Welcome to the comprehensive FAQ & guide to community resources.
In the Game of Thrones LCG players use customized decks to assume leadership of one of the great houses of Westeros vying for control of King's Landing and the Iron Throne. To achieve their goals, players launch military attacks against their opponents, undermine their opponents’ plans with intrigues of their own, and make brazen power plays to win the support of the realm. Players choose to represent one of eight factions vying for control of or influence over the Iron Throne: Targaryen, Lannister, Baratheon, Stark, Martell, Greyjoy, Tyrell, and the Night's Watch. You can start exploring them with this Faction-by-faction primer, which explains key play-styles and strategies.
The Game of Thrones card game launched as a CCG (collectible card game) in 2002. It was designed by Eric Lang at Fantasy Flight Games and based on the novels written by George R.R. Martin. In 2008 the game rebooted to accommodate a switch to LCG (living card game) format. In August 2015, the game rebooted again, still with the LCG distribution model but with streamlined rules, sleek new designs, and additional factions. Previous cards are not be compatible across editions. However, the new edition does maintain the essential game elements (plot deck, three challenge types, victory condition) of the first edition. For Fantasy Flight's reasons behind the reboot, please read lead designer Nate French's letter to the community.
The Thrones LCG can by played head-to-head (called "joust" -- the usual format for competitive tournaments) or with 3-6 players (called "melee" - more like a board game). The 2nd edition Core set hit shelves in October 2015, with small expansions following monthly. For reviews of the Core set, check out Ars Technica, Shut up and Sit Down, Paste Magazine, and Drive Thru Review.
Second Edition Resources
The LCG (Living Card Game) Model
The Core box for 2nd Edition contains 211 distinct cards. You get single copies of most cards, but a few neutral ones are duplicated to reach a total of 234 cards in the box. Casual gamers may find one Core sufficient, but tournament players need three Cores to obtain a full play-set of every card.
If you've already enjoyed playing with a single Core set, consider enhancing and customizing your decks with cards from additional Core sets, Chapter packs or Deluxe boxes. Under the LCG model, additional cards are released in monthly chapter packs (approx. $15 MSRP) and bi-annual deluxe expansions (approx. $25-30). Both product types contain a fixed distribution of cards, and each card comes 3x so you have a full play-set immediately. You know exactly what you're getting when you buy a pack -- no chasing rares, and no shelling out big bucks just to play on equal footing in tournaments.
Chapter packs contain 2 different cards per each of the 8 factions factions, plus 4 different neutral cards, all at 3x each for a total of 60 cards. As of October, we have eight chapter packs available, beginning with Taking the Black and The Road to Winterfell.
The first Deluxe expansion, Wolves of the North, features House Stark prominently, but also includes several neutral cards and cards from other factions, with a total of 52 different cards, all at 3 copies each.
To ease the burden of entry for new players and keep the tournament scene fresh, chapter packs rotate out of the tournament-legal card pool after about 4 years (so starting in 2019). The Core set and deluxe expansions will not rotate but rather remain "evergreen". The LCG model makes Thrones a relatively cheap investment compared to collectible card games like Magic, Yugioh and Pokemon. Furthermore, players can easily share a collection with a friend or two by divvying up the 8 factions.
Deckbuilding & Tools
In 2nd edition, a player forms his decks by choosing a Faction card (such as House Baratheon), which allows him to use all loyal AND non-loyal cards from that faction. Additionally, players can optionally use an "Agenda" card. Agendas generally provide an extra benefit at some cost. A "Banner" Agenda (such as Banner of the Kraken) allows him to add non-loyal cards from his Banner faction. The Banner agendas are currently the only method to include out-of-faction cards. Alternatively, you can choose a non-Banner agenda, such as Fealty or Lord of the Crossing. Finally, neutral cards without a faction crest can be added to any deck.
