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« on: 03 June 2014, 09:10:02 »

Fantasy Flight Games News

© 2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
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« Reply #1 on: 03 June 2014, 12:00:03 »

Delve the Darkest Depths of Khazad-dum

Nightmare Decks Are Now Available for The Lord of the Rings: Khazad-dum

“I too once passed the Dimrill Gate,” said Aragorn quietly; “but though I also came out again, the memory is very evil.”
    
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Three new Nightmare Decks for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game are now available via FFG’s in-house manufacturing.

Upon the release of the game’s first deluxe expansion, Khazad-dûm, Middle-earth’s heroes first departed the Shadows of Mirkwood and embarked upon a perilous journey through the dark and twisting mines of Moria. Their search for the missing Dwarf, Balin, led them far from the familiar locations and foes of the Core Set into a lightless realm populated by hordes of Orcs, Goblins, and Cave Trolls, along with another presence, darker and more sinister than anything they had previously encountered…

Now, you can experience the novelty and terrors of Khazad-dûm all over again with Khazad-dûm Nightmare Decks, a single set of three twenty-card Nightmare Decks, one for each of its three scenarios: Into the Pit, The Seventh Level, and Flight from Moria.

Nightmare Decks introduce deadly new encounter cards and scenario-specific rules that greatly increase the challenges of the scenarios they enhance, while simultaneously layering subtle plot twists and thematic alterations. The result is that when you play these scenarios in Nightmare Mode, your old strategies may be countered, and if you don’t adapt to the new challenges you face, you may quickly meet your doom.

Developer Matt Newman on Khazad-dûm Nightmare Decks

Dust off your delving picks, and head for the mines of Moria… It’s time for the Khazad-dûm Nightmare Decks!

We’ve been hard at work on these brand new Nightmare Decks, and I am very excited to preview some of the new cards and challenges players will face in these updated Khazad-dûm scenarios. As always, with our Nightmare Decks, each of these sets of twenty cards is designed to amplify an existing scenario, making it more challenging, while simultaneously tweaking its strategies and making it more atmospheric, as well. Let’s dive right in and take a look at the changes that Nightmare Mode brings to these scenarios!

Into the Pit

The opening to the Khazad-dûm deluxe expansion introduces players to the Cave Torch (Khazad-dûm, 41), an objective attachment that helps them explore the darkest corners of Moria. Because the Cave Torch offers a powerful benefit and a relatively small drawback, players found themselves relying on its ability every turn… and why not? After all, who would dare to explore Moria without a light to guide them?

The Nightmare version of Into the Pit limits the number of times that players can use the Cave Torch, thus presenting players with difficult decisions and interesting choices. The Nightmare setup card (Into the Pit Nightmare Deck, 1) reads:

Forced: After Cave Torch exhausts, place 1 damage token on this card. Then, if there are 5 or more damage tokens on this card, remove Cave Torch from the game.”

When players can only use the Cave Torch five times before removing it from the game, they’ll need to think twice before using it. Many of the new locations and enemies in this deck also work alongside this limitation, such as the Patrol Sentry (Into the Pit Nightmare Deck, 3) who can easily spot the heroes’ sources of light, or the Narrow Fissure (Into the Pit Nightmare Deck, 7), which the heroes cannot explore without first using the Cave Torch.

Taken as a whole, this Nightmare version of Into the Pit becomes a race against the clock as the heroes’ light dwindles more and more, and they are forced to make extremely tough decisions. Rely too much on their torch, and they risk being swallowed by the darkness of Moria. Conserve too much light, and they will never find their way out of its twisting passages.

The Seventh Level

The Seventh Level is a straightforward quest that is meant to be a battle against never-ending swarms of goblins. The Nightmare version pushes this theme to extreme levels, sending wave after wave of goblins at our heroes, and as players will quickly learn, these goblins are all about strength in numbers.

Many of the new cards, such as the Pit Goblin (The Seventh Level Nightmare Deck, 6) and the Deep-Mines, (The Seventh Level Nightmare Deck, 7) place resource tokens on the scenario’s many Goblin enemies. Other cards, like the Orc Taskmaster (The Seventh Level Nightmare Deck, 4) and the Western Hall (The Seventh Level Nightmare Deck, 8) increase the strength of any Goblin with one or more resource tokens. The more Goblins are revealed by the encounter deck, the stronger the synergy between these many cards becomes, and eventually our heroes will find themselves battling against a horde of Goblins with tons of resource tokens!

Finally, in Nightmare Mode, The Seventh Level builds toward an epic battle against a unique enemy commander, Overseer Maurûl (The Seventh Level Nightmare Deck, 2). The final stage becomes much more challenging when players are forced to contend with this powerful taskmaster of Mordor along with the scenario’s many goblins. The result is that in Nightmare Mode, even the tiniest goblin can become a nightmare if left alone.

Flight from Moria

This unique scenario introduces players to a quest deck with many different Stage 2B options, which are shuffled and placed in a random order. There are only two ways out, and players never quite know where they’re headed next. Luckily for them, they are given the option to bypass any quest they don’t want to travel through, placing it at the bottom of the quest deck. In the original Flight from Moria, players almost always chose to bypass quest stages instead of progressing through the quest and powering up The Nameless Fear (Khazad-dûm, 25) in the meantime.

In Nightmare Mode, players are presented with a much tougher choice between bypassing and exploring, as many of the scenario’s new cards hinder their ability to bypass quests, and the setup card has the following text:

“When a quest card is bypassed, shuffle it into the quest deck instead of placing it on the bottom.”

This means that the only way to truly guarantee never having to see a particular quest again is to explore it fully.

But what’s really most exciting about this Nightmare Deck is the inclusion of three – that’s right, three – new quest cards! These quest cards are easily slotted into the scenario’s existing randomized quest deck, so that players never quite know if they’re running into one of the scenario’s original quests, or one of the three punishing new ones. Players who are familiar with this scenario in Standard Play may be surprised to find their party decimated, here, by blasts of fire, or blocked by the Nameless Fear himself!

I enjoyed revisiting these scenarios to create exciting and challenging new Nightmare Decks that present you with tougher decisions that will truly test your skills. Keep those Cave Torches ready, because you’re going to need them more than ever!

Prepare for a Terrible, New Challenge

"I have never felt such a challenge. The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me."
    –Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game shook to its foundations the first time that Middle-earth’s heroes encountered the unique challenges of Khazad-dûm. Now, as you once again approach the gates of this abandoned Dwarven realm – this time in Nightmare Mode – you can feel earth rumbling beneath your feet. What lies beyond the East-gate?

Discover the new terrors of Khazad-dûm with Khazad-dûm Nightmare Decks!

...


Source: Delve the Darkest Depths of Khazad-dum
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« Reply #2 on: 03 June 2014, 20:30:04 »

The Firespray-31

An X-Wing (TM) Strategy Article by Guest Writer Doug Kinney

Nearly everyone in the Star Wars universe with a bounty on his head dreaded the idea that he might someday see Slave I show up on his sensors. Not only was its pilot, Boba Fett, one of the most ruthless and inventive bounty hunters in the galaxy, but the ship itself was a heavily modified Firespray-31 – fast, maneuverable, and loaded with firepower…

We continue our series of X-Wing strategy articles with a look at the Firespray-31 by one of the players most responsible for shaping its presence in the tournament environment, 2012 World Champion Doug Kinney.

2012 World Champion Doug Kinney on the Firespray-31

Released in the second wave of X-Wing expansions, the Slave I Expansion Pack introduced the Firespray-31, one of the game’s two earliest large-base ships. Along with the Millennium Falcon, this ship has had a profound impact upon how the game is played.

Many people believe that the stock Firespray-31 is the most balanced ship in the game for both offense and defense. It boasts a primary weapon that fires a base of three dice and can be used in both the front and rear arcs. It can perform both the focus and target lock actions, and if it gains both tokens, it can become an offensive juggernaut. It shines on defense, as well, with a base agility value of “2” and the ability to perform the evade action. Plus, with a shield value of “4” and hull of “6”, even once it starts taking hits, it’s tough to take down.


 A 360-degree view of the Firespray-31. (Click to enlarge.)

Then, the Firespray-31 is highly customizable. You can load it out with a missile, a cannon, a bomb, and the Slave I Title even lets you add a torpedo. The Firespray-31 adds to these a myriad of good crew options, and both Kath Scarlet and Boba Fett also have elite pilot talent slots. So there are any number of good combinations to make your basic Firespray-31 a more imposing force. Alternatively, you can outfit it with crew members like Recon Specialist, Rebel Captive, or Flight Instructor to increase its defensive abilities.

And don’t forget that the Firespray-31 is a large-base ship! Its size gives it significant presence on the battlefield. At a pilot skill value of “3,” the Bounty Hunter can be an effective blocker against ships with higher pilot skill values, and the Firespray-31 is an especially effective blocker against the Rebellion’s heavy assault fighter, the B-wing. Even once you stop blocking, one of the greatest aspects of the Firespray-31 is that you can fly out of your enemies’ firing arcs and still attack with your auxiliary firing arc, meaning you can often attack without being attacked.

Flying the Firespray-31

For all its strengths, the Firespray-31 is not an easy ship to fly. There is a learning curve to being able to fly it well. I spent many weeks practicing before I was able to maneuver it effectively, and there are many good Imperial players that will attest that it takes a good amount of time to learn how the ship moves.

As you practice, you’ll want to see how the ship’s base serves as a guide to how far it will move when it performs certain maneuvers. For example, a turn with a speed of “2” will move your Firespray-31 only about half of a small-base width and length away from your starting position. That means if your ship is currently in contact with a small ship on its corner, you won’t be able to complete a speed “2” turn in that direction.


 A Bounty Hunter fails to move past an X-wing with its speed “2” turn.

You will, however, be able to complete a speed “3” turn in that direction, as a speed “3” turn takes your ship a little bit wider and longer than the size of a small base away from your starting position. Making note of little tricks like that will help you learn to fly your Firespray-31 into and out of harm’s way during the heat of battle.


 A Bounty Hunter clears an adjoining X-wing with its speed “3” turn.

