New Series Alert! This is the first article in a new series where we sit down with members of the community and get to know them on a new level. From where they have come from, to what they are doing now, and then to what they intend to do in the future. It’s about celebrating the community and there is no one better to shine the spotlight on first than those who embody this in everything they do; Hits and Crits.
The Creators: Hits and Crits
Chris featured on Sunday Slaughter for a while as a creator making some Battle Reports for the channel. When Sunday Slaughter restructured their focus on the US scene, Chris decided to break off and form Hits and Crits, developing it into a community channel with the help of Dennis and many others from their community. We sat down with Chris and Dennis to learn more about the team that won the Goonhammer 2023 Azor Ahai Award: Leading The Way for the ASOIAF Miniatures Game.
What is your history with tabletop games?
Chris: I started as a teenager playing Warhammer 40k, then took a big break whilst studying and to form a family. I got back into TableTop Games with the Mythic Games Kickstarters such as the Time of Legends: Joan of Arc, these took a little too long in the beginning with how backing works whereas hopping into a game like ASIOAF is much quicker since you buy the starter and you’re good to go.
Dennis: I am quite new to TableTop Games and play more in-depth board games. I did play DnD when I was younger in which Chris introduced me to dungeon crawling. Chris then introduced me to my first TableTop Game which was X-Wing which developed into Star Wars: Legion. Legion is similar to the ASOIAF Miniatures Game, so I ended up joining ASOIAF.
Which Factions do you play, and which Models/Units do you like the most?
Chris: I play Night’s Watch the most as I really like them, but I do have all the Factions. I am not familiar with Greyjoys and Targaryens as a Faction though. My favourite sculpt is the Rose Knights for the model with the come-at-me pose due to how dynamic the pose is. In terms of rules, it must be Jon Snow always. It is the combination of the lore and the Direwolves. I love Direwolves, it is the bond between hero and animal that I like. Although he is no longer the best Commander anymore since there is so much competition with Cotter Pyke and Donal Noye.
Dennis: I play Targaryens and a little bit of Greyjoys. My favourite model is Coldhands from a great paint job by RoughTurtleOne on Instagram. It embodies the mysteriously and menacingly nature of the character and is a great imposing sculpt. In terms of gameplay, I love Silenced Men playing them with negative Morale bubbles. I also really like the models for the Brazen Beasts with their different weapons and animal masks.
What is one of your most memorable moments playing the game?
Chris: It has to be learning how to make way better use of the Take the Black tactics card. I used to throw away Take. The Black Tactics Card most of the time until the mid-end game because the trigger didn’t go off at the right. moment, until I did some mentoring with Brett Lanpher who showed some good positioning to increase the value of Take the Black. Playing the Night’s Watch, I learnt you need to have Take The Black at the right moment to steal an Attachment. There was a moment where my Ranger Hunter Unit was down to just Jon and a single Ranger against a Stark force. I killed a Unit with a double action from Quick Fire and their action, used Take The Black, healed, and stole Commander Ned. I won the game in the end thanks to this move by having Ned join them. The opponent didn’t see this coming and was frustrated by two people changing the course of an entire conflict.
Dennis: For me it was when I played Drogo and was losing in Round 3. Ended up with Overrun, and Assault Orders in hand, I decided to go for a hail mary, attacked some Free Folk Units in the flank, Overrun killed another Unit catching up on points, charged again with Drogo chasing Mance, it was Clash of Kings gamemode, if I kill Commander Mance with my Commander Drogo, I can catch up on points and win, I charge into Mance, I cannot kill the Unit but I do have Expert Duelist, final roll 5+, kill Mance and win the game by 1pts, but failed, epic game no matter what. Rolling over the entire map with Bloodriders was crazy to bring me back into the game.
How did Hits and Crits begin?
Chris: During my time at Sunday Slaughter we launched around 8 battle reports while Chris (Tran) needed some time away from producing. We got substantial audience support which really fueled my drive to create more content. After Sunday Slaughter switched to other presenters and focused U.S. tournaments, players and meta, Chris was even more fixated on growing the hobby so his BFF Dennis, new acquaintance Till and Chris decided they will do that with their own brand. The idea grew and in October 2023 the trio did an official launch of the Hits and Crits channel. We wanted to not only focus on meta and tactical play, but the overall game including thematic lists, custom scenarios and paint jobs.
