Category Archives: A Game of Thrones: LCG

A Game of Thrones the Living Card Game: an introduction

Gamers by their nature are nerds. This means that we love the world of George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. Any game that deals with this theme is going to get serious attention from the Muskegon Area Gamers. One such game is the AGOT Living Card Game. And our champion for this game has always been Matt. Matt has been stalwart in his position that A Game of Thrones: LCG is a game we would like if we gave it a chance. Now that the 2nd edition of the card game I asked if he would do a write up about the game, an overview for those who don’t know anything about it. Here is what he has to say.

 

A Game of Thrones: LCG
A Game of Thrones: LCG

Hi everyone. I’m Matt Spencer, and I’m on a mission to expand our group of players for A Game of Thrones: Second Edition in the Muskegon area. I played for a few years of First Edition with Chris Halbower, Rocky Thompson, and Jeremy Scott Pyne, and am now leading the charge to get our group more active in the scene for Second Edition. Today, I’m here to tell you about the game and why you should play! I’ll describe both the mechanics and the source material and discuss how it may be both similar and different from Magic the Gathering (a CCG that most people are at least passingly familiar with in the hobby.) Finally, I’ll tell you how the game has evolved from its First Edition roots into the Second Edition game we now have.

Jon Snow
Jon Snow

A Game of Thrones, Second Edition takes place in George R.R. Martin’s world of A Song of Ice and Fire; a low-fantasy medieval period similar to England, in which major and minor houses are vying to control the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. This is a world where the good guy does not always win, where having a name and a title does not mean you won’t have a knife shoved in your eye, and where plotting and scheming is as second nature as breathing. Mechanically, this plays out thusly: each round, players will take turns announcing their plot for the turn (a card pulled from a separate side deck which provides income, determines first player, and gives you a special effect for the round), before marshaling characters to the board to participate in challenges.

Challenge types
Challenge types

These challenges can be military (a successful result kills a character), intrigue (a successful result forces your opponent to discard a card at random from their hand) or power (a successful result steals power from your opponent, getting you closer to victory). The first house to reach fifteen power, through renowned characters, unopposed challenges, or events they play is the winner and the rightful King of Westeros.

There are eight distinct factions within A Game of Thrones, Second Edition. House Baratheon is strong at controlling the board through kneeling characters and denying challenges. House Lannister is deceptive; they can destroy your hand, leaving you without resources to fight off their cruel forces. House Stark values the family and sacrifices one for the good of all, for while the lone wolf dies, the pack survives.

This guy doesn't sow
This guy doesn’t sow

House Greyjoy is comprised of what we would think of as Vikings – they use boats and stealth to strike quickly and eliminate resistance. House Tyrell comes from a bounteous and chivalrous land of lords and ladies, and so they have the wealth to compete and armies seeking glory. House Martell bides its time, like the snake in the grass. When the time comes, they strike quickly, stripping the ability to defend challenges from character while giving its characters the ability to fight in challenges they couldn’t before. The men of the Night’s Watch defend the realms of Man from the wildlings of the North through the power of a great Wall, and their style is just that – opposition, endurance, and the slow win. House Targaryen, the former kings, have meager resources and few friends; only the Horselords of the Dothraki serve their Khal and, through marriage, their Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen. What they have that all other houses lack, however, is dragons – three whelps whose fire can burn even the greatest foe to cinders.

Magic: the Gathering
Magic: the Gathering

When compared to Magic, there are four fundamental ways that the game differs: guaranteed income, challenges vs attacking, resolution rules and the distribution model of a Living Card Game (as opposed to a Collectible Card Game). First, each round a player chooses a plot from their plot deck, guaranteeing them a pre-set income as printed on the card. In this, it is difficult to be “mana screwed” and unable to do anything simply because of a poor draw of resources. Second, “attacking” in A Game of Thrones consists of three separate challenges, each with a different resolution effect. Defending a challenge does not damage a character. It’s still important to be able to defend and still make challenges of your own; because an undefended challenge generates one power for your house; allowing too many through will cost you a game. Effect resolution in A Game of Thrones is absolute. Unless an effect is an interrupt, once a card is played, its effect will resolve completely before any other effect may be played. For example, if I use Dracarys! (give a character -4 strength and kill it if its strength is 0) on a three-strength character, that character will die unless an interrupt saves it – an event that raises its strength by 2 is too late once the card has been played. Finally, the distribution model of the games themselves differs in that a traditional CCG has a rarity distribution with packs, where a LCG has a set distribution of cards in each pack. Every copy of product has the exact same cards within it (three copies of each card in a booster, and 1, 2, or 3 copies of each card in a Core set depending on the card). In this way it is easy to buy a playset of cards, whereas if one were to buy a case of boosters for a traditional CCG, it is unlikely you would receive a full play set of any given card set.

