There may be no coin beyond the wall, but those of us not living in Westeros need to use our precious coin to field the Free Folk in A Song of Ice and Fire: the Miniature Wargame. Cool Mini or Not guides players initially with the starter box but from there we are left to our own devices to build up our forces. I wouldn’t say that there is a right or wrong order to purchase your Free Folk reinforcements but I do think there is a path to help you learn the faction and not fall victim to the simpler growth patterns of other factions.
The first step is to buy the starter box, you get two units of Free Folk Raiders with Raid Leader, one unit of Free Folk Trappers, two Savage Giants, Mance Rayder, Tormund Giantsbane, and Lady Val, and Crastor. Most factions can get by with one starter box and just pepper in duplicate units as needed but since the Free Folk intro units with an effective swarm strategy, my advice is to buy two starter boxes. When you compare the price of purchasing the contents individually to buying a second starter, the starter is a much better value. It’ll be common to create lists with more than two raiders, and you can run a whole army of Savage Giants so nothing in two boxes will go to waste other than duplicate characters. Crastor is an exception, he works for both Nights Watch and Free Folk, so until the Night’s Watch Hero Box 2 releases you could sell him to a dirty crow. If you choose not to go down the two starter path then I would suggest you pick up two units of Free Folk Raiders because you’ll at least want those for your early lists.
Giants do serve as a hard-hitting, durable unit but their only mobility advantage is their solo base and their damage output is predictable. Outside of the Free Folk Trappers, the starter box, doesn’t provide fast units that want to be in the thick of things or riding the flanks. Cave Dweller Savages are both fast and can hit hard, and they add needed versatility with their Ruthless Savagery ability. Unless I’m building a Giants only list I like to include at least one unit of Cave Dweller Savages, so you’ll get your money’s worth out of them.
You’ve got plenty now to build your horde, but another unit worth considering is the Thenn Warriors. This unit offers fantastic durability (by Free Folk standards) and tricks, making them a strong choice to bait out your opponent when you can’t get the first strike. Free Folk employ movement and positioning to take control of the game, and the Thenn allow you to force your opponent into making difficult choices or suffering harsh consequences. In addition to being a solid unit on the table ™ the Thenn are also gorgeous models making them an all-around great addition to your collection.
Once you’ve practiced with your newly acquired army head straight out and buy Free Folk Heroes Box 1. You get, arguably, two of the best models in the faction, Harma the Dogshead and Styr Iron-Fisted Tyrant; these two will fit just about any list you build. Additionally, the box contains fantastic options between commanders, NCU’s and even more attachments. Initial Hero Boxes have always been impactful to factions on their release, and that holds doubly true for Free Folk.
I did not mention Spear Wives or Followers of Bone; it’s not to say that I don’t think these units are good, just that both have very specific roles and I think the units mentioned above have more versatility. Don’t shy away from these, as the Followers of Bone show up in a number of my aggressive list builds and I think Spear Wives have a place as well, even if it happens to be very narrow when comparing them to Cave Dweller Savages.
Free Folk follow strength and this guide will set you up to be a strong commander. Now go forth and show those kneelers that you mean business.