Discussion Groups & Forums
Podcasts, Videos & Blogs
Wardens of the Midwest: Website
The Southron Banermen: Facebook
Decklist & Chill: Facebook
Great Beards of Westeros: Facebook
A Meager Contribution: Youtube
Summer Is Coming: Youtube
Dobbler Talk: Youtube
Insight and Renown: Website
The Copper Link: Youtube
Jack's Tournament Reports: Website
Essential Articles, Discussions, & Videos for New Players
Watch Games on YouTube
Store championships are the bottom of the organized play pyramid, and the season runs from November to February. Prestigious Regional tournaments run from April to July. The U.S. National Championship is held at Gen Con in August, the European Championship is held at Castle Stahleck in late November, and the World Championship is held at FFG headquarters in Minnesota in early November. The winners the European Championship and World Championship events each earn the right to design their own card, which is included in a future chapter pack! Additionally, major unofficial tournaments are held throughout the year, and local stores can host tournaments with game night kits including prizes like alternate art promos, deck boxes, and playmats. In addition to player-run online tournaments through OCTGN, you can follow tournaments "live" through the Jousting Pavilion site.
OCTGN is a free program that facilitates playing Thrones online. A subscription is not necessary to play on OCTGN, but subscribing supports the developers and unlocks some additional features. FFG and OCTGN are not affiliated, so cards released in the last six months are censored. You can host a game for another player to join, or find an open game to join in the lobby. To get started, follow the instructions found here. OCTGN currently only works with PCs, not Macs, unless you use a workaround.
The Annals of Castle Black (tournament data)
The Iron Link (individual game results)
Winning Decklists (via White Book podcast)
When you're stumped, first check the RRG (Rules Reference Guide) that came with your Core set. It's also available on FFG's website under "Support", along with the official FAQ. Next search for the specific card on Thronesdb.com and scroll down to "Reviews" (here's Catelyn for example) or try the Rules Forum FAQ. Then, if you still don't have an answer, feel free to ask in the Rules subforum here! There's also an entire column series devoted to rules intricacies and explanations called Quill & Tankard Regulars.
Thrones Timing Rules
If you're joining us from Magic, it's important to note that Thrones doesn't use a "stack". Each time an action or reaction window opens, players alternate turns to play a card or use an ability, and the window closes when all players pass consecutively. Details can be found on pages 24-25 of the Rules Reference Guide.
Don't Forget to D.U.C.K.!
At the end of a challenge, it's important to resolve game and card effects in the proper order.
1. Determine winner - this is where you'd trigger reactions to winning/losing, like Tears of Lys, Lannisport, and Ghaston Grey
2. Unopposed bonus - this is where you'd trigger reactions to claiming the unopposed bonus, like Rise of the Kraken
3. Claim - this is where you'd trigger reactions to claim, for example if a Lord or Lady is killed for military claim, Joffrey can trigger here
4. Keywords - finally, keywords and their reactions happen last, for example, when Robert gains a power for renown, you can trigger Lightbringer
Player types include Ned, Jaime and Shagga
Deck archetypes include Combo, Aggro, Rush, Tempo, Toolbox, Soft Control and Hard Control
Game terms includes Burn, Mill, Choke, Resets, Voltron and Metagame
Swag & Prizes
2015 Gencon Kingslayer (Game of Thrones card, Jaime playmat)
2015 World Championship (Eddard Stark card, Eddard Stark playmat)
2015 Winter GNK (Fortified Position card, Tumblestone Knight card, Old Bear playmat)
2016 Store Championships (The Eyrie card, Pulling the String playmat)
2016 Spring GNK (Noble Cause card, Tyrion Lannister card)
2016 Summer GNK (Trading with the Pentoshi card, Daenerys Targaryen card)
2016 Regionals (Varys card, Wolves playmat)
2016 Nationals (Forgotten Plans card, Iron Throne playmat)
2016 Gen Con (Forgotten Plans card, Jon Snow card, Forgotten Plans playmat)
2016 Worlds (Winds of Winter, Tywin playmat for Joust, Naval Superiority playmat for Melee)
2016 Battle of the Trident (Summons card, Red Keep playmat)
2016/17 Store Championships (Syrio Forel card, Ser Robar Royce playmat)
And more: Dice & Coin Bags
In November 2013, FFG introduced 1st edition draft packs, which allowed players to hold draft tournaments. Previously, the LCG fixed distribution model made drafting difficult, but now each player just needs a reusable starter pack ($5) and a randomized draft pack ($15). FFG introduced the 2nd edition Valyrian draft set at Gen Con 2016, and draft is scheduled as a side event for Worlds 2016. Check out the Valyrian card pool and a video overview.