As we move to the Second Edition, there have been a few changes to streamline the game. I’ll briefly explain the changes that distinguish Second Edition from the First Edition. First, the concept of “moribund” state is no more. This occurred when cards could react to something dying, including themselves, but could not trigger from the discard pile, only from play. So a card would die, all reactions would trigger, and at the end of the timing step, the card would finally leave play. This ended up being confusing, and led to plays such as killing everything in play, so Joffrey Baratheon could claim 3 power from 3 lords dying – including himself – to win the game.

Eddard Stark, Warden of the North
Eddard Stark, Warden of the North

In Second Edition “interrupt” is an activated ability type that resolves before an action would, clearing up a lot of timing issues. Second edition also brings us a stronger focus on iconic, expensive characters such as Eddard Stark, Ser Gregor Clegane, and Daenerys Targaryen over cheap, efficient no-names like Archibald Yronwood and The Tickler, by making the former easier to play and stronger. Their presence in the game feels like something important, and something that requires your attention. Theme has also been more refined, giving each house a very distinct feel in terms of what they are good at – While Lannister and Tyrell both have strong economies, one focuses much more on Knights and ladies while the other focuses much more on disabling your opponent by cancelling effects and killing characters on the field. A rotation has been established in the card pool as well, ensuring that over time the entrance point of the game stays low and the card pool stays fresh and exciting.

So whether you are a veteran player coming back, a newbie looking for a good, tactical card game that drips with theme and lore, or a Magic player looking for a hobby that doesn’t require selling plasma to be competitive, give Game of Thrones: Second Edition a shot. Just remember: in the Game of Thrones, you win, or you die!

-Matt, on behalf of the Muskegon Area Gamers

 

Upcoming events

We haven’t done an “upcoming events” blog post in a while. There has been quite a bit of activity lately. Now might be a good time to inform everyone about what’s up.

1. Twilight Imperium: Prep for the Long War  (January 31)

Muskegon's favorite board game is Twilight Imperium from Fantasy Flight Games
Twilight Imperium

We’ve been pussyfooting around the idea of playing “The Long War” for some time now. Twilight Imperium: the Long War is basically just more Twilight Imperium. Instead of playing to 10 victory points (9 with Bureaucracy), you play to 14 (13 with Bureaucracy).

We’ve been discussing the pros and cons of the Long War. If we play it, we have to use as many of the add-ons as possible. This means leaders. Keen observers of this blog know that TI3 leaders and the Muskegon Area Gamers do not mix well. But the leaders seem important for play balance to some of the races. And this will be important for the upcoming Long War.

To prep us for this, we should play a game with leaders. We really need the practice. Plus there are other add-ons that people are simply not using like mines and facilities. We will be using all of these.

I’m not sure if we will be using Distant Suns though. We will discuss this soon. 🙂

 

2. Formula D League: Every Thursday until I finish a race

Formula 1 racing in Muskegon!
Formula D from Asmodee Games

We’ve had three races in our Formula D league. And I’ve yet to finish a race.

That trend has got to stop.

I’m hoping to bust out the fourth map this Thursday and speed my away around the curves to 1st place. Tasha be damned!

 

3. Game Day at The Brew House                          (Saturday, February 20)

The Brew House in Muskegon
The Brew House in Muskegon

The Brew House has invited us back for a second game day. Our last game day was a success. We had about 14 people come by, if memory serves.

This time around I think we will break 20. The interest level is quite high. Surprisingly high. I posted the event on our facebook page and it’s going like wildfire.

