The Media Event that CMON held here at Gen Con gave us a chance to check out what they have coming down the pipeline in terms of new releases. One of the games people were most-interested in was A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. The Kickstarter campaign was a success, making sure that this game has a great starting point to go from.
With the limited space at the event location, we couldn't quite see a full game, but we could get a look at some of the figures, and give the mechanics a test run. The starter set sees Houses Stark and Lannister facing off against one-another on the field of battle. Players are in control of blocks of infantry, as well as the occasional cavalry unit or solo figure (though everyone gets movement trays that denote the unit's facing). This is an alternating-activations game, so it's never far from being your turn again, and giving you a chance to react quickly to your opponent's movements.
But it's more than just big blocks of nameless infantry. Plenty of major characters from the book series are in the game. They can show up in one of several ways. One is that they can join into infantry units, giving that group a boost. Since each character brings unique rules to the table, changing out just one or two can really have an impact on how a unit plays. There are also non-combat units, which brings us to the Tactics Board. The A Song of Ice and Fire book series is nothing if not full of intrigue and back-room deals. CMON didn't want to leave that major aspect of the universe out, so that's where the tactics board comes in. Players can use their non-combat characters to claim spaces on the board. Each one gives a different bonus when claimed. Also, the various characters have further bonuses that will be applied, depending on which space they take. Playing a character like this takes up your activation for the turn, so it's a bit of a tactical question for when you might claim a space, adding strategic depth to the game.
There are also the Command Decks. Every army must have a leader, and it's the same for the miniatures game. Each Tactics Deck is a set of cards specifically created for each faction, drawing on that faction's themes. Then, the commander a player chooses will add another set of cards to that deck. Once more, the seemingly simple choice of deciding who is in charge of the army can make it so a group of the same troopers plays rather differently.
There are several game modes as well, giving different win conditions and set-ups. So it's very easy to play through many games and never have two battles be identical.