A brand-new year means brand new models. My hype is steadily rising for the new Units on the way for A Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Gam, however it had me looking to the future. Like always, CMON are tight-lipped about what they are working on, but if you investigate the War Council App you will notice a bunch of product codes that are missing for several factions. Each of these codes have been passed over for others leaving gaps of missing boxes. It had me thinking about what we are missing from the rosters and what we could see in the future based on this.
CMON and Previews
CMON tends to not reveal too much about what they have in store for the players and the game – CMON has only ever revealed to us the future of the game on a few occasions, and typically within a few weeks of release, though those releases may be delayed several months as a result of distribution issues which have plagued the game since the start.
Good marketing campaigns require building up hype over time – Games Workshop has, since the launch of 8th edition 40k, done a much better job of this, shifting from putting everything in White Dwarf to having a dedicated online strategy with regular reveals and roadmaps for releases, telling players what they can expect for their flagship titles, usually 2-3 months in advance. Look at what GW were and where they are now (and where their stock price currently sits), and you’ll have a good idea of how important marketing and communication can be to building a successful tabletop game.
CMON have done this before – their “Taste of Things to Come” image in 2021 showed an array of models for all factions to come over the next year and a half, which acted as hope for factions falling behind in rules or a unique selling point. At the time I was very hyped for the update to some of the older models in the range, and I think we can all agree the update to the Lannisters and Starks was incredible – it really shows how far the model designers have come in the game. On top of this, seeing Kickstarter exclusives getting their release with very cool models in the Frozen Shore Bear Riders blowing our minds.
This image alone did a lot, and it is a massive shame it was not repeated in 2022 or 2023. I loved seeing how the two starting factions were updated and would have loved to hear from the miniature designers on the decisions they made for the models. Instead we’ve had radio silence with reveals a few weeks before model release and leaks between. Last year’s GAMA event had a leaked video showing a roadmap for the year and what models we could expect to see in each quarter. And so one of the biggest reveals for the game, giving us specifics on a lot of new boxes, was released but not on CMON’s terms. That can’t be preferable a planned quarterly strategy.
I don’t expect this to change bar marketing team/strategy changes or they hire a badly-needed community manager. CMON recently announced a brand-new skirmish version of the game that likely won’t be in community hands until the end of 2025 but aren’t saying anything about the future of the main game outside of next month’s releases.
That said, we have been seeing more articles and CMON trying to align an announcement/reveal with their releases, so there is some form of improvement happening. Bungie is a great example here, with weekly blog posts for their games, and I think CMON would really benefit from hiring a community manager to act as the voice connecting the community and the developers.
What can we speculate on that has some evidence to back it? There are currently missing product codes in the ASOAIF range, which means there have been some form of idea for future additions to factions. Let’s start with the Starter Sets:
SIF001 – Stark v Lannisters
SIF001a – Stark
SIF001b – Lannisters
SIF002 – Night’s Watch
SIF003 – Free Folk
SIF004 – ?
SIF005 – Bolton
SIF006 – Targaryen
SIF007 – Martell
SIF008 – Baratheon
SIF009 – Greyjoy
As you can see from the product codes, CMON went in order with SvL, then NW, and then FF, but then jumped from 3 to 8 with Baratheons, then down to 6 with Targaryens, then up to 9 with Greyjoys, then back down to 7 with Martells and then down further to Boltons at 5. Will 10 be next before 4?
I am a little confused with two things, why release in such a weird order and why have the releases in a weird product code order. Surely if you were going to release Baratheons after Free Folk then they should be number 4? Or if not then why skip number 4, 5, 6, and 7?
This is probably based on an idea of the faction coming to fruition before the faction gets a release schedule in product codes, and then released in general. But then, why did CMON come up with the idea of Night’s Watch, Free Folk, and another mystery faction before a Neutral Starter Set with the Boltons? Neutrals were a part of the kickstarter and Mini-Factions were only just released. Why were Baratheons thought of after the Martells? Surely, Baratheons had more content and wanted to make them before even touching Martells? I don’t understand the thought process and it makes it worse to know they thought of number 4 before any of the rest, what on earth is number 4?
