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« Reply #30 on: 18 June 2014, 16:30:03 »

Find a Route Through Fog on the Barrow-downs

RETAILERS: Apply to Host a Fellowship Event for The Lord of the Rings


“They found that they were upon an island in the fog. Even as they looked out in dismay towards the setting sun, it sank before their eyes into a white sea, and a cold grey shadow sprang up in the East behind. The fog rolled up to their heads until it became a roof: they were shut in a hall of mist whose central pillar was the standing stone.”

The Fellowship of the Ring


This October 10-12th, join the worldwide The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game community for an exciting, global Fellowship Event!



   
       
           
       
   

           
               
                   
                       
                   
               
           

                       

Are you a retailer?

                        Apply today to host your own The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game Fellowship Event!


                       

           

What Is a The Lord of the Rings Fellowship Event?


October’s Fellowship Event for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a chance for players to come together and share their appreciation of the game even as they attempt to navigate the treacherous turns and trials of a special, all-new scenario.


The centerpiece of October’s Fellowship Event is the new, standalone scenario, Fog on the Barrow-downs. This fifty-five card scenario, produced by FFG’s in-house manufacturing, comes complete with seven quest cards and forty-one encounter cards. During the event, players will play through the scenario in groups, and each player who participates will walk away with his or her own copy!


Additionally, each player who participates in October’s Fellowship Event will receive an exclusive playmat, featuring art from The Black Riders, and an alternate art version of the Core Set Aragorn.



Note: Each Fellowship Event kit supports up to four players. Be sure to order enough kits to meet the expected number of players.


Brave the Barrow-downs


In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo and his fellow Hobbits barely made it through the Barrow-downs alive. The fog obscured their path, spells made them drowsy, and Barrow-wights lured them into the ancient barrows. In truth, their journey across the Barrow-downs was as harrowing as any of their adventures in The Fellowship of the Ring, and the Fog on the Barrow-downs scenario that players can play during October’s Fellowship Event provides them an opportunity to encounter many of the Barrow-downs’ deadly threats—as well as to meet a well-known character from The Fellowship of the Ring.



Note: The Fog on the Barrow-downs scenario will be made available for purchase at a later date. Playmats and alternate art cards are exclusive to the Fellowship Event and will not be available after the event.


How Does This Tie into the Gen Con Fellowship Event?


The Fellowship Event at Gen Con Indy 2014 includes a separate standalone scenario called The Old Forest. Players do not need to play The Old Forest before participating in October’s Fellowship Event. However, both The Old Forest and Fog on the Barrow-downs were designed so that they can be played with The Black Riders Saga Expansion in campaign mode, and come with new Boon and Campaign Mode setup cards. Players can use one or both of the scenarios when playing a campaign.


How Do You Apply?



All applications are due by Thursday, July 3rd at 23:59 CST (Central Standard Time). If you are approved to host a Fellowship Event, we will send instructions for ordering your event kit.


Encourage Your Favorite Local Game Store to Apply Today


Players, October’s Fellowship Event is your first chance to play through the challenges of Fog on the Barrow-downs and your only chance to get your hands on the event’s exclusive playmat and alternate art Aragorn. Let your favorite local game store know that you want to participate.


The application period is limited, so talk to your retailer about this Fellowship Event today!


...


Source: Find a Route Through Fog on the Barrow-downs
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« Reply #31 on: 19 June 2014, 01:00:03 »

Inside the Inquisition

Developer Andrew Fischer Creates an Acolyte for Dark Heresy Second Edition

The galaxy in Dark Heresy Second Edition is a grim and terrifying place. The heresies that threaten the Imperium come from all directions – within, without, and beyond. All that stands in the way of Mankind’s destruction are the Acolytes and Inquisitors that you create and play as to wage a constant, secret war against heresy in the Imperium.

Last time, Tim Huckelbery gave an overview of the character creation process in Dark Heresy. Today, developer Andy Fischer leads us through this process by creating his own Acolyte! Read below to see how he gives life and purpose to another unsung warrior of the Inquisition.

Developer Andy Fischer Creates a Dark Heresy Character

When we created Dark Heresy’s character creation system, our goal was to make a system that gave you a few clear choices that had a big impact on your character and guaranteed you the flexibility to create whatever type of character you wanted. You can either start with a clear character concept to bring to life, or you can come to the game with no idea what you want to play, and let the character creation process inspire you as you follow its steps. For this example, I’ve chosen the latter approach. I’m going in without big preconceptions about what I will create, and I’m letting the combinations of my choices inspire the character for me.

Stage 1: Choose Home World

To start, I have to select where my character was born. I’ve recently played a lot of combat characters, so I’m interested in playing as a more cerebral character. I look through different home world choices, and settle on voidborn. Choosing voidborn as my home world gives me a better chance of having high Intelligence and Willpower, and provides me with the Intelligence aptitude, which helps a lot when creating a character who uses her brain over her brawn.

True to my home world choice, I end up rolling a 40 for my Intelligence and a 45 for my Willpower (the highest possible starting value)! Unfortunately, in the other direction, I rolled a 31 for my Strength, and a 1 when determining my wounds, giving me a total of 8 wounds and a pretty frail character. Based on my low Strength and wounds, I decide my character is probably getting old, and has been riding the ship she was born on for her entire life.

Stage 2: Choose Background

Now that I’ve decided where my character was born and lived most her life, I have to decide what she has done, and what part of the Imperium she spent her life serving. I look through the various backgrounds I can choose from, and based on my character’s Intelligence, I decide she belongs to the Adeptus Administratum. This gives her some useful skills such as Logic, Medicae, and a Scholastic Lore of my choice. It also allows her to take the Knowledge aptitude, which guarantees my character will continue her intellectual pursuits once I start playing the game.

After reading through the background on the Adeptus Administratum, I decide my character fits best as some sort of scribe. She’s been given the task of recording the full history of the ship she rides and sorting its massive library of materials. Her entire life, she has sat among the mountains of scrolls and tomes, recording everything the ship does, and everything that happens onboard. She is the collector and holder of all knowledge on-board the ship; if you want to know something, you go to her.

Stage 3: Choose Role

Lastly, I have to decide what my character’s role for the Inquisition will be. What makes her special? What function will she serve, and how will she grow? As I consider my options, Sage stands out as a good fit for my current character concept. I haven’t done anything with my incredibly high Willpower, though, and I want this character to have something that stands out beyond being an incredibly knowledgeable member of the Administratum. Based on this, I decide that the reason she is so good at her job is that she has unnatural gifts that no one else suspects. She harnesses the powers of the Warp in unnoticable ways that allow her to see beyond her stuffy library and subtly control those around her. To reflect this, I choose the Mystic role.

The Mystic role grants my character the Psyker elite advance for free, and grants her a number of aptitudes that fit perfectly with my character concept. Additionally, a couple of the aptitudes double up with ones I’ve already received in character creation, allowing me to choose from a list of options as a replacement for any doubles.

Now, all that’s left is to integrate the details of the psyker elite advance. Unfortunately, because my character is not a member of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, she’s not sanctioned. This means that she is a rogue psyker, never taken by the Black Ships to Terra, and hiding her powers from everyone around her. Because she never underwent sanctioning, she starts the game with a random amount of Corruption. I roll for a total of nine Corruption, which thankfully just misses forcing me to start with a malignancy!

Finishing Up

My character has come together on a solid foundation. I know where she was born and lived, what function she has served in the Imperium up to this point, and the role she will serve in coming adventures. All that’s left is to decide the final details.

As a member of the Adeptus Administratum, I decide to give my character a High Gothic-sounding name: Sophronia. She’s a very old woman who has worked aboard her ship as long as she can remember. She’s so valuable to the Administratum, they do everything in their power to keep her alive. As a result, many of her body parts are replaced with cybernetics. I decide that Sophronia came into the service of the Inquisition when an Inquisitor came aboard her ship for transport between systems. During the journey, he discovered Sophronia’s secret powers and after seeing her talents, decided to bring her into his retinue instead of reporting her to the Astra Telepathica. Ever since, she has put her intellect and powers over the Warp to use fighting heresy throughout the Askellon Sector.

Now that my character is all finished, I’m ready to dive into a game of Dark Heresy Second Edition! As you can see, there are tons of possibilities for different characters. Just given the three big decisions covered in this designer diary, you can make hundreds of different character types! Above and beyond that, there are dozens of smaller decisions you make to customize your character that I didn’t have room to cover here. Altogether, the possibilities Dark Heresy offers for creating a unique character are virtually endless.

Thanks, Andy!

Heresies and insanities await you in the Askellon sector, and the Acolytes and Inquisitors you create are all that stand between the Imperium and eternal midnight. Take up bolter and chainsword, and join us for our next preview, as we examine the process behind creating the iconic cover of Dark Heresy Second Edition.

...


Source: Inside the Inquisition
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« Reply #32 on: 19 June 2014, 09:30:03 »

Begin Your Crusade

Preview New Ways to Launch a Black Crusade in The Tome of Decay



“Your boasts are empty, little sorcerer. All eventually fall to the Grandfather, no matter how they might scheme or plot.”

   –Gullivox Arcul, Plaguemeister of the Burrowing Flies


With The Tome of Decay, the upcoming Black Crusade sourcebook devoted to Grandfather Nurgle, you join the putrefying disciples of Nurgle to spread disease and plague across the worlds of the False Emperor and throughout the galaxy. The Tome of Decay introduces six new Archetypes worthy of the Lord of Ruin, a new adventure, and rules for organizing and launching a Black Crusade against the hated Imperium.


