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  • Designer Journal presents the weekly musings and ramblings of GoT designer Eric Lang.

    Past Weeks' Entries:
    Loyalty
    by Casey Galvan
    4/7/2005
    Greetings again, everyone! First off, I'd like to thank all the players who came to the community chat last week. Eric and I really appreciate the fans and we love hosting these things.

    OK, now that that's over, where to start? Well, I'd like to apologize for the shortage of Designer Journals. The good news is that means there is no shortage of AGOT news and R&D is especially busy with the upcoming sets and promotions. The bad news is of course, that means that sometimes we're so busy we miss out on "weekly" columns.

    This week I wanted to talk a little bit about some metagame and rules issues we've had, but looking at the calendar I see that we have just a little over a month before A Reign of Kings hits stores! Keeping with tradition, let's start with some spoilers! Eric and I gave out two spoilers during the chat, and this week we're going to take it a bit slower.

    Enforcing Loyalty
    One of the bigger picture issues we've had recently stems from the perceived "toolboxing" practices in deckbuilding. While I think diversity is great, I can agree with some of the pundits when they suggest that AGOT was starting to become about "cherry picking" the best each faction has to offer when creating a deck.

    On the other hand, I also feel that this was completely necessary. Let me explain. While there is a certain amount of pride many of our players feel when they win with "non-cheesy" cards or a single-faction decks, the truth still remains: players love diversity. Keep things too static, too mono-faction and you might not hear much complaining, but players will simply stop playing and quietly leave the game.

    Diversity and creating combos (which may or may not be exactly what actually happened in Westeros) are part of the reason AGOT is a lot of fun and a such a success. The trick, as always, is to find the correct balance. This time around we tapped our inner "Ned" and created a cycle of cards that weren't about putting the smack down on alliances/treaties, but rather rewarded players for staying true to their favorite house. Positive reinforcement not only makes things more fun, but also doesn't force players to pack in a bunch of silver bullet type card effects that will, more often than not, become useless.

    But rest assured there are more than a few cards that will give Treaty players reason to reconsider and should hopefully encourage the use of other Agendas. But that is another article. :)

    The Black Sheep that Could
    I couldn't resist showing off a Stark card. Why? Well, besides Lannister you'd be hard-pressed to find a "weaker" house. But this doesn't mean it's true. Either way, I won't deny that Stark and Lannister both lost quite a bit with the Westeros block rotation. With A Reign of Kings, we'll be looking to give these underdogs a bit of a boost. Don't expect a Greyjoy-like turnaround, but don't be surprised if Stark and Lannister are houses to be feared again.

    A Reign of Teasers
    A Reign of Kings is probably one of the most ambitious sets we've ever created. In many ways it might be the most powerful set ever. Almost every card in the set is playable in most decks, and I'm sure it will create an interesting draft experience.

    In this set we'll explore a new challenge type, as well as a pretty cool cycle of cards that revolve around a new type of trait. Don't be shocked to see some thrones, and a new type of attachment, either.

    Well, everyone have a great weekend and join us next week when the A Reign of Kings spoilers continue!