We were fixated on growing the hobby so we decided we will do that with our own brand. The idea grew, Dennis and another friend already involved from making reports with Sunday Slaughter, and in October 2023 we did an Official launch of the Hits and Crits channel. Sunday Slaughter focused on competitive play and lists whereas we wanted to focus on just the game without the need for meta and tactical plays.
What is the goal for Hits and Crits?
Chris: Our main goal is to grow the hobby and bring people enjoying it together. Several other channels and articles show your minis off with their brilliant paint jobs etc, and this is of so many people putting hours and energy into their art. But no other channel is cherishing that of the everyday community member, and I thought “we really should do something like that” and then also we give them a token gesture as an award for putting the time and effort into their hobby, thinks like a custom minis or other small stuff but something to award them with.
Dennis: Our main goal is to grow the hobby and bring people enjoying it together. That is essentially our mission statement.It started from a lack of something, we wanted to bring people onto a stage where they would not normally be.
How did you and your community react to the Azor Ahai Award?
Dennis: We were unaware of the ASOIAF Community Awards until some of our community members mentioned it in our Discord server by linking it and then congratulating us. I was completely flustered believing this was Chris’ doing through networking with other creators but then he knew nothing about it either. It was a genuine shock to us and the biggest honour of all after a short time. Being recognised as a voice in the community is something special, just to be seen by other people in the community is a wonderful feeling.
Chris: It was something official that we can use to prove what we were doing was good and paying off, but also for everyone to see what we have achieved. I turned to Dennis and said, “When you work your ass off, when it is of a high quality, and when you do things for the community, someone will see it and recognise you.” I am grateful for the award and for us just starting off as well.
What’s in store for Hits and Crits in 2024?
Chris: We want to do some more collaborating, the only other creator we see do this often is Tourney Ground, but we want more collaboration in Song, so we will be doing that in the future, or continue to do so. We do have plans for a series called On Target, which hones in on a specific thing in the game.
Carly: The first in the series is already out now on Hits and Crits’ YouTube Channel. It focuses on the Umber Ravagers in a collaboration with Imperial Minis.
Chris: A lot of people in the community have given great feedback about the S03 update series with Imperial Minis and we will be doing this again for S04, and of course we are finally going to launch our battle reports. We also want to do some tournament reports in the future. Recently what Miniac just did with his report showed a great display of how engaging battle reports can be. It is more than just a battle mat and minis moving, both people have visible emotions shown off stuff, with moments of them being themselves which makes it more accessible.
Dennis: We have our big event coming up in Hamburg called War of the North, and then we want to do a few smaller events to take the brand across Germany. We have a key focus on bringing the community together and bettering it. We are also proud to announce The Hits and Crits Painting Academy hosted by @mitch.scribbles. He is one of the best and influential painters in the industry we have today and he is eager to engage with all of you on your painting projects, to help you with some advice and just connect with the community. The first Painting Academy will take place on the 28th of March.
What is the War in the North event?
Hits and Crits presents: The War of the North – Northern Germany’s biggest A Song of Ice and Fire: TMG event to date. We are extremely proud to be able to bring this challenge to our local community in the north of Germany and beyond, and we are looking forward to greeting you in the North: Who will prevail when armies clash on frozen battlegrounds? Who will claim the throne in the North? 60 players will converge on the 10th of February to decide.
How did you decide you wanted to make an event?
Dennis: There were three columns we thought of when building Hits and Crits. One would be the YouTube Channel for batreps, which does not have one yet as we are still honing them to make them right. Meanwhile the channel received shorter info focused pieces like the season reviews or the On Target series. Second column are tournaments and organised play here in the north of Germany and beyond. Third is community work which has started with Instagram and Discord where we bring people from Germany and the rest of Europe together.
Chris: We started over and locally with the people we see everyday that can get involved with physical events and tournaments. We tried a small one, then decided let’s go bigger since we have to grow to get a lot of people involved, so let’s do 30, we found a location that had more room so we could do 40, and from the numbers we decided to try 60 because we will never get those so see what happens, and now it is a sold out event.
