Kings of War Starter Set: War in the Holds

Kings of War Starter Set: War in the Holds

29th August 2021 in Hobby by Elliott Barratt

How to get started playing Kings of War

This article attempts to provide everything you need to know to purchase and enjoy your War in the Holds starter set from Mantic games, for Kings of War. Below you will find links to other resources, and other Tactical Wargames World articles, some of which have not yet been written - fear not! We add content weekly, so check back to see the final version in weeks to come.

Quick Links

Kings of War?

Kings of War is a  table-top, rank-and-flank fantasy wargame played with units of miniatures (that you assemble and paint yourself), dice and a measuring device. With a simple to learn / hard to master ruleset and recent advances in paint technology, it's never been easier or quicker to get into this awesome game and it's growing popularity globally means you're never too far from a game. 

War in the Holds?

The War in the Holds boxed set contains two complete armies - Goblins and Ratkin. Specifically, the box includes:

  • 40 hard plastic Goblin Infantry
  • 40 hard plastic Ratkin Infantry
  • Exclusive resin Goblin Wiz
  • Exclusive resin Ratkin Warlock
  • 3 PVC plastic Trolls
  • 1 PVC plastic Ratkin Night Terror
  • Gamer’s Edition Rulebook (softcover)
  • Getting started guide

What do you need to play Kings of War?

Before you'll get to play your first game, there's a few things you'll need to aquire and do:

  1. Buy some glue, paints and brushes. 

    The models are supplied unassembled and unpainted, which is half of the enjoyment of the hobby!

    For glue, we reccomend Revell Contacta Professional and a super glue (Gorilla is good!) of your choice for the resin parts (contact cement does not adhere resin!).



    For paints, we currently recommend Games Workshop Undercoat, Contrast and Base paints - these are easily available, and just a few colours will be sufficient for most of your army and last a very long time. For a full paint list, view the painting guide videos:

    How to Paint Goblin Infantry (Paint This!)
    How to Paint a Ratkin Warrior (Paint This!)

    For brushes, we recommend buying a larger brush to apply most Contrast paints, such as a Games Workshop Medium Base brush, and a smaller brush for the detail, such as an Artmaster size 0 brush.

  2. Buy some Dice

    You'll need 20 or so six sided dice (D6). Consider buying some smaller ones too that you can use to show how many wounds a unit has taken.

  3. Grab some movement trays

    Though not strictly necessary, you will probably want to invest in some movement trays for your troops. Luckily, The Laser Shack has a range of trays that are exactly sized for every unit in the game.

    The Goblin Army will need 2 X 20mm 20mm 5x4 Close Rank (Infantry Regiment) trays and a single 40mm 3x1 Close Rank (Large Infantry Regiment) tray.
    The Ratkin Army will need 2 X 20mm 20mm 5x4 Close Rank (Infantry Regiment) trays.

  4. Buy / Aquire a Measurement Device and Game Aids

    Finally, the last thing you'll need is something to measure distances in the game. A tape measure of any kind is perfect for measuring long distances, and Movement Gauges (Such as those made by The Laser Shack) are suited well for moving units around the table. 

    Many manufacturers also make token sets to denote Unit Status, and angle measures - don't worry though, these are only "nice-to-haves" and are absolutely not needed to play the game.

Step 1. Build, Build, Build!

In Kings of War, often sprues come with two or more options that correspond to unit choices in the army list. Luckily, due to the way the rules work - focussing on unit footprint rather than individual models - we can have our cake and eat it by building units of mixed model option types. In other wargames it is often hard to know which option to build when starting out, but with Kings of War that worry doesn't exist!

Just make sure when playing a game your opponent knows exactly what unit options you have chosen!

Single Bases Vs Multi Basing

Be sure to read the section "UNIT FOOTPRINTS, MOVEMENT TRAYS & MULTI-BASES" in the rulebook for information on Unit Sizes. 

In Kings of War, the individual models within a unit are simple representations of the creatures within it, and the exact number isn't too important. Mantic provide guidelines on how many models should make up a unit type in the rulebook, but as a general rule, try to stick between 75% - 100% of the full unit capacity. Added to that, models are not removed as that unti takes damage. Instead, wounds are tracked using dice or wound counters. Indeed, there are situations where units might take more damage than their model count!

It's your choice then, to decide whether or not to have each individual model in a unit have it's own base (for example, a 20mm square base for the infantry units), or to stick all of the models to a single footprint piece. 

Advantages of Multi Basing:

  • Easier to carry units to games.
  • footprint can be a mini diorama.
  • The footprint can be sized to exactly the dimension of the unit.

Disadvantages of Multi Basing:

  • Models are stuck to a base, so the unit is more difficult to modify.
  • Resizing units takes some forethought. (See below).

In general, we recommend multi-basing. Only having to transport 10 or so pieces of army instead of hundreds is worth it alone!

