I like Mantic Games’ Dwarfs. They’re short, stocky and exude a solidity that reminds me of a dry stone wall. Put a load of them together and you’ve got…. well, you’ve got this.
The Dwarf One Player Battle Set contains everything a single player needs to play Kings of War, except another person to play against. It includes Mantic Games’ terrific full colour 32-page rulebook, dice, bases and shield transfers.
Oh, and a whole load of minis too.
Yeah. A whole load of minis.
Here’s how all that breaks down:
- 20 Dwarf Ironclads including Champion, Standard Bearer, Musician and three Dwarf Throwing Mastiffs (no, really)
- 10 Dwarf Ironwatch with Rifles or Crossbows
- 10 Dwarf Shielbreakers with Two Handed Hammers
- 2 Ironbelchers which can be fielded as Cannons or Organ Guns. Includes a total of 4 crew with two ammo chests
- Lots of spare heads, dead (or drunk) dwarfs, goblin heads, tankards, weapons, arms, etc
As is typical with Mantic that’s a whole lot of plastic for the money. For £29.99 it’s terrific value. They also sell a larger set which is £49.99 for 85 minis – take that Games’ Workshop’s so-called “not short on value” 59 minis for £100.
You people don’t know the meaning of the word.
Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes, the sprues.
As you’d expect they are all of excellent quality (definitely superior to GW’s previous Dwarfs, and about on a par with their latest releases) with plenty of room for customization of poses, arms and weaponry. All of the legs and torsos are fully interchangeable across all the sets, which just adds to the flexibility. About half the torsos have integrated heads and weapons (and can fit to any torso, giving more variety than you’d expect) while the rest have separate arms, heads and weapons. With a little creativity, no two dwarfs in your army need look the same.
Here’s a handful of shots of just some of the sprues.
The first problem is quite a big one though, at first glance. The army isn’t actually rules-legal out of the box, as per the Kings of War rules. You can only field one War Engine per solid unit of 20 or more troops, and this box only contains one such unit, but two War Engines. This won’t matter for your first games where two players buy a Starter Army each and crack heads, but will have you scratching your head when you start looking at working out the points value and playing against others. The cheapest solution is for both players to ignore that rule; the alternative is to buy more troops. Another regiment of 20 Ironclads (for example) is £14.99 by which time you might as well have bought the larger £49.99 Dwarf Army set, which is even better value.
Which leads me to my second (and more minor) nitpick, and this one is more of a personal preference than anything. I do like my armies to have a leader, a General or Hero who is “my” figure on the battlefield. As with War Engines you can have one Hero per unit of 20 Infantry, but there is no such Hero figure in the box. We have units of troops, two War Engines, but no leader. Hmmmmmmm. What to do.
We could take the Standard Bearer from the unit of Ironclads and use him as a standalone Inspiring Hero for 30 points. This would free up a space on the base for a Throwing Mastiff to be with the unit too. A better solution, and one I’m going to use, is to take this figure from the “spare” War Engine and proxy him as a Warsmith Hero. I’m going to paint him up as a Dwarf Wizard complete with kickass
Diadem Staff of Dragon-Kind and pipe.
Problem solved. I have a decent small army, a solid 75 point leader, and a spare War Engine in my bit box for kitbashing (maybe to be stolen by a future orc army….) or adding as my army grows.
Here’s my 600 point army list, all from this single Starter Set. I gave the Ironclad Regiment the Banner and a Brew of Courage, making them particularly brave and difficult to defeat. The Shieldbreakers have a Musician and Brew of Haste (+1 Speed) meaning they’re fast (well, for dwarfs) and hard hitting. Together they’re the Anvil and Hammer of my little army. My Ironwatch are equipped with Rifles for a little extra punch, and the Warsmith stays close by the cannon, and his Staff of Dragon-Kind bringing a world of pain to any unit that dares to come close (10 dice Breath Attack, anyone?). Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all.
The question remains as to whether this is better value than the £50 Dwarf Army Set which includes everything here, plus 20 more Ironclad, 20 more Ironwatch and 5 more Shieldbreakers. Honestly, no. The Dwarf Army boxed set is brilliant value, there’s no denying. What the Starter Battle Box offers however is something far more compelling: it’s a complete one player introduction to Wargaming for just thirty quid. That’s less than the price of…. well, pretty much everything Games Workshop sell these days.
Till next time!