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Saturday, 18 June 2016
The 9th Age Vs Kings of War: Army Building and Rules at a Glance
While I have yet to play a game of 9th Age i have been looking at it closely to see if it is anything like WHFB 8th edition, a game that i greatly enjoyed. I have however watched a game of 9th Age, and will be playing a game next week, and what i will say is from what i have seen my hopes are high, it looked like 8th edition with tweaks, not the tweaks you would expect from a ETC group either. These tweaks seem to improve the game and make it better. I have had a chance to look at the army lists for many of the races in the game and so the main point of this post is to focus on the army building options of 9th Age and compare them to the main competitor, Kings of War.
I was lucky in that of the two full army books the 9th age team have produced so far one was the Wood Elves, so imagine my surprise and delight when i opened the PDF and saw this.
Thats right, a team of volunteers and fans of Warhammer Fantasy Battles produced this, for free, as the contents page for one of their army books. And this sets the tone for the whole book/PDF, each unit has a page like they did in the old 8th ed army books. Its wonderful to see such time and effort be given to the lore side of the game in this book, a area that the Kings of War Core Rule book lacks in with units getting a few lines of fluff text and maybe a picture of the unit's actual models. In short you can tell that the 9th Age team put a lot of time, effort and love into making this book a excellent homage to the WHFB 8th edition army books, and i also think that in this case their work surpasses the 8th edition Wood Army book.
But thats small stuff, what is the actual army building like in 9th Age? Well like the rules in general its basically 8th edition with tweaks, good tweaks. Wood Elves get Kindreds for Elf Characters and Aspects of Nature (Sprites) for Forest Spirit Characters. The magic item list for army specific items is small and compact and the army special rules are well presented and put before the points Army list section of the book.
Just like the Wood Elves see the return of Kindreds so to do other armies see the return of their old 6th ed lore based rules. Vampires get named blood lines that your army can only have one of and that then go onto unlock powers and benefits for the characters in the army. Dark Elves can dedicate their armies to cults, corsairs of beast master ways of war. Empire Generals can either be great tacticians or fighters and High Elf characters can buy titles and honours. All the army's get little changes like this that either tweak the army's playstyle or boost characters in certain ways.
I have used the phrase "Tweaks" often in this post and its time i explained what i meant, and the Wood Elf Magic arrows are a good example of a this. All Wood Elves have a range 30 Armour Piercing (1) long bow. Some units can buy magic arrows for that unit, the unit can then chose in the shooting phase if they wish to use the longbow and Volley Fire (which now allows all models in a unit to shoots and ignores cover modifiers) of if they want to loose volley fire in favour of ignoring all move and shoot modifiers and use the magic arrows. In short there is an actual choice here now where each option has good and bad points and its one for which there s no clear cut right answer.
So the army building side of things looks pretty good and to be plain it is far, far better than what you have in Kings of War. Whats the difference between High, Wood and Dark Elves in KoW? Practically nothing save that High and Wood Elves share a list and Dark Elves get a slightly different one.
As i mentioned above the whole game is basically 8th edition but better. if you liked 8th edition you should like 9th Age.
One last thing i wanted to say before ending this post is that i don't want people to think that i don't like Kings of War. When 8th edition was killed off KoW was the game to replace it. It wasn't perfect and was actually a very different game but it fit. It was a good Massed Fantasy Battle Wargame and it came out at just the right time, however now with 9th Age being a fully released game KoW's time may be up, for me at least. There have been time when i was playing KoW and find myself wishing for 8th edition instead, well now it seems my wish may have came true. Expect to see my full review of my first 9th Age game sometime next week. Until next time.