“Might we discuss the fleet?” asked Aurane Waters. “Fewer than a dozen of our ships survived the inferno on the Blackwater. We must needs restore our strength at sea.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Feast for Crows
In The Captain’s Command, ships and sailors steer the course of history. While a fleet of Greyjoy Warships sails to Essos in search of a bold new alliance, the Kraken’s Raiders harass lesser fleets along the coasts of the Seven Kingdoms. Wyman Manderly schemes in White Harbor, dreaming how best to use his naval might to claim vengeance for the loss of his son. Stannis Baratheon barely sustains his claim to the Iron Throne by working with talented Smugglers. In King’s Landing, a new Master of Ships begins the construction of a fleet of ships to replace those lost in the Battle of Blackwater Bay.
The sixty cards (three copies each of twenty individual cards) from The Captain’s Command include eight new characters – Raiders, Smugglers, Allies, Knights, and Ladies – that allow players to make greater use of the naval () enhancement. You’ll also find new locations, potent Prayers, and powerful blood magic. Even as the Great Houses ready their navies for war, The Captain’s Command simultaneously transports us across the Narrow Sea to Essos, bringing to life some characters and events inspired by the fourth and fifth books in George R.R. Martin’s beloved fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
Master of Ships
While the two-player "joust" format for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game recreates the battles, intrigues, and alliances of A Song of Ice and Fire by allowing players to make three distinct types of challenges, many players feel the game most fully comes to life in its “melee,” the multiplayer format. In a melee, players gain the opportunity to play each other as well as the cards in their hands. They form fragile and fleeting alliances, betray each other, or wait outside the course of battle for a chance to strike.
The Core Set comes with six title cards that add further depth and clarity to the melee format, providing mechanics that allow players to gain control over the shifting tides of the dynamic multiplayer environment. While the Kings of the Sea expansion introduced an alternate set of title cards for an alternate melee format, the six Core Set title cards have resided at the center of the melee format, wholly unaltered…until now.
The Captain’s Command introduces the neutral Master of Ships, Aurane Waters (The Captain’s Command, 100). Also known as the Bastard of Driftmark, Aurane Waters is a cunning character on his own right, able to join an Intrigue or Power challenge as a challenge action, even outside of the normal sequence for declaring attackers and defenders, because both his icons bear the enhancement. However, the Master of Ships permits you even greater tactical opportunities in a melee. Whenever he would die or be discarded during a melee, he is instead added to the title pool as a seventh title with a game effect that strengthens melee decks built around unique characters:
“Once per round name a challenge icon. Until the end of the phase, unique characters you control gain a enhancement on that icon, if able.”
Backed by Aurane Waters, your unique characters pose a threat in every challenge, forcing your opponents to think carefully about how much strength they wish to commit. Will they commit just enough to prevent the challenge from going unopposed? Or will you be able to lure them into committing all their available characters to the defense of an early challenge, leaving them exposed for another challenge in the future?
Furthermore, as Master of Ships, Aurane Waters provides versatility not only to your characters, but to your ability to challenge other players. While he doesn’t oppose anyone and, therefore, won’t allow you to score extra power for winning any challenges, neither does he support anyone. Like the Crown Regent and Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, the Master of Ships is free to make challenges wherever he wishes.
Strength at Sea
Aurane Waters is just one of the many cards from The Captain’s Command that allow you to marshal your ships and hold your strength in reserve for key moments. Throughout the A Song of the Sea cycle, players will find characters with the enhancement and a host of cards that support it. In the two-player joust format, as in melee, these characters and cards provide valuable tactical advantages, and you can look forward to launching your fleets at just the right moment.
The Captain’s Command sets sail late in the first quarter of 2013!