As High as Honor
House Arryn in the Mother of Dragons Expansion
“A man will tell you poison is dishonorable, but a woman’s honor is different. The Mother shaped us to protect our children, and our only dishonor is in failure.”
–Lysa Arryn, A Storm of Swords
House Arryn is one of the oldest and proudest Houses of Westeros, tracing its lineage back to Hugor of the Hill. During Aegon's Conquest, the Arryns defeated the Targaryen fleet off the coast of Gulltown, and if it had not been for the dragonrider Visenya flying her winged beast to the heart of the Eyrie, the Vale may have remained independent for centuries. While the Arryns bent the knee and remained loyal Wardens of East, their shame and desire for vengeance burned just beneath the surface.
It is small surprise that when Robert Baratheon launched his rebellion, Jon Arryn was one of his greatest allies. United, they roused the other Houses of Westeros and overthrew the Targaryen legacy. Robert named Jon his Hand of the King. But those days of glory are ended, and both Robert and Jon lie cold in the grave. Now, as Westeros goes to war, their House has a chance to raise higher than ever before.
Today, we're proud to offer you a closer look at House Arryn in the Mother of Dragons expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Board Game—now available for pre-order at your local retailer or online through our website!
Wardens of the East
The Vale has remained largely neutral in the chaotic clashes that have sprung up in Westeros since Robert Barartheon’s death. Untouched by war, the knights of the Vale have some twenty thousand to their numbers, while the other Houses of Westeros have been only grown weaker as they declare for this lord or that in the War of the Five Kings. Lysa Arryn, the current head of the House who rules in her son’s stead, is cleverer than that, letting others die on the battlefield while her family remains safe within the Eyrie.
Previously in A Game of Thrones: The Board Game Core Set, the Vale did not belong to a House, merely waiting for a larger force to conquer the Eyrie. Now, with the realm weakened by war, the nobles of this House exert their own agency and enter the fray with a new overlay of the Vale and one of the Bite to further mark their territory at sea. While the ironborn may have the most famous navy in Westeros, even the Targaryens were loath to challenge the Vale in their ports.
Whether you're commanding House Arryn or any other House in A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, you'll be able to exert your naval dominance with new sea order tokens. These blue-hued tokens function identically to standard order tokens, but you can only resolve them on the sea or in ports. By giving you more options for how you command your navies, you're free to reserve some of your orders for your land-based armies.
Kings of Mountain and Vale
Ever since the game was first released, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game has engaged players with its compelling asymmetry that offers each House a unique set of skills and abilities, altering your experience based on which House you control. This continues as House Arryn joins the fray in Mother of Dragons. When you play as House Arryn, you'll find a strong priority placed on defense. Within the ranks of this House you will find plenty of characters who feature fortification icons or become stronger when they are shielded from the brunt of combat. For example, Bronze Yohn Royce has two fortification icons and one sword icon, and Ser Vardis Egen gains fortification icons of his own if your opponent has not committed their strongest forces to this battle.
But these knights have a simple task in defending the seat of House Arryn’s. The Eyrie is considered to be impregnable, and this is reflected in the characters who reside there, like Lysa and Robert Arryn. The matriarch of the House, Lysa Arryn, will defend her seat again and again as long as you can keep her in power—this card returns to your hand after successful defense rather than being discarded. But while Lysa may be a valuable asset, she does not control how House Arryn fights in Mother of Dragons—you do. This is fortunate, as Lysa may disagree with your ability to turn her son into your pawn. If you keep a watchful eye on your opponents, keeping track of the characters they spend, you can sacrifice Robert Arryn to remove the young heir and the lowest strength house card in your opponent’s discard pile from the game entirely. While he may not be powerful or combative in his own right, even the sickliest of lords has his uses, and if your opponent commits their greatest warriors too early, they may find them gone forever.
But while the Eyrie may be nigh impossible to conquer, this does not necessarily help you feed your ambitions for the Iron Throne. You need allies. While a silver tongue may help in this endeavor, you'll find additional bargaining tools among the nobles of the Vale. Anya Waynwood rewards those loyal to you by granting three power tokens to any who support her in combat, so long as she wins the encounter. (The spoils of war go only to the victors, after all.) This, combined with every player's new ability to gift power tokens in Mother of Dragons makes House Arryn a valuable ally to any rival House. All you must do is play the part and bide your time. Once your rivals have grown weak squabbling amongst themselves, you'll be able to fight with the full force of the Eyrie and claim the Iron Throne. And if your words can twist rivals against each other while you remain in the Vale, so much the better.
Defender of the Vale
The words of House Arryn are "As High as Honor," but you are the one who must determine what this means. If duty declares that you must remain loyal to those in power, then rebellion must be wrong. But if your loyalty lies within your own House, with those who have placed their faith in you, then surely you must do whatever is necessary to better their lives and bring prosperity to the Eyrie. If that means claiming the Iron Throne for yourself, then so be it.
Pre-order your copy of Mother of Dragons (VA103) at your local retailer today or on the Fantasy Flight Games website here!
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