“When the day comes that you raise your banners, half of Westeros will be with you,” Whitebeard promised. “Your brother Rhaegar is still remembered, with great love.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords
Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the upcoming release of The Banners Gather, the first Chapter Pack of the new Kingsroad cycle for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game!
After two cycles of Chapter Packs that carried A Game of Thrones players far from the shores of Westeros, The Banners Gather returns to the Seven Kingdoms, its Great Houses, their lords, their banners, and their traditional strengths. In the Chapter Pack’s sixty new cards (three copies each of twenty individual cards), the Lannisters flaunt their wealth, the Greyjoys seize control of rival locations, and the Targaryens march forward with their attachments and Dragons. Likewise, the Baratheons, Starks, and Martells gain new Strongholds, Tactics, and tricks.
Of course, no House is strong when cut off from its supporters, and The Banners Gather takes a look at the many Bannerman characters who swear their fealty and service to their liege lords. Players will find several new characters with the Bannerman trait, all of whom bring powerful new abilities to their Houses and enable new synergies with the game’s older Bannerman cards.
Meanwhile, as the first Chapter Pack in the Kingsroad cycle, The Banners Gather marks a return to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and its traditions. It is a return to both the game’s classic fantasy themes and to several of its established mechanics. Over the course of its six Chapter Packs, players will find that the Kingsroad cycle is a familiar place, full of recognizable characters, locations, and themes, though each appears new, changed by their participation in the ongoing struggle for the Iron Throne!
Lead Developer Nate French offers more insight into what players can expect from The Banners Gather and the whole Kingsroad cycle.
Lead Developer Nate French on the Kingsroad Cycle
The Kingsroad cycle is centered around the ideas of rebirth, return, reunion, and rejuvenation. It revisits themes from older expansion cycles, and re-imagines those themes in a new manner. It also works to challenge a number of preconceptions people have about “how to play the game,” and it aims to spur new approaches to the metagame in the process. Finally, the cycle takes us “back to Westeros,” meaning that it makes the game feel a little more dangerous, both encouraging and rewarding players for embracing greater levels of risk during both deck-building and actual gameplay.
Each pack in the Kingsroad cycle returns player focus to an established LCG mechanic or idea, then reinvigorates that mechanic, always with a new twist. Bannerman, seasons, shadows, Kingsguard, Night’s Watch, Wildling, and Brotherhood themes all appear, as do cards that offer bonuses to players without agenda cards.
The cycle is light on new rules content, introducing only a single new piece of terminology, the phrase, “cards at your command.” This phrase refers to the total number of cards that a player has in his hand, in play, and in shadows. This terminology allows us to introduce other cards that drive new interactions with the idea of “absolute” or all-encompassing card advantage at a given moment in the game.
Alongside this new and deeper exploration of the meaning of card advantage, the cards in this set have been designed to enable players to explore a different type of advantage, the temporary advantage. Much of the standard approach to A Game of Thrones: The Card Game has been built upon the idea of building up and maintaining permanent advantages: more cards in hand, more income, and more strength on the board. Conversely, a number of Kingsroad cards explore the concept of tempo-based play, in which you can sacrifice permanency for a strong, temporary boost. Strong players will quickly discover many of the natural synergies between these tempo-based cards and the effects based on cards “at your command,” and it will be interesting to see how far players pursue these new mechanics.
–Nate French, Kingsroad Lead Developer
You can look forward to new Bannerman characters, support for your favorite classic mechanics, and cards that engage the absolute advantages of cards “at your command” with the upcoming release of The Banners Gather.
The Banners Gather is due to return players to the classic struggles between the Great Houses of Westeros when the Kingsroad cycle begins in the third quarter of 2013!