A Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game content is about to begin (again) here on Goonhammer. This article is intended to serve as an introduction to Goonhammer for the community of ASOIAF while also being an introduction for Goonhammer readers to the game. We will also detail what you can expect from weekly ASOIAF content over the coming months, from Community Member Spotlights to Faction Guides for those beginning their conquest of the Seven Kingdoms.
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What is the A Song Of Ice And Fire Miniatures Game?
A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game is a competitive miniatures game for two players. Each player controls one of the Great Houses of Westeros, commanding battlefield units, recruiting legendary Heroes, and manipulating the political stage, in the attempt to claim the greatest prize of all: The Iron Throne.
ASOIAF began in July 2017 on Kickstarter by CMON. Backers of the game were to receive the orders the following year. At the start of the game’s history only three factions were available; Lannisters, Starks, and Neutrals which were made up of the treacherous House Bolton. Over the last 5 years the game has grown to 10 factions including Night’s Watch, Free Folk, Baratheons, Targaryens, Greyjoys, Martells, and Boltons getting their own faction separate from the Neutrals.
The events for the game have grown to incredible sizes with the London Grand Tournament 2022 reaching 120 players in the event and becoming the second biggest event played at the LGT. In 2023 the Polish Nationals have gone beyond 200 players and countless other events from across the world are increasing in size.
ASOIAF is the Best of All Worlds
- Rank-and-File gameplay from Warhammer Fantasy
- Token play and list building of Warmachine and Hordes
- Unit Rules on quick reference cards like Age of Sigmar
- Alternate activations like the Batman Miniatures Game
- Keyword System like Warhammer 40k
I am sure you could find other ways of taking some aspects of games and comparing it to ASOIAF. However, the best way I can describe this game is saying that it takes some of the best parts of other games and forging it into one, whilst adding their own creative flair in the Tactics Board.
One aspect that has been mentioned when comparing ASOIAF to games like 40k and Warmachine is the alternating activations. Rather than waiting through your opponent’s turn where they activate dozens of Units and do everything with them, you are constantly involved in the game which now has a heightened strategic play. You need to choose what you will activate carefully and when whilst being aware that the opponent is doing the same. It is really entertaining and also prevents being wiped off the board before you have had a chance to do anything.
The Tactics Board allows you to bring characters that are cherished from the Books/Show but who never be present on the battlefield. Characters such as Cersei Lannister or Catelyn Stark get to fight in a side game of politics that affects the events of the battle taking place. At the same time, selecting a Commander for your force defines the strategic style of the faction. All Stark lists are not the same. A debuffing and attrition-based list in Howland Reed is different from the overly aggressive Greatjon Umber, which is then different to the cavalry focused Brynden Tully or the positioning expert of Robb Stark.
This is an incredibly fun game that gives the potential for anything you bring to shine. It is about the decisions you make in the game rather than what lists you choose. Every move you make is important, and every Unit can become great.
Starks inspire loyalty, courage, and a fierce dedication to the North. The Stark faction focuses on devastating aggression, in a superior position, through its many loyal bannermen who bring their unique capabilities to the fight. Ranging from the poisonous Bog Devils of House Reed to the stalwart Spearmen of House Karstark, each filling a unique role on the battlefield.
Lannisters at their core are all about wealth, power, and cunning. More so than anyone else, the Lannisters understand that it is not raw brute strength that wins wars, but the breaking of your enemy’s will. Masters of the arts of manipulation and deception, players must seek to achieve victory not through combat, but by dominating opponents with your will and cunning.
Neutrals makeup the forces that sell their loyalty for gold, but sometimes these forces are sent out on their own or perhaps have their own goals in mind. The Brave Companions swapped sides a lot in the War of the Five Kings, and as performers they use their skills to avoid conflict but capitalise on the weaknesses of their foes. The Golden Company never breaks a contract, and never fails. Only one of those statements are true, and when you see a whole mercenary force of Knights reinforced by War Elephants it’s easy to believe they are the best. If you want to switch up your playstyle often or mix and match the mercenaries of the world, Neutrals are for you.
The Night’s Watch resides at The Wall and protects Westeros from the wild and untamable things lurking in the forests beyond it. The Night’s Watch is an elite fighting force that has held back thousands with a handful of brothers. As Conscripts grow to Veterans, so do your troops as you attach vows to buff your Units into some of the most elite fighters in the game. But the Night’s Watch are nothing without their leaders inspiring them, and the faction demands the best from the young Jon Snow or the Old Bear Jeor Mormont.
Free Folk mostly consists of loose tribes and clans, and may seem like a scattered people, but when the call to war is sounded, they band together and form a unique and deadly force on the battlefield. Unlike the armies of Westeros, those who live north of The Wall do not have the militant training of crowns and kings, instead gaining a ferocity cultivated by the very environment they live in. Overwhelming numbers, plenty of characters, and droves of monsters, that is the Free Folk faction.
Baratheons are a house divided into Stannis and Renly loyalties. The Baratheons value their highly trained and highly armoured Units that comes at the cost of mobility. This army will drastically change in playstyle depending on which brother a player’s loyalty lies. If they choose Stannis, the focus will be in Condition Tokens and tactical cunning, while if they choose Renly, the focus will be in the support of Highgarden and their wealth.