It was about a year ago when we had our last game day there. If interest is this high, we may have to have a game day there once a quarter. Maybe even more frequent than that.

4. Crossover Event with The Burrow                   (Tuesday, February 23rd)

The Burrow in Grand Haven
The Burrow in Grand Haven

We’ve finally broken some bread with the good fellas at The Burrow. The Burrow, formerly known as Grandiosity of Norton Shores, moved to lovely Grand Haven. Their facility is on Washington Street in a strip mall.

They are looking to partner with the Muskegon Area Gamers.

Muskegon's favorite LCG: A Game of Thrones: LCG
A Game of Thrones: LCG

And we are happy to make such an alliance. I spoke in great length to David, the proprietor. He is willing to have his store do A Game of Thrones: LCG events on our behalf. This should keep Matt happy.

The first crossover will be on a Tuesday in February. We will be meeting there. We are hoping that the crew at The Burrow will also have gamers on hand to play with us.

We are looking forward to having a fruitful relationship with a FLGS.

 

5. A Game of Thrones Championship at AFK Games in Holt, MI (Saturday, February 27)

AGOT LCG 2nd Edition
AGOT LCG 2nd Edition

The Burrow game night coincides with the state championship for AGOT the LCG. This will be held at AFK Games in Holt. Matt will be driving if anyone is interested.

 

6. Twilight Imperium: Final Prep for the Long War (Sunday, March 6)

Twilight Imperium gets played in Muskegon, MI all the time.
Twilight Imperium Leaders

I figured we will need a second game of prep for the Long War. I don’t want anyone to get screwed over by leaders or mines or what have you. It would suck if someone got hosed on the first game round of the Long War because they didn’t know how something worked.

Let’s nip it in the bud with a second prep game.

 

7. The Long Awaited Long War                              (Saturday, April 2 at 8am)

Twilight Imperium Twilight Struggle Muskegon
When it comes to Twilight, Muskegon hates vampires but loves board games.

Virtue will be conquered. Chance will not be the same for all. The disciple will outshine the master.

And the Muskegon Area Gamers will play Twilight Imperium: The Long War. This will be in all its glory: eight players,  all the optional rules (that make sense) and 12 hours of non-stop gaming.

Seating will be limited to eight players. RSVP soon!

 

8. CabinCon III: the need for a name                              (June 16 to June 19)

Muskegon Area Gamers love Into the Woods Retreat
Into the Woods Retreat

Our third CabinCon is already on the books. Excitement is high for this year’s event. The first CabinCon had six of us playing games for three days. This year it will be ten of us playing games for four days.

Because.

Even Nick Sima has RSVP’d. Check the meetup for more details. But for some of us, CabinCon has replaced GenCon.

 

9. Where our group meets

Muskegon Area Gamers

Muskegon, MI
109 Muskegon Area Gamers

This group is for anyone interested in playing board games, card games or any table top game. This group learns and teachs new games all the time. We welcome fresh players. We…

Next Meetup

Tuesday: Pandemic Legacy

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016, 6:00 PM
6 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

 

Happy Halloween from The Gaming Annex

This Halloween was made a bit more spooky by the good folks at Fantasy Flight Games. FFG has been the publisher of Fury of Dracula (2nd edition) for the past several years. The game went out of print, leaving many gamers clamoring for another reprint. This Halloween, FFG tricked everyone by not reprinting it. Instead FFG treated its gothic horror fans to more than just a reprint. Fury of Dracula has been reimplemented into a 3rd edition. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for our hunters…

 

1. What’s wrong with Fury of Dracula (2nd Edition)?

Dracula's fury sieges Muskegon
The Dark Lord visits the Gaming Annex in Muskegon

So why publish a 3rd edition if people are clamoring for a reprint of the 2nd edition? The answer is: money. Geeks have it; Fantasy Flight wants it.

But the answer is also because the 2nd edition had many flaws. And those flaws were beginning to show when compared to other reimplementations of FFG’s. FFG has a knack for

Fury of Dracula 2nd Edition map
Fury of Dracula 2nd Edition map

taking an old Games Workshop games from the 80’s, modernizing it for the 2000’s, and then reimplementing it again in the 2010’s.

