A Game Changer in the Game of Thrones
A Look at the Recent POD Expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Board Game
In August, we announced the release of A Dance with Dragons, an expert-level six-player Print on Demand scenario for A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Second Edition. With 42 alternate House cards that feature the characters relevant to the fifth novel in A Song of Ice and Fire, A Dance with Dragons (now available on our webstore) is a special scenario that immediately thrusts players into a grim struggle for survival. After a brief alternate setup to reflect each House’s position in Westeros, players will quickly be forced to forge new alliances and discover new strategies.
Between its alternate setup and new House cards, A Dance with Dragons presents Westeros as you may not be accustomed to seeing it. Today, we’re pleased to present developer Jason Walden’s insights into each House’s starting position, its conflicts, and its likely strategies. Note: This article contains spoilers from A Song of Ice and Fire, so proceed with caution!
House Stark has been gutted and are no longer a power in the North. Instead, House Bolton rules as Wardens of the North, installed by the King. However, their position is hollow and tenuous as many of the natural northmen distrust them.
Their primary concern has to be what to do with the massive presence of their Baratheon neighbors. Do they attack or try to strike an alliance? They move first, so they could feasibly eliminate the nearby Baratheon force before it has a chance to attack. But a failed assault could prove disastrous, and they may need to make concessions in order to win an immediate peace.
After losing the Battle of Blackwater, Stannis Baratheon and the majority of this once-proud House retreated north to the wall, where he was able to forge an alliance of sorts with the Night’s Watch. Though the majority of his forces went north, he left small garrisons at his strongholds, Storm’s End and Dragonstone.
Baratheon starts this scenario in a desperate situation, but their forces are strong. They absolutely must claim territory to balance what they lack. Will they assault Winterfell or evacuate the north to free their trapped southern forces? After all, the lands around the Vale of Arryn are open for the taking and could prove a nice staging ground for further assaults.
Though they won the war, they suffered a great deal of damage, losing many soldiers and leaders. Furthermore, Cersei alienated House Tyrell by accusing Margaery of treason. Now, Lannister must remain wary of the extremely fragile and paper-thin alliance the Houses share.
House Lannister holds a great amount of valuable land, but they lack the strength to protect it, especially if they can’t redirect Tyrell. In addition to the threat posed by Tyrell, Lannister has to mind the pesky threats posed by a dangerous Greyjoy and a possible southern incursion from the Starks.
Euron Crow’s Eye is now King of Salt and Rock, having attacked and conquered the Shield Islands. The Ironborn now control these vital islands, just miles off the coast of the heartland of the Reach and near the Tyrell seat of Highgarden.
The western seas belong entirely to Greyjoy, and they possess the ability to strike wherever they want, from the northern-most area to the southern-most, all within a single turn. However, though they have formed an “attack bridge,” they don’t necessarily have the ground units to take advantage of it. In the meantime, Greyjoy make a powerful potential ally and will likely have their choice of allegiance in early conflicts.
The majority of Mace Tyrell’s forces have marched east to fight the war and sit camped outside of Storm’s End and Maidenpool. House Tyrell’s forces now flank and outnumber the Lannisters at King’s Landing. Meanwhile, Tyrell’s massive fleet has sailed to lay a grueling siege to Dragonstone, but the massive Greyjoy invasion of their homeland has presented Tyrell a tough decision: wait out two difficult and lengthy sieges or retreat westward to defend their home.
Though House Tyrell starts the scenario with plenty of resources and areas, their home areas are vulnerable and isolated from the majority of their forces. Accordingly, House Tyrell must decide immediately if it’s worthwhile to press its sieges. If they do, they’ll likely sacrifice their valuable western holdings, but retreating to defend their home areas may prove a costly waste of energy.
House Martell continues to observe patiently. The only major House to have escaped the war unscathed, Martell is now perfectly primed to mop up the remains of the other weakened Houses, and their fortifications in the mountain passes along their northern border may signal a coming storm.
Even so, Martell may be more than happy to sit tight a while longer and let the other houses tear each other apart.
War has ravaged the land of Westeros, but there’s still no end in sight. Head to our webstore to order your copy of the A Dance with Dragons scenario, and experience A Game of Thrones: The Board Game in a whole new way!