Making Sense of an Evolving Song with Kolin Kliossis and Karl “the Peacekeeper” Kersten The announcement of the version 1.4 Game Modes and Tournament Documents for A Song of Ice […]
Making Sense of an Evolving Song with Kolin Kliossis and Karl “the Peacekeeper” Kersten
The announcement of the version 1.4 Game Modes and Tournament Documents for A Song of Ice and Fire the Miniatures Game garnered a strong response. To help you sort through the new changes, Kolin Kliossis editor-in-chief at ASOIAFcc.com, Brian Kerr from Big Top Gaming, and community leader Karl “the Peacekeeper” Kersten are here to help make sense of it all!
First up, let’s take a look at the changes in the Tournament Document, which you can find here. When discussing all of the changes that have happened for this entire article, let’s go about it in a list format, we will list each change, with a quick excerpt about our thoughts…
V1.4 Tournament Document
The War Council App may be used in place of stat cards.
Karl: Nice! Love this little bonus the game is giving. Now for how to use a Tactic Deck through the app……..
Players will now have knowledge of not only the Game Mode and what Faction the opponent is using, but also the opponents Lists, before List selection.
Karl: Although the idea of only knowing the opponent’s Faction is an excellent one, this change was instilled to create a better tournament environment, and I completely agree with the change. What is also does though, is create a mini-game within the game, where List building can have an optional effect. For example, I could create a list with an exceptional amount of direct-wound-dealing units, such as the catapult, just to scare off my opponent from fielding his low activation elite list. Since I have the option, my opponent is taking a huge risk fielding his elite list, whether I actually field that catapult or not.
Kolin: The real meat of the Tournament changes lies in the scoring rules. I am a huge, huge fan of this change, and think it will make for fairer tournament scoring in the future. The meat of it is in 3 parts.
Tournament Scoring Rules
The real meat of the Tournament changes lies in the scoring rules. I am a huge, huge fan of this change, and think it will make for much more fair tournament scoring in the future.
The player will receive a static Tournament Point score depending on the match results:
Win = 3 TP
Tie = 2 TP
Loss = 1 TP
Forfeit = 0 TP
The second part of the change involves a new metric known as Secondary Points. This is the primary tool for breaking ties.
Win is by 5 or more victory points/Destroy all enemy combat units on the field = Winner receives 4 SP, loser receives 0 SP
Win is by 3-4 victory points/Opponent Concedes = Winner Receives 3 SP, loser receives 1 SP or 0 SP if conceded.
Win is by 0-2 Victory Points = Winner receives 2 SP, Loser receives 2 SP.
Players record points of opponent’s units destroyed, as it will be the final tie-breaker, If your opponent concedes, then you either record the current amount of unit points destroyed, or 1/2 of the entire army, whichever is greater.
Sample Tournament Scenario
So, let’s take a few examples, just to see it in action. Kolin and Karl are in the first round of a tournament, playing the Fire and Blood Scenario. Kolin is using a Stark army, and Karl is running Neutrals. Since Kolin does not ever play Stark, and must have had a stroke when deciding on his tournament lists, Karl absolutely blows him out of the water.
Kolin: I feel like this scenario might not be too far from the truth…
The final score is 12 VP to 2 VP, Neutral Army win. At the end of this round, Karl earns 3 Tournament points, 4 Secondary points, and writes down the point value of Kolin’s units he destroyed, which would be 26. Kolin only earns 1 Tournament Point for the loss, 0 Secondary Points, and only destroyed 6 points of units. Here is what the tournament scoring would look like after the round:
Karl – 3 TP/4 SP/ 26 destroyed
Kolin – 1 TP/0 SP/ 6 destroyed
Now, let’s say the alliterative duo faces each other once again in the second round (Note: this should NEVER happen in a tournament, we are only using it for the sake of the example. In a real tournament, players should never meet more than once). In this round, Game of Thrones, Kolin tries out his second list, and even though he still loses, he puts up a much tougher fight for Karl and his Neutrals. The final victory point score is Karl, 8 Victory Points, to Kolin, 7 Victory Points. Karl still wins, and earns another 3 Tournament Points. However, since the score was so close together both players receive 2 secondary points. And finally, they would mark their units destroyed, which would be 18 points destroyed for Karl and 22 for Kolin. At the end of the round, the scoring would now look like this:
Karl – 6 TP/6 SP/ 44 Destroyed
Kolin – 2 TP/2 SP/ 28 Destroyed
Kolin: Make a special note, what score is never recorded or necessary? The actual Victory Points scored within the game itself. Those should only be used for determining the winner and calculating the special points. They hold no bearing on the final tournament standings.
