Take Command of the Rebel Fleet

Preview Three Rebel Starship Expansion Packs for STAR WARS (TM): Armada

From:  http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=5348

“I just said you were a fair pilot. I didn’t know they were lookin’ for somebody to lead this crazy attack.”
–Han Solo

Our last preview of Star Wars™: Armada focused on the Victory-class Star Destroyer and the Gladiator-class Star Destroyer, the two Imperial starships coming out in the game’s first wave of expansions. Today, we continue our exploration of the game, its ships, and its expansions with a look at the three different capital ships with which the Rebellion will soon be able to confront these Star Destroyers.

CR90 Corellian Corvette Expansion Pack

The miniature CR90 Corellian corvette found in the CR90 Corellian Corvette Expansion Pack is identical to that found in the game’s Core Set. Still, the expansion is well worth the consideration of anyone looking to field more than one corvette in battle.

First of all, most ambitious Rebel commanders are likely to want their fleets to count a good number of corvettes. Certainly, it’s possible to bring more than one to battle. The CR90 Corvette A weighs in at just forty-four of your three-hundred fleet points, and the CR90 Corvette B costs you a mere thirty-nine fleet points. For those points, though, both ships offer you three-dice attacks from your primary, forward-facing weapons; four hull; and a total of seven shields.


The ship cards for the CR90 Corvette A (left) and CR90 Corvette B (right).

However, the expansion’s benefits extend far beyond the additional miniature you’ll find within it. As with the Imperial starship expansions, each Rebel starship expansion pack introduces a number of upgrade cards, several of which are unique to the expansion.

For example, the CR90 Corellian Corvette Expansion Pack allows you to recruit Mon Mothma as your commander should you prefer her to the Core Set’s General Dodonna. It also comes with the valiant Raymus Antilles and two different titles, meaning that you can fly the iconic Tantive IV or daring Jaina’s Light alongside the Core Set’sDodonna’s Pride.

As the lightest and most agile ship within the Rebel fleet, the CR90 corvette offers a great deal of tactical flexibility not available to your other ships, and the expansion capitalizes upon this flexibility. Not only does the expansion’s Raymus Antilles allow your corvette to double up on the effects of any command it chooses, gaining a token even as it executes the command from the dial, but a number of other cards allow you to exploit the different upgrades available to the CR90 Corvette A and CR90 Corvette B.

Where the CR90 Corvette B features an ion cannons upgrade, the CR90 Corvette A instead features the turbolaser upgrade. Accordingly, you might add the Leading Shots upgrade card to a CR90 Corvette B equipped with the Dodonna’s Pride in order to deal faceup damage cards directly to the hulls of enemy ships, especially in a fleet with General Dodonna as commander. Or you might equip your CR90 Corvette A with the H9 Turbolasers upgrade, and if your opponent’s Victory-class Star Destroyer has spent one of its redirect tokens, you can convert one of your damage results to an accuracy result in order to force your opponent to soak the damage you deal on the hull zone you’ve targeted.

The way Armada allows you to upgrade and customize your ships ensures that you’ll have tremendous control over the way they fit into your overall strategy, and the CR90 Corellian Corvette Expansion Pack greatly increases the number of roles your corvettes can play within your Rebel fleet.

Nebulon-B Frigate Expansion Pack

The second Rebel ship found in the Core Set is the Nebulon-B frigate, and the Nebulon-B Frigate Expansion Pack enhances its utility and versatility within your fleet by adding a pre-painted Nebulon-B miniature along with eight upgrade cards.

The Nebulon-B is a ship that is truly designed to play one of two different roles within your fleet, and the Nebulon-B Frigate Expansion Pack further highlights the distinctions between the roles, allowing you to use it as a powerful support ship or as a potent fighter escort. Of course, once you have both the Core Set and the Nebulon-B Frigate Expansion Pack, you can field two Nebulon-B frigates in battle, potentially utilizing both the Nebulon-B Escort Frigate and the Nebulon-B Support Refit in the same fleet.


