Kings of War: Charge Compendium

Kings of War: Charge Compendium

28th September 2021 in Tactics by Elliott Barratt

One of the most crucial elements of Kings of War 3rd edition is being able to get your units in position to successfully charge. In this article, we'll explore as many charge examples as possible. Note, more examples may be added as we find them!

Quick Links

The four charge conditions are the most important thing to assess when looking to perform a charge:

  • The Target Unit is within the Charging Unit's front arc.
  • The Charging Unit can draw Line of Sight from its Leader Point to any part of the Target Units base.
  • The distance between any point on the Charging Unit's FRONT FACING and the closest point on the Target Unit's base is less than or equal to the Charging Unit's Speed Stat X 2 (+ any Wild Charge).
  • There is enough room to physically place the Charging Unit into contact with the Target Unit using the Charge Movement rules.

The Charge Movement Rules are:

  • Move the Charging Unit into base contact with the Target Unit using the shortest route possible, pivoting up to 90 degrees (or 90 degrees twice with Nimble) using the smallest angles possible (0 if possible), ignoring (going straight over) Difficult and Obstacle terrain features, but going around blocking terrain and other units (including friendly units). The actual distance moved does not matter.
  • Align (pivot) the Charging Unit to the Target Unit's charged arc (Or vice versa if the Target Unit is an individual not currently engaged in combat) ensuring that once aligned the initial point of contact is still being contacted by the Charging Unit. Note, this doesn't mean "Pivot at the point of initial contact" so the Align stage can include a sideways move, as long as when finished aligning, the initial point of contact is still being touched.
  • Slide the Charging Unit sideways to maximise the area of contact of the Charging Unit with the Target Unit, ignoring (going straight over) Difficult and Obstacle terrain features. 
  • The Charging Unit and Target Unit are now engaged in combat.

Basic Charge

The most basic of charges is an un-hindered, open ground charge. In the below example, we can see the Charging Unit:

  • Has the Target Unit in its front arc.
  • Can draw line of sight to the Target Unit.
  • Is within Charge range measured from anywhere on its front arc to the Target Unit.
  • There is enough room to physically fit the Charging Unit.

Note here, the initial pivot is simply enough to get the correct angle to make initial contact in the Target Units front arc, since there is no blocking terrain or other units in the way. Hitting the corner is counted as hitting the arc the Charging Unit's leader point started within. 

Note: Corner to Corner charges are not allowed, so ensure the pivot is enough to avoid this.

Kings of War basic charge

Charge Around Blocking Terrain / Units

In the example below the brown box represents blocking terrain, or another unit on the battlefield. It's important to be able to spot the angles where you can get the Charging Unit around the corner of such terrain by using the included Charge Move pivot(s). 

Here we can see all four Charge Conditions are met before we execute the Charge Move, where upon the Charging Unit is pivoted just enough to make initial contact on the Target Units front arc. From there, the usual Charge Move steps are followed.

Note, in this example, the Target Units flank is protected by the blocking terrain / unit, where otherwise a flank may have been left open for charge previously.

Also bear in mind that the Charging Unit pivoted BEFORE moving - the rules state the Charge Movement should be done in the shortest, most direct route possible, therefor moving forwards before doing a pivot (in this case) would not be the more direct than a pivot and single straight line move. In reality, this is rarely a problem, but ensure you and your opponent don't use this to your advantage for moving around difficult terrain or obstacles.

kings of war charge around blocking terrain

The Charge Movement rules very clearly indicate the shuffle after alignment is to get the Leader Point facing directly opposite the centre of the target unit, or as close as possible to it. In the example below, we can see that even though the blocking terrain covers some of the Target Unit's front facing, the Charging Unit can still charge, but simply shuffle up to where the blocking terrain (or unit) stops them from moving further, so as to maximise the contact between bases, getting the Charging Unit's leader point as close as possible to the centre of the Target Unit's front face.

Again, the Charge Movement is done as the shortest, most direct route possible, so the pivot happens at the start. As long as the final position of the Charging Unit (and interpenetration along the way) does not interpenetrate a blocking terrain piece or unit, a valid charge can be made. This means even the smallest part of a Target Units facing can be charged, unless a true corner to corner charge.

Kings of war charge around offset blocking terrain

Blocking Terrain and Tall Units

Never forget that blocking terrain always has a defined height, most of the time being 1 + the actual height in inches. This means there are opportunities for valid charges when big beasties are afoot! Once again, if all four charge conditions are met - the most important one here being line of sight over the terrain - then go for it!

The red line of sight line represents what the Charging Unit would see if the Target Unit was less than or equal to Height 5. The charge could not go ahead. The green zone represents a now valid line of sight, because the Target Unit is in fact a Giant at Height 6! Always look out for monsters around and behind blocking terrain. 

A useful unit to position in this way would be a nimble unit, as they get the extra pivot to be able to get around the blocking terrian much more easily.

Kings of war charge around blocking with line of sight.

Basic Multi Charge

Multi charges are a crucial part of Kings of War. The main trick with pulling off successful multi charges is to recognise and process which units in the proposed multi charge need to move first to fit all Charging Units in (as with point 4 of the Charge Conditions).

