News for December 2011
Ghosts Who Live Where Loyalty Lies 3
An A Game of Thrones spotlight by guest writer Matt Ley
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 29 December 2011

To begin, let us all think WAY back to 2006: There were 500 million less people in the world. Crash won best picture. My Seattle Seahawks made me proud by making the Super Bowl. Miami defeated Dallas in the NBA Championship, rather than the other way around. Italy defeated France in the World Cup in a shootout (although mentioning as much is a 100% kiss-up to our Euro friends since, well, it is soccer)… And I was lucky enough to win the A Game of Thrones: The Card Game World Championship that year, back when Joust was the “Only Game that Matters” and only one card was made per year.

Humblebrags, Brotherhood, and the Ghost of High Heart

I won’t bore you with details, but those were easily the most surprising set of wins of my A Game of Thrones career. I had never given a thought about to kind of card I’d make before I beat my friend and past champ Greg Dobbler (Dobbler) in the finals. (And, yes, please excuse my huge “humblebrag.”) After the win, many of the players retreated to the now-defunct Alcatraz restaurant for libations and good times. We sat outside with our drinks, and everyone helped me create a card that is now going to be released in the Chapter Pack, Where Loyalty Lies.

When working on the card, I knew it had to fulfill three requirements:

  • It had to be Brotherhood. This was in a time, before the Brotherhood Without Banners cycle, where the Brotherhood were bit players in the game. Beric, Anguy, Lem, and others were around, but they were certainly not a developed sub-faction. Regardless, I always played with them because I loved them in the books.
  • It had to have an effect close to that of the event, Confession (Kings of the Sea, 39). Basically, the card needed to look at someone’s hand, and get rid of their best card.
  • And… just to be a jerk, it had to be immune to the plot designed by good friend and champ, John Bruno (Mathlete), who won the year before. He designed the bane of low-cost chumps, The First Snow of Winter (On Dangerous Grounds, 59).

Over drinks that night, we brainstormed about who could have this ability. I remembered a very short portion of the books where the Brotherhood and Arya Stark visit an old Crone who looks into the future for the group and the young Stark. She was perfect! Shortly afterward, I submitted my idea for the Ghost of High Heart (Where Loyalty Lies, 77).

After quite a bit of back and forth with design, we came to a good point. The Ghost of High Heart became a two-cost, one-strength character who could not be discarded (because, at that point, First Snow was a discard instead of a return to hand effect, and as bonus, she was also immune to Threat from the North). She knelt to look at your opponent’s hand and discard a card of your choice, although your opponent could then draw. She had the Learned crest and, lastly, she gave Brotherhood characters an additional point of strength while she was standing. She was certainly strong, but certainly not an auto-include, and she didn’t provide literal card advantage unless your opponent consistently hit the draw cap.

The Ghost of champions past

Fast-forward to 2011. I was approached by the design team when they told me they wanted to revisit past Champion cards, albeit with some tweaks. I was excited.

The Ghost, as I had originally designed it, was overpowered in the present environment and didn’t fit with the current Brotherhood theme, so it was off to another round of back-and-forth with the design team! Overall, the final card turned out to a good match between my original version, and the present environment:

  • She kept the overall theme of the card, less her immunity to The First Snow of Winter!
  • She is Brotherhood, although now with the negative Ally trait.
  • The bonus she grants to strength is now triggered when you have no power on your house, standard Brotherhood wording.
  • She has her intrigue icon and the Learned crest for Outwit (The Isle of Ravens, 80).
  • Most importantly, she has the ability, like Confession, to glean a little intelligence on your opponent’s hand, and mess with his plans.

Yes, your opponent gets to draw a card (assuming he has not hit his draw cap), but chances are it won’t be as good a card. Also, you can use her against yourself to cycle unwanted cards into your discard pile (or cards that might interact with your discard pile) for the chance at something better.

I hope you enjoy the card as much as I will! As a Lannister and Martell player, it excites me that the card will be used for all sorts of backstabbing in the near future.

P.S. She combines well with a strong Night's Watch character in the set, which can make it easier to get your opponent to the draw cap for a more profitable use of the Ghost of High Heart!

Editor’s Note: We’ll take a look at the second half of this combination next week in an article by guest writer Joe Becker.

Based on George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, playable by 2-4 players, brings the beloved heroes, villains, locations, and events of the world of Westeros to life through innovative game mechanics and the highly strategic game play. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Chapter Pack expansions to the core game.

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Comments (3)

Published: 12/29/2011 6:12:00 PM

Can't wait to see what I wrote for next week's article...:)

Published: 12/29/2011 4:11:36 PM

I feel like the Brotherhood trait is very cool, until you get power on your house. Its too delicate, makes me nervous. But if you play somebody that can't blank locations and character text boxes, its very dominating. I guess they designed it to be very powerful, but easily shut down.

Published: 12/29/2011 1:49:12 PM

Hooray for the return of the champion cards (and the ghost was easily my favourite)! It was a great idea to include them in the tale of champions, FFG.

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