Another hurdle you’ll need to clear is learning how best to use the auxiliary firing arc. The Firespray-31 is the only ship to-date with a printed rear firing arc, meaning it can fire its primary weapon either forward or backward. It was difficult for me to get out of the mindset that I needed to perform a Koiogran turn in order to attack, but I now use the rear arc as much as the primary arc – if not more so. It takes practice to maneuver while remaining cognizant of where your ship’s rear arc is facing, but once you get the maneuvering down, you will be able to continue your forward movement and perform actions, instead of performing Koigran turns, gaining stress tokens, and losing your actions.

The Firespray-31 in Imperial Squads

Many squads run a single Firespray-31, often complemented by a mini-swarm of TIE fighters, and when the metagame starts to shape up after the release of the fourth wave of starfighters that were announced a while back, I think you will see mini-swarms becoming increasingly popular. Thus, a squad with one Firespray-31 and a mini-swarm may be an increasingly popular archetype in the future.

   Total Squad Points: 99

The Heavy Laser Cannon on Krassis packs a devastating punch and makes good use of his pilot ability. It also forces your opponent into the undesirable position of having to reconsider who to target first. Does he go after the big gun, leaving the mini-swarm to fire off volleys of quality attacks? Or does he go after the mini-swarm, leaving the big gun alone, letting it rain down shots of four dice each?

Meanwhile, you can line up your squad all together, or you can split your forces and attack in a type of pincer movement. I generally prefer to split my ships a little distance apart to allow myself room to maneuver my Firespray-31 without running afoul of the Academy Pilots.

One of the nice things about running a single Firespray-31 is that you generally have a lot of attacks on the board. The sample squad above boasts five separate attacks, which is a decent amount for an Imperial build. When you get into builds with two or three Firespray-31s, you will be getting some bigger bang for your attacks, but at the cost of a reduced number of attacks.

A number of other common squads run two Firespray-31s, and there are a few schools of thought on them. Some people build squads with just two fully loaded Firespray-31s, and they can be successful squads, like the example below:

   Total Squad Points: 100

This is a hard-hitting duo, and it comes with a little additional damage to help mitigate the fact that it only offers two attacks per round. Scott Williams, a player who has put this squad to good use in tournaments, designed an opening where he forces his opponent to chase Kath Scarlet while he chases his opponent with Krassis Trelix. Kath shoots out of her auxiliary arc, while Krassis uses his Heavy Laser Cannon to devastating effect.

Personally, I like to include a third ship in my squads for the extra attack and for drawing fire away from my Firespray-31s. One example is the squad that I took to second place at the 2013 Star Wars Game Experience, “Additional Damage”:

         
  • Bounty Hunter (33) with Assault Missiles (5) and Seismic Charges (2)
  •      
  • Bounty Hunter (33) with Assault Missiles (5) and Seismic Charges (2)
  •      
  • “Howlrunner” (18) with Squad Leader (2)

   Total Squad Points:

The “splash” damage from the Assault Missiles and the Seismic Charges allows you to pile damage onto your opponent on top of the damage you inflict with your standard attacks. However, it can be tough to keep the TIE fighter out of the way of the two Firespray-31s, especially if you’re trying to maximize the pilot ability of “Howlrunner.” TIE fighters and Firespray-31s have different size bases and usually have different pilot skill values, so keeping the TIE fighter out of the way of your Firespray-31s can be tricky, and that’s before you factor in your opponent’s ships.

Another list that makes good use of two Firespray-31s is a very powerful squad that Anthony Lillig took to the Top 16 at both the North American Championships and Worlds in 2013. It combines two Firespray-31s with two TIE fighters.

         
  • Bounty Hunter (33) with Gunner (5)
  •      
  • Bounty Hunter (33) with Gunner (5)
  •      
  • Academy Pilot (12)
  •      
  • Academy Pilot (12)

   Total Squad Points: 100

It’s a simple, yet tough and effective, list that deals a lot of consistent damage. It has a great balance of offense and defense combined with action denial.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the squad that runs three Bounty Hunter Firespray-31s. (Yes, I can hear the collective groan of everyone who has had to fly against it.) This squad has no frills, just thirty points shields and hull and devastating combination of offense and defense. This squad is a bear to play against, especially when flown well, and Jacob Pichelmeyer, the reigning North American Champion, flew three Bounty Hunters to fourth place out of forty-six players at the 2013 Star Wars Game Experience.


 A squad with two Firespray-31s battles a squad of HWK-290s at Worlds 2013.

With its great balance of offense and defense, the Firespray-31 has had a major impact upon the shape of X-Wing, and the tremendous versatility afforded by its loaded upgrade bar ensures that it will continue to be an imposing force in the future.

Thanks, Doug!

Will you rely upon the balanced baseline statistics of the Firespray-31 to make the difference in your games of X-Wing? Will you discover clever and potent combinations of upgrades to hit enemy ships for more damage? Will you fly your Firespray-31 with a complement of TIE fighters, or will you pair it with other Imperial vessels?

Whether you run one Firespray-31 in your Imperial squad, or two, or three, we trust Doug’s advice will inspire you to explore more of the ways this ship can impact your games, and you can always find more advice and more discussion about this and other starships in our community forums!

...


Source: The Firespray-31
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« Reply #3 on: 04 June 2014, 05:00:03 »

The Antlered Crown

Announcing the Thrilling Conclusion to The Ring-maker Cycle


“There are many that cry in the Dunland tongue,” said Gamling. “I know that tongue. It is an ancient speech of men, and once was spoken in many valleys of the Mark. Hark! They hate us, and they are glad; for our doom seems certain to them.”

   
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers


War has come to Dunland.


Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of The Antlered Crown, the sixth and final Adventure Pack in The Ring-maker cycle for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game!


After having found Celebrimbor’s hidden forge and securing its secrets from a horde of Orcs, several of Middle-earth’s heroes near the end of their service to the White Council. First, however, they must return to Isengard, and this means passing through the hills of Dunland, where war has broken loose.


The Antlered Crown introduces sixty new cards to The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, including a new Rohan hero, three copies of each new player card, and a new scenario that carries players deep into battle with the wild men of Dunland. Amid ferocious combats and brutal treachery, you’ll find plenty of moments for heroics, and you’ll have plenty need for stalwart allies.


Naturally, The Antlered Crown delivers heroics and combat-ready allies in abundance; you’ll find allies and events that further depict the ability of Rohan’s finest warriors to charge headlong into battle, as well as a handful of cards that wrap up the cycle’s introduction of the Ent trait to The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.



Unlikely Allies


“We are tree-herds, we old Ents. Few enough of us are left now.”

    –Treebeard, The Two Towers


While The Ring-maker cycle focuses a great deal of attention toward further defining and enhancing the unique play style associated with the Silvan trait, it also lends new support to several of the game’s other traits, and it introduces several cards for the much-beloved Ents.


Though there are few Ent allies in the cycle, their footprints are large. They are slow to anger and slow to act, but once roused, it’s hard to keep a good Ent down. The Ents don’t make their debut in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game until Celebrimbor’s Secret, but once players gain the opportunity to play with the cards from The Antlered Crown, these Ents are bound to make a major impression upon fans everywhere.


We saw the first of the Ents revealed in the announcement of Celebrimbor’s Secret. At just two resources, the Wandering Ent (Celebrimbor’s Secret, 119) is a powerful ally that boasts a remarkable array of two Willpower, two Attack, two Defense, and three Hit Points. Yet as an Ent, this ally is slow to commit himself fully to your cause, so he enters play exhausted. This is a theme that runs throughout the cycle’s Ent cards, and both of the Ents from The Antlered Crown also enter play exhausted:



       
  • Ents may be slow to anger, but the Booming Ent (The Antlered Crown, 141) is one Ent who has seen too many evils and too much deforestation to sit idle any longer. Portrayed with arrows jutting out of his hide in all directions, this ally gains one Attack Strength for each damaged Ent character you control. Because you’ll be able to command as many as seven Ent allies once The Antlered Crown releases, it’s entirely possible to get this two-cost character up to a massive Attack Strength of nine.

  •    
  • Finally, the most recognizable of the cycle’s Ents is the venerable Treebeard (The Antlered Crown, 146), who appears as a neutral ally with some truly massive statistics: two Willpower, four Attack, three Defense, and five Hit Points. Moreover, like Radagast (A Journey to Rhosgobel, 59), Treebeard collects a resource each turn, which he can use to recruit other Ents or to ready them. Don’t be too hasty, though, using Treebeard to ready an Ent will cost you two resources, so you’ll have to wait at least one turn to do so.


Though there are only a few different Ent characters in The Ring-maker cycle, these unlikely allies may still make a powerful impact upon The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, especially if they crash into action to aid your heroes during the battles of The Antlered Crown.


No One Is Safe on the Field of Battle


War rages across the hills of Dunland, the horse-lords of Rohan ride into the fray, and even the neighboring tree-herds storm into battle. Can you complete the mission you began in Saruman’s service? Can you deliver the ancient lore you found in Celebrimbor’s secret forge?


Stand fast amid the chaos of war, and make your mark upon Middle-earth in The Antlered Crown. This thrilling conclusion to The Ring-maker cycle is scheduled to arrive at retailers in the fourth quarter of 2014!

...


Source: The Antlered Crown
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« Reply #4 on: 05 June 2014, 06:30:03 »

A Crusade in Twilight

A Rogue Trader Adventure and Character Guide Are Now Available For Download

“Your training will be harsh. It will last a lifetime. It will be rigorous, meticulous, and all encompassing. You will learn the lessons of the greatest minds the Fire caste has produced, but also how and when to use them. All of this will be so you can fight for the Greater Good, and likely perish in the process, but it will be an endeavor you will willingly embark on.”
 –Commander Blindside

The Rogue Traders voyage across the vast reaches of space, searching for adventure, renown, and riches beyond count on the edges of the galaxy. To be a Rogue Trader and bear the sacred Warrant of Trade means journeys beyond the boundaries of the Imperium. In some cases, these adventures may lead you to strange realms and stranger alliances.

Two new Rogue Trader digital-exclusive supplements are now available for download: the Twilight Crusade adventure and the Tau Character Guide! Journey to the edge of space in the company of an Inquisitor and his unlikely allies: a cadre of Tau Fire Warriors. As you journey to confront an ambitious Rogue Trader, the Tau support you, and by using the Tau Character Guide, you can become a Tau Explorer yourself.


 Click an image above to purchase a download of the supplement.

