Tag: John Poniske

Game designer

King Philip’s War: Opening Moves (Strategy)

Indian Tactics for Game Turn 1

King Philip's War Board Game


Success, for the Indian player in King Philip’s War seems to be heavily dependent on competent play during the first 3 game turns. If King Philip and his War Bands cannot make serious headway during these vital turns, defeating the English becomes nearly impossible. But what is the best strategy to employ to maximize the chances for success? Do you hunker down and defend your territory until other tribes can be activated via “Indian Diplomacy”? Do you aggressively attack every colonist and settlement within reach? This article discusses a tactical option for the Indian player on Game Turn 1.

Implicit in this article is the assumption that Church will not be successfully acquired before turn 3 although, according to the basic rules, it is possible that he could appear as early as game turn 1. If Church arrives on turns 1 or 2, the Indian player can just call it a night, so I strongly suggest either taking the developer’s advice for a more competitive game (see “Developer’s Note” in rule section 9.0). Eliminate the turns 1 and 2 Chuch die roll, and have Church automatically appear on turn 3. Or, better yet, keep the Church die roll, but don’t actually start rolling until game turn 3.

Situation Evaluation

The game starts with 11 full strength English infantry units versus 10 full strength Indian Warriors, and so grants a small advantage to the Colonists. But, more important, is the geography of the starting positions. With the exception of the string of Wampanoag and Sakonnet villages in the south, stretching from Massachusetts Bay to Buzzard’s Bay, the other Indian villages are separated from each other by English settlements. This means that while the Indians enjoy a mobility advantage in the early turns of the game (i.e. 6 movement points, compared to only 5 for the Colonists), they’re really kind of hamstrung by geography. So how do you capitalize on the mobility advantage?

There are two other English restrictions, prior to Church’s arrival, that provide the key to unlocking the Indian advantage:

  • 1. The English player may only move 3 companies per turn.
  • 2. The English may only move along “1-pip” connections unless they have a Guide with them.

This prohibition of 2- and 3-pip movements means that an attentive Indian player can position some of his units such that they are virtually unassailable by the English.

Starting Positions

The following graphic shows the starting positions as they actually were for a game I recently played, where I was the Indian player. The English player must set up first and therefore is at an immediate tactical disadvantage. In addition, the English are restricted to placing a maximum of a single Soldier unit per hex whereas the Indian player has no such restriction and may therefore concentrate units for local superiority at any point.

King Philip's War Board Game

The English in Plymouth Colony have set up to protect the town of Plymouth. By placing Winslow and a Soldier in the town itself and placing a Soldier/Captain in Middleborough, the approaches to Plymouth town, as well as the town itself, are guarded as well as they can be given the English forces available. All the Massachusetts forces are huddled in the southern part of the colony, waiting to rush in to Plymouth colony as needed. The Rhode Islanders, rather than attempting to fortify Portsmouth which is easily surrounded and crushed, all set up west of the river in Wickford and Pawtuxet. The English inability to traverse 2-pip and 3-pip connections on this turn (unless they get lucky and snag a Guide during an Indian-initiated battle) means that the Rhode Island colonists will be essentially stranded on the west side of the river but will be fairly mobile up and down the west side. Also, the ports along the west side of the river should remain under English control, allowing for reinforcements to be brought in from Connecticut, if needed. Finally, the Connecticut forces are both positioned in ports (New London and Saybrook) where they can be quickly rushed to any hotspot that may develop in Plymouth Colony or Rhode Island.

The plan, for my Indian Warriors, is two-fold:

  • 1. Raze at least two colonial settlements; preferably three.
  • 2. Send a powerful force deep into western Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Razing three settlements will allow me, on the Indian Alliance phase of Game Turn 2, to either bring the Narragansett or Nipmuck tribes into the war on my side. Razing only two means that only the Narragansetts can be coaxed into joining me (see the Indian Alliance Chart), which limits my options. But even just the Narragansetts should be sufficient for my “early game” plan. Ending Game Turn 1 without razing even one settlement would be a total disaster, but the odds are against that happening if the Indian units are set up properly.