Targaryens are the formation of several divergent pieces under the rule of Daenarys Targaryen, the last living Targaryen (as far as they know). Fast moving forces with incredible skill is a theme across a lot of the factions Units. The faction differs depending on the Commander however, so if you bring the ferocious Khal Drogo a Dothraki Cavalry army is for you, or if you bring the stoic Commander of the Unsullied then elite martial trained forces are at your disposal. No matter which person has been given the task of victory on the battlefield, you can expect the long dead Dragons to burn their way to the frontlines.
Greyjoys arrive at the battlefield upon their ships with a ravage desire to scour the mainland of Westeros. Always paying the Iron Price, Greyjoy units become more powerful as they defeat their foes. Greyjoys are all about hitting first and hitting hard, not letting the enemy have room to breathe, and always forcing their opponents to make hard decisions. A glass-cannon army that can snowball into a devastating force.
Martells are notorious for avoiding combat unless victory is certain, instead choosing the political games and plotting made so famous in Westeros. However, once the forces of Dorne do engage they do so on their own terms with ambushing the enemy in the dunes using guerilla tactics or sending forth the duellists of House Dayne. Martells are a tactically supreme force with plenty of NCUs to dominate the Tactics Board.
Boltons are the most treacherous House in Westeros and their reputation for being the most horrifying of torturers is known by all. It is sometimes this thought alone that pushes people into submission but if you do try to defy them then, well, as they say, a flayed man has no secrets. Our Blades Are Sharp are the House words of the Boltons and their forces hit hard in battle to make up for this. But be careful, it is not the blade that cuts deep, but the horror on your morale. If panic and terror is how you want to conquer Westeros, then Boltons were made for you.
Previously on ASOIAF
If you’ve read ASOIAF content on Goonhammer before, you likely read Thanqol’s work. Thanqol is one of Goonhammer’s key contributor staff and used to write the articles for ASOIAF. They have recently moved to Conquest after it caught their eye, leaving me to shoulder the mantle when it comes to AOSIAF content. Thanqol made some great reads on the game about the Updates and specific tough strategies such as Invincible Units. We’re particularly proud of the Faction Focus articles, which teach new players how to use their chosen house to help conquer the Seven Kingdoms.
As these Faction Focuses are all creeping up in age – many more than a year old now, I plan to update these, with help from Thanqol and other community members who have experience with those factions.
Post Update Review – Everyone had an opinion about the quality of the Season 3 update upon its initial release. I want to look at whether these same opinions hold up now that the update has had time to settle. Is the Greyjoy Faction in a rough state? Do Boltons need a rework already? Is the Night’s Watch Faction truly oppressive?
I do want to discuss what needs addressing as soon as possible and what should be left until the next update whenever that will be. An obvious example of this is with the Golden Company Swordsman which need a rework straightaway as they already plague countless lists across all factions. I will be using ASOIAF-Stats website for some insight into the wider community as it is the best overall look at the state of the game.
Faction Guides – Imagine starting a new Tabletop Game such as Age of Sigmar and searching up a beginner’s guide. You have read through it but when you come to use the new faction you have invested this time into there are new Units and updated rules for existing ones. I have seen countless amazing guides for factions that have unfortunately gone out of date. The aim of these new faction guides will be something you can come back to with them being updated when the game progresses.
Faction guides are important to help onboard any new players into the game. With any game there are buying guides or top tips to help you easily get into the game, so you’re not disadvantaged when facing others who have more experience than you. I want to see this game grow, and helping the newcomers to get started is a perfect way to do this.
Road to Events – The next events I will be attending are Ribble Rumble and the Welsh Grand Tournament. I have always wanted to do some hobby progress articles but also combine this with my journey of learning and adapting a list. For Ribble Rumble and the Welsh GT, I will be bringing the Boltons. The articles will go over the hobby progress for the faction as well as some insight on what I am learning with my practice games.
As a little tease we do have an interview with the Tournament Organiser for the Welsh GT and the player Scaddman who is almost like an ambassador for the event by promoting it across the country.
Community Spotlights – There are many members of the community who make some brilliant content on ASOIAF. I want to spotlight these members of the community and celebrate what they are doing. Painters, Artists, Podcasters, Battle Reporters, Hobbyists, Article Writers, and so on.
Predictions, Reveals, and Whislists – One of my favourite topics to speak on is what I would pick for new additions to the game. I will be doing some Top 5’s/10’s of some of the characters I want to see for each faction. Maester Lewyn, The Waif, and Young Griff are just some of the characters at the top of my lists.
I do want to cover any reveals for the game and my prediction into how they will be integrated into their factions. The Stone Crows were revealed recently and there is a fresh wave of new Units on the way in Q1 2024 that will add something new to all the factions.
Winter is Coming (Positive Connotation)
ASOIAF content here on Goonhammer has only just begun. We will be bringing you plenty more content for ASOIAF for you over the coming Winter months, so stay tuned for some Faction Guides, Community Spotlights, and Rules Reviews from us. If there is anything you would like us to make content about then do let us know.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.