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Quill & Tankard Regulars - Volume II, Issue 1

Quill & Tankard Regulars Ratatoskr Ire WWDrakey JCWamma Istaril Small Council

Quill & Tankard Regulars - Volume II, Issue 1

The sign hanging lopsidedly by a single hook outside was the first clue that something was not quite right with the Inn. If that did not send the message to turn visitors away, then the broken windows would surely have done the job… and if even that failed, there was always the board nailed to the door, with a message written in a surprisingly delicate hand:

Dear prospective client, does it look like we serve refreshments?

Underneath it, scrawled in a much cruder hand:

Ken ye? Sod off!

The dust was everywhere, covering all the tables, writing implements and kegs of dubious origin. There was a small crowd surveying the room - people in various degrees of dishevelment as well as one with clothes in sharp order and a shiny new chain of varying metals hanging around his neck.

“Told ye! Tha Inn be fine fer bisniz! Na cleanin’ be needed! Shut da door, too bright! Whippin-boy, pints fer all! Na less than five!”

“No fewer than five.” The look of horror and dismay on the sharply-dressed stranger’s face would have been evident to all, had any of the Regulars bothered looking in his direction. “This, this… this will simply not do. Not for our completely refurbished proud academic establishment.” This was followed with a whoosh, as something dark flew down from it’s nest near the roof and landed on a nearby table. “By the Seven, what is that thing?”

“Be ye daft? Ken ye not ‘un raven? E’s a Regular!”

Seen in Flames - Reactions and Challenge Resolution
Seen in Flames exclusively previews rules mechanics changes for the upcoming A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition, putting them into context through a card spoiler. The rules knowledge and card examples have been graciously provided via raven by the Archmaesters at the (FFG) Citadel.

A Short Overview on Card Abilities

Taking a page from some of the more modern LCGs, AGoT 2nd Edition card abilities consist of the following types:
  • Action:
  • Reaction: (including Forced Reaction:)
  • Interrupt: (including Forced Interrupt:)
  • When Revealed:
  • Constant abilities
The 2nd Edition (from now on: 2.0) Actions are direct replacements for the first edition (from now on: 1.0) generic and phase-specific actions. So, “Any Phase:” is now “Action:” and phase-specific ones like: “Challenges:” are now of the form “Challenges Action:” and so forth. As these function very similarly to their 1.0 counterparts, alternating between players in action windows, let’s not go too deep with them at this point.

Now, one important thing you will notice in the overview of card abilities is that passives are gone. So, no longer will we have that odd mire of constant and passive effects, which you can’t tell easily apart from each other. So, now if you have a card ability without a bolded word, it will be affecting the game state constantly, and not waiting for specific conditions to trigger in order to cause a one-off effect. Most of the old mandatory passives have changed to Forced Reaction:s, which more directly conveys that “this needs to happen, regardless of you wanting it to”.

Another thing canny readers will quickly notice is our usage of the term ability here. In 1.0 an ability simply meant an effect on a card in-play. This lead to some odd distinctions between cancelling abilities and cancelling effects, or being immune to abilities, but not effects. However, in 2.0 an ability is simply the special game text that a card contributes to the game. Meanwhile, a card effect is any effect that arises from the resolution of ability text printed on, or gained by, a card. So, in other words, any text printed on, or gained by, a card is an ability, and when you decide to (or are Forced to!) resolve it, it causes an effect.

AGoT 1.0 had some very skewy things going on with its Response: effects and their various timings - a topic which for most people could be summarized with one word: moribund. We’ll leave that whole mire, and how it has been cleaned up, to a later installment of Seen in Flames, but suffice it to say that it’s what the Interrupt: (and Forced Interrupt:) abilities are here for.

With that short overview on card abilities under our belts, we should now be set for jumping into our actual topic - Reaction:s (the replacements for Response:s) and how they function in 2.0!


