I would call last week’s Learn-To-Play Night for the 2nd Edition of the Game of Thrones LCG a success, and in the spirit of providing more people exposure to the game an its concepts, I thought it might be helpful to provide an introduction to the eight factions of 2nd edition, their themes, strengths, and weaknesses.
I will be providing this list in alphabetical order- this isn’t a review, or a countdown of my favorites.
I will also make this as spoiler-free as possible.
So, without further ado, the first four…
At the end of the day, Power is the name of the game in A Game of Thrones. There are only two ways to win a one-on-one game: have your opponent deck out, or collect your 15 Power tokens. Given how relatively little draw power GoT has compared to other card games, you’re much better off trying for the 15 power.
House Baratheon are the undisputed masters of collecting, defending, and manipulating Power. The majority of Baratheon characters carry a Power Challenge Icon, thus enabling them to attack and defend in Power challenges, and cards like The Red Keep and Kingswood give you an edge over the competition.
And while you thus acquire and defend your power, cards like Tobho Mott’s Armory and Chamber of the Painted Table give you significant incentive to invest in the dominance phase. Throw in The Iron Throne, and watch your Power grow.
Hailing from the Iron Islands, the Ironborn of House Greyjoy are fierce raiders, partly inspired by the Vikings of our own history. Gameplay under House Greyjoy emphasizes striking quickly, and striking hard.
Cards like Ahead of the Tide will help you win Initiative, while Iron Fleet Scout and Raiding Longship help you capitalize on it.
Raiding Longship, when used on a single defender, also makes the challenge effectively Unopposed, well then… see what Loot, Asha Greyjoy (Yara, for you HBO folks), and Theon Greyjoy can do for you:
Add to that a host of cards that buff strength, remove defender, and the like, and you’ve got one brutal and efficient fighting force.
Anyone who is at all familiar with any incarnation of this series will be unsurprised to hear that the Lannisters are very good at collecting gold. What’s impressive are the variety of things they can do with that gold.
Military Challenges getting you down? Bring out Ser Jaime Lannister or Ser Gregor Clegane.
Need to drain your opponent’s hand a little faster? Here come Cersei and Tyrion…
Or maybe you just want a giant hammer to pound your enemies with? Well, here he is…
Take up the Lannister banner, and throw money at your problems until they go away.
The Martels often seem like foreigners compared to the rest of Westeros. Their homeland, Dorne, is far to the south, desert-like, and (from the books) they’re also of different ethnic stock. It seems only fitting that their playstyle should be different- and it is.
Normally, you want to will Challenges- how else do you win the game, right? Well, the Martels might make you re-think that strategy.
When the Martels start reacting to losing a challenge, the pain begins. Ghaston Grey launches people back into your hand, Caleotte robs them of their icons, Sunspear raises their claim for counter attack, Unbowed robs your opponent of options, and Vengeance of Elia flips claim to the winner. It’s horrible.
House Martel requires a unique playstyle where you lose a little, only to come back and counter hard, gaining the power you need to win before you opponent fully understand why they haven’t won already.
It is exactly the sort of knife-out-of-nowhere tactics that the Dornish love to employ.
And that is where we draw to a close! Half the Factions down, four more to go tomorrow! Hope you’ve enjoyed the read, and I hope even more that you’ll consider trying the game!