First, both Sakonnet Warrior units set up in the middle of the three Sakonnet villages, near Buzzard’s Bay, in preparation for a move into Martha’s Vineyard. Next, all three Pocasset Warriors set up in the western-most Pocasset village, along the border between Rhode Island and Plymouth Colony. This stack will form the “shock troops” that will move into western Massachusetts. The six Wampanoag warriors are split between Philip and the un-named Wampanoag Sachem, three apiece. Philip will start in the Indian Fort of Montaup. Having this powerful force in Montaup affords me the option of striking out in any direction to challenge the Colonists, or of hunkering down in the Fort, rendering it impregnable for at least several turns. I set up the other Wampanoag Sachem with three Warriors in the village just south of Portsmouth (RI). From here, this War Band can move north to raze Portsmouth, since it has been left without soldiers defending it.

As mentioned earlier, we are ignoring the possibility that Church may arrive on Turn 1 for purposes of this example and, since no one receives reinforcements on Turn 1 and there is no Indian Diplomacy Phase on Turn 1, we may move directly to the Indian Movement Phase. The next graphic, and description that follows, show the details of my movement:

King Philip's War Board Game

  • The Pocasset “shock troops” traverse four neutral/open spaces, heading first southwest into Rhode Island and then driving northwest into Massachusetts Bay colony. An Interception attempt by English Soldiers in Marlborough fails, allowing my War Band to spend 5 movement points which includes the movement point required to place the Battle Marker at Brookfield.
  • The Sakonnets cross the 3-pip connection across Buzzard’s Bay into Martha’s Vineyard, and then spend a fourth movement point to place a Battle Marker outside of Edgartown. No colonial units were in position to Intercept or interfere with this movement in any way.
  • The Wampanoag Sachem and three Warrior units turn their sights north and place a Battle Marker against Portsmouth.
  • Finally, Philip and his three Wamapanoag Warriors leave the safety of the Fort and move northeast into the English settlement of Taunton, placing another Battle Marker. Since the connection between Middleborough and Taunton is only a 1-pip connection, the English Captain and Soldier in Middleborough are eligible to attempt interception, which they do successfully. Philip must now attack a reinforced Taunton.

The stage is set for the Combat Phase.


There are four battles to be resolved:

  • #1 – Brookfield
  • #2 – Taunton
  • #3 – Portsmouth
  • #4 – Edgartown

King Philip's War Board Game

Brookfield – The town of Brookfield contains no soldiers and so will fight with only its inherent strength of 1. The two full strength Warrior units are worth two strength points each for a total of 4. The dice are rolled and the results are: Green die = 6, Red die = 2, Event die = “Panic”. The total of the Red and Green dice is 8, which is an even number, thereby making the English the “affected” player. The English SP total is reduced by 1 to zero. Looking up the results on the Combat Results table, we find that the English suffer 2 hits; enough to raze the settlement. The Indians suffer no hits at all.

A “Razed Settlement” marker is placed on the town of Brookfield, and the Indian forces advance in. That’s one of the two razed settlements that I need this turn…

King Philip's War Board Game

Taunton – The attack on Taunton is the most powerful attack the Indians can make on Game Turn #1. Three Warrior units with a 2 SPs each plus Philip’s combat strength combine for a total of 7 SPs. Unfortunately for Philip, the English were able to successfully intercept and so rather than fighting a nearly defenseless town, he must also fight the colonial soldiers, a combined strength of 3 SPs (2 for the soldier and 1 for the town). The dice are rolled and the results are: Green die = 4, Red die = 5, Event die = “Spy”. The total of the Red and Green dice is 9, which is an odd number, thereby making the Indian the “affected” player. At the end of this combat round, a “Spy” counter will be attached to Philip, but there is no effect on this combat.

