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.
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.
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.