and Kingdoms of Men this whole time. 

In the end, weighing those three criteria I selected Orcs to be my second and mantic centric army. I liked the models mantic produced as well as the models I saw on the market for things mantic didn’t produce. While they are not in the top bracket of contenders for competitiveness, they still have a good reputation for smashing face. Most importantly, they called to me thematically, both in Mantic’s official fluff, and the fluff that I had in mind to tie in.

So I made the plunge one day at Armada games after participating in a tourney for 1250 points. I bought a mega army which gave me lots to work with and think about. Toting it out of the store I relished in thinking about painting these bad boys up and bringing them to tabletop. I set goals in my head for when I would have it done, and I prepared a few lists so I knew how I would be basing them. 

An uninvited guest then came and delayed my plans for an advanced schedule of painting this army, her name was Irma, and it set me back in time as well as hobby space (my space being the garage which quickly filled up with patio furniture). This coupled with Crucible GT and the painting hurdles I had to overcome for that and I have yet to start on my orc army. But with Crucible out of the way, and the holiday vacations ahead of me, I have now set my sights on getting this army started and finished. 

Call me crazy but my goal is to have the majority of this project done and at least a playable army ready by the first of the year... I have a few weeks off coming up, so it may yet be doable.

Aside from the Mantic Orcs that I purchased for this army I went in search of a few drummers and troll brutes to fill my ranks. MOM Miniatures was an awesome source of cheap and beautiful models that I ended up selecting to fill these rolls. With two packs of Orc command and a sweet looking Troll about to put the smack on, I felt more complete with my acquisition of the army... but what about heros? 

For that question we had to go to theme, and for theme Ii had to return to one of my all time favorite stories, and the origins of my miniature gaming obsessions. The hordes of unused Lord Of The Rings SBG models filling boxes in my hobby room which were begging to be used for this project. Mainly a few darkly shrouded fellows on various mounts that wished to give a good screech or two. Having never been on the LOTR SBG competitive scene, but collecting like I was, I always wanted to do a mordor themed army. Now was the time to execute this dream in Kings Of War, but I had to draw the connection to Mantica and why the red eye or any minions would have its sights on this world. 

While my fluff for this army will be material for another post here, I’m hoping that the ideas I present and the fluff I eventually write will be intriguing to you all. I have rummaged over the story again and again in my mind, hell I was even pumping iron in the gym to “Sauron’s March” from the LOTR soundtrack the other day. So once I have the ideas fully formed and a clean product to show you all, I will for sure be posting it here. Further once I know my head from my ass with Orcs and how they play competitively I’ll try and give a good description of my plans for lists and such.

Until next time however I will leave you here, I just wanted to share my future plans since I have this awesome new blog. 

-Fred On Fantasy