Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition Board Game: (Spoiler Free) A Dance with Dragons Brief Overview

Vague spoilers ahead. As I won't be naming all the cards, the only real spoilers here will be that the characters I name are still alive at this point (and sometimes when not necessary I will edit those out as well). Also, to appease those who don't want all the cards coming out at once, I will not be covering all of the cards in this article alone. I will be trying to keep it as spoiler-light as possible. For more stuff on the core AGoT 2nd Edition Board Game, start here. If there is any great interest in this, I will be making another one. 

Oh man, even made the box art safe. Beautiful. But seriously, read those damn books. They are incredible. 

As of yet I have not been able to assemble a full game of A Dance with Dragons, I put the majority of the blame on university starting back up here in England, and so my players have started to go walk about, travelling to the four corners of this United Kingdom but there is little I can do about that. So I decide to set the board game up with the new cards and positions, and see what I could ascertain from just kind of looking at it and the cards. So here is my, as spoiler free as possible review of the cool elements of ADwD.

The Lannister and Tyrell 4 cards: Tyrell and Lannister start in closer proximity in this mode. I know they were almost touching in the last one, but in this they are literally intertwined with each other. Making for an uneasy alliance (Clever FFG, very clever). While it isn't necessary to name them, one thing I saw with both the Tyrell and Lannister 4 cards is that they are both identical. 1 sword and 1 shield. I assume this is to make the two sides going at it, 4s a blazing become quite a large stalemate, and make the players rely on the more clever cards in the rest of the deck. A small touch, but one that deserved pointing out, in my

Tyrell's 1 cards:  Considering the previous two 1 cards were Alester Florent and Margaery Tyrell fulfilling the most boring, vanilla house cards ever with a tower each, the 1 cards this time are substantially more fun. One has the harrowing words Ignore all text abilities on your opponents card. And with some of the text abilities being thrown around in this game, that has amazing potential to cause rage.

The second is basically a variation of Victarion from the core game. Designed to wrestle control of the Tyrell sea's from a certain other house. If the embattled area is a sea area. all your participating ships (Including supporting Tyrell ships) add +2 combat strength instead of +1. While this removes the land grabbing power that Victarion had, it is much more in keeping with the Tyrell naval forces, who are more of your transport and warship types, and clearly designed to create an interesting choice for Tyrell in the first few turns.

Tyrell 0 Card:  I believe this card might be designed to be a counter to a card found in the Greyjoy deck, and also to help Tyrell out of the initial situation they find themselves in, with their capital threatened. On the surface it seems overpowered, and I can imagine in the last turn of play, this could make or break it, but the rest of the time, I can just see it delaying the inevitable. If you are defending your home area or an area that contains one of your power tokens, your opponent's final combat strength is 2.

Lannister 2 Card:  The Lannisters seem pretty light on the ground in terms of text abilities. The aforementioned 4, as well as the 3 and a 2 all have just swords and fortification. The second 2 has the rather lengthy: If you win this combat, you may destroy one of your opponent's footmen in any area (in addition to normal casualties). If that unit is the last unit in its are, remove any order token there as well. So basically tantamount to a sword anywhere on the map.

Second Lannister 2 Card:  This is just a sword, I've taken to calling this 'the Greatjon card' but equally I suppose Jaime Lannister fits the bill from the last game. It seems to be what they do with a good warrior who they either can't think of a good card for, or need to balance him out.

Lannister 1 Card:  Basically this one boils down to being Kevan Lannister, but with Knights instead of footmen. Using this, in attack, Knight's now equal 3 Combat Strength rather than 2. A nice idea, and I notice Lannister starts off with no knights in this expansion, so you really have to work for them in the 6 turn time limit.

Second Lannister 1 Card:  This is just a fortification icon. Pure and simple, I like it, it is really what you need from your 1s.

Lannister 0 Card: And now welcome the mandatory overpowered 0 card. This time it is a real kicker. I can't remember the precise wording, as unlike when I wrote the rest of this article, I don't currently have the cards to hand. But it exists along the lines of "You may use two power tokens to activate this ability. Turn the combat strength and combat icons of this card (ignoring text) into that of any card in any players discard pile. Now admittedly there is no three sword apocalypse in this to ruin your opponents day, but there is a couple of 2 swords belonging to various decks, and I believe 3 of the 4 strength cards that each have a sword, so the chances are by the time you use this, there will be something juicy lying around, at the very least, the Lannister 4 is hardly the worst card in the world.  (Note, there is a three sword apocalypse but it is in text form and so can't be used by the Lannister 0).

Lannister and Tyrell 3 Card:  The Lannister's get a raw deal in terms of their 3 card, he suffers from Areo Hotah syndrome of just one tower, and you don't want to particularly commit your 2nd highest (or 3rd with the Lannister 0) to a throw away fight. I get the general premise behind these 'safe win' cards, but I don't think they are that rewarding, it is hardly like the Lannister's were hitting so strong in this deck that they needed to be levelled out. Then again, I suppose anything too good and it can be used with the Lannister 0 combo. Tyrell favours better in this by having a solid 2 swords, which would seem to give them a definite advantage in any confrontation with the Lannister's or Greyjoys. The Lannister 3 being unable to block all the swords.

Tyrell 2 Cards: And finally we meet the boring middle ground, I hate to end it on a low note, but there is a reason these came last. The Tyrell 2's are a sword and a fortification. One for each. It seems that the Tyrell's just generally attract these kind of cards. I guess they already have enough amazing ones. I managed to defend a virtually undefended Highgarden with just the strength of the 0 and 1 cards. They are pretty damn insane.

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