When you play the game of thrones, you win or die.
A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game allows players to take control of their favorite Houses from the novels, and lead them into battle against their opponents.
The starter set comes with both the Stark and Lannister armies and everything else to get you playing.
This product was received for free
Playing Time: 30-45 Minutes
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Whats it about?
A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game has players acting as leaders of the massive armies of Westeros in an attempt to win the War of the Five Kings. Players control various units, ranging from basic infantry, thundering cavalry, to grand warmachines and creatures. In each game players will attempt to accomplish various goals, ranging from controlling territory to accomplishing secret objectives to claim victory.
There are five different game types you can play each with their own different rules allowing the players more variety for how they want to play.
The game modes are:-
- A Game of Thrones
- A Clash of Kings
- A Storm of Swords
- A Feast for Crows
- The Winds of Winter
All the details for those game modes are in the scenario book included.
Each army has their own special armies that will each have their own unique abilities and ways of playing.
How do you play?
A typical round consists of two phases, an activation phase and a clean up phase.
During the activation phase players can activate one unit they will then be able to perform one action from a number of possible actions.
–Maneuver, which lets you pivot any amount, then move up to that units maximum speed – indicated on the unit card, and then pivot again once the move is completed.
–March, your unit can move twice it’s speed stats and then perform a pivot. You cannot pivot first.
–Retreat, this allows you to move a unit away from the enemy, but you must first roll a panic test meaning you roll two dice and compare that to your morale stat on your unit card, if you fail the test then you lose one unit from your tray for every point the test failed by. Once you’ve carried out the panic test you can then pivot that unit.
–Charge, first you’ll need to declare a target which must be in line of sight, then you may pivot your try to line up with your target. Then you perform your charge which is your units speed plus the result of one die roll. Once you have completed your charge you can perform an attack on your target as part of the same turn.
–Attack, first you may wish to pivot your unit so that it is engaged with your target, you can also choose to perform a shift, which will move your unit from side to side potentially allowing other units to engage in the fight. Once you’re in position you will perform a dice roll, how many dice you roll is listed on each units card, you will have more dice the more units in the tray, so if you’re missing one whole row of units you will roll less dice. There is then a minimum number you’ll need to roll for each die, every die equal to or over that number is a hit.
For ranged attacks, they mostly work the same as melee except that you don’t need to be touching (engaged with) the target, only within your range noted on the unit card.
The defending unit is allowed to roll in defense too, for every successful roll from the attacker, the defender is allowed to roll that number of die for any roll that equals or exceeds their defense stat they will cancel a hit.
Should the defender suffer any casualties during an attack they will have to roll a panic test.
That is the basics of the first phase, once this is complete you’ll move on to the clean-up phase which essentially checks for win conditions being met, removes activation tokens and a few other minor things.
How does it play
I’ve now played a fair few tabletop miniature games like this and for me ASoIaF is by far the easiest, quickest and slickest to play. Firstly the rule book is fairly short – compared to a lot of other games of similar type, meaning it wont take you ages to learn, all the rules I found to be clearly and concisely explained.
With it being easier to setup and learn it makes the gameplay actually flow really well and pretty quickly too. In the first few games I felt like the action and the gameplay flowed a lot better because there was less need to check rules, less tokens to manage – there is some, but it’s not a lot. You could focus a lot more on your actual tactics for how you intended to win and getting stuck in to the action.
In the starter set, as well as the units and armies, you also get a few terrain for you to use on your battlefield and whilst it’s not loads of pieces, I felt like it was a decent amount and didn’t leave me feeling like I was missing out by not spending a lot more money on other parts like I did with the Fallout game.
As well as your standard combat units, you also have access to non-combat units and unit attachments.
Non-combat units – like Cersei Lannister, will influence the fight from a far by giving you bonus abilities by interacting with the Tactics Board.
The Tactics Board is where you can play your non-combat units on to free spaces. When you place the unit of a free space you will immediately get the associated benefit listed below. These can include things like restoring units to trays, or drawing tactics cards (you start the game with 3) from the tactics deck.
The Tactics Deck is a deck that’s unique to each faction, and the card will offer benefits to your armies when being attacked or defending.
Finally you have your Unit Attachments, which will again allow you to alter your other units abilities by granting them powerful bonuses when placed in a unit.
Whilst A Song of Ice and Fire might be an expensive mini game to buy in to – probably one of the most expensive I’ve seen, I still think it will offer a lot of gameplay and replayability that will make fans of both tactical games and Game of Thrones happy with what is on offer.
The gameplay and it’s rules are neat and tidily packaged away in a very good game. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that this doesn’t feel like a cheap cash grab on the back of the successful TV series and is more in line with the books in terms of the look of characters and the design.
But be aware that as is usually the case with Kickstarter games and CMON in particular there is so much more content in the Kickstarter version of the game and you might feel like you’re missing out on some good stuff!