Kings of War Armada is a ship wargame by Mantic Games, set in their fantasy Kings of War setting in the world of Pannithor. There are several new releases planned for Wave 2 of Kings of War Armada, so we caught up with Matt Gilbert, studio manager and designer of Armada, and Chris Cowburn from the Armada Rules Committee and Lead Playtester for this upcoming wave.
TechRaptor: Welcome back to TechRaptor. Kings of War Armada’s releases have been going strong, and there are currently four factions with the ships detailed in the core rulebook. There’s a new faction, supplement, and flyers for all factions coming soon and we’d like to chat about each of those.
Firstly though, the next faction to be released for Armada are the Twilight Kin. What can you tell us about them and their ships and how will they play on the tabletop?
Chris Cowburn: If Orcs are a hammer, the Twilight Kin are a scalpel, relying on their close weapons to soften up enemy ships before initiating a boarding action to finish the job. Trying to outrun the Twilight Kin fleet is also futile, the Elven Artisans have designed barbed harpoons to enable the Twilight Kin to initiate boarding actions against ships traveling at full speed. Nothing will come between the Twilight Kin and their prize.
The Assassin is the workhorse of the fleet and is unique in that it will be trying to keep the enemy ship firmly in its front arc, rather than a broadside, where it will unleash a devastating salvo with its bow guns. The Twilight Kin have brought their Nightstalker Allies to the high seas, whether it's the Banshee ship that uses their Wail ability to disrupt enemy crew, or using a Void Cage to summon Reapers directly onto enemy ships.
The Twilight Kin sail under the protection of a Shroud, hiding their approach and protecting them from long-range attacks until it is too late for the enemy.
TR: Are the Twilight Kin releases going to follow a similar pattern as the others, with a Starter Fleet, Booster Fleet, and XL ship?
Matt Gilbert: Yes they will. They get a Starter and Booster just like the previous fleets, as well as an additional Large ship and their fliers. Unlike the existing fleets, however, it all comes out together.
TR: The upcoming supplement Seas Aflame is also coming alongside the Twilight Kin, what will it contain, and will any other new factions be included?
MG: The supplement introduces fliers to the game, giving the rules for how they can be selected and how they operate in a game. We also have rules for fortifications, campaigns, and 10 brand new scenarios. Like the core rulebook, there’s a background section that covers more of Pannithor’s naval history and also introduces the next 4 (actually 5) factions that will be released for the game: The Twilight Kin, Elves, Salamanders, and Northern Alliance/Varangur.
TR: Seas Aflame will include campaign rules for Armada. What can we expect from that? Will players be able to expand their fleets and gain experience for their crews during the campaign?
MG: Exactly that. Players will have a Grand Fleet roster to keep track of all their ships and from that “pool” they can select what ships (or fliers) they are going to use for games play in the campaign. Ship's crews will gain experience, and players will of course be torn between spending money on new ships, upgrades, or repairing all the cannon damage.
TR: Each faction is also getting new flying units. What can we expect from those? Are they going to be light and fast units or are we going to see larger powerful fliers as well?
MG: Armada is primarily a naval game, so we didn’t want fliers to be over-powered or game-breaking. To that end, we’ve tried to keep it light and so they are Tiny models in the game, with the same base size as Squadrons. There are no plans for anything larger than that. Fliers should be optional and not a must-have and therefore play a supporting role for the ships, depending on the playstyle of the fleet (and the player).
TR: How are you looking to capture the feel of each faction in the rules and stats for their fliers?
MG: We looked at what things are already in Kings of War that fitted the role, or looked for things we could introduce to KoW in the future. So the orcs get a Winggit flight (although only represented by a single winggit model, don’t take the flier scales too literally), and they also get something very “Orcy” in the form of a slasher carrying a crate full of morax for attacking from the skies. The Basileans get a phoenix and also, being the pious bunch they are, one of the incredibly rare Elohi Sky Altars.
TR: In talking about fliers, the planned Dwarf fliers, the gun worm’s caused a bit of a stir, and it was incredibly refreshing to see Mantic’s response and public vote on the future of the planned units. Mantic put the community first, along with being upfront and engaging about design. Has it changed anything you may do in the future, and what do you have planned for the Dwarf fliers now?
MG: We didn’t want to do what everyone had already done for Dwarfs previously so took a different route. Obviously, that was too controversial. We’ve got two alternative Dwarf fliers being sculpted and in playtesting which are more “traditional”. These require time to get back through design, painting, photography, packaging, testing, etc., and through production before release but we will put them back into the release schedule as soon as we can. We don’t want the Dwarf players feeling left out for too long.
TR: There’s also been mention of a magic supplement for the game. Can you tell us some more about that?
MG: Alongside the Seas Aflame book, there’s a mini supplement that introduces more magic to the game in the form of a deck of spell cards and spellcasters you can buy for your fleet. Like the fliers, magic should be considered an optional tool and not a must-have for a fleet. But it certainly adds a new layer to the game and new ways to be devious in your quest for naval domination.
TR: With physical gaming slowly coming back around the world, what’s the future for competitive Armada?
MG: We had a tournament pack ready at game launch so from that point of view we should be ready to go. I’m sure Rob and Elvis will have sorted out some Armada events at HQ and we’d love to see events starting up elsewhere. We all want to get back gaming and meeting people so let’s get out there and make it happen.
TR: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us again. We can’t wait to get into Wave 2 of Armada.
MG: We can’t wait for people to start getting their new toys. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to answer the questions.