News for July 2012
A Commanding Duo
A Preview of the House Baratheon Army Expansion for Battles of Westeros
Battles of Westeros | Published 19 July 2012

"It is not a question of wanting. The throne is mine, as Robert's heir. That is law."
      –Stannis Baratheon

Disciplined and stern, Stannis Baratheon pursues his perceived birthright with a stoic single-mindedness. None shall deter the Lord of Dragonstone from sitting the Iron Throne, even if it means pushing his own men into certain death. And with the red woman Melisandre of the Asshai at his right hand, Stannis is armed with both grim determination and dark powers. But will it be enough?

The arrival of the House Baratheon Army Expansion approaches, and with it comes a host of new options for Battles of Westeros! As the first Great House Expansion, this comprehensive box is an outstanding addition to any Battles of Westeros collection. In essence, it contains enough figures, cards, commanders and other components to put House Baratheon on par with Houses Stark and Lannister.

Last time, we looked at the concept of Epic Battles, and we saw how the Battle of Blackwater unfolds over three tense stages. Today, we’ll look at two of the eight new commanders in the House Baratheon Army Expansion, Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre. We’ll also see how their unique synergies make them a powerful combination in the heat of battle.

Cold Discipline

The elder of Robert Baratheon’s two younger brothers, Stannis is Lord of Dragonstone, a source of resentment since he feels the richer lands of Storm’s End are his birthright. Lacking the charisma of his younger brother Renly, however, Stannis must find other ways to motivate his troops.

Stannis’s attitude toward his men is based on entitlement and expectation. He is the rightful king, and they must serve him unquestioningly. This total disregard for troop morale may make Stannis a difficult man to serve, but by freeing himself of such petty considerations, Stannis opens up versatile new battlefield options for himself.

First, units under Stannis’s control may rally without paying a morale or Command cost, representing his ability to push his men to inhuman limits. In fact, he can even push them beyond their limits; once per game, Stannis may lower the morale of his House by any amount. Each friendly unit ordered that turn gains an extra attack die for every three spaces morale was lowered! Stannis’s men may hate him for it, but his highness knows how to get results.

The Red Woman

Providing the fire to complement her master’s icy disposition, Melisandre of the Asshai is the right hand of Stannis Baratheon, and she’s a devout follower of R’hllor who sees Stannis as the reborn Azor Ahai of prophecy. Many are swayed to follow her uncompromising beliefs, which have increased the numbers (and the zeal) of Stannis’s followers. She is rumored to use dark powers to dispense with those who would stand against her chosen.

Melisandre strides the battlefield, marking friendly and enemy units alike for her powerful rituals. Instead of attacking, Melisandre may place a R’hllor token on any number of adjacent non-commander units, and with eight R’hllor tokens available, she’s able to spread her powers liberally.

Then, as her Commit Ability, Melisandre may finalize the ritual, acting upon each and every R’hllor token she’s placed. Friendly units marked with the R’hllor token will find themselves cleansed by flame, their wounds closing and fallen comrades rising to fight again. Meanwhile, enemy units who witness R’hllor’s wrath quickly rethink their loyalties. Such units are subjected to a Conversion rite, which carries a chance of bringing them permanently under the control of House Baratheon!

The Will of R’hllor

As formidable as Stannis and Melisandre are separately, however, they are even more effective together. First, if Stannis is in play, he may use Melisandre’s Zone of Control as if it were his own, meaning the Baratheon player can play command tokens on Stannis’s Commander card, but order units under Melisandre’s control.

What’s more, Melisandre is the first commander in Battles of Westeros to have an “Uncommit Ability.” When her Commander card has been flipped (meaning she’s used her Commit Ability to enact her rituals of R’hllor), she can flip it back to its uncommited side whenever she ends her turn under the control of Stannis Baratheon. But since Stannis treats Melisandre’s Zone of Control as his own, doesn’t that mean she’s always under his control? Yes! In short, as long as Stannis is alive, Melisandre can potentially commit and uncommit at will, executing her potent dark magic again and again.

Keep checking back for more on the House Baratheon Army Expansion, and look for it on store shelves in just a few more weeks!

Set in the rich and vibrant world of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, Battles of Westeros is a board game of tactical battlefield combat for two players. With scenarios that include beloved characters and settings, players can recreate the most significant battles from The War of the Five Kings.

    
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