Ratkin

There are two types of Ratkin infantry we could build with the 40 included models in the boxed set: Warriors or Spear Warriors. On the sprue, the Warriors use the swords, whilst the Spear Warriors use the...spears! Here's what we reccomend: build 20 of each.

When it comes to multi basing, we can then do the following: 

  • Stick 8 - 10 of the Ratkin Warriors to two Troop sized footprints. If you bought the Regiment tray from Laser Shack, simply cut the footprint piece across the middle from side to side using the engraved line as a guide. 
  • Likewise, do the same with the Ratkin Spear Warriors

You should be left with 4 footprints of 8 - 10 models each. Now, using the Laser Shack movement trays (or any correctly sized tray), you can configure the units in any of the following ways:

  • 1 Regiment of Warriors + 1 Regiment of Spear Warriors.
  • 2 Regiments of Warriors (Combine 1 Troop of Warriors and 1 Troop of Spear Warriors, with the normal Warriors at the front).
  • 2 Regiments of Spear Warriors (Combine 1 Troop of Warriors and 1 Troop of Spear Warriors, with the Spear Warriors at the front).

After that, assemble your Night Terror and Warlock - there's only one way to do that!

Goblins

There are three types of Goblin infantry we could build with the 40 included models in the boxed set: Spitters, Rabble or Sharpsticks. On the sprue, the Spitters use the bows, Rabble use the swords and clubs, whilst the Sharpsticks use the spears! Here's what we reccomend: build 20 Spitters, 10 Rabble and 10 Sharpsticks.

When it comes to multi basing, we can then do the following: 

  • Stick 8 - 10 of the Rabble to a Troop sized footprint. If you bought the Regiment tray from Laser Shack, simply cut the footprint piece across the middle from side to side using the engraved line as a guide. 
  • Stick 8 - 10 of the Sharpsticks to a Troop sized footprint.
  • Stick 8 - 10 of the Spitters to two Troop sized footprints.

You should be left with 4 footprints of 8 - 10 models each. Now, using the Laser Shack movement trays (or any correctly sized tray), you can configure the units in any of the following ways:

  • 1 Regiment of Spitters + 1 Regiment of Rabble (Combine 1 Troop of Rabble and 1 Troop of Sharpsticks, with the Rabble at the front).
  • 1 Regiment of Spitters + 1 Regiment of Sharpsticks (Combine 1 Troop of Rabble and 1 Troop of Sharpsticks, with the Sharpsticks at the front).

After that, assemble your Trolls and Wiz - there's only one way to do that!

Step 2. Paint This!

Now you've assembled your Goblin and Ratkin armies, you'll want to slap on some colours to bring them to life on the battlefield! Handily, we've created to guides on how to do exactly that:

Step 3. Muster your Forces

With your armies built, painted (well, some are... :D ) we're ready to play our first games. To do this you'll need to create an Army List for each faction - this can be done easily, and for free with KoWBuild, TWW's very own (and the best) Kings of War list builder.

There are starter lists in the Getting Started booklet in the War in the Holds set...

Alternatively, we've created the following lists to try out from the official army lists:

Goblins

The Goblins are generally weaker (lower defense) but make up for it with extra Magic and Magical Items. The Wiz has 3 spells to choose from per turn, and both the Spitters and Sharpsticks have an additional one-use item they can use in the game.

Ratkin

The Ratkin rely on fast moving, tougher Melee units, at the expense of any additional Magic or Magical Items. The Night Terror moves extremely fast and can provide early-game nuisance to your enemy!

Step 5. Play!

All previous steps have lead to this glorious moment of battle! Here's some tips for your first few games:

  • Play on a 4 foot by 4 foot battlefield - when you expand your forces, use a 6 foot by 4 foot battlefield for anything above 1000 points per army.
  • Don't worry about all the rules - if it's unclear what you should do in a given situation, just roll a D6! On a 1 - 3 YOU decide, on a 4 - 6 YOUR OPPONENT decides. 
  • Take your time - follow the battle round phases as described in the rulebook, activating one unit at a time methodically. You'll start to get the rythm of it within a few turns.
  • Expect your units to rout - Kings of War is a brutal and fast wargame, and most units won't survive past turn two, let alone the end of the game. Don't be put off by this, that's how it's supposed to work! The tactics around Kings of War are mostly about movement and getting the right units to face off to last the longest / do the most damage. Luckily your physical models will survive to fight another day.

To see some demo games being played using the War in the Holds set, view our Battle Reports:

Here's some more great battle reports to get you going:

Step 6. Reinforcements!

Now you've got the basics, played some games and got some rout's under your belt, it's time to expand your forces. Well happily Tactical Wargames World and the Kings of War community at large are here to help:

Take a look at our repository of links for Kings of War army specific Facebook Pages and other great resources

Heck, if you live in the UK and are anywhere in / around the midlands, why not come down to the Telford and Midlands Wargames Society club?