Thursday, March 25, 2010
Battles of Westeros - Random Scenarios, Alternate Commander cards and more!
Characters in A Song of Ice and Fire are many things, incestuous, kingslayer, childkiller and commander of the Kingsguard (and that is just four names you could give to Jaime!) To represent multiple sides of certain characters, two Stark and two Lannister characters have 2 different commander cards.
For example, Gregor Clegane takes form as two different titles. One title is something along the lines of the Ravager (I am not positive on what the name was and seem to recall that the final name may not decided yet). This title involves a Gregor with a character ability allowing him to burn buildings, catapults, etc. Rob even hinted that this Gregor could set fires that would rage uncontrolled across a battlefield. Gregor's second title is "The Mountain." He cannot be "The Mountain That Rides" because his miniature is not mounted. The Mountain is apparently the toughest character in the game to eliminate as he has four defense (that means four successes need to be rolled to capture, more than most units even roll).
I believe that Jaime is the other Lannister chracter with two cards. Robb is one of the Stark characters with two titles. Hopefully the Hopeless Gamer can remember the other Stark character with two titles as I am drawing a blank.
Battles of Westeros includes custom cards for creating random scenarios, no expansion needed. Each side has a separate stack of cards representing each commander available to that side (including two each for the characters with two titles I believe). These cards contain three pieces of information; the commander's name, a list of units and terrain.
Each player chooses cards representing, for example, two commanders and removes those two cards from the scenario generator deck. Next, each player shuffles the remaining scenario cards and draws the top two cards. The units on these two cards are the units composing that player's army. Finally, each player draws two more cards and pulls the terrain pieces shown on the cards. These terrain pieces will be placed during setup. Rules governing placement require that terrain be placed so far away from edges and set up zones. No river terrain pieces are included on the scenario cards as a complete river would not likely be feasible with terrain from only 1 card.
Tough choices are made when choosing your commanders as the biggest/baddest commanders also have the best units on their cards. This combination of best commanders with best units acts as a limiting factor, preventing certain imbalances that would happen if the best units and commanders were combined. Do you pick the best commanders or choose other commanders and hope the best units are drawn?
Future expansions will include cards for those commanders to increase the options available. It may even be possible that we will see mercenary factions or the ability to combine certain factions.
Other Bits and Pieces
This game would not be from Fantasy Flight Games if it didn't contain some additional quality pieces. Cardboard pieces representing tents, catapults buildings are included with Battles of Westeros. I know Rob is very excited to see how fans will use these pieces beyond the scenarios included with the base game. (This excitement BTW is why I love FFG games. Rob is definitely a true gamer at heart.) The prototypes look good, so I am really excited about what the final product will look like.
The board itself was designed with expansion in mind. The double-sided board is designed to allow a second board to be connected along either the short or long sides. It also appears likely that you could put four boards together for a gigantic battle.
This topic will be discussed further in the ten questions article The Hopeless Gamer is working on, but I wanted to add one comment. I asked Rob when I could expect an expansion that was a standalone game compatible with Battles of Westeros containing The Night's Watch, Wildings and Others. Rob basically told me it was more likely I would be able to fly after being tossed off a tower by Jaime than to see such an expansion, but he did not rule out the possibility that we might see some or all of those factions in separate expansions (albeit likely in the far future).
Make sure to check back soon for a special edition of Ten Questions where we count as well as the Big Ten (there are 11 teams FYI).