Thursday, 4 May 2017

A Game of Thrones the Card Game Watchers on the Wall deluxe expansion unboxing

Its that time again when Fantasy Flight Games releases a nice faction themed Deluxe box for A Game of Thrones the card game.  So far we have had Lannisters and Stark, so now its the turn of the Nights Watch, but as always you still get cards for all factions and other goodies too, so its well worth picking up if you don't only play Nights Watch.

When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits the Iron Throne?”
–Old Bear Mormont, A Game of Thrones

At the northern edge of the Seven Kingdoms, there is the Wall. Built from massive blocks of ice and guarded by ancient, forgotten spells, it towers over 700 feet tall, forbidding entry to all who dwell beyond. A wall is only as strong as its defenders, and here, those defenders are the Night’s Watch. In the Night’s Watch, all men are brothers. Knights, lords, and the brothers of kings rub shoulders with slavers, murderers, and the scum of Westeros. Their task is grim and cold and thankless—no songs will ever be sung for them. Yet their vigilance is all that protects the southern lands from wildlings and the Others.
Travel north and join the Night’s Watch with the Watchers on the Wall deluxe expansion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game! Within this expansion, the Night’s Watch explores new and existing themes, as you find new ways to defend the Wall, new ways to conscript your opponent’s characters, and plenty of rewards for focusing on the three branches of the Night’s Watch: Rangers, Stewards, and Builders. Along with the nameless men who swell the ranks of the Night’s Watch, you’ll find new versions of iconic characters from throughout the saga, including Jon Snow, Old Bear Mormont, Maester Aemon, and Samwell Tarly.

And although the focus of this expansion rests on the Night’s Watch, you’ll find two new non-loyal cards for every other faction, expanding your options for any alliance. You’ll also receive an assortment of neutral cards portraying the Night’s Watch’s most common enemies, the Wildlings. With seven new plots (one loyal to the Night’s Watch) rounding out the expansion, Watchers on the Wall offers new pathways to victory for every deck.

so lets pop it open, and take a look at the new cards we will get.

You get a little sheet with some new sample deck lists if you want to try them out, and packs of cards.  You as always get 3 copies of each card to help out with deck building. and provide new options. 
We get a new version of Jon Snow.  cost 7, strength 6 with military and intrigue icons and stealth too.  He also has a handy reaction that after you win a challenge hes participating in, you can either stand all attacking wildling characters (good if hes attacking with them) or stand all defending Nights Watch characters (good i hes defending with them)  You can only do it once per phase, but its great to shut down a challenge totally and be fresh for the others.

Bowen Marsh is a 6 cost 4 strength card with intrigue and power icons.  He also increases your reserve by 1, and during intrigue challenges each steward you control gains insight making them a bit more versatile too.
Another new versionof a core set favourite, Old Bear Mormont.  (also winner of art of the pack from me)  He costs 6, and has 5 strength, military and power icons.  After you win a challenge in which he is participating choose a non unique card in your opponents discard pile and put it into play under your control, very thematic too as i imagine him marshaling them to the wall.

Cotter Pyke is cost 5, strength 5 with military and intrigue icons and stealth, and can, if a winter plot is revealed give another character stealth too.

Ser Denys Mallister is cost 4, strength 4 with military and power icons, and really shows his defensive role with his ability that he gains renown whilst defending.

Ser Jaremy Rykker is a 4 cost 3 strength card with military and power icons, and he gives all other rangers power icons too, so very useful to make sure you have versatility in your cardpool.
Maester Aemon is cost 5 strength 4 with only intrigue icon, but he does have an interrupt.... When the challenge phase ends, choose and opponent and a challenge type that has not been initiated against you this phase, then that player must satisfy the claim of that challenge as if you where the winning opponent.  Really forces your opponent to go for all 3 types a turn for fear of being hit.

Grizzled Miner is pricey at cost 5, with only power icon, but he has strength 4, and he gets cheaper for each attachment or location you control, so later in game can be a real strong cheap card to bring out.
Castle Black Mason is a 4 cost 4 strength card witht eh power icon, and an action.  Kneel 2 builder characters to search the top 10 cards of your deck for a location of attachment to add to your hand.

Grenn is a 3 cost 3 strength card with only the military icon.  His reaction is after you win a challenge he was involved in, move 1 power from the losing faction card to an attacking nights watch character. 2 if the character is standing, so if you use Jon Snow to stand them all.. you can strip their power easily.
Pyp is 3 cost, 3 strength with a military icon. After you win a challenge he is involved in another nights watch character can gain insight until the end of the turn.

Samwell Tarly, is cost 3, strength 2 with only the intrigue icon, but he can be pretty handy as when hes in a challenge, all other non steward characters count their text box as blank nullifying some of those scary opponents powers.
Seasoned Woodsman is 2 cost, 2 strength with only the power icon, but if you give him an attachment you can gain a gold or draw a card.