Dennis: Everything has grown in the last few months, and we even have some of the most competitive players there such as Iceman who is very active. The previous event was 12 and we have crushed that number. We weren’t trying to be the biggest, but the demand is there, and we want as many of the community at the event as we can. We have the network to make it happen and are in close contact with the other event organisers to collaborate on this.
Would you say that players have a different style of playing depending on country?
Chris: It is completely down to the players not location. From experience with playing with players from other countries and from across the world this is not something I have noticed. The best events have players that bring all the three; the in between, the lore, and the efficiencies.
If you could wish for a dream event, what would it look like?
Dennis: Casino with drinks being served must be a great idea, but mostly a thematic event from out of the ASOIAF Books with 120 players with a big voice in the community or big influence in the game with a passion so big for making an enjoyable experience.
Chris: Couldn’t agree more. I would add a lot of collaborations into the event in the form of a moderator or presenter for the event through a live stream commentary, media present, battle reports being filmed, interviewing creators for their plans in the future, perhaps even a small documentary in the end, prizes for all, with it measured by how many new people met, and new projects thought up between them.
Future of the Game
What would you like to see from the game in the future?
Dennis: I would love to see some more gamemodes added to the game, especially an intro gamemode for the new players. This would show off elements of the game on a smaller scale but in a tutorial sense. It would help bring more people into the game as whilst it is not complex, it can have depth, it is however overwhelming. I would also love to see some new terrain and terrain rules added alongside some new and old 3d plastic terrain like the pieces that were in the kickstarter. My favourite colour is blue so I can’t wait to see House: Arryn for the blue cards.
Chris: I would like to see the game live long which will mean putting work into it to keep growing. I must agree with Dennis for some more standard gamemodes, but also some new thematic stuff which has some high potential. Shayne from Boardmangaming has made many of these and is doing so well with putting so much work into designing a narrative space. We for sure have some battle reports coming for competitive play and some narrative ones using Shaynes stuff.
What would you like to see from the developers in the future?
Chris: Most importantly we want to see them get involved in Europe. Their Organised Play support is focused on US with very little directed at Europe. European has had the biggest events in the game’s history, just look at the recent Polish event which was huge. Even the London Grand Tournament or French Nationals have grown to a very large size. If War of the North does well, we might see some more recognition from CMON.
Dennis: I can’t imagine that this is because CMON don’t want to support the rest of the world’s organised play but if the events get bigger this might incentivise them. Many have tried to engage with them with little to no support in Europe such as with any promos like the dice bags or Game Knight kits. We need to show people connecting at the events making them see the value here.
Chris: We do thank them for putting out a game which is under continuous support and maintenance, with steady releases. It may not always be right when it comes out such as the Golden Company Swordsmen, but they worked quite quickly to make it better in Season 3. It gives high hopes for more in Season 4 where it is likely going to be the most balanced version of the game to date, so big shoutout to them.
Are there any new concepts you think would work well for the game?
Dennis: I have always wanted a boss battle mode which CMON look to be doing with the massive Drogon statue over Harrenhal in ASOIAF Tactics. I can’t wait to play that from their new kickstarter.
Chris: I like what they did with the Neutral Heroes 3 when the minis and their rules were shown off. I thought that Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark would work well if they came together but one of them goes into an enemy’s Unit and there would be benefits to one fighting the other. A new layer like this won’t influence or disrupt the game too much and could become a fun mechanic. In some ways it is already in with the Attachments you put in other Units.
After sitting down with Hits and Crits for a few hours I can see why they have taken off so much in the community. Their dedication to everyone around them that are involved in the game is unrivalled that segments the decision for them being the holders of the Azor Ahai award for Leading The Way. They are a great representation of what all people within the community should strive towards to encourage a growth for the game.
Goonhammer will be collaborating with Hits and Crits in the future for some events, initiatives, and content. The team at Hits and Crits are some of the best people in the community with an admirable goal of growing the hobby and bring people enjoying it together, and we look forward to supporting this however we can.
Make sure to check out Hits and Crits over on their socials such as Instagram and give their content a watch over YouTube.