The ship cards for the Nebulon-B Escort Frigate (left) and Nebulon-B Support Refit (right).

Both these types of Nebulon-B frigate feature the same attack dice, shields, hull, and upgrade slots. There are two key differences that merit the six extra fleet points. First of all, the Nebulon-B Escort Frigate gains an extra blue die to its anti-squadron armament, making it far more effective at eliminating enemy squadrons, either to protect itself or free up your fighters to attack enemy ships. Additionally, it gains an extra squadron value, meaning it can activate an extra squadron whenever it reveals the squadron command. This is particularly meaningful if you equip your Nebulon-B frigate with the expansion’s Yavaris title, which allows your squadrons to attack twice when you activate them with the squadron command, so long as they don’t move. Add Luke Skywalker to the mix, and the differences between the two types of Nebulon-B designs becomes profoundly noticeable.

Of course, there’s plenty to say in favor of the Nebulon-B Support Refit. For starters, it comes with all the same attack dice, but at a discount of six fleet points. This is a great option for fleet admirals who plan to use their Nebulon-B frigates to attack directly. For starters, the Salvation title adds extra damage with each  result it scores from its front hull zone. Then, the addition of an Intel Officer or XI7 Turbolasers (or both) can minimize your opponent’s ability to defend against your attacks, ensuring that they hit for maximum, targeted impact.

The Support Refit is also, arguably, the better ship to outfit with the Core Set’s Redemption title, which is the title you’d likely select if you wanted your Nebulon-B to play a more defensive role than offensive one. It grants an extra point of engineering to friendly ships within Range 1–5 whenever they resolve the repair command, either from the dial or from a token. Either way, that extra point may make the difference between merely moving a shield and recovering one, or between recovering a shield and discarding some harmful faceup damage card. Additionally, that extra point of engineering piles up quickly; the more you resolve the repair command, the more value you get from the Redemption.

Assault Frigate Mark II Expansion Pack

The third of the Rebel starship expansion packs in the first wave of Armada releases is the Assault Frigate Mark II Expansion Pack.

Featuring one pre-painted Assault Frigate Mark II miniature and fourteen upgrades, this is the big Rebel expansion for admirals who want to battle the Empire’s Star Destroyers on more even terms. While neither the CR90 corvette or Nebulon-B frigate wield firepower that measures up to a Star Destroyer’s, and both demand that you fly them carefully about the battlefield in order to limit their exposure to your opponent’s main weapons, the Assault Frigate Mark II can fire attacks of four dice from either its left or right hull zone.

Those are attack values that match the Gladiator-class Star Destroyer’s best attacks for total dice, but at a greater distance, and while they don’t quite measure up to the Victory-class Star Destroyer’s forward attack, they give the advantage to any Rebel commander who can maneuver an Assault Frigate Mark II alongside a Victory-class Star Destroyer, whose left and right hull zones attack for only three dice each.

As to be expected, as with each of the other ships, there are multiple ways to outfit your Assault Frigate Mark II, and you will find notable differences between the eighty-one fleet point Assault Frigate Mark II A and the seventy-two fleet point Assault Frigate Mark II B.


The ship cards for the Assault Frigate Mark II A (left) and the Assault Frigate Mark II B (right).

For the extra fleet points it costs you, the Assault Frigate Mark II A gains an extra blue attack die from its forward and rear hull zones. It also features a more impressive anti-squadron armament of two blue dice, instead of just one. On the other hand, the Assault Frigate Mark II B features a squadron value of “3” instead of “2.” It may not be as well-equipped at dealing with enemy fighters directly, but it can better coordinate any fighter wing sent to escort it.

However, both versions of the Assault Frigate Mark II feature a command value of “3,” meaning that it’s noticeably less responsive than the Rebellion’s other ships. As is true of all the starships in Armada, the more powerful ships demand that you plan further ahead.

Still, the ship’s larger command value also means that it can hold more command tokens for later use, and that pairs well with the ability of the expansion’s commander, Garm Bel Iblis, who in both the game’s first and penultimate rounds allows you to add a number of command tokens to each of your ships equal to their command ratings.