Twilight Crusade

Twilight Crusade is a three-part adventure that focuses on your mission to confront the heretical Rogue Trader, Vir Modren. Your Explorers must embark on a Grand Endeavour into the heart of Modren’s Realm, alongside the acolytes of an ardent Inquisitor and his unexpected allies – a hunter cadre of Tau from the far-flung reaches of the galaxy. To confront Modren directly, you must venture deep into his domain and negotiate his followers’ power-struggles, before gaining entry to Modren’s personal fortress. 

This adventure’s Grand Endeavour provides your GM with an excellent framework to gauge your progress and success, no matter how you choose to venture deep into Modren’s Realm and navigate the intrigues within. This Endeavour can be modified to suit the GM’s needs, inviting freeform action from you and your fellow Explorers. To help the GM guide the Explorers even further, a detailed breakdown of the Grand Endeavour’s objectives can be found at the end of each chapter of the adventure. In addition, this adventure offers the perfect opportunity for players to use the Tau Character Guide, as Tau warriors feature extensively throughout Twilight Crusade.

For the Greater Good

The 43-page Tau Character Guide provides Rogue Trader players with all the necessary information and rules to play Tau Explorers, whether in the Twilight Crusade adventure or in another voyage across the Koronus Expanse. In this supplement, you find a concise history of the Tau Empire, rules to play Tau Warriors of the Fire Caste with various specialised classes, and an armoury for outfitting characters with the advanced technology and powerful wargear of the Tau empire.

As you realise your Fire Warrior more fully, you may choose to take alternate career ranks. The Tau Character Guide offers three options for alternate career ranks, enabling your Explorer to become a Pathfinder, a Drone Handler, or even a Battlesuit Pilot. Of course, the Tau Empire would be nothing without its hyper-advanced technology, and you’ll find plenty of equipment and battlesuits in the Tau Armoury. Whether you strike from afar with a Kroot Hunting Rifle, blind your foes with Tau Photon Grenades, or experience the raw power of an XV8 Crisis Battlesuit, you’ll find Tau technology is a great companion in the wild space of the Koronus Expanse.

Begin Your Journey

The hubris of Vic Modren’s realm can no longer stand as an affront to the Imperium. By the will of the Emperor, and for the Greater Good, Modren must fall. Are you prepared to embark on this adventure? Purchase Twilight Crusade and the Tau Character Guide, and begin your ship’s journey past the edges of the Koronus Expanse!

...


Source: A Crusade in Twilight
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« Reply #5 on: 05 June 2014, 15:00:03 »

They Wait Within

Preview the New Monsters of the Overlord in Manor of Ravens


Deep in the foothills of Greyhaven sits an abandoned manor house. The house was once the abode of the high mage, Ithyndrus, but his death left it to the ravens and other scavengers. Bandits camp in the forests around the mansion, venturing inside to loot while the light lasts. At nightfall, the manor belongs to the wraiths that rise from the crypts, bringing a horrible death to anyone unwise enough to remain within the manor walls.


In the Manor of Ravens expansion for Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition, a few heroes have dared to cross the mansion’s threshold in an attempt to root out its evil. Within the manor, the heroes will face terrible monsters, and today’s preview, takes a closer look at the two new monster groups the overlord unleashes on the heroes in Manor of Ravens.



Desperate Men and Criminals


The only predators that survive in every climate and culture, bandits take what they want, thrive on others’ failures, and only regret the effort their ill deeds require. The plague of highwaymen has never been eradicated, and it falls to the heroes of Terrinoth to hold these scoundrels in check or fall prey to their quick blades and underhanded tricks.


The greatest strength of the bandits in Manor of Ravens is their versatility in fighting at range or in melee combat. Bandits possess the Ranged icon as an option for staying out of the heroes’ reach, but they also feature the combat dice necessary to deal solid damage at close range. All bandits have access to the Pillage ability as well. Pillage allows a bandit to perform an attack against an adjacent hero; if that hero is knocked out by the attack, you may choose one of his Search cards and shuffle it back into the deck! Not only will this deprive the hero of some powerful benefits, it also reduces the amount of gold he receives at the end of the quest.



Bandits can also spend surges to cause extra damage or poison a hero, while master bandits take their skulduggery to a more deadly level with Black Venom. When you trigger the Black Venom ability, the hero you attacked becomes both Poisoned and Doomed. Doomed – a new condition introduced in Manor of Ravens – can quickly maximize a hero’s damage. While a hero is Doomed, any damage that he suffers causes him to take an additional damage, until he spends a surge in combat to remove the condition. A bandit can poison or doom heroes with his tricks and abilities, and they aren’t the only monsters you control in the haunted manor.


A Haunting Specter


At the sight of a wraith emerging from its crypt, even the bravest turn and flee. If it’s not the spirit’s looks that cause such dread, it’s fear of their call. To hear the summon of the wraith is to invite death and submit your fate to its malevolent will. The aura of doom that permeates a house that hosts a family of wraiths is more than sufficient to deter all but the most foolish of adventurers.


When you employ the aid of wraiths to destroy the heroes, you can be sure to strike terror into the hearts of any that oppose you. A wraith can attack a hero in close combat with rending, spectral claws, but wraiths can also harry the heroes from afar, using their dark calls to strike out of reach of the heroes. In combat, any wraith can spend surges to deal additional damage or to give a hero the Doomed condition, sentencing the hero to take even more damage later, unless he can dispel the condition by spending a surge in combat.



As an added bonus, every wraith possesses the Death Cry ability. By using this as an action, you may choose a hero near the wraith to test Willpower. If that hero fails, you choose whether he becomes Doomed or suffers a damage, giving you more ways to drain the heroes’ willpower and deal more damage. Finally, master wraiths have the powerful Reaper ability. Whenever a hero within five spaces of a master wraith is knocked out, the master wraith may immediately move up to its speed and make an attack. As your master wraith gains energy from the fading will of the heroes, his power can maximize the amount of damage you’ll deal in a round.


Enter the Manor


In Manor of Ravens, the haunted mansion’s doors have opened, daring those who call themselves heroes to enter. Bandits and wraiths rise to serve the overlord, but new heroes also make their debut. Join us in our next preview as we examine the two new heroes and hero classes.


Preorder the Manor of Ravens expansion at your local retailer today!


...


Source: They Wait Within
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« Reply #6 on: 05 June 2014, 23:30:03 »

Plotting and Scheming, Part Two

A Look at Mastering Your Plot Deck in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game


“Tell me, Lord Varys, who do you truly serve?”

    Varys smiled thinly. “Why, the realm, my good lord, how ever could you doubt that? I swear it by my lost manhood. I serve the realm, and the realm needs peace.”


    –George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones


Last week, we looked at how the plot decks of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game add layers of bluffing, control, and aggression to the game that distinguish it from other customizable card games. We reviewed the reasons that your plots are the most important seven cards you’ll bring to a game, and we explored several sample plot decks that exemplified vastly different styles of play.


Because you can choose which plot you reveal each turn, your plot deck provides you the means to enhance the strategies you develop in your draw deck, to compensate for its weaknesses, to weave combinations between the two, or to imagine other ways to bolster your bid for the Iron Throne.


It is, in fact, possible to imagine a plot deck that admirably performs a couple of different functions. As an example, a well-built plot deck may support an aggressive Stark deck, allowing its characters to rush onto the battlefield, eliminate enemy characters, and gain early control of the Challenges phase. However, if your opponent gets the better early draw, you might have one or two “reset” plots that can remove enemy characters and help you recover.


Today, then, we’ll take a look at some of these “reset” plots, and we’ll start with a close look at Valar Morghulis (Core Set, 201), which is arguably the most popular, potent, and important card in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game.



Valar Morghulis and Recovering from Disaster


Despite your best efforts, you will, at times, find yourself falling behind in the battle for the Iron Throne. Perhaps a Greyjoy player will strike hard and fast in the midst of winter, killing your characters, freezing your income, and discarding your locations. Perhaps a Lannister player will amass a host of fickle allies and threaten to choke your hand of cards by winning Intrigue challenge after Intrigue challenge. In times such as these, you want a way to bounce back, to reset the game, and to buy yourself a moment to recover. These are the sort of times at which you want to be able to reveal Valar Morghulis.


When revealed, Valar Morghulis kills all characters in play. If you’re falling behind in a game, this plot may give you the breathing room that you need to mount a comeback. It is, in fact, such a powerful and prevalent card that its mere existence demands a host of strategic considerations, many of which extend into deck-building and the interactions between your plot deck and your draw deck:



       
  • First of all, the plot’s ability to kill all characters in play doesn’t actually mean that all characters in play will actually be killed and moved from the table to the dead pile. Instead, it’s possible to cancel Valar’s ability, and even when Valar’s ability triggers, it first checks to see if all the characters in play can be killed. If a copy of The Power of Blood (Core Set, 194) is revealed, characters with the Noble crest cannot be killed; “cannot” is absolute within A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, so Valar Morghulis wouldn’t affect those characters. Even when characters can be killed and Valar Morghulis targets them, before they actually die, they enter a “moribund” state from which it’s still possible to save them by discarding a duplicate, an attachment like Bodyguard (Core Set, 150), or a location like The Iron Mines (Kings of the Sea, 27). There are other means, too, of saving characters, and every player will want to bear these in mind while building a deck and plot deck.




       
  • Valar Morghulis may have one of the game’s most powerful abilities, but it offers only two gold and no claim. Additionally, it has an initiative value of zero, so the turn you reveal Valar as your plot, you’re quite likely to lose the initiative and make little or no headway against your opponent apart from killing off his characters.

  •    
  • Valar Morghulis hits all players equally. If you want to recover from a bad board position, you’ll be sacrificing your characters in order to do so. Accordingly, you’re going to want to have other characters in your hand that you can play onto the table in the Marshaling phase. If you’re playing Valar in order to recover from a bad board position, you’ll almost certainly want to be able to play more and better characters than your opponent so that you don’t simply slip back into yet another losing position. This means you want to understand how Valar functions within the scope of your deck; it needs to fit together with your economy cards, your draw, and your deck’s cast of characters.

