An introduction to Kings of War: Vanguard

Kings of War Vanguard

Kings of War: Vanguard will be launching on Kickstarter soon. Throughout this week, we’ll be exploring the game in more detail and giving you a taste of the rules. In today’s blog, we’re looking at the background behind the game.

Mantica is a world ravaged by war, a constant fight for land and resources, or prestige and power. The borders of countries wax and wane like the phases of the moon. The sound of mighty armies marching to war echoes throughout the land.

But wars can be won before the first arrows have been fired, or sword has smashed against sword. Small warbands of hardened warriors clash in desperate struggles to gain the tactical advantage before the battle lines are drawn. These are the bloody skirmishes before the war, where warriors become legends.

That’s the ‘fluffy’ introduction to Vanguard, however, it took us a while to come up with that concept! A Kings of War skirmish game is something that people have been asking for and talking about for a while. The problem was, we didn’t just want to set it in an abandoned city (or similar), as that’s something that’s been covered in numerous other games.

Instead we wanted something that would compliment our existing Kings of War range and also provide a starting point for those looking to start their own Kings of War army. So during a long drive to Belgium last year for Crisis, we began discussing an idea centred round the scouting parties sent out ahead of the main force.

We particularly liked this idea as they’re likely to be some of the most skilled warriors, along with a few supporting troops, rather than the more typical rank and flank. As a result, the warband would contain a grizzled sergeant or veteran captain, alongside specialists like magic users and saboteurs. Their mission would be to scout ahead of the main force in order to capture tactical locations, disrupt supply lines or even take prisoners, etc.

The more we discussed the idea of the scouting parties, the more obvious it became that we could generate some fun scenarios based around this core concept, e.g. objectives might be beacons that need to be lit or you might need to assassinate a key enemy ahead of the main battle. We’re also still thinking of potential scenarios, so if you’ve got some ideas let us know in the comments below!

Kings of War Vanguard


It was also clear how these battles could feed into larger games of Kings of War too. So if you play a game of Vanguard in which the objective is to light beacons to show the way, in Kings of War you’ll be able to deploy your troops in a more advantageous position. Likewise, the scenarios can go the other way too, so you start with a big battle and then play a game of Vanguard in which you loot the corpses. Of course, Vanguard can be played independently of Kings of War and there will be a full campaign mode that we’ll detail later this week.

Another beauty of setting the game around the scouting parties is it gives a reason for all armies to get involved! It isn’t just a Basilean city that some forces would want to ransack. Instead, as mentioned earlier, Mantica is a little like medieval Europe with battles happening almost constantly. This means there’s always going to be a reason to send out those warbands for a bloody good scrap!

What’s more, we were conscious that a lot of people have multi-based their armies for KoW so the warbands idea is perfect because it focuses on individuals. These can then become the heroes/unit champions in your Kings of War armies too and, because the poses/sculpts will be extremely dynamic, they’ll add plenty of character to your army. There will be a small number of troops used in Vanguard, however these will be optional.

On that note, it’s worth mentioning that Vanguard will use square bases. Again, we wanted to make sure that Vanguard miniatures could easily crossover into Kings of War or even Dungeon Saga, so it made sense to have them on the same bases. It also makes it much easier for rules such as attacking miniatures from behind, as there’s a clear facing with a square base.

In the next blog, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Vanguard stat cards and what they mean for your character.


  1. George Adsett-Knutsen October 16, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Scenario suggestion; Breach the walls! A small band of specialists to work towards a castle to undermine it. whilst evading sentries…of course you’ll then have to write Seige rules ;oD

  2. Scenario suggestion: Free the Prisoners of War

    After losing a KoW battle some of your troops are taken captive. Lead a warband to free them frok their captors!

  3. Capture the flag:
    Attacker, get the enemy flag and get it back to your base (off the board via your deployment). Defender, protect the flag.
    Attacker wins: enemy halves inspiring distance in KoW
    Defender wins: inspiring distance is doubled in KoW

    Escort the Payload:
    Attacker: Push the payload
    Defender: Stop the payload
    Attacker wins: Gain an allied netural Red Gobblin Blaster in additon to your list in KoW
    Defender wins: Mine any one piece of terrain (not in a deployment zone) in KoW, with the captured Wagon of Explosives (take a photo before the game begins on your phone to mark the terrain piece)

    Capture the Princess
    Attacker: Capture a NPC who can’t fight back
    Defender: Protect the NPC
    Attacker wins: Gain a rallying (-2) for the enemy only princess who can be added to any unit as a hostage for free in KoW
    Defender wins: Gain a rallying (2) princess in KoW

    Eliminate the Enemy Leader (could also be played for warmachine(s) or sleeping monster(s))
    Attacker: Kill the Enemy Leader
    Defender: Protect your leader
    Attacker Wins: Enemy losses ONE Hero(Inf), Hero(Mon) or Hero(Cav) SLOT in KoW
    Defender Wins: Gain ONE extra free Hero(Inf), Hero(Mon) or Hero(Cav) SLOT in KoW

    Burn the Camp
    Attacker: Get to the tents and set them on fire with the enemy inside
    Defender: Stop them or kill them. Raise the alarm to gain reinforcements from unburnt tents within Ronnie the Bard range.
    Attacker Wins: Set up 1 enemy unit in KoW per tent burnt
    Defender Wins: Gain Ronnie the Bard with Rallying (2)

    Kill them All
    Kill eachother (learn to play scenario)
    Loser loses points from the their KoW army.