Garm Bel Iblis is accompanied within the expansion’s upgrades by another unique Rebel, Adar Tallon, who serves equally well aboard the Assault Frigate Mark II B and the Yavaris. For ten fleet points, Adar Tallon basically allows you to get double the value out of your best squadron pilot every round, and if you choose to go all-in on the investment in your squadrons, you may also wish to consider equipping your Assault Frigate Mark II B with the Gallant Haven title, which reduces by one the total damage dealt to any of your squadrons at distance “1.”

Like the Nebulon-B frigate, the Assault Frigate Mark II also seems to be meant for one of two roles, and if you opt not to outfit it as a fighter escort, then you can add the Paragon title to add one black die to any attack your ship makes as a second attack against the same target. With the Paragon title, your Assault Frigate Mark II A can concentrate its fire upon a single foe for as many as eight attack dice, or nine if you also outfit it with the Enhanced Armament upgrade.

Even Star Destroyers have a hard time concentrating nine dice at the same foe, and if you start launching those sorts of explosive attacks against your enemies, it’s worth taking a look at adding the Sensor Team upgrade to your ship. At the cost of two dice, the Sensor Team allows you to gain an accuracy result when you need it to prevent your opponent from halving the damage his ship would otherwise take.

The Fleet Will Be Ready Soon

The Rebel fleet is gathering outside of Sullust and will soon be ready for action. How will you meet the Imperials? Will you swarm them with your corvettes? Will you use the Yavaris, Gallant Haven, and Adar Tallon to get the most out of your ace fighter pilots? Or will you bring out the big guns of your Assault Frigate Mark II A?

In our next preview, we’ll take a look at the fighters and pilots in the Rebel and Imperial Fighter Squadron Expansion Packs. Until then, head to our community forums to share your favorite Rebel fleet designs with the other members of the Armada community!

Uncertainty Principles

Gate of Arkham News!!

From: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=5347

Just where the supreme horror lay, I could not for my life tell.
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Thing on the Doorstep

Arkham has always been home to witches and cultists, and filled with uncanny places where most people fear to walk, let alone dwell. Yet in the Gates of Arkham expansion for Elder Sign, the city has fallen deeper into chaos. Gates are destabilizing time and space so that formerly safe locations are now the entrances to treacherous Other Worlds. Terrifying abominations such as Night Gaunts and Leng Spiders are pouring through these open gates and rampaging in the streets. Two secretive, underground organizations, the Sheldon Gang and the Order of the Silver Twilight, control the streets more than the Arkham police.

Today we will preview Event cards, which bring to life the constant uncertainty that reigns in Arkham. Some events are welcome and help you with the adventure ahead. Others are harmful and hinder your progress, if they don’t make the situation in Arkham worse. Fortunately, Gates of Arkham also introduces skills, which grant investigators enduring abilities to help them navigate the this legendarily cursed city.

To guide you through the chaos and uncertainty, we have also uploaded the rules of Gates of Arkham. Download them (pdf, 7.2 MB) from the Elder Sign support page, or by clicking the thumbnail on the right.

Unpredictable Events

When you enter locations in Arkham you are often venturing into the unknown. Even when you know the adventure that lies ahead of you, however, an Event can introduce unforeseeable complications. If you’re at an adventure with an Event icon (pictured on the right), you must draw an Event card at the beginning of your resolution phase. Some Events only affect the adventure in play and the investigators engaged in it; others can affect the entire game.

Perhaps you choose to attend a play at Independence Square. Even before the curtain is lifted, you must draw an event: perhaps Unexpected Difficulties occur, lock one of the green dice and making it more difficult for you to succeed in this adventure. But those difficulties only last for the present resolution phase. You might decide to remain at the performance and try again to mitigate the madness this play unleashed in the audience. So, on your next resolution phase you draw another event and now strike a Devil’s Bargain – if you successfully resolve the adventure, you must add two doom tokens to the doom track, bringing the Ancient One closer to coming awake.

