TITLE: Koenig Krieg Version 3
AUTHOR: Siege Work Studios, Developed by Drew Birkmyre and Ken Cole
PUBLISHER: Siege Work Studios
PUBLICATION DATE: 2009
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $70.00AU (approx $65 US in 2009)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The era of Frederick the Great, specifically 1730-1763
Koenig Krieg Version 3 (KK3) is a lovely perfect bound paperback book of 134 pages. The rules themselves run 47 pages. The remainder of the book is devoted to scenarios, army lists, and an army points system. There is also an extensive 6-page “game tutorial” that amounts to a play-by-play of a hypothetical game (The Battle for Condiments - someone has a sense of humor!). The book is lavishly illustrated. Diagrams use line drawings. Photos of actual figures are used wherever practical.
SCOPE: Koenig Krieg Version 3 is a grand tactical game of land combat during the 18th century.
ARMY SIZE: Army sizes will be moderate for the period. Units are generally small - usually four bases of four figures (for infantry).
BASE UNIT: In KK3 the base unit is the infantry battalion or cavalry regiment. However, brigade level organization plays an important role in the game.
- Ground Scale: 1” = 150-200 yards
- Time scale 1 turn = stated as “up to 30 minutes”
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 figure = 50 men, 4 elephants, or two guns.
- Recommended Figure Size: 15 mm but conversion for 25 mm and other scales are briefly covered.
- Table Size: 4 x 6 (larger if available)
- Game Length: Not stated, but is suitable for tournaments.
Because of the wide variety of troop types covered by the rules there are quite a few basing classifications. However, the main bases will be:
- Formed Infantry: 3/4” x 1” deep
- Other infantry (Tribal, Braves or Skirmish) are based on 1” wide stands of varying depths
- Formed Cavalry: 1 x 2” deep
- Skirmish Cavalry: 1 x 1”
- Commanders; Army commanders should be on a 2” octagonal base, all others on a 1.25” octagonal base (round may also be used)
The sequence of play in KK3 has four main phases:
- Command and Control Phase: Units are rallied, leaders replaced and moved, and activation tokens placed.
- March & Volley Phase: Players alternate moving formations (generally brigades of 2-5 battalions) one at a time. Initiative is determined by die roll. The winner may move a formation 1st or 2nd.
- Close Combat Phase: Players again alternate initiating and resolving close combats, with an initiative die roll determining which side activates first. All close combat is completely resolved, including exploitation moves and combat.
- Army Morale Phase: Every 4th turn each side checks army morale. Army morale is based on number of brigades lost, compared to the size of the army.
Each main phase tends to have three sub-phases: initiative, actions and finally morale. At the end of each phase players mark units that are eligible to act in the upcoming phase. As units are activated their markers are removed from the table. While the systems are not complex the authors have included a very nice flow chart showing the sequence of all the sub-phases.
Command and Control: In KK3 each leader has a command radius. Units must remain within that radius to be in command. Units out of command have to make an initiative roll. If the pass the may move as the player wishes. Otherwise they may not move, change formation or change facing. However, they may act normally in the close combat phase. Brigade generals have a 4” command radius, higher order commanders 12”.
Operations: Activity during the March & Volley phase is governed by Operations. Instead of a strict movement allowance, each unit has an Operation Allowance. Depending on the kind of unit and formation it is in, as well as which phase of the turn it is, determines the Operations Allowance of a given unit. In the Move & Volley phase an infantry operation consists of one of the following:
- Move up to 4” including wheeling (infantry) or
- March at the double
- Change facing
- Change formation
- “Tap out” - a phrase meaning to pass or do nothing
- Evade (if eligible)
In most cases each infantry unit gets a single operation in the March & Volley phase. The lists of operations vary slightly for cavalry and artillery. Cavalry generally gets 2 or 3 operations per phase.
Morale Rating: Morale is a fairly straight forward system. Each unit starts with a morale class. The unit’s class may vary from 4 to 8 (higher is better). To make a morale check, roll a D6 equal to or less than your modified morale level. Modifiers include negatives for losses and disorganization. There are positive modifiers for an attached general and tactical situations. If you fail morale you retreat 8” away from the enemy. If a unit’s morale is ever reduced to 0 due to losses, etc. it is immediatley removed from the game.
Ranged Combat: Both artillery and infantry may engage in ranged combat. KK3 uses a simple kill dice system. Determine how many dice your firing units have. Then determine your “to hit” number based primarily on the troop type and formation of the target. Each success causes a loss on the target. Better units roll more dice. Infantry get one die per set of figures, determined by the unit quality. So “poor shots” get one die per four figures, “good shots” get one die per two. Artillery, on the other hand, multiply the number of crew figures depending on the gun and ammunition type. Heavy guns get 3 dice per crew figure with canister, most guns get 1 die per figure with solid shot.
Artillery Bounce Through: Any unit within range and in the line of fire of artillery may be hit by bounce through. Any die rolled against the main target is applied to all other units in the bounce through zone. Any natural 1 is ignored. All the remaining dice are re-rolled and any resulting hits applied.
Melee: When units are in base-to-base contact a melee results. Each side determines the average strength of the units involved. To do this you calculate each unit’s strength. You take their morale class and apply all appropriate modifiers for terrain, being charged in the flank, etc. You then average the resulting strengths, and add the roll of a die. The highest modified result wins. Winning units take one casualty. The losing units take a casualty. In addition the losing side takes casualties equal to the difference in the results. So if the results are 11 to 8 the losing side will take three extra casualties, spread as evenly as possible across all losing units.
If the result of melee is a draw, both sides test morale. Units that fail retreat as normal. If there are still units of both sides remaining in combat, another round of combat is fought. Melee continues until there is a winner. If a round ends with all involved units failing their morale, it is a stalemate. In this case all units fall back (different than a retreat) 2” in good order.
Exploitation: Units that charged and won a melee may carry out actions in the Exploitation Phase. As with the Move & Volley phase, the number of operations available is determined by unit type, and with a few exceptions the operations owrk exactly the same.
KK3 contains extensive army lists and a points system designed for tournament play and for easy “pick-up” games. There are typical scenario types for tournaments and casual play. Also included is one historical scenario, Mollwitz.
The army lists go into great detail, with required units plus possible additions for extra points. The lists and point system will be very familiar to gamers who have player Flames of War or many of the popular Games Workshop games.
Overall I found Koenig Krieg to be a good-looking and well written rule book.
The organization of KK3 is at first a bit unusual. It is organized more around unit types than turn phases. For example, a lot of the detail of Operations is not in the chapter about the March & Volley phase but in the chapters on infantry and cavalry. However, once you get used to it it is quite easy to navigate.
I must also laud all the effort put into making the rule book gamer-friendly. There is a detailed table of contents, an index, copious examples, and even a “tutorial” which is a detailed, 6 page recount of a game, phase by phase. When you get to the end of this book you are confident you know how to play this game.
Regarding the game mechanics, they all made intuitive sense, and seemed easy to teach and learn. I think the firing ranges for infantry are exceedingly long. Bows fire 2”, muskets 3”. Considering one inch equals at least 150 yards, those are very long ranges for this time period.
The other obvious issue with the rules is price. The book is complete, and it is beautiful, but at $65 even the most die hard fan of the period will probably think ling and hard about the purchase.
I have not played these rules.