Mantic recently released another supplement book for their fantasy wargame Kings of War. The supplement is called Clash of Kings and is focused on a range of options for organized game play. It covers topics from Tournaments to Leagues and even a little bit about writing your own rules and creating your own units. I’d like to mention that I’ve played with none of these rules, so this review is more my observations.
Clash of Kings starts off with a section about how to run a tournament at your local game store. This was something totally unexpected and I didn’t know what I was getting in to. The premise of this supplement was implied to be about tournaments and I was expecting stat tracking and point systems! In my time spent playing tabletop wargames, I’ve never really run a tournament, but I have run many campaigns. Part of this section is a first hand account from a tournament organizer giving his high level views and tips on running tournaments. It then heads right into various styles of tournaments you might run like Doubles, Escalation, and Timed. They cover timing and organizational schemes and even how much money you should charge your players. To be honest, I struggled through this in hopes there was more interesting. This was not written for someone like me as I won’t be setting up a tournament anytime soon.
Thankfully the next section picked up into the areas I’m most interested in, that being an experience system. Mantic decided to combine this with an Escalation League, where you start with a small sized army and grow at a small pace each time you play. The basic premise is that units that survive have the opportunity to gain experience and become Legendary Units. If you’ve played Kings of War, you’ll know that lots of things get routed and removed from the table in every game. There is a contingency for this so that even if your army is decimated, you’ll still have some units that become renown.
A feature we didn’t know we needed?
After that, something threw me for a loop and I had to read it twice. They built an Achievement system. You know, the kind of thing we’ve all become accustomed to in Video Games? This odd little novelty must be a first for tabletop wargaming, I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anything like this. Luckily this is a brief section I can skip over to the later portion of the book.
Something I was not expecting and am excited to see is a section called “Writing Your Own Rules”. This is probably not for everyone, but it lifts up a bit of the underside of Kings of War to show their methodology to creating units for an army. They offer up a set of basic guidelines to add your own custom units into the game. If your gaming group is into this sort of thing, I think it’s one of those endless options that really makes some games differentiate themselves from the pack with. This set of guidelines allows you to fill in the gaps in your army or create an entire army from scratch. I have a large collection of miniatures, and the ability to add some additional flare or character to my army and have a standard method for adding it to my army is an awesome option. I know this isn’t for everyone, but I really dig being able to add special units or characters to my army.
In addition to creating my own units, Mantic has an entire section called “2017 Rules” and I’m excited for what they’re doing with this section. Basically, they’ve thrown some errata, new magic artefacts, and a sizable list of new scenarios. The main reason I picked this book up was because of this list of scenarios. Scenarios are always something I’m interested in with most tabletop wargames. The people I tend to play games with go out of their way to add a small back story, play alternative scenarios, or just find any way to not have a static battle.
Final Thoughts on Clash of Kings
Overall Clash of Kings contains some great new additions to Kings of War and I cannot wait to try them out on the table. There are some things that might have been better suited as a blog post or forum discussion rather than in a printed supplement book. I’m glad they’re continuing to support this game with errata and supplemental books like this. While I’m not the right target for Tournament Organization, there’s enough other sections that make Clash of Kings worth having for Kings of War.