Karl: Lastly, the Scoring Sheet has been updated to reflect these changes. I will strongly suggest to all Tournament Organizers to add the requirement for recording which list the opponent used when recording the opponents name. Such as.. In the column “Opponents Name”, write Kolin List 1. This creates an incredible post-event discussion that anyone anywhere can join in on.
Next up, we have the Game Modes document, which you can find here.
The order of placing objectives and terrain has now been reversed, so we used to roll for terrain first, then place objectives. Now we place objectives, then place terrain.
Karl: “This makes sense for setup. What this also does is instead of having control of what you place your objective token next to, you now have control of what any objective token can be next to. It doesn’t matter where you place a token, it could still end up being next to a corpse pile or stakes.”
Randomized Pool of Terrain
Karl: I absolutely love the idea for casual games, but I am hesitant about using it in a tournament setting. The randomization takes longer and I do not agree with the 7 result being player’s choice. The entire point of random terrain is to be random, the 7 result should be a re-roll. Awesome idea, but I can’t help but feel it needs some tuning. Try it out and share your thoughts with the community.
Kolin: I’ll need to try it in a tournament setting to have a strong opinion here, but I will say that I’ve preferred tournaments with pre-set terrain to those where players put it out before the game round. Just runs smoother.
Choice of Deployment Zone
The next change is that the player who does not choose the deployment zone gets to assign the first player. The old version did not have a choice, it was either choose deployment zone or be the first player.
Karl: Simple upgrade, love it.
Fixed wording for tiebreakers during a game. It now specifically calls out Combat Units. Yes, this includes attachments, see Rulebook page 12.
Karl: Simple vocab fix, love it.
We now come to the center of attention for this section, Victory Through Combat. Now, all Combat Units give a VP when destroyed, including 0 cost units. That’s right, puppies give points.
Karl: For all those Stark and Night’s Watch players out there, it is time to tune up that strategery. Before this change it was quite an easy choice to bring along the pups. Not only can they hold objectives and get buffed by cards, but they can trigger some very nasty tactic cards when sacrificed. This change evolves the game into a not so easy choice, which is a beautiful thing. Remember, bringing the pups is a choice, you don’t have to.
Kolin: Remember kids, say no to dogs. Especially ones named Ghost.
Many of these changes should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the ASOIAF Facebook group over the last few months. Michael Shinall and Fabio Curry have been posting the betas, and they’ve all generated a lot of conversation. But now they are officially released out into the wild, pushed from the CMON nest to flap their way to your gaming table.
Game of Thrones
Let’s start with the center objective change. Many players have already house-ruled this change, but now it’s official. The center objective will now ALWAYS be marked with the 2 VP card that reads:
“This objective grants 1 additional Victory Point when scoring. When you score a point from this objective, the unit controlling it suffers a panic test with -2 to their roll.”
Kolin: This card was always hugely influential on this game mode, and often dictated victory merely by being on one player’s side. Now, everyone can fight over it. Speaking of fighting over objectives, that leads us to our next point…
Objective Control! Another significant change for the scenario. Moving forward, a unit must completely overlap a token in order to control it. No more tenderly placing a corner of your tray over it from as far away as possible like a dainty princess drinking tea.
Kolin: I think the metaphor may have gotten away from me a little there, but you get the gist.
In addition, if the controlling unit is engaged by an enemy, it only retains control if it has more ranks than the engaged unit.
