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A Game of Thrones miniatures game is about to blow up on Kickstarter

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CMON taps award-winning designer for A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game

CMON and Dark Sword Miniatures

Over the last few weeks CMON, the board game publisher behind smash hits like Zombicide and Blood Rage, has been teasing something interesting. They’ve partnered with Dark Sword Miniatures to create A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game, a wargame based on the novels by George R. R. Martin. The Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to launch this month.

When I first heard about ASOIAF: TMG, I assumed it was an attempt to cash in on the launch of the newest season of the Game of Thrones television show. But after doing a little bit of research, it’s clear that this campaign is going to be a very big, potentially record-breaking deal. Here’s why.

An early render of the box art for A Song of Ice & Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game. The Kickstarter campaign is expected to launch this month.
CMON and Dark Sword Miniatures

Top-tier tabletop designers

Despite having an unfortunate and awkward initialism, ASOIAF: TMG is absolutely stacked with talent. It’s being co-designed by Eric Lang, one of the brightest minds in tabletop gaming today.

Over the last 20 years Lang has created more than 100 tabletop games, and in just the last five he’s turned out some real gems. His credits include Blood Rage, Bloodborne: The Card Game, Arcadia Quest, Chaos in the Old World, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, Dice Masters, Star Wars: The Card Game and XCOM: The Board Game. It’s no wonder then that he was awarded the coveted Diana Jones Award by his peers at last year’s Gen Con in Indianapolis and hired on full-time by CMON.

Lang is joining forces with Michael Shinall, designer of CMON’s XenoShyft and Rum & Bones series. Their goal is to create a miniatures wargame that’s more than just a money pit for high-priced miniatures.

“The game was already good,” Lang said in a recent press release. “I worked with Michael to help make it great. I enjoyed how often we came to the same conclusions about a problem and subsequent solution.”

But at least on Kickstarter, a miniatures game is all about the minis. The more the merrier, and for this project CMON is working with some of the best in the business to secure the Song of Ice & Fire license.

Dark Sword Miniatures got its start more than 30 years ago creating miniatures based on the work of iconic fantasy artist Larry Elmore. It’s also the license holder for the entire Song of Ice & Fire tabletop universe, hand-selected by George R. R. Martin himself. CMON is working with them, but will be developing all the art and miniatures itself. They’re brand new sculpts and separate from what Dark Sword has done in the past

As for the gameplay, ASOIAF: TMG is a departure for CMON. It’s not a board game, but instead a true miniatures wargame in the classic sense.

As in traditional Napoleonic or U.S. Civil War miniatures, figures will be brought to the table in formations mounted in trays. They’ll march into battle as a single unit, and as they take damage individual miniatures will be removed from those trays and the stats for the formation as a whole will change. Individual hero units can also be fielded as singles.

The early materials for the game indicate a robust tactics system, as well as a strategic sideboard of some kind. Lang and Shinall are drawing their inspiration not from the television series but from the books themselves and creating unique units for both House Stark and House Lannister.

Gen Con wargames hall feature photo essay gallery
A tray of cavalry from the wargaming hall at Gen Con in 2015. This set was engaged in battle using a system of rules called Napoleon's Battles, first published in 1989 by Avalon Hill. See the rest of our photo essay here.
Charlie Hall/Polygon

CMON is a monster on Kickstarter

While Kickstarter has dropped off significantly as a way to fund video games, it’s on the rise for tabletop games.

Using Kickstarter’s own figures as reported to Polygon, in 2016 tabletop games earned at most $101.2 million. CMON itself is responsible for nearly 6 percent of that. In fact, if you look back at every Kickstarter campaign that the company has run since 2012 you find that they’ve averaged more than $1.35 million per campaign.

CMON's wins on Kickstarter

Title Backer dollars raised Number of backers Date
Title Backer dollars raised Number of backers Date
Zombicide $781,597 5,258 May 2012
Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster $951,254 4,278 June 2012
Relic Knights $909,537 3,459 September 2012
Guilds of Cadwallon $116,938 2,955 December 2012
Rivet Wars $582,316 2,464 February 2013
Zombicide: Season 2 $2,255,018 8,944 March 2013
Kaosball $356,752 1,896 June 2013
Wrath of Kings $718,152 3,756 September 2013
Arcadia Quest $774,222 4,885 March 2014
Dogs of War $66,703 1,139 May 2014
Xenoshyft Onslaught $242,832 3,367 June 2014
Zombicide: Season 3 $2,849,064 12,011 July 2014
CoolMiniOrNot Base System Featuring Micro Art Studio $88,259 1,239 October 2014
The World of Smog: On Her Majesty’s Service $101,351 1,770 November 2014
Rum & Bones $739,513 4,417 December 2014
Blood Rage $905,682 9,825 March 2015
B-Sieged: Sons of the Abyss $567,350 4,774 May 2015
Zombicide: Black Plague $4,079,204 20,915 July 2015
The Others: 7 Sins $1,464,489 10,136 October 2015
Arcadia Quest: Inferno $1,710,713 9,991 December 2015
Xenoshyft: Dreadmire $383,406 4,398 January 2016
Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia $1,010,958 10,862 March 2016
Rum & Bones: Second Tide $947,864 5,794 April 2016
Massive Darkness $3,560,642 22,361 July 2016
The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch $1,174,130 7,892 February 2017
Rising Sun $4,228,060 31,262 April 2017
Zombicide: Green Horde $5,004,614 27,236 June 2017
Totals: $36,570,620 227,284
Average: $1,354,467 8,418

Their most recent success on Kickstarter is another miniatures-heavy game called Zombicide: Green Horde. It raked in more than $5 million. The one before that, Rising Sun, pulled in over $4 million.

The designer? None other than Eric Lang.

It’s not often that you look at a pending crowdfunding campaign and see a massive success on the horizon, but given tabletop gamers penchant for buying miniatures by the boatload, the history of success that CMON has on the Kickstarter platform and the top-tier designers on board to make the game, ASOIAF: TMG is as close to a sure thing as you’re likely to find.