King Robert Baratheon is dead. The Iron Throne is now occupied by King Joffrey Baratheon, Robert’s son and heir. However, there are many in Westeros that feel this in error, and they have their own candidate seeking control of King’s Landing. The arrest of Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell, formerly the Hand of the King, by Joffrey has only added fuel to the fire, and now the War of the Five Kings has begun. Ravens have been sent out. Bannermen are being called. Armies are being formed and outfitted for the field. One must only look to the sky to see that Winter is coming. It is a dark and uncertain future for everyone.
The A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game, based on the #1 NYT bestselling novels by George R. R. Martin, captures the tension and excitement of the books by placing players in control of their own army, fighting for power in Westeros. Army creation begins by choosing a faction from among the great Houses, as well as several smaller factions with their own men at arms. The game’s first two factions are featured in the Stark vs. Lannister Starter Set, which comes complete with soldiers and leaders for both sides. Units come in two forms: Combat and Non-Combat (NCUs). Combat Units are the main fighting force of a player’s army, soldiers on foot or mounted cavalry, along with monsters and machines of war. They are represented on the field by miniatures placed on movement trays and come into direct conflict with the enemy. NCUs also have their own miniature, but these characters are not found on the battlefield. Instead, their true strength lies in the backroom dealings and council chambers where they can fight their own form of war. NCUs occupy spaces on the Tactics Board, giving bonuses and abilities to Combat units out on the field.
Each House also has access to their own Tactics deck. There is the basic 14-card House deck that is then augmented by cards based on which Commander is chosen for a player’s army, bringing the total deck size to 20 cards. The general House cards further epitomize each faction’s preferred fighting style. For example, the Lannister deck is built around sapping the confidence and will of the enemy. Meanwhile, the Stark deck bolsters its troops, allowing them to perform daring deeds of heroism backed by the knowledge that they are fighting for a just cause. Each Commander’s individual cards further refine those styles, showing that each Commander fights slightly different when it comes to the art of warfare.
Combat in the game is quick and deadly. Units roll a number of dice for their attacks based on the number of ranks left in their unit, with each attack having a different target number needed in order to Hit. When Hit, defenders need to roll equal to or above their Defense stat to avoid losing figures. While certain units like Cavalry might have multiple wounds per figure, most troops only take a single hit to be removed. It’s not only swords and arrows that can drain an enemy’s fighting ability. The rigors of battle mentally take their toll. After being attacked, a unit must make a Morale Test to see if anyone has lost their resolve, causing them to run off from the fight if they don’t pass the test.
The A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game includes five different game modes to appeal to a variety of different players. Each one has unique instructions for how the board is set up, the win conditions, and various types of special rules. ‘A Game of Thrones’ forces players to maneuver around the board and their opponent, looking to hold vital areas of terrain. ‘A Clash of Kings’ sees them building up their forces as they fight in an escalating engagement. ‘A Storm of Swords’ pits the opponents against each other in a mighty castle siege. ‘A Feast for Crows’ is an attrition battle, as both sides are haggard and tired from long days of fighting. Finally, ‘The Winds of Winter’ gives players secret objectives that they must accomplish without the knowledge of their opponent.
The Stark vs. Lannister Starter Set has everything that two players need to build their own forces for these two great Houses. It allows players to get the complete experience of the game from one starter, with each House getting four full Units of troops, along with various NCUs and multiple options for Commanders. House Stark takes to the field with two Units of Stark Sworn Swords, a Unit of Umber Berserkers, as well as the mounted Stark Outriders. House Lannister counters with two Units of Lannister Guardsmen, and a Unit each of Lannister Halberdiers and The Mountain’s Men. The options for these Units include different Attachments that can be added, letting players tailor-make their army to their liking. Many important characters from the book series also are part of the box, such as Eddard and Robb Stark, Greatjon Umber, Ser Gregor Clegane, and Cersei and Jaime Lannister.
The models in the game are all-new designs from CMON, under license and direct supervision from Dark Sword Miniatures and George R.R. Martin. They are pre-assembled in plastic, with weapons made with ABS, ensuring you won’t need to correct bent weapons.
The set also includes all the tokens players will need to mark game effects, as well as dice, measuring sticks, and even terrain templates. It truly is an all-inclusive starter set, letting players open it up and begin using their figures immediately on the field. They are able to engage in any of the game’s five different game modes at a standard-sized game level. No further purchases are required to dive right into world of Westeros. There is plenty for an army, complete with extra options to tailor forces to a player’s preferred tactical style. The set includes firm foundations upon which forces for either of these great Houses can build upon. Additional Unit Boxes (released monthly) can be purchased that allow players to further refine their army to their liking and give them more tactical options.
The Stark vs. Lannister Starter Set for A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game is the perfect way for new commanders to sink their teeth into the rich and vibrant world of the George R. R. Martin book series and write a new chapter to the War of the Five Kings.
The Stark vs. Lannister Starter Set for A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game is the perfect way for new commanders to march forward into the rich and vibrant world of the George R. R. Martin book series and write a new chapter to the War of the Five Kings.
The starter set, along with several further releases, will be hitting store shelves on August 31st.
•••Jason "Polar Bear" Koepp is a Content Producer for CMON and Editor in Chief of the Tabletop Gaming News website. He lives in Atlanta where he enjoys baking and sharing the results with the others in the CMON offices