Saturday, 5 March 2022

Solo Rules Testing - 3

So, the old 4' x 4' table came out again for my last planned rules test. This time I wanted to remind myself of the ancients rules I'm currently using, Mantic Games' Kings of War Historical. Well, I say 'Mantic Games' but they don't actually sell or support these rules anymore! As usual I'm well behind the times and using old, long forgotten rule sets. But you can check the background to this decision at the posts linked below:

Post: Kings of War Historical

Post: Playing and Discussing KoWH

You can still get copies of the rules if you search around the net, from ebay and other sources. But it's worth pointing out that they differ very little from the original Kings of War fantasy rules, and these are still going strong and in their third edition. Even better, you can download the basic rules for free from the Mantic Games website. This really is the spirit of the hobby and Mantic should get a big thumbs up for this kind of offer. 

In fact, the free download gives you most of what you need to play - as far as I can tell the playing rules are all there, it's only the army lists and various bits of fluff that are absent, and as these are fantasy rules you don't need any of that. However, what turns the fantasy rules into a playable ancients set are the stats and special rules which give the various periods and units their flavour. For this a copy of Historical is really needed, unless you are feeling really creative and are ready for a bit of serious work.

The Game
Anyway, a few captioned photos of the playtest. Sorry for the quality, but I snapped these in haste with an iPhone 7. Those are 28mm figures in use. You don't need a sketch map as the terrain was just a flat board with a terrain mat over it. The small forces involved are from my imagi-nations, the countries of Latium and Paphlagonia, and so you will see various units of hoplites, legionaries, cataphracts and chariots (and others) mixed up in both armies. Sadly my lovely Celts missed the cut.

End of the first move. Forces of Latium in the foreground.

The flanking cavalry come together whilst skirmishers and bowmen
on both sides try to weaken their opponents.

The Blue and Yellow Shields phalanx units of Paphlagonia.

Cataphracts of Latium vs. Paphlagonian heavy chariots.
The chariots lost!

The cataphracts wheel around into the Blue Shields (top).
A gap in the Latium main line has been created by the Paphlagonian bowmen.

The cataphracts crash in but this was a melee too far for them,
resulting in their destruction by long pointy things.

And finally the main lines come together...

...resulting in a Paphlagonian victory. Latium's left flank hoplite unit is destroyed
(helped by a flank attack from light cavalry), and the red markers show the
remaining two are 'wavering'. Game over.

This was a fun little action which reminded me how much I like these rules. They provide a fast moving game, and with a few tweaks they have all the period flavour I want. A great shame they never really seem to have taken off. Perhaps Mantic should try again. If you're listening guys...

This and the previous games in this series have also proved to me that a 4' x 4' table is no real barrier to having nice games, even in 28mm, without having to try those silly skirmish games that are all the rage these days. Skirmish games? Don Featherstone must be turning in his grave!

It feels like I've been through a period of preparation since Christmas, looking at new rules and rules not used for a while, and dusting off my model armies. I reckon I'm ready to go with some 'proper' gaming. Time to phone some friends and re-start the banter and dice rolling.

'Til next time!


Steve J. said...

Great to see these armies on the table again. As you know, a 4' x 4' table is my default size these days due to the size restrictions that lounge dining room gaming imposes on us. I'm hoping to be able to re-start some FtF gaming chez moi next month, or to visit, subject to the
Covid cases continuing to fall.

Wargamer Stu said...

The main fantasy version of KOW is definitely popular and well supported with lots of online resources. You could ignore all the magic and use the Kingdom's of Men lists for some fairly generic lists. KOWH historical will I think not get picked-up again but could be a good fan project.

I've pondered solo play but certainly in the fantasy form its so much about getting angles right it would be hard unless you limit both sides to simple movement and no "gotya" cunning moves.

We had fun though doing the Crusades and I just hid all the cunning stuff I knew from people so it never occurred to them to get too tricksy ;-)

Norm said...

Thanks Keith, very interesting. I have the rules and must try harder to get them to the table. They seem to give a size of game that I like, straddling the skirmish / big battle line.

I wonder what Mantic's experience and feedback were for these rules to haveallowed them to go out of print?

Captain Nolan said...

You can get Donald Featherstone’s Skirmish Wargaming on Amazon, republished br John Curry.

Keith Flint said...

Goodness, I'd forgotten that one! Must be the only Featherstone book I don't have.

Wargamer Stu said...

Norm - to clarify the KOWH book is actually a set of army lists and not a rule set. You still need the main rules, which as Keith notes you can get most of in a free version (mostly minus the fantasy lists)

The rules themselves are popular in their main fantasy form, but I think KOWH was just a side project for someone at Mantic as they have never done any historical figures or indeed many human faction figures.

mildbill said...

Now 'The Don' was not above playing skirmish games and even wrote rules for it. However, I do agree that skirmish gaming is not my thing.

Jennifer said...

I love Featherstone's Skirmish Gaming and am hoping to use it for a Picacho Pass game in a month or two at the local club. My group doesn't go much for that level of skirmish but seem willing to try.

I've heard good things about Kings of War, but is the historical version medieval and below or are there lists for horse-and-musket?

Keith Flint said...

It's medieval and below. I don't think it would be suitable for anything more modern than that.

Amtmann B. said...

Fine wargame. I love the period. The size of battle is looking very much like those ancients games I played some years ago.