Today, contributing writer Jordan Goldfarb writes on how you can become Warmaster and lead your own crusade.


Jordan Goldfarb on Launching a Black Crusade


Greetings, Black Crusade fans!


I’m here to talk about what we’ve all been dreaming of since the beginning – running your own Black Crusade and trampling the servants of the False Emperor beneath the legions of Chaos. Of course, it’s possible to do this using only the Black Crusade Core Rulebook, but in The Tome of Decay, there’s a new system designed for high-level strategic play that allows you to conquer whole sectors without compromising roleplaying or losing the personal touch that the best Warmasters are known and feared for!


When setting out on a Black Crusade, as an able Warmaster, you must choose your target well. The system in The Tome of Decay guides you to work with the Game Master to define the scope of your efforts, whether it be conquering the Calixis Sector, storming the Warp gate into the Jericho Reach, or even battling across a full Segmentum of the galaxy. The GM uses players’ input and his own plans for the campaign to prepare a Crusade Map for the forces of your Black Crusade to battle upon.


A Call to Arms


After declaring themselves Warmasters of a Black Crusade, you and your fellow servants of Chaos must quickly gather other forces under your command, ranging from other Chaos warbands or cults in service to the Ruinous Powers, to alien mercenaries and pirate fleets. The Crusade Forces system abstracts these armies during the strategic play of a Black Crusade, leaving an end result complex enough to be interesting, but not so much that you and the other Warmasters cannot intervene personally.


The Crusade Forces system invites you and your fellow Warmasters to gather support at the beginning of your own Black Crusade. Previous characters and groups from the campaign can become Hosts, Cults, Covens, Fleets, or even Lieutenants in your service, and other followers of the Dark Gods are sure to join fighting for a promising Warmaster. As leaders of a new crusade, you can put some gathered Infamy to use calling more followers to your banner. It’s generally a good idea to do this, even if you’ve gathered many allies during normal play, although if your army grows too large, you risk weakening your ability to intervene personally.



Ruin or Glory


There’s no way to talk about the lure of Chaos without discussing the perils as well as the prizes. To hold your forces together, you must intervene personally on key battlefields, instilling a proper fear into servants and foes alike. This opportunity to influence the battlefield personally allows you to wreak their own brands of destruction and terror across the battles of the crusade.


If you can’t control your wild forces, or if they fall on the field of battle, a dismal fate awaits. When a Warmaster appears weak, his own forces inevitably turn on him, and the Imperium doesn’t take long to rally if given room to breathe. All Black Crusades work on a time limit, calculated out along with the scale and the map, meaning that you have only one chance to make yourself into a living legend of terror. The greater the risk, the greater the reward – and though the consequences for failure are absolute, the chance to bring havoc, destruction, and disease to the Imperium is well worth the risk.


Thanks, Jordan!


Your crusade will bring the pestilence of Nurgle out of the Warp to engulf the galaxy in his foetid embrace. Prepare to launch your Black Crusades in the service of the Grandfather! Preorder The Tome of Decay at your local retailer today.


...


Source: Begin Your Crusade
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« Reply #33 on: 19 June 2014, 18:00:03 »

"Echo"

Guest Writer Neil Amswych Looks at an Ace TIE Phantom Pilot


Recently, we reviewed the contents of the TIE Phantom Expansion Pack, coming to X-Wing in the game’s fourth wave. This expansion introduces the new “cloak” action, which its two unique pilots will soon use to great advantage as they dart through battles in the most surprising of manners.


Today, guest writer Neil Amswych (“The Tusken Tactician”) takes a closer look at one of these pilots, “Echo,” and the ways that he may revolutionize how your games of X-Wing are fought and won.


Guest Writer Neil Amswych on “Echo”


Of all the pilots in X-Wing, few (if any) are more game-changing than “Echo.”


When any TIE phantom other than “Echo” decloaks, it does so to one of three possible locations. This means one of the phantom’s strengths is that, once it’s cloaked, it isn’t actually moving from the location where your opponent can see it on the table – it’s going to begin its maneuver from one of three different locations. Since the phantom has fifteen maneuvers on its dial, this means that when it decloaks and then moves, it can end up in any one of forty-five different locations. Impressive as that may be, “Echo” doubles that number. Because he uses the bank “2” template instead of the straight “2” template, he can decloak to any of six different locations, enabling him to end his maneuver at any of a dizzying array of ninety final possible locations.




Though variance exists in where his barrel roll starts and ends, “Echo” can fly from any of six relative positions when he decloaks before he reveals his maneuver dial.


X-Wing has never before seen a pilot capable of such maneuverability and probably never will again. In fact, “Echo” almost mandates an entirely different way of thinking when you plan to fly with or against him.


Flying with “Echo”


When he upgrades his phantom with an Advanced Cloaking Device, “Echo” can fire at an opponent and then take a free cloak action. Accordingly, he wants to avoid stress (because it would prevent him from recloaking), meaning that he usually wants to avoid his two Koiogran-turns. When “Echo” is stressed, he leaves himself vulnerable as a pilot with limited hull and shields and not fully enough agility to compensate.


However, the vast array of final positions available to “Echo” means that he doesn’t need to K-turn to rotate his ship.




”Echo” and his maneuver dial shown side-by-side.


So, if “Echo” wants so badly to avoid stress, how can he turn his ship?


For starters, if he carefully selects the start and end points of his barrel roll, he can combine his decloaking with a two-speed turn that results, effectively, in an angled K-turn that’s roughly half of the “1” speed template and incurs no stress, leaving him the ability to still take an action. It’s not a perfect K-turn, but the fact that “Echo” can choose which direction he faces actually offers him more flexibility than a basic K-turn.




“Echo” decloaks to position E and then turns left at speed “2,” shown with comparison with a fictional one-speed Koiogran-turn.


“Echo” isn’t just limited to smart turns, though. He can move laterally across the table without turning and with only a fractional forward movement, by decloaking backward and then banking forward at speed “1.” This shifts his ship the equivalent of a five-speed maneuver sideways – the equivalent of two range bands – from outside edge to outside edge. Such lateral movement, without any notable forward motion, can be extremely confusing for opposing pilots who are used to opposing ships coming toward them. So long as he has space at his flanks to perform this maneuver, “Echo” can move forward more slowly than any other ship.




“Echo” can move sideways across the table without the need for turning. Here, he follows a "2" bank maneuver with a barrel roll, and the total forward distance is far shorter than a straight “1.”


If you need “Echo” in another part of the battle, he can quickly disengage from his current dogfight and relocate by performing hard turns that complement the direction in which he decloaks. He can even end up behind his original position. Conversely, if you need “Echo” much further ahead of his current position, then he can decloak forward and fully engage his thrusters, traveling much farther forward than your opponent may have expected. Remarkably, the distance between the most diverse endpoints potentially available to “Echo” is essentially the equivalent of two entire range rulers.




Here, we see “Echo” with two of his potential decloak and maneuver options shown together.


The extreme range of decloak and maneuver options available to “Echo” is undoubtedly his greatest strength and enables his phantom to be the most unpredictable of all ships. It is this unpredictability that makes “Echo” so intimidating. Each round, when your opponent looks at “Echo,” he has to calculate up to ninety different possible end positions, and because the TIE phantom features such a potent primary weapon, he can’t just ignore “Echo” as he focuses on your other starfighters. The end result is that “Echo” messes with your opponent’s head in a way that no other pilot does.


Outfitting “Echo”


Extreme maneuverability is not the only strength “Echo” brings to battle; he also offers extreme customizability. He can upgrade his ship with an elite pilot talent, a system upgrade, a crew member, and a modification. However, your modification should almost always be Advanced Cloaking Device, both in order to protect him from enemy fire and to ensure his decloak options continue to mystify your opponent. After that, how you choose to equip him should be driven by your decision whether to have him assume a more aggressive or defensive stance.


For example, an aggressive setup might combine Outmaneuver with Fire Control System and Tactician.



This setup removes one agility die from targets already trying to protect themselves from the four or five dice “Echo” gets with his shot (depending upon whether or not he ends up at Range “1” of his target). Then, it ensures an automatic target lock on his target, and if the original shot is made at Range “2,” his target will be stressed.


A defensive setup might use Veteran Instincts with Sensor Jammer and Recon Specialist.



Such a setup boosts “Echo” from a pilot skill value of six to eight, allowing him to move after most other ships and ensuring that – with his Advanced Cloaking Device – he can cloak again before most ships fire back at him. He will also be able to convert one hit rolled against him to a focus result that can’t be rerolled, and he’ll be able to use one focus token in attack and another in defense.


Neither of these builds are cheap, though. Advanced Cloaking Device is as close to an auto-include on “Echo” as you’ll get with upgrades, so with it, the aggressive setup comes in at forty-one squad points while the defensive setup costs forty-two points. Adding eleven or twelve points of upgrades onto a ship that already costs thirty points may not be advisable, so you’re going to have to make some difficult choices. Because the phantom’s primary attack of four dice already makes it formidable in attack, one of the most likely builds for “Echo” leans toward a cheaper combination of natural offense and upgraded defense: Veteran Instincts, Recon Specialist, and Advanced Cloaking Device, costing a total of thirty-eight points.


