Last night a new gaming buddy and me met for the first time to play KoW. It had been several months since either of us had played but we both have a fair amount of experience with the rules. We agreed beforehand to field 1600 pt forces and began setting up right away when we arrived at Empire Games.
My opponent fielded a Forces of Nature army. They're a relatively new list and feature druid magic users as heroes and various elemental/nature creatures from myth. Because KoW is such an open-minded rule set about miniature source and since Mantic haven't really produced a Nature army, my opponent used several really neat pre-painted minis to represent his army. A tree herder (think Ents from Lord of the Rings) was a cool-looking Japanese anime forest maiden. Fire, water and air elementals from the defunct World of Warcraft collectible miniatures were his other forces. For a basilisk he had another amazing pre-painted dragon-beast. His druids and a unicorn were from Reaper with one being mounted on a cougar from Mantic's Basilean Sisters line. He topped it off with a horde of fiery salamanders which were red and green skink lizardmen from Warhammer Fantasy's range. It was a super-looking army and I was impressed with all his very thematic choices.
I brought both a good and an evil list. I went with evil and fielded my undead/orc alliance. It featured two skeleton units, one revenants, one werwolf unit, a catapult, two necromancers, a vampire lord, ax-orcs, orc pig riders and a small unit of ghouls and a giant. Interestingly, both of our forces relied on the Dark Surge ability from our mages so they were somewhat similar in approach. Skeletons and many of the nature elementals have a 'Shambling' rule which means they can never double their speed to effectively run forward in the game. Dark Surge allows a wizard to roll x number of dice (varies by wizard type and power) to push their friendly models with Shambling forward----simulating their ability to drive their friendly units forward by will alone.
The scenario we rolled was pillage. We placed 5 objective tokens around the board, taking turns to place them and all had to be at least 12 inches from any other. To control an objective you had to have a non-hero unit within 3 inches of that objective at game end AND have no enemy unit also within 3 inches of the objective. Casualty generation (other than the need to prevent enemies from getting within 3 inches of objectives) were not as important as in many games. We rolled for first turn option, and I asked my opponent to go first.
Because we had very few ranged attacks--basically only a couple of wizards, the basilisk for nature and my undead catapult---the game essentially fell to a rush toward the center line where most of the objectives had been placed. There we slugged it out, each turn we tried to ensure we could get flank and rear charges in since those double or triple your attacks, respectively. By turn 5's end I had only one solid unit left and it was close to destruction. The nature army still was going strong with three solid units either standing on objectives or able to move there during next turn. I conceded the lost cause at that point.
Overall, this was another great example of what makes KoW such a fun fantasy game. Even losing I managed to pick up some tactical suggestions. For example, hordes like his salamanders are extremely difficult to wipe from the board. They have a lot of attacks to dish out if they get in close contact and they can survive a lot of damage before being taken out. I also kept forgetting to use my musicians during melee which helps you when checking enemy morale and a bonus that might be the difference between them staying or routing. Looking forward to playing more KoW.