Normally I find playing with unpainted miniatures an anathema. After all it is the total hobby which includes modelling, painting and playing that we become immersed in. Playing with unpainted figures takes away for the entirety of this approach to the hobby.
As you would be aware I have only just started my SOIAF Free Folk army and have done a fair bit of work in a short time. In our group there are only two of us with SOIAF armies and mine has just been started. The other, Chris, has a large collection with a few armies painted. As an incentive to finish the painting I wanted to learn the rules and Chris offered to have a game where we could run through all of the rules and so I could get to know how the Free Folk played.
This did, however mean that I would be playing with a mostly unpainted army.
GASP!! SHOCK!! HORROR!!
I know I don’t believe it either but yes I did play with an unpainted army!! In my defence I could point out what I have actually painted in the last twelve months, but I would not accept this as an excuse either, so………………………………..
For those of you who will be offended by a battle report involving unpainted figures then you should not read any further!
Savage Giant moves to take an objective.
The Savage Giant is charged by Gregor Clegane, “the mountain who rides”, and the Knights of Casterly Rock, who inflict two wounds. Now this may seem like a bad thing but when the giant attacks back, if it hits, the giant will do D3 +1, plus one for each of his own wounds in damage. The more it suffers the better it fights.
This very blurry shot (I didn’t check the focus before moving back to the game) shows the deployment of the Free Folk. Right to left – Cave Dwellers with shapeshifter (bear), Savage Giant, Mammoth, Raiders with Tormund Giantsbane, Raiders with Walrus Clan Chieftain, Trappers with Shapeshifter (wolf), and another Savage Giant.
The giant fights back causing chaos.
All supports for Gregor are now gone. The bear moves up. Attacking with the wolf from the other Shapechanger was a mistake as it it only effects saving throws. As the giant inflicts automatic wounds then there was no requirement for the Lannister cavalry to make a save.
The giant levels the mountain.
Mountain’s men attack taking out the Shapeshifter’s bear form (the Shapeshifter is OK but if the reverse happened the bear would also be destroyed).
In the centre the mammoth charges the weakened Lannister Guardsmen who had kept on falling into pits laid by the Free Folk Trappers causing D3 wounds each time.
The Mammoth was then activated again to do a “trample” attack destroying what was left of the Guardsmen and 5 of the crossbows. Again I had made the same mistake attaching the wolf to a unit being attacked by the Mammoth that prevents saves.
We thought the mammoth was very over powered and checked to see if we were playing it correctly. According to its card we were, but we checked the “War Council” app (available from google play) and found a significant change had been made making it harder, but not impossible, to do multiple attacks per turn.
Meanwhile on the other flank not much was happening with a fight between the second giant and the Warrior’s Son’s. The giant was gradually winning but not doing enough damage to causing any significant problems.
Meanwhile it was “trample”, “trample”, “trample”, again as the Mammoth took revenge for losing his “beary” best friend.
The mammoth was very exposed and charged in the rear by Mountain’s men. The mammoth was almost destroyed having lost 6 of its 8 wounds in one attack. The giant then charged the flank of the attacking infantry destroying all but their attached leader.
The end of turn 4 saw the Free Folk reach the 12 victory points to achieve victory. These were achieved by collecting 9 objective points and 3 for destroying Lannister units (Crossbows, Knights of Casterly Rock and the Lannister Guard) being destroyed. It was hardly a walkover with the Lannisters achieving 7VP made up from 6 objective points and one for killing the bear.
The Free Folk have some very powerful units but the final attack on the mammoth showed just how vulnerable they can be. There are large numbers of cheap units to bulk out the army but when targeted by panic attacks their poor morale can make them very fragile.
The game system is simple and easy to learn but the tactical options make it a very interesting game with lots of challenges. You need to think about what you want units to do next turn so that you can have them facing the right direction. Some of the tactics cards are also very difficult to set up to be able to use and the choice about discarding them or not is one I need to do some more thinking about.
I really enjoyed the game but still have a lot to learn about the Free Folk units and what they can do.