I'm not a great wargamer. Truth be told, I pretty much suck at it. I think I won one game of Warhammer 40K, and that was only because I was playing at a Games Workshop store and the manager of the shop I was playing against had the good grace to throw the battle so that a potential purchaser wasn't put off buying the book. I still didn't buy it, to be fair, but it is a good game. The great expensive breezeblock that is the WH40K rulebook is really impressive with great production values and the game is fun, with plenty of support. It's an expensive hobby, mind, which is one of the things that has always put me off.
Being a roleplayer I automatically wonder at the roleplaying possibilities of wargames, anyway. I used the WH40K system a few times to run WH40K roleplaying games back in the 1990s and just added a few of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay stats to flesh it out. The games worked okay, we just used the WH40K rules and played characters. In my experience, a wargame must be good if the rules and setting gives me those kinds of ideas.
So now we come to the Mantic Games offering, Kings of War.
So, and you'll have to excuse the bluntness of this statement, is this just a rip-off of products that Games Workshop have already produced? I wouldn't say rip-off, to be fair, just another version of fantasy and science fiction wargaming that Games Workshop has a huge chunk of the market of. The rules for these new Mantic Games products were designed by Alessio Cavatore, the guy who bought us such games as Mordheim: City of the Damned and the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, both released by Games Workshop. So, the designer of the game already has some major experience for the premier producer of these games – that’s a good sign.
Wargaming can be a complicated and expensive hobby and not only have Mantic Games made the rules easy to learn and fun to play they've made the miniatures good quality and easy to afford. Not only that, the figures are the same scale as pretty much every other hobby miniature so if you have an existing army you can use that, or you can use the Mantic miniatures using other game systems.
Of course, I'm not only interested in the wargame itself but how I can use it as a roleplaying game, and more importantly if they intend to release a roleplaying version of it because, and I'll tell you this now, at these prices and quality I'd start using miniatures in my RPG games again.