Cross referencing the combat strengths and die rolls on the Combat Results table, we find that the English suffer 2 hits, and the Indians suffer only 1 hit. The English absorb their two hits by flipping the soldier to his half strength side, and placing a “Raided Settlement” marker on Taunton. This prevents the Indian from scoring victory points for either an eliminated soldier or a razed settlement. The Indian player takes his loss by flipping one of the Warrior units to its half strength side. The English retain control of the town and Philip must fall back to the Fort of Montaup.

King Philip's War Board Game

Portsmouth – I have three Warriors in my War Band for a total of 6 strength points against a minimally defended town, so I expected this to be a walkover. Didn’t turn out that way. The worst thing that could happen, happened. By rolling doubles (3 and 3) on the Red and Green dice, the combat ends immediately without a winner.

No hits are assessed and no units advance or retreat. There goes my chance for scoring a second “easy” razed settlement.


Edgartown – Another one that should be a walkover. I have 4 strength points of Warriors and the English have only a single SP for the settlement’s inherent defense strength. This attack is designed to accomplish two things:

  • Score another razed settlement.
  • Position my Sakonnets to move north to threaten the settlement of Sandwich, and then Plymouth itself.

In addition, both Edgartown and Sandwich are ports, so neutralizing them will restrict English mobility a bit more in the east. The dice are rolled and the results are as follows: Green die = 5, Red die = 2, Event die = “Ambush”. Since the total of the Red and Green dice is an odd number, the Indians are the “affected” player which, in the case of “Ambush” means they are the ones who got ambushed. Fortunately for me, the combination of English low strength points and low die roll assure that the Indians will suffer no hits, so the Ambush advantage is wasted. The British are assessed two hits which is what is required to raze the town. And that gives me razed town #2, and a victory point as I advance my Warriors into Edgartown.

The Combat Phase is concluded.

Assessing the Results

Even though I caught a bad break by rolling doubles in the Portsmouth battle, I still met my objective of razing two English settlements. In addition, I also met my other objective of sending a “flying column” into western Massachusetts Colony. Having razed two settlements, I will be able to activate the Narragansetts during the next Indian Diplomacy Phase. I’m feeling pretty good about the results of my Movement and Combat Phases, and I’ll explain why:

  • King Philip’s War Band is still strong and centrally located in Montaup. He is positioned to intercept the English in any number of different directions, and will inhibit their movement greatly.
  • The Connecticut Companies in New London and Saybrook will have to think twice about coming to the aid of Rhode Island or Plymouth Colony, since they may have Narragansetts all over them next turn. It’s likley they will remain in Connecticut.
  • The Rhode Islanders, while catching a big break by not losing Portsmouth, also must now look over their shoulder for Narragansetts next turn. They are also lacking sufficient strength and mobility to have a good shot at razing a Sakonnet or Pocasset village during their turn. The risk of weakening themselves on futile attempts to raze villages may be too great.
  • The Massachusetts men will have to content themselves with picking off some low hanging fruit by razing a Pocasset village, but they’re certainly not likely to forget Philip’s powerful War Band lurking close by.
  • Finally, and most importantly, the Pocasset raid into western Massachusetts now gives the Massachusetts colonists something to think about. Normally, these guys head straight down into Plymouth Colony and effectively shut down any hopes that King Philip might have had about dominating there. They must now consider that there is a powerful force of Pocassets that has just razed Brookfield and could easily swing back east to inflict more damage. Next turn, the newly arriving Narragansetts may also decide to drive north into Massachusetts and gum things up there. So, at least part of the Massachusetts colony force will have to remain there to keep a lid on things.

King Philip's War Board Game

Can you imagine if I’d been able to raze three settlements? Then I’d also be able to opt to activate the Nipmucks next turn. Their territory is positioned astride the string of western Massachusetts settlements from Northfield (in the north) to Springfield (in the south). They could raise holy hell among those settlements, as they did historically, and there would be very little the English could do about it, short of diverting Massachusetts power out west, leaving Plymouth Colony in the lurch.

