Kings of War: Vanguard – what is Fatigue?

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 explaining how Fatigue works.

By now we hope you’re getting a good idea of how Vanguard will play, what with the cards, power dice and the general theme. The overall aim was to create a fast, brutal and action-packed skirmish game with room for campaign play and links to larger games of Kings of War. Today we’ll focus on that fast and action-packed element of the rules!

From the start of development on Vanguard we liked the idea of having some kind of ‘fatigue’ mechanic. In other words, we wanted to create a rule where characters could push themselves a little more in order to perform one last action before they collapse in a heap due to exhaustion.

Initially we had a concept for each model to be given command points and each unit would have a limit to the amount of command points they could be given. If you went over this amount, then the character would become fatigued and you could only give them one command in the next turn. However, it quickly became clear that command points were a little fiddly and didn’t bring much to the game.

After dropping the command points, we looked at the Deadzone mechanic of short and long actions. Each model can be given two short actions or one long action. This was a much simpler way to handle activations and ensures you don’t require lots of tokens to indicate the number of command points a unit has been given. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Kings of War Vanguard


It also made the fatigue system much easier to handle because now characters could be given an extra short action after they’ve performed their two short actions or one long action. If you choose to perform the extra short action, it will then fatigue the model and during the next turn you can only perform a short action.

As a result there’s a fantastic sense of risk versus reward because you can really push your characters to the limit (often in the hope that you’ll capture that objective or take out a key enemy) but next turn you could be hampered. Thankfully you can clear fatigue at the end of the turn by using the Power Dice but that means you’ll need to keep some power in reserve just in case, and can’t use it for extra dice in combat rolls or special abilities.

Fatigue also allows us to have some fun with other elements of the game too and here are a few examples:

  1. The Dwarf’s special warband ability is Headstrong, which allows them to clear Fatigue at the start of their activation on a 6+, so you don’t have to spend power to clear Fatigue… although it’s not guaranteed
  2. The Goblin’s special warband ability is Flee!, which allows them to run away from combat if they haven’t already been activated but they will be Fatigued afterwards. This costs one power, however so you’ll need to choose carefully when you want to run away screaming
  3. Some spells or special abilities will fatigue an enemy model

Finally, it’s worth noting that while models can be given a fatigue action as part of their normal activation for free, it is possible to return to a model that has already been activated later in the turn and spend power to fatigue them. Again, this helps to create the chaos of combat and keeps your enemy on their toes because you can never quite be sure if a model has completely finished activating.

So, there you have the basics of fatigue. Will you be pushing your heroes to the limit?


  1. Looking good so far and is feeling like a Deadzone +, but please please please proof read, a lot of little errors in the promotion/ blogs so far (rick versus reward) that do not install a lot of faith and are just careless and amateur.

    • Rick versus reward was corrected but WordPress didn’t update. It has been amended now.

    • 🙂 Did you see the one on your FB link from here as you have Vanugard on that one. I love (and have) all the Mantic games (Except Walking Dead) so please just a little more time proof reading and double checking before pressing submit as it really doesnt look good and wont inspire trust in new players

    • “rick versus reward” sounds like a Rickrolling mini game.

  2. I would advocate changing the number of wounds on a multi-wound character card from a numeric to pips or similar so that wounds can be marked off on a sleeved card with a dry wipe pen. This is a huge advantage in managing the paperwork and keeps the tokens on the board to a minimum.

  3. I’m really looking forward to this game. I really hope that Rhordia is not side lines this time, I’d love a warband with Halflings.

  4. Really like what I’m reading so far. Looking forward to the alpha rules! This may be the ticket to getting a few people I know into the Mantic fold.

  5. Patrick Lefèvre October 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I wonder what the special rule for the Orcs will be……
    Hopefully something brutal and smashy <3

  6. Judging by art, possible starter (?) will be about Basileans and Night Stalkers(?), am I right?

    • That is my guess as well.
      It would be awesome as Basileans need new miniatures, that line has some really fugly models. Night Stalkers would just be icing on the cake at that point.

  7. PLEASE make the figures out of good/hard plastic. Not cheaper crappy plastic. so they can be painted easier and used in KoW armies too.

  8. She also look like mags from Varangur

  9. Have you considered something from Zombiecide, and giving characters a specific free, non-fatiguing short action they can perform; like an Orc Warlord getting a free Close Combat Action, or an Elf Ranger getting a free Shooting Attack?

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