Initial Impressions: Kings of War

Our group has not had the chance to give Mantic Games Kings of War.  This rule set is free download, print, and play with, which is exactly what we did.  The rules are short and concise and have a decent flow to them, they include 3 army lists, Elves, Dwarves, Undead, Abyssal Dwarves, and as of late, Orcs.  Each of these, of course, corresponds to a line of miniatures that they produces for the game.

This game plays very well, the rules are built such that you can use a good amount of GW figures with this game as well as any other rank and file 28mm mini’s.  It definitely has a Warhammer feel, there is no escaping that, deploying, moving, and playing the game feels very similar to Warhammer Fantasy, however, there is a key feature to this game that I can’t get over how elegant it is.  The game bases the units will to fight, strength, and wounds into a rule called Nerve.  This rule is a stat that every unit has in it’s stat line and is used to determine if they stay in the fight or run away due to getting beat up.  No miniatures removed as casualties in this game, just an overall unit damage score, which to me, allows for a pretty clean table and allows for a quicker game.

The rules are basic, they don’t include tons of fluff / background history of the armies and how they came to be.  They also don’t account for things like monsters or anything large in scale.  That’s not to say they won’t, but right now, it’s rank and file + cavalry, hopefully we’ll get some monsters and large beasts in the future.  I think most of the negatives are based around the age of the company and it’s still developing ruleset.

There has been a good amount of community response to the open beta that they did as well as the now official ruleset.  Having spoke with the creators at Adepticon, it seems like nothing but more features like tournament ready rules, scenarios, and army lists are coming in 2011.  I really appreciate the ideals of this company, they are marketing great miniatures and free rules, and encouraging to existing gamers who have collections of miniatures they’d rather not replace with the current edition of things, a new codex, and a new inconsistent set of rules like a certain other company.


  • Free Rule Set
  • Similar scale to existing fantasy rule sets
  • Simplistic rules with complex tactics
  • Community backed army lists


  • Only 4 official army lists (more beta lists / community support is moving this up to the Pro category)
  • Community backed army lists, hardly tested at best right now (again, moving towards pro, but the community is growing)
  • The rules are basic, they lack a bit of depth in things like fluff, large models (dragons/monsters/etc), and