For player-organizer draft formats, check out this excellent "rotisserie" style setup and it's corresponding draft board, or try this cool simulator, both available on the White Book podcast's website.
Major North American Tournament Champions
2015 Worlds - Sam Braatz from Wisconsin - Martell Banner of the Rose
2016 US Nationals - Nathan Tarentelli from Ohio - Stark Fealty
2016 NA Continentals - Chris Schoenthal from San Diego - Lannister Dragon
2016 Words - Joe Mirando from New York - Lanni Wolf
Major European Tournament Champions
2015 Stahleck - Martell de Poitiers from France - Baratheon Fealty
2016 Batalla por el Muro - Albert Lorenzo Polo from Spain - Targaryen Fealty
Roca Casterly (Spanish)
El único juego que importa (Spanish)
Le Trone de Fer (French forum)
The Conclave (Italian Facebook group)
The Conclave (Italian Youtube channel)
Little Birds (Polish Podcast)
FFG's Tournament Rules (under "Support" and then "Tournament Resources")
Cheating is defined as any behavior outside the rules of the game performed with the intent to create an unfair advantage for one or more players. Categorical methods of cheating include (but are not limited to): sleight of hand tricks, component manipulation, collusion, misrepresentation, and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Where Can I Play?
To find a tournament, check the event calendar on whitebookpodcast's page.
To find individual players or groups, check the following spreadsheet and pin-able map or introduce yourself in the worldwide Facebook group.
Anyone who has the link can edit it. I've created a tab for each country (more countries can be easily added as necessary). There are columns that ask for state/province within the country, name of your local gaming store, the store's address, a link to your meta's website, forum or facebook group, contact info for someone in the meta, and what time your group regularly meets (if any). Holding Ctl + f will let you search within a sheet to find your state.
Anyone can add a pin for either a store or a player. To add a pin, go to "Additions" in the top right and click "Add Marker - Detailed". To add a PLAYER, make sure the marker color is RED. For the "Entry Name" put your real name, forum handle, or both. For address, you can get as detailed as your exact address if you want, or just put the street name without your house number, or you can just put your city or area code. Then on the "Details" tab you can add an email address or other contact info. To add a STORE, make sure the marker color is GREEN. For the "Entry Name" put the name of the store. Add the exact street address. Then under the "Details" tab you can add contact info for the store. I also recommend adding contact info for your meta in the Description box, such as a Facebook group or forum url. If you make a mistake with your pins, send me a message and I'll correct it.
Thanks for reading this guide! Feel free to bookmark it, as I make frequent updates with newly relevant links, and share it with other new players. Below you'll find some information from the previous edition of the Thrones LCG, which is not compatible with second edition, and is no longer supported by FFG.
First Edition Resources
Rules Questions & Answers
Quills & Tankards Articles
OCTGN for playing online
FAQs were released 3 to 4 times each year to update the resitricted/banned list and to address unclear rules interactions. Previous FAQs were released on 16th July 2015, 12th February 2015, 15th October 2014, 21st July 2014, 15th April 2014, 14th October 2013, 23rd July 2013, 27th February 2013, 11th October 2012, 3rd August 2012, 20th March 2012, 19th January 2012, 22nd September 2011.