Builder at the wall is 1 cost, 1 strength with power icon, and h can knelt in the marshaling phase to reduce the cost of the next attachment or location you play.
Satin is a 2 cost 1 strength character with the intrigue icon.  He does let you choose and stand another steward character after he is knelt though, so really handy to keep Jon snow up and in the fight longer.

Lost Ranger is 2 cost 4 strength with the military icon.  He does however have the interrupt that at he end of the challenges phase if you do not control any other rangers you must sacrifice him, so the cheap cost for strength has a flaw, but with planning can be mitigated.
The new gift is a 2 cost location that lets you kneel a steward in the marshaling phase to gain a gold, and/or kneel a steward in the challenges phase to draw a card.

Abandoned Stronghold is a 2 cost location that as action is knelt.  You then choose a defending character that gets +X where X is the number of builders you control, so it can really pump up your troops if needed.
Queenscrown is a 1 cost location that as action is knelt to reveal the top 3 cards of an opponents deck.  Choose 1 character revealed that way and put it into the players discard pile, and the other on the bottom of the opponents deck.

Catapult on the wall is a 3 cost attachment that is knelt along with the character to choose and kill an attacking character with strength 4 or lower but the character cannot stand in the standing phase, but potentially can with other methods!
Ghost is a 2 cost direwolf attachment for stark or Nights Watch only.  He has the interrupt that when the attached character would be killed, return ghost to your hand to save them, really useful for keeping Jon Snow alive, as he is going to be a big part of the theme deck for Nights Watch

Sworn to the watch is a 0 cost attachment that gives the character the Nights Watch faction symbol, and some nice traits too.  If they have military they get ranger, intrigue gains steward, and power gains builder, so its possible to get a character with a load of traits, that all then synergise with the other cards of the deck.
Now my Watch Begins is a 2 cost event that lets you pinch a character with strength 5 or less when they are placed into the opponents discard pile, and place them into play under your control. Really useful, and very much in theme.

I shall win no glory is a 0 cost event that is a reaction.  When a challenge is initiated against you kneel 3 builders, rangers, or stewards to end the challenge immediately.

The other houses get new cards too.  House Baratheon gets Marya Seaworth, 4 cost, with 3 strength intrigue and power icons she also has the reaction, after a character is bypassed with stealth pay 1 gold to kneel it.  useful when you are attacking to pull down threats.

Black Betha is a 2 cos location that gives Ser Davos (if you control him) renown,
It also has an action, kneel the Black Betha to choose an attacking character that gets +X strength where X is the number of kneeling characters the defending player controls, so very powerful for later in the phase.

The Lannisters get... There are no men like me, a 1 cost event that as action lets you choose a knight character who then does not kneel when declared as an attacker in a military challenge.

Ulf son of Umar is a clansman, at cost 5 with 4 strength military and intrigue icons.  He also has a reaction that makes him a must in a clansman themed deck.  After a clansman enters play, ulf gets +x strength where x is that characters strength, so he can become a monster!
The Greyjoys get the Saltwife, who costs 2 with 1 strength and a power icon, and also has the challenge action, that you can sacrifice them to choose a character, and until the end of the phase that character can not be declared as a defender.

Raiding the bay of Ice is a 0 cost event that can be played after you win a challenge as the attacker.  Kneel a warship location to choose a non limited location controlled by the losing player, and place it on the top of their deck.  Great if its an expensive one, as you know what card they will draw, and how much they will pay to get it back out again.
House Martell get the Southron Messenger, a 3 cost 2 strength card with intrigue and power icons, and also ambush 5, should you wish to use it.  That does come in handy though, as if he enters play during a challenge, choose a participating character with less than 2 challenge icons, and return them to their owners hand.  Very useful to clear out a way to win the challenge, and make them pay to bring him back out again later on.

Lingering Venom is a 0 cost attachment that can be triggered after you lose a challenge.  Place a venom token on the card, and then check, and if at any point the attached characters strength is equal to or lower then the number of venom tokens on the card, kill it.  Brutal, and sneaky like Martell.
House Stark get Jeyne Pool, 2 cost, 1 strength with intrigue and power icons.  She can be sacrificed during marshaling to return a lady from your discard pile to your hand.

Summer is a 1 cost attachment direwolf, that can only go on a unique Stark character.  You get 2 different actions.  1st.. you can kneel the attached character to have it participate in a military challenge on your side, great if they maybe don't have military icons, 2nd action.. pay 1 gold to attach summer to a different character, so you can bounce her around to get the best use.
House Tyrell get ser Jon Fossoway, who is 4 cost, 4 strength with military and intrigue icons, and if his strength is boosted to 5 he also gains renown.