    Steal the Gold (Learn to play scenario 2)
    Attacker: Loot some chests
    Defender: Stop them or kill them
    Attacker Wins:Gain VPs equal to each gold token stolen. Ie you play Loot in KoW next. You would have lost 3 – 2 but you stole 2 gold in Vanguard so now you win 4 – 3.
    Defender Wins: Gain extra points to be used as reinforcements, which can be moved on from your board edge from Turn 3 onwards

    King of the Hill (Learn to play 3)
    Hold terrain pieces
    Gain victory points equal terrain held.
    Winner and Loser: In KoW place those pieces of terrain either your deployment zone or no mans land before the game begins

    Spook the horses
    Attacker: Get the the stable, spook the horses
    Defender: Stop them
    Attack Wins: Enemy can’t take non shambling cavalry in KoW
    Defender Wins: Cavalry gain Thuderous Charge (1)

    Steal the Enemy Plans while they sleep:
    Attacker get in, loot some chests until you find the battle plan without rasing the alarm. Defender sound the alarm.
    Attacker wins: Attacker moves D3 + 2 terrain pieces in KoW
    Defender wins: Defender sets up D3 + 2 enemy units in KoW who were caught unawares when the alarm was sounded

    Light the Becons: Call for reinforcements
    Attacker: Light bonfires around the map
    Defender: Stop them or put them out
    Attacker Wins: Gain Vanguard on one unit in KoW for each fire lit
    Defender Wins: Enemy deployment is reduced from 12″ to 6″

  4. Vanguard ‘mob’ suggestion: ‘Pistols lot’. Fed up with being a serving soldier, Pistol slopes away to steal. Teaming up with deserters from other armies (giving an excuse to mix up forces), Pistols lot are a neutral disruptor to any battlefield, looting corpses, waylaying merchants, stealing from civilians etc. Pistols lot could be played by a third player to disrupt one or both of the regular vanguard forces, resulting in both sides gaining a win by inadvertently achieving the objective of one or the other side, or causing both regular forces to incur a loss.

  5. I have watched many gameplay sessions of Malifaux and love the idea of a possible Kings of War unit based Malifaux. Obviously it’ll be it’s own game, but maybe you can borrow some of the elements of Malifaux; would be super awesome.

  6. Please, oh please – release male vampire that’s not looking like Bela Lugosi in Dracula. Can’t wait for the kickstarter!

  7. *looks at GW releasing Shadespire*
    *looks at Mantic saying it took a while to come up with literally the exact same concept*

    • Just as a point of reference, the link to this blog post was 2 entries down on my Facebook feed from the pre-order announcement for Shadespire.

    • just to say, Mantic tell they’re thinking about a skirmish fantasy game LAST YEAR.

    • Patrick Lefèvre October 16, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Isn’t Shadespire a boardgame?

    • *looks at copy of Storm of Sigmar on gaming table*

    • well shadespire himself is just GW saying “look look mordheim is back … somewhat and smaller”.

      Mantic game have a lot of GW veteran in its rank and mordheim has durably marked the skyrmish market so there is nothing surprising about fantasy skyrmish and the setting of vanguard is pretty original when shadespire really seems like mordheim for AoS.

  8. I hope this will also be compatible with KOW Historical. So many raiding ideas with that from capturing a roman eagle to killing a mythical beast

  9. Yay more kickstarter ………………..

  10. Peter Fontebasso October 17, 2017 at 12:31 am

    Would be great if there are rules and a Kickstarter option to build a mercenary unit made up of different races instead of just based on the existing army range. EG: A mercenary unit of made up of some humans, elves, dwarfs, maybe even a orge or ork for muscle.

  11. The ability to play game with two, three or more parties in play – ie multiplayerall trying to loot the waggons, or bodies, or clean out the mine

  12. Looking forward to this! Go Mantic! …and I love missions in the woods. Maybe some new spider models? 🙂

  13. Really hoping for multiplayer gameplay (more than 2 players). Variants for 3-6 players would be great!!

  14. How about protect or poison the well the army will need to cross the land. Also stealing a defended supply wagon for your side. Rescue a spy thats being taken to the opposing army for torch…. um I mean questioning. The group could also have to attack key points on a bridge to try to set it ablaze. Hope this gives you a few ideas :)!

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