CMON: A Song of Ice & Fire Preview

CMON stopped by our studio to show off the upcoming A Song of Ice & Fire Starter Set and Gameplay!

A couple weeks ago, CMON sent over Game Designer Michael Shinall to show off the successfully Kickstarted and upcoming A Song of Ice & Fire Tabletop Miniatures Game. We had a blast taking it out for a spin.

A Song of Ice & Fire Preview with Michael Shinall

The party starts at 17:30 Mark. Michael was on set to show the contents of the box off and also to go over the basics of Gameplay. Unfortunately towards the end of the stream we lost power (a transformer blew-up in the neighborhood, there was a complete blackout for BoLS HQ, no one was harmed and power was restored later that night).

Graciously, Michael came back the next day and we actually got to play a full game and continue the FAQ portion of the interview:

If I’m being totally honest – rank and file miniatures games aren’t my cup of tea. I’ve played loads of them and I get the appeal…It just doesn’t appeal to me. However, when I actually sat down to play this game I was pleasantly surprised! Something about this game just clicked for me. Maybe it was the trays, maybe it was the combat, maybe it was the setting – but something about this game really won me over.

The Basics

It’s a point based game so each player brings the same amount of points to the table and you play one of the 5 scenarios that you choose before hand. You can play asymmetrical games and multiplayer – but that’s more advanced stuff. A typical game is between two players and is between 30 (a small game) and 50 (a larger game) points. The starter set provides you with enough things to run two 30 point forces – and you have some wiggle room so you could try different things. OR you could throw everything in there and play a 35-40 point game.

The game is an “I Go, You Go” system. The first player choose a unit to activate, does all the things with that unit, and then passes it over to the next player. That player chooses and activates a unit and does things and then it passes back. You get the idea.

When a unit is activated it has a very simple set of actions they can take:

When a unit pivots, they can turn as much or as little as they want. When you move, you move straight ahead up to the distance of your move value. Charging uses both your move stat and a D6 die roll. Attacking is where you take your combat stat, roll that many dice and try to score hits based on your “to hit” score. The enemy gets an armor save based on their armor value for each hit. Retreating is basically a reverse charge – you move up to your speed + 1D6 directly away from an enemy unit.

(Note: If you are flanked from two opposite sides, you can’t retreat because you can’t move DIRECTLY away from one unit with out making contact with an enemy unit.)

Shifting is how you are aligned when two units make contact. You’re either 50/50 aligned or you’re 100% aligned. If you’re 50/50 another unit can charge into that facing (watch the video starting here for that explanation.)

The different conditions apply re-roll modifiers to the affected unit. They are negatives and cause you to re-roll your Morale, Defense, or Attack. Your opponent gets to choose when to spend those tokens! As far as attack bonuses, Charging nets you re-rolls for your attack dice. Flanking an enemy from the side gives them a -1 to their defense save and an additional penalty to their panic test. Attacking them from the rear ups that modifier to -2!

The Units

Card Break Down – Start Here

All the units in the game also come with a stat card to help you keep track. The foot is their move speed. Their attack is a sword which is melee (some units have an arrow to represent a ranged attack). They do damage on a 4+ per die roll. And the 3 numbers after that determine how many dice they get to roll. The first number (starting left to right) is how many ranks they have left. So with a full 3 ranks, they roll 6 dice. At 2 ranks, they roll 5 dice. And a single rank they roll 3 dice. They have a 3+ armor value and a 7+ morale value.

Morale damage is pretty interesting. It’s a test of 2D6 and you need to meet or beat that value to pass. The most common Morale test is a Panic test. Every time a unit is attacked they have to make a Panic Test. For each point you fail by, a model in that unit is removed. The most you can ever lose is their Morale value however! So even with a -7, if I roll two 1s, I still only lose 7 models. Other types of Morale tests can cause units to attack themselves, or cause them to ignore abilities.

The Tactics Board

The Tactics Board is actually one of my favorite parts of this game and is a really unique mechanic. Your army can include non-combat units in the game. These units are set aside and are used with the Tactics Board. When you active one of these units you place them on the board an resolve the corresponding effect. The effects represent the “off table” machinations and political factors happening “above the table” so to speak. It adds a ton to the game thematically when Cersei Lannister forces a unit to make a Panic Test because she’s basically threatened their families. Or when a unit gets inspired by Sansa to fight harder in the battle.

Most armies and leaders tend to favor certain parts of the Tactics Board. The Lannisters abilities can really compound the effects of the Crown and Treasure section where as the Starks favor the combat and mobility options. Knowing this there is actually a lot of counter-play involved. None of the spots on the board are BAD to control – but it really depends on how the game is shaping up.

We’ll be covering the game in a lot more detail later next week and we’ll be highlighting the different Leaders and how attachments work. I’m really looking forward to A Song of Ice & Fire Tabletop Miniatures Game. It’s pretty easy to jump into and start playing; The mechanics are simple and clean – dare I say elegant. The bad news is that it’s not officially out until April. The good news is you can still jump in with a Late Pledge on their Kickstarter page.

 

Are you excited about this new Miniatures Game? I’m looking forward to taking an army to battle! Is it April yet?

  • marlowc

    Sounds like an alternating activation game, rather than “I go you go” ?

  • Talos2

    Surprised they left the got logo off of the box. Many people have no idea that they are the same thing. casual gamers won’t notice it on a shelf

    • Gavin Meakings

      As the book and TV licences are separate and they are not allowed to use the Game of Thrones name to advertise the game.

      • Talos2

        Couldn’t just base this first box on the first book, which coincidentally was also called game of thrones? Just seems an obvious flaw. You often see it come up on quiz shows and very rarely does anyone know song of ice and fire is GoT