  •    
  • In the right deck, Valar Morghulis can be a tool for offense, not just defense. All characters are not created equally, and characters like Robert Baratheon (The Tower of the Hand, 46) who have Renown or can participate in more than a single challenge (or both) are simply more important than non-unique characters like Knight of the Rainwood (Core Set, 81) who can only participate in a single challenge each turn. Even though Valar offers no claim and very little gold, if it can clear out threats or impediments to characters like Robert Baratheon, then it can help you push through for the power you gain from Renown and unopposed challenges. After all, the goal of the game is to claim the Iron Throne by earning fifteen power, not to fiddle with large claim for its own sake.

  •    
  • Finally, it’s worth noting that if you put Valar Morghulis into your plot deck and play through six plots without revealing it, you leave yourself no choice but to reveal it as your next plot. If you’re playing a slower deck, like the sort that might accompany a control strategy, and your intention is to build toward an inevitable victory, you may not wish to include a plot that strikes at you as much as it strikes at your opponent.


Seven Kingdoms Full of Threats


Of course, Valar Morghulis is not the only reset plot in the game. Other reset plots can also help you recover from a bad board position or strengthen your hold on an advantageous one. Several key reset plots present an alternate set of abilities and promote another range of deck-building considerations:



Wildfire Assault (Core Set, 191) is a good reset for control strategies that wish to avoid the double-sided effect of Valar Morghulis. Not only does it allow each player to avoid killing up to three of their characters, but it prevents all others from being saved, meaning that the plot ignores any board advantage your opponent may have expected to retain through cards like Bodyguard and The Iron Mines.



The First Snow of Winter (On Dangerous Grounds, 59) works well in decks with a range of characters of cost three or more. Not only does it allow you to recover from a slow setup, but it can help you push for a win or two in the Challenges phase.



Threat from the North (Princes of the Sun, 56) isn’t a true reset plot insofar as it doesn’t, on its own, balance out the table. However, it’s easily one of the more common plots for players whose draw decks include a measure of “burn,” or cards that lower the Strength of opposing characters. This is a plot you’re likely to encounter when you face a Targaryen burn deck or even a Stark deck that features Shaggydog (Lords of Winter, 3) and other Direwolf attachments.



Characters aren’t your only concern in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. Locations can trigger a host of nasty, disruptive effects, and several Greyjoy locations can even participate in challenges. Furthermore, a player with a whole realm’s worth of locations at his disposal may be able to play more characters than you each turn or recycle key cards from his discard or dead piles. Fleeing to the Wall (Core Set, 187) is a reset for locations that fits well into decks that aim for more straightforward challenges between characters.


Using Chaos to Your Advantage


Most A Game of Thrones: The Card Game matches end well before players reveal their seventh plots. This means that players usually have room for one or two plots that shore up their decks’ weaknesses, rather than building upon their core strengths.


Accordingly, most plot decks will include at least one reset plot, and one of your key considerations in building your draw deck ought to be to determine a path past your opponent’s reset. This could be through the use of cards that prevent your characters from being killed or that save characters otherwise destined for death, or it could be through the use of greater card draw and economy, playing to the goal of bouncing back from what becomes a momentary setback.


Meanwhile, new players (or those with fewer cards at their disposal) may wish to consider including multiple resets in their plot decks. Let’s face it, until you’ve mastered the game, your odds of finding yourself falling behind are better than those of getting ahead. By including multiple resets, you may stand a better chancing of turning the tables on your opponent. At the least, you’re likely to buy yourself more time to strike.



The plot decks of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game are one of its most central and distinguishing features, and gaining a fuller understanding of them is a critical step to mastering the game. In our next installment of Plotting and Scheming, we’ll continue to look at more of the interactions between your plot deck and draw deck, including the different possibilities introduced by “plot twists.”

...


Source: Plotting and Scheming, Part Two
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« Reply #7 on: 06 June 2014, 08:00:03 »

Between the Shadows

Announcing an Upcoming Deluxe Expansion for STAR WARS (TM): The Card Game

“Mos Eisley spaceport: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”
    –Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars, A New Hope

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce Between the Shadows, the third deluxe expansion for Star Wars™: The Card Game!

Across the galaxy, there are always those who are most comfortable while unnoticed, under the cover of shadows. In this upcoming expansion for Star Wars: The Card Game, you’re invited to slip into the shadows to meet with those who hide within.

Secrets in the Shadows

Some of those you will find in the shadows stay there to escape persecution and execution. The Jedi were supposedly exterminated when the Empire was created, but their fire has not yet been extinguished from the galaxy. In the desert wastelands of Tatooine, or in the swamps and bogs of Dagobah, the remaining Jedi bide their time, devoting themselves to the study of the Force. Although they work in secrecy, the Force is strong with them, and soon, the Jedi will emerge to once more play a hand in the fate of the galaxy.

Others who make the shadows their home have far less savory occupations. For the Scum and Villainy of the galaxy, back-alley deals, covert operations, and stealthy assassinations are a way of life. You may not see them on the well-lit streets, but a multitude of bounty hunters, mercenaries, brawlers, and collectors wait for the unwary in the shadows. They may work for honor, for credits, or for the massive criminal organization known as Black Sun, but whenever these professionals work, the wise know enough to stay out of their way.

In this deluxe expansion, you’ll find twenty-six new objective sets, giving you two copies each of twelve distinct sets and one copy apiece of two “Limit 1 per objective deck” sets. Although the expansion is focused on the Jedi and Scum and Villainy affiliations, every affiliation will find cards to use in this expansion. Two brand-new fate cards bring new tension to every edge battle, while new versions of iconic characters like Luke Skywalker join the fight alongside new heroes and villains, such as Prince Xizor and Talon Karrde.

Today, however, we’ll step into the shadows to join the most feared Bounty Hunter in the galaxy: Boba Fett.

Fearless and Inventive

When you work with the best in the bounty hunting world, you always get what you pay for. If you pay for sabotage, you’ll get flaming rubble and shattered duracrete. If you pay for a hit, you know the damage goes where it’s supposed to. Boba Fett has built a reputation around ruthless efficiency, so it follows that the objective of his set makes your units more reliable. The objective is “No Disintegrations,” (Between the Shadows, 665) and its text reads, “Combat damage dealt by a Bounty Hunter or Mercenary unit you control cannot be reassigned by the protect keyword.” While this objective is in play, your opponent will no longer be able to evade damage with protector units. The damage you assign sticks, and since Bounty Hunter and Mercenary are two of the most common traits for Scum and Villainy, you can be sure your opponent will think twice before attacking your objectives.

Another card in the set is both a Bounty Hunter and a Mercenary, ensuring that she receives the benefits from “No Disintegrations,” as well as from objectives like Lucrative Contract (Assault on Echo Base, 271). This card is the Freelance Hunter (Between the Shadows, 667). Naturally suited for attack, the Freelance Hunter is an excellent choice for deactivating objectives that are only active while undamaged. The objective set continues with a copy of Prized Possession (Between the Shadows, 378), giving you the resources you need to hire the best Bounty Hunters in the business.

Even the best hunters can be surprised once in a while. At times like that, it’s best to have a trick ready. This set includes the free event Entangled (Between the Shadows, 669). When your opponent chooses a unit to strike, you can play Entangled to force your opponent to strike with a different eligible unit instead. In an engagement involving multiple units, there is nearly always one unit that your opponent wants to strike first. If you can upset that order with Entangled, the engagement is tipped in your favor, even if you lost the edge. As an added bonus, you draw a card after playing Entangled, filling your hand with more tricks and traps.

For other jobs, all you need to rout your enemies is a little extra firepower. You can find what you’re looking for in the Flamethrower (Between the Shadows, 668). This card can enhance any friendly Character or Droid unit, instantly turning them into a one-man army. Whenever a unit enhanced with a Flamethrower is focused to strike, you deal one additional damage to each participating enemy unit. If your opponent doesn't deal with the Flamethrower's incendiary effects, he'll soon find his units nearly exterminated. Of course, any Character or Droid can use the Flamethrower, but there’s only one Bounty Hunter who’s a true master of this Weapon

Many Bounty Hunters achieve fame: Bossk, Dengar, IG-88, and Zuckuss are just a few examples. But one man has forged a reputation as the utter professional. Boba Fett (Between the Shadows, 666) features a spread of combat icons that makes him equally suited for attack or defense – whatever the job requires. The Elite keyword and three Force icons make him excellent for holding the Force, but it’s Boba Fett’s Reaction that makes him the best at what he does. After Boba Fett resolves a strike, you may immediately remove all focus tokens from him! Essentially able to strike twice in any engagement, Boba Fett could easily finish nearly any opposing unit, or destroy an objective single-handedly with the edge. If you enhance him with a Flamethrower as well, he’ll be able to trigger it whenever he strikes, dealing unparalleled amounts of damage to any light side units that stand in his way.

Invisible Connections

The criminals of the Scum and Villainy are dangerous in the extreme, but the last of the Jedi stand ready to oppose them. In Between the Shadows, every affiliation finds powerful new cards to aid them. For more information on this deluxe expansion, visit the Between the Shadows about page, and prepare to enter the shadows of Star Wars in the third quarter of 2014!

...


Source: Between the Shadows
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« Reply #8 on: 06 June 2014, 16:30:02 »

The Resourceful Investigator, Part Two

A Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game Strategy Article by Guest Writer David Boeren

“Warning me that many of the street signs were down, the youth drew for my benefit a rough but ample and painstaking sketch map of the town’s salient features. After a moment’s study I felt sure that it would be of great help, and pocketed it with profuse thanks.”
    
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth

In Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, you pay for cards by draining domains. Accordingly, if you’re looking for a map deeper into the game’s dark heart, there’s no better place to start than with the orders and shapes in which your domains are arranged.

In the first part of his guide to resourcing domains, guest writer David Boeren introduced a few fundamental concerns and walked us through a sample game, examining the initial resourcing decisions presented by his opening draw. Now, he walks us even deeper into his game, how he addresses the resourcing decisions that all players face, and how he views the theory behind his decisions.

Guest Writer David Boeren on Building Your Domains

David’s eight opening cards contained six Syndicate cards, one Silver Twilight card, and one neutral card:

He resourced Peter Clover, Intimidate, and On the Lam. However, this meant that his two-faction deck, split between Syndicate and Silver Twilight, would start the game without domains for each faction.


 Focused on gaining a strong early board position, David initially resources a character he can't afford to play on his first turn, along with two events.

Before David resumes his game walkthrough, he explains how he approaches resourcing for multi-color decks (decks split between two or more factions).

