KoW and T9A

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  • While a model or 2 might be added with a 75 by 75 base, I am virtually sure it will not be a wide spread thing in 2nd edition ninth age.
    I believe most KoW armies except for historical has a reasonable mapping to a ninth age army book. The army composition might vary though. So just because you have a playable KoW army that does map to a ninth age army, doesn’t mean you have a playable ninth age army.
  • rankorcankor wrote:

    yeah having made the move from KOW I find myself with waaaaaayyy too much core and R&F generally and not enough monsters/big units.

    if these questions dont derail the original topic too badly, i'd love to ask:

    why did you make the move?
    what did you find most problematic while doing so?
    what do you miss the most from the game system you left behind?

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  • I made the same move.

    piteglio wrote:

    rankorcankor wrote:

    yeah having made the move from KOW I find myself with waaaaaayyy too much core and R&F generally and not enough monsters/big units.
    if these questions dont derail the original topic too badly, i'd love to ask:

    why did you make the move?
    what did you find most problematic while doing so?
    what do you miss the most from the game system you left behind?
    a) The game is too simple.
    b) I had no problems because I didn't multibase anything.
    c) Elves are competitive in that game.
  • IntrigueAtCourt wrote:

    There are many more reasons I can get into. The last point was made in jest. There really is nothing better in KoW except maybe the rules are easier to learn.
    : D

    but seriously, if you have the time, as for the remaining reasons - i'd be curious.
    you mention simplicity of rules. is there any specific reason why KoW is easier? less stuff? less complexity? fewer interactions? friendlier writing style? abundance of examples? quality of diagrams?
    simplifying the rules has always been a big concern. some things will have to stay complex (because this is the way we love it, after all), but if there's room for improvement, we should aim for that.

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  • piteglio wrote:

    IntrigueAtCourt wrote:

    There are many more reasons I can get into. The last point was made in jest. There really is nothing better in KoW except maybe the rules are easier to learn.
    : D
    but seriously, if you have the time, as for the remaining reasons - i'd be curious.
    you mention simplicity of rules. is there any specific reason why KoW is easier? less stuff? less complexity? fewer interactions? friendlier writing style? abundance of examples? quality of diagrams?
    simplifying the rules has always been a big concern. some things will have to stay complex (because this is the way we love it, after all), but if there's room for improvement, we should aim for that.
    I usually play T9A and KoW at tournaments. And the common difference between T9A is that at KoW events usually everyone knows his and his opponents army + their rules. While in many T9A tournaments people usually discuss and search in their rule books for the next special, special rule that something gets by a rule behind another rule. Which is a bit annoying.

    Meanwhile KoW offers in the core book:

    - well written and explained rules (not including special, special charge situations which got a good FAQ)
    - special rules are well written in alphabetical order
    - unit stats are more clean
    - much more options then T9A if it's about units

    Points where T9A could learn from KoW:

    - reader friendly rules
    - placing rules better in the core book
    - cleanin up the unit entries
    (- 75x75 bases)
  • I have a very different opinion than endymoon.

    Roster Design:
    -significantly less customization of characters
    -characters cant join units
    -no racial specific items. Everyone picks from the same generic item list.
    -no minimum core, so you get all sorts of polarized lists that really don't represent the societies behind the races.
    -you can only select 3 versions of an entry, a troop, a regiment, a horde. If we're talking infantry that's 5x2, 5x4, 10x4 standard bases wide. No formations, unit sizes in between.
    -allies, while limited, remove the many of the inherent weaknesses of the races. And it becomes repetitive too. Some races, like the equivalent of beastmen, make great chaff packages that you see repeated in different armies.

    Game Play:
    -you don't remove casualties incrementally. Rather you take whats similar to a leadership test modified by the damage on the unit every time its hurt. Once you fail it the entire unit is gone. So there is no loss in damage output of a weakened unit until its entirely removed. Damage output goes from 100% --> 0%.

    -there are no defensive stats when it comes to rolling to hit. Unit A with 4+ to hit will hit on 4+ always, unless fighting against a unit with the equivalent of distracting. So it hits goblins on 4+, it hits elves on 4+, all the same. When you roll to wound its also always the same. You roll to wound based on the defensive stat of unit you're hitting. So if the stat is 5+ you always roll on 5+. There are modifications that are equivalent to strength where if you have "crushing strength (2)" instead of wounding on 5+ you wound on 3+. But the end result means units largely are very very similar to each other. If you compare a horde of spearmen of elves,humans, goblins, whatever they're very very similar in their value to hit, their value to be wounded, the number of attacks, the special rules. The end result is that racial identity is lost and you get a very bland game. In t9a if you where to just draw the outlines of the units you could probably guess the race of each outline just by looking at formations, unit sizes and deployment. You could never do that in KoW.

