Review: The Basilean Legacy / Publisher: Mantic Game / Author: Alessio Cavatore / Release Date: Out Now
Kings of War is a fantasy wargame created by scrappy upstart miniatures manufacturers Mantic, who have been making waves in the industry by producing distinctive wargaming models at reasonable prices. However, nice miniatures are only one aspect of the hobby and these sort of things also require decent rules as well as a strong backstory to serve as inspiration. The Basilean Legacy is the first supplement to the Kings of War game and is filled with rules for three potential armies: the Basileans, the Forces of Nature and Forces of the Abyss. As the title of the book suggests, its primary focus is the people of Basilea.
The backstory is a nice mix of failing empires, lost secrets and rule of cool. The Basileans were once part of a greater empire, one which seems broadly inspired by European history. Much of it is pure fantasy, and they’ve clearly had a lot of fun here. The units include sensibly armoured warrior women on the backs of battle cats, and winged angels with burning swords and phoenixes. The setting material gives the reader just enough detail to create a definite feel to the army, without hampering creativity.
The background is filled with the seeds of lots of little ideas, and these are obviously intended to inspire gamers to come up with their own ideas and theories as to what is going on. It’s clear that this is the first part of an ongoing story, and rather than having a closed setting frozen in time, it’s highly likely that subsequent books will expand the setting further, adding more layers to the ongoing story. It also helps that the flavour texts in the book are very well written, though they are closer to flash fiction than traditional short stories. Rules-wise, the units seem solid and are a safe ‘middle’ option for those who like a lot of flexibility in their wargaming armies.
The other two factions are a nice addition to the book, but don’t really add much in terms of setting. Broadly they appear to be a neat excuse for roping in existing models (from other manufacturers) using the Kings of War rules, allowing gamers to try out the system without too much further investment. As you might expect, they’re both underdeveloped and seem more of a bonus than anything else. Also tacked on are further magic rules, which are nice, but again seem light on detail.
Overall, though, The Basilean Legacy is a great start to what will hopefully be a memorable range of books.