Not all Events are bad. If you find yourself trapped in the Forbidden Library of the Witch House, a Narrow Escape will allow you to avoid losing your sanity or advancing the doom track if you try and fail to retrieve the Elder Sign hidden among the dusty volumes. Since you cannot leave the Forbidden Library until you resolve the adventure, this Event card can also make it possible for you to survive multiple turns locked inside.

Survival Skills

If you do make it out of the Forbidden Library alive, you’ll be rewarded with a new skill. Unlike Spells and Common Items, which are usually discarded after a single use, skills can be kept. Any Medical Training gained from your research, for example, will benefit your team of investigators for the length of the game, or, in an emergency, you can exhaust it to save another investigator’s life. You may even stumble upon some good Luck that will enable you to avoid particularly bad Events.

But you’ll need more than skills to survive in the Streets of Arkham game mode. Gates of Arkham also introduces new Spells, such as the powerful Reach of the Mind. You’ll also come across Items that couldn’t have been found inside the museum walls. You might find a Roadster with a full tank of gas ready to speed you across the city to another location. Or a mysterious stranger may give you a Suitcase of Cash that you can use to purchase a useful Item, some sanity, or even membership in the Sheldon Gang.

Confront the Unknown

Nothing is certain in Arkham. A respected doctor might actually be a mad scientist seeking to resurrect the dead. Where the altar once stood in the South Church, there might now be a gateway to a mysterious ancient civilization. A stop at Velma’s Diner for coffee and pie might turn into a battle for your life against a rapacious monster, or a room in Ma’s Boarding House that has been haunted for decades may suddenly seem welcoming and free from horrors. But amid the chaos and uncertainty caused by the Ancient One’s awakening, you must fight for order. You must confront the unknown in Arkham to keep its horrors from taking over the world.

Gates of Arkham will be available soon.

The Dark Tide Approaches

Lord of the ring Card game From: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=5338

“Branched lightning smote down upon the eastward hills. For a staring moment the watchers on the wall saw all the space between them and the Dike lit with white light: it was boiling and crawling with black shapes, some squat and broad, some tall and grim, with high helms and sable shields. Hundreds and hundreds more were pouring over the Dike and through the breach. The dark tide flowed up to the walls from cliff to cliff.”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

After The Black Riders and The Road Darkens allowed players to accompany Frodo Baggins along the first stages of his epic journey to Mount Doom, the Fellowship has broken. Now, Frodo must find his way toward the dark mountains of Mordor without the help of his former companions. Those companions, meanwhile, must swiftly recover from all the early losses that fate has dealt them, for one wizard’s betrayal threatens to cripple their efforts, as well as those of all the forces who would stand against the Dark Lord.

The Treason of Saruman is coming soon for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, and as its three scenarios carry players through select events drawn directly from the first half of The Two Towers, the expansion gives us a new villain, whose White Hand baters against our heroes at every turn. While Saruman’s Uruks, his magic, and his evil are at the heart of all three of the expansion’s scenarios, there’s perhaps no greater illustration of the scope of his power than in the scenario that allows us to accompany Aragorn and the Riders of Rohan for the Battle of Helm’s Deep.

In a period of several weeks, we’ll be able to stand atop the walls of Helm’s Deep, alongside Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Théoden. Until then, however, developer Caleb Grace offers a look at the all-new fashion in which The Treason of Saruman brings this momentous battle to your tabletop.

Developer Caleb Grace on the Battle of Helm’s Deep

The Treason of Saruman is coming in a number of weeks, so let’s talk about the scenario that everyone is dying to play: Helm’s Deep! It’s arguably the most exciting chapter in The Two Towers and one of the most memorable battles in fiction. And the design team is proud to have come up with a way to stage this battle in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game that we believe lives up to the legend!

In order to give life to your defense of Helm’s Deep, the scenario has you switch places with the encounter deck by making it the players’ job to prevent the encounter deck from placing progress on the current quest. Each stage that the encounter deck advances brings the army of Isengard one step closer to capturing the fortress. If stage 4B is defeated, thenHelm’s Deep falls and the players lose the game.