A Clash of Kings
Clash has also undergone a serious revision. First up, gone are the days of the weird corner box deployment. Like the goth kid who grew up to wear polos and live in the suburbs, Clash now begins with a standard 12-inch deployment zone.
As before, you still only deploy two units at the beginning of the game. In the current state though, one of those no longer has to be a commander.
Commanders themselves have gone through an overhaul. In the previous iteration, there was a major incentive to run an NCU commander with zero attachments in order to deprive your opponent of two victory points for killing him. Now, however, no extra victory points are gained for killing a commander. Instead, controlling an objective with a commander grants 1 additional victory point.
Kolin: So all you Lannister players can finally stop bringing your one High Sparrow commanded all cavalry lists to tournaments. Please. The community thanks you.
And the changes continue! Objective control mirrors the rules above in Game of Thrones. The center objective no longer grants an additional Victory Point (unless you control it with your commander.)
Finally, reserve units still deploy either in your deployment zone or on the opposite flank edge from a controlled side objective. There are major changes to how a unit behaves when deployed, however.
Reserve units placed within your own deployment zone now come out unactivated. This still takes your entire turn, but you can now use them in subsequent turns of the same round.
Karl: Cavalry will love this change.
Units placed on the flanks still deploy activated.
Kolin: Think about this interaction carefully the first time you play. The common tactic of placing a unit on the flank within striking distance of an enemy unit may now backfire, as your opponent can place a counter unit within his deployment zone able to engage yours within the same round.
Destroyed units are moved into reserves, and if they were destroyed before being activated may redeploy the same round. The major change here is that when they redeploy, they no longer lose their character attachments. Moreover, single model character units like wolves or The Mountain that Rides may re-enter the fray.
Karl: Madness!! (madness = fun)
A Feast for Crows
Everyone’s favorite excuse to imitate a turtle is back, and also contains sweeping changes:
First, no overloading the board with additional corpse piles during terrain placement. Even if you’re rolling random terrain, just re-roll it. You’ll get your fill of dead bodies during the game.
Secondly, and proof that CMON developers listen to suggestions, there are now two objectives placed on the battlefield, each one at the center of a corpse pile. When an infantry unit shuffles off the mortal coil , its owner drops a corpse pile on the battlefield anywhere fully within 12 inches (long-range) of its final resting place, as long as it’s also an inch or more away from other terrain or units. Then place an objective token on the corpse pile. This can only be done until there are a total of 4 corpse piles and objectives on the battlefield, then no more. Each objective is linked to its home corpse pile.
‘Now, Kolin and Karl,’ you might ask, ‘How do I go about scoring from these objectives? Fear not, gentle reader, for we will continue to walk with you along this path. Remember all the new objective control rules we discussed earlier in GoT and CoK? Throw all those out for Feast. Instead, abide by the commandments below.
I. Thou shalt claim an objective if a unit ends its move with any part of its tray over the objective.
II. Thou shalt only have a unit claim one objective at any time. Don’t try and be clever and dual claim, because if a unit with a claimed objective ends a move on another objective, then your opponent can move that token and place it anywhere on its linked pile.
III. Thou shalt not have your controlling unit end an action without touching the token’s linked corpse pile. If you do leave the pile, your opponent may taunt you and remove the objective, placing it anywhere touching the pile.
IV. Thou shalt not fail a panic test.
V. Thou shalt definitely not allow your controlling unit to be destroyed. If either of these events occurs, your opponent may taunt you yet again, then take the token and place it on any of their units touching the linked pile. If they have no units touching the corpses (and who could blame them, because, I mean, it’s literally just a pile of rotting corpses) they may place the token anywhere touching its linked pile.
VI. Thou should know there is no VI.
Get all that? Excellent. Now that you’ve kept a token all the way to the end of the second round, you can score one VP for each token you control. If your commander is on one, congratulations, you get an additional VP.
Kolin: Personally, I love this change. The older feast mode was often incredibly dull, consisting of at least one player turtling, and the other slowly inching out trying to find an ideal position to launch an attack, all the while racking up victory points on their units by failing morale tests. It essentially punished proactive play. The new mechanics should make this much more dynamic and fun.
