Tuesday, February 21, 2017

KoW - Inspired?

The "Inspiring" ability is without a doubt one of the most important abilities in Kings of War. Because of the vagaries of dice, being able to make your opponent re-roll Nerve rolls resulting in a "Routed" result can literally win or lose you a game. A stray "10" or "11" can be (re)-turned into something more statistically probable or you get a second chance for your foe to deliver the dreaded "Snake Eyes".

The Ultimate Example of "Inspiring"

With my Ratkin I typically used three sources of Inspiring in my list - a Warlock with the Talisman, a Swarmcrier and the Daemonspawn. I always felt that this was more than ample. The two foot Individuals "umbrellaed" my main Infantry blocks while my Daemonspawn was free to rampage but had an Inspiring bubble he could project if necessary with his flying ability.

Recently I have started playing The Herd. Due to the make-up of my list I have only been able to get two Inspiring characters into my army. One is a Centaur Chief and the other is a Shaman on foot. After four games I have noticed far more instances where I am not forcing my opponent to re-roll successful "Routed" results.

Is this bad play on my part or do I have insufficient (or inefficient) sources of Inspiring in my list?

Well The Herd is a very fast army and my construction has emphasised that. As a result there are numerous opportunities for a unit to move outside "Inspiring" range. There are times where this is not a problem - in relation to chaff units that are charged having done their job, for example - but in the vast majority of occasions, it is a problem.

I am convinced that in my case, around 80% of these occasions are most likely due to poor placement on my part. This either occurs at deployment but more likely occurs in subsequent Movement phases. The tendency is to focus on the movement of combat units rather than support units - both the Shaman and the Centaur Chief fall into the latter group. You then move your support units as an afterthought. I would suggest that the really good players take as much, if not more, care in ensuring that the supporting units are in an optimal position. This can mean having to balance the "Inspiring" ability with the positive effects of ranged attacks, particularly Magic. However most gamers being unbridled optimists seem to err on the offensive output rather than risk mitigation side of the equation.

So for me that leaves about 20% of instances that I can probably not avoid by tightening up my placement. How do I address them? I would say it falls into three key areas.

Firstly, I can buy a third source of "Inspiring". This comes at both a points cost and incurs a list construction tax (a unit has to be given up to allow another Individual/Totem to be taken). In the end there is probably also a redundancy cost as there will be numerous instances where "Inspiring" is not used or the affected unit as an alternative source.

Secondly, I can make my existing sources more mobile. My Foot shaman could be put on a mount for 15 points giving him an additional 6" of mobility to plug an "Inspiring" hole. This seems a rational choice (and would be my preferred option) but I love my foot model.

The third option is to accept that there will be circumstances where a unit is out of "Inspiring" range. The key with this is to know the probable outcome and know the impact of a unfortunate dice roll. If the whole game hinges on you surviving that combat and your opponent doesn't have to re-roll then probably better not to commit in the first place.

For me, I'm going to persevere with the two sources of "Inspiring" in my Herd and focus on tightening up my placement. This will hopefully hone my skills as a player. If after another 10-15 games I determine it is not working (i.e. it's beyond me) then I'll look at the more fundamental option of a list change.


  1. Inspiring (or lack thereof) can make or break a game. I never leave home without three sources, being not disciplined enough to get good coverage with only two.

  2. I feel your issue, I found myself using the shaman to BC my units at an early stage but in doing so he was out of inspiring range. Mounting him made him a target as he became height 2. As you say it comes down to placement and using them as any other unit thinking where you need them in advance (easier said than done!)