Kings of War

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Kings of War
2013 Edition Kings of War Rulebook Cover
Manufacturer(s)Mantic Games
Publisher(s)Mantic Games
Years active2009 - present
Random chanceDice rolling
Skill(s) requiredTactical, arithmetic, strategic

Kings of War, (often abbreviated to KoW) is a tabletop wargame created by Mantic Games.

The game has been designed for armies of fantasy miniatures. It uses stock fantasy races such as Elves,[1] Dwarves, Undead[2] and Orcs,[3] as well as demonic version of Dwarfs known as Abyssal Dwarfs.[4] Each race has an alignment (good, evil or neutral) and races of the same or compatible alignments can join forces, allowing the player to have a mixed army.

Initially released as a range of miniatures without a set of companion rules,[5] Mantic Games announced in July 2010 that a set of rules was under development.[6] The game was designed by Alessio Cavatore,[7] who previously worked on the rules[8] for The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, Warmaster, Warhammer 40,000[9] and Mordheim while working for Games Workshop.

The game was first announced in early 2010 as a closed beta.[10] The 2010 edition of the game was released in September 2010 with the Mhorgoth's Revenge starter set. The rules were finally published as a download from Mantic's website in December 2010.[11] The 2nd edition of the Kings of War rule book was released in the summer of 2015 and features a cleaned up set of rules, new units in every army and new armies.

Playing Kings of War[edit]

Kings of War is a tabletop wargame where two or more players compete against each other with "armies" of 28mm miniatures. The rules of the game are published in a short, twelve page document[12] which describes how miniatures are moved, how artillery is used and how combat can be resolved, as well as a limited number of unique rules for each army which define the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of the race. Games may be played on any appropriate surface, although the standard is a 6 ft by 4 ft tabletop decorated with model scenery in scale with the miniatures. Any individual or group of miniatures in the game is called a "unit", whether represented by a single model, or group of similar troops.

The game rules are published alongside a series of rosters (or 'army lists') which describe and list the individual statistics for each unit.

All distances in the game are measured in inches and six-sided dice are used to determine the outcome of artillery fire, magic spells and melee.

Kings of War follows an IGOUGO turn style,[13][14] in which a player makes all of their own actions on their turn, but does not require the other player to take action. The game also lends itself well to timed-games, with support for chess clocks in the rules.[15]

Units and Modelling[edit]

Kings of War's game mechanics revolve around entire units rather than individual models. When units take damage single models are not removed and the units overall fighting ability is not reduced as such, but the more damage a unit acquires the greater the likelihood it will break (in which case the entire unit is removed from the tabletop).

Units come in different sizes: Individuals, Troops, Regiments, Hordes and Legions. The amount of models in a unit depend on the unit type: an infantry regiment has more individual models than a cavalry regiment.

This unit-level system makes Kings of War well suited to large-scale battles and gives gamers the possibility to model their units as dioramas rather than being restricted to rank-and-file blocks of miniatures (providing the dimensions of the unit remain the same). The game's rules allow fewer models to be used in a unit, as long as a minimum number is met.

The minimum number of models that must be fielded in a unit is one more than the unit size below at full strength (eg, an Infantry Regiment of 20 models can be represented by the number of models in a full strength Troop plus one, making 11 models). If there is no smaller unit size, the minimum number is 50%+1. The game's FAQ also provides a higher Preferred Model Count, which increases the threshold to 2/3 of the nominal unit strength: this is the recommended minimum for eligibility for painting awards, while the Minimum Model Count as described above remains legal for tournament play.[16]


There are a number of playable armies for Kings of War, represented by official army-lists as well as several fan-created lists, which are not considered canonical to the game.

2nd edition rulebook contains official army lists for 11 "core" armies. They are Forces of the Abyss, Forces of Nature, Undead, Dwarfs, Elves, Abyssal Dwarfs, Goblins, Orcs, Ogres, Basileans and the Kingdoms of Men[17]

In addition, Mantic games provides army lists for other armies in a book called Kings of War: Uncharted Empires.[18] The smaller armies are The League of Rhordia, Ratkin, The Brotherhood, The Empire of Dust, Salamanders, The Herd, The Trident Realm of Neritica, Night-stalkers and The Varangur.

Armies are divided into 3 factions by alignment: Good, Neutral and Evil. Good and Evil armies cannot be mixed in the same army.[19]


  • Basilea[20]
  • Dwarfs[21]
  • Elves[22]
  • The Brotherhood
  • Salamanders


  • Kingdoms of Men[23]
  • Ogres[24]
  • The Forces of Nature (only in print rulebook)
  • The Herd
  • The League of Rhordia
  • The Trident Realm of Neritica


  • Forces of the Abyss (only in print rulebook)
  • Abyssal Dwarfs[25]
  • Goblins[26]
  • Orcs[27]
  • Undead[28]
  • Twilight Kin[29]
  • The Empire of Dust
  • Ratkin
  • The Varangur
  • Night-stalkers

Derivative games[edit]

Mantic Games also released a series of dungeon skirmish games called Dwarf King's Hold which evolved into (and was replaced by) the dungeon-crawl game series Dungeon Saga, the initial game of which having the subtitle The Dwarf King's Quest. They do not share the same rules or game mechanics with Kings of War, but they use the same range of miniatures and are set in the same fictional world of Mantica.

Also set in the same world is Kings of War Vanguard. This uses the same miniatures as Kings of War and Dungeon Saga, as well as some newly commissioned box sets, but has its own rulebook. It is a skirmish game where players control individual models rather than units, with an experience and level up system for its campaign mode. It was released in 2018.


  1. ^ Elves Army List 2010 Edition
  2. ^ Army lists of Kings of War
  3. ^ Kings of War Army List for Orcs
  4. ^ Abyssal Dwarf Army List
  5. ^ A visit to Mantic Games
  6. ^ A cunning plan... Mantic's announcement of its own rules
  7. ^ Interview with Alessio Cavatore
  8. ^ Board Game Geek Profile for Alessio Cavatore
  9. ^ Interview with Alessio Cavatore
  10. ^ Kings of War Closed Beta Rules
  11. ^ Kings of War Available to Download!
  12. ^ Alessio Cavatore in designers corner
  13. ^ How units move in Kings of War
  14. ^ Interview with Alessio Cavatore
  15. ^ If you want, you can decide to play the entire game with a chess clock or a timer. So in a tournament, or if you just like to experience the pressure of ‘real battle’, you can add in this time factor..
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External links[edit]