At CMON Expo Bangkok a new Skirmish game set in Westeros was revealed to the world. ASOIAF Tactics is a new game on the way from CMON and was announced with some reveals and information at the event. I will go over every piece of information I could find for you. Furthermore, there were a few Units that are coming to the main game that had their rules shown off that we will be diving into and reviewing.
The most anticipated Unit for the Martell faction is the personal guard of Gerold Dayne otherwise known as the Darkstar, the most dangerous man in Dorne. House Dayne are renowned for producing some of the deadliest duellists in the world so we all expect Darkstar to hold a high standard for those a part of his retinue.
With Gerold Commander this Unit gains access to Boldness and Courage as well as Marital Training making them particularly deadly in combat, some of his Tactics Cards could work to make them better on the table such as Lone Knight if they are off on their own or Coup Attempt if played correctly, however Reckless Strikes is worthless for this Unit. Unfortunately, whilst being called Darkstar’s Retinue they are much better almost everywhere else.
My favourite location would be with Commander Daemon Sand due to his Tactics Card A Need For Vengeance working very well into the Overrun Order on the Unit. His other Cards can work well with this attack or in defence of the Unit whilst his own abilities can provide some additional benefit to the Unit in general.
Another good place for the Retinue is in Harmen Uller. A Set For Charge mixed with Overrun could be a big play, but you couple this with Battle Endurance. Fueled By Slaughter, Reinforcements, and Spiteful Truce should result in the Unit never dying unless they are hit hard in a few turns.
The Unit could do well with Oberyn, Doran, maybe even Obara, but they don’t sit right with Gerold when there are some better combinations elsewhere. Furthermore, they are a 7pts Unit that does not compete against Units like the Golden Company Swordsman or either of the House Dayne Units. CMON does like to release new rules slightly worse than what they want them to be to prevent a huge meta shift they can’t react to. So we could be seeing them in a weakened state before being updated later down the line.
A little disappointing in terms of rules, however there is an Attachment in this box we have not seen the rules for. As much as we look at all the tools, we can add onto the Unit to make it better, they might just be good on their own. Or this Attachment could make it all make sense once we see it. Only time will tell, however my bet is on the Unit being in the shadow of others.
Ever since the release of the Mammoths for Free Folk, players have been wondering what the quiver of very large arrows was for. Since there is a shot in the TV Show of a Giant with a giant-sized longbow, it has been theorised we would see a similar Unit for the game. The Giants have opted to leave the longbows at home favouring their strong arm to launch spears at the enemy.
The 7pts solo monster does have some places in lists for the Wildings, especially with Mag the Mighty. Now being the only Long Ranged Unit in the roster after the rework to the Frozen Shore Hunters, this Unit will have to play based on that factor alone. I do think that it is a great answer to the tougher enemies as the other answers need to get to combat. This Unit can build that momentum from the get-go or be a reliable addition to the boulders with Mag.
In comparison to the Night’s Watch scorpion that has similar rules, it does come out on top. Whilst it is more expensive the giant is more survivable and can hold its own in some more interactions. Whilst the scorpion does have some better aspects the giant is just more versatile. But it is hard to weigh their worth properly due to them being in such different factions.
An interesting combination is Mag the Mighty’s Enrage Tactics Card which can give re-rolls to any attack the Spearthrower can do whilst also making the defender Panicked which helps do more damage with the Vicious ability. Whilst the giant does take two wounds for this, it can easily be healed with Craster who an auto is almost take for monster lists. Let’s be honest, you aren’t taking these wounds to re-roll other monster’s attacks as it is just not worth it. A Spearthrower will be added to Mag lists and be quite potent.
This is a great addition to the roster for the Free Folk. Whilst some are disappointed that it was not a longbow variant, it does bring any interesting variant to the table that opens up more playstyles from multiple different Commanders.
The Halberdiers sport a similar statline from other spear Units. They keep a high dice amount when losing a rank but offset this with a worse to hit value. What makes them slightly different is the armour save being one better than the other spearmen Units in the game but lose the commonly attributed Set For Charge Order, instead gaining the Taunt Order.