And the reimplementations are usually great. Take Eldritch Horror versus Arkham Horror. Arkham Horror is a good game. Eldritch Horror is better. For this reason alone, Fantasy Flight stands to make money and build a stronger customer base by making a 3rd edition.

Let’s take a look at some of the differences between the two editions.

 

2. Fury of Dracula 3rd Edition: Winning the Game

Fury of Dracula 3rd Edition
Fury of Dracula 3rd Edition

The box cover for the third edition is bad. Everyone on bgg hates it. I’ll let you peruse the snarky comments there.

The 3rd edition is very similar to the 2nd edition. It’s a one-versus-many game of cat and mouse. Dracula scores victory points, winning the game

Fury of Dracula poster
Fury of Dracula poster

when his victory point threshold is met. The hunters win the game when they have caused sufficient damage to Dracula. Players move about a map of turn-of-the-century Europe, picking up items, having narrative (and sometimes bizarre) events happen to them all the while fending off Dracula’s traps and minions.

So what is DIFFERENT then?

The victory condition for the Prince of Darkness has been moved from 6 vampires (victory points) to 13 influence (victory points). This change is drastic, requiring our anti-hero to (literally) redouble his efforts to win. How can a down-and-out undead compete?

First, Dracula’s influence track advances 3 to 5 spaces for each vampire he matures. In the 2nd edition, his reward was only one space. This variance is new. I’m not sure if I’ll like it or not. We’ll find out after Jon buys the game and plays it with me.

Next, Dracula’s influence track advances 2 spaces for each hero he defeats in combat + 1 for each Despair marker in play. Despair markers are new to the game. Previously, Dracula would only get 2 advances of his track when he defeated a hunter. Despair markers are put into play at the start of each week. This forces the hunters to be quicker and more reckless in their efforts to kill Dracula. Otherwise Dracula’s track will advance more and more as time goes by.

In the 2nd edition, Dracula gained 1VP for surviving “one day” (6 game rounds). This has been removed. Dracula gets Despair bonuses for surviving (see above). But he doesn’t win by simply outlasting the hunters. This is huge. This will fix one of the most annoying things about Fury of Dracula I’ve experienced.

We would play a game of Fury of Dracula. And the sessions would seem to encourage Dracula to flee from the hunters every chance he got. Sure, he could risk it and fight the hunters. But if he simply lasted 6 game rounds, he scored a point. Now Dracula must mature vampires or defeat the hunters in combat to advance his victory track. Surviving a day (or a week) is not enough.

But what else has changed?

 

3. New turn structure

Fury of Dracula turn track
Fury of Dracula turn track

The turn structure in 3rd Edition has been overhauled. It seems more streamlined. And it is definitely more thematic.

In the 2nd Edition, the hunters would move about Europe, adjusting the clock one space after each

Fury of Dracula Map board
Fury of Dracula Map board

full turn. There were six spaces: three were during the day and three were during the night. While this game some theme to the game because Dracula had more powers if you found him at night, it also lost some theme because of distance and time scale. Players could move from Portugal to Switzerland, by foot, in a single day.

The 3rd Edition has a different turn structure. Players have a set of actions they do in the day. Then a set of actions they do at night. Then it’s Dracula’s turn. This means the time/distance scale does not break the imagination like the 2nd Edition did.

There are several actions a player can do in the new edition: movement, supply, heal some damage, reserve a ticket or take a special action. The move action is the biggest fundamental change. Previously, a hunter could move by foot or by train. If they moved by train, the player would role a die. There was a 1 in 6 chance the player simply lost his turn. This was very aggravating since the game could hinge on a stupid die roll.

In the 3rd edition, there is no movement die. Instead, you can prepare to move by taking a ticket. This is similar to the ticket mechanic in Eldritch Horror. Players can have tickets on hand to spend when they are ready to take the train. Instead of a 1 in 6 chance of a player losing his turn, now players have a choice: spend their action to get a ticket…or simply start walking.