It’s generally desirable that you quickly build your domains so that some or most of them contain resources for all of your factions. This allows for maximum flexibility in the cards that you play. While it’s okay to put this off temporarily in order to hold onto important cards or to play a two-cost Loyal card early in the game, you’ll want to get around to adding multiple colors to your domains as quickly as you can.

There are, however, some things you can do to reduce your need to add multiple factions to each domain:

         
  • Run mostly one faction and just a splash of another. This sort of deck may only need a single domain to carry a resource from the secondary faction.
  •      
  • Keep most or all of your one-cost cards in one faction. By doing this, you will find yourself under less pressure to build your smallest domain to two resources simply in order to match both factions.

After resourcing, I go first. On my first turn, I draw one card and get Steal the Soul (The Order of the Silver Twilight, 52). This is a great card. It’s also a Silver Twilight card, which was what I had hoped to draw.

Fortunately, there’s also an action window between the Draw Phase and Resource Phase, and I use it to play my Eldritch Nexus immediately, to see what I get before I have to make my resource decision.

                                         
                                                                                                                  

Which Domain Should You Build?

                         

Turn one usually presents an easy resourcing decision; you want to build your domains to 2-1-1. But where do you go after that? Do you build your domains to 3-1-1 or 2-2-1?

                         

This will depend on the design of your deck and the cards in your hand. Usually these concerns go together, as your opening hand should reflect the intent of your deck.

                         

Generally, I advise resourcing according to whichever tactic will help you play more of your important cards faster. For a given deck, one path will usually be best the majority of the time, and if you find yourself resourcing to 3-1-1 most of the time in order to play high-cost charaters, then you likely need to think about balancing those with more one-cost characters, event,s and supports to play from your second and third domains.

When Eldritch Nexus resolves, the top card of my deck goes facedown as a new domain. This is another Intimidate. The second card of my deck goes underneath this new domain as a resource… and it’s another Eldritch Nexus!

This is a small problem. I’m not really concerned about losing the card since four domains is probably enough, but seeding a neutral card as a one-resource domain is less than ideal. I can still use it to pay for abilities that require me to “pay 1,” but I’m better off in the long run to put another resource there to convert it into something more useful. The problem is, I no longer have any spare Syndicate cards in hand.

This forces me to make a difficult decision:

         
  • Resource a Silver Twilight card on a Syndicate domain. This will let me play either Meticulous Scribe and Lena Di Boerio, or Johnny V’s Dame plus another Syndicate character. It will also give me a two-color domain.
  •      
  • Resource a Silver Twilight card on my neutral domain. This will let me play Meticulous Scribe and Lena Di Boerio, and it will fix my neutral domain, making it more useful in future turns.
  •      
  • Resource a Syndicate card on the neutral domain. This will let me play Johnny V’s Dame plus another Syndicate character, and it will fix my neutral domain.

Of the choices, the two-color domain seems best as I’ll be able to build it up so that I can play a three-cost character of either faction on my next turn if I need one, so I decide to give up Steal the Soul, resourcing it on a Syndicate domain.


 By resourcing a Silver Twilight card to the same domain as a Syndicate resource, David ensures that his first two-resource domain can be used for either faction.

Here, even the decision where to resource it matters: In case I should win Chaos Unleashed (The Shifting Sands, 8), I want to resource Steal the Soul with the Syndicate card I expect I’d most like to get back later in the game. The resources in my open domains are Peter Clover and Intimidate, and I decide to add Steal the Soul to the domain with Peter Clover.

                                         
                                                                                                                  

Chaos Unleashed

                         

Some of the story cards from the Asylum Pack The Shifting Sands allow you to exchange cards from your hand with the cards in one of your domains. The most important of these stories is Chaos Unleashed, which lets you add an entire domain's worth of cards to your hand and then replace them from the top of your deck.

                         

Chaos Unleashed won't appear every game, but when you see it, you should resource all your best cards to one domain, which will typically also be your biggest domain. This way, if you win one of these stories, you will maximize the benefit your receive from winning the story by giving yourself the best selection of cards to retrieve.

                         

Keep in mind that you won't win one of these stories for at least a couple of turns, so you should resource cards that will be useful in the mid-game rather than the early game. Still, this isn't hard because you should already want to keep your good early game cards in your hand in order to play them.

After resourcing, I drain my domain of two to play Johnny V’s Dame, and then I use my other Syndicate domain to play my Clover Club Torch Singer at one-cost. My neutral domain remains open to pay for her ability if I need it, and I’m holding two characters that I can play on my next turn.

I wish I didn’t have to give up Steal the Soul, but I really want the Meticulous Scribe on the table for his Arcane icon, and without a Silver Twilight domain of one, I’d have had to build and hold onto a domain of two just to play my event. If I’d had a Silver Twilight domain of one resource, I’d have probably gone the other way and resourced Meticulous Scribe, trusting that I’d soon draw into another character with Arcane or Investigation icons.

Fortunately, in this case Lena Di Boerio is a reasonable substitute. Although her ability is very domain-hungry, she can mess with icons. In fact, she would have been a very reasonable substitute for the Clover Club Torch Singer, but because my deck is full of Criminal characters, I wanted to take advantage of Johnny V’s Dame’s discount as early as possible.

Subsequent Turns

My opponent appears to be playing a Serpent-themed deck. On his turn, he plays Naaginn (Touched by the Abyss, 105) and two Degenerate Serpent Cultists (The Wailer Below, 63). All three have Terror icons but no other icons. During his story phase, my opponent opts not to commit to stories since he sees that I could kill one Serpent and use my Clover Club Torch Singer to reduce another to skill zero, preventing it from gaining success tokens.

On my second turn, then, I draw another Johnny V’s Dame and Josef Meiger (Denizens of the Underworld, 52). The second Dame does little for me since they can only discount the first Criminal I play each turn. Fortunately, though, Josef is a Criminal himself, despite being a member of the Silver Twilight. This presents me a good opportunity to fix my neutral domain.

I resource the Dame on my neutral domain, then play Josef and Lena Di Boerio. At this point, the only card in my hand is the Meticulous Scribe. However, I have two domains left open. This allows me to threaten to remove my opponent’s Terror icons, so that I can commit to two or even three stories.


 David doesn't require a three-resource domain for any of the cards in his hand, and by resourcing a Silver Twilight card to his neutral domain, he not only gains the ability to play two two-cost cards on his turn, but he makes transforms his neutral domain into one that's more useful to his deck.

I commit Josef, the Clover Club Torch Singer, and the Dame. If my opponent opposes all three, I can easily afford to let the Dame go insane, as her ability will work even if she is exhausted, and I’ll be able to kill some Serpents in return…

The Game So Far

                                         
                                                                                                                  

When Should You Stop Resourcing?

                         

At some point, you want to stop resourcing. After all, every card you don't resource is one extra card in your hand, and the sooner you stop letting go of those options, the sooner you’ve got a card advantage on your opponent.

                         

This doesn't mean that every deck should be a rush deck, nor is it a good idea to stop resourcing too soon. If you do, you may have trouble playing your higher cost cards when you draw them.

                         

Simply, you want to maintain the flow of cards from your deck to your hand and into play. If you can afford to play two to three cards every turn, then you may be ready to stop resourcing, or at least skip a turn. If you don't immediately need an extra resource and resourcing would cost you a valuable card, it's well worth skipping as long as your deck doesn't have too many high-cost cards that would leave you feeling off-pace later in the game.

At this point, I’ve had a fairly successful opening, and on my next turn, I’ll draw two more cards to add to my Meticulous Scribe. Also, since I know my deck’s composition, I expect that I’ll be able to play at least two of the cards I’ll have in my hand. At this point, there’s a good chance that I will only need to resource once more; if I add another Silver Twilight card to the domain that has one neutral and one Syndicate card, I’ll have two two-color domains, and one of them will be able to pay for three-cost cards.

Finally, now that I’ve established a fairly strong board presence, the time to favor characters over other card types has passed, and I can pay more attention to holding onto useful events and supports.

Hopefully, this has been a useful glimpse into the sort of choices that come up with resourcing, particularly early in the game when these choices are most critical. I think this particular example also helps to illustrate the sort of problems that occur even with a finely tuned deck and how you often need to be able to reroute your plans if you find yourself off of your ideal path.

Thanks, David!

The resourcing mechanic of Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game is one of its most central and defining characteristics… and mastering the art of resourcing intelligently is essential to your efforts to save humanity or hurl it headlong toward the abyss!

...


Source: The Resourceful Investigator, Part Two
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« Reply #9 on: 07 June 2014, 01:00:03 »

Plotting and Scheming, Part Two

A Look at Mastering Your Plot Deck in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

“Tell me, Lord Varys, who do you truly serve?”
     Varys smiled thinly. “Why, the realm, my good lord, how ever could you doubt that? I swear it by my lost manhood. I serve the realm, and the realm needs peace.”

     –George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Last week, we looked at how the plot decks of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game add layers of bluffing, control, and aggression to the game that distinguish it from other customizable card games. We reviewed the reasons that your plots are the most important seven cards you’ll bring to a game, and we explored several sample plot decks that exemplified vastly different styles of play.

Because you can choose which plot you reveal each turn, your plot deck provides you the means to enhance the strategies you develop in your draw deck, to compensate for its weaknesses, to weave combinations between the two, or to imagine other ways to bolster your bid for the Iron Throne.

It is, in fact, possible to imagine a plot deck that admirably performs a couple of different functions. As an example, a well-built plot deck may support an aggressive Stark deck, allowing its characters to rush onto the battlefield, eliminate enemy characters, and gain early control of the Challenges phase. However, if your opponent gets the better early draw, you might have one or two “reset” plots that can remove enemy characters and help you recover.

Today, then, we’ll take a look at some of these “reset” plots, and we’ll start with a close look at Valar Morghulis (Core Set, 201), which is arguably the most popular, potent, and important card in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game.

Valar Morghulis and Recovering from Disaster

Despite your best efforts, you will, at times, find yourself falling behind in the battle for the Iron Throne. Perhaps a Greyjoy player will strike hard and fast in the midst of winter, killing your characters, freezing your income, and discarding your locations. Perhaps a Lannister player will amass a host of fickle allies and threaten to choke your hand of cards by winning Intrigue challenge after Intrigue challenge. In times such as these, you want a way to bounce back, to reset the game, and to buy yourself a moment to recover. These are the sort of times at which you want to be able to reveal Valar Morghulis.

