Soon we will be releasing our v1.5 Update for A Song of Ice and Fire Tabletop Miniature Game. Its been close to 18 months since the game’s initial release, and over that time we’ve made a number of improvements and alterations to various aspects, all in an effort to bring about the best balance and play-experiences we can. 1.5 continues that in what we’re calling our first “major update”. While with every iteration we’ve worked to improve wording, close problematic areas, and in general tighten the game, 1.5 will see some actual mechanic changes to certain aspects of gameplay.
While incorporating these changes, we also took the time to evaluate all existing units across the board - how they were performing, their role in their respective armies, etc. The overall end goal has always been that a player should be able to take what they want and, if utilized properly, nothing should be a flat “better or worse” choice. Some might recognize this as wanting “perfect balance”, a.k.a. the goal of every tabletop war game. While a near-impossible feat to achieve, that doesn’t mean we can’t strive toward it. As a result, we’ve modified and/or updated several units, whether it be point cost, stats, or abilities.
This is primarily limited to the initial three faction releases: Lannisters, Neutrals, and Starks, as we have comfortably gathered enough data across the year and a half the game has been out to make these decisions. While we have looked at some of the initial wave of Night’s Watch and Free Folk, we’re keeping any modifications (to the level of the previous three) for a later time until more overall data can be gathered. So while they will receive some minor shifts, the focus is again on the initial three.
Today we’ll be talking about three of these changes, and we hope they’ll set the tone and expectations of all that is to come.
The first change we’ll discuss is Rodrik Cassel (Master-at-Arms). This Commander Attachment will have his Martial Superiority Ability replaced by Order: Mark Target.
When it comes to Rodrik, he’s all about making enemies Vulnerable, and then using that Vulnerable token for tactical purposes. His current version was unfortunately limited to just his own unit and, even then, required an amount of set-up to accomplish. By switching out Martial Superiority with Mark Target we’ve opened up Rodrik’s capabilities to dish out Vulnerable exactly where and when he needs to capitalize with his effects and Tactics Cards.
We’ll use Rodrik here as an example of a minor tweak to his Ability that isn’t shifting his role around, just making it easier to utilize.
The second change we’ll look at is to the House Tully Sworn Shields. This is an easy one to go over as the unit is merely seeing a reduction in points from 7 to 6.
In most cases, we would rather modify a unit’s stats or abilities than alter their point-cost, as the inter-faction points-spread and algorithms need to be maintained when considering the overall spread. Sometimes though, shifting a unit up or down a point is the best call to better position them in the faction-roster. This was the case with the House Tully Sworn Shields.
The House Tully Sworn Shields serve a very specific defensive role in the Stark army, but at their point-cost they competed with the more offensive-oriented units of the army and, when it comes to Starks, offense tends to be king. Rather than buff the unit and keep them competing in the same points-bracket, we’ve instead lowered their cost to 6. This puts them in a unique position of carrying vast defensive capabilities whilst still maintaining a respective Combat Profile unseen in similar options across other faction (though we do not recommend cross-faction comparisons, as units are balanced internally in that regard). A general points reduction also opens up Attachment options, furthering the customization of the unit for a specific purpose.
The final item we will look at today is the Lannister Champion of the Faith. This is an example of an Attachment that received a complete overhaul… In so much that it had 1 Ability to begin with, so really any change would have been a “complete overhaul”. The old version dished out Vulnerable when the unit passed a Morale Test. While a fine ability, it fit only a niche area of the Lannister faction, and even then, it was overshadowed by better options. When re-designing this Attachment we needed it to fill a specific criteria: Grant a unique and useful benefit in keeping with the Lannister themes of Defense and Counterplay. The counterplay aspect didn’t really fit the theme of the Attachment, so it needed to lean more into the defensive aspect of the faction. Of course, granting just “better defense” is a bit static (and something the Lannisters already do well) so we went into the “sustain” side of defense. We’re very happy with the result as it not only benefits the faction universally, but when paired with the specific sub-theme of the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant as a whole it really shines.
So there we have three example of the types of things to expect when 1.5 lands. In the coming time leading up to the release we’ll be going over some more specific unit/attachment updates, but also some of the more generic changes as well. We hope this series gives you some insight into the overall process and a look into the dedication and work the design and development team has put into making the A Song of Ice and Fire Tabletop Miniature Game the very best experience it can be.
ASOIAF Design and Development Team