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The Raven's Song
A preview of the latest A Game of Thrones LCG Chapter Pack
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 19 January 2009 Rating    15 votes

by Nate French

With the onset of winter, the songs of ravens fill the sky. As the nights grow darker and the winds blow colder, the maesters and stewards of Westeros have taken to their castle rookeries, sending forth a flock of messenger birds with schemes and tidings that will shape the future of the realm.

The Raven’s Song, the fourth Chapter Pack in the A Time of Ravens expansion to the A Game of Thrones LCG is hitting stores soon. This pack focuses on the role of the raven as a messenger bird in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and it features the rookeries of the realm, along with some of the maesters and stewards that work them.

Thematically, the leaders of Westeros conspire and scheme by sending scroll-bearing ravens across the skies, and the plot of the story sometimes turns on a message that is sent via one of these birds. Mechanically, this is represented in the LCG by the concept of plot manipulation, a powerful category of effects that could change the way you approach the game.

“The game changed while I lay rotting in my bed.”

Grand Maester Pycelle is one example of the plot manipulation that is available in the The Raven’s Song Chapter Pack. In any given game, a single plot effect could turn out to be crucial, and the game can hinge on whether or not it lasts 8 rounds to allow you to play that plot a second time. Grand Maester Pycelle provides the ability to recycle your plot deck early, which can provide a strategic advantage by giving you a second chance to play that one key plot, and provide you with more strategic options (at least for a few rounds) than your opponents during the plot phase. 

Click on the image to the left for a larger version.

A Rookery for Every Raven

The Winterfell Rookery is another example of a new kind of plot manipulation making its way into the game in The Raven’s Song. What are the advantages of firing off a new plot in the middle of the challenge phase? Maybe you’d like to boost your claim, catching an unsuspecting opponent off guard. Or perhaps you’d really like to take advantage of a timely “when revealed” effect: your opponent just won a big military challenge and killed all of your characters, what better time to respond with Valar Morghulis? Or maybe you’d just like to change the table dynamic by revealing a plot with a surprising constant effect like Noose and Swordpoint.

The rookeries bring a number of interesting plot combos into the AGoT LCG, and in many cases the “threat” of a mid-challenge plot switch could be stronger than its execution. And for Stark players, an opponent who is second-guessing the consequences of winning a military challenge against you is going to be that much easier to keep on his heels.

Click on the image above for a larger version. 

“Why can’t I just be Samwell Tarly?”

What would a set about Ravens be without the presence of Samwell Tarly? This simple, innocuous-at-first-glance card provides some important support to both Summer and Winter themed decks, turning your Black Ravens, White Ravens, and Carrion Birds into draw effects that can keep these somewhat specialized decks running smoothly. (And don’t forget to trigger his effect if your opponent plays a Raven card, too!) As an efficient 1 cost character, Sam should find his way into numerous decks, and he’ll only get better as the Night’s Watch trait becomes more prominent in the LCG environment.

Click on the image to the left for a larger version.

Look for these cards, and others like “King Renly, “ “The Tower of Joy,” and “Dawn” when The Raven’s Song hits stores near you!

A Game of Thrones League Play Guide - Part II 
Hedge Tournaments and Regional Championships
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 08 January 2009 Rating    13 votes

Welcome back, A Game of Thrones Community, to the second part of our series on running Organized Play for your A Game of Thrones metagame.

Hedge Tournaments

Hedge Tournaments are monthly tournaments held at your Friendly Local Game Store.  The first and second place players at these tournaments receive a shield or banner pin featuring that month's Great House icon. February's Hedge tournament will be called the Balon's Rebellion Hedge Tournament, and can be held anytime during the month of February.

Every month there will be a new tournament with a new pin. February's tournament features the shield pin of house Greyjoy (pictured left). This program is free to participate in, but must be sponsored by a brick and mortar game store. The deadline for signing up for this program is always the 17th of the preceding month. Only one hedge tournament per Night's Watch Tournament Organizer can be run each month. The Balon's Rebellion Hedge Tournament must be run betweenFebruary 1st and the 28th.

How do I sign my store up?

