News for January 2011
Make Them Laugh 27
A Card of the Week for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game
A Game of Thrones LCG | Published 13 January 2011

Hello and Welcome Back, Loyal A Game of Thrones Fans!

We hope you've enjoyed the previews of Brotherhood Without Banners. We now move on from Hollow Hill to the ancient streets of Oldtown. Of course, aside from neutral Maesters, in-House Maesters, their Chain attachments, and the new Maester-centric agenda, there will be lots of other cards in this cycle for players of all Houses and stripes. Case in point, we are proud to present this preview of the card designed by 2010 Joust World Champion, Alec Irwin. The Laughing Storm will appear in the first Chapter Pack of the cycle, Gates of the Citadel.

Without any further ado, take it away, Alec!

The Goals

During my Gen Con mini-interview with Fantasy Flight Games, I mentioned that my plan for next year was to make the most broken, over-powered card possible and run three copies of it. Unfortunately, Nate [French] doesn’t just let you waltz in and ruin the environment in one fell swoop. Struggling with these draconian restraints, I set out with the intent to make something that would see a lot of play, in a variety of decks.

The first step in the design process is picking what House you want to support. I chose to support my very favorite house, Baratheon. Having picked the House, I decided to make a character. This presented an obstacle: most of the good Baratheon characters already exist. I didn’t want to make a new version of an existing character, so I started thinking outside the box, er, books. A look into Westeros’ past provided the character. In George R.R. Martin’s short story "The Hedge Knight", Dunk receives support in a grand melee from the mighty warrior Lyonel Baratheon, more popularly known as The Laughing Storm.

I had two main goals for The Laughing Storm: he had to provide some kind of hand advantage, and he had to be as inexpensive as possible. There are many powerful four-cost cards in Baratheon that are generally considered to be auto-include, and I didn’t want my card being overlooked in favor of one of these.

The Design

My first draft was, to put it lightly, grossly over-powered. He cost three gold, had four strength, renown, and let you draw a card whenever he claimed a power for renown. His strength also went up by one for every power he claimed. And he had both the Noble and War crest. Needless to say, he was cut down pretty hard.

My next idea was to change his ability to let him, upon challenge victory, draw a card or claim a power, but also vigilant so that you could exploit both options. Again, this was too much, so we added “Limit once per choice per phase.” By this point, though, he was neutered to the point of being useless, so I decided to try giving him hand advantage in a non-standard way.

I suggested to Nate that he protect your hand directly – preventing cards from being discarded at all. Nate tempered it with “while standing,” which I tried to counter with vigilant, and was later changed in order reduce the chances of a full phase of attacks followed by virtual immunity to Intrigue challenges.

Nate then suggested we make him strength two or make him an Ally. Fearing Venomous Blade and Varys, I suggested a keyword other than vigilant. Nate declared that he should be Deadly, and I agreed. I mean, look at the art – that other guy is like “Help meeeee!”

The Implementation

And thus, The Laughing Storm was finished. He’s a solid defender – protecting your characters from Deadly as well as your hand from Intrigue, but also a solid attacker (adding the threat of death to power challenges). He supports the Knight agenda, helping Baratheon draw after all. Finally, and most importantly, he’s inexpensive. At three gold, he’s not heavy on the gold curve, and I believe he’s affordable in any deck looking to protect its draw.

Long story short, The Laughing Storm is awesome and you all should use seven of him in every deck ever. Trust me, nobody will notice.

Thanks Alec!

So that wraps it up for this week's spoiler. Hopefully we've given you plenty to talk about here and on the A Game of Thrones forums (where Alec, too, lurks). Until next time!

Based on George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, playable by 2-4 players, brings the beloved heroes, villains, locations, and events of the world of Westeros to life through innovative game mechanics and the highly strategic game play. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Chapter Pack expansions to the core game.

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Comments (27)

Published: 1/15/2011 11:25:45 AM

Completely disagree with the need to go with a 'Legendary' character.  There are still plenty of characters from the 'current' time period in the books that don't have an LCG legal card yet.  Could have made this any one of the King's Men who assisted Davos (Ser Andrew Estermont, Bastard of Nightsong), Lords/Bannermen to Renly or Stannis (Celtigar, Ser Alester Florent), or the Rainbow guard characters who dont' have versions yet (Bryce Caron, or Ser Robar Royce).  Bryce Caron probably would have been my choice. 

As a more Ned type player, a little disappointed there. Would prefer that if FFG is going to go with the "Legendary" characters, at least continue/start with Aerys/Rhaegar/Robert's Rebellion time period (Since we have Rhaegar and Arthur Dayne already) & flesh that out before opening another can of worms. 

Published: 1/14/2011 3:01:30 PM

destroying intrigue?!?! there are 3 cards in the game that do more to int challenges then this guy and intrigue obviously isn't a viable challenge currently, right?

Published: 1/14/2011 1:56:35 PM

How about we get and use the card before we all start to panic about how overpowered it is. I don't think it will be as bad as everyone is assuming it will be.

Senator Cain
Published: 1/14/2011 10:10:14 AM

Way to make an overpowered character that doesn't even exist in the books that matter.  Thanks for destroying intrigue. Uhg.

Published: 1/13/2011 8:07:09 PM

the for r'hllor thing... that could get, um, a little ridiculous indeed, even if the val interaction wasn't bad enough... good lord.

Published: 1/13/2011 4:54:01 PM

 Wow. Umm.... Val needed more reasons to be played for sure.


On the other hand, I wouldn't play that together in my Baratheon deck. I want my cards discarded.

Published: 1/13/2011 3:40:26 PM

Yes JJ; however, I'll say that Baratheon isn't really known for it's resets or kill/discard character removal effects, and the "drawback" with NE can be played around in many situations (i.e. Valar lets you kill TLS so that his ability is no longer effective; kneel him for or before your military challenge, etc.)

Published: 1/13/2011 3:32:33 PM

I would think so, so it could hurt you too.

Published: 1/13/2011 3:23:30 PM

If this works to keep cards in your hand with Val, would it also keep you from discarding your hand to cancel Narrow Escape?

Published: 1/13/2011 3:20:59 PM

Yeah, the card is great.  As for the Val combo, it will need to be adressed.  In my opinion, Val has needed a bit of a wording cleanup for a while.  This would be a good op for that.

Published: 1/13/2011 3:01:52 PM

 you are right dobbler. Let's say that after years of kneeling I hoped other solutions :-) Anyway for sure like it is printed, I'll have to restart playing distraction heavily. Or Milk of the poppey. Boring :-)

Published: 1/13/2011 2:48:17 PM

 Really, what this guy does it just give players another reason to stick with Lanny Kneel.  If you can just keep him knelt, you have nothing to worry about.

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