I guess the first thing we need to establish is what a reaction is, specifically. The easiest way to go about this is to walk through (a somewhat shortened version of) the Rules Reference Guide text for it in pieces, so we also get a taste of how deep the guide goes in details, as well as end up with a good understanding of what we’re talking about.

A reaction is a triggered ability whose text contains the boldface “Reaction:” precursor. Always resolve a triggering condition before initiating any reactions to that triggering condition. Each reaction may be initiated once each time its specified triggering condition occurs, as described in the reaction’s ability text.

So, the old “one response per trigger” rule still holds, but unlike in 1.0, Reaction:s are not constrained to only happening in specific portions of player or framework action windows, but rather simply happen after whatever condition they react to is fulfilled.

After a triggering condition resolves, a reaction window for that triggering condition opens. Within the reaction window, the first player always has the first opportunity to initiate an eligible reaction (to this triggering condition), or pass. Opportunities to initiate an eligible reaction, or pass, continue in player order until all players consecutively pass, at which point the reaction window closes.

So, something happens, and then a reaction window opens for responding to it. Unlike in 1.0, where you needed to know whether you’re in a Framework or Player Action Window to know who can respond first, in 2.0 the decision to react first always goes to the First Player (from now on: FP). Reacting then continues in player order, meaning that it happens clockwise starting from the FP.

This highlights something important. In 2.0, everything happens in in player order, starting from the FP. First player plays first. Sounds logical, eh?

It is possible for multiple reactions to be initiated from the same triggering condition. Each reaction must resolve completely before the next reaction to the same triggering condition may initiate. If multiple copies of the same reaction are eligible to be initiated, each copy may be initiated once against that triggering condition.

Finally, we cover the fact that multiple Frostfang Peaks (if such cards existed in 2.0, that is) could still be able to all trigger from a single plot being revealed. Nothing really new here.

Challenge Resolution

The final thing we’re going to touch upon in today’s lecture are Challenges, and what they look like in 2.0. Now, Challenges are the heart of AGoT, and haven’t changed all that much, but there’s a little devil hidden in the details.

Here’s what a challenge looks like now, from a rules perspective:

4.2 Challenge is initiated.
4.2.1 Defending player declares defenders.
4.2.2 Compare STR to determine challenge winner.
4.2.3 Gain challenge bonuses.
4.2.4 Apply claim result.
4.2.5 Process challenge resolution keywords.
4.2.6 Challenge ends.

For today’s topic, the relevant steps here are those from 4.2.2 to 4.2.6, which correspond to the old Challenge resolution Framework Action Window. In 1.0, the order of these steps hardly mattered, but in combination with the Reaction: rules outlined above… keen-eyed readers might already see where this is going!

Keen-eyed or not, for reading this far you definitely deserve a prize. How about a new card from 2.0, so we can use it as an example of what this all means?
Here ya go, one fresh spoiler fer ya:

Posted Image
House Martell of Dorne has always been a master of the long game, and if anything this has increased in 2.0. Now, the natural problem with playing the long game, is surviving the short one, to get there. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken is an excellent card for this purpose, allowing you to dictate which challenges your opponent is able to make, as long as you’re in a suitably reactive position (not FP).

What makes the card particularly interesting for this article is that due to the aforementioned rules changes, it’s somewhat better in 2.0 than it would have been in 1.0. To understand this, let’s have a look at a similarly timed Martell event from 1.0 - You Murdered Her Children.

One of the problems with the card, specifically with how it interacted with the intrigue challenge, was that you could easily discard the card to intrigue claim before ever getting to use it. The same held for almost any events with “after you lose” response effects. Basically, you had to go through all the steps (equivalents of 4.2.2-4.2.5) before you could respond to anything having happened in any of them.

In 2.0, this is no longer the case. We go through each step, and then resolve any Reaction:s that players can trigger to it. Because our card responds to 4.2.2 (“after you lose”), we get to play the event before claim for the challenge even happens, or unopposed etc. power is gained (4.2.3)!