You can sign up by going to our Organized Play website and creating an account for your store.  When you arrive at the website, you'll want to enter your information into the fields provided.


Click on the "Signup" button to create an account.

After registering you'll want to apply as a Night's Watch under the Tournament Organizer Application.  Select AGoT Tournament Organizer Questionnaire from the drop down menu.

After you've become a member of the Night's Watch, you'll need to submit your venue for approval.

Once this is done you will need to create your tournament.

If you submit your tournament before the 17th of the preceding month you will receive your prize support in the mail shortly.

If you have any questions or feedback please contact Stephen Horvath or Paul Bromen

Regional Championships 2009

An A Game of Thrones Regional Championship is a high caliber FFG-sponsored event, featuring both Joust (one vs. one) and Melee (multiplayer) tournaments. Tournament Organizers must show a willingness to make this event special for every participant and demonstrate excitement for promoting this event.

Regional Events are planned with the players in mind. These tournaments will feature the highest competition you will find anywhere in the world.

When will Regionals be scheduled?

Tournament Organizers can apply to host a regional event between February 1st and June 30th.

Where will Regionals be held?

Regional coverage will be as broad and comprehensive as possible, and any area can apply to run A Game of Thrones Regional Championship event. Fantasy Flight Games will work to bring A Game of Thrones Regional Championship tournament to your area.

Applications to host A Game of Thrones Regional Championship event are due 8 weeks before the anticipated date of the event. Prospective applicants are encouraged to plan their event for a weekend, as this makes it easiest for players to travel and attend.

Why would I host or play in a Regional Championship?

Hosting a Regional level event is a wonderful opportunity for your playgroup and local game store. Regional level events are the best way to showcase the game and your area as a hub of AGoT activity. Players who win Regional tournaments receive points towards winning the World Championship, as well as other exciting AGoT-related prizes.

How do I apply to host a Regional Championship?

In order to host a Regional level event, you must fill out the application (PDF, 248KB), and submit it (via mail or fax) to FFG at least 8 weeks before the anticipated date of your event. At that time, an event coordinator will communicate with you about the details of your event, and based on approval, will post the information about your event.

Download the Regional Championships Application (PDF, 248KB)

How much does running a Regional Championship cost?

Regional applicants should be prepared to order a Regional Kit (costing $160.00 + shipping) if their Regional application is approved. These kits will include prizes for the winners, as well as promotional material and swag to assist in running the event. Tournament Organizers may charge a fee for Regional participants to offset this cost.

The complete break-down of these kits are:
* 16x A Game of Thrones-themed playing cards
* 1x 2008-2009 Regional Joust Champion Crystal House Card
* 1x 2008-2009 Regional Melee Champion Crystal House Card
* 30x Regional Champion poker chip-style power counters
* 1x 2008-2009 Regional banner
* 4x Art Prints

On what criteria will Regional events be approved?

Regionals must be properly supported and promoted by the Tournament Organizer or host of the event. Originality of ideas to make the event memorable is important. Regionals must have a minimum of 16 participants to be viewed as a Regional level tournament. Willingness to coordinate and work with FFG with the larger regional schedule and vision in mind will aid towards approval.

Regionals will culminate at the North American Championship and the European Championship. Information about dates and locations of these events are forthcoming.

For information on our Storyline Leagues, please refer to this article

A Game of Thrones League Play Guide - Part I: Storyline Leagues
Updated Rules for the AGoT League, Plus How to Sign Up
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 02 January 2009 Rating    16 votes

League play for A Game of Thrones is gearing up for it’s first season! Signing up is quick and easy, simply fill out the sign up form (see the link in the "How do I sign up" section below) for your local game store. You will shortly receive an e-mail confirmation and instructions and how to purchase your league kit as well as for suggested guidelines on how to run the event.

The league kits for the first league costs $15*. The kit includes the following:

1x AGoT Playing Card Deck featuring the art of AGoT LCG (for the winner)
8x Art Prints (participation prizes)
1x Story line poster of Westeros (to keep track of the store's weekly votes)

Future league kit prize packs will vary.
*an additional charge for shipping will be added to kits sent outside of the US

The league is storyline based and will run for six weeks using the limited card format, which means players use cards from the Core Set (GOT36) along with two Chapter Packs determined by the league organizer, who will inform everyone in the league. You will be able to add another Chapter Pack at the beginning of week two and week four, again the league organizer will inform you of what chapter packs are eligible. We will tally all of the results we receive and apply them to the future design and development of the game, so make sure your voice is heard! 

