|Beyond the Narrow Sea, Part Two
A look at the next cycle of Chapter Packs for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
|A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 12 January 2012|
She had not forgotten the slave children the Great Masters had nailed up along the road from Yunkai. They had numbered one hundred sixty-three, a child every mile, nailed to mileposts with one arm outstretched to point her way. After Meereen had fallen, Dany nailed up a like number of Great Masters. Swarms of flies had attended their slow dying, and the stench had lingered long in the plaza. Yet some days she feared that she had not gone nearly far enough.
–George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons
We recently announced the upcoming release of Beyond the Narrow Sea, the next cycle of Chapter Packs for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game.
Featuring new characters and locations from the Eastern continent of Essos, Beyond the Narrow Sea balances the interests of new and veteran players alike. In the first part of this announcement, lead developer Damon Stone addressed the challenges of designing a cycle that could offer new players an excellent second step into the game and that would still reward veteran players with ample new tools for creative deck and strategy design. We saw how the cycle’s new River plots and agendas addressed some of the questions most frequently asked by new players, and many veteran players have already expressed their delight with the new cards we’ve previewed.
Today, Damon addresses the third most frequent question posed to him by new players, “Can you mix cards from different houses?” His answer, and that presented by Beyond the Narrow Sea, is an emphatic yes!
Lead developer Damon Stone on picking a side:
The cards of this game each belong to one of seven factions: Baratheon, Greyjoy, Lannister, Martell, Stark, Targaryen, and Neutral. Each house owns a number of unique themes and mechanics and shares other themes and mechanics with rival houses. Trying to build a deck around one of these themes or mechanics will often mean you’ll need to resort to looking at “Out of House” characters.
Using characters from other houses comes at a definite disadvantage. The additional two gold penalty that you must pay to play them can be daunting, and with the rise of Greyjoy’s Winter “choke” decks, it can be nearly impossible. While the plot, Alliance (Princes of the Sun, 59), and the Treaty agendas may help, sometimes what you want is to create a theme deck based on a specific trait, which may involve characters from multiple houses. The plot and agendas do not really provide enough versatility to make this a viable deck type. Thus, Beyond the Narrow Sea features new Kingdom locations like Braavos (Valar Dohaeris, 35) to give players new ways to build thematic decks.
Also, when I set out to design this cycle, Nate French and I had discussed different design challenges, ways of conceiving of sets that would cause us to explore new territory, create different dynamics in the game, and challenge players expectations. After our conversations, one of the challenges I decided to tackle was, “Is it possible to design a set that had no neutral cards?” Well, this cycle answers that question: the neutral shield is nowhere to be seen in these Chapter Packs, and many cards belong to multiple factions.
This set brings A Game of Thrones: The Card Game more of the chaos and shifting alliances the novels are famous for, but with a distinct Eastern flair. House themes are reinforced, and new mechanics are explored.
I hope you enjoy playing with these cards as much as I did designing them, and I can’t wait to see what you all can do with them in 2012!
–Damon Stone, Lead Developer A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
Beyond the Narrow Sea will bring the flavor and intrigues of Essos to A Game of Thrones: The Card Game in the second quarter of 2012. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of its first Chapter Pack!
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.
My main opponent was just wishing that there were more sellsword company cards. He will be thrilled.
Less neutrals = good
No neutrals = very good