Essentially this means that any events responding to losing a Challenge as the defender, like Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken above, no longer need to fear the intrigue Challenge and are much harder to interrupt by the common 1.0 approach of pushing your intrigue Challenges through first, if possible. Similarly this of course affects any Reaction:s triggering after winning a Challenge. Had this been the case in 1.0, pushing a military Challenge with a War-crest character against a player with The Red Viper (who is immune to events) and a chud would have been a much more scary prospect for the Martell player. Why? Because you could have had the chud wiped out with Die By the Sword before claim, leaving The Viper alone to take the fall.

The Challenge resolution is an interesting example of how a seemingly superficial and straightforward change in the core rules engine of the game, in this case not needing to hold reactions/responses to the end of a framework window, can have widespread repercussions.

Questions, feedback, found the lost shoe of one of the Inns proprietors? Chime in, in the comments below!

Antti Korventausta (WWDrakey) is a self-proclaimed Finnish AGoT philosopher and doomsayer hermit, who used to practice Quantum Mechanics, but found that it paled to AGoT in both interest and complexity. Having played and judged for more years than he would like to admit, he has found himself on the winning side of rules arguments more than he would expect. In any game he plays, he has a tendency of playing anything he considers to be off the beaten path, whether it makes sense to others or not.

Helmut Hohberger (Ratatoskr) started playing AGoT in September 2010 and has never looked back (although his wife has, longingly). As a German, he loves rules - and I mean *loves* 'em. He is the quintessential rules board morlock. While the others played and frolicked about outside, he sat by candlelight in a remote corner of the library and tried to get a grasp on the intricacies of the 1st edition rules. He even thought he did not do too bad at it, but then the Call of the Three-Eyed Crow drove him into the darkest depths of madness and despair. But he’s all better now, honest, and looking forward to new challenges.

Iiro Jalonen (Ire) Started AGoT in 2009, got pulled under the waves by Krakens years ago, and has never looked back. While not an Oldtown local, he has often been spotted in the Quill & Tankard Inn making sure that the rules of sportsmanship are maintained with the traditional finger dance games. A self-inflicted Shagga and active member of the global AGoT community, he has always strived to know the rules of the game, in order to make them do ridiculous things.

James Waumsley (JCWamma) is a first edition veteran who has judged at multiple large tournaments including the European championship of Stahleck. A renowned loudmouth and pedant, he will shout about the rules loud enough that he can be heard by those north of the wall.

Alex Hynes (Istaril) co-hosts Beyond the Wall, writes articles for FFG, created and curates the Annals - and even tried to fill in ktom’s shoes in the big ktom drought of 2013. When the Regulars asked him to be an honorary member, he, of course, refused and said he didn’t have the time. Or should have, anyway. Still, how much work can being an “Honorary” member be?

  • Danigral, Bomb, scantrell24 and 9 others like this


Now that's more playable than 1st ed version!
Well that UUU is just a touch better than the 1.0 version of the card...

Much more intuitive rules as given here for sure. I think veterans will take time to get used to it though.
    • WWDrakey likes this
May 28 2015 12:43 PM

Yes, it's troublesome to play without moribund once you get used to it :P

    • VonWibble likes this
I guess you could compare it to Alleras, and Alleras has seen play, that pack filler hasn't seen any. Btw, nice article, guys! :)

I love this article series, especially related to 2.0 and the changes. Keep up the good work!

These rules and timing changes are damn awesome.  I love it.  It will take veterans some time to get used to them, but I'm sure it won't take very many games.  I'm also willing to bet that we will all be very forgiving of a few mistakes due to rules differences during our first few months of this game.  I'd allow a few take backs since we would all still be learning the differences. :-)

    • WWDrakey and Shadowist like this

How often do you guys plan on releasing rules spoiler articles for 2.0?  Would you guys be willing to state at the bottom of your articles something like:


"In our next Quill and Tankard Regulars article, we will be going over rules X!"


as a teaser that will get me us excited for the next one?