We know house Arryn is on the way and some other Mini-Factions. My best guess is house Arryn which is even more crazy than thinking up Martells before Baratheons. Or this is another Neutral themed Starter Set back when Boltons were going to be the lead for that faction not retrofitted into a Mini-Faction. However, Neutral wise at the time would have been Bloody Mummers or Stormcrows, which wouldn’t be a good starter, Golden Company surely weren’t thought of back then due to their place in the Neutral line up. Or maybe it is something new like a house Frey faction?
It is more likely the Arryns though, and in a weird order like the rest. Speaking of Arryns, could this be the year we get the mostly Knight themed force? It all seems illogical to have them be number 4 and in this bizarre order but I am sure with some context there is a method to the madness we cannot see. Could it be something even wilder like a Free Cities, Slaver’s Bay, or The Others faction?
Each faction does not follow any rules for release schedule. Some are doing in order like Starks and Lannisters, some are out of sync like Night’s Watch and Neutrals. Some don’t have missing boxes due to be released in order which limits what we could theorise outside of a wishlist.
Starks and Lannisters – Starks and Lannisters are up to date and for the most part their boxes have always been released in order. Next up for the Starks is number 18 which is the new Umber Ravagers hitting the shelves early 2024. We know Winterfell Guards are on the way and it is safe to assume they are number 19 but nothing is confirmed. There is no hint as to what is next for the Lannisters, but it does sound like there will be a Lannister version of Stone Crows for Tyrion Lannister in their new box when reading the description and the contents of the boxset.
Neutrals – Neutrals are a massive mess. The release is not in order and there is so much missing because of this, and they really can’t be predicted. Most people do not know that the Bolton Starter Set and Bolton Heroes 1 are some of the early product codes for the game. Bolton Heroes 1 was number 6 following Neutral Heroes 1 which was number 5. If they were thinking about this so early, then why did it take so long for it to be released? I believe that the Mini-Faction concept was thought of much later to try and sell their old ideas pushed to the bottom of the priority list, and the Starter plus Heroes Box was for Neutrals.
I believe this due to the Archers and Spearmen being 22 and 23. I can see CMON taking a moment and saying we have the Starter Set and the Heroes Box but wanted to give it a better release which wouldn’t have worked as the models mostly being in everyone’s collection. So, update the models like how we did for Lannisters and Starks, give it new rules, bulk out those rules with some new Units, and boom, the Starter and Heroes box was pushed back to late 2023 release.
This still leaves 14, 20, and 21 missing from the roster. One of these could be the recently leaked Stone Crows we know are on the way or they could be 24 or higher leaving more of a mystery. 14 comes alongside the Stormcrows and followed by Neutral Heroes 3, so I believe this is a Stormcrow Cavalry Unit. There was a live stream on FaceBook by CMON a while ago showing off models and updated rules that I swear had the developers mention there were more Stormcrows to come. There is no way I would be able to find this now, but it has stuck to me since the Stormcrows are one of my main armies.
For 20 and 21, no clue. 19 were pirates and before that was the Golden Company. I assume that the Golden Company is done since following their Units it moved on to something else in the pirates, but they could have some new Units made when CMON thought of the Mini-Faction idea, but this would be ahead rather than behind in the product codes. 20 and 21 could be random Neutral Units or they could be more Essoss/Free Cities Units like the pirates.
Night’s Watch – I know everyone is craving a new Night’s Watch Unit and for the most part CMON have kept them relatively product code missing free. However, there are a couple of outliers in number 11 and 14. Number 13 was Shadow Tower Spearmen with Number 15 being Heroes 3, I believe that 14 should be an Eastwatch Unit since the Heroes 3 box came with the Commander of the Shadow Tower to match the Spearmen, and the Commander of Eastwatch which would have a Unit missing. I would see this Unit being a ship-based crew like the Lysene Pirates. This is because one of the primary tasks Eastwatch has been stopping ocean trade between the Free Folk and the Free Cities, it’s also why I think Lysene Pirates should be a part of the Free Folk roster out of lore alone.
