“Above the ruins of Ar Noy, the Qohorik rule the river, and below the Sorrows the galleys of Volantis hold sway, but neither city claims the waters in between, so the pirates have made it their own. Dagger Lake is full of islands where they lurk in hidden caves and secret strongholds.”
–Haldon Halfmaester, A Dance with Dragons
Life in Westeros has become deadlier than ever. With the A Song of the Sea cycle and the introduction of the new naval () enhancement, the game’s fleets, Smugglers, and Captains have been able to sail their ships into challenges whenever they please. Is your opponent about to declare Stealth during a Power challenge? You can sail your Fleet from Volantis (Reach of the Kraken, 16) into the challenge before Stealth is declared. Playing a Melee? While your opponents battle each other for board position, you can slip Ser Davos Seaworth (The Great Fleet, 28) into a Military challenge to tilt its outcome in the direction that suits you best…and grab a point of power from his Renown. In short, the enhancement has made challenges less predictable and more volatile, and it takes a skilled captain to smoothly navigate the Challenges phase.
The question is: when the enhancement affords so much versatility to those characters who have it, where does that leave the game’s other iconic figures? Where does it leave those Nedly players who want Eddard to preside over House Stark? What will the Targaryens do when neither their Queen nor their Dragons have the enhancement?
One option is simply to play without it. It’s impossible to deny the enhancement’s impact on the game, but it’s still possible to rely on a deck’s other tricks to turn challenges in its favor. Perhaps your Martells can still maneuver toward victory, despite any early losses, by using The Viper’s Rage (Tales from the Red Keep, 76) and more of their many tricks. Perhaps your aggressive Stark armies will just win initiative and sweep down from the north, killing off your opponent’s characters with No Quarter (Trial by Combat, 82) and Die by the Sword (Lords of Winter, 47) before they can even make an impact.
Another option is to give your unique characters the enhancement whenever it suits you best.
Dagger Lake Galley
As lead developer Damon Stone explained in his introduction to the A Song of the Sea cycle, the enhancement stemmed from a desire to capture the importance of the fleets of Westeros and their portrayal in the naval battles and envoy missions George R.R. Martin describes in the novels of A Song of Ice and Fire. After all, navies free nations from the confines of their coastal borders. They offer mobility. It makes sense that they would allow characters to enter challenges outside the normal timing.
But every navy, no matter its size, is comprised of a number of boats. War galleys or dinghies – if they can sail the seas, they can move key figures from one site to another. And the Dagger Lake Galley (The Captain’s Command, 95) is an inexpensive, non-unique, one-cost Warship that can provide just such mobility to whichever key, unique character you choose. Does Robb Stark need to cross a river to bring death to the Lannisters? Is Tyrion on the wrong side of the Narrow Sea to devise a cunning response to the latest intrigues in King’s Landing? Just hire a Dagger Lake Galley, and sail your characters into the challenges you choose.
It’s worth noting that the Dagger Lake Galley’s action is “Any Phase.” While this means you can trigger it in the Plot phase after a board reset while you avenge your fallen Lucas Blackwood (Gates of the Citadel, 1), it also means, more importantly, that you can trigger it in an Epic phase created by Battle for the Shield Islands (The Great Fleet, 39), allowing your character to attack or defend even while knelt.
What’s good for the gander is good for the goose, and if the new characters from the A Song of the Sea cycle are causing problems for you with their enhancements, then it’s time to mount your counterattack. For just one gold, the Dagger Lake Galley can turn any unique character into a high-impact, one-man (or one-woman) navy.
Pre-Order Your Copy Today
The Captain’s Command is coming soon, so head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy today. The Dagger Lake Galley joins Aurane Waters (The Captain’s Command, 100), the game’s first Prayers, and more characters, locations, and events in a Chapter Pack that’s bound to lend more strength to the enhancement and its place in the battles, intrigues, and power grabs of A Game of Thrones: The Card Game!