Playing a Game…of Thrones! A Review of A Song of Ice and Fire the Miniatures Game!

Here we go again, starting projects before finishing other ones…

It’s been a crazy, hectic few weeks. I have learned through my memory tests at the Hospital that I more then likely have previously undiagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and that I have probably lived with it most of my life. This explains a great many things, even as far as this blog goes(I do have an awful lot of “part ones” on this site!). This is has been followed up by additional medication, and a lot of soul searching and introspection. But enough about that…

I’ve also had a friend visiting almost every weekend, and what was going to be an article about how fun Age of Sigmar is, and tracking down alternative Freeguild models has gone down a completely different route. I had traded in the Kruleboyz half of the Age of Sigmar Dominion box set, and had gotten in return a screaming deal on the A Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game Starter Set, featuring noble House Stark versus the ruthless House Lannister.

I’m not a huge fan of the A Song of Ice and Fire universe, and we all know what happened with the TV adaptation, Game of Thrones, flopping hard in its last few seasons. I disliked how “brutal” it was, as sometimes it felt tacked on. And that is without saying how the author seems to have a dig at Lord of the Rings for not being “dark” enough. But I still like aspects of it, and do really appreciate the battles and history of the world being really fleshed out.

I was really taken in by the models, which are pre-assembled but yet don’t have bendy weapons, and are great quality. My intention was to use them as Freeguild proxies. But after selling on the Starks to my friend Ty, we decided to investigate if the game itself was worth our while.

Research into the game revealed a strong, active community who love the system. I had never played a “Rank and Flank” game before, and I must say I was very interested in trying it out.

The Starks and the Lannister’s have a fight to the death in the Riverland’s!

It was also my friends birthday month, so myself and some friends treated him to some units for his Starks, featuring some heavily armored Tully Cavaliers and Stark Bowmen, who might just be the best ranged unit in the game. I had gotten, for use in AOS, two units of Crossbowmen and Knights of Casterly Rock, and even an additional unit of Halberdiers.

We decided on a 40 point game, using not just the starter contents but drawing from our already considerable reserves. This is usually a recipe for absolute disaster in playing a new game.

The board is set, the pieces are moving….wait wrong franchise!

But, surprisingly, it wasn’t! We had a great time, and the rules were simple to learn, yet had just enough meat to them to offer a tense, tactical game. The inclusion of a sideboard to represent political shenanigans was surprisingly a lot of fun.

It takes a lot of practice to properly move the units and use them effectively. The small table size does mean you can get into fights faster, but a wrong move can be punished almost immediately.

The greatest tactical blunder a rank and flank gamer could do…

All in all, a great first impression. We have since printed out the 2021 Edition cards(a great move by the company to alleviate some of the supply issues preventing people from playing the new edition.), and we also managed to source some of the Card Upgrade packs, albeit only the Stark ones, as the others were out of stock.

I did pick up a large bundle of Starks for a great price, to help me demo the game. And this is where the story would have ended….if not for my friend having a lot of time off, and coming over again! He lives about 2 hours away so this was unusual.

Dothraki, on an open field Ned!

My friend and I decided to trade in our oldest 40k Armies, in his case a large Tau force and my old Cadians(goodbye, old friends…). This got use significant store credit at Tistaminis, a store in Hamilton, Ontario, enough for him to get a Targaryen Starter Set and Heroes 1, and have leftover to spare.

I got the Greyjoy Starter Set, and the two unit expansions available. I didn’t use them for our second or third games, instead focusing on my Lannisters. It was a long day, 6 hours total travel time. But getting new models and walking out of the store with money is a great feeling.

The Targaryen Starter should really just be called a Dothraki starter set, what with it’s heavy emphasis on the nomads of the Dothraki Sea. With fewer models on the table, there was some worry that the all cavalry army would fare poorly against my army.

Not pictured, my army, who have died horribly.
The Dothraki are particularly nasty when they flank.

There was nothing to worry about! The Dothraki proved lethal and hard to pin down, and Khal Drogo(nicknamed Carl Drogo now due to a hilarious mix-up in words) proved to be absolutely nasty.

I did lend my friend a unit of Hedge Knights, which can be broken up into Attachments for other units. They did great work in my friends list, allowing for some serious shenanigans, such as activating out of sequence and sometimes more then once!

The models are fantastic, but I can’t help but feel the Westerrosi Knights look really, really out of place among the steppe nomads.
My halberdiers are an excellent counter to my opponents cavalry, but I mishandled them.

All in all, two fun weekends! The game is just so easy to get started and play, and despite some glaring supply issues on CMON and Asmodees side, has some incredible variety in units. The game is marketed incredibly poorly, and unfortunately despite being based off the book canon, still suffers from the TV Show doing poorly in the last few seasons, as few shows have torpedoed themselves quite as efficiently and quickly.

As a gamer though, this is some of the most fun I’ve had playing a tabletop game, and ranks extremely highly in my book. I wholeheartedly recommend it, with the only negative thing I have to say is about getting new releases, not anything about the game.

Now for some Blog updates! First off, I’m cancelling my series on the lead up to MWG, as hilariously I have nothing I need to actually paint! The list I’m taking is already good to go. I was ambitious, but went a little overboard! I’ll still cover my game and stay over at the Bunker, but I’ve reined in my enthusiasm.

I’ve been in a painting burnout for a while now, but I have acquired some spray paint and I’m keen to start on my Lannister’s. So hopefully I will have something along those lines to show off soon!

In the meantime, Happy Wargaming wherever you are, and I wish you good fortune in the (tabletop)wars to come!

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