 

4. Other changes

Dracula
Dracula

The combat system has also been overhauled. The previous system was a card driven combat system that was ahead of its time. Unfortunately, it’s now behind the times. And it’s failings are evident.

Mina Harker from Fury of Dracula
Mina Harker from Fury of Dracula

The old way was for both players to select a combat card (like “rifle”, or “crucifix”), then roll a die. Whichever player rolled higher resolved his card. This typically meant that rolling higher was much more important than card selection. I’ve played in many games of Fury of Dracula 2nd Edition where this was the case. In fact, this reason is the overall reason why I now rate Fury of Dracula 2nd Edition at a 5 (average game).

The 3rd Edition, however, has changed things up. It’s still a card driven combat system. But each card has a banner. If the icon on the banner of the hunter’s card matches the icon on Dracula’s, Dracula’s card is cancelled. No dice roll is required. Coupled with the fact that Dracula can only escape if he’s played combat cards greater than the amount of despair in play, this means each combat will require guile instead of luck. This alone intrigues me. I am really looking forward to giving this new system a whirl.

The event deck is different as well. The previous edition had an event deck that was approximately two-thirds hunter cards and one-third Dracula cards. The emblem on the back of the card would signify to whom the card belonged. And you drew from the bottom of the deck so you didn’t know if you would get something useful or not. The new event deck is a bit different. You automatically draw an event whenever you take a Supply (gain an item) action. If it’s day, you draw the top card and thus can see if you are going to have a Dracula event or a hunter event. If it’s night, you draw from the bottom of the deck. It’s not a huge difference but I think it’s a nifty change. The decision to draw an event card or not was important in the 2nd edition but it was a crapshoot. Now it’s not a decision. If you gain an item you will draw an event. Depending upon the time of day, you draw from the top or the bottom. Seems like a change for the better.

Due to all the changes listed above, the character’s powers have changed. Lord Godalming is still wealthy. But instead of getting two

Lord Godalming
Lord Godalming

rolls for train movement, he gets two train tickets. Mina has a psychic connection due to being bitten. In the 2nd edition, you had to draw a card to get a similar effect. In the 3rd edition, Mina can spend an action and find out some information about Dracula’s current location.

 

5. To Buy or Not to Buy

New cards from Fury of Dracula
New cards from Fury of Dracula

The question now comes up: should you buy this game?

I will not buy it. Not because it looks bad but because I’m pretty sure other members of The Muskegon Area Gamers will pick it up.

But if you liked Fury of Dracula 2nd Edition, picking up the 3rd Edition seems like a good bet. I haven’t played the new edition. I’ve read the rules. I’ve also had experience with FFG’s other reimplementations. And FFG has a good track record of reimplementing games and making them better. I suspect the 3rd Edition of Fury of Dracula will be another data point in FFG’s favor.

-Chris, on behalf of the Muskegon Area Gamers, wishes everyone a very spooky Halloween. Game on!

 

Gaming Photography: My schtick

I will often buy new games (or make trades for used games). I took a picture of one such purchase/trade and posted it on facebook. It seemed everyone was more interested in what was going on in the background of the photo than the games themselves. I was watching The Rockford Files and I incidentally caught James Garner’s profile while in his gold Firebird Esprit. This started my gaming photography schtick.

1. Tide of Iron + Bioshock: Siege of Columbia + Sentinels of the Multiverse (Jim Rockford in a Firebird Esprit).

Tide of Iron + Sentinels of the Multiverse + Bioshock
Tide of Iron + Sentinels of the Multiverse + Bioshock

 

A trilogy of games I received in trade, I thought it would be cool to let everyone know what was added to my collection. But it seems my nongaming friends and family like James Garner more than they like Tide of Iron.

 

2. Bootleggers + Bootleggers Boardwalk + Eminent Domain: Escalation (Tom Magnum in Ferrari 308 GTS)

Bootleggers + Bootleggers Boardwalk + Eminent Domain: Escalation
Bootleggers + Bootleggers Boardwalk + Eminent Domain: Escalation

A trilogy of purchases this time. I was perusing my purchasing while catching up on the 2nd season of Magnum P.I.