For stores that signed up early the league will start on January 7th, stores that sign up during the extended sign-up period the league will start on January 16th. After the six week period there will be a two week break before the next league begins. The storylines and the game design results that you are fighting for in the first league are listed at the end of this document and will also be included in the league kit. 

League play is a great way to create and build communities of A Game of Thrones players, increasing the chance of you having someone to play against and thus enjoy the game even more.

Where is league play held?

League play is held at your Friendly Local Game Store and approval comes from Fantasy Flight Games when you sign up. To be sanctioned and receive league kits the store has to have signed up and be approved. The link for your store to sign up is provided in the "How do I sign up my store" section below.

What benefits does hosting A Game of Thrones League play provide Retailers?

Hosting A Game of Thrones league provides your players with a focal point where they know they can come and find opponents to enjoy the game with on a regular basis as well as the place to purchase more cards

Also by signing up for league play you will have a “storespace” on the Fantasy Flight Games website which you can add information about your store and advertise to the community.

What Benefits does league play offer players?

The new storyline league offered by Fantasy Flight Games offers an exciting play experience for players of every level. It ensures that games are accessible and enjoyable for newer or more casual players while offering more experienced players the chance to explore the card pool and new deck types and strategies, drawing from a limited card pool instead of their entire collection. 

League play also offers a great way to meet other players interested in card gaming as well as George R.R. Martin's world of Westeros. By participating in the league you will have fun interacting with like-minded people who share you interest in the A Game of Thrones LCG and a stronger community will develop, making the game and the overall experience even more exciting.

How do I sign my store up?

You can sign up by going to our Organized Play website and creating an account for your store.  When you arrive at the website, you'll want to enter your information into the fields.  

Click on the "Signup" button to create an account. 

After registering you'll want to apply as a Night's Watch under the Tournament Organizer Application.  Select AGoT Tournament Organizer Questionnaire from the drop down menu.  

You will then proceed to fill out all the question fields in as great detail as possible.  After submitting, your application will be pending for approval.  Once your AGoT application is approved, you'll want to read the news item regarding how to purchase a league kit in the AGoT Home section of the league website (Click on the A Game of Thrones LCG icon - this icon will not appear if your application is not yet approved).  

After you've provided your store and purchasing information to our sales rep, you'll want to add venue, which will add your store of available places that are running the AGoT league.     

If you have any questions or feedback please contact Stephen Horvath, or Paul Bromen

The storylines and game design implications for the first league are as follows:


The War of Five Kings stretches on, and Tywin Lannister has seized control of the realm. Some find this situation to their advantage, others would rather die than live in a land ruled by a Lannister. In the LCG, the future of A House of Thorns Tywin Lannister is at stake. If Tywin Lannister is deposed by these malcontents, the card will rotate into classic, and never be seen in the LCG format again. If Tywin Lannister survives this threat to his authority, this meta-shaking card will be reprinted in the next AGoT LCG expansion!

Do you kneel before Tywin Lannister?
Vote YEA! to reprint A House of Thorns (R10) Tywin Lannister!
Vote NAY! and A House of Thorns (R10) Tywin Lannister remains only in Legacy!

Click on the image to the left for a larger version.


The War of Five Kings is fought in plain sight, but the real future of Westeros will be determined behind the scenes. Amidst the chaos of war, the various peoples of the realm plot and scheme for power. Each group has approached you, seeking your support. In the LCG, a number of support cards for one of the five crests (WAR, NOBLE, HOLY, LEARNED, or SHADOWS) in the game have been slotted, but we are waiting on the results of the "Conspiracies Afoot" campaign to determine which crest will receive these cards. 

Conspiracies are afoot! Which group will you support?

