|Chasing Dragons and Making Legends
An A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Spotlight
|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 21 June 2012|
The singer rose to his feet. “I'm Mance Rayder,” he said as he put aside the lute. “And you are Ned Stark's bastard, the Snow of Winterfell.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords
Without spoiling too many details, it’s safe to say that by the end of A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin’s fifth novel in A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series, the Great Houses of Westeros do not find themselves in quite the same positions they held at the beginning of A Game of Thrones, the first novel of the series. The Lords and Ladies of House Stark, especially, have suffered their share of misfortunes and pursued many surprising paths.
Once the greatest House in the North, the Starks have been scattered to the ends of the world and forced into hiding. They have, of necessity, brokered strange alliances, sought new paths of enlightenment and begun long journeys of vengeance. Jon Snow, the bastard of Winterfell, has personally muddied the borders of honor, duty, and treason. Though not a Stark by name, Jon is arguably the most prominent of Eddard Stark’s offspring by the time of A Dance with Dragons, and it is Jon Snow who brings House Stark closer to the Northmen’s ancient enemies, the wildlings from beyond The Wall.
The New North
While the Beyond the Narrow Sea cycle of Chapter Packs for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game has developed the Eastern continent of Essos and the intrigues therein, it has simultaneously expanded upon the changes taking shape at The Wall…and further north. As part of the cycle, Chasing Dragons brings players closer to the events of George R.R. Martin’s fourth and fifth novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, and, accordingly, it brings House Stark closer to the Wildlings, in a shaky alliance formed of desperate need.
The Chapter Pack gives House Stark two new Wildling characters, each of which looks to reshape the House a little. It’s true that House Stark remains an aggressive House, but here are two interesting new characters that are likely to see play – and neither with a Military icon.
Of the two, Abel’s Washerwoman (Chasing Dragons, 42) is the more aggressive. After all, her ability triggers only when she participates in an attack and, then, only if all participating characters share the Wildling trait. This means she’ll likely attack your opponents in one of two ways – supported by other Wildlings in a deck running the The North agendas, or as a solitary character splashed into a different Stark strategy.
The first way to attack with Abel’s Washerwoman seems clear enough; in a deck with The North agendas, she can gain the Stealth she needs to exclude a potential defender from her challenge, and she can gain a point of Strength to help win the challenges she makes. However, it’s the second strategy that makes Abel’s Washerwoman such an interesting Ally. She’s a zero-Strength character, so if she declares an attack on her own, your opponent has to choose whether or not it’s worth defending against her to prevent you from claiming a power for your House. But if he should declare defenders, he’ll need to do better than chump block. Abel’s Washerwoman has the Melee keyword, so she’ll gain a point of Strength for each defender your opponent assigns. In order to successfully defend her challenge, your opponent will need to kneel a character of at least two Strength.
While Abel’s Washerwoman forces your opponent into interesting decisions when she attacks, the Wildling Bard (Chasing Dragons, 45) presents you a number of interesting choices of your own. Before any challenges are declared, you can discard up to three cards from your hand to give renown to an equal number of Baratheon or Stark characters, including, of course, the Wildling Bard.
Used aggressively, the Wildling Bard can help your Starks muster a power rush with characters like Littlefinger (Secrets and Spies, 84), Rickard Karstark (Where Loyalty Lies, 62), and the new Bran Stark (Valar Dohaeris, 22). Used defensively to provide renown to characters like Dacey Mormont (Epic Battles, 61) and Ser Rodrik Cassel (Core Set, 4), the Wildling Bard may help discourage your opponent’s attacks. The wildlings are no kneelers. They aren’t prone to bend the knee for any king who earned the title by right of birth. Rather, they focus on deeds, and with his songs, the Wildling Bard can shape his own legends and help House Stark reshape its destiny.
The Game Goes On
Even as the Great Houses change, even as their Lords posture and maneuver and die, the game of thrones continues. From the far east of Essos to the lands beyond The Wall, the players change, but the struggles remain the same. As Chasing Dragons looks to carry players deeper into the events of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the Great Houses gain new ways to play the old game. By battles, treaties, and treachery, each House continues along its bid for the Iron Throne.
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.