Friday, 5 April 2013

A Feast for Crows expansion speculation (A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition)

I am, as you should be, quivering with excitement over the new A Feast for Crows 4-player expansion for AGoT2e that was announced last month, and will be covered in a future article on this very blog.  Very little information about the content of the expansion is available at the moment, so until Days of Ice and Fire, where the game will debut, the following are my assumptions about how things will pan out.

There are spoilers for A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons beyond this point. 

The map on Fantasy Flight's page shows the forces of the vale of Arryn (conspicuously represented in Tyrell green) as they will presumably be set up at the start of the game, in a part of the board that can tend to get quite cramped.  Stark/Bolton's main strength may be squeezed into what remains of Winterfell and the riverlands, and Lannister will probably have a firm dominion in the south.  

It's not clear whether Baratheon will be positioned at Dragonstone as in the core game, or at Castle Black as in the literature.  Hopefully this expansion will find a way to stay true to its sources, but the lack of resources and most likely rigid competition from the Starks/Boltons in the north may have forced the designers into a compromise.  On the other hand, A Feast for Crows may only be a spiritual title to reflect the emergence of Littlefinger and the Vale powers, introducing new house cards and victory mechanics, but changing little in the way of scenario, adopting a more arena-like design philosophy (as in the core game).  The new victory conditions may serve this, as the geography of castles and strongholds will no longer be such a critical factor (as in the vanilla 4-player game, where Baratheon simply runs rampant through the neutral southern castles). 

I hope to also see some incorporation of the Baratheon/wildling/Night's Watch coalition but this seems doubtful without a Mance Rayder-like card as in ADwD.  This raises another potential issue in ensuring that the FfC content doesn't overlap into the DwD content, as Baratheon in particular looks to be slim on potential house cards if the events of ASoS are to provide the inspiration.  In general the fact that the two books are mostly simultaneous may prove somewhat limiting in terms of the scope of the characters and 'flavour', i.e. text abilities that can be drawn on.

With Littlefinger's text ability being as it is, and the standard set by ADwD expansion for location-specific abilties, I expect to see more references on the house cards to regions on the game board, particularly the house 'capitals' and possibly King's Landing.  Abilties pertaining to the objective cards seem likely as well, but this is dependent on exactly how the objective system works.  New Westeros cards are confirmed, but it's not known whether they will replace or be added to the existing decks.  They may provide the mechanic for delivering objective cards to players with some kind of draw instruction (maybe one of the dominance tokens will allow some degree of freedom in this), and possibly also an opportunity to 'cash in' completed objectives for points.  If not then expect some kind of dedicated drawing and scoring phase in the rulebook.     

The fact that the objectives appear to be (mostly) dealt at random will add some interesting new uncertainty to the highly deterministic nature of the core game, and hopefully channel some of the intrigue of the books in figuring out each player's personal ambitions.  It would be nice to see an objective option or a future objective pack for the core game.

Finally, these are the house cards for the 4 houses in A Feast for Crows Expansion as I would like to see them.  This really reflects nothing about what we know about the expansion at the moment, but I hope it will be interesting fodder for the fans who are waiting for the real thing to come out.

4 – Roose Bolton: If you win this combat, you may immediately remove any order tokens in the embattled area and place a defence order token from your hand into the area (if your position on the King’s Court track allows it).
3 – Ramsay Bolton: 2xSword
2 – Walder Frey: If your opponent is being supported in this combat, and you are not being supported, then all armies supporting your opponent do not contribute combat strength.
2 – Black Walder: 1xSword
1 – Aenys Frey: 1xTower
1 – Arnolf Karstark: After combat, you may replace 1 of your order tokens with an order token from your hand.
0 – Reek: If your Ramsay Bolton house card is in your hand, you may immediately discard this card and play Ramsay Bolton in this combat.

4 – Jaime Lannister: If you are attacking, you may immediately remove your opponent’s order token in the embattled area.
3 – Kevan Lannister: 1xSword
2 – Daven Lannister: 1xTower
2 – Aurane Waters: If the embattled area is a sea area, you may immediately place 1 additional ship in the embattled area (if your supply limit allows).
1 – Ilyn Payne: The printed combat strength on your opponent’s house card is now 0.
1 – Emmon Frey: 1xSword 1xTower
0 – Cersei Lannister: If you win this combat, draw 1 power token for each house card in your discard pile.

4 – Bronze Yohn Royce: 1xSword 1xTower
3 – Littlefinger: Draw power tokens equal to the printed strength of your opponent’s card.
2 – Nestor Royce: If you are defending The Eyrie, this card gains +3 combat strength and a tower icon. 
2 – Lyn Corbray: 1xSword 1xTower
1 – Alayne Stone: You may return the opponent’s house card to his hand and force him to play a different one.  If he has no other house cards in his hand, your opponent cannot play a house card in this combat.
1 – Harrold Hardyng: If your Robert Arryn house card is in your discard pile, this card gains +2 combat strength and you draw 2 power tokens.
0 – Robert Arryn: You may discard up to 3 power tokens.  This card gains +1 combat strength for each power token discarded.

4 – Stannis Baratheon: If you win this combat, you may immediately muster forces in the embattled area.
3 – Davos Seaworth: 2xSword 1xTower
2 – Melisandre: If your Stannis Baratheon house card is in your discard pile, you may return it to your hand. 
2 – Jon Snow: If Castle Black is the embattled area, this card gains +2 combat strength and a sword icon.
1 – Axell Florent: 1xSword 1xTower
1 – Justin Massey: 1xTower
0 – Selyse Florent: If your Melisandre house card is in your discard pile, you may return it to your hand.


