Taking the Initiate: Building a Brothermark army for Kings of War, part 3

The army is coming along nicely. With only seven models now with to do and a bunch of base related hobby it looks as though the Borthermark will be headed to the Throne of Ages at the end of February. I’m super excited. I might also get some updates into the King of Herts hobby campaign, but my approach to this army is proving… well… complicated.

I’m really enjoying this project because, whilst I hate painting cavalry, I’ve always loved the image of knights charging across a field. Let’s face it, it’s a pretty iconic sight and the Lord of the Rings films would never have made it past b-movie status if it wasn’t for the Riders of Rohan doing their thing. I mean there were no big charges in the first movie, then they add them into the next two – clearly this is pandering to the audience.

Cavalry is a really interesting proposition in Kings of War because whilst it can hit hard on the charge most units are not made for grinding, and there’s a whole host of cavalry traps that means a cavalry army is not a point and delete affair (although this can seem very player dependent at times!). The introduction of Scorched Earth is just the latest in a number of options people have to hinder the game’s hard(ish) hitters.

Cavalry armies are generally pretty elite, although the Halflings have opened up some interesting avenues to explore with loads of different light cavalry options. Cavalry rely of exploiting their speed and manoeuvrability to deliver multi charges, set up flank/rear charges and grab objectives. It’s an interesting way to play that requires a bit of thought, which is not so great for Sunday evening gaming, but rewarding when mastered (I’ve noticed this from watching my opponents immediately after I’ve been tabled by cavalry armies).

I’m having great fun so far pushing my brave knights down the flanks and crushing whatever is lurking down there under hoof, but that’s only part of the story. After that bit, its fair to say I’m having difficulty with my opponents’ centres – and that’s where I’m giving the games away.

So, I thought I’d dig into last night’s game and have a think about where I went wrong and the new initiate upgrade for Skirmishers. Last night I played a 2,300 point game against Steve’s Zombie Horde, there’s a link to the video battle report at the bottom of the page.

Spoiler alert – I lost. There was the obligatory inconveniently rolled double 1 that meant two regiments of Abyssal Hunt cavalry spent three turns essentially tied up with a legion of Zombies, but I’m not convinced that was what lost me the game.

Playing the scenario

We played push and my plan was to get my tokens into Steve’s half and then capture the central one, ignoring his tokens that were on a zombie troll horde in the centre of the table. The diagram below gives an idea of how I set up. And how the plan would be perfectly executed.

The theory was that I would crush the flanks and then ride around the back and up through the centre crushing skulls and taking tokens. It didn’t happen. What happened instead was my right flank got wiped out and my left flank took so long to chew through the zombies there wasn’t time to get at the central units with the tokens. The game ended looking more like this:

The Brothermark left flank achieves its first goal, but has no time to get the tokens. The right flank doesn’t manage anything.

So the question became – do I tear my list up and try something else – or do I try playing the list a different way?

Talking through the game last night it became apparent that the initiates, that I have two regiments of, may have held the key to a better outcome. The main reason for this being that they have nimble.

Nimble is an expensive ability in the game (check out the Wine of Elvenkind). It’s expensive because Kings of War is a movement game where manoeuvrability opens up so many opportunities from redeployment to flank/rear charges to last-minute objective grabbing. It also makes fast units much faster.

The best short-hand, to me, for the power of nimble in when a dragon moves 20 inches down the side of the table on the first turn, pivots 90 degrees and stares unnervingly down your flanks. It’s not the end of the world in itself, but it can certainly be a solid signal that its on its way if you don’t have a plan to deal with it.

My right flank consisted of 2 regiments of initiates, a dragon, a mounted chaplain and a regiment of Abyssal Hunt. All of these units, with the exception of the Abyssal Hunt, have nimble and move at least 16 inches on the march. That meant I could have brought a lot of troops over to the centre of the board by turn 2 that could have then started to contest the central token, leaving a token force to distract Steve’s shambling troops on my right in the hope of the undead maybe joining the game in a meaningful way in turn 8.

Sending a regiment of Initiates or two, and the dragon, off to hit the central token carriers would have been a lot more useful than doing what I actually did! Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

To add to the nimble, initiates have a nice combination of speed 9, 3+ melee and 14 attacks. That means they should be able to deliver quite a decent number of attacks to where they’re required quickly. I’ve added the Caterpillar potion to one regiment because I think it compliments nimble well, especially for redeployment moves where the double move/single turn is generally preferable to the single move/double turn option which woods and rough ground can force without pathfinder.

There’s obviously a whole lot more to nimble than just a chance to redeploy – there’s also a lot more to the initiates when you add in a chaplain – so I’m looking forward to exploring the opportunities all this presents. I’m hoping having a couple of reasonable combat regiments with nimble will makes it easier to get to grips with, just by virtue of the fact that more units with it should allow more opportunity to use it.

Ideally, I’d like to get to a position where I feel that I could get the full 40 points worth of value out of the Wine of Elvenkind, I’m sure the Order of the Abyssal Hunt wouldn’t mind a pre-game dram. At the moment though it just feels far too “situational” and without the confidence to make those situations happen virtually any item feels like it currently offers more value.

So for now the army list is staying as it is. I have three games lined up before the tournament with the next one being against ogres, which is where the knights should absolutely shine. We’ll see shall we?

If you’ve read this far and aren’t asleep why not give the like and follow buttons a click. What’s the worst that could happen?

Battle Report link – my Brothermark face off against the Lazy Pirate’s zombie legions.

Brothermark 2,300 army list

Villein Penitent regiment

Order of the Abyssal Hunt regiments (3 with Brew of Sharpness, Brew of Strength, Sir Jesse’s Boots)

 Villein Skirmishers troop (2)

Initiates of the Brothermark regiments (2, 1 with Caterpillar Potion)

Exampler Paladin, mounted with Scythe of the Harvester, Gauntlet

Exampler Chaplain, mounted with Inspiring Talisman, Aura of Fury

Exampler Hunter, mounted with Blade of the Beast Slayer, Gauntlet

War Wizard, mounted with Lightening Bolt and Curse Shadowbeast

High Paladin on Dragon with Blade of Slashing

Published by Eddie Bar

Fantasy storyteller, reader and wargamer.

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