Wrath of Kings is a new miniatures wargame from CoolMiniOrNot. The kickstarter campaign was a huge success and the game was launched locally last month. I normally would not get into a wargame this quickly but a close friend of mine was a part of the KS and so we received the models early. My excitement, after following this for so, long meant that I just had to write a Wrath of Kings review.
This Wrath of Kings review will be an overview and first impression. I like to play at least 6 games before I make a final opinion but this is a wargame with multiple factions to test which means I will need to play a lot of games. So my final review will follow a bit later.
For the TL; DR version click here.
Opening the box
The specs on the rule book:
- 2 players (As with most wargames you can easily add more, some of the rules even allude to multi-player games)
- There are no recommend ages but I think 14+ is a good place to start.
- Play time will vary based on the size of game you play. More on game sizes later.
In order to play the game you will need 1 copy of the rules and 2 sets of models. You will also need a flat surface which is 4 foot square (122 cm approx), a tape measure that measures in inches and some D10’s.
The rule book is gorgeous, but it is expensive. Luckily the pdf version is free. The only difference between the two is extra art and glossy pages which make the physical book much better to look at, but it is still unnecessary.
The two sets of models, to play with, will put a dent in your pocket. However the faction starter sets are really good value. They contain more models than you need for the smaller intro sized games, enough so that you can try various different army compositions.
Three of the starter sets contain 24 models and the remaining 2 contain 30 models each. Working on a per model basis it actually does work out cheaper than a similar number (and types) of models from other popular wargames.
The models do require assembly and painting, which can be a hobby all on its own. They are however, fantastic, some of the best models that I have seen in a very long time.
The kingdom of Arikania was once a wild, lawless place where humanity suffered at the hands of the elemental lords, even the God’s could not stop them. Until, from the wilderness, came the Ancient King, wielding a long lost power he drove the elemental lords out and gave mankind control over its own destiny.
But peace never lasts. His children, to whom he gave their own kingdoms within Arikania, started plotting and fighting among themselves. They did not notice their father was dying.
Within hours of his death the capital and the palace were burning and all out war had started.
The novella and character information in the rule book are all very interesting reads. Additionally there is a lot of fiction online.
Of the 245 pages in the rules only 22 are actual rules. Which have been summarised onto 5 pages with just 1 as an in game quick reference guide!
Individual model powers are printed on a reference card that you get when you purchase them.
The game has players taking turns to activate a model or group of models. Activation involves moving, up to the movement distance for that model, and then performing an action like an attack or picking up an objective.
Once you have 2 forces ready to play, teaching the game can be done in a few minutes. Mastering the game will take longer.
One thing that I really like is that you don’t need to roll a lot of dice. The only time that you roll dice is when you make an attack. Most wargames like Warhammer 40k, I am a big fan 40k, can use a tremendous amount of dice.
Last time I checked you have to roll to see if you hit the target. Then the dice that hit are rolled to see if they were strong enough to hurt the target, then the target can get a roll to see if it’s armour absorbs the hit. Some armies can get other rolls to ignore the wound or to heal/repair themselves on top of that.
In Wrath of Kings, you roll a die (per attack) and compare it to the defenders defence chart. Each number rolled on a D10 will correspond to either a type of defence like; armour, dodge, parry, or it will result in a hit. Each hit will usually wound an enemy unless it is particularly tough then it might require 2 or 3 hits to wound it once.
There is an additional layer of depth to the attacks, e.g models with the follow through attacking ability can negate a parry on another models defense chart. The same follow through attack won’t do anything to someone who relies on armour and does not parry at all. So you need to take advantage of your strengths vs your opponent’s weaknesses.
Each side will have different Motivations (reasons) for being on the field that day, and accomplishing them lowers your opponents morale. Killing enemy leaders and troops will do the job too. The first side to hit 0 morale is out.
The amount of starting morale, and models, that you have depends on the size of game being played.
There are 3 sizes of games Intro, Skirmish and Battle. The Intro game allows each player to build an army consisting of:
- Leadership (3)
- Commander Leadership (5)
- 2 x rank 1 leaders
- 12 x rank 1 troops
- 2 x rank 1 specialists
The rank system is a clever army building mechanism. A basic level 1 troop, leader or specialist will have a rank of 1. You can trade up between ranks as long as you keep the total number of ranks, of the model type, the same. I.e. you can trade 2 rank 1 specialists for 1 rank 2 specialist.
This makes the maths of army building much easier than most wargames that use a point system.
While this is not my final word on the game, I am very excited by Wrath of Kings. Fantastic models, easy to learn gameplay with a lot of depth and a very well written storyline are all the hallmarks of a great wargame.
I cannot wait to get stuck into this good and proper. I’m currently building up the Shael Han faction with a friend is busy with the Hadross!
Can I play this at a braai?
That depends on you. While it can be played as a casual skirmish level game, it can at times require a fair amount of concentration. I will gladly host a day where this is the main event and play while keeping an eye on the fire.
(Images on this post have been sourced from the Wrath of Kings home page. All credit due to that Wrath of Kings home page.)