Returning back to my “keys to unlocking the Indian advantage” mentioned earlier in the article… what is the English player to do now? He’s only allowed to move three Companies. How does he:

  • Provide support to Plymouth colony?
  • Defend Connecticut which will be threatened by Narragansetts next turn?
  • Run down the rampaging Pocassets in western Massachusetts?
  • Defend Rhode Island which will be seriously threatenend by a combined Wampanoag/Narragansett pincer next turn?
  • Keep the town of Plymouth safe and secure?
  • All of the above?

It won’t be easy with only 5 movement points and the inability to cross anything more than a 1-pip connection. In fact, due to the 1-pip restriction only one Massachusetts soldier unit (the one in Marlborough) can possibly even reach the Pocasset War Band that razed Brookfield! So Turn 2 Massachusetts reinforcements will have to be dedicated to meeting this threat, thus taking some heat off of King Philip in Plymouth Colony.

How should the English react? That will be the subject of a future article…


This article discussed some tactical options that can be employed by the Indian player on the first turn of the game in order to get King Philip and the Indians off to a good start. A “good start” in my opinion means not allowing the English to focus their power on Plymouth Colony by creating credible, non-ignorable (if that’s not a word, it should be), threats from the southeast corner of the map (Edgartown –> Sandwich –> Plymouth) to the northwest corner (i.e. western and north western Massachusetts). I was able to do that successfully on Turn 1, although it could have turned out even better.

I will be writing follow up articles to describe how this early game strategy actually turns out, as well as other articles related to early game play for both the Indians and Colonists. If you’ve got an opinion about this article or have one of your own you’d like to see published on TheBoardgamingLife.com, please click the “Contact Form” link, on the right, and let me know what you have in mind. (Note: You don’t have to fill in all of the information on the contact form: just a name, an e-mail address and a comment of some type, hopefully constructive).

King Philip’s War: Review

First Impressions of King Philip’s War

King Philip's War Board Game

Multiman Publishing recently released its latest strategy board game King Philip’s War, designed by John Poniske, and based on the conflict between English colonists and Native Americans in 1675 New England. Metacomet was the leader of the Wampanoag tribe whose name was anglicized in order to (hopefully) make him more palatable to the English. Metacomet’s father came up with “Philip”, a common English name. The honorific “King” was added because the Indians knew that the English called their leader “King”. Thus did “King Philip” make his debut.

I sat down with a friend of mine last week (he had also been eagerly anticipating King Philip’s War) and broke out the game for the first time. The rules are concise and organized well enough that we were able to have the game setup and underway within about 15 minutes. I took the English side and we dove right in.

Although the game rule book contains some background info, and extensive examples of play (which have drawn some negative comments on ConSimWorld), we just ignored that stuff and began playing. Neither of us had an inkling of tactics to employ and so resolved ourselves to learning the hard way. And we did…

Now, having completed one face-to-face game of King Philip’s War, I feel eminently qualified to opine. And so I shall.

First impressions are often good indicators of how we will ultimately judge a product, and this game made a good first impression. Having such little experience with the game, it’s hard to give a considered opinion, but the initial impressions were definitely favorable.

Quick Overview

The English player controls four colonies: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Plymouth Colony. The colonists control infantry units, called Soldiers, and leaders. Soldiers can stack together to form “companies” and leaders provide stacking, movement and combat benefits to companies. Other than the generic leaders, called “Captains” the English have two “key” leaders: Benjamin Church and Josiah Winslow. These key leaders have additional capabilities.

The Indian player may control as many as nine distinct native tribes: Wampanoag, Sakonnett, Pocasset, Niantic, Narragansett, Nipmuck, Pocumtuck, Abenakis and Mohawk. Indian infantry units are called Warriors, which may stack together to form War Bands. Generic Indian leaders are called “Sachems” and the two “key” leaders are Canonchet and Metacomet (aka King Philip).