Just by comparing this Unit to Lannister Halberdiers prevents the Unit from ever being seen as worthwhile, and this is purely from their points cost. 6pts is ridiculous and anybody who plays the game can see that from a mile off, especially when we have had examples of this same issue in the Lannister Halberdiers and the Baratheon Sentinels that were later fixed by reducing their points cost to 5pts.
I know CMON always tries to have their new releases to be slightly nerfed to avoid releasing something that breaks the game that they cannot respond to quickly, but this kills the Unit before release. Even if we compare the Unit to in faction 5pts Units, it does not outshine any of them. Baratheon Wardens are slightly slower and slightly worse in combat but are harder to shift due to their defensive abilities. Baratheon Sentinels are slightly more fragile but can be either more aggressive or manoeuvrable due to the Sentinel Order. Renly’s Highgarden Pikemen are slightly more fragile but have an inbuilt heal and a way to get more dice for their attack. All three are 1pt less.
If we choose some of the 1pt Attachments available to add to the 5pts Units then compare it is no competition. Halberdiers must be reduced to 5pts for them to see any time on the table and that is before we even discuss how useful they are in the grand scheme of the Baratheon playstyle.
I do want to make a note that I have no idea what the developers that worked on this Unit are doing. They have shown that Units like the Halberdiers are meant to be 5pts due to the balance of the game currently with them fixing the Units in multiple updates over the years. If this Unit is just old and they have been holding onto it for a while, then why weren’t the rules looked at again to match that of the current state of the game? It feels lazy and purely damaging to the sales potential of the Unit. It just doesn’t make sense.
Stony Shore Pillagers
The Stony Shore is an area given to Theon Greyjoy and Dagmer Cleftjaw to raid by Balon Greyjoy. Thus, I expect this Unit to work well with both of the characters to live up to the story this game is based off of. Whilst both Commanders have use for this Unit it is more in a general sense than specialised.
The base statistics of this new Greyjoy Unit are similar to some of the standard 5pts Units in the game. You could be mistaken in thinking this Unit was from the Greyjoy Starter Set as they resemble a staple Unit for a faction. However, this Unit shines above the 5pts counterpart of the Ironbon Reavers due to their armour save and abilities.
A 4+ armour save makes them one of the most defensive Units the Greyjoys have access to beating the Ironborn Reavers and putting them on the same level as the Blacktyde Chosen. The Reavers specialise into better combat effectiveness whereas this Unit plays into better staying power whilst generating the premium currency without needing to get into combat. The Scavenge Order triggering off an attack against them is quite powerful considering the difficulties in generating in general.
Will this be taken more than some of the 4pts Units with Attachments? I would say it is quite likely. Whilst Drowned Men are in a league of their own, Trappers are not a massive standout in the faction even with a characters’ buffs. Ironborn Bowmen will have a place due to their ranged attack though.
This Unit is quite playable and could become a staple in Geyjoys forces. Their synergies with the inbuilt Pillage generation could become a powerful tool for the player to utilise but could be self-contained. This Unit could attack and gain a Pillage, then receive a retaliation and use the Scavenge Order to generate another, followed by healing off of that. I really like this Unit especially since the internal balance of the Greyjoys is dire, it opens the door for some more diverse list building which will always be a benefit for the game.
Sunset Sea Brave
The Attachment that comes with the Stony Shore Pillages is the Sunset Sea Brave. The Sunset Sea is the sea west of Westeros. This is the main sea that has fought between Greyjoys and The Reach throughout the history of the Ironborn. I am unsure why the Stony Shore Pillages has this character, or why his rule is called Iron Credit. It feels like Iron Credit should be something to do with the Iron Bank, furthermore, perhaps a different name to link to raiding the North rather than raiding the South?
The abilities from this card are brand new where it generates order tokens for an ability whenever a Unit nearby generates Pillage tokens. Whilst this is going to happen at some point, the token removal or highest attack dice value is nothing too drastic to warrant this as a powerful card. The rules are interesting, and it will be experimented with.
I do want to mention that the developers are doing a great job coming up with some new designs to rules for the game. It could have been incredibly easy to just shove on an existing ability like how the Baratheon Heroes 3 and 4 were handled. Instead, the developers went out of their way to innovate which is important to keep the game refreshing.
