I’ve been playing a not inconsiderable amount of the A Song Of Ice And Fire Tabletop Miniatures Game from CMON. For the recent long weekend, I managed to get a 50 point game in, playing against Tom’s Free Folk.
I diverged from my customary unit selections, dropping my beloved Veterans of the Watch and a unit of Sworn Brothers to fit in a unit of Ranger Hunters and two Scorpions. I also managed to sneak in three Non-Combat Units (‘NCUs’) to dominate the tactics board.
Commander: Jon Snow, 998th Commander of the Night’s Watch
2 Sworn Brothers
1 Ranger Trackers
1 Ranger Hunters
2 Scorpion Builder Crews
Commander: Tormund Giantsbane, Thunderfist
2 Savage Giants
2 Cave Dwellers (Tom proxied his Trapper units to test these out ahead of release)
4 Free Folk Raiders
1 Free Folk Spearwives
Mance Raider, Artful Tactician
Lady Val, The Wildling Princess
We played on a 6×4’ table given the higher points level, and rather than the usual four pieces of terrain, we rolled up D3+1 pieces each, so placed seven pieces in total down. For the game mode, we rolled randomly, excluding A Storm Of Swords (the attacker/defender scenario with Castle Walls) and happened to roll up the new scenario Fire and Blood.
I deployed with a strong right flank, having my most mobile units (Ghost and the Trackers) as far out to the right as I could. Figuring that Tom would have to spread out given his weight of numbers and I could use my left flank with Jon Snow as an anvil, and have my right flank roll around as a hammer.
After Deployment I nominated a Free Folk Raider unit on my right flank and the Spearwives unit as marked units, whilst Tom marked Jon Snow’s unit of Sworn Brothers and my leftmost Scorpion. In this game mode, the marked units award two extra VPs when destroyed, as well as accruing an extra VP when they destroy an enemy.
Plenty of manoeuvring for position over the course of this turn, with Tom getting the jump using Lady Val’s NCU ability to move up one of his Giants, whilst the other Giant ultimately charged my Sworn Brothers, as I’d marched forward to try and keep the Giants from ganging up on Jon Snow’s unit and the Scorpions. The unit also received a charge from a unit of Raiders, however due to some lucky saves I only took a further wound from them. Tom’s other Giant charged Jon Snow’s unit, however due to them being positioned within a bog, it failed it’s charge, tactical genius having Jon Snow hide in a swamp!
Tom starts with his Spearwives charging my Hunters, although they bounce a bit with no serious damage. I then use Aemon on the Swords to recover a wound on the Hunters and have them strike back on the Spearwives before using their Swift Strike ability to retreat back. Tom responds having Mance heal the Spearwives back up. I fire off my Scorpion into the Giant which failed it’s charge last turn and manage to land a shot for four wounds on it – I guess that’s one way to deal with Giants – however Tom plays Counter Charge to have the Spearwives charge my Scorpion, causing three wounds to it.
Moving over to the left flank, the unit of Raiders with a raid leader charge at Jon Snow and the Sworn brothers, but also fail due to the bog. However, the Raid Leader then uses his order on the Giant to have it charge Jon Snow’s unit, hitting for an epic eight wounds, I pass my morale test and use Jon Snow’s order to restore three wounds.
My Hunters charge the Spearwives, knocking them down to the final two models before Swift Strike to retreat back. Jon Snow activates and puts a victory point on the Giant before the Sworn Brothers dispatch it in melee, which gains me three victory points (one for the unit, one for the VP I put on it and one because Jon Snow’s unit is a marked unit).
The other Giant kills the unit of Sworn Brothers he’s engaged with, and I use the ‘Now Their Watch Has Ended’ tactics card to grab their vow back and take Aemon off the tactics board. I then replace him to restore wounds to Jon Snow’s unit and have the Hunters fire their bows at the Spearwives, taking them down and getting me three victory points (one for the unit itself and two for it being a marked unit).
