Welcome to the comprehensive new-player thread. 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.
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 will reboot again, still with the LCG distribution model but with updated and improved rules. Previous cards will not be compatible. 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, to be released at Gencon in August 2015, will feature improved rules while maintaining the essential elements of the 1st edition. Players can 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.
Second Edition Resources
The Core Set
The Core box for 2nd Edition contains 211 distinct cards. You get single copies of most cards, but a few are duplicated to reach a total of 234 cards in the box. Casual gamers may find one Core sufficient, but tournament players will need three Cores to obtain a full play-set of every card. FFG will sell a limited number of Cores at Gencon (July 30th to August 2nd) with world-wide release expected to follow in late August or early September.
The LCG (Living Card Game) Model
If you enjoyed playing with just Core set cards, consider enhancing and customizing your decks with cards from chapter packs or deluxe boxes. Under the LCG model, cards are released in monthly chapter packs (approx. $15 MSRP) and infrequent deluxe expansions (approx. $25). 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. 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 other card games. Furthermore, players can share a collection with a friend or two, thus splitting the cost.
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, the player can opt to use an Agenda card (such as Banner of the Kraken) which 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. So far there's only one non-Banner agenda, Fealty, but you can expect more agendas in the expansions. Finally, neutral cards without a faction crest can be added to any deck.
Store championships are the bottom of the organized play pyramid, and the season runs from January to March. Prestigious Regional tournaments run from May 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 of US Nationals, the European Championship, and World Championship events (draft, joust and melee) each earn the right to design their own card! 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.
Fan Sites & Discussion
Casterly Rock (Spanish & English)
Essential Articles & Columns (under construction)
Quill & Tankard Regulars (column series on rules & timing issues)
Games on YouTube
Vocabulary (under construction)
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 and Metagame
OCTGN is a free program that allows us to play Thrones online. Currently you can try the first edition only, but second edition should be available in August 2015 shortly after GenCon. 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 have either the text OR the picture, but not both. I recommend going to the "Options" tab and changing the "Zoom Behavior" to "display proxies when holding control". You can host a game or find a game to join in the lobby.
OCTGN Thread with downloads (ask questions here)
Find Players Nearby
You have two ways to search for other Thrones LCG players.
The first method is this spreadsheet. Anyone who has the link can edit it, much like the Annals of Castle Black.
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.
The second is this pin-able map. 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.
FFG's Tournament Rules (under "Support" and then "Tournament Resources")
Scouting is generally frowned upon. Ask your TO and discuss with your meta mates to determine exactly where they draw the line. Some groups allow players to spectate and/or share the details of opponent's decks with their friends between rounds. Personally, I think both of those actions make you an ass-hole, but scouting can be a grey area if "everyone does it".
In November 2013, FFG introduced draft packs which allow players to hold draft tournaments. The LCG distribution model previously made drafting difficult ; players had to create their own draft cubes. But now each player just needs a reusable starter pack ($5) and a randomized draft pack ($15). There were two draft pack sets in First Edition - first Fire and Ice followed by Westeros. FFG added draft tournaments to World Championship weekend starting in 2015, so we can safely assume draft will continue into 2nd edition.
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 will not be supported by FFG after Worlds 2015.
First Edition Resources
Rules Questions & Answers
Quills & Tankards Articles
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.