Squad Designs with “Echo”


The release of Imperial Aces and the upcoming release of the TIE Phantom Expansion Pack go a long way toward ensuring that success is determined more by positioning than by build-strength alone. Three-ship builds with high pilot skills can pursue victory by moving last, darting out of firing arcs as much as possible, and firing early when it’s not possible to get out of opposing arcs.


“Echo” forms the center of one such design:


“Echo” (30)

    Adrenaline Rush (1)

    Recon Specialist (3)

    Advanced Cloaking Device (4)


Royal Guard Pilot (22)

    Push the Limit (3)

    Royal Guard TIE (0)

    Stealth Device (3)

    Hull Upgrade (3)


Royal Guard Pilot (22)

    Push the Limit (3)

    Royal Guard TIE (0)

    Stealth Device (3)

    Hull Upgrade (3)


Total Squad Points: 100


In this build, the Imperial player’s three pilot skill “6” ships are hyper-mobile and difficult to hit. “Echo” takes Adrenaline Rush to increase mobility by opening access to one Koiogran-turn without fear of stress.


Alternatively, “Echo” could team up with larger ships, creating a squad that capitalizes on shields, hull points, maneuverability, and firepower.


“Echo” (30)

    Veteran Instincts (1)

    Recon Specialist (3)

    Advanced Cloaking Device (4)


Bounty Hunter (33)

    Tactician (2)


Omicron Group Pilot (21)

    Tactician (2)

    Engine Upgrade (4)


Total Squad Points: 100


In this build, the use of Tactician on two ships allows for the possibility of damaging and double-stressing a target for “Echo” to then move in for a kill-shot the next turn.


Flying Against “Echo”


Even the most extraordinary pilots have weaknesses that others can exploit. In the case of “Echo,” the effectiveness of his maneuverability is significantly reduced by turret weapons. Forcing stress upon him with Tactician, Flechette Torpedoes, or Rebel Captive leaves him unable to cloak after firing and, therefore, extremely vulnerable to attack, as does the use of ships with higher pilot skills; they can fire on him before he can use his Advanced Cloaking Device.


Despite these vulnerabilities, though, as long as “Echo” has space to decloak with his curved barrel rolls, then he is unquestionably one of the most exciting pilots in the game. Flown well, “Echo” is truly terrifying, capable of destroying a host of lower pilot skill ships without taking any damage. Those who face this phantom should beware!


Thanks, Neil!


Much as the game’s second wave shook up the metagame with the introduction of its first large ships, the Millennium Falcon and Slave I, the game’s fourth wave is going to spur a wholesale reevaluation of tactics through the introduction of new ships, upgrades, and pilots (like “Echo”) that emphasize high pilot skill and tactical maneuvering. We’ve seen the beginning of this shift in the final matches of our Assault at Imdaar Alpha preview events, and we’ll see even more of it once Wave IV arrives at retailers everywhere late next week!


Will you make the transition to more ace pilots with high pilot skills? Will you tweak your squad and tactics to brace for the surprises your foes will launch against you? How will you adapt? Wave IV is coming!

...


Source: "Echo"
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« Reply #34 on: 20 June 2014, 02:30:03 »

On Our Honor

Preview the Space Marine Faction from Warhammer 40,000: Conquest


“On our honor and for the Emperor, we shall not fall!”

   –Brother Vandius, Ultramarines


The planets and stars of the galaxy are enveloped by darkness in the 41st millennium, caught in a maelstrom between xenos, heretical traitors, and the darkness emanating from the Warp. Yet despite the encroaching darkness, a light still burns in the forces of the Imperium of Man, devoted to the Emperor – a bulwark against the grasping hordes of Chaos and complete annihilation.


In Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, you have the opportunity to take command of the battalions of the righteous pledged to the Emperor’s service. In past previews of Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, we’ve looked at different aspects of gameplay, exploring the rules for deployment, the command struggle, and combat, and we’ve also looked at an example of a battle. Today, however, we’ll begin delving into the factions of Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, starting with the Space Marines themselves.



Defenders of Humanity


The Space Marines warlord included in the Core Set is Captain Cato Sicarius (Core Set, 1) of the Ultramarines. Like other warlords, Sicarius determines both your starting hand-size and resources, granting you seven of each to begin the game. Sicarius also bears a powerful Reaction, granting you the ability to gain a resource whenever an enemy unit is destroyed at the same planet as Sicarius. Your warlord is sure to be in the thick of battle throughout the game, so if you can keep Sicarius hale and unbloodied, you’ll secure a steady inflow of resources, powering your army’s deployment.


Like every other warlord, Captain Cato Sicarius comes with an eight-card signature squad. These eight cards must be included in a warlord’s deck, giving you a strong foundation to your deck. The Space Marine warlord – Captain Cato Sicarius – is a fearsome warrior, but he is also a brilliant tactician, and his signature squad rewards you for outthinking your opponent amid the heat of battle. The signature squad begins with four copies of Sicarius’s Chosen (Core Set, 8), an army unit that thrives in battle. This unit has an attack value of two and three hit points, as well as a command icon, but like Sicarius himself, the true value lies in its Reaction. This army unit’s ability reads, “Reaction: After this unit enters play, move a target enemy army unit at an adjacent planet to this planet and deal it 1 damage.” Whether you use this unit to divert your opponent’s heavy-hitters, quickly eliminate weakened units, or pull enemy units into battle.


The signature squad also includes a single copy of Cato’s Stronghold (Core Set, 9). Captain Sicarius plots his battles and campaigns from this impregnable fortress, and you can use it to seize a tactical advantage in battle. By exhausting this support after an enemy unit is destroyed, you can ready any Space Marine unit at the same planet, potentially allowing your strongest or most dangerous unit to strike twice in one combat round. Clever utilization of this card can make the difference between winning and losing a battle.


Sicarius’s Space Marines are devoted to battle, and there are few tools for taking your opponent by surprise and crushing a unit equal to The Fury of Sicarius (Core Set, 10), which has two copies in Sicarius’s signature squad. By playing this event when a Space Marine unit damages an enemy non-warlord unit, you can immediately destroy the attacked unit. Since most players won’t expect a small amount of damage to spell their unit’s demise, they may choose not to shield, allowing you to destroy the unit with The Fury of Sicarius. Successfully using this event also allows you to trigger Cato’s Stronghold, enhancing your battlefield advantage over your opponent.


The final card in this signature squad is the Tallassarian Tempest Blade (Core Set, 11), a Relic and a Weapon of prodigious power. Relics are limited to one per player, but when you attach the Tallassarian Tempest Blade to one of your unique units, it grants that unit an increased attack value and the Armorbane keyword, meaning that shield cards cannot be used when that unit attacks. With this attachment enhancing one of your unique units, including Sicarius himself, you’ll become even more dangerous in battle, forcing damage through to your opponent and opening the door wide for other cards, including The Fury of Sicarius and Cato’s Stronghold.


Two Steps Ahead


Tactical knowledge runs throughout the Space Marines faction, and the Core Set offers plenty of other key ways for the Space Marines to demonstrate their grasp of tactics with units like Veteran Brother Maxos (Core Set, 19). This unit has the ability to summon reinforcements as an Action in the combat phase, paying the printed cost of any Space Marine unit in your hand to put it into play at Veteran Brother Maxos’s planet. By dropping in unexpected units, you can swing the tide of battle abruptly in your favor.


Some units require no assistance from Veteran Brother Maxos to leap into combat. One such unit is the Eager Recruit (Core Set, 20), who bears the Ambush keyword, allowing you to deploy this army unit during the combat phase. The Eager Recruit is not a massive unit, but even a small shift in the battle can be significant. If you play your cards right, the Eager Recruit just might be the unit you need to claim a critical planet for the glory of the Imperium.


Players looking for more ways to suddenly deploy armies in the combat phase would do well to consider launching a Drop Pod Assault (Core Set, 24). By playing this event, you can search the top six cards of your deck for any Space Marine unit costed three or lower. That unit is then put into play at a planet of your choice, enabling you to deal out the Emperor’s wrath on the xenos of the galaxy.


Sometimes, however, even the combined might of the Imperium’s Space Marines cannot demolish the swarming hordes leveled against mankind. At these times of crisis, you need to have the power to call for Exterminatus (Core Set, 26) to punish your opponent for attempting to avoid battles. By leveling this obliterative power at a target non-first planet, you can destroy all non-unique units there with a single blow. Although this power can’t be used on the first planet, you can certainly upset your opponent’s foothold on another planet in the Traxis sector. With the finest tactics and technology the Imperium can offer, the Space Marines stand prepared to keep Mankind’s hope alive in their struggle for survival among the stars.


The Service of the Emperor


Lead your Space Marines for the glory of the Emperor throughout the Traxis sector! Join us next time as we explore the militarized ranks of the Astra Militarum, and preorder Warhammer 40,000: Conquest at your local retailer today.


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Source: On Our Honor
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« Reply #35 on: 20 June 2014, 19:30:02 »

Reinforce and Retaliate

A Preview of the Hammer and Hold and Legions of Darkness Expansions

“Every vale, ford, and copse has seen the blood of warriors spilt, and for each battle paid homage by the minstrel’s lute there are a multitude that lie shrouded in the mists of time.”
     –Warhammer, “The Years of Conflict”

The Hammer and Hold and Legions of Darkness expansions will soon add six new races to the brutal battles of Warhammer: Diskwars. They will also allow the four Core Set races to bolster their armies with a slate of new reinforcements and command cards.

