Thursday, March 17, 2022

Wargames Rules 2 - Koenig Krieg v.2

One of the first periods that the Rejects started playing was the wars of Frederick the Great (Austrian War of Succession and the Seven Years War).  Ray, Postie and I collected different armies, but somehow Postie managed to end up in possession of the lot!  He's a cunning so and so.

The rules we started with were Age of Reason (AOR).  I used to enjoy them, but did find that as games became more ambitious some the systems slowed the flow and momentum of the game.

For 18th century European wars, my go to rules are Koenig Krieg version 2 (KK v2) using either 15mm or 6mm.

Whilst probably not to everyone's taste, I found KK v2 gave me a grand tactical game that coped well with larger battles and preserved my reading of the look and feel of battles of the period.

For links to previous Rejects games try these:

From Ray

The Battle of Stoliboz - a remote game played by email with the tabletop action played out using KKv2.  This is the last report, but has the links to all the previous ones.
The Battle of Distanza - a "socially distanced wargame.  This link takes you to the first of c.6 entries in this battle/campaign.

From Lee

Austrian infantry

So, without too much detail, what is it about these rules that I like.

  1. The simple command and control mechanisms.  Units are brigaded into c.4 infantry per brigade and 2 units for cavalry brigades.  Each with a brigade general with a command radius of 4 inches.  Every unit has actions during a turn, but if outside of the command radius it can't move unless it passes a simple dice roll on 1d6 (1-2 for infantry; 1-4 for cavalry - count the legs!).  But where it really works is when contact is made with the enemy and the lines start to fracture and units have to retreat (8 and 12 inches for infantry and cavalry respectively).  So, immediately the ability to command is breaking down.  I think that this is simple and elegant.
  2. Flanks are really important in the linear warfare of 18th century Europe, and KK v2 really makes a player mindful of their flanks.  If changed by an enemy on the flank, it's not just an added bonus it's a multiplier to melee dice and modifiers.  That certainly concentrates the mind somewhat.

  3. The rules allow the meaningful existence of a second line and reserve.  A lot of rules that I've played seem to punish the idea of a second line of infantry by imposing disorder or worse if a friendly unit has to retreat through or around them.  There is no disorder in KK v2.  Nor is there routing - which means no keeping track of of morale levels.  The command rules compliment this.
  4. For 18th century European, warfare my view is that no one branch of the army is dominant.  KK v2 strikes this balance of rock, paper, scissors.  Winning a battle in KK v2 has to be an all arms affair.
  5. All of the above encourage and reward the use of 18th century linear tactics.
  6. The initiative system in KK v2 makes for interesting play and decision making about how to handle, keep or hand over initiative.  It's done on a brigade by brigade basis so all players are kept involved.  It certainly reflects my preference for a game that makes me think and have to solve problems/dilemmas.
  7. In short, the rules allow a player to concentrate on being a general rather than a sergeant.

The Negatives
  1. The production values on this version are low by modern standards, but then... not all that glitters is gold!
  2. The Prussians are given a distinct move and fire advantage for their infantry.  This can tend to make Frederick's boys too powerful.  The answer... just don't use it!  If the Prussian army has Frederick present they already have a very significant advantage in initiative rolls, and this more than compensates.
  3. There is casualty removal and some people don't like that.  In truth, I never remove casualties.  I just use tiny casualty dice.  However, I don't see these as casualties in KK v2, but more of a reflection of the degrading of a unit's combat and morale effectiveness as it directly impacts on shooting, melee and morale.

I really enjoy these rules.  So much so that I have no inclination to purchase version 3 (though I am willing to be persuaded by convincing arguments concerning its advantages).

I have never had the need to create a house rule for them, and once the scale and grand tactical nature is understood players appreciate them.  The games flow well and gives a satisfying result.

I look forward to your views on them.


  1. Helpful assessment of KK, Richard. While I have at least two versions of the rules, I have not played them in more than 25 years. I do not recall what caused me to move away from them. Now, "Honours of War" is my favored set of SYW rules.

    With multiple bloggers taking these rules to the table of late, I ought to pull KK off the shelf and give it another look.

    Thanks for the refresher.

    1. There does seem to be heightened KK activity of late. So perhaps Jonathan it's worth having another look... if only to confirm your current choice.

  2. Some if the mechanisms sound good and if they provide you with an entertaining game that you feel accurately represents warfare in this period, then seems like you have found the perfect ruleset Richard!

    1. Thank you. For the period, I believe I have. I just need to play them more.

  3. I am always a big fan of casualty removal in rule sets as it makes me feel as though I am achieving something. The Prussian rule sounds a bit like the advantages given to the French in Empire.

    1. You are right Lawrence. Sometimes we do need to see something concrete on the table for all our efforts and dice rolling.
      I wonder if some rule writers give those advantages as their only way of explaining (or interpreting on the tabletop) how those armies were so dominant in their time.

  4. When we first started playing 7YW, we did choose Age of Reason rules, because we thought they were the better set. After reading more and getting to know not only the period but the period feel in game terms, I glad we switched to KK.
    We've said it many times, I like playing rulesets that force you to play to the period and give you an advantage in playing to the periods historical tactics. KK fits this into the ethics perfectly. Who would want to play 7YW using Napoleonic tactics or visa versa?
    Great post Rich!