Tuesday, March 28, 2017

KOW - The Importance of Scenarios

In 2014 I captained the New Zealand WHFB team at the ETC. I played Skaven using a Screaming Bell list. Because we took it seriously - 48 hours travel and a US$3000 cost will do do that for you - I did an enormous amount of preparation. I played that list to death for about 2.5 years (eighteen months prior to selection, then 12 months of ETC hammer). It pretty much killed my love for the hobby for about a year afterwards.

I could walk to a table and know how the game would play. The army was designed to blunt all the best choices other participants had especially the heavy hitter Dark Elves and Daemons which teams used to score their points. It got to the stage whereby unless my opponent had a Level Four Life Mage (specifically with Dwellers Below), I knew I wouldn't drop more than one point and likely would eke out a 2-3 point win. At ETC including warmup games it played out exactly that way - 9 games, 5 wins (4x 12 points, 1x 13 points), 4 draws. God, it was soul destroying but in the team environment you all have a role.

Here We Play The Home Grown Scenario "King of the Cat" - An Objective-based Mission Based on How Tired He Was!

Part of this was the nature of tournament Warhammer, and ETC in particular. A lot of TOs and certainly the ETC only played Battleline (or in KOW parlance - Kill). This gave you a limited set of objectives - deny your opponents' points and retain the ability to kill 2-3 of your enemy's units.

This is a long winded introduction into why scenarios are so important.

Scenarios take the game from a single or limited focus to one where you have to have the ability to achieve multiple objectives while denying your opponent the same. A well constructed set of scenarios will require different strengths at different times and acts as a factor in list construction disadvantaging armies that can only do one thing. It is in effect a form of stealth comp!
Moving into 2017, the new COK book gives us 12 scenarios. Generally they fall into three key areas:
  • Get something
  • Hold something or somewhere
  • Go somewhere
I personally think Kill was a valid inclusion in a list of 12 as its focus was "Destroy something" which would have added a fourth "skill" required in construction of your list.

More importantly the variation of having 12 different missions will keep the game "fresh".

When I got into GW games it was with 40k 3rd Edition. By the end of that edition our local gaming group had a collection of 50+ different tournament missions that we had collected playing in events. They all offered different challenges and therefore keep things fresh.

Even the ETC has seen this need now ensuring Ninth Age has some variation in scenario (differing deployment/objectives) albeit baby steps.

A lot of focus when people play a game is on the balance aspects. This is critically important but just as important for the health of the game is replayability. The lack of replayability can suck the life out of your hobby - as I found. I am glad Mantic is conscious of this and encourages it by the release of books such as COK 2017. Different challenges be it meta changes, new items and spells are what will keep people interested in the game. New and different scenarios are a key way of achieving this.


  1. I think that the scenarios are a major reason why my combat Dwarf army is as viable as it is. In Warhammer, even with the scenarios (what were they again, it's been so long?), an army of slow-move infantry had no hope of getting anywhere, and was generally ignored, flanked and smashed or both.

    The KOW scenarios in large part require your opponent to commit; less so with Pillage and Kill, but certainly with Invade, Dominate, Control and Loot. I'm really enjoying not having to sit on the table-edge and hope to artillery my way to victory. The scenarios lead to actual battles across the table, and it's a lot more fun than 8th ever was. Has anyone ever had a corner-to-corner, 10-10 draw in 10 minutes style game in KoW?

    So yes, the scenarios are good, but more importantly, the type of scenarios we have, where generally the forces have to close in on one another, is great.

    1. Yeah 8th was tough with dwarfs. Having fun in 9th with them though, they are a lot faster and the scenarios help.

  2. Thx for your blog. I read it at diary but don´t usually comment anything,I expect your are all right with the cyclone "debbie" and all go fine.

    1. Thanks for your concern Oscar. We are all fine down here. Cyclone Debbie was quite a long way away from New Zealand. It hurt the coast of North East Australia badly though.