Welcome back to the second part of our Get started: Kings of War series. Yesterday we briefly looked at the very basics of the game, the stat line, and nerve.

Today we’re going to briefly go over the rest of the main rules. We’re not going to get too in depth, because frankly there’s no need. The main rules of KoW are really short and easy to pick, enough so that you don’t need me giving you all the information, just enough to whet your appetite. 

As I mentioned yesterday, if you haven’t already, +download+ the rules and army lists now so that you can follow along and start thinking about what you want your army to be.

If you have already given the rules a read, a lot of this will already be known to you, but not to worry as it’s still useful to refresh and we have more of the fun stuff in tomorrow’s article. For the rest of you, this should give you an idea of the basics of the game mechanics and help you understand the things we’ll be talking about in the coming articles.

So, let’s dive in!

The Turn

KoW is broken up into 3 phases:
  1. Move
  2. Shoot
  3. Combat

We will be looking at each of these phases, explaining the basics of them and touching on any important information you need to know.

It’s important to note however that KoW is truly an IGOYOUGO system. Player A will move all his units, shoot with all his units and do all his combats before Player B does anything. Player B will not even roll any dice in Player A’s go, Player A rolls for everything. This can seem a little strange at first but it does speed the game along and allow for timed games (which we’ll get to)

The Movement Phase

Arguably, the movement phase is the most important part of a KoW game, and it is often where the game is won or lost. As the rules themselves are so streamlined and simple, the majority of the time you’re playing your opponent and not the rules (in as much as there aren’t really any special rules that are going to give you a distinct advantage as in other systems) 

The majority of unit ins KoW have three distinct facings; Front, Rear and Flank. These facings are crucial to how the unit moves.

In the movement phase a unit may be given one of several orders. These are:
  • Halt – The unit does nothing.
  • Change Facing – The unit may pivot around its centre to face any direction. 
  • Advance – The unit moves straight forward up the number of inches indicated in its profile. It may also make a single 90 degree turn. 
  • Back- The unit can move backwards up to half its speed. 
  • Sidestep – The unit moves up to half its speed to the side. 
  • At the Double – The unit moves up to double its speed in a straight line.
  • Charge – We’ll get to that later. 

So already you can see that the facing of a unit is pretty important. But it becomes even more crucial when you get to combat. If you charge an enemy in their flank, you double your attacks, charge them in their rear and you triple them!

That is why the movement phase is so crucial. You want to get your units in a position to flank or rear charge, but you don’t want to expose your own vulnerable flanks to the enemy.

There are many tactics that can be employed during the movement phase, which we will get to when we come to talk about tactics in a future article. But the important thing to keep in mind is that you want to attack the enemy flanks, without them attacking yours. 

The Shooting Phase

The shooting phase of KoW is relatively simple.

Units that have received the “At the double” order may not fire, and units in combat may not fire either. Most other units that have moved can fire (unless their weapons forbid them to)

To shoot at an enemy unit there are a few criteria that need to be met.

The target must be at least partially within the units front arc.
The target must be visable to the unit leader (who is the model in, or as close to, the centre of the front rank of the base)
The target must be within range of the unit.

There are a few modifiers that apply when shooting also;
  • -1 if the target is over half of the attacker’s range away.
  • -1 If the target is soft cover.
  • -2 if the unit is in hard cover.
  • -1 if the firing unit received any order other than Halt that turn. 

To damage a target you roll a D6 and score higher than its defence value. You then record the damage as normal (by writing it down or placing markers) and move on. If you damage a unit with shooting, you test their nerve at the end of the turn.

The Melee Phase

If you charged an enemy unit in the movement phase it is here that you resolve the combat. The charging unit rolls the number of dice equal to their attack statistic (remembering to double and triple for flank and rear charges respectively)

You record damage as normal but unlike in shooting (where the test is performed at the end of the run) if you damage a unit in melee you roll for their nerve immediately.

If you completely destroy the enemy unit in melee you may make one of several actions.
  • You stay where you are and pivot to face any direction
  • Move directly forwards D6 inches (stopping 1” away from other units)
  • Move directly backwards D3 inches (with the same restrictions) 

If you fail to destroy the unit, the units are separated by 1” and target unit may act normally on their turn.

Those are the very basic rules of KoW, obviously there are more, including rules for heroes and war machines, special rules and magic items. But as I said, I don’t want to bog you down reciting the rules when you could easily read them yourselves. What we’re interested in is what makes the game fun!

Well tomorrow we’re going to begin exploring the background to KoW and take our first look at some of the army lists!

I hope you’ll join me, and until then,

Happy Wargaming.


Hot On The Wire.

Tutorial: Painting Warlord's Plastic Roman Legionaries

My friend Scott got very excited by my 28mm Roman project. So excited he's been amassing an army of his own. I have to paint them though...