Nate French

Fantasy Flight Games has announced Arkham Nights 2018, the ultimate celebration of Lovecraftian Horror. Taking place at the Fantasy Flight Games Center in Roseville, Minnesota on October 19-20! During this awesome event, you will have the chance to play demos, receive exclusive gifts and meet the masters of madness who bring the Arkham Horror Files games to life.

This year, the event will feature both classic games and new adventures. Experience demos and playthroughs of Eldritch Horror, Elder Sign, Mansions of Madness, Arkham Horror: The Card Game and End of the World: Wrath of the Gods. You will also get a chance to look beyond the veil with previews of the highly-anticipated Arkham Horror Third Edition.

The thrilling final chapter of a two-part scenario for Arkham Horror: The Card Game will also be available to experience. This scenario, which began with The Eternal Slumber at Gen Con earlier this year, has already been shaped by the results of the previous investigation. Arkham Nights 2018 is your chance to leave your mark on the game!

“While The Night’s Usurper will have a wide release at a later date as part of Guardians of the Abyss, this event holds a special weight, as the final outcome will shape the future of Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Based on the results of this event, one of three possible basic weaknesses will be added to a future product. Will you be able to lessen the blow for your fellow investigators, or will your actions doom the world to a terrible fate?”

Play games with the designers

Richard Launius (the original designer of Arkham Horror), as well as Matt Newman and Nate French (designers of Arkham Horror: The Card Game), will be special guests during the event. In addition, some of the designers will be leading “Play with the Designer” sessions of their games as well as other exciting special events. Who wouldn’t want to play 1st edition Arkham Horror with Richard Launius on a giant board?

On Friday night, seats will be raffled off to design a card for Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Lucky attendees will be able to join a Card Council with Matt Newman and Nate French, granting a rare glimpse into these designers’ deranged minds. The cards designed at Arkham Nights 2018 will be printed and distributed to all attendees before the end of the event, so even if you aren’t chosen for the Card Council, you can still bring a unique piece of the madness home.

Swag bag of horror

All Arkham Nights 2018 attendees will receive a gift bag filled with Lovecraftian loot. These mementos include:
• An exclusive 6” by 9” black velveteen bag, emblazoned with an eldritch emblem
• A collection of acrylic health and sanity tokens
• A set of Arkham-themed dice
• A preview character from Arkham Horror Third Edition and one from Elder Sign
• A deck box
• A copy of The Night’s Usurper Scenario Pack for Arkham Horror: The Card Game

The event costs $70 (worth every penny) and tickets can be ordered here. (If anyone wants to sponsor my trip (from Denmark) to the event, please just let me know.)

FFG has announced an upcoming release to Legend of the Five Rings:  The Card Game.  Whispers of Shadow and Steel is a novella set in the fictional land of Rokugan.  This is the second installment of Legends of the Five Rings Fiction, but the first to include 2 new upgraded art cards that can be used in L5R:TCG.  This novella is approximately 100 pages long and features the Scorpion Clan, and specifically, Bayushi Yojiro, one of this clan’s characters.

There will be three copies of each card, for a total of 6 cards, which will be tucked inside the book.  The first card is an extended art version of Bayushi from the Imperial Cycle:

As a MagistrateBayushi Yojiro alters the rules of conflicts—in his case, ignoring the effects of status tokens on participating characters. This can enhance the dishonorable Scorpions around him, and erase the bonus of your opponent’s honorable characters.

The second card is from the upcoming Elemental Cycle for this game, and features an ability unique to the Scorpion Clan:  Infiltrator:

Infiltrator is an attachment that allows you, as an action, to reveal the top card of your opponent’s conflict deck and either play it as if it were in your hand or discard it.

As an attachment, you can repeat this process every turn, as long as your infiltrator is in play, and as long as your bid remains higher than your opponent’s. This allows you to infiltrate your opponent’s conflict deck and turn their very best weapons against them—a tactic well befitting a Scorpion.

From FFG:

They’re already existing cards (or soon to be existing cards) with full art. They’ll look different than what will be in the standard LCG packs, but will function the same in-game (same stats, abilities, etc.). From a pure gameplay perspective, these promotional cards won’t be exclusive to people who purchase the book, but if you’re looking for the fantastic alt-art cards to make your deck ‘pop’, these are for you.