Vote LLR for The Lords and Ladies of the Realm (Noble Crest Support)
Vote WAR for the Warriors and Armies of the Land (War Crest Support)
Vote ROR for the Religious Orders of the Realm (Holy Crest Support)
Vote LEI for the Learned and Educated, in their Ivory Towers (Learned Crest Support)
Vote TPS for the People of Shadows (Shadow Crest Support)


In a time of hardship and strife, the people of Westeros need a legend for inspiration and hope. But what is a Legend without people to spread the tale? In your travels, you have heard rumors of four potential Legends, but there can be only one! In the LCG, there are 4 Legendary characters up for potential design in the next expansion set, your vote will help determine which character sees print!

Who Will be the Next Legend of the Realm?

Vote BALE for Balerion the Black
Vote LANC for Lann the Clever
Vote BRAN for Bran the Builder
Vote THEL for The Laughing Storm

Great House:

With all of these storylines to follow, it seems that new minstrels and bards are popping up everywhere you look. Singers and storytellers can be found throughout the Seven Kingdoms, always ready to entertain. But who's song will the singers sing, and which story will they tell?

In the LCG, only one House can fully capture the imagination of these singers, and reap the benefits of their glorious song. These benefits are reflected in a powerful new plot card, The Minstrel's Muse. Every time a player votes for one of the other challenges, a vote of the corresponding value is cast in this challenge.

Please use the first letter of the Houses' name to denote this.
B for Baratheon
L for Lannister
T for Targaryen
S for Stark
M for Martel
G for Greyjoy

For more details on the A Game of Thrones LCG Storyline League, go to our Support Page

Follow this link to get more information on Hedge Tournaments and Regional Championships

A Howl in the Night
A spoiler for the 2007 AGoT World Championship Card
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 18 December 2008 Rating    23 votes

By Nate French


A Change of Seasons, the third chapter in the A Time of Ravens Chapter Pack series for the AGoT LCG should be hitting the shelves today. Featured in this release is one of the most innovative cards to ever grace the A Game of Thrones card game: Den of the Wolf.


Samuel Matthias Tham won the 2007 AGoT World Championships at GenCon Indianapolis, and one part of his champion’s spoils was an invitation to take part in the World Champion “Design-A-Card” program that has become an AGoT tradition. Sam engaged the challenge with his usual passion for the game, and a desire to make the most original, engaging World Championship card of all time.


As you can see, Den of the Wolf is an open-ended card with some serious combo-potential. More often than not, you’ll probably want to use it to take advantage of a second challenge phase, but there may be some situations where forcing a second plot phase could drastically improve your possibilities for the round. Or perhaps you’ll find yourself in a situation where a second draw phase, or a second dominance phase could mean the difference between a win and a loss. And these possibilities are only considering the ways in which Den of the Wolf interacts with the core rules of the game, the card becomes even more interesting when you consider its interactions with other card abilities. “Limit once per phase” effects all just got a little more powerful, and cards like the Golden Tooth Mines, The Knight of Flowers, the event cards in the Epic Battles Chapter Pack, and the plot card Snowed Under all get a boost from doubling up on a key phase of the game... and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! 


It was a pleasure working with Sam on the design of the Den of the Wolf card, and our game is that much better for his efforts.


2008 AGoT World Champion Tzu-Mainn Chen has already submitted some wonderful ideas for his chapter of the World Championship “Design-A-Card” tradition. For your shot at designing an original card for the AGoT LCG, check out the World Championship Joust and Melee events at GenCon 2009.

The Late Lord Frey
A behind the scenes look at the origins of this exciting new card
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 04 December 2008 Rating    44 votes

By Nick Agranoff


When Nate asked me to write a short article for the new Walder Frey card (soon to be released in the A Change of Seasons Chapter Pack), I have to say I was pretty excited. The Lord of the Twins is such an enduring and infamous character in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, I am glad to see him return to the A Game of ThronesLCG.


While working at Fantasy Flight Games, I was just messing around with some random card ideas floating around in my head for characters that I hadn’t seen in a while. Characters like Ser Guyard Morrigan, Ser Meryn Trant and Anguy the Archer. Ol’ Walder was also on this list.


