“Thoros and Lord Beric were everywhere, their swords swirling fire. The red priest hacked at a hide shield until it flew to pieces, while his horse kicked the man in the face. A Dothraki screamed and charged the lightning lord, and the flaming sword leapt out to meet his arakh. The blades kissed and spun and kissed again. Then the Dothraki's hair was ablaze, and a moment later he was dead.”
A Storm of Swords , George R. R. Martin

Brotherhood Without Banners presents Battles of Westeros players with a new ally force of outlaws sworn to protect the smallfolk, which can supplement a primary house’s forces. This new ally force will be available in the fourth quarter of 2011, and includes new unit types, a rulebook with four new scenarios, new cards, new commanders, and even more!

Today, we will examine how Brotherhood units are controlled and activated without banners, and take a look at one of the new commanders, the leader of the Brotherhood: Beric Dondarrion.

The nobility of the cause

Having pledged their allegiance to the realm, the Brotherhood Without Banners raises no flag during their battles. They are united under a nobler mission than riding under one of the great Houses of Westeros: to fight for justice, for the inhabitants of the Seven Kingdoms.

In Brotherhood Without Banners , Brotherhood units and commanders are identified by their lack of banners, and are considered blue rank for all intents and purposes. These units do not follow normal activation rules. Instead Brotherhood tokens are used, which replace the normal banner mechanic...and eliminate the need to rally units with special effects or during the Rally Phase. Once a Brotherhood unit is ordered it does not become inactive.

A player receives a certain amount of Brotherhood tokens to use during the game. Then, during the Command Phase, after a player has ordered one or more Brotherhood units (using the necessary Order token or Leadership card), he will discard a single Brotherhood token. Since Brotherhood units do not rally, all of a player’s Brotherhood units are considered active as long as he has at least one Brotherhood token in his play area. If however, that player loses his last Brotherhood token, all of his Brotherhood units are immediately considered inactive.

Therefore, should a player possess the necessary Order tokens or Leadership cards, he could continue to order a single Brotherhood unit again and again, or spread his orders across multiple units, until he has at least one Brotherhood token remaining.

Brotherhood tokens must also be used to cancel your opponent’s attempts to make a Brotherhood unit inactive. You must discard a single Brotherhood token to cancel every such effect. However, a player can gain more Brotherhood tokens each round, or through rally effects.

To die bravely...and fight on

Beric Dondarrion, the formerly handsome Lord of Blackhaven, now the “Lightning Lord,” is the leader of the Brotherhood. Raised from the dead on several occasions by Thoros of Myr, Beric continues to lead raids and fight against those he believes harm the smallfolk. Though death has claimed many of his memories, he is still swift and forceful in combat, wielding a flaming sword against his foes.

(Click the image to see the back of Beric’s card)

Beric is a capable commander; his presence inspires the fervor of local folk who rise up to join his cause. With the Call to Arms keyword, Beric can recruit a green-ranked unit to join him and his unit on the battlefield. Further, Beric’s formidable sword has a nasty aftereffect for his targets. While meeting his foe in battle, Beric’s sword can potentially light his opponent on fire, and a level one fire token is placed in his opponent’s hex.

The Lightning Lord’s relentlessness in his undertaking to seek justice is mirrored in his commit ability, which is activated when his card is flipped. Beric can spur on his unit and Pursue an enemy...for as long as possible.

Look for more previews in the coming weeks, featuring the rules surrounding Corpse tokens, and watch for Brotherhood Without Banners to be released in the fourth quarter of 2011!

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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