In order for the players to defeat the scenario, they must defend Helm’s Deep through a long night of constant battle. To do this, the objective card,The Defense of Helm’s Deep (The Treason of Saruman, 33), tracks the passage of time by collecting one resource token each round, and the players advance to stage 5A when the last resource token is placed on it. Atstage 5, the players join the Riders of Rohan as they charge out of the fortress at dawn and ride over their enemies. When they defeat the last enemy in play, they win the battle!

Making it to stage 5 will not be easy though. The defensive nature of the scenario turns some elements of the game upside down and creates challenging decisions. For example, you don’t necessarily want to explore locations. The locations in this scenario represent the different parts of the fortress, meaning it’s your job to defend them and keep them in play. When a section of Helm’s Deep leaves play, that means it has fallen to the enemy, and that can have dire consequences. Consider Deeping Wall (The Treason of Saruman, 38):

“While Deeping Wall is the active location, each hero gets +1 defense strength.
Forced: When Deeping Wall is explored, raise each player’s threat by 4.”

By traveling to Deeping Wall, you can increase your heroes’ defense strength and slow the encounter deck’s progress on the quest by using the active location as a buffer. However, if Deeping Wall is explored, you and your friends must each raise your threat by four as part of the fortress is overrun.

Of course, if you don’t explore any locations, they’ll continue to add their threat strength to the total threat strength of the staging area as it rises, and it will become increasingly difficult to keep the encounter deck from placing progress on the quest. Accordingly, you will probably have to make some choices where neither option feels good, and you might face some moments of real desperation, too. That’s an appropriate feeling when you consider how close Saruman’s army came to capturing Helm’s Deep.

In fact, if it were not for the valor of a few outstanding allies, the men of Rohan would have been overmatched by their enemies, so the design team is pleased to announce the arrival of two of those esteemed allies: Legolas and Gimli!

Keeping Count

One of the biggest challenges with the Saga Expansions has been finding space for all the cards we want to include. Tolkien created such a rich world, full of amazing characters, that there just isn’t enough room in each Saga Expansion to include all the characters that we’d like. That’s why the design team made the difficult, early decision not to release two members of the Fellowship in either of the first two The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions, but to save them forThe Treason of Saruman. That decision was made, in part, because both Legolas and Gimli are already available as heroes in the Core Set, but also because so much of the battle of Helm’s Deep revolves around these two unlikely friends.

To any fan of the book, the game that Gimli (The Treason of Saruman, 4) and Legolas (The Treason of Saruman, 5) play at Helm’s Deep is as unforgettable as the outcome. Eighty-three fewer Orcs survived the battle as a direct result of their competition!

Hopefully, players will find their ally versions just as unforgettable as their participation in the battle of Helm’s Deep. Tactics players will be glad for a new way to draw cards by combining Legolas and his Response effect with his Ranged keyword. That seemed like a fun way to merge his Silvan far-sightedness with his skill with a bow.

Gimli’s effect was inspired by his flavor text: “Give me a row of orc-necks and room to swing and all weariness will fall from me!” Accordingly, when an enemy is revealed from the encounter deck, Gimli throws off his weariness and readies. That means you can use Gimli’s two Willpower to quest and still take advantage of his two Defense Strength and Sentinel keyword if an enemy is revealed.

Each ally is strong in his own right, but they also work together very well, as they should, allowing you to defend and attack any enemy in play, even one engaged with your friend. That’s important because you, your friends, and your characters, will have to work well together if you hope to emerge victorious from the battle of Helm’s Deep!

What Secrets Reside Beneath the Cover Up?