The last (and first) time Walder Frey made an appearance in the game was in Valaryian Edition. A solid card in its day, and one I used on occasion. His purpose was to passively limit players to one attacker or defender while he was standing. He was, if nothing else, a good test to see if Melee and Joust challenge types would work in the framework of the game before they were implemented. The only problem I had with the card was it didn’t capture a Nedly, or story driven, aspect of prickly old Walder Frey.


While at work during lunch/inter-office league, I was using a Martel deck with the Five Kings Edition Red Viper. After jumping him mid-challenge into the attack, my vision of the new Walder Frey took shape in my mind. I suddenly remembered what Hoster Tully, the Lord of Riverrun had to say about The Lord of the Crossing. To paraphrase Lord Tully, Walder Frey only joins the battle once the outcome has already been decided.


“The Late Lord Frey,” was what Hoster Tully called him. I realized quickly that this concept was the key to making a Nedly and play-worthy Walder Frey. I came up with the basic idea that he would be forced, passively, into a challenge after defenders were declared on whichever side was currently winning the challenge. 


Next came the question of icons? Walder Frey’s other version had an intrigue and a power icon. With his new passive ability, I did not want him to be able to be declared as an attacker or defender before it had a chance to kick in. (At least not without some icon manipulation.) I also wanted his STR to be four to take advantage of  the “win or lose a challenge by four or more total strength” mechanic that occasionally surfaces in the game. One more Nedly aspect I wanted to integrate into Walder’s card was the fact that he is one of the most dangerous men in the realm. To do so, Walder Frey gets the Deadly keyword.


What cost does a four STR, no icon, unique, lord with deadly keyword have that can just as easily fight against you as fight for you? My answer was zero. If you are winning, he will fall over himself to help you in whatever way he can to see that he ends up on the side that stays alive (see Red Wedding). But if you’re losing... watch out!


The rest as they say is history. I pitched the card to Nate, who was extremely gung-ho on the idea and proceeded to clean up the language on the card I had made and make it work within the framework of the A Game of Thrones LCG. This will be my lasting contribution to the A Game of Thrones Card Game and to Fantasy Flight Games as a whole. Best of luck to all of you in “The Only Game That Matters”… Life.


Keep on Shuffling…

A Change of Seasons
A Spoiler for the upcoming Game of Thrones LCG Chapter Pack
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 26 November 2008 Rating    38 votes

By Nate French

In the next couple weeks, the third Chapter Pack in the A Time of Ravenscycle, A Change of Seasons, will be shipped to stores near you. In anticipation of its release, we’ll 

be spending the next few weeks taking a look at some of the cards you can find in the set.


The main idea behind the Change of Seasons chapter pack was to flesh out the Summer and Winter mechanics that were introduced in the “A Song of Summer” and “The Winds of Winter” Chapter Packs. For those who may not be familiar, the Summer and Winter mechanic is built around the concept of the long seasons that occur in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Firesaga. Powerful Raven cards allow the game to be played during either Summer or Winter, and some cards “prefer” (which is to say they are more powerful) one season over the other. So controlling the season of play can become something of a game within a game, especially in a match-up in which one player is playing a Summer deck and the other player is running Winter mechanics.


In the A Change of Seasons chapter pack, you will find a number of cards that support both Summer and Winter, and some, like Demon’s Dance, that focus more on the act of change itself than any particular seasonal condition. A card like this can be used offensively, in anticipation of a change you are planning on instigating, or defensively, if you’re happy with the current season and want to dissuade an opponent from changing it to something else.


Another new card that helps facilitate the seasonal mechanic is the aptly titled plot card, A Time For Ravens. This plot card will help any deck built around the Summer or Winter mechanic run a little more consistently, but beware! It also provides your opponents the opportunity to counter any seasonal move you might make.

Winter is coming, but Summer will not give up its grasp without a fight. Next week, we’ll take a look at one of those characters we all love to hate, the Late Lord himself, Walder Frey


A Song of Sun and Sea
By Nate French
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 17 November 2008 Rating    10 votes

What's going on with Martell and Greyjoy?

Can you give us any more information on where we're going with Greyjoy and Martell?

Are you really getting rid of the Greyjoys and the Martells in LCG format?