The honeywine is a 2 cost location that gives you the reaction, after you win a challenge by 5 or more, the Honeywine gains a power, great as its getting to 15 power that wins the game, so the more ways to get it the better.
The Targaryens get the hugely powerful Dothraki Honor Guard.  It only costs 5 for a 10 strength card with military and power icons, but it gets -1 strength for each card in your hand, but can still be hugely powerful at the right moments.

Plaza of pride is a 1 cost locaion that has a kneel action that lets you discard a card from your hand to stand a character with cost X or less. X is 3 higher then the the printed cost of the discarded card, so a discarded cost of 1 lets you stand a 4 cost card.
The Neutrals get some love too....  Dalla is a 5 cost character with intrigue and power icons, and after a wildling character enters play draw a card, so very good for themed decks.

Rattleshirt is a 6 cost 5 strength character with military and power icons, and if he attacks alone, characters without attachments can not be declared as defenders.
Crow killers is a 3 cost character with 2 strength, military and intrigue icons and they do not kneel when declared as an attacker against an opponent whose reserve is higher.

The Frozen Shore is a 2 cost location that can be knelt after you win a challenge to stand a wildling for each winter plot revealed.
Weirwood bow is a 1 cost attachment for Nights Watch or Wildlings only, and you kneel it to choose a defending character who then gets -2 strength in the challenge, useful to surprise your opponent.

Scaling the Wall is a 1 cost event that is a reaction for after you win a challenge in which you control a Wildling.  You may then choose a non limited location controlled by the opponent and return it to their hand.
Lastly for neutral cards we have the 2 cost event The last of the Giants, which is a song action that lets you put a neutral card into play, and until the end of the phase it gains intimidate but is then killed at the end of the phase.

We get new plot cards, and plots make such a difference in the game, they are a really important part of building of your deck that is often overlooked.

The nights watch get their own specific one, the fire that Burns.  it has income 4, initiative 6, claim of  0, and reserve of 7. so with no claim you are not doing any damage, but each Nights Watch character you control does not kneel when declared as a defender, so if you need that one round to rebuild a bit this is the card for you.

Retaliation has 4 income, 8 initiative, 2 claim and 4 reserve, but if you win the initiative you must choose and opponent to be first player, but its till a powerful card, just make sure you plan it right.

Whisper Campaign is 4 income, 4 initiative, 1 claim 6 reserve, and ha the forced reaction, after a character without intrigue enters play, kneel them, so again this is all about playing it at the right times.

Called into Service is a 2 income, 0 initiative, 1 claim, 6 reserve card, that when played lets you reveal the top card of your deck, and if its a character put it into play (maybe saving you a lot of gold if its a big one) and if not a character, draw the card and gain 2 gold, so its a gamble, but could play off nicely.

The White Shadows is 5 income, 2 initiative, 1 claim and 6 reserve.  It has the reaction that after a character an opponent controls is killed, put it into play under your control but with a blank text box, and then goes into the owners dead pile at the end of the phase.
Lastly we have Frozen Expanse, which is 4 income, 1 initiative, 1 claim and 6 reserve.  Each character with strength 2 or less cant stand... really good if your opponent is swarming you with low cost characters.

Name Day Tourney is 5 income, 4 initiative, 1 claim and 5 reserve.   After you win a challenge with a Knight characater either attacking, or defending alone, choose a lord or lady you control and have the gain 1 power.  Again great for  getting more power, and power means winning.

The deluxe packs are always great, and dripping in theme as they ae minlay aimed at a single house, but they always include cards that work together, to help give you an idea of the theme, and in this case its a real success, as you delve through the pack finding cards that link to ones you see earlier, giving you some real direction to your deck building, and including cards that are nod backs to earlier ones.  its really going to change the way i play Nights Watch, who always felt like one of the weaker factions, now with these cards they can be right up their, but also have a very distinct style of play, in fact al the houses do, which i really like so you need to learn to play to that factions strengths.

Its good seeing new variants of old characters too as they progress through the story its only right their abilities should change, but of course you are left with the choices to use either or any version, and also looking at the keyword triggers in this pack, as it can make you reevaluate some older cards too.

New plots also massively effect deck building to ensure you are getting the best possible synergy from them, so it makes this pack well worth while even if Nights Watch are not your main faction. 

To learn more about A Game of Thrones the card game second edition take a look here
and check out our articles on Factions and plots to give you an idea of how they play, and take a look at some of the upcoming chapter packs that add more to your game.

Come and join us in all sorts of gaming chat in our Facebook group here, and come follow us on Twitter @rollyoursix join the chat, and tell us about your games!

Head on over to your local game store to pick this up with an RRP of £29.99 it will add plenty to your game even if Nights Watch are not your main faction, but if they are its a MUST BUY.

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