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Two weeks ago a friend and I took a trip down South for a bit of a wargaming meet-up. This year we decided to do something Fantasy which means I had to get my old Dark Elves out and play-ready again.

I collected and painted my Dark Elves between late 2004 and early 2006 if I remember correctly. Played most of my games using 6th edition rules and won two games in total I think. Back then I was utterly impressed with the WHFB rules. Of course I had played a little in 5th edition before that as well, but 6th edition was quite a bit more playable I tought.

Anyway, fast forward to a few weeks ago. On top of my to-do list was of course Rakarth and his dragon (Braccus?). I had painted them fully, but the paintjob had taken a few dents and such over the years and back when I did the model I never really got around to making a base. So that was the first thing I added, along with repairing some chips in the paint and such. 

Look, the runes on the Executioners’ banner look like an axe! Ha, I’m a clever one.

The next thing my army needed was banners. Back when I did the army in the first place I was a young, idealistic lad and thought I would do elaborate freehand banners some day. Now it was a week to the big game and I had an army without any banners. Unthinkable! Especially as one of the most important things I believe in is that an army can never have too many flags and they can never be too big. Knowing the other guys I expected my Orc&Goblin allies as well as my Dwarven and human enemies to carry beautifully painted, colourful banners into battle (rightly so!). Given the time constraints I decided to turn the proverbial lemons into lemonade and use simple black banners with white Dark Elven runes on them. Quick to do, looks different and striking on the table I thought.

It was only when I saw them next to each other and especially when painting Rakarth’s more elaborate banner that these look a bit unsettling in the context of today’s geo-political going-ons. 😛 But then – hey, it’s Dark Elves. Can’t have a group of idiots ruin my fantasy figure plans and the similarities are only fleeting at best.

Anyway, another thing I had to have on the table would be Witch Elves and my Cauldron of Blood. No rules available for the latter, only two painted of the former, so again I made the best of the situation and used the Cauldron with a bunch of Witch Elf guards as a counts-as Witch Elves unit. The base size of the unit wasn’t quite right, but oh well. 

Peeking out from underneath the elves you can see a sheet of metal. yup, I put all my Elves on magnetic foil now. I really didn’t want to put up with stuff like regimental bases any more (and I couldn’t find mine any more anyway). In the end I made two simplistic pennants for the Cauldron of Blood as well.

With all the time saved I actually even got to painting a banner bearer for my Cold One Knights (not pictured), a makeshift-unit of Shadows (adding an assassin and three Corsairs to my six Shadows for a full unit of 10) AND I managed to make a unit base for my Harpies as well. Of course they are impossible to rank up and in Warhammer that’s not a big problem, but the rules we played (Kings of War 2nd edition) doesn’t have skirmishers like that, so I cobbled together a scenic rectangular base and had the unit count as consisting of 10 models. I really like the look of that unit now. I mean back when I painted these already they were one of my favourites, now they got an alright unit base to boot!

Here’s a little picture of the game we had. Dwarves and Empire defending a city against the onslaught of Orcs and Goblins and Dark Elves, oh my!

As I mentioned before, we used the occasion to give Kings of War (2nd edition) a try. Constable set up the scenario, prepared handouts for stats and such and set up the table as well. He commanded the Dwarvo-Human alliance.

My main target – the dwarven frontline

My Dark Elves made up the main part of our evil alliance of O&G and Dark Elves with my guys being pitted against the Dwarven force mainly and the greenskins charging large units of human soldiers head on.

My allies ran into waves of either crazy die-hard fanatics or elite troops.

…while I immediately sent my shock troops out to punch a hole into the Dwarven lines.

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…said punch mostly ended up as hacking with knives at a granite wall though. Cold One Knights and Witch Elves smashed into the Drwarfs and ground to a halt for a while.

My elite infantry (Black Guard and Executioners) performed shamefully and dispersed at the slightest signs of trouble.

On the plus side – my young Noble took the tower!

After a while I managed to at least hop my fliers over the enemy lines to cause some disruption and in the end managed to help my badly battered greenskin allies at mopping up the right flank. Dragon, harpies and Noble on Pegasus aside though, pretty much all the rest of my army got clobbered by those nasty Dwarves.

I had heard good things about Kings of War from all kinds of directions for being fast to play and fun. I can pretty much confirm this. As with most things Mantic do it’s ‘GW as reimagined by Alessio Cavatore’. If I am in the mood to play Warhammer I’d rather play Kings of War I think. It’s the same thing really, leads to the same results, but it’s faster to play and they did away with certain silly things like casualty removal in a battle game, complicated things like elaborate movement rules or armour save modifier and some good things like… well, the wacky appeal of GW games. 

Kings of War is highly playable and surely a great choice if you have a large collection of Fantasy figures and just want to spend an evening pushing them across a table. In terms of being a wargame it (as with all of Alessio’s rule sets I played or read so far) is a bit lacking in my opinion as it doesn’t adress command&control, friction or battlefield initiative. But neither does Warhammer. And that’s perfectly fine, it’s just a matter of taste. As I said – in terms of playing Warhammer, Kings of War is a perfectly fine alternative which some probably will find more enjoyable than Warhammer itself. Others will prefer Warhammer and that’s fine as well. 🙂 Nothing wrong with liking one thing and disliking another. It’s just unwillingness to try out new stuff that makes for wasted opportunities.

Either way, it was pretty cool getting my Dark Elves on the table again after so many years and just having a fun game on a great looking table with a lot of greatly painted miniatures and a few drinks.