Since its release in 2018, A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game has steadily seen a growing player base, bolstered by a steady stream of releases for a wide range of armies in the Seven Kingdoms. Released throughout February, the newest additions to the line include a few key additions to the Lannister army and the Free Folk army, as well as the separate release of both the Stark army and the Lannister army into their own Starter Sets (previously, the only way to get the core of either of these armies was with a two-player 'Stark vs. Lannister Starter Set'). ASOIAF:TMG publisher CMON Games recently sent us these new releases to check out, so read on for our initial thoughts!
A Song Of Ice And Fire TMG Lannister Starter Set
The Lannister Army is a powerful force on the battlefield, sporting decent defense and strong attacks, these tactically cunning and cruel aristocrats are a well-balanced army. Along with the core rulebook and all tokens and cards needed to play the game, the Lannister Starter Set also includes two units of 12 Lannister Guardsmen, 1 unit of 12 Lannister Halberdiers, 1 unit of 4 House Clegane Brigands on horseback, and the special characters Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion Lannister, plus “The Mountain that Rides” Gregor Clegane.
The Lannister Guardsmen are the solid core of this army, with a powerful 3+ armor rating (meaning they'll block hits more often than most units in the game) and the ability to force units attacking them to take a panic test after they land an attack. Normally, panic tests are taken if you've been hit, but the thinking about the repercussions of striking members of the Lannister army must be fairly nerve-wracking. The Halberdiers are not to be trifled with either, as they get a free attack when charged from the front or flank (because of their long-reaching halberds). Finally, the House Clegane Brigands are mounted cavalry units that can each take three wounds (normal units have one health per unit).
The four Characters in the Lannister Starter Set provide tactical and brutal advantages to the Lannister army both on and off the battlefield. You can field two different versions of Jamie and Clegane (they have two different stat cards), and they're slotted into a tray with a battalion of troops. Jamie can either provide a unit with an automatic counter-attack and offer a penalty to attackers' to hit roles, or he can plus up the morale of his unit and perform a special order to make his opponents vulnerable (forcing them to re-roll defense dice). Clegane hits hard, either making enemies he's charged vulnerable and dealing an additional +2 wounds per hit (brutal!), or adding that same wound bonus but going into a mad rage, forcing his unit to charge the nearest opponent. One of the things that's so special about ASOIAF:TMG is its use of non-combat units. Here, we can field Cersei - who gains extra tokens to search the tactics deck for specific cards, or Tyrion, who starts the game with more tactics cards and can search up a card to cancel an opponent's tactics card.
All in all, the Lannisters are an interesting army in the way they mix raw power on the battlefield with extremely manipulative gameplay behind the scenes, and are a good choice for the more tactically-minded player (who still wants to run their opponents over with Clegane's brigands).
A Song Of Ice And Fire TMG Stark Starter Set
Led by Rob Stark (the game takes place after the death of Eddard), the Stark Starter Set includes (along with rules, tokens, etc.) 2 units of 12 Stark Sworn Swords, 1 unit of 12 House Umber Berserkers, 1 unit of 12 House Karstark Spearmen, and Greywind. The set also includes Robb, Sansa, and Catelyn Stark, along with Greatjon Umber.
The Stark Sworn Swords are proud and fast warriors on the battlefield, sporting sword and shield. They have a special order action they can use to gain access to critical blows (rolling a 6 on the dice adds an additional hit) and sundering, at the cost of taking wounds at the end of their attack. The Karstark Spearmen, with their long spears and huge shields, ignore penalties from being attacked from the flank or rear. The House Umber Berserkers are an incredibly ferocious unit to field, as they're one of the few who grow in attack power (both in number of dice rolled and bonuses to hit) as their ranks are depleted. And then there's Grey Wind, our favorite dire wolf! Grey Wind has four wounds, performs a free move at the start of their activation, and makes four fierce attacks with sundering, among other benefits.
Now let's dive into the characters available from the Stark Starter Set. Like Jamie and Clegane above, Greatjon and Robb are both battlefield models who are slotted into an already existing unit of models, and both have a commander and character variant. Greatjon is a ferocious, headstrong leader, who can either rush his unit recklessly into battle with charges that can't miss but deal damage to his unit (a nice combo with his Berserkers who get stronger as they take wounds), or can roll to survive one last attack if it would be destroyed. Robb on the other hand is extremely mobile, and his two options allow him to either add to the mobility of his unit and get a free retreat after being attacked, or gains tactical prowess, allowing other units to shift for free and regrouping and healing up wounds after retreating. The two non-combat characters, Catelyn and Sansa, add strategic depth to the game. Sansa can return used tactics cards from the discard to your hand, and Catelyn (who's the real power house here), can influence friendly units on the battlefield, removing negative conditions from them and ensuring they use their highest attack die value.
If the Lannisters are a treacherous and sturdy army, the Starks are a fast and ferocious army. They often leave themselves open to being overrun, but when they hit they hit hard and fast. It's especially interesting that Greatjon is good at getting his unit into the fray, while Robb is good at getting them out of danger. Finesse this balance between the two, and you've got a pretty deadly hit-and-run style army on your hands.
A Song Of Ice And Fire TMG Lannisport City Watch
Now let's look at unit expansions, diving first into the Lannisport City Watch. This unit expansion for the Lannister army comes bedecked in fine armor, and is an adaptable force on the battlefield. Their special ability is to use an order action to either gain either a +1 bonus to defense rolls or a +1 bonus to hit rolls, and they automatically pass panic tests if they're facing off against a unit with less ranks than them. They're not the biggest "wow" factor on the battlefield, but this adaptability makes them difficult to deal with when the dice start rolling.
A Song Of Ice And Fire TMG Frozen Shore Bear Riders
Finally, it's time to check out the Frozen Shore Bear Riders. These incredible, spear-wielding women are an expansion for the Free Folk army. This 4 model unit has 4 wounds on each unit, and can attack with either their ranged spear toss or with a melee attack called "spear and maul." Spear and maul is absolutely devestating, as it has the Vicious, Sundering, and Precision keywords on it, meaning they attack hard and make it very difficult for their enemies to defend. They're not the fastest, with only a 4" movement speed, but get them into the battle (and keep them from being surrounded), and they'll absolutely roll over an enemy unit.
That wraps up our coverage of everything released this early Spring for A Song of Fire and Ice: Tabletop Miniatures Game. We'll be back with further coverage as we see new models.
The products used in the creation of this review were provided by the publisher.