Hello Bannermen! Fábio Cury, Designer and Lead Developer of the A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game writing to you here.
As we advance into 2023, so does ASOIAF advance into its latest version. In this series of Visions in the Flames, we will look at what has changed and have a glimpse at the thought process behind these changes.
For this update, we focused on addressing abilities that are already widespread among most factions and we tried to do specific in-faction changes only when strictly necessary. So, despite the long list of affected Units, Attachments, NCUs, and Tactics Cards, if you can grasp the general changes made, you’ve got most of the changes covered!
In this article, we will tackle general changes to abilities that will encompass most factions, but you can see faction specific changes here:
So, without further ado, let’s talk changes!
The War Cry order has been overperforming in the last version. Originally, the requirement for the unit to perform a Morale Test to place the Condition tokens on an enemy unit was believed to keep this ability in check. But this has shown not to be a problem for most units that have this effect available since they generally have good Morale values. Attachments with this ability also are generally played along with units with good Morale.
In order to keep War Cry’s versatility and theme, we have made a simple but effective change. Instead of placing both Panicked and Vulnerable on an enemy, now, the player must choose to place either Panicked OR Vulnerable. This change is so players still have access to both condition tokens but now they have a choice presented to them, encouraging smart plays and decision making.
Hardened was designed to make units that have it endure prolonged engagements. Currently, its use has the added benefit of softening the opponent’s initial assault and consequently is rendering units that have hardened too tough to crack. By removing the first automatic blocked hit and keeping just the blocked hits per destroyed Rank, this ability is now on par with its original intent of prolonged combat.
The Outflank ability has been underperforming in the last version. The challenges for players who choose this ability are steeper than the potential rewards. While being able to deploy on a Flank table edge is very powerful, the setup cost of having to claim the Maneuver Zone on the Tactics Board and also must replace its effect with the Outflank effect meant that it was very easy for opponents to hinder or predict the Outflank ability.
With the current change to Outflank, the player has a guarantee of always being able to place the unit in the Round they choose, but their opponent has a chance to react to this deployment since they will always be the first player when this happens. We believe this change will promote more creative interactions among players and facilitate lists with more than one Outflank unit.
Vassal was already changed in the previous version for clearer wording and interactions. We’ve kept it here in this article since we’ve now changed them on all the relevant cards on the War Council App.
This ability, in its previous version, was discouraging players from acting more aggressively with their units containing attachments, especially their Commander’s unit. By making the dice roll for Expert Duelist harder (from 3+ to 5+), our expectation is that now the choice between dealing 1 wound or potentially destroying an attachment is a harder one.
Despite Knightly Vow being a potent ability when used against its marked enemy unit, we concluded that the ability was under par because of its situational nature. Not only did the ability lose all its effectiveness when the marked enemy unit was destroyed, but also, in some cases, the ability wouldn’t ever be used throughout the course of battle because of deployment or maneuvering. Changing Knightly Vow to have the To Hit bonus apply to all attacks will make this ability more consistent throughout the battle.
This Tactics Cards was generating unwanted interactions when units “copied” innate abilities from one-another. Now, the card does not allow the transfer of innate abilities, increasing quality of life for players and removing possible confusions.
Relentless is one of the most powerful abilities in the game. It was meant to empower already elite units, having them perform additional actions during each Round. We noticed that players were over-using this ability whenever possible, and that this ability was having trickle-down effects in the overall experience of the game, mainly by granting an army an “extra activation” for each unit with Relentless. The solution to this was changing Relentless to become a reactive ability that does not grant any sort of activation advantage while still granting the unit extra actions.
Bannermen, as we conclude this first article, we hope to have been able to elucidate why these changes were made and that you’ve enjoyed following our thought process for these changes that affect all factions in one way or another. As always keep watching the flames for more visions.
Changelog of the update can be found here.