How unique should armies be?

As KoW3 looms at the horizon one of the questions that keep me (and at least one of my mates) busy is how different do we want armies to be in KoW?

In KoW2 armies get more and more similar. (Not from a hobby perspective, of course, but from a gamer’s perspective.)

For instance: the Kingdoms of Men army always lacked a true hammer, (much to my dismay) or monster-type hammer other than the woefully inefficient beast of war. In clash’19 this has been partially rectified. This means that the Kingdoms of Men army gained something they lacked previously, a monster-hammer.

Other armies have gained similar additions. Dwarves got swift calvalry (mastiffs), ratkin large cavalry hammers (tunnel runners) and orcs an efficient individual character. These are all significiant upgrades and fill holes in the armies that didn’t have them previously. It also made the armies more and more similar.

Kings of War armies consist of a number of components. (see appendix below on how I think these should be divided, but these are of course open to discussion) I think most armies have access to most components and -at most- only lacking one.

This means that list building can be remarkably simiar. Want to make a melee focussed army? The differences between Varangur or Orcs are limited. Want to make a horde army? Though they look different, the play style between Kingdoms of Men, Goblins and Ratkin is remarkably simmilar. (some are more effective than others, but that’s it.)

As I know, there are only a few armies that are remarkably different: a) ogres (due to highly effective large infantry and limited normal infantry) and b) undead/empire of dust due to massive Surge! options.

The question remains: do we want more difference between the various KoW factions?

I’m not sure if I want this

If I want this the army lists to be different this means something for my current collection.

At first thought, I’d be in favour of limiting the army lists more as I would like to have that “true” army feeling. In contrast as it’s now: “the difference between goblins and KoM is that one is green and has access to war trombones and the other wears yellow and has access to medium fliers”.

That said, if I want armies to be more different from each other than In KoW2 I’m gonna accept that there’s units that cannot be used in KoW3.

For instance, we say that undead will be a slow moving infantry/surge army with heavy cavalry options. This means that certain unit type that are available to undead now (archers, balefire cavalry, wraiths) will no longer be available.

If we choose to limit the ratkin to infantry and shooting only, the new tunnel runner units will no longer have a place in the army.

And this is exactly what I hated about †the Clash’19 nerfs to goblins and abyssals as these invalidated my current armies.

That said, I don’t want KoW to transform into a game where most armies are copy-paste lists from each other. So I guess I’d accept that I have to to change my lists again (even if I need to build a few new units), but only at the start of 3rd edition.


Waht’s those abyssals doing in the KoM army?

If the army lists will diverge a lot more, this also means something for the inclusion of allies. As it’s now: a generous 25% of the army possibly being allies helps to aleviate the weaknesses of a list. As most lists don’t have that much weaknesses, this is not that much of a deal. (and it’s countered by the ally tax of not being able to share inspiring/spells).

Increasing the diversity of the armies make allies more interesting to fill the holes in the army. This means that in order to keep the game interesing enough, either the amount should be decreased or the ally tax upped (leading to an effectivity decrease of these allied models) . I’m not 100% sure how to do that.

Appendix: various components in KoW armies

In Kings of War; armies consist of the following components:

  • Defensive Infantry; both light (low defense & cost) and heavy (higher defense). Sometimes they have phalanx or ensnare, but their role remains the same: keeping the enemy in place. All armies have access to these guys, while ogres are most limited in this department, since theirs is only light and irregular.
  • offensive infantry: usually high number of attacks with good melee score. Most of the time they have low defense and average (at best) nerve. About half of the armies have access to these guys. (blade dancers, berserkers, hunters of the wild, succubi, etc)
  • Shooters: (large) infantry with ranged weapons which role it is to do damage from a distance; most often from a stationary place. Most armies have access to some form of shooting, only a few armies have effective choices. (ogre shooters, both kinds of elven archers and enslaved guardians). Most war machines have the same tactical role.
  • Heavy calvalry: Cavalry with TC and/or CS and no nimble. They can break damaged regular infantry on the charge; but hordes need double-charges. Most chariots also fall in this category. All armies have access to some form of heavy cavalry. (even goblin and ogre chariots) Most are not that useful after the initial charge or when disordered.
  • Light cavalry: Cavalry with nimble. Somethimes they shoot; others have TC. Most hero-level chariots also fall into this category. Excellent chaff, can be threats if they can get a flank. The majority of the armies have access to some form of light cavalry (skele horsemen, goblin fleabags, mastiffs, warlord on chariot, etc.)
  • heavy hammers: Units with a lot of high-powered attacks that can deal a lot of damage. Most often they are large cavalry, sometimes large infantry. If these are flying they are extra effective. Since Clash’19 most armies have access to at least one form of these, most armies have more. (Elohi, most kinds of ogres, wights, the fallen, honour guard). Goblins and Kingdoms of Men are two armies that are lacking these hammers, the Brotherhood version (Forsaken) are more akin to heavy cavalry due to absence of CS.
  • Monsters: Height 4 models on a 50×50 (or 75×75) with a limited amount of high quality attacks combined with high defense&nerve. These models are more mobile than troops, have a lot of staying power and the ability to damage elite units (especially when flanking) but not enough power to fight infantry hordes by themselves. If they fly, they are extra effective. (Giants, dragons, forsaken beasts, slashers) Since Clash’19, most armies have access to these units.
  • Short ranged firepower: Usually support, be it spellcasters (efreet, cursed high priest with fireball upgrade) or war machines (war trombones, flame cannon) these units can remove light units by themselves, damage units before the battlelines commence and guard the flanks/rears. About half the armies have effective access to this kind of unit.
  • Harrassers: light -usually individual characters- units that exist for only one reason: disrupt enemy formations. They ground fliers, keep archers from shooting or sacrifice themselves to buy a turn’s time. Nearly all armies have access to this kind of unit, some are better than ohters.
  • Some armies have unique units (goblin mega blaster, Siren) but these are far in between.

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