Today, we preview the units and command cards these two expansions will offer the Empire, Orcs, Chaos, and High Elves.

The Empire

With Hammer and Hold, the Empire, the game’s most tactical race, can recruit two new units to field an even more varied army.

Commanders looking to establish a solid defensive perimeter would do well to look toward the Talabecland Halberdiers. For a mere five recruitment points, they boast a highly respectable counter strength of four. If that’s not enough to discourage your opponents from breaking through a line of Talabecland Halberdiers, there’s also the fact that their counter is swift, meaning they’re likely to finish off would-be assailants before they even suffer damage.

Meanwhile, the Empire’s Priest trait becomes significantly more meaningful with the addition of the Warrior Priests and the Shield of Faith command card. Like Luthor Huss, the Empire’s Warrior Priests gain resistant (,) when they’re empowered, and they can benefit from even greater protective blessings with the Shield of Faith command card, which can potentially negate a fatal blow and, instead, remove all damage from the unit. With those kind of protections to inspire them, it’s no wonder these Warrior Priests arrive to battle ready to trample their foes underfoot, and Impact 2 helps them do just that.

Orcs

The Legions of Darkness expansion allows Orc players to reinforce their armies with hordes of malevolent and cunning Goblins. Though they’re smaller than the Orcs, they’re nonetheless bound to make a huge impact upon the game, some of them quite literally.

At just four recruitment points for a unit with Impact 5, the Goblin Doom Diver offers your Orc army an obvious and lethal punch. Of course, it’s every bit as lethal to your Goblin Doom Diver as it is to your opponent; the Goblin Doom Diver suffers a wound whenever it deals impact damage.

Additionally, to fling your Goblin Doom Divers into battle, you’ll need to field a Doom Diver Catapult. Though this War Machine allows you to deliver some of the game’s hardest-hitting (live) ammunition, it’s also slow and frail, meaning that you’ll want to consider bringing two of them to battle, or carefully protecting the one you’ve got, or bringing two to battle and protecting them both. Fortunately, since a Doom Diver Catapult only costs you five recruitment points, it should be easy enough for you to work it into any flexible Orc army.

Orc players gain even further army-building flexibility from the addition of another Goblin unit, the Night Goblins. Like the Goblin Doom Diver, this Infantry unit costs just four recruitment points, meaning that you can soon expect to see it fielded by those Orc players who want to spend early activations to lure your units into position before bombarding them with impact damage. Moreover, whenever the Night Goblin enters an engagement within short range of another Orc disk (yours or your opponent’s), it can hit just as hard as some larger and more expensive units.

Finally, the command card Brain Bursta supplies your Orc army with more damage potential and instability. Capable of dealing damage to enemy leaders from long range, Brain Bursta can deal as much as five damage… or fizzle completely. It’s the sort of spell that’s well-suited to an aggressive army, like the Orcs, that’s willing to take some risks in pursuit of power and destruction.

Chaos

Only one of the two new Daemonic Chaos units from Legions of Darkness incorporates the expansion’s new fear keyword, but both are likely to cause fear in your opponents.

Because Screamers only have an attack strength of three and three movement, it’s possible your opponent may overlook their potential effectiveness… once. However, if your opponent ever ignores the threat that your Screamers pose, he’ll likely learn his lesson when they pin a foe and use their fear ability to reduce its counter strength to “1.” Used wisely, your Screamers can paralyze an enemy hero or elite unit with fear and set it up for the killing blow delivered by one of your other units.

You might even deliver that killing blow with your Daemonettes. At just six recruitment points, the Daemonettes pair four attack strength with the swift keyword. That’s the sort of perfect combination that pleases even the Chaos God, Slaanesh. However, your Daemonettes’ perfect attack comes at a cost, and in this case, the cost is fragility. With just three toughness, Daemonettes are vulnerable to quick demises, so you’ll want to lure your opponents into position before sending your Daemonettes into the fray.

Meanwhile, in the event that your opponent would counter your ambitions by fielding a unit immune to fear or one with a swift counter, the Chaos command card Acquiescence can squelch that unit’s text for a round. When you want your opponent’s unit to die, this command card offers an excellent means to strip away irritating abilities or defenses.

High Elves

In a game as brutal and bloody as Warhammer: Diskwars, it’s possible that even a race as skilled at defense as the High Elves may, at times, need to adopt a more offensive stance. To that end, Hammer and Hold introduces two new High Elf units capable of making early, decisive strikes against their enemies.

The Lothern Sea Guard enters the game as the least expensive High Elf unit at just five recruitment points. For those points, they offer modest attack and counter strengths, but they enhance those with five movement, a ranged missile attack, and the mobile keyword. This combination of offensive and defensive abilities make the Lothern Sea Guard an excellent fit for a range of strategies and offers your army good tactical versatility as the tides of battle shift one way or the other.

Less versatile, but certainly no less powerful, are the Silver Helms, which can race into battle from distance and cut down their foes with Impact 3, and five swift attack strength. Of course, such martial prowess is bound to make them an early target, but you can use that to your advantage. You’ll get two copies of each non-unique medium disk in Hammer and Hold, meaning that when one Silver Helms unit draws a crowd, the other can easily ride over to support it. Moreover, because your Silver Helms have five toughness, it ride away from even some of the deadliest engagements.

Finally, the High Elves gain the ability to call upon some timely healing with their new command card, Isha’s Mercy.

There Will Be War. There Will Be Blood.

Six new races will soon arrive to Warhammer: Diskwars, and its battlefields will drown in blood. The races from the Core Set may need to adjust their strategies to survive their skirmishes with these new foes, and if their armies look to adapt, they’ll find plenty of potential recruits in Hammer and Hold and Legions of Darkness.

The Old World will quake. Muster your armies. The Hammer and Hold and Legions of Darkness expansions arrive at retailers everywhere later this month!

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« Reply #36 on: 21 June 2014, 04:00:03 »

The Rebel Alliance's View of the Galaxy

A Preview of the STAR WARS (R): Age of Rebellion (TM) Roleplaying Game


“The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

    –Leia Organa


The Star Wars®: Age of Rebellion™ Roleplaying Game thrusts players into the middle of the civil war that rages between the evil Galactic Empire and the heroic, rag-tag bands of freedom fighters that comprise the Rebel Alliance.


In our last Age of Rebellion preview, we looked at how their allegiance to the Rebel Alliance gives player characters a cause to fight for that’s greater than themselves, and we explored how that idea carries out through the system’s epic scope: The missions your character undertakes will impact the fates of hundreds of Rebel soldiers, the outcomes of massed space battles, and the lives of millions throughout the galaxy.


Mechanically, the system’s epic scope is given form by its focus on Duty and by the new adversaries, vehicles, and starships that help comprise the Imperial threat. Today, however, contributing author Sterling Hershey turns our attention toward another way that the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook reminds you that your character’s actions are always creating ripples that echo throughout the galaxy.



Sterling Hershey on Portraying the Galaxy and the Rebellion


The Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook contains more than the rules you need to play; it contains setting details and story ideas. Setting details include information about the planets and locations where the player characters might go, and they address the groups and organizations to whom the heroes may talk or against whom they may fight once they get there.


The Star Wars galaxy is vast, and such information is helpful to orient both Game Masters and players. They can use this chapter to jump start their character backgrounds, discover interesting places and people they haven’t previously heard of, or find suitable locations for new encounters, adventures, and campaigns.


My contributions to the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook included Chapter 10: The Galaxy and Chapter 11: The Rebellion.



A Galaxy at War


Naturally, The Galaxy includes a lot of physical information: major hyperspace routes, regions of the galaxy, and a galaxy map. Each region of the galaxy is described, along with a list and brief description of important systems, but the approach is unique to the Rebellion’s specific interests.


The descriptions in the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook don’t just describe a location as a static entity; they talk more about how areas may be useful to the Imperials and Rebels who may visit or target them. That isn’t to say that every single entry focuses on battlegrounds; there are still shady places throughout the galaxy where characters can slip off the sensors for a while, and the Rebels make use of these as well. The Rebel Territories section discusses exactly what that means in a war where it is difficult to hold ground.


The chapter’s in-universe, in-character sidebar descriptions and vignettes also reflect the Core Rulebook’s focus on the Rebel Alliance. A variety of voices and viewpoints emphasize the range of opinions regarding the Rebellion and its efforts throughout the galaxy. A few examples include a Bothan Spynet report, Rebel recruiter, Imperial defector, and a skeptical citizen.



The Rebel Alliance


The Rebellion is a primer on the Rebel Alliance, how they operate, and the battle tactics they employ. Players trying to figure out how their characters or groups fit into the Alliance should find this information helpful. Common mission types may also serve as story hooks or inspiration for other Rebel operations.


The chapter also covers the Rebellion’s bases. Everyone needs somewhere to operate out of, and the chapter offers general base-building advice for those GMs or players who want to create their own. For those who want something more recognizable, the Rebel Main Base on Yavin IV is included, straight out of the movies.


