News for January 2011
Make Them Laugh 27
A Card of the Week for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 13 January 2011

Hello and Welcome Back, Loyal A Game of Thrones Fans!

We hope you've enjoyed the previews of Brotherhood Without Banners. We now move on from Hollow Hill to the ancient streets of Oldtown. Of course, aside from neutral Maesters, in-House Maesters, their Chain attachments, and the new Maester-centric agenda, there will be lots of other cards in this cycle for players of all Houses and stripes. Case in point, we are proud to present this preview of the card designed by 2010 Joust World Champion, Alec Irwin. The Laughing Storm will appear in the first Chapter Pack of the cycle, Gates of the Citadel.

Without any further ado, take it away, Alec!

The Goals

During my Gen Con mini-interview with Fantasy Flight Games, I mentioned that my plan for next year was to make the most broken, over-powered card possible and run three copies of it. Unfortunately, Nate [French] doesn’t just let you waltz in and ruin the environment in one fell swoop. Struggling with these draconian restraints, I set out with the intent to make something that would see a lot of play, in a variety of decks.

The first step in the design process is picking what House you want to support. I chose to support my very favorite house, Baratheon. Having picked the House, I decided to make a character. This presented an obstacle: most of the good Baratheon characters already exist. I didn’t want to make a new version of an existing character, so I started thinking outside the box, er, books. A look into Westeros’ past provided the character. In George R.R. Martin’s short story "The Hedge Knight", Dunk receives support in a grand melee from the mighty warrior Lyonel Baratheon, more popularly known as The Laughing Storm.

I had two main goals for The Laughing Storm: he had to provide some kind of hand advantage, and he had to be as inexpensive as possible. There are many powerful four-cost cards in Baratheon that are generally considered to be auto-include, and I didn’t want my card being overlooked in favor of one of these.

The Design

My first draft was, to put it lightly, grossly over-powered. He cost three gold, had four strength, renown, and let you draw a card whenever he claimed a power for renown. His strength also went up by one for every power he claimed. And he had both the Noble and War crest. Needless to say, he was cut down pretty hard.

My next idea was to change his ability to let him, upon challenge victory, draw a card or claim a power, but also vigilant so that you could exploit both options. Again, this was too much, so we added “Limit once per choice per phase.” By this point, though, he was neutered to the point of being useless, so I decided to try giving him hand advantage in a non-standard way.

I suggested to Nate that he protect your hand directly – preventing cards from being discarded at all. Nate tempered it with “while standing,” which I tried to counter with vigilant, and was later changed in order reduce the chances of a full phase of attacks followed by virtual immunity to Intrigue challenges.

Nate then suggested we make him strength two or make him an Ally. Fearing Venomous Blade and Varys, I suggested a keyword other than vigilant. Nate declared that he should be Deadly, and I agreed. I mean, look at the art – that other guy is like “Help meeeee!”

The Implementation

And thus, The Laughing Storm was finished. He’s a solid defender – protecting your characters from Deadly as well as your hand from Intrigue, but also a solid attacker (adding the threat of death to power challenges). He supports the Knight agenda, helping Baratheon draw after all. Finally, and most importantly, he’s inexpensive. At three gold, he’s not heavy on the gold curve, and I believe he’s affordable in any deck looking to protect its draw.

Long story short, The Laughing Storm is awesome and you all should use seven of him in every deck ever. Trust me, nobody will notice.

Thanks Alec!

So that wraps it up for this week's spoiler. Hopefully we've given you plenty to talk about here and on the A Game of Thrones forums (where Alec, too, lurks). Until next time!

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 (27)

White Phoenix
Published: 1/13/2011 11:15:08 AM

I think he was being a smartass about that.

Published: 1/13/2011 11:09:25 AM

"I mentioned that my plan for next year was to make the most broken, over-powered card possible and run three copies of it."


That's why I hate champions'cards. It's an other way to say :" hey, my ego is going to destroy your game and I'm so proud of it! "


Published: 1/13/2011 11:08:01 AM

The article mentions that he has the Lord trait but I can only see he's a Knight :S

Anyway, awesome card :D

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