ASOIAF Tactics – Skirmish Game
CMON have announced A Song of Ice & Fire: Tactics, a new strategic skirmish wargame set in the universe of ASOIAF. In this immersive game, players compete for victory by engaging in tactical skirmishes using iconic characters and terrain tiles of well-known environments that re-create battles and moments from the original story, in addition to creating battles and scenarios of their own.
The two games will be different but complementary experiences. A Song of Ice & Fire: Tactics will be expanded so that players will be able to integrate their existing ASOIAF: TMG miniatures in the new game.
A Song of Ice & Fire: Tactics is set to come to Kickstarter in 2024.
What We Know
The biggest reveal is that this game is a kickstarter game, which means it will likely take 2 years before it reaches backers to start playing. This is because it generally takes a year to fund a project of this scale followed by the production and delivery if there are no delays.
The boxset that was revealed was specifically based on the Battle of the Trident from Robert’s Rebellion. Within this reveal we saw Robert Baratheon, Eddard Stark, Rheagar Targaryen, and a mystery figure theorised to be Barristan Selmy. This, as well as the comments of Adam Lovell, CMON’s VP of Sales, Organized Play & Events, suggests that we will see various new models from various eras of Geroge R.R. Matain’s world.
They all showed off on display “Drogon’s Fury”, an awe-inspiring playable dragon diorama that transports players into the heart of Westeros. They even put some models from the main game on the piece to show its scale, although I was concerned with how small the playable area was for this.
Kickstarter Timeframe. Will this take 2-years to be released, or will it be sooner? I am super excited to play a new game, but 2-years is a long time to wait for it. I know CMON in general loves having Kickstarters to fund their games, but with the success of ASOIAFMG I would have imagined there would have been enough support to get the game out sooner to the player base.
Terrain Tiles. So, what does this mean? It is mentioned on their official article that terrain tiles of well-known environments are a part of the game, so do we place down tiles similar to how terrain works in the main game? Are these tiles just like the Drogon display we saw? One of the benefits of the main game was how easy setting up a board can be. I hope this is the same for the skirmish game but there is a desire for 3D tables.
Eras. Which eras of the world will be involved? We have Robert’s Rebellion confirmed, and I guess in a way the future unreleased books of ASOIAF with the large Drogon at a Westerosi castle. Will we see characters from Aegon’s Conquest? How about the Dance of the Dragons that we currently have a live action show of? What about the Blackfyre Rebellions or the Age of Heroes? There are quite a few possibilities here that have me curious and excited.
Cross Compatibility. The main game is set after the death of Robert Baratheon, where following his death the whole story is up to you to design with “What if?” being a major player. The announcement does say we can bring the main games’ models into the skirmish game, but I would like to know if this works both ways. Could we bring Rhaegar Targaryen into the main game? What about Robert Baratheon? Would this also be a perfect dual release for Jon Arryn and the Knights of the Vale?
Neglect. Will this game take resource from the main game? I do believe there are some poor-quality rules for the main game that need to be fixed, almost in the vein of a live service video game. Whilst it is awesome that there is a new skirmish game with brand new models and characters, I do hope the developers are not splitting their time which will result in a further drop of quality whilst not fixing the many issues that plagues the wider game such as distribution. Furthermore, are the teams being expanded or are only a portion of the original developers for the main game working on the skirmish game?
NCUs. With the game being on a smaller scale, will there still be a Tactics Board or a need for NCUs? Whilst it would make sesne to remove this aspect of the game due to the small scale, it would be a shame if we were to be locked out from getting characters like the Mad King or Otto Hightower due to the Tactics Board being removed.
I am very excited for a skirmish game that can make characters feel potent rather than buffers to their Units. Jaime Lannister for example has always been terrible in the game but might have a chance to shine in a skirmish. More ASOIAF is always welcome, and I am thrilled to see CMON has faith in the IP and are willing to invest in the future of the games.
The next wave of new Units for many factions is almost upon us with some of the ones we have talked about being handed out as prizes at the event. They did show off the new Umber Ravages and Neutral Heroes 3 but kept the rules a secret. As soon as we have more details, we will let you know right here.
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