When revealed, Valar Morghulis kills all characters in play. If you’re falling behind in a game, this plot may give you the breathing room that you need to mount a comeback. It is, in fact, such a powerful and prevalent card that its mere existence demands a host of strategic considerations, many of which extend into deck-building and the interactions between your plot deck and your draw deck:

         
  • First of all, the plot’s ability to kill all characters in play doesn’t actually mean that all characters in play will actually be killed and moved from the table to the dead pile. Instead, it’s possible to cancel Valar’s ability, and even when Valar’s ability triggers, it first checks to see if all the characters in play can be killed. If a copy of The Power of Blood (Core Set, 194) is revealed, characters with the Noble crest cannot be killed; “cannot” is absolute within A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, so Valar Morghulis wouldn’t affect those characters. Even when characters can be killed and Valar Morghulis triggers, before its effect resolves, there is an opportunity to save them by discarding a duplicate, an attachment like Bodyguard (Core Set, 150), or a location like The Iron Mines (Kings of the Sea, 27). There are other means, too, of saving characters, and every player will want to bear these in mind while building a deck and plot deck.

         
  • Valar Morghulis may have one of the game’s most powerful abilities, but it offers only two gold and no claim. Additionally, it has an initiative value of zero, so the turn you reveal Valar as your plot, you’re quite likely to lose the initiative and make little or no headway against your opponent apart from killing off his characters.
  •      
  • Valar Morghulis hits all players equally. If you want to recover from a bad board position, you’ll be sacrificing your characters in order to do so. Accordingly, you’re going to want to have other characters in your hand that you can play onto the table in the Marshaling phase. If you’re playing Valar in order to recover from a bad board position, you’ll almost certainly want to be able to play more and better characters than your opponent so that you don’t simply slip back into yet another losing position. This means you want to understand how Valar functions within the scope of your deck; it needs to fit together with your economy cards, your draw, and your deck’s cast of characters.
  •      
  • In the right deck, Valar Morghulis can be a tool for offense, not just defense. All characters are not created equally, and characters like Robert Baratheon (The Tower of the Hand, 46) who have Renown or can participate in more than a single challenge (or both) are simply more important than non-unique characters like Knight of the Rainwood (Core Set, 81) who can only participate in a single challenge each turn. Even though Valar offers no claim and very little gold, if it can clear out threats or impediments to characters like Robert Baratheon, then it can help you push through for the power you gain from Renown and unopposed challenges. After all, the goal of the game is to claim the Iron Throne by earning fifteen power, not to fiddle with large claim for its own sake.
  •      
  • Finally, it’s worth noting that if you put Valar Morghulis into your plot deck and play through six plots without revealing it, you leave yourself no choice but to reveal it as your next plot. If you’re playing a slower deck, like the sort that might accompany a control strategy, and your intention is to build toward an inevitable victory, you may not wish to include a plot that strikes at you as much as it strikes at your opponent.

Seven Kingdoms Full of Threats

Of course, Valar Morghulis is not the only reset plot in the game. Other reset plots can also help you recover from a bad board position or strengthen your hold on an advantageous one. Several key reset plots present an alternate set of abilities and promote another range of deck-building considerations:

Wildfire Assault (Core Set, 191) is a good reset for control strategies that wish to avoid the double-sided effect of Valar Morghulis. Not only does it allow each player to avoid killing up to three of their characters, but it prevents all others from being saved, meaning that the plot ignores any board advantage your opponent may have expected to retain through cards like Bodyguard and The Iron Mines.

The First Snow of Winter (On Dangerous Grounds, 59) works well in decks with a range of characters of cost three or more. Not only does it allow you to recover from a slow setup, but it can help you push for a win or two in the Challenges phase.

Threat from the North (Princes of the Sun, 56) isn’t a true reset plot insofar as it doesn’t, on its own, balance out the table. However, it’s easily one of the more common plots for players whose draw decks include a measure of “burn,” or cards that lower the Strength of opposing characters. This is a plot you’re likely to encounter when you face a Targaryen burn deck or even a Stark deck that features Shaggydog (Lords of Winter, 3) and other Direwolf attachments.

Characters aren’t your only concern in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game. Locations can trigger a host of nasty, disruptive effects, and several Greyjoy locations can even participate in challenges. Furthermore, a player with a whole realm’s worth of locations at his disposal may be able to play more characters than you each turn or recycle key cards from his discard or dead piles. Fleeing to the Wall (Core Set, 187) is a reset for locations that fits well into decks that aim for more straightforward challenges between characters.

Using Chaos to Your Advantage

Most A Game of Thrones: The Card Game matches end well before players reveal their seventh plots. This means that players usually have room for one or two plots that shore up their decks’ weaknesses, rather than building upon their core strengths.

Accordingly, most plot decks will include at least one reset plot, and one of your key considerations in building your draw deck ought to be to determine a path past your opponent’s reset. This could be through the use of cards that prevent your characters from being killed or that save characters otherwise destined for death, or it could be through the use of greater card draw and economy, playing to the goal of bouncing back from what becomes a momentary setback.

Meanwhile, new players (or those with fewer cards at their disposal) may wish to consider including multiple resets in their plot decks. Let’s face it, until you’ve mastered the game, your odds of finding yourself falling behind are better than those of getting ahead. By including multiple resets, you may stand a better chancing of turning the tables on your opponent. At the least, you’re likely to buy yourself more time to strike.

The plot decks of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game are one of its most central and distinguishing features, and gaining a fuller understanding of them is a critical step to mastering the game. In our next installment of Plotting and Scheming, we’ll continue to look at more of the interactions between your plot deck and draw deck, including the different possibilities introduced by “plot twists.”

...


Source: Plotting and Scheming, Part Two
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« Reply #10 on: 07 June 2014, 09:30:03 »

Lead the Charge

Preview Combat in Warhammer 40,000: Conquest


The servants of Khorne stood from horizon to horizon, filling the air with their barks, gibbers, and howls. Their battle banners, straining in the coppery wind that blew through their ranks, were of the deepest red, bearing a single rune and a legend of simple devotion: Blood for the Blood God.

   –The Tome of Blood


In the grim darkness of Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, there can never be peace. The only way to achieve total conquest is to utterly vanquish your enemies with fire and sword.


In past previews of Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, we’ve looked at methods for deploying units to planets across the Traxis sector. We’ve also explored the command struggle, a strategic battle for resources and influence that takes place at every planet, granting you the card draw and extra resources to maintain your assault. Today, however, we’ll move into combat, exploring the battles that occur every round.



The Clash of Arms


During the combat phase, battles rage throughout the sector, but the presence of opposing units at one planet is not necessarily enough to trigger a battle there. Sometimes, your units work against your opponent on a strategic scale, illustrated by the command struggle. In the combat phase, however, tactics take the fore as battles erupt, taking place each round at the first planet and at planets where you or your opponent have committed a warlord.


Combat in Warhammer 40,000: Conquest is conducted over a series of merciless rounds. Combat begins at a planet when the player with initiative chooses one of his ready units to strike.  Every unit has two numbers on the lower left border of its card. The upper number is that unit’s attack value, while the bottom number is its hit points. When you exhaust one of your units to strike, it deals damage equal to its attack value to an enemy unit chosen by you. If a unit ever has damage on it equal to or greater than its hit points, it is destroyed.



After you strike with one of your units, it’s your opponent’s turn to strike with a unit, after which the combat turn transfers back to you. The battle rages on until all units at the planet are exhausted, at which point every unit at the planet refreshes, preparing for another round of combat. If defeat seems imminent, or if staying at the planet would not accomplish your goals, you and your opponent have the chance to retreat any number of units before a new combat round begins. Any army units that remain behind will engage in a new round of combat, battling for ultimate victory. The battle only ends once one player retreats all of his forces, or one player has slain every opposing unit at the planet!


After a battle ends at any planet, the victor has the opportunity to trigger that planet’s Battle ability, which offers a powerful bonus. The planet Atrox Prime, for example, possesses a Battle ability that reads, “Deal 1 damage to each enemy unit at a target HQ or adjacent planet,” granting you a potent strike against the heart of your opponent’s strength. Although the Battle ability of a planet can be resolved after any battle, only the first planet is claimed by the victor and placed in his victory display, bringing him one step closer to dominion of the sector. After the first planet has been claimed, your victorious units there return to your headquarters with your warlord, awaiting new conquests in the next round.


A Stalwart Shield


Your warlord has a critical role in combat as the leader of your forces in the Traxis sector. Part of that warlord’s role is potentially claiming initiative for you. Typically, the player holding the initiative token strikes first in a battle, but if your warlord is present, you can steal the opportunity to strike first in the battle. If your opponent’s warlord is at the same planet, however, initiative reverts to the player with the initiative token.


In addition, every warlord has a powerful special ability, but your warlord’s presence at a planet puts him in danger of attack. Whenever your warlord takes damage equal to his hit points, his card is flipped over, leaving him bloodied, without his special ability, and in danger of being defeated again. If a bloodied warlord is defeated again, that player immediately loses the game. Although both warlords must commit to a planet each round, there are measures you can take to reduce your opponent’s chances to harm your warlord. Once combat begins, instead of exhausting a unit to strike, you can use your combat turn to exhaust your warlord and retreat him to your headquarters.


Fortunately, you have more ways to avoid combat damage than strategic retreats. Attachment and event cards have a number of shield icons on the upper left border of the card. For example, the card Drop Pod Assault (Core Set, 24) holds two shield icons. When one of your units would take damage, you may discard one card with shield icons from your hand to reduce the damage by the number of shields on the card.


Use Your Skills


Although the foundation of combat rests on attacking with units to deal damage, there are a wealth of keywords introduced in Warhammer 40,000: Conquest that add depth to your battles, allowing you to win seemingly impossible fights. For example, a unit like the Enraged Ork (Core Set, 63) has the Brutal keyword, meaning that he gains one attack power for each damage on him. Before he takes damage, the Enraged Ork has no attack power, but if an enemy dares to strike him, he’s more than ready to strike back just as hard.