11 is a mystery. 10 was Heroes 2 which had Benjen, Coldhands, and Sam with Gilly. 12 is the Vanguard Ranger Cavalry which plays more into Heroes 3 with Benjen than with Coldhands Cavalry attachment in Heroes 2. 11 could be something for another Commander like Alliser Thorne or Jon Snow, my top pick would be for Mutineers who took over Craster’s Keep, or for a Steward Unit like a group of Solos with tech rules like the Drowned Men for the Greyjoys. But one thing CMON did was release the Attachment Boxes which hinted at future release. Could we see a Builder Infantry Unit that would have the Senior Builder in the set?
Free Folk – For the most part, Free Folk have been released in order and are up to date. Giant Spear Throwers are next at 18 and we know the new cavalry Unit for Harma is coming in at 19. I am unsure what would be next for Free Folk, but I want to see more uniqueness to the faction. They have gone in a great direction with the monsters like the Varamyr box. Perhaps some expansion on some of the big clans like a new Thenn Unit or specific Unit for those who climbed over the wall. I do think they are looking back at the earlier releases and bulking the out with the Harma’s Vanguard Unit, so perhaps a Unit for the Weeper is in store?
Baratheons – Baratheons were up to date until the release of Heroes 3 and 4. It looks like the 4th box was made far in advance which has left 17, 18, and 19 blank. 17 is the Halberdiers but there is no clue to what the other two could be. I would assume this is something to do with the Heroes Boxes, such as a cavalry Unit for Stannis King, an Iron Bank Merc Unit for Justin Massey, and perhaps a Tyrell vassal house for Renly like the Tarlys or Redwynes. Something about the Baratheons has lost a charm for me, it needs some form of uplift to bring excitement back to the faction and the recent rework has killed some of the competitive choices.
Targaryens – Missing 13 and 14. 12 is Pit Fighters and 15 is Heroes 3. Again, this could be anything, however I will always call upon the layout of Commanders. Usually, a Heroes Box is alongside something that matches its contents like Neutral Heroes 2 and Stormcrows. We saw Brazen Beasts come out for Skahaz and I would say with Marselen being in Heroes 3 we could see the Mother’s Men. Or it could be a past character like Belwas for the Pit Fighters, so we could see the Knights for Barristan or more Dothraki with Jaqqa Rhan solo Unit. We do know that the Targaryen Attachment Box was added to some stores stock lists back when the Heroes 3 boxes were listed but the box never leaked or saw a release since, so one of these boxes could be it however all the other Attachment Boxes have been number 16 for the faction, so it is more likely in the future for the Targaryens than the past.
Greyjoys – Just like the Targaryens, Greyjoys had their Attachments Box get added to stock lists the same time as Heroes 3 Boxes but never leaked or released. It’s a little harder to imagine this was next in store for the Greyjoys since they have released in order and only have boxes up to number 10, furthermore, number 11 is going to be the Stony Shore Pillagers releasing early this year. It would be weird to do a massive skip of five boxes, but weirder things have happened.
Martells – Would you believe me if I told you that Martells have had the same support as Greyjoys? It almost feels out of place considering there is a lot more source material for the Iron Islanders than the Dornish. This is not the only similarity with the Greyjoys as Martells have only had 10 boxes released as well, although, for some reason the Martell Spearmen box is not listed on the War Council App which I am sure is just something they have missed.
What is next for Martells? Well, I hope it is something Uller related. He was going to be the main military force for the Sand Snakes if they could raise Dorne to war out of vengeance, he also was close to both Oberyn and Quentyn Martell, and outside of the lore has become a favourite amongst Martell players for gameplay. I think it is a perfect pick to bring some forces to the table.
Future, Roadmap, and Communication
What can we expect in 2024? So far all we’ve had from CMON for the New Year was announcing their support for US Events. Right now I don’t expect a major change as CMON have been trending toward less communication as time has gone on but my hope is that CMON will take control of how info is given, give a roadmap to entice people to return, and then be able to reveal things on their own terms. If they do this CMON can have a better handle on generating hype for new products – but the catch is that stock issues can topple the whole thing. There’s no point in having a great marketing campaign if you can’t deliver on the product.
There is a lot to look forward to with the future of ASOIAF even if we don’t know much about what’s coming or when we’ll know more. But as soon as we do, count on seeing an article about it here.
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