In the below example, we can see two Charging Units of Infantry sized models performing a multi charge. The Charge Conditions must be met for all Charging Units in the multi charge. Once verified, then walk through each Charging Unit's Charge Movement rules until all proposed units are engaged. 

In the case below, the first Charging Unit didn't need to use either a pivot in the first Charge Movement step, nor was any alignment necessary - only a shuffle. This shuffle does not finish with the usual leader point to leader point, but shifted eastward so as to maximise the frontage each Charging Unit will have touching the Target Unit's base when finally engaged. Often with perpendicular charges it is clear the pivot during movement and alignment steps can be skipped, but if unsure or unclear, simply follow the Charge Movement steps individually. 

kings of war basic multi charge

Stacked Multi Charge

The stacked multi charge is a common way to use chaff units to screen hammer units up into melee combat. 

In this example, the only way Line of Sight can be drawn by both Charging Units is that the smaller, screening Charging Unit is also shorter, height wise. This means the larger, height 3 Charging Unit can draw line-of-sight to the Target Unit. If both Charging Units were the same height as the Target Unit, this would not be possible. 

Note the order of operations - the screening Charging Unit has to charge first and shuffle over to provide enough access to the Target Unit's front arc. With that shuffle complete, the height 3 Charging Unit can then use it's Charge Movement pivot to make an initial contact with the Target Unit's front arc, and proceed as normal with the multi charge.

Kings of war stacked multi charge

Multi Arc Multi Charge

The Charge Movement rules very clearly indicate the shuffle after alignment is to get the Leader Point facing directly opposite the centre of the target unit, or as close as possible to it. This means it is perfectly acceptable for units to be offset but still engaged in combat after a successful charge move. This is what makes Multi Charges work in the first place, but it also has the effect that you can surround smaller bases by charging different Target Unit arcs, as long as the final position of the Charging Unit is not interpenetrating another unit or blocking terrain.

Conversely, this also means that an opponent only needs to be able to see / charge a small portion of your units arc facing!

Take this poor monster in the example below. The three Charging Units are able to surround the Target Unit on three sides by taking advantage of the offset in their final position and a cheeky pivot. No Charge Conditions are violated, and all Charge Movement rules are also adhered to.

Kings of war multi arc multi charge

Smaller Base Multi Charge

Sometimes the combined base frontage of two or more CHarging Units is still smaller than the front facing of the Target Unit. In this case, treat the final position so as to have an even space either side of the combined Charging Units in their final position. 

Note the shuffle step on the first Charging Unit already compensates for that by not moving fully over, or being directly centered on the Target Unit before the Monster Charging Unit completes it's Charge Movement. Be careful here, as with all multi charges, you may find moving one or the other Charging Unit first prevents a multi charge.

Kings of war smaller base multi charge

Basic Nimble Charge

Nimble units get an extra up-to-90-degree pivot in ANY move order, including a charge. This means nimble units can pivot twice to get around intervening units or blocking terrain (height and line of sight withstanding). If you spot a gap between a screening chaff unit and a stronger unit behind that, and it's enough to fit the Charging Unit, as long as the Charge Conditions are all met, you're good to go!

Remember, as the rules state, the actual distance moved doesn't matter in the Charge Movement stages. If the angles and unit base sizes are right, you can also use the free withdraw 1 inch if starting engaged with the chaff unit.

Kings of war basic nimble charge

Withdraw and Charge

One thing many a newbie gets caught by is the status of "engaged" in combat, and that it is a common mistake to believe units are stuck together once in combat.

In fact, the rules specifically allow a free 1 inch Withdraw move if an activated unit is currently engaged. Be used to having this tool in your back pocket - it can open a few different opportunities to charge units that look protected!

In the example below, we can see that the Charging Unit has space just enough to do the following:

  • Withdraw 1 inch away from the previous combat.
  • Find itself in the flank of the east most Target Unit, and that same unit is just inside the Charging Unit's front arc (along with line of sight).
  • The gap in between the two Target Units is big enough to eventually fit the Charging Unit, so all Charge Conditions are met.
  • Pivot enough to contact the east most Target Unit without going through the west most Target Unit. 
  • Finish the charge as normal using the Charge Movement rules.

Kings of war withdraw and charge

Withdraw and Flank Surge Charge

Shambling units can sometimes pull off a flank charge from a previously engaged combat, preovided a few conditions:

  • Shambling unit has enough movement to sidestep such that their leader point ends up in the Target Unit's flank arc.
  • Shambling unit must also be Nimble.

In the example below, we see a Shambling Unit takes its free 1 inch withdraw move, before being issued a sidestep of 3 inches (normal movement 6 inches). Crucially, the unit has been given Nimble via the Wine of Elvenkind and so can include a pivot within the sidestep movement order. This pivot ensures the following Surge hits the corner and ONLY the corner.