You will also find a new base called Watercrest Outpost. Watercrest isn’t a military base, but an intelligence gathering base situated near sensitive Imperial star systems – places suitable for covert Rebel missions. It is hidden in plain sight, concealed within a failed vacation resort that the Alliance has “reopened” as a way to cover its ship traffic, as well as to provide better accommodations than the average secret base. Because the outpost hosts non-Rebel guests from time to time to keep up local appearances, the use of Watercrest Outpost introduces new roleplaying and story opportunities not available at an isolated military base.



Thanks, Sterling!


As the core of an entire, standalone Star Wars roleplaying system, the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook provides all the rules you need to enjoy countless hours amid the civil war raging between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance.


We’ve now seen how Age of Rebellion immerses you in this epic, galactic conflict with both its rules and its setting information. In our next transmission, we’ll continue to explore the different elements that make Age of Rebellion a uniquely satisfying Star Wars roleplaying experience. We will turn our attention toward the Imperial threat and the vehicles, starships, and massed space battles that may decide the outcome of the Galactic Civil War!

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Source: The Rebel Alliance's View of the Galaxy
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« Reply #37 on: 21 June 2014, 12:30:03 »

Combat Equipment

BattleLore Dice Packs Are Now Available

Whether you defend the people of Terrinoth with the Rune Golems and Roc Warriors of the Daqan Lords, or lead the Blood Harvesters and Flesh Rippers of the Uthuk Y’llan in BattleLore Second Edition, you can enhance your combat with the BattleLore Dice Pack.  The BattleLore Dice Pack is now available, both at your local retailer and online through our webstore!

Ready for Battle

As a tool of convenience, the BattleLore Dice Pack contains eight custom combat dice, identical to the ones found in the Core Set. Add these eight dice to the four included in the BattleLore Second Edition Core Set, and you’ll be able to quickly find your way through even the largest battles.

Keep your focus on tense fantasy battles in the land of Terrinoth with the dice included in the BattleLore Dice Pack. Pick up your additional Battlelore dice at your local retailer today.

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Source: Combat Equipment
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« Reply #38 on: 21 June 2014, 21:00:02 »

Rouse the Dragon

The Ancestral Home Chapter Pack Is Now Available


“To go north, you must journey south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward, you must go back.”

   –George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons


Each of the Great Houses of Westeros gains access to its honored legacy in the Ancestral Home Chapter Pack, now available for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game at your local retailer and online through our webstore!


In this Chapter Pack, you’ll find powerful new prized cards for every House, developing the central theme of the Conquest and Defiance cycle. Every House gains a powerful Title that attaches to its House card, and while House Greyjoy calls upon its Warships, the princes of Dorne gather loyalists in the south. Whether you claim the Iron Throne in the name of Renly Baratheon, scheme in the darkness with Tyrion Lannister, or wage war in the north with The Blackfish, the cards in the Ancestral Home Chapter Pack will help you advance your bid for the Iron Throne.



Across the Narrow Sea


Not every Great House has a home in Westeros to call its own. Across the Narrow Sea, some of the last supporters of House Targaryen gather, hoping to one day return to Westeros with fire and blood. In the Ancestral Home Chapter Pack, House Targaryen gains access to some potent new ways to gain power and pursue their claim to the Iron Throne.


Daenerys Targaryen (Ancestral Home, 76) is one of the last scions of House Targaryen, and you’ll find a new version of her in this Chapter Pack. This version of Daenerys Targaryen is both a Lady and a Queen, and she boasts an impressive Response ability. After you declare Daenerys Targaryen as an attacker, you may choose a character without attachments controlled by the defending player. If you win the challenge, you kill the chosen character! This gives you an easy way to kill nearly any character, but if you want to kill a character with an attachment, Viserys Targaryen (The Champion’s Purse, 36) can discard the attachment from play, leaving the character vulnerable to Daenerys’s ability.


Daenerys Targaryen is already powerful, but she can become even more adept at destroying your opponent’s characters when you combine her with Khal (Ancestral Home, 77). This Title attaches to your House card, and after you play a prized card, you may kneel the attached House card to choose a character. The chosen character gains deadly and doesn’t kneel to attack or defend Power challenges until the end of the round. If you choose Daenerys as the target of Khal’s effect, you can potentially kill even more of your opponent’s characters between the deadly keyword and Daenerys’s ability.


Because Khal requires you to play a prized card to activate its ability, you’ll want to include several such cards in your deck. House Targaryen gains an inexpensive prized card in the Horselord (Ancestral Home, 75). While the Horselord is participating in a challenge, characters with more than one icon don’t count their Strength, which can prove useful for pushing through some Power challenges. On the other hand, your Horselords may be able to serve you in other ways as well. Your opponent may use his characters  to interfere with your challenges, but by using Harrenhal (Ancestral Home, 78), you can kill your characters to cancel triggered effects. Killing a Horselord via Harrenhal not only cancels your opponent’s ability: the Horselord’s prized keyword gives your opponent more power for you steal.


Claim the Iron Throne


Whether you support the claims of House Targaryen, or another of the Great Houses of Westeros, you’ll find plenty of powerful cards within the Ancestral Home Chapter Pack. Will you rise to dominance through strength of arms, or will you create an entirely new strategy with the Dark Wings, Dark Words (Ancestral Home, 80) agenda? Craft your plans to seize the throne and forge a legacy when you pick up Ancestral Home at your local retailer today!


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Source: Rouse the Dragon
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« Reply #39 on: 22 June 2014, 05:30:03 »

Master the Royal Courts

Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue Is Now Available


The court of King’s Landing is rife with intrigue. Knights, lords, ladies, and courtiers plot and scheme their way closer to the Iron Throne, but even the one who sits the Iron Throne can be easily influenced by his closest advisor. Your task is to manipulate every member of the royal court in an attempt to become the newest power behind the throne of Westeros. Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue is now available, both at your local retailer and online through our webstore!



Forge a Conspiracy


Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue is a fast-paced card game for two to six players based on HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series and designed by world renowned game designer, Reiner Knizia. In every game, you strive to create a conspiracy from the character cards in your hand, ensuring that your schemes are deeper and more far-reaching than your opponents’. If you’re the last player able to play character cards at the end of a round, you win that round!


At the beginning of the game, each player is dealt a number of character cards, featuring screenshots of iconic characters from the Game of Thrones series, divided between House Stark, House Lannister, House Baratheon, and House Targaryen. Each turn, you will play one character card, adding to the tangled conspiracy that makes up the King’s Landing court. The first cards played form a single row, but this row can hold no more than eight cards. Sooner or later, you will need to expand the conspiracy upwards by playing character cards in new rows above other characters. A character must always be supported by his own House, however, so each character card above the bottom row must match the House of one of the character cards directly beneath it.




An example of gameplay in Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue


For example, as shown above, one player chooses to play Tyrion Lannister from his hand. He can play Tyrion on the right side, above Jaime Lannister, or on the left, above Sandor Clegane. Tyrion cannot be played in the spaces marked "X" on the bottom row because the bottom row cannot be more than eight character cards wide. He cannot be played in the other spaces marked "X" because there is no Lannister character card immediately below those spaces. Since you’ll have character cards from more than one House in your hand during the game, you must make the choices determining the fates of different Houses. If one House stands in your way, it’s up to you to engineer that House’s demise!


The Power Behind the Throne


When a player can no longer legally play a character card on his turn, he is eliminated from the round. The round continues until only one player remains as the master of intrigue in King’s Landing. The round winner receives an Iron Throne card, representing your advancement ahead of the other players towards your goal of controlling Westeros from behind the sovereign on the Iron Throne. Over a series of rounds equal to the number of players, every player competes to draw closer to the Iron Throne, and the closest advisor at the game end is the victor.



Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue is a fast-paced card game that thrusts you into the secrets, schemes, plots, and manipulation of the Game of Thrones TV series. You’ll need to successfully manipulate the Great Houses of Westeros if you wish to stand alone as the power behind the Iron Throne. Will your plans outlast those of your opponents? Find out when you pick up your copy of Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue at your local retailer today.


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Source: Master the Royal Courts
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« Reply #40 on: 23 June 2014, 15:30:04 »

A More Versatile A-Wing

Preview the Rebel Aces Expansion Pack for X-Wing (TM)

“Take evasive action!”
     –Admiral Ackbar

In March, we announced the upcoming release of the Rebel Aces Expansion Pack for X-Wing. Featuring two miniature starfighters with alternate paint schemes, one A-wing and one B-wing, Rebel Aces is a great expansion for Rebel players looking to build up or add new color to their fleets. Still, it’s also much more than that; Rebel Aces is an opportunity for Rebel players to revisit two of their core starfighters, outfit them with new upgrades, and launch them back into battle with new tactics and strategies.

Today, we take a look at how Rebel Aces makes the A-wing a more versatile starfighter, and we look at what that might mean for X-Wing.


 A 360-degree view of the
Rebel Aces A-wing miniature.

Built for Speed

The RZ-1 A-wing interceptor was built for speed.

Designed to outrun the Imperial Navy’s TIE fighters during tactical strikes, the A-wing was manufactured with top-end sublight thrusters and highly sensitive controls that offered a potent combination of speed and agility. However, this combination proved to be both a boon and a challenge, as it strained even the Rebellion’s most skillful pilots.

Despite the challenges it presented its pilots, the A-wing’s speed and missiles made it an excellent fighter for tactical, hit-and-fade missions, and it further proved its worth by helping to cripple Star Destroyers during the Battle of Endor.