The board game map shows game “spaces” to regulate movement which may represent Indian villages, English settlements, or just plain open or neutral spaces. Black dotted lines connect the spaces, but near the center of each line a string of 1, 2 or 3 colored “pips” appear and indicate the actual movement point cost to cross. I have not seen this mechanism in other games and I thought it was a really handy way of managing the various movement point costs. I find it preferable to having to lookup terrain movement point costs or having to remember the value of color coded connector lines.

King Philip's War Board Game

Some spaces are connected by rivers, and limited movement is allowed along these river lines. Settlements and villages have inherent defense strengths, with English forts providing even greater defensive benefits. There are also certain coastal settlements that function as ports, allowing the English (only) to perform “ocean movement”.

The colonists receive a steady stream of reinforcements from Europe.

Indian reinforcements arrive in a trickle from currently allied tribes. Unlike English casualties, Indian casualties may not normally re-enter the game (only certain combat events, such as “Massacre”, allow Indian units to come back from the casualty box). The best way for the Indian player to beef up his forces is through “Indian Diplomacy”, the game mechanism by which King Philip persuades additional tribes to join his alliance.

Like many point-to-point movement games, movement can be interrupted by enemy units attempting to “Intercept”. Conversely, players can attempt to avoid combat situations via “Evasion”.

Assuming that the moving Company/War Band has not been intercepted, has sufficient movement points remaining to enter a space occupied by enemy units, and that enemy unit has not successfully evaded, combat will ensue.

Benjamin Church

King Philip's War Board Game

There are a number of generic (unnamed) leaders, but there are only four named leaders in the game: Church and Winslow for the English, and Metacomet (King Philip) and Canonchet for the Indians. Of the named leaders, Church and King Philip are crucially important for their respective sides.

Metacomet is the only Indian leader that can conduct “Indian Diplomacy” which allows him to possibly recruit one new tribe per turn. Without this influx of new warriors, the Indian side will suffer a crippling shortage of manpower.

Even more important to his team is Benjamin Church. Church may arrive anywhere between turn 1 and turn 6, depending on the luck of the dice. Before his arrival, the English colonists must operate under some grim disadvantages.

  • Only 3 English Companies may be activated for movement each turn.
  • Only 3 battles may be declared each turn.
  • The English may not use 2 or 3 “pip” connections for movement or placing of battle markers (this is a serious limitation).
  • Soldiers from different Colonies may not join to form Companies (i.e. may not stack together).
  • Companies may not use river movement.
  • The English may not roll for Indian Allies.

The Indian player must capitalize on the period before Church’s arrival, as all other measures of advantage will diminish as the game progresses. If the English get lucky and Church arrives on turns 1, 2, or 3, it will be a much tougher battle for the Indians. If, however, the opposite is true, the Indians can lay the foundation for tactical victory that may be irreversible.

Note: Nothing is for certain; I was able to acquire Church on Game Turn 3 and it didn’t help me score a victory! There’s no magic solution to overcome poor play, I guess…


Combat in King Philip’s War is an uncomplicated process with a few unusual conventions. Each side calculates its total number of strength points, which will include infantry units, villages/settlements, fortifications, and other modifiers such as Leaders, Muskets and Spies. Yes, the villages/settlements may possess strength points that defend even when unoccupied by infantry, or are added to the defender’s infantry total. Three dice are rolled: a red 6-sided die, a green 6-sided die and a special 6-sided Event die (see below).

The red die is cross-referenced with the number of English strength points involved in the combat to arrive at the total number of strength point losses inflicted on the Indians. The green die is cross-referenced with the number of Indian strength points present to figure the number of strength point losses inflicted on the English.

Here’s the unusual stuff.

King Philip's War Board Game

First of all if the same number appears on the red and green dice, the battle ends instantly. This could be due to poor weather, timid leadership, or just plain getting lost.