    -there is no fighting back in combat in the same phase. If its my turn I charge and throw my attacks. At the end I roll to see if I pop the unit. If not I back them up an inch. In YOUR turn you then charge and roll your attacks and see if you pop MY unit. If I roll a bit below average and I don't pop the unit I deal with the FULL payload of return attacks in your turn. There's no attack allocation, no combat reforms, no static combat res, no line formation, no AGILITY because everyone just attacks on their own phase.

    To give an example:

    Unit SizeSpMeRaDeAtNe



    A Human "Spearmen" unit. Just your standard horde of infantry.
    Horde(40)54+-4+3020/22200 pointsPhalanx



    An Elf Spearman unit.
    Horde(40)64+-4+3021/23230 pointsElite, Phalanx



    A Goblin sharpstick unit.
    Horde(40)55+-4+3019/21155 pointsPhalanx, Yellow-Bellied



    A "beastman" spear unit.
    Horde(40)64+-4+3019/21205 points.Pathfinder, Phalanx



    So. Elves have a point of movement more and elite (lets them rerolls 1 to hit). Phalanx is a rule that negates charge bonuses of some units. They also have an extra point of nerve which is the stat to determine if they pop or not. But besides that they're exactly the same. 30 attacks, that hit on 4s. When attacked,they're wounded on 4s (against melee and shooting damage). There is no armor save, there is no agility. The goblin unit is significantly cheaper with the difference being they hit targets on 5+ instead of 4+ like the other units. Also lower nerve and yellow-bellied an animosity-like rule. But besides that again its identical stats everywhere else. The beastmen unit again is very similar to the other units except pathfinder lets them ignore terrain penalties. Bland.

    -Rosters mostly look the same. There isn't much racial special rules and mostly everyone has the same mix of hordes, regiments, troops, characters. There is much less varied gameplay. In T9A every race has its own playstyle identity. In KOW every roster players very similar. You line your troops in a battleline and you push forward. Some rosters push less and shoot more but ultimately its all about the same principles - covering your flanks, setting up counter charges, pushing for the objectives. Because there is no core there is heavy min maxing of the best stated units.

    -The game was designed so that if its not your turn, you do absolutely nothing. There are no charge reactions, no dispelling, no attacks back. It was designed this way so you cant time waste and you can play your entire turn at your own pace with the chess clock and going back and forth. I understand the logic but it makes for boring, un-interactive gameplay.

    The KOW book is well written but so is the T9A book. Mostly because there isn't any degree of complexity to explain. Yes in t9a you need to look up rules if you're new or playing against a race the first few times. That's not a problem with the rules, that's inexperience.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by IntrigueAtCourt ().

  • IntrigueAtCourt wrote:

    I have a very different opinion than endymoon.

    Roster Design:
    -significantly less customization of characters
    -characters cant join units
    -no racial specific items. Everyone picks from the same generic item list.
    -no minimum core, so you get all sorts of polarized lists that really don't represent the societies behind the races.
    -you can only select 3 versions of an entry, a troop, a regiment, a horde. If we're talking infantry that's 5x2, 5x4, 10x4 standard bases wide. No formations, unit sizes in between.
    -allies, while limited, remove the many of the inherent weaknesses of the races. And it becomes repetitive too. Some races, like the equivalent of beastmen, make great chaff packages that you see repeated in different armies.

    Game Play:
    -you don't remove casualties incrementally. Rather you take whats similar to a leadership test modified by the damage on the unit every time its hurt. Once you fail it the entire unit is gone. So there is no loss in damage output of a weakened unit until its entirely removed. Damage output goes from 100% --> 0%.

    -there are no defensive stats when it comes to rolling to hit. Unit A with 4+ to hit will hit on 4+ always, unless fighting against a unit with the equivalent of distracting. So it hits goblins on 4+, it hits elves on 4+, all the same. When you roll to wound its also always the same. You roll to wound based on the defensive stat of unit you're hitting. So if the stat is 5+ you always roll on 5+. There are modifications that are equivalent to strength where if you have "crushing strength (2)" instead of wounding on 5+ you wound on 3+. But the end result means units largely are very very similar to each other. If you compare a horde of spearmen of elves,humans, goblins, whatever they're very very similar in their value to hit, their value to be wounded, the number of attacks, the special rules. The end result is that racial identity is lost and you get a very bland game. In t9a if you where to just draw the outlines of the units you could probably guess the race of each outline just by looking at formations, unit sizes and deployment. You could never do that in KoW.

    -there is no fighting back in combat in the same phase. If its my turn I charge and throw my attacks. At the end I roll to see if I pop the unit. If not I back them up an inch. In YOUR turn you then charge and roll your attacks and see if you pop MY unit. If I roll a bit below average and I don't pop the unit I deal with the FULL payload of return attacks in your turn. There's no attack allocation, no combat reforms, no static combat res, no line formation, no AGILITY because everyone just attacks on their own phase.