There is yet no release date set for Whispers of Shadow and Steel, but it is available for preorder from both local retailers and FFG.

For a review of Legends of the Five Rings, click here and for more information on this expansion, click here 

call of cthulhu

Fantasy Flight Games has announced Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game is coming to an end with  The Mark of Madness due out later this year.

Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game has enjoyed a long and rich life, even beyond what was once predicted for it. The devotion of its fans has sustained this sophisticated game of Lovecraftian horror for many, many years. Now, after seven cycles of Asylum Packs and nine deluxe expansions, the release of The Mark of Madness, the game’s tenth deluxe expansion, completes the series of faction-based boxes. It also completes our development of the game.

FFG will continue to make all Asylum packs available through their in house manufacturing division so no Asylum pack will go out of print. You can read the full announcement here as words of farewell from Nate French and Damon Stone two of the games developers.

game of thrones card game

Much like G.R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic, Fantasy Flight Games’ A Game of Thrones: The Card Game has a long, twisted history of development. As with the Call of Cthulhu card game, A Game of Thrones started out as a collectible CCG. It then transitioned to a more sustainable LCG, serving as an example of how the LCG genre would function ahead of such LCG-exclusive games as Netrunner, Warhammer and Star Wars.

But that early CCG development left a lot of baggage under the hood, and co-designer Nate French (of the first edition LCG) has started to preview some of the changes fans can expect in the upcoming Second Edition.

French writes

The short answer is that A Game of Thrones: The Card Game is a great game with a strong player community, and we want to keep the game around for the long haul. The first edition has been in print for more than a dozen years, and it was really starting to show its age. As we discussed the possibilities, it became more and more evident that a new edition was the best way to go for the continued longevity of the game.

In Things We Do For Love, French detailed some of the stop-gap rules specifically used to combine the CCG with the first edition LCG. He noted changes to streamline play, simplify timing, and removing these stop gap rules were essential to the health of the game. And doing all of these things meant wiping out the existing First Edition framework.

game of thrones card game stuff

As a game player familiar with Magic: the Gathering, I can fully understand the development pains both the designers and players are probably going through right now. No one can look at the tortured ruleset of Magic, examine the many cards from the early editions whose rules no longer match what is printed on the cards, and say “well, obviously Fantasy Flight should just push ahead and make the old cards work.”

One of the great things about the LCG format is the greater availability of cards. True it’s still a lot of money, but re-buying into the game is not the torture it appears to be at first examination.

As far as the new Second Edition Core Set, French notes it will be much better developed as well. Similar to later LCG releases, the core set will give you cards to start with any faction.

You get all eight factions, instead of just four. Because you can combine any two factions to form a pre-constructed starter deck, the variety of match-up options and the replayability right out of the box is beyond compare….finally, the cards themselves set this Core Set apart – it’s just a better cardpool. We worked hard to keep unnecessary complexity to a minimum, and also to focus on immersive foundational cards that can be a relevant part of the environment for years to come. I’m looking forward to expanding this cardpool and watching the game mature.

With the new Second Edition, Fantasy Flight Games is setting its sights firmly on the future. Who knows where the game will go…it’s a bright new day for expansion packs, that’s for sure.

At GEN-CON 2015, Fantasy Flight Games plans to run both First Edition and Second Edition events to assist in the transition. Which should make things very exciting for Game of Thrones players looking to stay on top of the metagame.

For more info, read Nate French’s preview here.

lcg rotation cycle

Fantasy Flight Games announced a new policy for their five living card games…

…Our new rotation policy dictates that the standard card pool, for use in all Organized Play tournaments, will consist of a game’s Core Set, its deluxe expansions, and its latest five to seven cycles of monthly packs.

FFG explains that these changes revolve around the card pool of each game, the overwhelming number of cards, managing the metagame, and physical inventory.  This rotation, or cycling of older cards from an LCG’s card pool as newer cards are added, will promote even more growth in game play, continue to retain players and make less of a barrier of entry for new and potential players.

FFG has provided additional information for each LCG regarding the new policy.

