Games of Thrones #2: LCG Chapter Pack!

Night’s Watchmen, I call upon you all to put aside your desire for scraps of news and video and source material for just a moment and revel in a Game of Thrones release of a different sort!  Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) has been putting out their Living Card Game (LCG) for a number of years now, having started with a collectible card game (think Yu-Gi-Oh or Magic: The Gathering) and evolving it into something without a trading card element, but with incredible depth and strategic complexity that far surpasses either of those two vintage standbys.  This week, those amongst us who have been enjoying this game got a new release: The Banners Gather chapter pack!
The FFG game is going to be the subject of a much greater and more in depth series of Games of Thrones posts wherein I will take you all through the rules, strategy and deckbuilding elements of the game, but for now I hope you can forgive an out of order reveal of the cards in the new pack that just hit the stores. 
An LCG is similar to a Trading Card Game, you collect the cards and build a deck out of your collection in advance of a game, then play against one or more opponents seeking some victory condition.  The way that an LCG is different is in the collectability aspect that has frustrated and angered so many players of Magic: The Gathering.  In an LCG, there are no mythic rares, there are no chase uncommons, there are only preconstructed Chapter Packs.  In a Chapter Pack you get three copies (the deckbuilding limit) each of the twenty unique cards that are included in the set.  Everyone gets the same 60 cards, and nobody gets left behind in the lottery.
FFG just began their most recent cycle of Chapter Packs, entitled the Kingsroad.  A cycle is a thematically related set of six chapter packs that are released monthly or bimonthly until the cycle is finished, then there is usually a break of a few months while people digest the new cards and the metagame (Literally: Game within the game. Also: the decks that are played most often and their competitive value for tournament players) settles down.  Earlier this year, we had the Song of the Sea cycle which introduced a new mechanic, as well as 120 cards (20 each in six chapter packs), that have shaken up the Game of Thrones metagame in huge ways.
The Kingsroad cycle has been described as a “Throwback” cycle; the game designers are using these chapter packs to flesh out some old mechanics that were seen once and then abandoned in favour of newer, shinier things. The cycle is set on Westeros (whereas the previous two cycles were set principally on Essos and the Oceans, respectively), and is looking to go back to the basics in order to give players a new way to play with the older parts of their collections.
In this post, I am going to show you the cards and provide you with a short blurb about the card, perhaps something that is interesting about the card, the character/location/event described thereupon, or maybe a way that I would like to use the card to supplement one of my own strategies.  This is not going to be a tournament review of the set, because I am not a tournament grinder who can see all of the tiniest applications of each of these cards.  I just want to give you guys a taste of this really great game that most of you I’m sure don’t know.

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Here’s you Wednesday #gameofthrones roundup!

Good afternoon Night’s Watchmen!

It’s been about a week since the blog has been updated, and there has been a bit of news since I’ve been absent (please forgive my absence, I’m moving in a week and that is taking all of my ‘me time’).  For the foreseeable future I suspect that this blog will be updated more sporadically with larger updates. Once my move is complete, however, I will do my best to gear back up.
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What a slow #gameofthrones news week!

Happy weekend Night’s Watchmen!

I’ve been keeping my eyes and ears to the ground looking for any scrap of News of Ice and Fire, but really outside of the announcement that season three of Game of Thrones managed to hit over 14 million viewers the only news has been Time Warner CEO coming out to variety magazine and suggesting that they are particularly proud of the piracy of Game of Thrones online.

Amazon revealed their alternate packaging for the season three bluray packages available in the US, Germany, Italy, France, the UK, and Spain , a three dimensional dragon against an embossed white facade.

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I will admit, it looks awesome (even at over a hundred dollars) , but I can’t ever see a way to make it functional in a dvd stand. Pass.

It looks like filming is set to begin in Croatia by the end of the week, with characters being spotted on location, including at least one new actress in costume. This news along with cast sightings in Ireland are thanks to fan blog winteriscoming.

Also in the news is a nearly inevitable split for two of the shows more popular stars, Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie have broken up according to multiple sources. Hand’s up if news of Jon Snow and Ygritte breaking up surprised you. It almost makes you speculate whether Kit and Emilia were clasping hands as friends or if there was something more brewing at the TCA’S a few weeks ago.

This was a bad week for Thrones news capped off by a bad weekend for me personally. I wasn’t able to get the Games of Thrones post done, but I hope to have a good one for you next weekend, it won’t be a weekly segment but I hope to at least make sure it is semi-regular.

With luck, filming will bring with it more news from the set and as the show gets a little closer to season four exciting things will begin happening once more in the Thronesiverse. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open hoping to keep bringing you the best news as quickly as possible!

As always, please feel free to comment below or send us a tweet or email!

Big weekend in the #gameofthrones universe!

Good afternoon Night’s Watchmen,

Sorry for the lack of updates the past two days, this weekend was a holiday weekend where I am and there was no major breaking news to rip me away from relaxing in the summertime.

That said, this weekend was not without big news as the Television Critics Awards were held Saturday night, and to the surprise of nobody Game of Thrones brought home top honors in the “Outstanding Achievement in Drama” category.  Our favourite fantasy epic beat out fellow nominees The Americans, Breaking Bad, Homeland, and Mad Men.  Sadly, the team didn’t repeat as best overall as Breaking Bad took that award.  That’s okay, Walter White only has 8 episodes left, and Game of Thrones will still be around for years.  There will be plenty more awards for the show in the coming years!

Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke were on hand at the TCA’s show, the former of whom went on the record to defend the surprising and controversial casting of Pedro Pascal as Oberan Martell, The Red Viper.  A lot of controversy surrounds the casting of the Chilean actor in the role as many fans and bloggers feel he does not look the part.  In Ice and Fire, Dorne and its people are very reminiscient of the Arabian Penninsula region and its people and many feel Pascal is too light skinned to portray what is very clearly (to them) a dark skinned prince of some pseudo Arabia or Eastern African land.

Personally, I’ve always imagined the Dornish as being Mediterranean more than African or Arabian.  The Spanish, Italian and Greek cultures may be very different, but the immense sun exposure has given all of the Mediterranean peoples an olive complexion that a Chilean actor should be able to pull off perfectly.  It would appear that George RR Martin would agree with me, as he said on his blog recently.  It has been said that Pascal absolutely smashed his audition scene, and I think that it behooves us to trust the producers: casting on this show has been phenominal for three years, there is no reason to believe they would completely drop the ball so suddenly and inexplicably.

While Jon Snow and Dany were living the life in Hollywood over the weekend, preparations are underway in Dubrovnik, Croatia for filming to begin in two weeks.  Dubrovnik is used as the location for the Kings Landing scenes; and in season four as much as any other, Kings Landing will be of particular importance.  Cast and crew have been overheard expecting to be filming in Croatia for approximately a month, which is twice as long as filming in Iceland.  Undeniably, Kings Landing will be the center of Game of Thrones just as much as it is the political and geographical center of Westeros.

I’d say that is a pretty good rundown of the weekend’s news in the Thronesiverse, as always please feel free to comment below or tweet at us @castinthedark.

Games of Thrones #1: #GameofThrones Ascent

Happy weekend Night’s Watchmen!

 

Today I will be starting a new regular segment entitled Games of Thrones, where I will be looking at one of the many different games out there inspired by the Song of Ice and Fire.   We will be looking at video games, board games, card games.  Virtually any game I can find and test out is fair game.  I’ll also gladly take your suggestions for new games to try out for this segment.

 

This week I want to take a look at Disruptor Beam’s Game of Thrones: Ascent, which is a browser-based game that I found on Facebook but it can be played online via Disruptor Beam’s homepage.  Essentially Game of Thrones: Ascent (Hereafter: GOTA) is a click-farming game, where you make choices about your character’s actions by clicking on options when they are given to you.  Each action will require time to complete and you will have to wait until a given action is complete before beginning another one.  Even more exciting than the gameplay engine is the fantastic art they have in the game.  Everything from the wallpapers to the in game quest dialogue is polished and looks like it could be a $19.99 steam game without much trouble.

 

Game of Thrones Ascent

A Screenshot from Game of Thrones Ascent by Disruptor Beam Games. Used without Permission

 

This game is different from other click farms, such a Dawn of the Dragons or Emerald Empire in that you are not limited in this game by an energy bar.  Actions don’t cost ‘stamina points’ that refill over time, instead you can playat your pace, taking on longer actions when you have free time or are going away from your computer for a while, and taking on shorter actions when you want to keep playing for a while.  I’ve tried both of the games above, and while both of them have enjoyable aspects, the fact that they simply ask you to mash buttons over and over again until your stamina bar is empty left me feeling dissatisfied.  The variety of action that you undertake in GOTA (constructing buildings to improve your lands, hiring sworn swords in order to fight off brigands for you) gives this game a lot more depth than I found in any of the other click farm games I’ve played over the years.

 

The depth of the game is also expanded by the number of choices you can make as you play the game.  Early on, you are asked to select a background for your character which can provide bonuses to battle skill or your wealth.  This simple choice can have a huge impact on the game later on, and a player who is more interested in having the best character might choose a different background than a player who is interested in building a character that looks like them.  It is this level of pseudo customizability that brings out a bit of an RPG element to the tired old click farm game structure.

 

I haven’t played much more than a few hours of this game, but already I know that GOTA is a game that I could be playing for months.  As long as Disruptor Beam keeps putting out regular content and fixing the various bugs that keep popping up, I could see them having a winner on their hands.

 

Next time around, I’m going to be taking a look at Fantasy Flight Games’ “Battles of Weteros: A Battlelore Game” that I fouund at my LGS this afternoon for quite the bargain!

#Gameofthrones dvd/br alternate covers revealed!

HBO has announced the results of the fan poll they ran last month to determine the three alternate covers for the Game of Thrones season three DVD and Blu-Ray boxes sets.

And the winners are… (insert drum roll here please)

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To the surprise of absolutely nobody the winners are Stark, Lannister and Targaryen! Personally I would pick up the Stark box, but it wouldn’t match the normal boxes I have for seasons one and two.

Game of Thrones season three will be released on February 18, 2014. This is the first chance that a majority of fans will have to watch the show legally, as outside of owning an HBO subscription and watching live there are no ways to view the episodes without piracy.

And as I’m sure everyone is already aware, Thrones is by a good margin the most pirated show on television.

What boxed set will you be picking up in February as you prepare to marathon view the show ahead of season four?

Some Casting News!

Robert Kelly Associates;, the agency that represents Joseph Gatt had put a page on their website yesterday indicating that the actor has been cast in Game of Thrones to appear in season four.  While that site has since taken the news down, Gatt’s facecbook page indicates that he has finished filming in Iceland and will appear in four episodes of the series.

Joseph Gatt

Joseph Gatt, used without permission

Gatt has been working steadily in television and film since 2008. He appeared in the films Star Trek: Into Darkness and Thor.

Speculation is that Gatt will be playing Styr, the Magnar of Thenn.  Styr is a wildling leader,  one of the lieutenants of Mance Rayder and “Lord” of a clan that has joined Mance’s army.  His shooting location and number of episodes seems to confirm this, but I’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.

As always, please leave your comments belolw, or tweet/email the blog with your questions or comments anytime!