Of all the questions that have come in about the LCG format, this "Martell and Greyjoy" question is the most frequently asked. So I wanted to take a moment to provide a hint of where we'll be going with these two Great Houses over the course of the next year of the AGoT LCG.


In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, especially early on in the series, House Martell and House Greyjoy are both on the periphery of the story. (An argument can be made that Targaryen is also on the periphery of the story, but an equally compelling argument can be made that the Targaryens are the main story and everything else is peripheral.) In the LCG, we are going to represent this aspect of House Greyjoy and House Martell by setting them up as "treaty" Houses.

To those of you who are new, a treaty is an Agenda card that essentially allows you to play with cards from two different Houses without an out of House gold penalty, for a slight drawback. So instead of playing a single House, you can play two Houses at once!


To those of you who might remember the old Treaty agenda (how can one forget it?), the new treaty Agendas are different in three key ways. First, they are House specific: "Treaty with the Isles" allows you to only treaty with House Greyjoy, and "Treaty with the South" allows you to only treaty with House Martell. Second, these new treaties don't only eliminate the out House gold penalty, they also allow you to play with "House Greyjoy only" or "House Martell only" cards, depending on which Agenda you are running. And third, instead of increasing the amount of power you need to win the game, they reduce the amount of power any opponent not running his or her own Treaty agenda would need to win.

These two agendas, which will be released in the first of the six Chapter Packs in the King's Landing expansion, add a number of new deck possibilities to the metagame. Each of the four primary Houses that were released in the AGoT Core Set now have the option of treaty-ing with either Greyjoy or Martell, and don't overlook the rogue possibility of pulling out a Greyjoy or Martell House card and combining them with the other "treaty" House. And of course, the Greyjoy and Martell House cards still exist in the Core Set, and any player who is out for a particular challenge can try to play one of these factions as a stand-alone House.

Beyond the constructed game, I am working up similar "treaty" rules for House Greyjoy and House Martell so that cards from these Houses will be "fair game" in league play. There are a couple fine points regarding the storyline voting that are being worked out, but I do feel the possibility of treatying any of the four Core Set Houses with either Greyjoy or Martell will make league deckbuilding and play a much more satisfying experience.


And what about the future? The possibilities are open, and everything will be considered. I can envision either or both of these Houses being the centerpiece of a six Chapter Pack expansion set designed "around" a House in the way A Sea of StormsA Flight of Dragons, and A Crown of Suns were all designed around their own Houses, way back when. These expansions could pave the way towards making Greyjoy and Martell playable as standalone Houses. (Just as the Houses started off on the outskirts of the story in the novels and moved more to the center, they could follow a similar trajectory in the LCG.) Another possibility, of introducing other new Houses as treaties (Treaty with the Vale?), is very real, and tempting.

The main point, though, is that anything is possible in this new era of the LCG, and I'm looking forward to exploring as many of the options as I can.

Here There Be Ravens...
By Nate French
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 04 November 2008 Rating    12 votes

 When FFG's Card Game Line Coordinator asked me if I wanted to write an overview article on the upcoming A Time of Ravens expansion to the A Game of Thrones Living Card Game, I jumped at the opportunity to do so. I finished the first draft of the design file for this set back in October, and the set — and the game— have gone through a number of transitions in the months between then and now. All along I've been sitting on it, excited about the day that these cards would become a part of the game. That day is finally upon us.


As I moved in to the design of A Time of Ravens, Eric Lang had just moved on to different projects. This change to the core of the design team was both exciting and daunting, but for the most part I found it inspiring in that it forced me to "step up my game," if you can pardon the pun. Working with Eric on A Song of Night, Iron Throne EditionA House of ThornsA House of TalonsFive Kings Edition, and A Clash of Arms was both a pleasure and a blessing, and I cannot begin to relate how much I learned from him. With the opportunity to "do my own thing" in front of me, I was determined to put together a set that would do him proud.