Cool look at new Cathulhu product from: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=5339

“The stir of the Suydam investigation made it certain that these unauthorised newcomers were flooding Red Hook in increasing numbers; entering through some marine conspiracy unreached by revenue officers and harbour police.”
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Horror at Red Hook

The Agency-focused deluxe expansion, For the Greater Good, is nearly here. In our last preview, we explored some of what its new governmentcharacters and conspiracies may soon add to the faction and to Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game as a whole. Their new synergies and abilities look to significantly strengthen humanity’s ability to fight against the dark and evil cults that seek to plunge the world into chaos.

However, Call of Cthulhu and its eerie fictional setting are full of dark secrets and terrifying twists, and many of the valiant men and women who serve the government, believing they’re working for the greater good, may in fact be advancing the far-sighted designs of some nefarious cabal.

In Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, it’s just as easy to mix two factions together as it is to make a deck that uses only a single faction, and you can readily build a deck that features some unholy alliance between factions that no one may have ever suspected of working together. These alliances, in turn, lead to countless deck types, inhabiting alternate worlds, and they may include two factions, or three, or even more. There’s no limit to the decks that players can create, but each new deck reveals its own secrets.

Accordingly, as we continue exploring For the Greater Good and the conspiracies it introduces to Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, we turn our attention to two outwardly similar Agency decks:

  • One is pure Agency, relying upon the efforts of its operatives to explore the eerie circumstances surrounding three copies of Eldritch Nexus (Core Set, 154), shielding humanity from the horrors by wrapping them up within an elaborate conspiracy, The Blackwood Initiative (For the Greater Good, 35).

  • The other deck is also an Agency deck and shares twenty-three of the same core cards, but as it hides the truth within the layers of its conspiracy, we begin to recognize a darker influence. In this second deck, the Agency’s operatives are being subtly manipulated by a cabal of powerful conspirators and the cult of Shub-Niggurath.

Heroes of the Agency

The Eerie Circumstances:

Eldritch Nexus x3

The Conspiracy:

The Blackwood Initiative x2

The Cover Up:

Cover Up x3
Dr. Christine Maire x1
Local Sheriff x3
Officer Gibson x3
Paul Lemond x3
Shotgun Blast x3
The Foundation x2

Humanity’s Secret Defenders:

Abbess Allegria Di Biase x2
Beneath the Burning Sun x3
Church Operative x3
General Edward Irving x1
Lt. Wilson Stewart x3
Marshall Greene x1
Military Attaché x2
Red Tape x2
San Marco Basilica x3
Shotgun x3
Special Agent Clarkston x2
Trial Judge x2

Plunged into Darkness

The Eerie Circumstances:

Eldritch Nexus x3

The Conspiracy:

The Blackwood Initiative x2

The Cover Up:

Cover Up x3
Dr. Christine Maire x1
Local Sheriff x3
Officer Gibson x3
Paul Lemond x3
Shotgun Blast x3
The Foundation x2

The Government Conspirators:

Karl Heinrich x2
Terrible Old Man x3

The Nefarious Cabal:

Descendant of Eibon x1
The Claret Knight x1
The Mage Known as Magnus x1
The Red-Gloved Man x1

The Cult of Shub-Niggurath:

Black Dog x3
Book of Iod x3
Grasping Chthonian x3
Hungry Dark Young x3
Savio Corvi x3
Shocking Transformation x3

Strategy:

The key card in this deck is The Blackwood Initiative, which forces players to discard a card in order to resource a card. Given that players only draw two cards in the draw phase each turn, The Blackwood Initiative forces your opponent into some painful decisions early in the game as he decides whether he’ll forfeit an entire turn’s worth of card draw in order to resource a domain, or if he’ll forfeit the opportunity to resource a domain in order to hold onto the cards he’s just drawn.

In the meantime, you have to make the same decisions, but you have a strong early game built around your one-cost characters, Officer Gibson(For the Greater Good, 4) and Paul LeMond (Core Set, 4). Equipped with a Shotgun (Core Set, 14), Officer Gibson is capable of taking on nearly any foe, and Paul LeMond can copy any icons in play, provided you have the domains open to pay for them.

As the game goes on, you should be able to reduce the pain that resourcing would cause you by reducing the cost of your characters with Special Agent Clarkston (Aspirations of Ascension, 61) andLt. Wilson Stewart (For the Greater Good, 16).