  1. When will everything actually be announced, is there a release date?

    1. Days of Ice and Fire is 12-14 April, so anyone who plays the game there will have info. I don't know when the expansion will be available to everyone.

  2. Post DOIAF, more expansion details have been released, see here:

    -First to 7 VP wins, but VP is determined by objectives not castles.
    -Objectives are twofold: one set of fixed House objectives that can score each house 1 per turn. Stark must control 5 castles including Winterfell, Arryn must control Eyrie and have most power, Baratheon and Lannister must control their home areas and King's Landing (so they can't both score every turn. Lannister starts in KL (with the +5 garrison) and can hold it for two or three turns max.
    -The main objectives deck has 30 or so cards that score 0-4 points each depending on the house. "Control the eyrie" (which has the +6 garrison) earns 0 for Arryn but 3 for Stark and Baratheon and 4 for Lannister. Many seem to be 1/1/1/1, though. I looked through the forums and listed all the card info I could find, below.
    -Westeros I deck is all new. Breakdown: 1 normal "full" mustering, 2 "only in castles" mustering, 2 Iron Throne chooses mustering or reduce Wildlings to 0, 1 temporary supply reduction card, 1 VP penalty for everyone with 2+ scored objective cards, and 2 different cards that are about drawing and switching objectives. 1 Last Days of Summer, 1 Winter is Coming.
    -Supply calculated every turn at the end, hence no Supply cards.
    -8 of 10 Westeros I cards are wildlings, thus the importance of the Iron Throne's choice card here.
    -Can only turn in one objective card per turn; you start with 5 and choose 3 at the beginning; always have 3 in your hand.

    These were the objective cards I was able to figure out/make an educated guess about. I had to make up some names as I was doing this to make a proxy setup.

    THE RAVEN: Hold the Messenger Raven token (ABLS: 0111)
    THE BLADE: Hold the Valyrian Steel Blade token. (1110)
    THE THRONE: Hold the Iron Throne token. (1011)
    AN ISLAND RETREAT: Control the Arbor (4111)
    A MOUNTAINOUS TASK: Control the eyrie L1 (ABLS: 0343)
    PROTECT THE NECK: Control Seagard, Greywater Watch, and Flint's Finger. (1411)
    A FIRM GRIP: Control Crackclaw Point and Kingswood (
    PULL THE WEEDS: Control Searoad Marches, Blackwater, and The Reach (2112)
    A MIGHTY FORTRESS: Control Storm's End
    MANNING THE WALL: Control Castle Black (11
    THE CITY ON THE HILL: Control King's Landing
    NOTHING BUT GHOSTS: Control Riverrun and Harrenhal (1101).
    LAND GRAB: Hold more land than any other house (ABLS: 1211)
    FORTUNATE TIDES: Occupy more sea areas than any other house.
    FRIENDLY CONFINES: Control more Castles than each other player
    FIRM FOUNDATIONS : Control more Strongholds than each other player
    BORN TO CONQUER: Control another house's home area.
    CROSSING GUARD: Control both sides of a bridge.
    THE PEOPLE'S CHOSEN: Control 4 or more areas with Power icons.
    CAVALRY CHARGE: Have all of your knight units on the board. (1111)
    BACKDOOR POLITICS: Each other house has a higher position on the victory track than you. (2222)

    1. Damn Anon, thank you. This is really interesting stuff, I imagine Simon will have something to say about it when he gets on.

      What do you mean Lannister can hold KL for 2-3 turns max? What happens after that?

      My personal favourite objective name is "An Island Retreat" both for the double meaning, and the casual nature.

    2. how many of those Objective cards are confirmed and correct do you know?

    3. I'm guessing this is aimed at the other Anon, but I don't think there is any mechanism for him to see it other than checking back, so you could be here a while.

      His comment was vague on the matter, but plenty of them sound plausible, and the view we do know, such as "An Island Retreat" and "The Raven" match.

      I don't think I'd be too annoyed if those were the objective cards, though I still think the lack of Arryn pieces/New House Cards/Arryn tokens is unacceptably lazy.

  3. All of the ones I listed were basically correct in terms of the content and scoring, but some of the names were wrong. All of the correct information has now been released, however.


    And Chapman, while I'd love to see new Arryn pieces/tokens and new house cards for the other Houses, I think the limiting factor here is not laziness but cost minimization... FFG has a print-on-demand supplier in the States, but they'd have to go to China for new plastic or cardboard component. They probably did the math and decided it wasn't worthwhile for what would likely be a small batch. We may disagree with them but remember that we represent the more hardcore players and not the mass market (to the extent that there is a mass market for a 6-hour GoT game).

    1. Ahh, I didn't realise it wasn't all done by FFG, that makes more sense, though doesn't make it any less tragic. Maybe if I'm feeling adventurous enough I will try and make my own. I'm surprised/impressed at the popularity of the GoT board game, we get thousands of views for it. It gives me hope for the rise of quality board games.

      Just looking over that positioning for the scenario, looks like it is going to be intense. I hope the UK can get it in time for the summer.

    2. Thanks for posting this Anon, my hopes are now raised.

  4. It is now out for purchase on the website!

  5. Do the garrisons on kings landing and the eerie count as 6 and 5 defence or 2 defence like the other home land garrisons.