The effects of the curious Event Die are determined next. If the sum of the red and green dice is an even number, the Event will affect the English. If an odd number, it will affect the Indians. The “effect” may be either good or bad, so it’s not always a good thing to be the “affected” guy.

King Philip's War Board Game

  • Ambush – Allows the affected side to get their licks in first, rather than the usual simultaneous combat results.
  • Spy – The affected leader has a Spy attached to him, which is not a good thing and will negatively impact the leader in several ways (negative modifiers on Interception and Evasion die rolls, reduced movement allowance, reduced combat strength, and allowing enemy re-roll option).
  • Guide – The affected leader has a Guide attached to him, which is a good occurrence and benefits the affected player in a roughly inverse manner to the Spy.
  • Massacre – The opponent of the affected player has committed an atrocity and the affected player is rewarded with infantry reinforcement.
  • Panic – The affected player’s force panics, thereby reducing his overall combat strength.
  • Emergency Reinforcements – A beneficial column shift is granted to the affected player for the upcoming combat.

Losses are taken either by eliminating infantry strength points (i.e. flipping a full strength unit to its weakened side or destroying a weakened unit) or by taking hits on the defending space’s village, settlement or fort. Victory points are awarded for eliminating enemy units or leaders and for razing villages/settlements.

Let’s run through a combat example.

Positions just before English Movement Phase


  • Benjamin Church (with a Spy in his camp) and a company of 5 Strength Points (SPs) located in the settlement of Lancaster in Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • An un-named Captain (leader), with attached Guide, and a company of 2 SP are located in the settlement of Medford.


  • A War Band of 1 SP located on the razed English settlement of Billerica.
  • An un-named Sachem (leader), with a War Band of 3 SP located in an Abenakis village.
  • Metacomet (King Philip), with a War Band of 2 SP located in an Abenakis village. (note that Metacomet is allowed to stack with Indian units regardless of Tribe)

King Philip's War Board Game

English Movement

  • Church moves his force 2 movement points to the neutral area, and then pays an additional 2 movement points to place the Battle Marker to indicate an attack on the Abenakis Indian War Band with the Sachem in the village. Note that Church’s company had just enough movement points to get there. The English normal movement point allowance is 5, but Church has a Spy attached to him so his movement is reduced by -1. Therefore, the 4 remaining movement points are just enough to get him across the two “2-pip” movement lines.
  • The Massachusetts Captain in Medford takes his company and spends the 3 movement points required to place a Battle Marker on the Indian War Band in the razed settlement of Billerica. Note that, if Church was not yet in the game, the English would not be able to make this move because it is a 3-pip crossing and they are limited to 1-pip crossings until Church arrives.
  • Battle markers are placed to indicate where battles may take place.

King Philip's War Board Game


Immediately after placement of Battle Markers, any of defender’s units adjacent to the battle space may attempt to Intercept the Battle Marker. The Indian player feels that the defenders in the Abenakis village will be sufficient to hold the space, but that the razed town of Billerica will be lost if not supported. Therefore an attempt will be made to Intercept into Billerica. Note: Since there is already a Sachem (leader) in the Abenakis village and, since there cannot be more than one leader in a space, King Philip would not be eligible to Intercept into the space, so all or part of his War Band would have to attempt the Interception without him and the die roll would not benefit from his “Key Leader” modifier. Another reason that the Interception into Billerica sounds like a better option.

A final modified die roll of 5 or more is now required for a successful Interception into Billerica to succeed. Modifiers to the die roll are as follows:

  • -2 for the two “pips” between King Philip and Billerica.
  • +2 for a Key Leader (King Philip).

So the net modifier is 0. Therefore the Indian player must roll a 5 or greater. Unfortunately, he rolls a 4 and cannot Intercept.


