Visions in the Flames: Faction Identities and Cards

We Lannisters do have a certain pride.” - Tyrion Lannister

Pride? Arrogance, some might call it. Arrogance and avarice and lust for power.” - Catelyn Stark

Bannermen, Michael Shinall here, and the visions grow ever bolder as today we are talking about the topic of Faction Identity.

When it came to our 2021 evaluation, there was one key aspect that always had to be referenced when we were looking at modifications or adjustments: does this fit into the Faction’s core identity? If it did, great! If it didn’t, then it needed justification as to why (Approved example being - does this Tactic Card or Ability fall under a specific Commander, who is in turn deviating from the army playstyle?).

As we’ve previously mentioned, this update really consists of a majority “math and numbers” changes more than anything else, but one area that did see some crucial adjustment was Tactics Cards.

The first impact of our evaluations was working to streamline all text across the game, namely on Tactics Cards. While we still note that Tactics Cards can be triggered by literally any gameplay event in the game, the vast majority of them would fall under the same common Timing Windows. Most cards that didn’t, with some minor textual reworking, could also be made to fit into these windows.

By doing this, it streamlined most general Tactics Card effects to falling under the same ten or so triggering events (Unit is attacking, before/after rolling dice, Start of Round/Turn/Activation, etc etc).

Of course, it would have been one thing just to go through and re-format all Tactics Cards, but as we said, this was only partof our full evaluation, and the other aspects had to be addressed as well. Namely, the availability of specific Free Actions and Bonuses.

Tactics Cards had always been intended to supplement battle strategies, but there were a few cases where playing a key card could single-handedly swing the game, either by allowing an uncontrollable play, or, most commonly, allowinga player to recover from a bad play and/or risk with little repercussion. This aspect wasn’t something we enjoyed seeing, as we want players to be rewarded for smart plays and planning, rather than merely relying on a single card or play to save them.

It was with this in mind that moving into 2021 one change to Tactics Cards is there is a marked reduction in the amount of “Free Actions” they allow you to perform. Now, like all our previous talks, we will emphasize that they aren’t gone entirely, and this isn’t a big sweeping reduction in their potency - just removal of key aspects that we felt actually hampered player’s tactical planning and strategies.

Ok, so let’s take a look at some key examples from each of the existing factions, and also talk about howthis all ties back into our original point of Faction Identity.

Lannisters, Subjugation of Power: This is an example of an entirely new card, which has actually replaced Wealth of the Rock. The reasons for this are a greater focuson Lannister’s control elements and denial. While Lannisters do have some degree of “Good defense”, it was never one of their focal points as a faction, but they did have it sprinkled throughout. Most of these elements have been pushed more into the “control and denial” aspects, as seen with the new card here.

Starks, Winter’s Might: Starks are one of the premiere aggression factions, with a focus on becoming more deadly at reduced ranks as well as having some mobility tricks. Winter’s Might has replaced Northern Ferocity as one of those cards, as well as being a key example of the Stark-style: suffering penalties for greater rewards and, as mentioned, becoming very deadly when cornered.

Baratheons, Sustained Assault: Perhaps nothing speaks more to the Baratheon style than this card, which focuses on the faction’s desire to engage in melee and then out-grind their opponent through a protracted combat. This card better aids them in dishing out the offense when they get their proper setup.

Free Folk, Coordination Tactics: Having a diversity of cheap and disposable units is one of the core Free Folk mantras. This card rewards playing for fielding a balanced list and allows one to mix-and-match the various strengths of their Units and Attachments, of which they will have numerous.

Neutrals, Meticulous Planning: Neutrals, with their menagerie of personalities and play-styles, are getting a direct focus on their Commanders, whose cards, more than any other faction, synergize specifically with the units that they prefer running. As a result, the generic Neutral Cards have a greater focus on this singular personality and the benefits surrounding them.

Night’s Watch, The Light That Brings the Dawn: The old Vow mechanic is a key staple in Night’s Watch. I know youprobably got scared cause we said “old” just then, but rest assured, not only are Vows still a thing, but they are more important than ever. All we really did here was remove the unnecessary additional rules text that appeared on each of them as part of our streamlining pass... Oh, and also note that there isn’t a limit on them per unit... Enjoy your Oath, boys!

Targaryens, Swift Reposition: Targaryens are the premiere mobility faction, and this permeates the entire core of their identity... But on that same note, they also carry the most diverse grouping of personalities and commanders in the entire setting. From Khal Drogo to Grey Worm to the Mother of Dragons herself, the raw diversity within this faction is greater than any other. And while this may be more spoilers than we initially intended, we’ll go ahead and say that, to better represent this fact, a key feature of Targaryen Commanders is the addition of a fourth Commander Tactic Card in their deck, which replaces a specific generic one.

So there you have it, bannermen, our look into the roles of Faction Identities moving into the future, and how Tactics Cards will play into those roles! Until next time.

Visions in the Flames: Faction Identities and Cards

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