Monday, 13 March 2017

The Valley of Kings 1 - Night Stalkers - 2017/03/13


In the first game of the Valley of Kings 1 local event in Canberra I had a great pleasure to play against Lawrence. He decided to participate in this tournament as he wanted to learn the game as he has played 2-3 games so far. However, Lawrence is one of the wargaming veterans and as he told me he was playing a lot of wargames through the years, often picking up the first editions of the particular system. I wish I had more time between the rounds to hear more of his incredible stories!

Lawrence decided to try Night Stalkers army and his approach was to pick a bit of everything so that he can learn about the abilities of as many units as possible. His army consisted of the very old school models I haven't seen before! Here are the details of his army list:

Night Stalkers - Army List

40 Bloodwarms, Horde
- 10 Spectres, Troop
- 10 Spectres, Troop
- Horror, Hero, Bane Chant

40 Bloodwarms, Horde
- 10 Reapers, Troop
- Planar Apparition, Monster
- Shade, Hero, Kaba's Holy Hand Granades

6 Butchers, Horde, Blessings of the Gods

20 Doppelgangers, Regiment, Brew of Strength
3 Nightmares, Regiment
20 Phantoms, Regiment, Pipes of Terror

I seem to be playing against Night Stalkers quite often recently! :) But what is even more interesting is that neither of the armies I faced are alike. I like it a lot!
As usual, let's have a look at the units in the army with a bit of more detail:

2 x 40 Bloodwarms - Two hordes like that form a solid battle line. They hit on 4+ in melee but have nice 30 attacks so they will dome some damage no matter what. Their defense is 4+ too but with Stealthy they will get a bit less damage on the way, especially if they can use some terrain too. Lifeleech (2) will also help them to stay alive longer. As always in the case of infantry hordes, isolating the unit and attacking it with a few of mine is the key. Making it happen is a different story, of course, but knowing what I need to achieve is half of the success!

6 Butchers - heavy hitters of the army, although a bit slower. This unit comes equipped with Blessings of the Gods artifact so it is even more dangerous than usual. It also cannot be wavered so is a very reliable element of the army. I need to assume that whatever they hit - dies. I would need to make sure, however, that I can choose what is attacked by that unit. 

20 Doppelgangers - very interesting unit as it can use characteristics of the enemy against them. The good news for me is that I don't have such a powerful unit in the army Dopplegangers would benefit from fighting against in particular. On their own they are not as good and they may not withstand exchange of blows for long.

3 Nightmares - I must admit that Nightmares look like my favorite unit in the Night Stalkers army list. I like their speed and maneuverability. They hit almost as hard as Drakon Riders but I would love to see their ability to use Wind Blast to their advantage too. As the enemy they are my priority as they can be a great danger if left alone. Easily going to the flanks and decimating my units on their own!

20 Phantoms - Phantoms are a new unit for me, the one I haven't fought against before. They are another reliable unit that does not waver. They have nice 12 attacks with CS(1) that can mean a lot of trouble due to flight movement. While they are shambling it is still a very fast element of the enemy army and needs to be taken care of quickly. Pinning it down may be a good start.

2 x 10 Spectres - shooting support of the army. They are interesting unit because they have Piercing (1) but a bit shorter range of the shooting. I would be happy to go for a shooting duel with my units because despite Stealthy rule I have more shots to aim at them thus potentially inflicting more damage, especially if able to focus the fire on one unit at a time. Which I learned is a good idea against Night Stalkers anyway!

10 Reapers - another new unit for me, the Reapers look like a very dangerous unit in the attack due to high number of CS(1) attacks that hit on 3+. They do not seem to have a lot of staying power, however, so I would be looking for the opportunity to attack them first, especially that they seem to be slower than my units.

Planar Apparition - It is quite an interesting monster that seems to play a supportive role in healing the damage. It is harder to kill due to Ensnare and Regeneration, for example but does not seem to be that dangerous in melee. 

Horror - another source of spells but this time with Surge to animate Butchers and/or Phantoms. Bane Chant is always useful too so I consider Horror as another wizard. Quite squishy too, although it may be a hard time to get it, especially if it hides well behind the units.

Shade - Shade is melee orientated hero, that can be quite useful at shutting down shooters or enemy fliers. As an individual with 5 attacks it may not defeat units on its own but will be quite annoying if sent against my own fliers, preventing them from using their aerial movement. 