Winds of Winter
“Much maligned since the beginning, Winds of Winter gets an overhaul to its card mechanics. Previously, players would have access to only two cards from the mission deck and would be able to rotate one of those at the end of each turn. Between lots of options in the deck and the low rate of rotation, the scenario played out as “the lucky get luckier”. The shared open mission did rotate each turn but once the mission was scored the card went away and wasn’t replaced; if you had the means and priority then you could take a varied lead that your opponent couldn’t mitigate through open mission options.
The updates to this scenario have empowered player control by minimizing the randomness of the secret mission cards; players now start the game by drawing five mission cards and set out one per turn to score secretly. You do choose them at the start of the round and we all know the tide of battle changes causing plans to fall apart; the tactics board now has an optional mode that still places a condition token but, instead of drawing tactics cards you can switch your declared secret mission with one from your hand.
We now have all this control put back in our hands, but it doesn’t stop there, the open mission is no longer a race to take points your opponent has no chance of claiming. The open mission is now scorable by both players and refreshes at the end of the round, if applicable, and can be scored multiple times.
Overall, the changes to Winds of Winter might not totally wipe the bad taste of randomness from your mouth, but it does lessen it to the point that the scenariocould show up in competitive play and only get one or two groans instead of the current symphony of discontent. The scenario rewards players that can think on their feet and not get tunnel vision when it comes to scoring those cards. “
Dance with Dragons
Oh, Dance. We knew you that you were already perfect, just the way you are.
Fire & Blood
A favorite mode for many, it has only minimal changes. First, 0 cost units cannot be marked.
Karl: You can no longer mark and snipe those puppies. Solid change, moving on…..
Marked units now roll +2 attack dice!
Karl: Pro-Tip, stick a piece of paper or a blank playing card with the writing “+1 VP to long range when activated” on your Commander unit. Im tellin ya… just do it.
Kolin: Yeah. I think I might have to start doing that. I can’t count the number of games I’ve reminded my opponent to do that before forgetting myself within the same round…
Dark Wings, Dark Words
Karl: New Game Mode!! Yay!
Kolin: And the first official departure from a book title as the scenario name. Truly, we’re now in uncharted territory.
Deployment, controlling Objectives, and Objective Token setup is same as Game of Thrones, but similarly to Winds of Winter you Ignore “Victory Through Combat”, and Objectives DO NOT grant VPs.
3 Secret Missions are drawn and revealed to players. Both players attempt to score these revealed missions. Ignore the “discard if revealed….” and “score this mission when…” wordings on Secret Mission cards, and when instructed to select units, both players do so.
Three things have changed since the Beta reveal…
- When the First Player draws a new Secret Mission card after checking Victory Conditions, they must replace one of the revealed cards and they no longer have the option to discard the one that was drawn.
- Scoring does not begin until Round 2. This change fixes a huge issue players were having with crazy Round 1 scoring.
Karl: Love the change.
- Players must score 2 VP more than they normally would in order to win. So in a 40 point game, you must score 12 VP.
Karl: Wowsers! This seems like another mitigation to the crazy scoring combinations that can occur and I absolutely love it. Definitely need to get this game mode back on the table.
But Wait, There’s More!
In case you got so caught up in the changes to the game modes, tournament guidelines, and terrain changes and you forgot three new units were released today! And if you’re unsure how to work these units into your lists, On the Table Gaming can lend a hand.
For more information on the Night’s Watch Builder Stone Thrower, Carl Black has you covered!
The Bolton Blackguards make their long-anticipated entry into the fray. Kolin Kliossis gives you the Blackguard basics here!
And for all you Free folk players, Brian Kerr from Big Top Gaming will be giving you the down and dirty on the newest addition to the horde on Monday, Oct 21st, so stay on the lookout!
Thanks for reading, and we hope you are as excited to try out the changes as we are. We’d love to hear your opinion and stories about playing using the new material, so leave a comment!