Milton Hundred Kings of War Vanguard – Part 1 Initial Thoughts
When I heard my club, the Milton Hundred, was applying for a chance to trail Kings of War: Vanguard I thought this was a great opportunity and was one of the first to put my name down. Having dabbled in the word of miniature wargames since school I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to get involved in something new and Vanguard seemed like it could be a game for me. My first experiences of wargames, like so many of us, was Warhammer 40K and fantasy approximately 17 years ago (around the time of the 3rd editions). This got me hooked in the hobby but I was frustrated by some of the changes when fantasy was replaced with Age of Sigmar which almost completely removed my own army of the Dwarves.
Having looked at the Mantic website a few different factions caught my eye but when I saw the Northern Alliance I was instantly drawn to the models. The diversity of unit types due the armies back story of them being band of outcasts suited the style I was looking for in this new kind of skirmish game. Ranging from snow trolls to humans, elves and even to my old favourites of dwarves. I have always wanted an excuse to add snow basing to my miniatures and this seemed a perfect opportunity to trail this different method of basing.
Luckily we were selected and the vast order arrived and was split between six of us in the club: Olly, Steve, Mark, Dave, Chris and myself; each of us taking a different faction and a share of the objectives to paint in our own styles. On collecting my share I was amazed to see the quantity of products awarded and the quality of the parts received including a full rulebook, a set of power dice (required for gameplay), half a box of objective markers for me to complete, a set of gameplay tokens, a Northern Alliance Warband box and a booster pack. It was an impressive starting hoard.
On a quick flick through the rulebook I like the approach they have taken in presenting the rules. Unlike many rulebooks currently on the market, Vanguard gets straight into the action with clear basic rules from the outset going into further detail as you progress. It is nice that there is not too much dense text to read before you get into the rules as lets be honest we all want to get down and play the game! There is a small amount of background listed as you progress deeper into the book so you can get a feel for your armies and the world in which they live which is especially important if like myself you are new to the Kings of War Universe.
On exploring the boxes further I got to the heart of the package the miniature themselves. As stated earlier there is a lot of variety with the Northern Alliance with a great diversity of miniatures. There was a mixture of plastic and resin parts of good quality. All the miniatures with fur or fur cloaks had great details which I was extremely pleased about and they look as if they will come out nicely when fully painted. There were a few little annoyances though. Firstly the very thick resign pieces on the feet of some of the larger miniatures – these took some persuasion to remove and it was difficult to cut close to the feet without damaging so meant a large amount of filing was needed. Secondly mould lines – some of these were in awkward positions near facial features which did make them hard to remove without potentially damaging the model. Finally the bases – there was a mixture of bases some plastic and some wood. Whilst this in itself isn’t a problem the fact they are different depths was annoying as the wooden ones are much thinner than the plastic. Also the plastic bases have holes in them to allow some of the older mantic models (such as dwarves) to be based seamlessly but newer models don’t have moulded bases which meant the bases had to either be filled or flipped upside-down. I opted for the later but the perfectionist in me still doesn’t like this as these is a slight different look to the bases although it is barely noticeable.
Overall on first glance Mantic seams to have done a great job on the look and feel of the basic rules. The models are of good quality, especially for the retail price, although not without their annoyances but this could be said for any model purchased on the market currently. In my next piece I will be giving my thoughts into painting these models.