Along the way, we've seen a number of changes to the way the game is packaged, marketed, and distributed to players. Melee play has become just as important as Joust. There's been an unprecedented amount of change over the course of the past year, but through it all A Time of Ravens (and it's follow up, that I am currently hard at work on moving from "design notes and slush" to the first official design draft) has been a beacon of stability, and along with the Core Set it marks the dawn of a new era for the A Game of Thrones LCG. Let's have a look…


Opening Moves



Sometimes the title of a set isn't decided until the last possible moment. Once everything else is designed and looking good, we take a step back, see what the final result says to us, and then decide upon a name. This was not the case with A Time of Ravens. Instead, this title was decided right from the start, when the "arc" of the Five Kings Edition block was laid out. As some of you may recall, Five Kings Edition was initially plotted out as a narrative block, with the base set representing the build up and re-establishment of House lines and identity before an epic battle or war, A Clash of Armswould represent the conflict itself, and A Time of Ravens would represent the aftermath of that conflict.


Of course, with the change to the LCG model, the possibility of abandoning this arc and starting completely from scratch was investigated, but it seemed somehow appropriate to stay the course. The game is emerging from a time of unprecedented change, just as the continent of Westeros was in the aftermath of the War of Five Kings. It is a time of reassessment and regrouping, a time of looking to the future and seeing what plots lie ahead, a time of reaching out for allies, and a time of burying the dead… it is indeed A Time of Ravens.


Thematically, you'll see this concept play out in the form of scavengers, refugees, bandits, broken men and broken armies, as well as reinforcements and opportunistic individuals who are ready to make a name for themselves in the aftermath of war. Mechanically, you may notice that this set adds a high degree of unpredictability and uncertainty to the game, making for a swingy play experience in which the game may turn faster than ever before, with the drop of a single card or the outcome of a single challenge.


And, of course, there are ravens.


'Tis the Season…



So I started with a title, and I knew because of that title that there were going to be ravens, rookeries, and maesters in the set. The next question was simple: what do they all do?


A couple different avenues initially presented themselves. The ITE search plot "On Raven's Wings" suggested exploring search effects on an unprecedented scale. The old school Stark "Rookery" location suggested that ravens & rookeries are either all about events, or all about discard pile recursion, or both. In the end, however, it was an idea from the books, and the fact that I had been playing quite a bit of the Call of Cthulhu LCG, that determined the actual direction in which the ravens would fly. The idea came almost fully realized, when one of our editors and office-league Thrones enthusiasts, Michael Hurley, asked if there were going to be both Black and White Ravens in the set. When I answered in the affirmative, he asked if the White Ravens would have anything to do with Winter Edition… perhaps keying off Others plots or the doomed mechanic, as the White Ravens are used to herald the coming of Winter in the story. Of course, I knew that Winter Edition would rotate by the time that these White Ravens would be hitting the game, but the idea of introducing a new seasonal element to A Game of Thrones captured my imagination.


Thus, the Winter/Summer mechanic was born. It is similar to the Day/Night mechanic in the Call of Cthulhu LCG, but the mechanic was handled in a slightly more "Martinesque" way for this game. In CoCthere is a rather firm line drawn between the extremes of Day and Night; in AGoT the extremes are there, but there is also some attention paid to the "grey" area in the middle.


How does this mechanic work? It all starts (and occasionally ends) with the Raven cards. The Black Raven, as you can see, makes it Summer. As you can probably imagine, the White Raven makes it Winter. These cards are both, in turn, fairly resilient due to their far-reaching immunity. Once they're in play, they're probably going to stick around for a while. Then, there are a number of cards throughout the set that key off of the season. Care to take a look?


The first Chapter Pack in the A Time of Ravens expansion is called A Song of Summer. Two of the six Great Houses in the game, the Targaryens and the Martells, are generally at their best when it is Summer. Have a look at the Maester of the Sun, and you'll have an understanding of how the mechanic works at its most basic level: an average, somewhat "vanilla" card that kicks it into overdrive when the season is right. The Starfall Bannerman present the "Summer" mechanic from a slightly different angle: a card that is pretty solid as long as it isn't Winter, but is a bit under-costed in what, for House Martell, is the "wrong" season. (And yes, this guy's ability does stack…)


The Winds of Winter, then, is the second Chapter Pack in the series. The Starks and the Greyjoys are both generally at their best in the Winter. The Ice Fisherman is another example of the kind of card possibilities that can be explored with the seasonal mechanic. He is under-costed, just about "worthless" when it is not Winter, but if he's on the table and it is Winter, watch out! His opponents are in for some lean marshalling, and the Greyjoys will be the beneficiaries of their strife.


