One of a faction's defining features in the A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game is their Tactics Deck. This stack of cards, augmented by their army Commander, emphasizes the tactical mind of the army. While troops from different factions might be relatively similar, the tactics decks set them apart. In this look at the upcoming changes for the game, we get a look at various Tactics Decks and how they'll be getting tweaked.
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Bannermen, Michael Shinall here, and the visions grow ever bolder as today we are talking about the topic of Faction Identity.
When it came to our 2021 evaluation, there was one key aspect that always had to be referenced when we were looking at modifications or adjustments: does this fit into the Faction’s core identity? If it did, great! If it didn’t, then it needed justification as to why (Approved example being - does this Tactic Card or Ability fall under a specific Commander, who is in turn deviating from the army playstyle?).
As we’ve previously mentioned, this update really consists of a majority “math and numbers” changes more than anything else, but one area that did see some crucial adjustment was Tactics Cards.
The first impact of our evaluations was working to streamline all text across the game, namely on Tactics Cards. While we still note that Tactics Cards can be triggered by literally any gameplay event in the game, the vast majority of them would fall under the same common Timing Windows. Most cards that didn’t, with some minor textual reworking, could also be made to fit into these windows.
By doing this, it streamlined most general Tactics Card effects to falling under the same ten or so triggering events (Unit is attacking, before/after rolling dice, Start of Round/Turn/Activation, etc etc).
Of course, it would have been one thing just to go through and re-format all Tactics Cards, but as we said, this was only partof our full evaluation, and the other aspects had to be addressed as well. Namely, the availability of specific Free Actions and Bonuses.
Tactics Cards had always been intended to supplement battle strategies, but there were a few cases where playing a key card could single-handedly swing the game, either by allowing an uncontrollable play, or, most commonly, allowinga player to recover from a bad play and/or risk with little repercussion. This aspect wasn’t something we enjoyed seeing, as we want players to be rewarded for smart plays and planning, rather than merely relying on a single card or play to save them.
It was with this in mind that moving into 2021 one change to Tactics Cards is there is a marked reduction in the amount of “Free Actions” they allow you to perform. Now, like all our previous talks, we will emphasize that they aren’t gone entirely, and this isn’t a big sweeping reduction in their potency - just removal of key aspects that we felt actually hampered player’s tactical planning and strategies.
Ok, so let’s take a look at some key examples from each of the existing factions, and also talk about howthis all ties back into our original point of Faction Identity.