Designer Nate French shares even more information on A Game of Thrones: The Card Game and its card pool and future.  FFG will continue to support the first edition card pool and…

…FFG will run sanctioned National and World Championship level tournaments for the first edition (as well as events for the new edition) at GenCon 2015 and at next year’s 2015 World Championship Weekend. Tournament kits will be available to support first edition events throughout the 2015 tournament year. This will provide players with an opportunity to continue to enjoy and compete with their first edition cards at sanctioned events while the metagame of the new edition matures.

Next year, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition is planned to release at GenCon 2015.

heirs of numenor nightmare

Available now through Fantasy Flight’s Print on Demand are three Nightmare versions of the scenario decks from the Heirs of Númenor.  Three decks, each containing twenty cards increase the difficulty of the 2012’s deluxe expansion.  From the article, lead developer Matt Newman states…

We’ve been hard at work on these new Nightmare Decks, and I am very excited to preview some of the new cards and challenges players will face in these updated Heirs of Númenor scenarios. As always, each of these Nightmare Decks brings its scenario greater challenges, a slightly tweaked strategy, and a renewed focus on the scenario’s atmosphere and themes.

FFG previews the new version of Peril in Pelargir, Into Ithilien, and The Siege of Cair Andros to prepare adventures for the adventures ahead in these standalone scenarios.


secrets and schemes

Coming next month for the Game of Thrones living card game is Secrets and Schemes.  It comes with sixty more cards that will shake up the Seven Kingdoms with new knights, attachments, and the agenda, Aloof and Apart (Secrets and Schemes, 18).  Secrets and Schemes is the first pack in the Warden Cycle and it introduces a castle plot type that produces rewards when used.

secrets and schemes cards

road darkens

Announced in April, The Road Darkens will add 165 cards to the Lord of The Rings themed living card game from Fantasy Flight Games.  Designed by Caleb Grace and Nate French, this is the second expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.


This preview features one of the developers, Grace, as he introduces us to the new hero card.  Caleb states, “there were many heroes that we could have chosen for this box, but the most exciting option was always Gandalf. We knew we wanted to make a hero version of the mighty wizard at some point, and this was the most logical time. I remember being excited when Elrond told Frodo that Gandalf would be a part of the Fellowship in the book.”

warhammer howl of blackmane

Fantasy Flight Games announced The Howl of Blackmane, the first war pack in the Warlord Cycle for their new living card game, Warhammer 40,000: Conquest due out later this year.  Conquest is designed by Brad Andres, Nate French, and Eric M. Lang who also all worked on Call of Cthulhu together.

In Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, monthly expansions to this Warhammer themed LCG are known as War Packs.  Like Android: Netrunner or Star Wars: The Card Game, each pack will contain sixty cards offering enhancements to game play and many deck building options.

warhammer howl of blackmane cards

The Howl of Blackmane brings your warlords to the forefront of your battles in the Traxis sector. New warlords are introduced in every War Pack, leading bloodthirsty armies, and bringing new strategies for achieving victory. You’ll find more than new warlords, however. Other cards introduced in The Howl of Blackmane and throughout the cycle put the focus directly on your warlord, whether by granting benefits to your other forces, orchestrating army movements, or exhausting to trigger powerful tactics.

FFG introduces new units to assist the Wolf Lord, Ragnar Blackmane in this pack.  Blackmane is designed to engage in battle as much as possible and send his Space Marine engineered hunters to track down their opponents.

The base game will be available third quarter of this year and Howl of Blackmane will be available fourth quarter.

warhammer conquest

Fantasy Flight Games published another look at their upcoming release, Warhammer 40, 000: Conquest.  Due out later this year this two-player LCG is a game of interplanetary warfare in the gritty futuristic setting of Warhammer 40,000. By hurling you into a life-and-death combat for the Traxis sector, Warhammer 40,000: Conquest forces you to secure your hold over the sector’s key planets. You must balance the concerns of present battles and future conquests as your warlord leads your armies to glorious victory. To claim the Traxis sector, you must conquer or die.

warhammer conquest cards

In this preview, FFG shows us more details on one of the new factions, Astra Militarum.