In X-Wing, as in the Galactic Civil War, the A-wing is a tricky ship to fly, but one that offers a lot of tactical value – a value that is greatly enhanced by the pilots and upgrades in Rebel Aces.

If it’s a demanding task to pilot an A-wing, then the Rebel Alliance should be doubly thankful for aces like Jake Farrell and Gemmer Sojan.

One of the individuals called upon to help design the A-wing, Jake Farrell knows how to push the ship to its limits. His unique pilot ability reads, “After you perform a focus action or are assigned a focus token, you may perform a free boost or barrel roll action.”

This means not only that Jake Farrell gains a free action whenever he gains a focus token; it means that he gains an action type not normally associated with the A-wing, the barrel roll. Furthermore, if you give him the elite pilot talent, Push the Limit, or coordinate his actions with those of Kyle Katarn or Garven Dreis, he can use his boost and barrel roll actions to dart about the battlefield while performing an unprecedented number of actions.

The other unique A-wing ace appearing in Rebel Aces is Gemmer Sojan, who flew in the Battle of Endor under the call sign Green Two. There, he used his A-wing’s speed and agility to evade enemy fire and get in close enough to the Empire’s lead communication battlecruiser, which he helped to destroy.

Appropriately, Gemmer Sojan appears in X-Wing with a unique pilot ability that emphasizes how he flourishes at combat in tight quarters. It reads, “While you are at Range 1 of at least 1 enemy ship, increase your agility value by 1.”

Gemmer Sojan’s ability plays well into your typical A-wing tactics. A-wing pilots can use the boost action to close in on enemies, and most players already want to fly their A-wings into Range “1” of their targets since it raises the number of attack dice they’ll roll from two to three, an increase of 150 percent. Notably, however, to trigger his ability, Gemmer Sojan just has to be within Range “1” of any enemy ship; it doesn’t have to be within Range “1” of his target or any ship firing at him.

Furthermore, as an ace who likes to get into the thick of the action, Gemmer Sojan is a natural target for either of two new upgrades appearing in Rebel Aces, Chardaan Refit or Proton Rockets.

By equipping his A-wing with one of these two upgrades, Gemmer Sojan can focus on delivering powerful alpha strikes, or he can focus on maneuvering through the battlefield, taking advantage of his ship’s speed and agility to dogfight more efficiently with his primary weapon.

An Expanded Role in Your Rebel Fleet

As much as the Chardaan Refit and Proton Rockets present Gemmer Sojan with an important decision for how he chooses to approach battle, they present Rebel players an even more important and large-scale decision about how to use their A-wings, as they open tactical possibilities that didn’t previously exist.

At seventeen of your one-hundred squad points, the base A-wing, the Prototype Pilot, is faster and more durable than the Empire’s TIE fighters, but it lacks the TIE’s barrel roll action and, more importantly, costs five more squad points than the base TIE, the Academy Pilot. In part, the difference in squad point costs owes to the fact that the A-wing is also capable of firing missiles, and missiles can provide both raw firepower and flexibility to your squad designs.

However, some players prefer to use their A-wings as dogfighters, eschewing missiles entirely in favor of relying upon the ship’s speed, shields, and agility to weave through combat and disrupt enemy flight patterns. These disruptive tactics are commonly called “blocking,” and they’re best performed by low-skill pilots, who can maneuver and perform their actions ahead of enemy ships so that they can enter the path of enemy formations and force them to split up or lose actions. Players using such tactics will benefit greatly from equipping their Prototype Pilots with Chardaan Refits, as doing so will free up squad points that they can spend elsewhere, potentially increasing the firepower of their squad members with higher pilot skill values.

Such a squad might use a pair of Prototype Pilots with Chardaan Refits:

         
  • Prototype Pilot (17) with Chardaan Refit (-2)
  •      
  • Prototype Pilot (17) with Chardaan Refit (-2)
  •      
  • Blue Squadron Pilot (22)
  •      
  • Blue Squadron Pilot (22)
  •      
  • Biggs Darklighter (25)

Total Squad Points: 99

On the other hand, Proton Rockets provide yet another option for squads that use A-wings to race into combat and deliver powerful alpha strikes.

Because you must spend a target lock token in order to fire most missiles, missile-based squads often rely upon Push the Limit or unique pilot abilities that allow them to gain focus tokens the round in which they intend to deliver their payloads. This is only natural; after players invest squad points into their missiles, they’re typically willing to spend a couple more to give them much greater odds of hitting.

Proton Rockets, however, don’t require the expenditure of any tokens. Instead, they only require that you have a focus token the round you want to fire them. Accordingly, you can use the extra actions you build into your squad to get into range earlier, or to acquire target locks that you can actually use to increase your chances of hitting.

Alternatively, you can drop the extra actions altogether and simply keep your squad point investment in any single ship to a minimum. Five Prototype Pilots with five Proton Rockets would cost you one-hundred squad points and could deliver a tremendous alpha strike.

Of course, you don’t need to rely solely upon Proton Rockets in a missile-based A-wing squad, and you’ll find the squad list below highlights the versatility the A-wing offers as a missile platform and dogfighter.

         
  • Jake Farrell (24) with Push the Limit (3) and Assault Missiles (5)
  •      
  • Arvel Crynyd (23) with Chardaan Refit (-2), A-Wing Test Pilot (0), and Opportunist (4)
  •      
  • Gemmer Sojan (22) with A-Wing Test Pilot (0), Push the Limit (3) and Proton Rocket (3)
  •      
  • Prototype Pilot (17) with Chardaan Refit (-2)

Total Squad Points: 100

Balancing the A-wing’s ability to launch devastating alpha strikes with its ability to dance through enemy fire, this squad is designed to launch its Assault Missiles before zipping into the midst of the enemy, disrupting enemy flight patterns and capitalizing upon the unique talents of pilots like Arvel Crynyd and Gemmer Sojan who excel at close-quarters combat.

Take the Helm

How will you fly your A-wing? With its new pilots and upgrades, Rebel Aces adds tremendous versatility to this iconic Rebel starfighter, and you’ll find more reasons than ever to incorporate the A-wing into your Rebel squads.

Start planning your tactical strikes… Head to your local retailer today to pre-order your copy of the Rebel Aces Expansion Pack for X-Wing!

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« Reply #41 on: 24 June 2014, 00:00:02 »

Pieces of the Puzzle

An Android: Netrunner Strategy Article by Guest Writer El-ad David Amir


“They see our business as a puzzle because they only see the pieces. We see the whole picture. That is why we succeed.”

    –Chairman Hiro


Since its release in May, Honor and Profit has lead to a new surge of Android: Netrunner deck-building experimentation and the rise of a whole slew of new, tournament-quality decks for both Corp and Runner.


Today, guest writer El-ad David Amir provides some insight into the deck-building process and looks at some of the new card combos permitted by this latest deluxe expansion.


Guest Writer El-ad David Amir on Deck-building and Card Combos


Android: Netrunner is a Living Card Game®, which means that before players sit down to their games, they can customize their decks from a constantly evolving pool of cards that grows with the game’s monthly Data Pack and the occasional release of a deluxe expansion. Accordingly, the ability to assess the value of any card within the growing card pool is integral to a player’s success within the game.


Some of the cards are straightforward. These include cards such as Hedge Fund (Core Set, 110), Melange Mining Corporation (Core Set, 108), and Private Contracts (Cyber Exodus, 59), all of which just accelerate the rate at which the Corp can gain credits. Other examples include the Runner’s icebreakers, which offer different ways to get Runners through ice. Other cards, however, are more difficult to assess. Their roles are less straightforward, and they permit much of the ingenuity of the deck-building; a clever player can use these cards to construct a well-oiled contraption with many interlocking pieces. The sum of the parts will be greater than the whole.


All Cards Are Not Created Equal


That said, that ability to craft wildly innovative card combinations and decks might become a trap for the unwary. Space is at a premium, and you need different cards to handle different situations. For example, let’s imagine a Criminal who needs to decide which decoder icebreaker to include in his deck. He might choose Peacock (What Lies Ahead, 6); it’s in-faction and can break any code gate, at a cost. However, this selection assumes that the Criminal can safely bank upon a steady flow of credits; Peacock can become expensive in situations where the Corp has rezzed multiple code gates.



Another option is Yog.0 (Core Set, 14). This decoder will cost more to install and requires an influence point, but it can break a lot of small ice for free. The selection of Yog.0 raises a risk, though, as it will be thwarted by ice with more than three strength.



A third alternative is Gordian Blade (Core Set, 43), which is the most expensive influence-wise but offers the greatest flexibility.



An aspiring Runner will choose which program (or programs) to put in his deck based on his assessment of potential game situations and Corp ice compositions.


The Alchemy of Card Combinations


Of course, no cards exist in a void; each is measured within the context of the deck that contains it, where card combinations can alter the relative weight or shortcomings of any one component. Our fledgling Criminal might employ Datasucker (Core Set, 8) and Bishop (Second Thoughts, 21) as support for Yog.0. And voilà! A combo has been born.


Likewise, a Corp that runs Chimera (Cyber Exodus, 60) – a flexible piece of ice that has the downside of derezzing at the end of turn – could install it in a remote server supervised by Akitaro Watanabe (Core Set, 79), therefore mitigating the repeating rez cost. Even better combos can turn disadvantages into advantages. The tag from Vamp (Trace Amount, 21) is a liability unless the Runner can follow it up with a Data Leak Reversal (Future Proof, 103).



