The Free Folk are very much in tune with nature. Unlike the more urbanized groups to the south, the Free Folk look to the wild not with trepidation or a sense of trying to control it. Instead, they live in tune with it. Among them, there are those who can expand their consciousness and reach into the minds of other living creatures. They’re called the Skinchangers and when they are found on the battlefield, it’s not because of anything they are doing, but because of the animals that they bring along with them. Soon, Free Folk commanders will be able to recruit these powerful individuals for their forces. The Skinchangers box isn’t a unit to itself, but an elaborate Unit Attachment with several options open when building a force. Let’s take a look at just how this unique box set works.
Inside the Skinchangers box, players will find two sculpts of Skinchanger model along with six other models, two wolves, two eagles, and two bears. The humans in the group are the actual Unit Attachments. They cost 1 point apiece and ignore the usual Unit Attachment rules (so a unit can have a different Unit Attachment as well as a Skinchanger assigned to it). However, a unit can only have 1 Skinchanger at a time. When deployed, the player chooses to have the Skinchanger bonded to an eagle, a wolf, or a bear. Each Skinchanger can be bonded to a different animal, but once the choice is made, it will remain that animal for the entire battle. Each animal has a different ability that comes into play at different times.
Both the wolf and the eagle come into play at the start of each round when their respective cards are attached to enemy units. The Free Folk player attaches the card to the enemy unit and the respective model is placed next to the enemy unit as a reminder to both players the rules it has in effect. The eagle allows units to roll an extra Charge Distance die when charging the attached unit. The charging unit also ignores Dangerous, Rough, and Hindering terrain keywords. The eagle basically guides the Free Folk forces in, making their charges more reliable and letting them move swiftly and safely over terrain. Meanwhile, the wolf is constantly nipping at the heels of the unit it’s attached to. The wolf causes that unit to suffer an additional Wound whenever it rolls a 1 when making Defense Saves. A round of bad rolling and the unit can suddenly lose quite a few extra members due to the snapping jaws.
As for the bear, when a player chooses that as the bonded animal, it comes to the board as its own unit with its own movement tray. The bear does not activate on its own. It simply activates after whatever unit its bonded Skinchanger is in. This can give the Free Folk army a strong 1-2 punch with the bear. The bear has a speed of five, Defense Save of 3+, and a Morale value of 2+. It’s a rough and rugged bear that’s ready to fight. The bear also has two wounds, meaning it can take a little bit of a beating before it goes down. It must, however, stay relatively close to its Skinchanger, as it’s automatically destroyed if it starts a round further than Long Range from the Skinchanger’s unit. On the offensive side of things, the bear is armed with nasty claws and a vicious bite. It only rolls one die when attacking, but it hits on a 2+ and doesn’t allow Defense Saves. The bear also has Vicious, which causes the enemy unit to make its Panic Test at -2. Nobody likes a savage bear attacking them.
The Skinchanger box set offers a unique set of options for Free Folk players. With the ease with which the Unit Attachments can be added into a force, many players will see the benefit from having one or two around. Each one of the bonded animals can give new opportunities to an army, letting them charge more reliably, attack more powerfully, or have a giant ally to fight alongside with.
The Skinchanger box set will be available later this month.
You can read more about the Skinchanger box set here.