A Song Of Ice and Fire Core Box: Baratheon Starter Set

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King Robert Baratheon is dead. And while his (alleged) son Joffrey sits on the throne, there are other Baratheons who have also made claim to the kingdom. Both Renley and Stannis Baratheon have laid claim to the Iron Throne and they are willing to fight to take it. House Baratheon might be internally divided, but their troops are still just as strong as ever on the battlefield. The …
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Description

King Robert Baratheon is dead. And while his (alleged) son Joffrey sits on the throne, there are other Baratheons who have also made claim to the kingdom. Both Renley and Stannis Baratheon have laid claim to the Iron Throne and they are willing to fight to take it. House Baratheon might be internally divided, but their troops are still just as strong as ever on the battlefield.

The Baratheon Starter Set gives players everything they need to make their claim on the Iron Throne. It comes complete with a rulebook, dice, measuring sticks, stat cards, and miniatures to field a full army in the A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. Players will get two units of Baratheon Wardens, and a unit each of Baratheon Sentinels and Stag Knights. Along with that, there are Unit Attachments and NCUs, including characters such as Renley and Stannis Baratheon, Alester Florent, Shyra Errol, and more.

The war for the Iron throne wages on as the two remaining Baratheon brothers join the fray. With Stannis leading his force from Dragonstone and Renly from Storm’s End. The A Song of Ice and Fire Baratheon Starter set includes enough units and supporting cards to make a single Baratheon force aligned to either of the two leader options present(Stannis and Renly) as well as two ncu options.

It includes four combat units. Baratheon Sentinels, Stag Knights and two units of Baratheon Wardens. It also features a 1.5 edition rulebook, tokens, and cardboard terrain to serve as a full standalone entry into the game for one player.

Faction Overview

The Baratheons are the tanks of the game. Almost every one of their units is both slow and armoured beyond the average. Their standard infantry ‘Baratheon Wardens’ boast 3+ armour which is more than most armies get beyond their elite and most expensive troops. The Baratheons are focused around getting hit, standing that blow and then hitting back harder.

A lot of their tactics cards and abilities support this playstyle with counterstrike and a multitude of ‘when this unit is attacked’ abilities that you can pop off. It makes them a very unappealing target to fight in melee. However, this superior defence comes at the cost of speed and most Baratheon units sit on a movement of 4 and few ways to Improve on this via tactics and attachments. This makes them the strategic equivalent of a rock. They are good at sitting on objectives but are at serious risk of being outmaneuvered which is exactly what your opponent will be aiming for in order to mitigate the high Baratheon armour.

The core units included follow this theme. The Wardens are solid and slow infantry. The Stag Knights are heavy hitters who gain power as the battle goes on. The sentinels are your light troops(although heavy by light troop standards) and have a slightly better movement.

Both NCU’s are also both useful and have positive abilities at a cheaper cost than a lot of others which helps for getting an activation advantage. The generic Baratheon tactics cards generally double down on getting hit and surviving to hit back harder. You have ‘when a friendly unit has been attacked’ trigger cards which then allow you to put conditions or make an attack in response. The attachments generally also follow this theme and add a bit more edge to your infantry when attacked.

The Stag Or The Rose

The Baratheons second defining faction trait is that they are split into two camps of allegiance. One follows the upstart Renly and features the core Baratheon troop roster with the addition of Tyrell troops which bring a level of speed and healing. The other camp follows the ‘true’ king Stannis and his R’hllor faith. Stannis’s force is expanded with fanatical troops are more diehard Baratheon supporters such as the Kingsmen and R’hollor lightbringers.

Each unit in the Baratheon faction outside of the core selection is aligned and may not be used in a force by the other. This means you are effectively getting two factions in one box but you are also losing a level of customization given that half your troop, ncu, and leader options are now stuck behind a different alignment. To compensate for this there do seem to be more releases for the Baratheons but it is something to be wary of if you pick up an expansion without realizing it will not be usable with your preferred commander.

From a mechanical point of view, Stannis is focused more on high defence units but the R’hllor units bring a level of self damage in exchange for extra damage output and the Lightbringers are a devastating ranged unit. The Tyrell units that Renly can bring have some solid healing and more light troop options such as the Thornwatch crossbowmen and riders of Highgarden who have a devastating charge.

Components

The card components included in the starter set are all good quality although there is a good chance they will be outdated. Thankfully they are still usable in a casual game and there is an app available which includes the rebalanced statlines and cards so you can play with the most updated and balanced rules(Which is highly recommended).

The models are all well sculpted and come pre-coloured in a tan coloured plastic which is unique to the Baratheon faction. The art is all well rendered and goes to sell the theme of the game although there is one complaint to be levelled at the depiction of Stannis who does not really match his book description but this is a minor complaint.

There is also a minor complaint towards the design of the units. Almost every single infantryman is equipped with a hammer. In some cases a big hammer and in other cases even two hammers at once. It is an interesting decision and although there is a precedent for Robert Baratheon using his War Hammer in the books for an entire army it seems to be overkill and it would have been nice to see some swords instead but this is purely personal preference and it does make them distinct from the other armies as a glance.

Conclusion

The Baratheon starter is a great way to get into the ASOIAF miniatures game for one player. It contains an entire contained force of typical size for standard games but also have a good range of customization and variety within this as you can swap around attachments and take different commander/ncu combinations.

It is a little stale in terms of tactics as the units with the exception of the sentinels lean heavily into the slow and heavy side of things and they are all foot infantry. This is however a useful loadout for learning the core Baratheon playstyle and get a feel for how the faction plays out. It is also useful for figuring out which allegiance you want to invest in.

Unfortunately, there are few options to increase the army that cater to both loyalties outside of the Champions of the Stag cavalry unit and Baratheon Attachments 1. Which are both useful sets to add diversity to your force. But if you want to specialize them and add some ranged power then the R’hllor lightbringers and ThornWatch are both solid picks to begin with.

That concludes our thoughts on A Song Of Ice And Fire Baratheon Starter Set. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy A Song Of Ice And Fire Baratheon Starter Set today click here!