    To give an example:

    Unit SizeSpMeRaDeAtNe


    A Human "Spearmen" unit. Just your standard horde of infantry.
    Horde(40)54+-4+3020/22200 pointsPhalanx


    An Elf Spearman unit.
    Horde(40)64+-4+3021/23230 pointsElite, Phalanx


    A Goblin sharpstick unit.
    Horde(40)55+-4+3019/21155 pointsPhalanx, Yellow-Bellied


    A "beastman" spear unit.
    Horde(40)64+-4+3019/21205 points.Pathfinder, Phalanx


    So. Elves have a point of movement more and elite (lets them rerolls 1 to hit). Phalanx is a rule that negates charge bonuses of some units. They also have an extra point of nerve which is the stat to determine if they pop or not. But besides that they're exactly the same. 30 attacks, that hit on 4s. When attacked,they're wounded on 4s (against melee and shooting damage). There is no armor save, there is no agility. The goblin unit is significantly cheaper with the difference being they hit targets on 5+ instead of 4+ like the other units. Also lower nerve and yellow-bellied an animosity-like rule. But besides that again its identical stats everywhere else. The beastmen unit again is very similar to the other units except pathfinder lets them ignore terrain penalties. Bland.

    -Rosters mostly look the same. There isn't much racial special rules and mostly everyone has the same mix of hordes, regiments, troops, characters. There is much less varied gameplay. In T9A every race has its own playstyle identity. In KOW every roster players very similar. You line your troops in a battleline and you push forward. Some rosters push less and shoot more but ultimately its all about the same principles - covering your flanks, setting up counter charges, pushing for the objectives. Because there is no core there is heavy min maxing of the best stated units.

    -The game was designed so that if its not your turn, you do absolutely nothing. There are no charge reactions, no dispelling, no attacks back. It was designed this way so you cant time waste and you can play your entire turn at your own pace with the chess clock and going back and forth. I understand the logic but it makes for boring, un-interactive gameplay.

    The KOW book is well written but so is the T9A book. Mostly because there isn't any degree of complexity to explain. Yes in t9a you need to look up rules if you're new or playing against a race the first few times. That's not a problem with the rules, that's inexperience.
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  • well this definitely got derailed. I'm going to try to address the whole discussion in a single long wall of text.

    For me the change was mostly because that's how the local group went, we wanted a change and 2.0 had just come out. personally I've been trying to push them towards something like warlords of erehwon, but that's more because I like really terrain dense maps (and I prefer terrain making to model painting), which 9th doesn't handle super well.

    Things i like about 9th age - the depth of customization for heroes and units. Redirection, fleeing and rallying. sometimes the restriction on who can take what seem a little arbitrary and weird though. Theres another fantasy game called chaos wars that basically allows you to build your roster from the ground up - pick a racial stat line for the troop, then buy arms, armour and mounts. very labour intensive but you can field anything. I kind of like that approach but I get that 9th is a tournement game.

    Not to be too controversial but some of the criticisms of KoW kind of miss the mark, from my experience at least.

    Stat lines between equivalent units are fairly similar but that exists in spades in 9th age too - nearly everyone has some form of mainline infantry. having played both goblins and elves in KoW those units do feel different on the table. hitting on 5s and auto failing the charge 1/6th of the time makes goblins pretty unreliable. rerolling 1s and having an additional 2 inches of guaranteed charge is huge for elves. The earlier comment about crushing strength on some units - Orcs in KoW get it as thier racial rule. It's basically 9th ages born to fight rule with less stuff to check, but it definitely makes orcs feel different in 9th, so I dont know why its doesnt make them feel different to you in KoW.

    That being said most of the time the performance difference isn't huge, but that's also because KoW plays very differently. Your winning gotcha moment in KoW usually comes from maneuvering mundane units rather than some special combination of tooled up hero and unit getting the charge/buff/whatever they needed - flank and rear charges are devastating. Part of the trouble I had switching over to 9th was changing that mindset. In KoW I fielded 200+ goblins in 40-60 man bricks two lines deep with support units mixed throughout and it was a nasty army to deal with. in 9th age it's pretty trivial to rout those front units and youre not very afraid of your super unit death star getting flanked by crappy "core" units because you'll still win the combat. Battle lines of normal troops was actually a competitive option in KoW.

    On the hero and magic item note Kow heroes are usually more for support/buffs than for winning combats by themselves. The magic item list is universal but it's pretty broad and there are some things that are obviously meant more for some armies/builds than others (if arise was available to everyone anyone who wasnt VC/UD probably wouldn't take it).

    Finally I have to agree about the ease of getting into KoW. When my group started playing KoW they were playing smoothly (and well) in a month. We're a year into 9th age and we're still messing stuff up every game and needing help figuring out lists.