 

3. Cash-a-Catch + Conquest of the Empire + Sentinels of the Multiverse: Rook City and Relics (Crockett and Tubbs in a Ferrari Testarossa)

Conquest of the Empire + Cash-a-Catch + Sentinels of the Multiverse
Conquest of the Empire + Cash-a-Catch + Sentinels of the Multiverse

 

I made a trip to Out of the Box Games in Zeeland, MI (http://www.ootbgames.com/main/). I picked up Cash-a-Catch and the sequel to Sentinels of the Multiverse. That day, a game came in the mail from a trade I made: Conquest of the Empire. While in new-game-ecstasy, I turned on the 3rd season of Miami Vice.

 

 

4. Twilight Imperium: Shards of the Throne + the remaining sets of A Game of Thrones: LCG (Stringfellow Hawke in a Bell 222)

Twilight Imperium + A Game of Thrones LCG
Twilight Imperium + A Game of Thrones LCG

Rocky, Matt and Jeremy Scott Pyne and I enjoy playing AGOT:LCG a few times a month. We joined the party a little late so we needed to get the remaining packs so we had one of every card. Also, I wanted two copies of TI3 (I have plastic for every race!). I was so excited to have the complete set of AGOT:LCG cards that I turned on the first season of Airwolf! RIP Ernest Borgnine.

5. A Game of Thrones: resin house cards + Formula D: New Jersey/Sotchi + some spare parts for Blokus (Bo and Luke in a Dodge Challenger outside the Boar’s Nest)

Formula D + A Game of Thrones LCG
Formula D + A Game of Thrones LCG

Our love of AGOT:LCG boiled over when we got the resin house cards. I found a thrift store copy of Blokus that was missing several pieces. Luckily Out of the Box squared me away with their spare parts shelf! I love me some Formula D so the latest map was a no-brainer. I wanted to share this special moment with them Duke Boys. A pattern began to emerge in my gaming photography. It seems I like nostalgia with my new game acquisitions.

 

6. Here I Stand + Bootleggers + Bootleggers: The Boardwalk (Michael Knight in a Trans Am)

Here I Stand + Bootleggers
Here I Stand + Bootleggers

 

I always liked Bootleggers. But the last few times we played it left a bad, predictable taste in my mouth. The expansion promised to address some of my concerns. I picked up the base game (I traded my original copy during the Bush administration) along with the expansion. I got Here I Stand in trade on the same day. I am really looking forward to playing Here I Stand. Kevin (a member of our group), has begun the task of reading the rules. I decided to watch Knight Rider while flipping through the games’ components.

7. Colonial: Europe’s Empires Overseas + Helvetia Cup + Blood Royale (Lt. Keffer in a Starfury)

B5

I’ve been on the lookout for a game that embraced Endeavor’s theme but was meatier. Colonial seems to fit the bill. We haven’t played it yet but it’s going to hit the table really soon! I demoed Helvetia Cup at Gencon in 2013. I liked it enough to buy a copy. I heard good things about Blood Royale (boy was I deceived!). While reading the rules to Colonial, I picked up where I left off in Babylon 5 (the 2nd season). I noticed about this time, that in addition to having a taste of nostalgia that I also seemed to capture TV characters in their iconic vehicles. Here we see an Earth Force Starfury manned by the doomed Lt. Keffer.

 

8.  Legends of Andor + Carson City (Mystery Incorporated in the Mystery Machine)

Legends of Andor + Carson City
Legends of Andor + Carson City

Descent 2nd Edition didn’t go over nearly as well as I had hoped it would. Our group was not a fan 🙁 I picked up Legends of Andor and Carson City in trade. Legends has been a nice fit so far. We’ve played the first 3 scenarios. Carson City hasn’t gotten any attention yet but I think it will be a good fit when it hits the table. The Cartoon Network’s “Scooby Doo: Mystery Inc” is my favorite iteration of the Scooby Doo franchise. Here I am watching an episode near the end of the first season.

