What I've learnt so far
Hey Dave here, I’m a bit of a rookie when it comes to kings, so I have been doing some bat reps with Matt Croger to help me develop my game. Going into clash of kings Australia I think I had less then 15 games of kings total, but since meeting a few people I’ve managed to get a heap of UB in and thought It might be worth blogging out a few big take aways from what I’ve learn so far –
Get past the idea that you need to kill everything
Unit strength matters a lot, and when i shifted my focus away from taking charges to kill stuff and looked more at making sure my main units (and coincidently a lot of my US) were where I needed them for late game I started fairing a lot better, I think perhaps a nice coincidence of be playing a halfling list with not a lot of hitting power has made me focus even further on my positioning and less on killing Matt’s armies
You can’t charge what you can’t place
This carries on from my last point, positioning is everything in this game, and the wizards of KoW have it down to a fine art. Angling units to protect flanks, or prevent facings is just such an pivotal part of the game. PBE (play by email, is a correspondence way of playing kings) is awesome in the fact that you have all the time in the world for your turn, and with a few clicks you can see what’s in arc and what’s out…. I haven’t had too many in person games since January, so going into a tournament in July we will see if the last few months has made me sharper or softer when it comes to seeing angles and arcs.
Do the math, or get a wound calculator
Initially in KoW I made a lot of silly charges, over estimating how much damage I expect units to do or what I thought I unit could hold up against (and sometime still do). I started using a wound calculator to give me the average result and its helped shift my focus on what’s realistic when it comes to game state, for example, how many turns I think my units will take to break a unit, or how long a unit of mine will last before its gone, and what can I move to make the next few turns more favourable for me.
Use terrain – I need to get better at this, but really I needed to understand what people were saying.
So its one of my more recent developments, I kept hearing “use terrain” and I’m thinking, “I’ve got all my guys just sitting in the forest, I cant fit any more in I don’t know what your talking about”, or “I’m on this hill, I’m ready to charge. What else could you mean?” well it turns out they meant block LOS with terrain….
So yeah, when you read ‘use terrain’ they mean, ‘block LOS with terrain, and force hindered charges with terrain’ and considering one of the first rules of KoW is you cant charge what you cant see, using terrain to block LOS goes a long way to increasing a units survivability into late game until you really need it.
Good players limit their opponent’s options to bad ones.
As games flow on, you and your opponent both have a series of decisions to make in an attempt to execute your game plans. The really good opponents (and I mean better then Matt) limit their options to bad ones, and before you know it you’re cooked. Its stuff like little positional changes, or keeping units just projecting threat in the middle, but also moving up 2 or so units in a pair so you cant really charge it without opening up a flank or corkscrew. It’s the kinda stuff you can’t really stop and it is shutting down your options slowly, so before you know it, you can just sit and be charged or take the unfavorable charge and either option sucks.
(also, if anyone has some hot tips for defending against this please let me know)
Try and think a turn ahead.
This kinda piggybacks from the last point, PBE is awesome in that you have all the time in the world for you turn. You can think about your move options, (get smart with a wound calculator and have a think about what units will still be alive) and then start to think about what your opponent will do, and how you can best apply pressure to get the best game state. Quiet often I’ve run through just about every scenario I can in my head to see what outcome will make the next turn more favorable for me. If you can get in your opponents head and try and predict where they will go next (think back to limiting their options) you can take your game to the next level. The biggest challenge I’ll face with this is taking it to the table top. I’m sure I’ll clock out turn 2 if I try and big brain my games to this level.
Some armies are more forgiving.
I don’t think this is ground breaking science here, but some armies really do seem (to me anyways) more forgiving then others, and too that fact, I don’t know why I am drawn to the finesse armies that need to be wielded like a scalpel not a hammer? I’m sure it’s a matter of some armies simply having more options, or maybe I just seem to get really bad match ups? As much as I really enjoy the idea of sylvan kin, and halflings, I really haven’t mastered at all how to best use them with the precision they require, especially against higher def armies.
But the real bonus of UB here is the opportunity for variety you have at your disposal. You can sub in what ever units, or armies you want to mix and match and play around to try and find your sweet spot, I know I have a lot more work to go in this department, however so far I’ve worked through nearly every unit in the halfling list so I can focus on building what I enjoy playing with before I spend the time and effort hobbying away for many months.
PBE is a slippery slope (the importance of sustainable gaming)
I think this is probably the trap I get myself into. There is no limit to how many games you can have on the go at once, you can test lists all day long. There is a price to pay with this however, and for me its my ability to actually concentrate on what I’m doing and focus on my plans. I remember one night, where I deployed three different games at the same time, (just had multiple browsers open) and tested out my list again three opponents, It was a nightmare... I couldn’t remember each list to the detail I need when trying to be competitive, I rushed myself into getting all three turns in a night to keep the game flowing and in the end I was just moving units and getting crushed with no real chance of ever winning. In the end I think I only made turn 6 in one of the games and I didn’t really give my opponents the challenge they deserved. However I did learn one important thing about myself. I really don’t perform under pressure and I need time to focus on my game plan, my opponents list and the board state to really stand a chance of winning.
I know some people out there are true wizards of cognitive ability and can switch on and off between games but I am not. As soon as I get more then one game on the go my concentration rapidly declines and so does my enjoyment, I only get so much free time for hobby a week so Its important that I enjoy it all, so a little UB and a little hobby for me is the right mix.
Anyways that’s all I have, thanks heaps if you have read this far. A lot of the reason I’m doing all these is it helps learn and get better, so on that If you have any feedback, or you think you have the silver bullet I really need to crush Matt in our next game please let me know I’d love you hear from you.