Another keyword can be found on the Daring Assault Squad (Core Set, 16). This unit has the Area Effect (2) keyword, meaning that whenever it attacks, instead of dealing its normal attack of three damage to one unit, it may deal its Area Effect of two damage to every enemy unit at the planet! Other keywords can be found on the Black Legion Heldrake (Core Set, 87). This unit has the No Wargear Attachments keyword, keeping it from receiving that type of attachment. It also holds the Flying keyword, meaning that it takes half damage from non-Flying units. With the ability to evade damage in that way, this unit will have a long-lasting influence on your battles.


War Is Coming


Warhammer 40,000: Conquest casts you directly into the futuristic battles for the planets of the Traxis sector, matching your strategy and battlefield tactics against your opponent in a struggle for the stars. In our next preview, we’ll look at a detailed example of a battle. Check back for more previews and preorder Warhammer 40,000: Conquest at your local retailer today!


...


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« Reply #11 on: 07 June 2014, 18:00:03 »

All That Remains

Announcing the Fifth Data Pack in the Lunar Cycle


Three tunnels formed a triangular shape with the work area in the center of the room. It was filled with rows of ancient displays, below which were a series of knobs, keyboards, and ports and all covered with a thick layer of dust…


Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of All That Remains, the fifth Data Pack in the Lunar Cycle for Android: Netrunner!


What will come of one Runner’s hunt for the net’s legendary source protocols? All That Remains explores this question with sixty new cards (three copies of each new card), including a new Criminal Runner identity, a new shard of the source protocols, and a host of assets designed to support the ambitions and secrecy of those Corporations that have the most investment in lunar development.


Additionally, a number of other cards ensure that every action ripples outward and spurs new responses. You’ll find a trio of Corp agendas with powerful “when scored” abilities and trace cards that can hit the Runner even if their traces fail.



Life is different on the moon, and the cat-and-mouse cyberstruggles between Corp and Runner follow deadly new twists. Explore the ends to which they lead in All That Remains.


The Ripple Effect


On the net, all data is connected. One upload alters a server, which modifies the next transmission that server emits, which alters the server that receives it, and so on into infinity. Because of this, no transmission ever truly ends. Instead, data echoes ripple throughout the net and assume their own forms of permanence or recurrence.


We saw these echoes depicted in one form in The Spaces Between. That Data Pack’s current events and operations introduce players to data packages that have echoed throughout the net long enough to assume something like a static permanence. Now, several of the cards in All That Remains revisit the moon’s oldest data streams, offering efficient means to revitalize old data and derive new benefits from it.


Three Corps gain agendas with “when scored” effects that gain strength based upon the amount of data the Corps have previously pumped into the net.



       
  • NBN gains License Acquisition (All That Remains, 85), which allows the Corp to install and rez an asset or upgrade, ignoring all costs. The Corp can choose to install this card from HQ, but it can also choose to install it from Archives. This means that even if a Runner manages to trash an asset like SanSan City Grid (Core Set, 92), the Corp can pull up its archived schematics and quickly get back to business.

  •    
  • Weyland Consortium gains Superior Cyberwalls (All That Remains, 87) which rewards players for sticking with Weyland’s expertise in barriers. The more barrier ice you install, the greater the benefit you’ll derive from Superior Cyberwalls. For starters, “when scored,” it grants you one credit for each piece of rezzed barrier ice. Then, it enhances each of these barriers, granting them all a permanent one-point bump to their strength. Moreover, these bonuses are cumulative, meaning that if Weyland can quickly score two or more copies of Superior Cyberwalls, it may be able to form an impenetrable defense by layering its barrier ice before the Runner.

  •    
  • Finally, Haas-Bioroid gains tremendous flexibility from their new agenda, Bifrost Array (All That Remains, 81). When scored, Bifrost Array allows Haas-Bioroid to echo the “when scored” effect of any other agenda in the Corp’s scored pile. This means it can be as powerful as an Accelerated Beta Test (Core Set, 55) or Director Haas’ Pet Project (Creation and Control, 4). A repository of many forms of data, Bifrost Array can even deliver all the benefits of winning a Corporate War (Future Proof, 120), without any threat of suffering the penalties of losing the war. Naturally, you need to have the other agendas in your scored pile in order to copy their effects, but by combining Bifrost Array with Fast Track (Honor and Profit, 27), Haas-Bioroid can deliver upon an adaptable schedule of agendas.


Data Never Dies


When bytes hit the net, they can’t be taken back. The best you can do is seek to master the flow of information. With its sixty new cards, All That Remains allows Corps and Runners to explore new means to hunt – and ultimately control – the net’s legendary source protocols.


Look for All That Remains to add greater depth and resonance to your games of Android: Netrunner when it arrives at retailers everywhere late in the third quarter of 2014!

...


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« Reply #12 on: 08 June 2014, 02:30:04 »

Secrets and Schemes

Announcing the First Chapter Pack in the Wardens Cycle for A Game of Thrones


“Lysa knew more than she had dared to put in her letter. She might have the very proof that Ned needed to bring the Lannisters to ruin, and if it came to war, they would need the Arryns and the eastern lords who owed them service.”

   
–George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones


Lords and ladies across the Seven Kingdoms have fought for the Iron Throne. Many have died. Still others have held back, aloof and apart, courted by those who desire their strength. But these lords and ladies have their own plans and ambitions…


Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of Secrets and Schemes, the first Chapter Pack in the Wardens cycle for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game!


In Secrets and Schemes, you will discover sixty new cards (three copies each of twenty different cards) that touch upon the schemes concocted by those patient individuals who have remained above or outside of the wars that have shaken the Seven Kingdoms. Additionally, you’ll learn how they make their opening moves with a host of new Knights, attachments, and the agenda, Aloof and Apart (Secrets and Schemes, 18), which encourages players to revisit some of the game’s most expensive, powerful, and recognizable characters.



Additionally, as it opens the Wardens cycle, Secrets and Schemes begins the exploration of its ongoing themes. For more about these themes and what the cycle has to offer players of every type, we turn to lead developer Nate French.


Lead Developer Nate French on the Wardens Cycle


Hello, A Game of Thrones players!


The Wardens cycle is the twelfth expansion series for A Game Thrones: The Card Game, and with it, we sought to explore a number of under-explored nooks and crannies, both in the game and in the A Song of Ice and Fire setting. This means there’s plenty to appeal to all three of our archetypal players: Ned, Shagga, and Jaime.



The “Ned” Archetype


“Ned” players are fans of the source material, who come to the game to immerse themselves in the A Song of Ice and Fire setting. For such players, the biggest draw in the Wardens cycle is likely to be its exploration of the Vale of Arryn and the Eyrie.


In this expansion cycle, you’ll find a number of important unique characters and locations that have not yet appeared in the LCG®, including Lysa and Robert Arryn, The Knight’s Declarant, The Moon Door, and the “Petyr Baelish” version of Littlefinger.


In the novels, a number of different lords and ladies desire the support of the Vale, but the Arryns have not yet emerged as a unified player in the game of thrones. To this end, the Arryn cards were designed so that they can be splashed as useful support into a wide variety of different decks, rather than collected together as a unified deck archetype. Instead of having a direct impact, the Arryns are more content to lend their support and influence from afar, “safe” within the walls of their Eyrie.


The “Shagga” Archetype


“Shagga” players are fans of novelty, always eager to play around with any new “bright and shiny” toys. The Castle plots of the Wardens cycle introduce a new type of “delayed” plot effects to the cardpool. In exchange for broadcasting their intentions ahead of time and delaying the payoff, Castle plots allow players to take advantage of powerful effects when these plots enter their used plot piles. Because they represent the tendency of the Arryns to plot slowly and cautiously behind the impregnable walls of their mountain fortress, these cards also have a nice Nedly angle to them.



In addition to these new Castle plot cards, you’ll find support for a number of synergistic Trait-based decks that have long enticed Shagga players, but that have not yet made it to the top of the competitive hill. Clansman, House Tully, Sand Snake, Dothraki, and Raider decks all receive a number of new options in this expansion, and House Baratheon gains an entirely new set of cards that focus on the Rainbow Guard.


The “Jaime” Archetype


Finally, the “Jaime” player archetype is the competitive player, for whom winning isn’t just the ultimate objective – it’s the only objective. As we looked at the game from the perspective of these players, we decided that the category of “Limited Response” abilities had not yet been satisfactorily explored.


For most decks and games the limitation of “1 limited response per round” just wasn’t a big deal. To make this aspect of the game experience more interesting, a number of powerful limited response abilities, such as those on The Drumm (Secrets and Schemes, 4) and Maester Vyman were designed into the Wardens card pool. These should challenge competitive players to determine which limited responses, and how many, to include in their decks. They’ll also find themselves confronted with more over-the-board situations in which the decision as to which limited response is more useful in a given round becomes a significant choice.


Another area of the game that was explored from a “Jaime” perspective in this cycle was the cost threshold between printed cost “3” and printed cost “4.” Historically, this has been an important breaking point in a card’s evaluation, where, once a card costs four or more, the Jaime evaluation of the card changes dramatically so that only the most fantastic four-cost characters are considered for inclusion in such a player’s deck.


To challenge these assumptions, the Wardens cycle provides players with a number of cards such as The Eyrie and The Bloody Gate that encourage the use of higher cost characters. Attacking the situation from the other side, a number of cards such as Mord, Sky Cell, and Ser Ilyn Payne aim to undermine the reliability of characters with printed costs of three or lower, necessitating that competitive players re-evaluate the relative merits of vast swaths of the character pool when working out their decks.


Whether you count yourself a Ned, Shagga, or Jaime – or some combination thereof – the Wardens cycle was designed and developed with you in mind. We’re looking forward to seeing what you do with them!


Enter the Fray


For years, some of the Seven Kingdoms’ most powerful lords and ladies have remained aloof, apart from the turbulent wars that have revolved around the Iron Throne. Now, as they start to stir to action, how will you respond? Will you broker an allegiance? Will you crush them in battle? Will you use lies and cunning to foment dissent within their ranks?


As the first Chapter Pack in the Wardens cycle, Secrets and Schemes ushers into the game some remarkable new characters, locations, attachments, and plots. However, it also serves as a portent of those things yet to come.


Look for the powers to rally to action when Secrets and Schemes arrives at retailers everywhere late in the third quarter of 2014!

...