In general, I had an impression that the army I faced did not focus on particular element of the game but by bringing variety of units it should be able to be flexible to adapt to any scenario and the enemy. It would be good in defense but also able to attack, depending on the plan. It was, thus, more difficult to predict what Lawrence would do!

Deployment and Scenario


Deployment and tokens allocation.

Lawrence deployed his army in a castle formation and allocated two tokens to Bloodwarms and one to the Butchers. It meant that it would be very tough for me to claim the tokens from them. Especially that in this formation only a frontal attack would be an option and these units can easily take such charges and fight back.

The initial plan was to escort Palace Guard on the left flank to the safety, win the shooting duel with Spectres in the center and snatch the middle token. If, in addition, the units on the right flank could keep the Bloodwarms in the Night Stalkers' half of the battle field I would be able to win the scenario.

The fast elements in the middle were in a good position to reinforce any flank too, depending on the circumstances and the development of the situation.

In this game I got the first turn!

Outcasts - Turn 1

Elves advance carefully.

The enemy is not yet in range for shooting.

Elves expected Night Stalkers to move forward in the center and on the right flank so their advance was not at full speed yet. Although the shooters where not yet in range, Elves knew that patience is important when dealing with Nightmarish army that faced them.

Night Stalkers - Turn 1

Night Stalkers remain motionless.

Surprisingly, the army of Night Stalkers didn't really move. Not even the Spectres who were still out of range. What kind of trap was that?

Outcasts - Turn 2

Elves keep advancing!

Getting closer.

Elves advanced on three separate venues now. Units on the left flank moved carefully behind the cover of the forest to deliver the treasure undetected. The cavalry force in the middle aimed at the Spectres but could not eliminate them yet. While the units on the right flank got a bit closer to the Bloodwarms, intending to stop them in their half of the battle field.

Night Stalkers - Turn 2

Night Stalkers shoot back.

This time Night Stalkers approached the enemy a little, mainly to allow Spectres to shoot at the Elven fast cavalry. But as the shooting was divided, neither unit suffered enough damage to be in danger of being destroyed.

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves attack through the center.

Pre-emptive strikes on the flanks.

Elves waited for a good time to attack and it has finally arrived. The main one was aimed at the center of the Night Stalkers formation. Relatively weak Spectres were vulnerable to a cavalry charge and this exactly what happened when Elven Knights and Chariots stormed in. Only Dopplegangers were in a good position to counter attack as Elven units also charged on both flanks.

On the left Drakon Riders engaged Nightmares who approach a bit too far and both flying cavalries were now fighting for the aerial superiority. On the right, Drakon Lord charged the Repaers, who exposed the flank for an attack. He managed to rout the unit by himself and now was ready to charge the enemy from the rear.

Night Stalkers - Turn 3

Night Stalkers attempt to counter attack.

Those few units who could attack back did so but unfortunately with not much of an effect as their efforts were spread too thin. Now the Nightstalkers had to brace for another impact.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Elves press the advantage.

This time main attack is on the right flank.

Elves continued their attacks. On the left flank Drakon Riders gained the advantage by wavering the Nightmares. In the center, Storm Wind cavalry finished the second unit of Spectres but their companions and War Chariots could not rout Dopplegangers yet.

This time, however, the main attack was focused on the right flank. Combined charge against one of the units of the Bloodwarms resulted in heavy damage. The horde held but only just and it was clear they are not going to survive next punch. In the meantime, Drakon Riders distracted a second horde so that it could not outflank Elven infantry.

Night Stalkers - Turn 4

Night Stalkers keep trying to break through.

Night Stalkers were still dangerous and had means to inflict damage upon Elven army. Both hordes of the Bloodwarms charged one unit each and routed both of them in an instant. Unfortunately, the Phantoms were not yet in the position to charge Elven Drakon Lord and had to maneuver to a new placement.

Outcasts - Turn 5

A killing blow.

Elves hit even harder this time. On the left Drakon Riders finally routed the Nightmares and secured the position for the Palace Guard carrying the treasure. In the middle, Dopplegangers were routed too and the Butchers were attacked by Storm Wind.

But the biggest losses were suffered on the right flank. Both hordes of the Bloodwarms perished as one was heavily damaged and the other exposed the flank to a deadly attack by Palace Guard regiment. It was the blow the Night Stalkers could not recover from.