    After mulling on it I think the secret sauce for why KoW is easier to learn and play isn't strictly complexity, it's the number of simultaneous actions being carried out. During your movement phase you move your stuff, there is no interaction with the opponents list. During shooting phase you shoot your stuff, there is a single stat that you need to consult on your opponents list. there is no counting models for decimated/panics tests (they just happen if theres been any damage). there is a similarly low level of interaction for magic and melee. Even a complex melee (multicharge) is a simple order of operations. resolve your attacks/damage, unit by unit, until everyone who charged has fought, then test nerve (discipline). that's it. no checking for steadfast, no allocating attacks, no agility, relatively few special rules.

    If I could import one thing from KoW it would by their mechanic for how the regeneration rule works. Instead of a save at the start of your turn you roll regen for every round on the unit, successful rolls are wounds taken off the unit.

    TLDR: KoW and 9th are only superficially similar and have different objectives for how you're supposed to play. They cater to different expectations of what a fantasy battle should be. They're both lots of fun.
  • thank you @Endymon and @rankorcankor, your posts are very informative. the breakdown by @IntrigueAtCourt was something i very much needed to understand the baseline for comparison, thanks for that too. i also agree with @The Changing Constant that the advantage of a 75x75 eludes my full understanding, but there's so much else to unpack. a couple of very general points, in my opinion of course:

    - ruleswriting style: we agree that the presentation could be a bit offputting to some. there's already efforts trying to counter this. if you look for the Stormrider Games thread by @JimMorr, you will see he's working on an accessible rulebook. takes effort, but might be something that the Project itself ends drawing inspiration from.

    - memorising rules and complexity of interaction: it is true many people struggle with all the intricacies of tournament playing. two questions in this regard: (1) i supposed the equivalent of KoW would be the T9A: QuickStarter (advanced), not FantasyBattles. maybe the comparison by KoW and FB is unforgiving by design? (2) if readiness of availability of nested rules is a problem, could unit cards help in this respect? i've been preparing some for a couple of Arena special characters (see spoiler below). if things go well, i might produce them for the various units and rules and spells and items. would this help?



    - passive play: i understand that people can be split about this. i personally like that in your turn i am a reactive player and not a spectator, and i learn from you that KoW decided to dispense entirely with the concept, which has its advantages in terms of mechanics. T9A, on the other hand, makes the difficult choice of allowing reactive play, thus upsetting players who want clear easy solutions ("just do nothing") and players who want more interactivity ("let me do more than charge reactions/dispel/attacks/reform").

    i guess all in all everybody should play the game they love. i am very fine with that. i only think T9A should let people know that there's something else beyond the 500 pages of 4500pts FantasyBattles games. there's also the 30 pages for 800pts QuickStarter games. and we can make unit cards. but sadly it seems that the project is focussing on sending the message T9A is 500 free pages of beautiful complexity, and to me that's a pity. there's so much more than that...

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  • rankorcankor wrote:


    Finally I have to agree about the ease of getting into KoW. When my group started playing KoW they were playing smoothly (and well) in a month. We're a year into 9th age and we're still messing stuff up every game and needing help figuring out lists.

    rankorcankor wrote:

    If I'm being honest when I started out and when we first started we actually leapfrogged right over the starter. It seemed like it was a case of "learn this game so you can learn this other game". what we ended up doing was playing 2000 point games with no magic items and limited heros and stepped up the complexity game by game.


    precisely my point, isn't it?

    had you started with the QS, you would have had probably none of the difficulties you say you're still having.
    but you didnt start with the QS, because the Project treats it like a dumbed down version of the main game.

    to my eyes, your experience confirms that if the Project actually invested in the QS, we would have AoS and KoW players see T9A in a very different light.

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  • I played KoW in 2015/16 and had a blast, but I find it difficult to compare with 9th Age because they are quite different. I think KoW is actually more realistic than the 9th mechanics. In medieval battle both side beat s*** out of each other with relatively few casualties until one side had enough but a rout was a rout, goodnight Vienna. That’s were I think KoW goes with the nerve mechanic.
  • The KoW fluff is pretty atrocious. both in amount and content, but it's a young system still and apparently improving it is one of the goals of the next edition. I'll believe it when I see it.

    @piteglio I'm not sure if the QS would have helped. most of our errors have to do with the sheer amount of stuff going on, we tend to intermittently forget things - fear checks, frenzy checks, battle focus, which items do what, how many ranks break steadfast. And then we remember them next turn. If we played every week I'm sure we would be alot smoother.

    That being said if the QS was a more complete game I would be very tempted to just play that instead, but that sort of defeats the purpose of starter rules I suppose. I should probably reread them before I talk too much about the too lol.