    • WWDrakey likes this

Nice article. I'd add that Interrupts will also likely be the new timing for saves and cancels, since (if the timing is the same as in Star Wars and Conquest), they happen before their triggering condition.

    • WWDrakey likes this

@Bomb: Our schedule will nominally be bi-weekly (so the next one is planned for Thursday 11th of June), with the reservation that we have our own quality standards for articles... and if a piece does not feel quite ready enough, we may take a week extra to finish it up so we don't accidentally Call of the Three-Eyed Crow it! I'd otherwise gladly hint a bit at what the next one will be, but we're actually working on multiple pieces at once, and the order of publication may shift depending on how it feels most natural (and what gets finished first).


@Khudzlin: You're right with the save/cancel effects being done with Interrupts, but that will get a whole article of it's own, so we can go a bit deeper into how Interrupts and their exact wordings work in AGoT. It's similar to what CoC/Star Wars/Conquest have, but there are also some unique aspects to it. 

    • zordren and Bomb like this

I eagerly await the article, then.

    • WWDrakey and Bomb like this

What does Gain challenge bonuses mean?

What does Gain challenge bonuses mean?


The 1.0 equivalent would, presumably, be gaining unopposed power. The more generic name might be to include other, similar bonuses, or create design space (an existing timing structure) for some in-challenge effects they want to happen after reactions to determining a winner, but before settling claim. You could imagine a card that could grant you an outnumbered bonus (a power for winning a challenge with fewer characters than your opponent)!

The 1.0 equivalent would, presumably, be gaining unopposed power. The more generic name might be to include other, similar bonuses, or create design space (an existing timing structure) for some in-challenge effects they want to happen after determining a winner, but before settling claim. You could imagine a card that could grant you an outnumbered bonus (a power for winning a challenge with fewer characters than your opponent)!


So constant effects are resolved in that step if I treat unopposed as a constant effect?


One more question: Renown reads: after you win a challenge in which this character is participating, he may gain 1 power. If it is not a keyword, it has to be activated right after 4.2.2. However, keywords are resolved in 4.2.5.


How does this work?

Unopposed has never been a constant effect - it has always been a framework one. It happens once, and the timing of it is determined by the game (not by when a player chooses to use it) - and that looks to be conserved in 2.0.


The renown text we have seen in italics on Eddard is reminder text - that is unlikely to be the full rules text for the keyword. It is important to note that it is not a triggered effect - (no boldface type) - but you are right that if it *were* a reaction: after you win... it could be triggered right after 4.2.2. However, as it is a keyword, the wording (including the word after) gives us a general idea of when it is going to happen, but the specific timing will be that you are given the option of gaining that power in 4.2.5. 


Put another way, it looks like the special timing of keywords as separate from passives/constants/triggered effects is carrying over to 2.0. Given that 1.0 fairly recently changed to make Deadly a part of the framework structure (as renown and stealth already were), this isnt all that surprising.

So if a card has "gain a power for winning a challenge with fewer characters than your opponent", it is resolved in 4.2.3, and if it is "Interpret/reaction: gain a power for winning a challenge with fewer characters than your opponent", it is resolved after 4.2.2. Right?

I think I may have goofed/confused you in my suggestion about the bonus power step - I have no idea what will be done with that step in the future, but I can imagine a card that uses a wording choice, like "gain a bonus power ifin order to make use of that timing step.


Moving away from my pointless and confusing speculation: for now, what we really know from this article and the way conquest/star wars work (and looking at the wording on a number of cards we have seen spoiled so far), we could see something that says "Interrupt: When you win a challenge"- which would happen *during* 4.2.2, and "Reaction: After you win a challenge"- which would happen *after* 4.2.2, but before 4.2.3. We will have to wait for the alluded-to follow-up article to find out exactly how interrupts work, though.


Does that help?

Yes. I think I get your idea. Thank you for your patience.