In the Surge rules, it states that whenever a corner is hit (and ONLY a corner), then the facing that is subsequently charged is the one the Surged Unit's leader point was within before the Surge. In this case, the sidestep ensured the Surging Unit's Leader Point was in the Target Unit's flank arc before being Surged. The pivot is necessary as if the Surged Unit was surged hitting the front arc "flush", this would count as a front charge. It's ONLY if a corner is hit on its own, that the Leader Point position is taken into account. 

kings of war withdraw and flank surge charge

Multi Counter Charge

It is often possible to bring another unit into an existing combat by declaring a multi-charge. The Charging Unit currently engaged receives a simple Count Charge movement order, with the only difference being that it shuffles to allow room for the newly Charging Unit.

Note: At the point of declaring the Multi Charge, all units must still have line of sight. In the example below, the southward Charging Unit can draw line of sight around the currently engaged Charging Unit and so the Multi Charge is valid. If the southward Charging Unit or the Target Unit had a greater height than the intervening Charging Unit, then this is not an issue (yet another reason why chaff, low height units are useful!).

From here, the usual Charge Movement rules apply, and are followed to finalise the Multi Charge positions. To work out which way the already engaged Charging Unit slides, use the normal relative-leader-point position rule from the normal multi charge rules.

kings of war counter charge multi charge

Basic Hindered Charge

Charges ignore any difficult or obstacle terrain for the purposes of finding the shortest and most direct route to the Target Unit, by going straight over them. When this happens (for none-flying units), the charge becomes Hindered for the Charging Unit, giving them -1 to hit. 

In the example below, the Target Unit's leader point is within the difficult terrain, and therefor line of sight can be drawn by the Charging Unit to the Target Unit. The Charging Unit passes through the difficult terrain, making the Charge Hindered. 

Remember, COUNTER CHARGES ARE NEVER HINDERED, ONLY NORMAL CHARGES. 

If the positions were flipped - i.e. the Charging Unit started in difficult terrain, and charged a unit outside of that difficult terrain, the charge would still be hindered as the Charging Unit has still moved through difficult terrain at some point on the Charge Movement.

kings of war basic hindered charge

To drive the point home, consider the example below - the Align stage of the Charge Movement rules, and the Charging Units final position means the charge has passed through difficult terrain, if only slightly. It's still enough to cause a Hindered charge. Also note here, it's a good tactic as the Target Unit to dip a toe into difficult terrain if possible for this exact reason - charges of the same base size or greater will be hindered against you!

kings of war protected hindered charge

A valid tactic - if you know you're going to be charged - is to line up behind an obstacle. Like the difficult terrain examples above, charges across obstacles are also hindered.

kings of war charge over obstacle

Pathfinder and Strider

A mitigation to hindered charges are the Pathfinder and Strider special rules, both of which can be bought as magical artefacts for a unit. However, remember the difference:

  • Pathfinder ignores all DIFFICULT terrain in a movement order, including charges (therefor charges through difficult terrain are not hindered). This applies for the whole game. 
  • Strider ignores both DIFFICULT and OBSTACLE terrain, as a one use magical item on a single Charge movement order during the game. Some units, like Giants etc, often have Strider as standard - this applies for the whole game as it's an innate special rule for that unit. 

Charge an Individual

When charging an individual, remember that the Individual aligns to the charging unit. Also remember, this alignment can include a sideways move, as long as the inital point of contact is still touching after the align. There is still a debate as to what happens if the individual cannot align even after picking up and placing, but growing opinion is that only in that situation would the Charging Unit align. Note, there is currently no official ruling on this specific scenario, so it's advised to be a roll off if contentious.

Charging an Individual in open ground on their own is the same as a normal charge - the only difference being the Individual aligns. The Charging Unit still shuffles to complete the movement steps.

Below is an example where an Individual cav model is being charged - note the alignment HAS to use a sideways move during the "pick up and place" - this is valid, and there is nothing in the rules for Individuals that prevent this. 

kings of war charging an individual

Yielding Charge

Units with the Individual rule are yielding which means they do not stop movement from any movement order (or the Move step of the Charge Movement rules) as long as the final position of the moving unit is clear of the individuals base. Note, disordered units CANNOT move through yielding individuals.

The example below shows a Charging Unit whose only option is to go through the individual in front of the Target Unit. In this case, since that individual is Yielding and not Mighty, and the Charging Unit is not disordered, it's perfectly legal to perform the move step of the Charge Movement rules through the individual as the final position of that move is clear of the individual's base.

Also note the alignment takes advantage of a slight shift westwards, which again is permitted as the initial point of contact is still being touched when the alignment is finished. From there, the Charging Unit shuffles as usual.

If the individual was closer to the Target Unit, it could have prevented a charge on the Target Unit as there wouldn't be enough room for the Charging Unit's move step of the Charge Movement rules to end clear of the individual's base. A good tactic is using individuals for this purpose, as they can more easily get out of the way when the friendly unit behind them wants to charge something, and they don't block line of sight!

kings of war charge through yielding

Advanced Charge Concepts

Brinton Williams over at Dash 28 has written a great article that goes into detail about some of the more advanced charge moves. Read You Can Do That? Kings of War Gotcha Moves and How to Prevent Them here.