"Your Club, Your Story" Kings of War Vanguard Skirmish Project
The View from the Club
"Brother Ivadd? They are ready for you now."
Footsteps shuffled away along the corridor as Ivadd roused from his meditation. The novice must have knocked just as the sun peered above the horizon, streaming it's piercing light through the tower window. Refreshed, he rose from the prayer blanket angled toward the burning dawn and walked gracefully to the door. Passing his mace, sword and helmet on their ceremonial rack he touched a fingertip to each as he passed, a whispered blessing for each on his lips. While he was dressed in his armoured uniform, an audience with the Holy Confluence was not the place for the weapons of his Order.
Passing through the door from his chambers, Ivadd followed the receeding footsteps into the depths of the fortress...
And so begins our journey into the world of Mantic Games' Vanguard skirmish wargame system, based in their Kings of War universe. I have found Mantic to be a little up and down over the years; My first and only try of Kings of war was a total disaster (mainly due to facing off against a severely broken army list) which seriously put me off, but I am a big fan of their Walking Dead All Out War game. I have some Dwarfs in my army from their KoW range which are passable but not spectacular, but their Walking Dead minis are superb! So when Olly from the club announced that he had managed to get us involved in the Vanguard promotion I had mixed feelings, but the chance to represent the club on a national (and potentially international) level was too big a chance to pass up! I liked the look of several of the factions we were sent, but settled on the Basilean warband. Apparently this makes me the good guys! I have been painting some medieval men-at-arms lately and the basic troops are a stylised version of European spearmen, so it felt like a reasonable fit for me.
First impressions from everyone involved have been positive overall. The rulebook is a nice glossy hardback edition, with some great artwork and tons of gaming/miniatures photos. The rules seem pretty straightforward; more on those when we get to actually try them out! We also received some Power dice each (much better than the WD AOW ones, the only drawback with that game) and some battlefield objectives from their most excellent "Terrain Crate" scenery range. But the important part at this stage, as any good gamer knows, is the miniatures. How do they measure up as gaming pieces and painting subjects? It turned out to be a mixed bag (or rather box...) across the board. We were all impressed with the sculpts, don't think anyone was disappointed! There seems to be plenty of detail, even on the most basic troopers, which makes them all feel individual. Great start for a skirmish game. The problems seem to be the physical make up of the figures. An early complaint was a lack of instructions for building the minis, although many of them have shaped pegs and slots which indicate which arms go where. There isn't a lot of flash on the models, but there are a lot of badly positioned mould lines (seriously, across chain mail?!) which has become a bugbear for everyone when it comes to painting. Another big discussion point was the bases. Mantic used a system which involved models having a moulded round base attached to the feet which slotted into a circular space in a 20mm square base. We have the same bases, but most of the minis don't have the round base attached, which may lead to some inventive ways of fitting them on!
For my part, I was really happy with the miniatures, although less happy with putting them together. My two boxes yielded three different types of miniature material: Resin, hard plastic, and something called PVC plastic. The resin sculpts are stunning, and I am slightly concerned about being able to do them justice with a paintbrush! I did have one very flimsy part which snapped off while I was trying to clean some tiny flash lines from it, which I have glued and shored up with a tiny drop of Vallejo plastic putty! The hard plastics are great, if a little less dynamic than I would have liked, and went together with a drop of polystyrene cement on each joint. A few minutes on each model gave a pretty satisfying range of basic soldiers. The problems all seem to be with the PVC stuff. For a start, poly cement doesn't work on it! After an hour of fiddling about trying to put them together I picked them up to get them ready for spray undercoating only to have arms, heads and weapons falling off in my hands... Half an hour of angry mumbling and superglue finally got me to the point where they were ready to prep for painting. The lack of instructions let this set down, even just a note on the back of the box about the different materials would have helped. A look through the Mantic site let me know what materials I was dealing with, but gave me no info on adhesives required for each. Overall we have had a positive start with the miniatures part of the project, next up comes the gaming side, which will be the real test for Vanguard. Hopefully the good vibes will continue!
Ivadd knelt before the elders, his head bowed in reverence. The Holy Confluence sat at a semi-circlular stone table facing him discussing his future. Candles flickered around the entire span of the round wall in the great hall, with barely a gap for the doorways. Great battle flags of the Houses of Basilea hung behind the Confluence, waving faintly as the warm air rose around them. Other members of the Order and Priesthood stood behind him, listening to the pronouncements of their leaders.
"Several months ago our astronomers noticed a change in the heavens. A new star appeared in the constellation of Cronus. It was as if an eye had opened in the head of the Great Celestian. Over time the eye has become brighter, a sign that we are favoured by Cronus, and we have been calling for the Shining Ones to share with us it's meaning. It has been discerned, however, that it is not just getting brighter, but also nearer to Pannithor. Our scholars have estimated that it will arrive within the next three months."
"Brother Ivadd, you are tasked with finding and securing the Eye of Cronus for the glory of Basilea. You will form a warband and patrol the fringes of the land, scouting the area and engaging with our enemies, honing your skills until the time comes to claim the Eye. Engage the Palace, the Priesthood, and the Sisterhood to recruit your forces. We will show the world a united front, that none shall topple our might! When you know the location of your objective you will send word to The Golden Horn, and our armies will march forth to support your claim. May the Shining Ones watch over you."
Ivadd stood, and crossed his right fist across his body.
"It will be done"