Having failed the Interception roll the Indian player decides that, discretion being the better part of valor, it may be wiser to bail out of Billerica than to remain there and be eliminated, with replacements being scarce as they are. He will attempt an Evasion roll, declaring the “escape space” as the village where King Philip is. The Indian player can successfully Evade on a die roll of 5 or higher (whereas the English must roll 7 or higher) and there will be no modifiers to this roll since there are no Leaders, Spies or Guides in the hex. (Note: The other War Band that’s being attacked by Church may NOT attempt to Evade since Church in is the attacking Company – see rule 13.1)

The evasion die roll is 5, allowing the Indian War Band to escape to the safety of King Philip’s current location. Since the vacated space is a razed settlement, which is treated the same as a neutral/empty space, the attacking English units may advance. There will be no battle so the Battle marker is flipped to its “Battle Fought” side.

King Philip's War Board Game

Battle Roll

So, we’re left with only one battle, between Church’s company and the War Band in the Abenakis village. The English have a total of 5 SPs: 1 SP each for the 5 soldiers, +1 SP for the leader (Church), and -1 for the attached Spy. The Indians have a total of 4 SPs: 1 SP each for the 3 Warriors, 0 SP for the Sachem, and +1 SP for the undamaged Village itself. So the English will be using the “5 SP” column of the Combat Results table and the Indians will be using the “4 SP” column, subject to modification by Events. The redgreen, and Event dice are rolled by the attacker with the following results:

  • Red (English) die roll = 6
  • Green (Indian) die roll = 4
  • Event die roll = “Emergency Reinforcements”

King Philip's War Board Game

Since the total of green and red dice = 10, which is an even number, the “affected” player will be the English.

The “Emergency Reinforcements” event states that the “affected” player gets a column shift in his favor on the Combat Results table, so the English will be using the “6 SP” column rather than the “5 SP” column to resolve this combat, and the Indians remain on the “4 SP” column.

The fact that Church has a Spy attached to him allows the Indian to force a re-roll of any one of the three dice just rolled. The issue with using the Spy is that, once used, the Spy is removed from play. While it is tempting to use the Spy now to try and reduce the the English “6” die roll, the Indian player decides to hold off, leaving the Spy in place in the midst of Church’s camp for use on a more critical future battle. So, all die rolls remain intact.

Looking at the Combat Results table, we cross reference each player’s die roll with their current SP levels to arrive at the combat result (which is the number of SPs lost). The Indian scores 1 SP hit against the English (cross-reference the “4 SP” column with the Indian die roll of 4), and the English score 3 hits against the Indians (cross-reference the “6 SP” column with the English die roll of 6).

King Philip's War Board Game

The English player decides to absorb his 1 SP loss by flipping over one of the full strength Soldier units to its half strength side. He could also have eliminated the existing half strength soldier, but the removal of a unit from the map would give the Indian player +1 Victory Point, and the English decided against that. (Note: the disadvantage to keeping a lot of half strength units on the map is that they count, for stacking purposes, the same as a full strength unit)

The Indian decision requires a bit more thought. He must eliminate 3 SPs total. He can eliminate all 3 Warrior SPs and leave the Village totally intact, which would allow him to retain control of the +1 SP strength of the Village since the English may not enter a non-razed Village hex. He could then possibly reinforce the Village on his next turn and save it from English control. The down side of the approach is that, by eliminating all his combat units, he’d have to eliminate the Captain (leader) as well, which would put the leader out of action for two full Game Turns. In addition, by removing two Warrior units (the full strength and the half strength), he’d be giving the English 2 Victory points.

He could also decide to take 1 hit on the Village (making it a “Raided” Village) and suffer 2 SPs on his Warriors. That would still prevent the English from receiving a Victory Point for razing the Village and would leave a single Indian Warrior strength point alive. But he’d have to give up a Victory point for the removed Warrior unit.

Alternatively, he could choose to suffer 1 SP on his Warrior units by flipping the full strength Warrior unit to its half strength side, and inflict two hits on his Village, thereby making it a “razed” Village. Even though no Warrior units would be physically removed in this scenario, the British would still gain a Victory Point for the razed Village.