Even while combos may increase the value of their component cards, many combos can be further improved by tweaking their respective components. Installing two copies of Access to Globalsec (Core Set, 52) and an Underworld Contact (A Study in Static, 69) will provide the Runner with a recurring credit, but drawing the pieces and paying the resources for them will slow her down. An alternative might be to play a Runner identity with one link, reducing the need for one Globalsec. The next step in refining this combo might be to run The Helpful AI (What Lies Ahead, 8), which provides a bonus even in situations where the Corp does not have trace. Meanwhile, since The Helpful AI is a connection, the Runner could run Hostage (Opening Moves, 4) to fetch it and get the required link, and Hostage can also perform double duty to fetch the Underworld Contact.


A deck that includes many such combinations while also maximizing the use of each component separately from the others will be highly robust. In a tag-heavy Corp deck with Data Raven (Core Set, 88) and Dedicated Response Team (Future Proof, 118) each card stands on its own in addition to forming a combo. An ideal deck will focus on combos where the pieces have their own worth.


Ignore Everything You Just Learned


Sometimes, a combo is so strong that a player might be willing to invest in assembling the disparate pieces even if they don’t function well on their own. One such example may be a deck that partners Accelerated Diagnostics (Mala Tempora, 52) and Power Shutdown (Mala Tempora, 58) with Jackson Howard (Opening Moves, 15). In such a deck, the Corp uses Power Shutdown to trash all of the cards in R&D and then uses Jackson Howard to set up ideal three-card combinations for Accelerated Diagnostics. Eventually, this sort of deck can play four or five copies of Scorched Earth (Core Set, 99) in a row. By mitigating the unpredictability of Accelerated Diagnostics, this deck transforms it into a powerful click-generator and card-draw hybrid, and its central combo results in a flatlined Runner. Of course, there’s risk involved in trying to assemble the combo, but winning the game is certainly a worth the risk.


New Data Analysis


Let’s analyze a couple of combos in Honor and Profit, the latest deluxe expansion.


Harmony Medtech (Honor and Profit, 1) is a Jinteki identity that allows either side to win as soon as they reach six agenda points (one less than the usual seven). Harmony Medtech is an example of a symmetric card; it benefits both players equally. The trick to exploiting it, and similar cards, is in breaking their symmetry and “unlevelling” the playing field. Enter Shi.Kyu (Honor and Profit, 11), the perfect companion to the Harmony Medtech ability. When Shi.KyÅ« is accessed, the Corp can pay one credit more than the number of cards in the Runner’s hand, forcing him to take the negative agenda point, and now the Runner’s win condition returns to the regular seven points.



Another example is Feint (Honor and Profit, 34), a run event that initially appears to do nothing, as what is the point in successfully running HQ if you cannot access or manipulate cards? The value of Feint, however, is that it combos with other Criminal favorites. It enables Emergency Shutdown (Cyber Exodus, 43) while triggering the abilities on Gabriel Santiago (Core Set, 17), Desperado (Core Set, 24), and Datasucker. It can also enable the subsequent installation of Data Leak Reversal or allow the play of Quest Completed (Fear and Loathing, 81).


Balanced Experimentation


Building a well-tuned deck calls for creativity chastened by an eye to economics and risk assessment. By learning how to gauge the effectiveness of combos while considering the trade-offs between situational cards and their powerful combinations, a resourceful player could surprise even the most prepared of opponents. The secret to designing decks that are both imaginative and effective is to balance the various parts while keeping the big picture in mind.


Thanks, El-ad!


It’s an exciting time to build decks in Android: Netrunner. The game’s network has expanded to include Honor and Profit, and the upcoming release of Upstalk, along with cards like Mutate (Upstalk, 4) and Lamprey (Upstalk, 14), means that you’ll soon be able to configure your decks in more fashions than ever.


What sort of card combos will you aim to build into your decks? Are you the sort of player who’s simply looking to push for greater efficiencies? Are you looking for card combinations that lend greater weight to their individual components? Or are you the sort of player who wants to discover a new endgame? Head to our community forums, and share your card combos and deck-building ideas with the game’s worldwide community of fans!

...


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« Reply #42 on: 24 June 2014, 17:00:03 »

Pieces of the Puzzle

An Android: Netrunner Strategy Article by Guest Writer El-ad David Amir

“They see our business as a puzzle because they only see the pieces. We see the whole picture. That is why we succeed.”
     –Chairman Hiro

Since its release in May, Honor and Profit has lead to a new surge of Android: Netrunner deck-building experimentation and the rise of a whole slew of new, tournament-quality decks for both Corp and Runner.

Today, guest writer El-ad David Amir provides some insight into the deck-building process and looks at some of the new card combos permitted by this latest deluxe expansion.

Guest Writer El-ad David Amir on Deck-building and Card Combos

Android: Netrunner is a Living Card Game®, which means that before players sit down to their games, they can customize their decks from a constantly evolving pool of cards that grows with the game’s monthly Data Pack and the occasional release of a deluxe expansion. Accordingly, the ability to assess the value of any card within the growing card pool is integral to a player’s success within the game.

Some of the cards are straightforward. These include cards such as Hedge Fund (Core Set, 110), Melange Mining Corporation (Core Set, 108), and Private Contracts (Cyber Exodus, 59), all of which just accelerate the rate at which the Corp can gain credits. Other examples include the Runner’s icebreakers, which offer different ways to get Runners through ice. Other cards, however, are more difficult to assess. Their roles are less straightforward, and they permit much of the ingenuity of the deck-building; a clever player can use these cards to construct a well-oiled contraption with many interlocking pieces. The sum of the parts will be greater than the whole.

All Cards Are Not Created Equal

That said, that ability to craft wildly innovative card combinations and decks might become a trap for the unwary. Space is at a premium, and you need different cards to handle different situations. For example, let’s imagine a Criminal who needs to decide which decoder icebreaker to include in his deck. He might choose Peacock (What Lies Ahead, 6); it’s in-faction and can break any code gate, at a cost. However, this selection assumes that the Criminal can safely bank upon a steady flow of credits; Peacock can become expensive in situations where the Corp has rezzed multiple code gates.

Another option is Yog.0 (Core Set, 14). This decoder will cost more to install and requires an influence point, but it can break a lot of small ice for free. The selection of Yog.0 raises a risk, though, as it will be thwarted by ice with more than three strength.

A third alternative is Gordian Blade (Core Set, 43), which is the most expensive influence-wise but offers the greatest flexibility.

An aspiring Runner will choose which program (or programs) to put in his deck based on his assessment of potential game situations and Corp ice compositions.

The Alchemy of Card Combinations

Of course, no cards exist in a void; each is measured within the context of the deck that contains it, where card combinations can alter the relative weight or shortcomings of any one component. Our fledgling Criminal might employ Datasucker (Core Set, 8) and Bishop (Second Thoughts, 21) as support for Yog.0. And voilà! A combo has been born.

Likewise, a Corp that runs Chimera (Cyber Exodus, 60) – a flexible piece of ice that has the downside of derezzing at the end of turn – could install it in a remote server supervised by Akitaro Watanabe (Core Set, 79), therefore mitigating the repeating rez cost. Even better combos can turn disadvantages into advantages. The tag from Vamp (Trace Amount, 21) is a liability unless the Runner can follow it up with a Data Leak Reversal (Future Proof, 103).

Even while combos may increase the value of their component cards, many combos can be further improved by tweaking their respective components. Installing two copies of Access to Globalsec (Core Set, 52) and an Underworld Contact (A Study in Static, 69) will provide the Runner with a recurring credit, but drawing the pieces and paying the resources for them will slow her down. An alternative might be to play a Runner identity with one link, reducing the need for one Globalsec. The next step in refining this combo might be to run The Helpful AI (What Lies Ahead, 8), which provides a bonus even in situations where the Corp does not have trace. Meanwhile, since The Helpful AI is a connection, the Runner could run Hostage (Opening Moves, 4) to fetch it and get the required link, and Hostage can also perform double duty to fetch the Underworld Contact.

A deck that includes many such combinations while also maximizing the use of each component separately from the others will be highly robust. In a tag-heavy Corp deck with Data Raven (Core Set, 88) and Dedicated Response Team (Future Proof, 118) each card stands on its own in addition to forming a combo. An ideal deck will focus on combos where the pieces have their own worth.

Ignore Everything You Just Learned

Sometimes, a combo is so strong that a player might be willing to invest in assembling the disparate pieces even if they don’t function well on their own. One such example may be a deck that partners Accelerated Diagnostics (Mala Tempora, 52) and Power Shutdown (Mala Tempora, 58) with Jackson Howard (Opening Moves, 15). In such a deck, the Corp uses Power Shutdown to trash all of the cards in R&D and then uses Jackson Howard to set up ideal three-card combinations for Accelerated Diagnostics. Eventually, this sort of deck can play four or five copies of Scorched Earth (Core Set, 99) in a row. By mitigating the unpredictability of Accelerated Diagnostics, this deck transforms it into a powerful click-generator and card-draw hybrid, and its central combo results in a flatlined Runner. Of course, there’s risk involved in trying to assemble the combo, but winning the game is certainly a worth the risk.

New Data Analysis

Let’s analyze a couple of combos in Honor and Profit, the latest deluxe expansion.

