All across Westeros, would-be kings are fighting for the right to sit upon the Iron Throne. They’ve gathered their forces and headed to war. For some, they have plenty of troops at home they can muster. But for others, paying for a ready-made army might be easier.
Today, we’re taking a look at one of the numerous mercenary companies that generals can hire out to fight for them. Along with that, while the Lannisters certainly can afford to buy some battlefield help, they also have their own troops they can muster. Let’s take a look.
The Golden Company is known for their motto, “Our word is good as gold.” They offer numerous services on the battlefield, starting with swordsmen. But these aren’t some rag-tag troops just off of their farms who were handed a sword right before battle. The Golden Company Swordsmen train relentlessly. Their Tactical Strike attack rolls 7 dice at full ranks and hits on a 3+. Along with that, the attack always causes Sundering. If you control the Wealth space on the Tactics Board, the unit gets even better, with their attacks also now will always roll those 7 dice, even if there’s only 1 rank left on the field. They have a modest defense of 4+ and a Morale of 6+. However, such is their conviction to remain on the battlefield when paid, they gain +1 to Panic Test rolls and they lose 1 less trooper when they fail.
The Golden Company Swordsmen unit also comes with the Golden Company Officer Unit Attachment. They have two abilities. The first is their boisterous order. Such is the love of battle and money for the Golden Company Officers that they grant their unit immunity to enemy Orders, Tactics cards, and NCU abilities. You’ll not have to worry about the enemy’s dastardly tricks when a Golden Company Officer is around. They also restore 1 Wound to their unit whenever they pass a Morale Test. The enemy will have to beat them through combat on the battlefield and not through any sort of deception.
If commanders are looking for a more long-range threat for their opponents, they can hire the Golden Company Crossbowmen. As expected by their name, the unit is armed with powerful crossbows that can target out to Long Range. They roll 6 dice when at full ranks, and even when down a rank, hitting on 3+, making them very consistent on the battlefield. Their crossbows also come with two special abilities. The first is Sundering, which is always in effect, much like the Swordmen’s attacks. The Crossbowmen also gain a re-roll on their attack when targeting a foe within Short Range, making them all the more deadly. If an enemy does manage to close with the Crossbowmen, they are also armed with shortswords. Not that they are close combat experts and smart commanders will keep them close to enemies for that re-roll bonus, but far enough to not get them attacked directly. The Crossbowmen are perfect at supporting allies due to their Sentinel Order. This grants them a free Charge or Maneuver when an allied unit is attacked within Long Range. If the Crossbowmen choose to Charge, they must Charge the unit that is attacking their ally. Finally, the Crossbowmen also have the Iron Resolve rule that grants them +1 to Panic Test rolls and has them lose 1 less trooper when they fail. All in all, a solid support unit that can cause a lot of damage on the battlefield.
But what if the army commander has a couple extra gold to spare and wants something truly unique to strike awe and fear into their enemy? Well, then they can go all-out and hire the Golden Company War Elephants. They can only be purchased if the commander has already hired on another Golden Company unit, seeing as the Golden Company doesn’t want their Elephants just running around without another company representative close by. In fact, the War Elephant might not even follow orders if there’s not a Golden Company infantry unit of some kind within Long Range when they try and perform an Action, having to pass a Morale Test of 6+ to successfully perform the Action. However, this is the only real downside the elephants have. Their Stomp attack rolls 4 dice and hits on 3+ which don’t allow for Defense Saves. The Elephants also gain +1 die to their attack for each enemy rank still in their target when they Charge. They have 8 Wounds apiece and can only take a maximum of 2 Wounds from failing a Panic Test. Their tough hide and barding grants them a 3+ Defense Save. Truly, a sight to behold on the battlefield, the War Elephants will certainly have an impact on the battle.
For many, when they think of gold, they think of the Lannisters. And certainly, the great House can afford everything the Golden Company can offer, but they’ve also got plenty of options within their own ranks. Casterly Rock, the seat of the House, is festooned with adornments as a sign of wealth. This goes all the way down to the Honor Guard that defend the city. These troops are leaving home in support of putting a Lannister on the Iron Throne. The Honor Guard has a powerful melee attack, rolling 7 dice when at full ranks and hitting on a 3+. But this is only a tiny portion of what this attack is capable of. The attack also grants alternate uses for Condition tokens on the Defender. For example, spending a Panicked token means that the Defender can’t be the target of friendly Tactics cards and loses all of their Abilities until the end of the turn. Spending a Vulnerable token lets the Honor Guard re-roll attack dice. But they can also restore 2 Wounds to their unit for every rank destroyed by this attack. Finally, spending a Weakened token lets the Honor Guard roll their maximum number of dice, even if they have ranks missing, and the attack gains Sundering.
On the defensive side of things, the Honor Guard have a strong 3+ Defense Save and a 5+ Morale, meaning that enemies are going to have a hard time getting these stalwart warriors off the board.
That’s not the end of the tricks coming in the Honor Guard unit box, though, as there’s also the Sentinel Enforcer Unit Attachment. When added to a unit, he grants them a new Order called Taunt. When an enemy unit within Short Range activates, Taunt can force that unit to make a Morale Test with a -1 penalty. If it’s failed, the enemy unit must Charge the unit containing the Sentinel Enforcer instead of whatever else the unit’s commander might’ve had in mind. This can pull enemies way out of formation and open up holes in the enemy line, even potentially pulling troops off of vital Objectives. Or, it can save a friendly Lannister unit from a devastating Charge from an enemy, instead directing it where it might not be as terrible.
Wars are expensive affairs. But if that money returns dividends of putting one in charge, then it’s money well spent. These new units will be coming to battlefields all over Westeros soon in the A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. Be sure to ask your LGS to make sure they have some on order for you and be ready to add them to your forces when they arrive!