So our hypothetical Indian player decides to go with the second option: 1 hit on the Village, making it a “Raided” village, and 2 SPs on the Warriors, leaving him with one half strength Warrior unit and the Sachem (leader). Church and his company may not advance into the attacked Abenakis Village because (a) there is still a Warrior unit there and (b) the Village is not yet razed. The English collect one Victory Point, the Battle marker is flipped to its “Battle Fought” side and the Combat Phase ends.

King Philip's War Board Game

Winning the Game

The game may end instantly upon either player achieving his “Automatic” victory conditions. Otherwise the game ends at the end of turn 9 with the player with the most accumulated victory points being the winner.

Automatic Victory Conditions for the English:

  • Accumulate 30 or more Victory Points.
  • Both King Philip and Canonchet (Indian Leaders) are either dead or on the Game Turn Track (i.e. temporarily out of play due to being wounded).

Automatic Victory Conditions for the Indians:

  • Accumulate 30 or more Victory Points.
  • Both Boston and Plymouth have been razed.

There is an optional rule for a shorter game which cuts the number of Game Turns in half, so this game should potentially be suitable for any type of competitive or tournament play.


It was an engaging game, keeping my full attention for the entire 3 hours it took to complete. There is quite a bit of emphasis placed on “razing” English settlements and Indian villages; maybe more than I cared for. But given the nature of the conflict this board game represents, I suppose that’s appropriate and by design. My biggest mistake, and I believe the main reason I lost the game, was that I focused too much on engaging enemy War Bands and not enough time attacking and razing villages. You have to overcome the standard war game mentality of supposing that the destruction of the enemy army is always the main objective.

After completing my first play of any new game I usually spend a few minutes reviewing the progress of the game, the flow of the system, and the general feel of how it “played”. If I find myself already thinking ahead to strategies and tactics that can be employed the “next time”, that’s an affirmative reflection on the game, and was definitely the case with King Philip’s War.

After I have a few more completed games under my belt, I may expand on this review or modify it as appropriate. But for now I’m giving King Philip’s War “one thumb up”.

King Philip’s War: Errata as of August 2010

General Errata and Clarifications

By Multiman Publishing

This is a compilation of errata that shipped with the game, as well as some Developer (Adam Starkweather) responses taken from the ConSimWorld Forum.

  • Clarification: The terms “clear”, “open”, and “neutral” are all used in the rules to describe spaces that have neither a red nor a white ring around them.
  • Clarification for Rule 10.0: On the turn a tribe becomes active it does not receive the per-turn reinforcements on that turn – only the initial setup forces. Starting with the turn after activation, the tribe receives its per-turn reinforcements.
  • Map Clarification: The identifying color strips for the Naragansetts and Plymouth colony don’t match the counter color for the tribe/colony. The color stripes on the map for the Naragansetts should be blue, they are the darker purple; the color stripes on the map for the Plymouth spaces should be red, they appear to be more orange-sih than red.
  • Rule 12.2: The last paragraph should begin “War Bands and companies moving by river movement…”
  • Rule 13.3: The last sentence under Ambush, the final word “strength” is missing.
  • Moving Leaders: When moving leaders alone, they move just like infantry and count against your war band/ company limits.
  • Tribal Surrender: Use 13.6 for Tribal Surrender – not 14.0. Only VPs matter for this.
  • Map Correction: You get VPs when a fort is razed (per “13.8”) and not when breached (per the map).

Q: Interception – Can an Indian unit attempt to intercept an English unit that uses “Ocean Movement” and lands at a port adjacent to the Indian unit?

A: No, you can’t intercept Ocean Movement.

Q: Interception – If a War Band/Company is the target of an attack, can it intercept into a hex in another direction?

A: Nope, it can’t intercept.

Q: Evasion – Can a War Band/Company Evade into a space that has been declared the target of an enemy attack (thus becoming part of the defending force)?

A: Nope, it can’t.