 

9. Napoleon in Europe + Mississippi Queen + Fist of Dragonstones (Starbuck in a Colonial Viper)

BSG

Napoleon in Europe looks like a game that will fit our group nicely. Diplomacy? Check. War? Check. Multi-player interaction? Check! Bruce has been assigned to read the rules. I’ll have to bug him about that :/ Meanwhile, I’ve always liked racing games and Mississippi Queen looks pretty spiffy. I got all three of these games in one trade. I think I had to send my counterpart 7 games for them. It was a fair trade overall. While looking over the plasticy goodness of Napoleon in Europe, I watched Apollo and Starbuck blast Cylons out of the stars.

 

10. Battle of the Five Armies + Agent Hunter + Black Fleet (U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek)

 

 

The Battle of the Five Armies + Black Fleet + Agent Hunter
The Battle of the Five Armies + Black Fleet + Agent Hunter

I’m a huge fan of War of the Ring. The Battle of the Five Armies is a no-brainer. This will hit the table with great speed and great success. I demoed Agent Hunter at Gencon last year. I thought it was a nice filler. Black Fleet looks like it will be a good counter to Merchants and Marauders. It might address some of my concerns with M&M. The crew of the Enterprise? They were surrounded by three Romulan ships in episode 57: The Enterprise Incident.

 

What new games will enter my collection in the coming weeks and months? More importantly: what nostalgia TV show with accompanying iconic vehicle will be captured in the background?

-Chris on behalf of the Gaming Annex in Muskegon

The Greyjoy Fleet: a look at House Greyjoy’s warship locations

The backbone of any Greyjoy deck is its warship locations. There are 26 Greyjoy warships, more than the other five houses combined. This is for design and for thematic purposes. House Greyjoy’s power is the sea. Let’s take a look at Greyjoy’s fleet. The question is what kind of deck are you going to make? The fleets support different strategies.

 

The Unopposed Challenge Deck

Many of Greyjoy’s cards reward winning unopposed challenges. Adding the right fleets is critical to optimizing this strategy.

  1. Scouting Vessel: reduce a defending character’s strength to zero. Your opponent is going to have to defend with two characters if you use this evil ship. No Unopposed Challenge Deck can afford to ignore Scouting Vessel.

Scouting Vessel

 

2. Naval Escort: knell X warships to give X characters +X strength. Got 5 warships? Give five of your characters an extra 5 strength each! Coupled with several other available Greyjoy abilities that state “Win by 4+ strength and this challenge is considered unopposed…”, Naval Escort is a necessity to win unopposed challenges.

Naval Escort

 

 

3. Longship “Foamdrinker” will give your opponents pause before they commit to a defense. If you win a challenge against them, “Foamdrinker” will kill one of the participating losers of your choice! Unless your opponent has characters he is willing to lose, he’ll be sure to let you win unopposed.

Foam Drinker

 

4. Longship Maiden’s Bane is eligible to enter any type of challenge, cannot be killed and has strength equal to how many warships you control. Never build a Greyjoy deck without Maiden’s Bane!

Maiden's Bane

5. Winter Armada gives you a massive punch to your characters with the Intimidate keyword. Intimidate means your opponent doesn’t count his characters’ strength if lower than the strength of the character with Intimidate. Give that character with Intimidate +4 strength and suddenly all your opponent’s defending characters are not counting their strength!

Winter Armada

 

6. Freed Galley gives you +1 power after you win an unopposed challenge. Since Freed Galley is not unique, you could conceivably two or more power every round.

freed-galley-thobaw

 

7. Longship Grey Ghost comes out of shadows and selects an opponent’s character that cannot defend this phase. It goes back into shadows after you win an unopposed challenge. This will prevent your opponent from chump blocking. Since it goes back into shadows automatically, you can bring it back if you played an Epic Battle.

Grey Ghost

8. Longship Black Wind will give your character Deadly. Your opponent may not be willing to block your challenge if he’s certain to lose a character. Coupled with any of the above ships, Longship Black Wind can help you force more unopposed challenges.

Black Wind

 

9. Longship Nightflyer duplicates the claim of an Intrigue challenge. Force your opponent to discard a card when you beat him in any unopposed challenge, not just an Intrigue challenge. I think this card is too expensive at 2 gold. I typically won’t run it.