What about the villainous (some would say misunderstood) Lannisters and the pompous Baratheons? They're kind of in the middle. Sometimes they prefer Summer, other times they prefer Winter. Sometimes, they even prefer it to be neither Summer nor Winter. This is representative of the "grey" area between the extremes that is so important in George R.R. Martin's universe. The third Chapter Pack in the series is called A Change of Seasons, and it works to flesh out the Summer and Winter mechanic by exploring some of this grey area, as well as the moment of change itself. More on that after GenCon.


The fourth Chapter Pack in the series is called The Raven's Song. This promises to be one of the most exciting packs yet, featuring a cycle of "Rookery" cards that will take challenge phase plot manipulation to a level we have not seen since the days of Wheels Within Wheels. Is it really that crazy? When it comes to AGoT, losing my mind is always a distinct possibility…


The fifth AToR Chapter Pack is entitled Refugees of War. The survivors take center stage in this pack, fighting for their lives against seasonal bandits who would prey on the refugees of the War of Five Kings. And those Bandits sure are wicked, especially if you're in the habit of playing Kingdom locations…


The final Chapter Pack in the A Time of Ravens series is called Scattered Armies, and it introduces the "Reinforcements" event card, that will add another layer of vengeful uncertainty to the challenge phase. These events will help you out when you're feeling the beat-down, making those "landslide" challenge phases a thing of the past… assuming you have the right type of reinforcements in your deck.


Looking back at the design of the entire A Time of Ravens set has been fun, and I'm even more excited about (and ready to dive back into, as soon as I finish this article) its follow up for Winter/Spring of 2009, which is coming together quite nicely. Seasons change, and "Winter is Coming" once again, but the future of the A Game of Thrones LCG is bright.


See you soon!

LCG: Player's Guide
We break down the differences between the new LCG and CCGs
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 14 October 2008 Rating    11 votes

 What is an LCG?


A Living Card Game (LCG) is a game that breaks away from the traditional Collectible Card Game (CCG) model by offering a new fixed card distribution method that still offers the same dynamic customizable, expanding, and constantly evolving game play that makes CCG’s so much fun, but without the blind buy purchase model that has burned out so many players. The end result is an innovative mix that gives you the best of both worlds!


The LCG format is distributed in two phases:


The first phase is the release of a LCG Core Set. Every LCG will have an amazing, high quality and widely available entry point packed with content, including high-quality game pieces and immersive game aides to enhance the game. Core Sets are completely self-contained, with multiple decks included, providing a great game experience right out of the box.


The Core Sets are followed by monthly installments of expansion packs, each a set of forty fixed cards, providing an ongoing and regular addition to the available card pool. These expansion packs add customization, variety, and an ongoing “story” to everyone’s experience with the Core Game.


The LCG format will be outstanding for players in many ways:


The value of the game compared to the traditional CCG is exceptional. Instead of the hundreds and hundreds of dollars spent each quarter on the boosters required to keep a competitive cardpool, ten dollars a month will get a player at least one copy of every card, and thirty dollars a month will provide an entire tournament playset of cards.


The constantly expanding cardpool provides more frequent additions to your cardpool, with the potential of new decktypes and strategies to explore in every release. Instead of waiting four months for new cards to play with, you have the excitement of getting new cards for your decks every month.


Exciting organized play programs are available for all LCGs, with online support and content, and fun surprises for players, keeping the game fun and interesting. These programs will include everything from year round league play, with prize support offered for winners and participants to high level tournament play featuring regional, national, and world championship level events.


LCGs have no rare chasing to worry about, insuring that games are determined by a player’s deck building skills and play strategies, rather than by who spent the most money in pursuit of those hard to find ultra rare chase cards. The fixed format insures that every player has equal access to any card he or she would need to build a deck.

The non-random format makes it simple to play multiple LCGs without breaking the bank, dramatically increasing the chance to find opponents that play the same game you do.