Harmony Medtech (Honor and Profit, 1) is a Jinteki identity that allows either side to win as soon as they reach six agenda points (one less than the usual seven). Harmony Medtech is an example of a symmetric card; it benefits both players equally. The trick to exploiting it, and similar cards, is in breaking their symmetry and “unlevelling” the playing field. Enter Shi.Kyu (Honor and Profit, 11), the perfect companion to the Harmony Medtech ability. When Shi.Kyu is accessed, the Corp can pay one credit more than the number of cards in the Runner’s hand, forcing him to take the negative agenda point, and now the Runner’s win condition returns to the regular seven points.

Another example is Feint (Honor and Profit, 34), a run event that initially appears to do nothing, as what is the point in successfully running HQ if you cannot access or manipulate cards? The value of Feint, however, is that it combos with other Criminal favorites. It enables Emergency Shutdown (Cyber Exodus, 43) while triggering the abilities on Gabriel Santiago (Core Set, 17), Desperado (Core Set, 24), and Datasucker. It can also enable the subsequent installation of Data Leak Reversal or allow the play of Quest Completed (Fear and Loathing, 81).

Balanced Experimentation

Building a well-tuned deck calls for creativity chastened by an eye to economics and risk assessment. By learning how to gauge the effectiveness of combos while considering the trade-offs between situational cards and their powerful combinations, a resourceful player could surprise even the most prepared of opponents. The secret to designing decks that are both imaginative and effective is to balance the various parts while keeping the big picture in mind.

Thanks, El-ad!

It’s an exciting time to build decks in Android: Netrunner. The game’s network has expanded to include Honor and Profit, and the upcoming release of Upstalk, along with cards like Mutate (Upstalk, 4) and Lamprey (Upstalk, 14), means that you’ll soon be able to configure your decks in more fashions than ever.

What sort of card combos will you aim to build into your decks? Are you the sort of player who’s simply looking to push for greater efficiencies? Are you looking for card combinations that lend greater weight to their individual components? Or are you the sort of player who wants to discover a new endgame? Head to our community forums, and share your card combos and deck-building ideas with the game’s worldwide community of fans!

...


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« Reply #43 on: 25 June 2014, 01:30:03 »

The Making of an Inquisitor

An Interview with the Designers of the Dark Heresy Core Rulebook Cover


Corruption festers deep within the heart of the Imperium, penetrating throughout the Askellon sector. Only the Acolytes of the Inquisition can eliminate these threats to Mankind’s continued existence.


The development of Dark Heresy Second Edition involved creating enormous amounts of fantastic art, set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Today, we’ll take a closer look at the design behind one of those pieces: the iconic cover of the Dark Heresy Second Edition Core Rulebook. Read below for our interview with Andrew Navaro, the head of the Fantasy Flight Games’s art department, and Mathias Kollros, the artist behind the piece, on the making of this artwork.


Designing the Cover of Dark Heresy Second Edition


FFG: What you were looking for and what do you focus on in the art for the second edition of Dark Heresy


AN: John Blanche’s work is always inspirational, and we usually try to capture the environments that he creates. John’s art is filled with dark and otherworldly imagery in a way that truly captures Warhammer 40,000. Overall, we chose to create more environments in this edition, placing characters in environments to bring the art and the experience to life. We wanted to use the world as a character, essentially. 


In terms of specifics though, that’s more of a gut feeling. An image of a Space Marine, for example, could be literal in its portrayal, but that doesn’t mean it captures Warhammer 40,000. This setting is all about the nightmarish and strange, and John Blanche’s art is full of details, while still leaving room for viewers to draw in more with imagination. It’s surreal and dreamlike and great as a conceptual launching point. 


FFG: What were you looking for in this cover? Were there any special concepts or imagery you wanted to capture in it? 


AN: I was looking to capture the feeling of being an Inquisitor. We’ve had covers filled with action, gunfire, and explosions, and I was looking to bring other aspects of the Inquisition to the forefront with this cover. An art piece that Alex Boyd did for a past Witch Hunters codex was very inspirational, since it showed what a trial might looks like in the Imperium. It’s filled with weirdness and with beautiful texture and detail, and I wanted to bring some of that feeling into our cover.


FFG: Can you explain the process of creating this piece, from start to finish?


AN: The cover began with an art description, which the artist, Mathias Kollros, worked from when creating his original sketch: At the fore of the composition is an Inquisitor. He should be impressive, intimidating, ruthless, and heroic (in an anti-hero sort of way). He should be elaborately and lavishly equipped in well-tailored clothes and armor. He should be large in stature, but he's not a Space Marine, just a broad-shouldered, tall, muscular man. He should be armed with a bolt pistol, but he need not be holding it at the ready.


In the background, I would like to see something evocative of a hive city, down on street level, or a crowded interior, where life is abysmal and the architecture oppresses you on all sides. This universe, in general, is a terrible place to live, so the background environment should help create that mood of spiritual oppression.


Also in the background, if it works, I think we could include some secondary figures: associates of the Inquisitor and/or a heretic, strung up and captured.




An early version with added armor detail.


I’ve worked with Mathias on several projects, and we’ve gotten pretty like-minded for Warhammer 40,000 art. His initial sketch was what I was looking for, so there wasn’t much to change as it developed into the final cover. 




Much more detail in foreground and background. The color palette cools. The Inquisitor gets an eyepiece.


The biggest change came after Mathias had done a close-to-final version of the Inquisitor and his surroundings. The cover went around for review, and we felt that it could push the boundaries of presentation even more. The decision was made that the cover would feature a large Inquisition “I” symbol to prominently distinguish it from the previous edition. While a great idea, this put me in a bit of a bind as I didn’t want to lose the Inquisitor.


In the end, though, we moved the Inquisitor to the back cover so we could make the image one big wrap-around cover for the book. This let us put the Inquisition symbol on the front in a really strong image. Mathias essentially painted another side to his original art to flesh out the right side of the Inquisitor. The double-page art image was filled with so many wonderful details that we kept words on the cover to a minimum, to show off the art as much as possible. 




First sketch of the extension from Mathias. Inquisitor head design changes.


FFG: What items did Mathias suggest/add to the piece?


AN: The Inquisitor’s armor was all him. Mathias also suggested all the details surrounding the Inquisitor. He really gave it his all, and I feel that this piece truly stands out among Warhammer 40,000 artwork. As we developed it, I often asked him to focus on one area or another, and he filled those areas in with the wonderful, strange details that bring the image to life.




Details fill in. Note the man in the vat. He disappears in later versions.


FFG: Mathias, what can you tell us about the cover and your work on it?


MK: The story of this cover is funny, as the left side, now on the back of the book, was originally planned as the front. The added cover scene on the right gave me the opportunity to add a little twist to the story. Instead of the Inquisitor speaking judgement upon heretics, we witness an argument between various characters, maybe even the start of a rebellion or schism within the order.


I used a lot of classic Warhammer 40,000 art as a reference for this piece, especially Karl Kopinski’s work, since his portrayals of this universe are incredibly rich with details and life. Regarding the design, it needed to be gritty, dirty, uncomfortable, and dark. A key part of the Warhammer 40,000 universe is that the distinction between the "good" and "bad" guys is almost nonexistent. I wanted to depict that idea, because it’s what gives me the chills and makes this universe so intense.




Submitted final. Spot the one difference between this and the final cover!


Stand Against Heresy


Thanks Andrew and Mathias!


If you want the art from the Dark Heresy Second Edition Core Rulebook as a desktop, you can download it from the Dark Heresy Second Edition support page! Stay tuned for more articles on Dark Heresy Second Edition, and preorder your copy at your local retailer today.


...


Source: The Making of an Inquisitor
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« Reply #44 on: 25 June 2014, 10:00:03 »

A Brief Update

A Change to the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game FAQ

The 2014 A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Regional Championship season is in full swing. Recently, a clever and creative player discovered a new strategy that has the ability to stagnate the metagame. Due to the severity of this discovery, we have chosen to address the issue immediately so that players may continue to enjoy the eclectic metagame that has marked the current Regional Championship Season.
 

Players and tournament organizers can download the new FAQ, version 5.01 (pdf,  15.3 MB), on the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Support page.
 

For more info on the change, here are a few words from Senior Designer, Nate French.

A Word from the Designers

Hello A Game of Thrones players,

Recently at the French National Championships, an extremely innovative deck (that was able to rapidly discard itself and then efficiently move these cards from the discard pile to hand) emerged and won the tournament in impressive fashion. While we applaud the ingenuity displayed by the deck’s creator in designing and executing such a concept, there are a number of valid concerns that as the deck idea spreads through the metagame the community’s enjoyment of the game will suffer. We have identified the ability to recycle The Prince’s Plans from the dead pile as a key lynchpin in the deck’s execution, and are releasing FAQ version 5.01 in order to address these concerns. Now, instead of using the Deathbound keyword to send The Prince’s Plans to the dead pile, the card is removed from the game after its effect resolves. The goal of this entry is to check the function of The Prince’s Plans in this particular deck, while minimizing the intrusion upon the larger metagame. We feel that this is the most surgical means of addressing the concerns raised by this deck, and will re-evaluate the entire metagame at the conclusion of the Regional season.

Nate French

Thanks Nate!
 

Today’s update is a small change to the FAQ that affects only The Prince’s Plans. Future changes will appear in the next regular update to the FAQ and Tournament Rules.

...


Source: A Brief Update
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