A Devious Plot
Preview the Plot Cards of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
“Even now they plot against you. New levies have been raised and can be seen drilling outside the city walls, warships are being built, envoys have been sent to New Ghis and Volantis in the west, to make alliances and hire sellswords.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords
At the center of the treacherous game of thrones lie the plots of knights and servants, kings and queens, warriors and courtiers. The ambitions of these men and women shape the future of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms as surely as any massive battle or assassin’s blade. A conspiracy may take years to reach its full fruition, raising one House to greatness and condemning another to utter ruin. The plots that drive A Song of Ice and Fire provide the same drive in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition.
In our first preview, lead designer Nate French discussed the main concepts behind the second edition of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, and today, we’ll delve into the plot cards that are so crucial to the game!
Planning for the Future
In A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition, you use two decks of cards to lead your faction to victory. The first deck contains the characters, locations, attachments, and events that you play to win challenges and claim power. We’ll examine challenges and characters in much greater detail in our next preview. Your second deck, however, contains the seven plot cards that allow you to marshal new armies, surprise your opponents, and bring you closer to claiming the Iron Throne.
These plot cards are by far the most important cards in the game. They are schemes, edicts, declarations of war, and unexpected tactics, and they provide the great design that surrounds the actions of your characters and your struggle for power. At the beginning of each game round, you and your opponent look at all of your available plot cards and choose one to use for the coming round. Once a plot has been selected, you cannot choose it again until you’ve used all of your plots. Because of this, you must carefully manage your plot deck to ensure that you always have the right plot for the given situation.
Anatomy of a Plot
The plot that you select each round is critical for several reasons. It contributes several important numbers that determine income, initiative, and the power of your challenges, as well as offering a powerful effect that can give you a sudden advantage. The first number on the plot card is the gold value, which represents the gold dragons that swell your coffers for this round. For example, Wildfire Assault (Core Set, 26) has a gold value of four, as you can see below. If you choose Wildfire Assault as your plot card at the beginning of the round, you will collect four gold dragons that you can spend to play characters, locations, attachments, and events.
The second number on your plot is the initiative value. The player with the highest initiative chooses which player will act first throughout the round. Because Wildfire Assault is a surprising tactic, it has a high initiative value, which means there’s a good chance that you will select the first player. In some rounds, you want to be the first player and strike quickly to weaken your opponent before he can make challenges. In other situations, it’s more advantageous to allow your opponent to go first. For example, your defenses may be insurmountable and your opponent may choose to make no challenges since you could easily defeat his forces.
The third number on the plot card is your claim, which determines how powerful your challenges are later in the round. Like most plots, Wildfire Assault has a claim value of one, but some, such as The Winds of Winter (Core Set, 25) have a higher claim. We’ll examine claim and challenges in much more detail in our next preview!
The final number on your plot card is the reserve value in the lower right-hand corner. At the end of the round, if you have more cards in hand than your reserve, you must discard cards until your hand size meets your reserve. Thus, if Wildfire Assault is your revealed plot and you have more than six cards in your hand at the end of the round, you must discard down to six cards. The reserve value can fluctuate dramatically between different plots and it’s always important to keep in mind how many cards you’ll be able to carry over into the next round.
Most plot cards also feature an ability or tactic that shapes the coming round. With Wildfire Assault, you unleash a devastating storm of wildfire against every player. When this plot is revealed, each player must choose up to three characters that he controls. All characters not chosen are killed! If your opponent starts to marshal more characters than you can handle, you may launch a Wildfire Assault to restore some balance. Other plots offer different game-changing effects. For example, if you’re close to victory, you may play A Feast for Crows (Core Set, 2) in an attempt to clinch the victory.
Crafting a Conspiracy
Your plot deck is only seven cards, but they are undoubtedly the most important cards you choose in your battle for the Iron Throne. Your seven-card plot deck may include seven different plots or six different plots with two copies of a single plot. There are countless ways to construct your plot deck, and the same main deck may move in very different directions when paired with different plot decks.
For example, you may choose to fill your plot deck with useful tools to deal with any situation. To this end, you may include Counting Coppers (Core Set, 10) for whenever you run short of cards, Reinforcements (Core Set, 20) to put a powerful character into play from your discard pile, and A Noble Cause (Core Set, 4) to reduce the high cost of your powerful Lord and Lady characters.
Alternatively, your plot deck may focus on controlling how your opponent can operate during the challenges phase. You can lower your opponent’s claim for a specific challenge type with Calm Over Westeros (Core Set, 8), kneel a troublesome character with Filthy Accusations (Core Set, 11), or restrict your opponent’s challenges with the intrigues of A Game of Thrones (Core Set, 3). If your plot deck focuses on accomplishing a specific task, you’ll certainly want to consider including two copies of one of your plots to maintain your advantage across several rounds.
Another option for building a plot deck is to focus on aggression, choosing plots that give you more ways to attack your opponent. For this type of plot deck, higher claim plots like The Winds of Winter find a natural home, as well as plots like A Storm of Swords (Core Set, 5) or A Clash of Kings (Core Set, 1) that make your challenges more numerous and more dangerous.
The types of plot deck listed above are just three possible combinations. Countless more exist, and these plot decks form the heart of your grand plan to conquer Westeros. They support you in your challenges, provide the gold to marshal new cards, and give you ways to surprise your opponents with sudden tactics. In A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, you live and die by your plots.
Enter the Intrigues of Court
No matter how many armies you have at your back, the Iron Throne is never easily attained. If you wish to rule the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, you must form your devious plots and use them to support your characters in their machinations. Gather your fellow conspirators and plot your path to the Iron Throne in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition!
Look for more previews of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game in coming weeks.
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