Every good story has a beginning, a time when all the major players are introduced, the stage is set for the story arc, and the action starts to unfold. George R.R. Martin’s wonderful book series A Song of Ice and Fire begins with the first book, A Game of Thrones. Readers are introduced to the Lannisters and the Starks as they battle over control of Westeros. The tale of A Song of Ice and Fire has continued in a series of books and has turned up in a number of different forms of media. New characters have been introduced, more drama has been added, and fans of the story have become more and more invested in the outcome. With the announcement of A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game (ASOIF:TMG) by CMON in partnership with Dark Sword Miniatures, Inc., a new chapter in the tale has begun. Like many stories, this one begins with two old friends looking to go on an adventure together.
David Doust, Founder and President of CMON, Inc. and Jim Ludwig, owner of Dark Sword Miniatures, Inc., have known each other for years. Their friendship dates back to around 2003, when Doust was dipping his toe in in the miniature market with Dark Age and Ludwig was working to get Dark Sword Miniatures off the ground. They have always considered joining forces, but it wasn’t until recently that a project came along that made sense for them to work on together. One thing they agreed on: if they were going to team up, they were committed to doing it right.
“Jim and I have been friends for a very long time, and we have always wanted to do something together but never had an opportunity like this. And it wasn't a quick decision, we talked about it for a long time before committing to a project of this magnitude,” said Doust.
Dark Sword has had the license for A Song of Ice and Fire for years, and had fielded countless offers of partnerships to produce a tabletop miniatures game based on the series.
“I had been approached more times than I can count over the years from established smaller companies and game developers asking about joining up on such a project, but I rarely responded to the enquiries,” explained Ludwig. “But with CMON, it made sense to me as their resources and their experience in these areas always impressed me.”
It wasn’t long after they started talking that Doust and Ludwig realized they shared a vision for where the game could go.
“We had a number of conversations, meetings, and demos about what I wanted the game to be and what they wanted the game to be, and found that we had huge amounts of common ground,” said Ludwig. “CMON is the main driver on this project, while Dark Sword and George R.R. Martin's camp are involved every step of the way. It is beyond impressive for me personally to see the CMON team in action on this project.”
CMON has a reputation for creating their own worlds in the games they publish, but recently, they’ve explored licensing existing stories for the tabletop market.
“CMON has been very successful in creating our own IPs such as Zombicide, Arcadia Quest, and Blood Rage. In addition to Bloodborne: The Card Game and The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire, A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game will demonstrate how well we handle external licenses and successfully transfer that onto the tabletop,” said Doust.
As you’d expect with a CMON title, a great deal of care was taken in the design and development of the all-new miniatures by the team with final approvals from both Dark Sword and George R.R. Martin. Fans have been envisioning these characters for years, and now they get a chance to see them come to life on the battlefield.
“I think the miniatures are some of the best CMON have created to date. Fans of the book will immediately recognize characters and units that they read about and will be able to recreate actual or hypothetical battles on the tabletop,” said Doust.
Beautiful minis are one part of the equation of making a great game. However, Doust and Ludwig wouldn’t have been satisfied there. The goal for ASOIF:TMG was to bring a game to the table that would work for both players familiar with miniature games and people new to the hobby.
“The miniatures are amazing, but I am most excited about the actual game play and back and forth ‘I go you go’ flow of unit activations,” said Ludwig. “ It is fast moving and brutal. And it is so much fun. The off battlefield political and character effects unique to each faction are also something I really enjoy. Right after we were done demoing a battle, I was ready to jump right back in again with another one.”
The best news of all for fans of the series is that Doust and Ludwig made a pilgrimage to meet with the father of the series himself, George R.R. Martin. A huge fan or miniatures, Martin, Ludwig, and Doust discussed the book series and the different directions ASOIF:TMG can go.
“It was a great pleasure to be able to meet George in person. We were fortunate enough to be able to spend a whole day with him. He has always been a huge miniature fan. I remember I used to see web orders coming in with his name on it when we were just selling single miniatures on our site. But his miniature collection is most impressive, spanning floors in his compound. He is definitely an expert in miniatures,” said Doust. “During our meeting, I brought along a lot of the early prototypes of the miniatures, and George was very excited to see our interpretation of his vision!“
The A Song of Ice and Fire book series began with one man’s inspiration. ASOIF:TMG builds off that inspiration and puts the fate of the characters in your hands while allowing you to also relive famous battles from the series.
Follow updates on the ASOIF:TMG Facebook page here.
Read the ASOIF:TMG Introduction article here.