Nightflyer

 

10. Longship Iron Victory gives you +2 strength if you need it. And if you win, it gives you a card draw. This is a good card in the right deck. It’s cost of 2 gold can be too expensive in the wrong deck.

Iron Victory (II)

 

Raider Milling About

11. Training Vessel is useful to give your raiders, especially with Intimidate, a boost. It also mills (forces a deck discard) from your opponent which means Training Vessel can pull double duty.

Training Vessel

 

12. Longship Silence can help you win unopposed challenges by giving your Raider Stealth. It also gives you a much needed card draw.

Silence

 

13. Longship Grief will give your Raiders the ability to attack in the first challenge each phase without kneeling. Since Greyjoy is setup to win initiative more often than not, you can be sure to use Longship Grief’s ability often.

Grieft

 

14. Longship Great Kraken: the milling ability that just gets better and better. Coupled with any of your Raider milling abilities, this Warship will decimate your opponents’ decks.

Great Kraken

 

15. Ten Towers Longship pulls double duty. When you win one of those all-to-often Greyjoy unopposed challenges, Ten Towers Longship lets you select an event card from the loser’s discard pile. With a mill deck, you will have plenty of event cards to choose from with Ten Towers Longship.

Ten Towers Longship

 

Location, Initiative and Dominance Control

16. Shield Islands Dromon sacks an opponent’s location or two of his power (his choice). For only 1 gold, this can be an economical way to slow down your opponent’s locations.

Shield Island Dromon

 

17. Longship Red Jester is similar to Shield Island Dromon. Both give you the power to control which locations your opponents bring into play and/or trigger for effect.

Red Jester

 

18. Refurbished Hulk costs you no gold but allows you to reduce your location costs by 2. Coupled with Longship Maiden’s Bane and Naval Escort, Refurbished Hulk can help you both win unopposed challenges and control locations.

Reburshed Hulk

 

19. River Blockade is just a pain in the neck for your opponents. It’s free for you to deploy. It cancels the first triggered location each round. It’s power doesn’t require it to kneel so you can use River Blockade with Naval Escort. You can use River Blockade with Longship Maiden’s Bane. All-in-all River Blockade is a necessary addition to your Greyjoy fleet.

River Blockade

 

20. Captured Cog is a cheap way to get +2 Initiative and +4 Strength. Plus it can be used with Longship Maiden’s Bane and Naval Escort. Captured Cog will be useful with Longship Grief also.

captured-cog-ahm

 

21. Farwynd Explorer allows you to cancel a triggered effect and then gives you +2 Initiative. Since Farwynd Explorer can only use its cancelling ability once a game, I think this ship is too expensive. farwynd-explorer-the-prize-of-the-north-85

 

Adding Firepower

22. Iron Fleet Scout allows you to spend 1 gold to turn this Warship into a character with naval enhancements. It’s difficult for me to recommend this ship however. The extra 1 gold to use it as a character is too much. Greyjoy is run with a shoe-string budget.

iron-fleet-scout-tcc

 

23. Iron Islands Marines is similar to Iron Fleet Scout. Both turn into characters for one phase. Both have a cost that I won’t pay because it’s too high. In the case of Iron Island Marines, the cost is 1 card. iron-islands-marines_fire-made-flesh_44

24.  Longship Iron Wind will allow you to spring troops into play from your hand during the Challenges phase. This gives you a poor man’s Ambush. In the right deck, this can be vital. You can suddenly win a challenge. The Prized keyword here is a bit problematic. Add this card judiciously.

Iron Wing

25. Longship Iron Victory allows you to kill a participating character. You do not even have to be participating in the challenge in question. It’s very useful for killing a character with lots of power on it. At a cost of Prized: 2, I would only add this card if absolutely necessary.

Iron Victory

 

 

26. Longship Golden Storm is necessary if you are running lots of characters with the Holy Crest. It’s unnecessary otherwise.

Golden Storm

 

Greyjoy’s power lies in the sea (a lesson poor Theon hadn’t learned when he sacked Winterfell). When building your Greyjoy deck, be sure to add the right sea power to it and your opponents will surely be paying the iron price!

 

-Chris on behalf of the Muskegon Area Gamers