I start by opening up with the Scorpion at the Cave Dwellers with Raid Leader who failed their charge last turn, causing three wounds. They then charge Jon Snow’s unit in the flank, causing significant damage and seeing the unit wiped out on a particularly poor panic check. I play the ‘It Shall Not End Until My Death’ to try and keep them up, but fail the morale check again and give up three victory points for the unit.
My Ranger Trackers make their free manoeuvre, then fire their bows at the marked Raider unit. They cause four wounds, and the unit fails morale taking another four wounds. Tom quickly takes the money bag on the Tactics Board healing the unit back up.
Tormund’s unit of Cave Dwellers charges my marked Scorpion unit after adding an additional victory point to it, causing four wounds to it.
My notes start getting a little sparse here as I was deeply involved in trying to work out how to pull back the 10-8 victory point deficit I found myself with. Tom’s remaining Giant charges my Trackers on my right flank, causing four wounds but they hold strong in the face of his onslaught.
Ghost charges the marked Raiders, dealing with two of them but failing to take them out. Tormund deals with the Scorpion this turn, with three unengaged units now free on my left flank to start rolling over towards me.
I use Aemon to take the crown on the Tactics board and force a panic check on the marked Raiders, but no significant casualties were taken.
I have Ghost attack the Raiders again as well, killing two more and leaving them with two wounds left. Then I manoeuvre the Hunters around to get closer to the marked Raiders, before having Bowen Marsh use the swords so they can fire on the unit, finally taking it out for two victory points.
Round five saw Tom’s now freed up Cave Dweller units come across the board and engage my Hunters, who took a few wounds which were subsequently healed back up. Ghost came in to assist the Hunters, killing two of the Cave Dwellers, however this let Tormund drop a victory point onto Ghost and then charge him. Luckily for me (or so I thought at the time) Ghost survived, with an epic four out of five 5+ saves passed. My Hunters retaliated reducing the Raid Leader led unit of Cave Dwellers to two wounds before backing up.
My Trackers retreated away from the Giant, who then manoeuvred to get the Hunters in his sights.
Tom kicked off by activating Tormund’s unit and dropping a second victory point on Ghost, which the Cave Dwellers then easily dispatched. This took Tom to 12 victory points and a victory. I can’t remember if we called it there or if it was at the end of the round, but when I was watching a battle report on YouTube I realised that it’s only at the end of the round so you need to play it out.
Lots of learning from this game, I think a few key things were:
- I have a new appreciation for Ranger Hunters, the ability to hit and run is great and gives them a significant positioning advantage. Eight points for the unit still feels a little steep, but not ridiculous now I’ve seen them in action, they could become a feature in my NW’s lists
- I need to read my cards. I’ve since realised Craster both restores two wounds as well as allowing you to draw a tactics card, although I think I only used it once over the game so one card probably wasn’t make or break
- I haven’t worked out how to deal with Giants yet. I thought the Scorpions might be the answer, but after a couple of games using them I’m not convinced. For seven points their range, lack of manoeuvrability and fact that once engaged they are unable to escape combat seems to make them of limited utility
- Also, I realised after the game I should’ve retreated my Scorpions as soon as combat was even possible with them to both preserve their potential to shoot later, as well as denying victory points. This is especially true of the marked unit in this game
- Cave Dwellers seem legit, they make a great finisher unit with their ability stacking the lower the enemies ranks are
- The larger table size we used for a 50 point game makes deployment even more important than normal, as the ability to effectively redeploy is more limited on the bigger table.
I’ve been enjoying A Song Of Ice And Fire Tabletop Miniatures Game immensely, and can’t wait to get it to the table more. I’ve painted up essentially everything currently available for the Night’s Watch, so will be moving on to a Stark force shortly (after a few smaller projects are completed), although the pending release of the Night’s Watch Heroes box will no doubt attract me back.
Let me know what you thought of the battle, the report, and if there’s anything you’d like to see in future!