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« Reply #13 on: 09 June 2014, 21:00:03 »

Secrets and Schemes

Announcing the First Chapter Pack in the Wardens Cycle for A Game of Thrones

“Lysa knew more than she had dared to put in her letter. She might have the very proof that Ned needed to bring the Lannisters to ruin, and if it came to war, they would need the Arryns and the eastern lords who owed them service.”
    
–George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Lords and ladies across the Seven Kingdoms have fought for the Iron Throne. Many have died. Still others have held back, aloof and apart, courted by those who desire their strength. But these lords and ladies have their own plans and ambitions…

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of Secrets and Schemes, the first Chapter Pack in the Wardens cycle for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game!

In Secrets and Schemes, you will discover sixty new cards (three copies each of twenty different cards) that touch upon the schemes concocted by those patient individuals who have remained above or outside of the wars that have shaken the Seven Kingdoms. Additionally, you’ll learn how they make their opening moves with a host of new Knights, attachments, and the agenda, Aloof and Apart (Secrets and Schemes, 18), which encourages players to revisit some of the game’s most expensive, powerful, and recognizable characters.

Additionally, as it opens the Wardens cycle, Secrets and Schemes begins the exploration of its ongoing themes. For more about these themes and what the cycle has to offer players of every type, we turn to lead developer Nate French.

Lead Developer Nate French on the Wardens Cycle

Hello, A Game of Thrones players!

The Wardens cycle is the twelfth expansion series for A Game Thrones: The Card Game, and with it, we sought to explore a number of under-explored nooks and crannies, both in the game and in the A Song of Ice and Fire setting. This means there’s plenty to appeal to all three of our archetypal players: Ned, Shagga, and Jaime.

The “Ned” Archetype

“Ned” players are fans of the source material, who come to the game to immerse themselves in the A Song of Ice and Fire setting. For such players, the biggest draw in the Wardens cycle is likely to be its exploration of the Vale of Arryn and the Eyrie.

In this expansion cycle, you’ll find a number of important unique characters and locations that have not yet appeared in the LCG®, including Lysa and Robert Arryn, The Knight’s Declarant, The Moon Door, and the “Petyr Baelish” version of Littlefinger.

In the novels, a number of different lords and ladies desire the support of the Vale, but the Arryns have not yet emerged as a unified player in the game of thrones. To this end, the Arryn cards were designed so that they can be splashed as useful support into a wide variety of different decks, rather than collected together as a unified deck archetype. Instead of having a direct impact, the Arryns are more content to lend their support and influence from afar, “safe” within the walls of their Eyrie.

The “Shagga” Archetype

“Shagga” players are fans of novelty, always eager to play around with any new “bright and shiny” toys. The Castle plots of the Wardens cycle introduce a new type of “delayed” plot effects to the cardpool. In exchange for broadcasting their intentions ahead of time and delaying the payoff, Castle plots allow players to take advantage of powerful effects when these plots enter their used plot piles. Because they represent the tendency of the Arryns to plot slowly and cautiously behind the impregnable walls of their mountain fortress, these cards also have a nice Nedly angle to them.

In addition to these new Castle plot cards, you’ll find support for a number of synergistic Trait-based decks that have long enticed Shagga players, but that have not yet made it to the top of the competitive hill. Clansman, House Tully, Sand Snake, Dothraki, and Raider decks all receive a number of new options in this expansion, and House Baratheon gains an entirely new set of cards that focus on the Rainbow Guard.

The “Jaime” Archetype

Finally, the “Jaime” player archetype is the competitive player, for whom winning isn’t just the ultimate objective – it’s the only objective. As we looked at the game from the perspective of these players, we decided that the category of “Limited Response” abilities had not yet been satisfactorily explored.

For most decks and games the limitation of “1 limited response per round” just wasn’t a big deal. To make this aspect of the game experience more interesting, a number of powerful limited response abilities, such as those on The Drumm (Secrets and Schemes, 4) and Maester Vyman were designed into the Wardens card pool. These should challenge competitive players to determine which limited responses, and how many, to include in their decks. They’ll also find themselves confronted with more over-the-board situations in which the decision as to which limited response is more useful in a given round becomes a significant choice.

Another area of the game that was explored from a “Jaime” perspective in this cycle was the cost threshold between printed cost “3” and printed cost “4.” Historically, this has been an important breaking point in a card’s evaluation, where, once a card costs four or more, the Jaime evaluation of the card changes dramatically so that only the most fantastic four-cost characters are considered for inclusion in such a player’s deck.

To challenge these assumptions, the Wardens cycle provides players with a number of cards such as The Eyrie and The Bloody Gate that encourage the use of higher cost characters. Attacking the situation from the other side, a number of cards such as Mord, Sky Cell, and Ser Ilyn Payne aim to undermine the reliability of characters with printed costs of three or lower, necessitating that competitive players re-evaluate the relative merits of vast swaths of the character pool when working out their decks.

Whether you count yourself a Ned, Shagga, or Jaime – or some combination thereof – the Wardens cycle was designed and developed with you in mind. We’re looking forward to seeing what you do with them!

Enter the Fray

For years, some of the Seven Kingdoms’ most powerful lords and ladies have remained aloof, apart from the turbulent wars that have revolved around the Iron Throne. Now, as they start to stir to action, how will you respond? Will you broker an allegiance? Will you crush them in battle? Will you use lies and cunning to foment dissent within their ranks?

As the first Chapter Pack in the Wardens cycle, Secrets and Schemes ushers into the game some remarkable new characters, locations, attachments, and plots. However, it also serves as a portent of those things yet to come.

Look for the powers to rally to action when Secrets and Schemes arrives at retailers everywhere late in the third quarter of 2014!

...


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« Reply #14 on: 10 June 2014, 05:30:03 »

Rise from Darkness to Rule the World

A Preview of the Legions of Darkness Expansion for Warhammer: Diskwars

“Take their gold, burn their homes, kill their families and enslave their souls. Show them no mercy.”
     –Malekith, Witch King of Naggaroth

In our last preview of Legions of Darkness, we looked at the Vampire Counts and saw how their powerful heroes could draw upon the Wind of Death to raise armies to threaten the whole of the Old World. However, there’s more to Legions of Darkness than just the Vampire Counts, it also introduces heroes and units for both the Dark Elves and Skaven.

Today, then, as we turn our attention to the death, darkness, and destruction that these two new races will add to Warhammer: Diskwars, developer Michael Gernes introduces us to their heroes and units, and explores the strengths that their regiments may add to your Destruction armies.

Cloaked in Darkness

Hailing from the frozen reaches of Naggaroth, the Dark Elves are a bitter race, driven by their resentment and their hatred of their kinsfolk, the High Elves. Their armies are lightning fast, though potentially fragile, and they’re capable of striking nearly anywhere in the Old World, which they frequently do in order to secure the slaves that do the bulk of Naggaroth’s menial labor… and that provide fodder for ritual sacrifices to Khaine, the Thousand Faced Lord of Murder.

Accordingly, the Dark Elves of Legions of Darkness, excel at striking fast and subduing their foes. They’re hateful and cruel, and as Michael explains, they can easily surprise and destroy unwary enemy forces:

“The Dark Elves are deceitful, merciless raiders, and players will do best with Dark Elf regiments that utilize the sort of aggressive tactics that reflect their nature. Like the High Elves, Dark Elves must control engagements in order to win in melee because they cannot count on toughness.

Black Ark Corsairs are best when they’re able to flip onto and pin their prey, using their mobile ranged attacks to soften up their targets or to slow down enemy disks that might be waiting to counter-charge the Corsairs. As they advance, their stealth keyword helps to protect them from enemy ranged attacks.

“Unwary opponents might underestimate the Dark Elves’ Karond Kar Harpies, but such a mistake might prove fatal. The Harpies’ flying keyword, combined with their ability to give slow ( ,) to enemy disks that they engage, makes them an excellent melee support disk, even when they are embattled.

“Further adding to the Dark Elves’ penchant for picking their battles and ganging up on their foes, their hero, Lokhir Fellheart provides flank to Corsairs in your reserve, so that they can launch sudden attacks from an unguarded battlefield edge and overwhelm isolated enemies. Then, when he joins in on the attack, Lokhir Fellheart is ferocious on offense with a high attack value, frenzy, and fear.

“Finally, the Cloaked in Darkness command card grants all Dark Elf disks temporary immunity to ranged attacks, better allowing them to rush forward and pin their enemies.”

Rising Upward in a Verminous Tide

The Skaven are a subterranean race of ratmen that have the numbers, the strength, and the sorcery to threaten the whole of the Old World. However, they have long been held back by in-fighting and distrust among their separate clans.

In Legions of Darkness, we receive our first units from the Skaven’s many different clans, and while there are many different aspects of this malevolent, selfish, and cowardly race begging to be explored, developer Michael Gernes explains how their first appearance is designed to add more new dynamics to the forces of Destruction:

“The Skaven disks in Legions of Darkness emphasize the ratmen's warpstone-fueled ranged attacks, rather than their horde tactics, and these first Skaven units are best used to give your Destruction armies a more powerful reach.

Gutter Runners are adaptable infiltrators who can scout before the battle starts, and rely on their stealth to avoid being picked off at range when caught in the open. Meanwhile, they have the speed to quickly race to the location they’re needed most, and as they approach, they can use their own ranged attacks to pepper the enemy.

“The Ratling Gun is a support disk that can use its mobile ranged attack to keep up a marching fire and soften up multiple enemies. Like many Skaven weapons, though, it can be unpredictable, so you’ll want to be careful as you position with your troops. The Ratling Gun’s ability guarantees that scatter results will deal damage to disks near its target.

“The Skaven hero, Ikit Claw, is both a powerful caster and a solid melee combatant. His ability to use magic 3 at long range can be deadly when used against low toughness disks, or as support for your other ranged attacks. Then, when Ikit Claw is… inevitably… rushed by enemies, he can use the Skaven command card Vermintide to deal an impressive amount of destruction to any disks caught within short range.”

Rain Destruction Upon Your Foes

While the Vampire Counts of Legions of Darkness present the expansion’s greatest threat to the Old World, the Dark Elf and Skaven regiments it allows you to build should not be overlooked. These races add new range and depth to the forces of Destruction, and their first opportunistic units will gleefully join any Destruction-aligned army in the hopes of claiming blood, slaves, and treasure.

How will you make use of these new races? Head to our community forums to share your strategies and army builds. The darkness is coming.

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Source: Rise from Darkness to Rule the World
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