Night Stalkers - Turn 5

Butchers keep fighting.

Drakon Lord is holding the flank.

Few remaining units kept attacking and while Butchers killed Silver Breeze cavalry, Drakon Lord held the line!

Outcasts - Turn 6

Elven semi-circle of death.

Final strike.

At this stage Elves didn't bother shooting at the enemy but simply attacked and routed two more units of the Night Stalkers. It was all over now as Elves also took the possession of all the remaining loot.

Night Stalkers - Turn 6

Last charge

In the last effort, despite the lost battle, Planar Apparition charged the Drakon Lord but he stubbornly refused to yield and remaining few elements of the Night Stalkers army disappeared as if they were never there.


Turn-by-turn animation summary.

After-battle thoughts

First of all I would like to thank Lawrance for a great game! He was always cheerful and no matter what the situation on the battle field was - he tried to get the most out of it. He kept saying this is for the learning purposes and I can only admire his positive attitude. I hope he will come back to for more events in the future and that he will enjoy the game of Kings of War.

His mistakes were obviously the result of inexperience but I think he had a good deployment and maybe was simply a bit too shy in moving his units, especially in the opening turns of the game. Although I achieved the decisive victory this game I had to work for it and I managed to win because I could spot the opportunities at the right time.

A good example would be the situation when I noticed that the Reapers exposed the flank but the Phantoms didn't cover that angle and my Drakon Lord could attack and avoid being charged by the unit. Nearby Shade was not enough to stop him, especially that he could still use the ground movement to attack the Bloodwarms.

In general, I was happy with the deployment and the plan. It was something a bit different with the cavalry going through the center as I often deploy on the flanks. I was concerned with the right flank but I hope that if I could force the fight in the pond then I might have had a better chance of holding up the enemy in their half. It turned out to work even better simply because of that one overlook of the Reapers' positioning.

I was, however, not so happy with the left flank. I charged against Nightmares and I think it was a good move but Drakons had no support. If Lawrence moved his Butchers towards them and then Surged them into melee, I would have lost not only the unit but the opportunity to keep Palace Guard save. That was very risky and I should have anticipated that. I think it was a big mistake not to have a better support there and I am lucky it didn't back fire.

I hope you enjoyed the reading!



  1. You played a brilliant game Swordmaster!

    You used the terrain to cover your advance of the tokens which minimized his ability to remove them. I personally have had a hard time focusing on scenario in KoW so I enjoyed reading a report that showcased how to play with a "scenario" focus.

    On your turn 4, what height were the forests? Some of your units charged through them on the right flank and based on the diagram it seems difficult to draw line of sight. I figured it was a diagram issue but wanted to make sure that it wasn't something else that I was unaware of.

    Very great charge with the Drakon Lord! I find that people are surprised about these guys and how careful you have to be by not exposing your flank within 20inches of him! And if he can get behind the line and rout some chaff or a character, he can reform and project threat to the rear of the battle line (which you did)!

    Great game all around and clearly my prediction was wrong! Looking forward to the next one.

    1. Hi Dan,

      Thanks a lot! I am not sure I deserve such kind words but I am glad you like the way I played in this game :)

      Focusing on the scenario is one of the great aspects of Kings of War and I really like it. I had a few games already where I actually lost more but managed to won on the scenario. Some players even suggest that using the scoring system that further modifies the result depending on the attrition points should be removed! Otherwise, it can be considered as objectives + Kill.

      It seems I keep forgetting about terrain explanation in my reports. The terrain feature on the right flank was actually a pond/swamp, i.e. difficult terrain with height 0. My apologies, I will use better description in the future.

      I was happy to spot the opportunity for the Drakon Lord. He is not super powerful on his own but in this case it was great chance to use. I could get rid of the unit that would otherwise flank charge the chariots and had my hero in a great position to attack the horde from the rear.

      It is a bit easier for him to perform actions like that because he can still hide from the counter attacks.

      Ok, I'd better get back to preparing diagrams for a second report!


  2. Can´t see a single diagram. Anyone experimenting the same problem?

    1. Hi Phobos,

      Thanks a lot for letting me know! I had to re-upload the diagrams again. Please, let me know if that works for you and if you can see the maps and photos now.

    2. Hello fellow KoWer!

      Yeah, it´s allright now ;)