The two can help you build into late-game characters like General Edward Irving (For the Greater Good, 18) and The Foundation (For the Greater Good, 20).

Finally, the deck features a number of synergies built around its government traits, day mechanics, and the presence of its conspiracy:

Military Attaché (For the Greater Good, 15) provides nearly universal Arcane icons.

After The Blackwood Initiative forces your opponent to discard cards in order to resource, your Church Operatives (Terror in Venice, 3) compound your opponent’s suffering, forcing him to discard cards in order to target your Agency characters with any detrimental effects.

While secretly performing her sworn duties,Conspirator Abbess Allegria Di Biase (Terror in Venice, 1) will not be cowered by any terror nor slowed by anyone seeking to wound her. Not even the dread Khopesh of the Abyss (The Shifting Sands, 16) can harm her.

Strategy:

In this deck, the many layers of the conspiracy, The Blackwood Initiative, carefully conceal the fact that a nefarious cabal of conspirators and the cult of Shub-Niggurath have infilitrated the Agency’s highest ranks and have been manipulating government officials in order to advance their diabolical plot.

Duplicity is critical to their success, so they rely upon the powers of Shocking Transformation(Core Set, 140) in order to ensure the pieces fall into play without anyone the wiser.

The deck’s restricted card, Shocking Transformation allows you to quickly bring into play such powerful characters as The Claret Knight (Seekers of Knowledge, 38), The Foundation (For the Greater Good, 20), and Karl Heinrich (For the Greater Good, 17).

In fact, Karl Heinrich doesn’t just appear as some naive dupe in this deck. Quite the opposite, he comes across as a twisted and cruel sadist who is all too eager to discard the resources for which your opponent has had to sacrifice so much.

So long as you can destroy your opponents characters in Combat struggles – any Combat struggles, not just the ones in which Karl Heinrich participates – the haunted commander roots characters out from your opponent’s domain.

Accordingly, even after The Blackwood Initiative forces your opponent to discard to resource, Karl Heinrich demands that your opponent resource non-character cards, or risk seeing his resourced characters bleed out from under his domains. This means you’re less likely to face any nasty surprises, even if you don’t play Dr. Christine Maire (For the Greater Good, 6), who simply eliminates all speculation about what your opponent might have in his hand.

Layers Within Layers of Dark and Deadly Secrets

The sample decks above illustrate but two of the nearly infinite ways the new Agency cards from For the Greater Good can be put to use for good… or for evil.

Will you grab your shotguns and fight back against the forces threatening to unmake all of human civilization? Or will you manipulate endless troops of unwitting government officials, using them all to advance some dark ritual or open portals to other worlds?

Among all the ways that Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game evokes the eerie fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, perhaps the most terrifying is that the characters in your deck never truly know if they’re the heroes, or if they’re merely being played to some nefarious end.

Dozens of the Agency’s most noble men and women will soon put their lives on the line, not just the overburdened detectives like the King John(For the Greater Good, 8), but also the Overworked Bureaucrats (For the Greater Good, 3) and forensic psychologists like Dr. Christine Maire. How will you use them all? If you haven’t already pre-ordered your copy of For the Greater Good, go pre-order it at your local retailer today!

Current Winning Magic Decks 25 JAN 2015

Just reposting up Magic: The gatherings winningest decks for the week from: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/decks-week/2015-01-23

Today is Fate Reforged release day, which means the Standard format will be going through some shifts in the next couple of weeks. Last weekend featured a break in Premier Play action to give everyone a chance to participate in a Prerelease, but we’ll be moving back into the swing of things leading up to the Pro Tour very quickly.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at Standard as we currently know it. What’s big? Where has the metagame moved to adjust to the current juggernaut decks? This will be a starting point as players adjust to the new Standard and the new set.

Pro Tour Qualifiers will also be starting back up next weekend, and will be featuring the new Standard. This season is currently awarding invitations to Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir, so be sure tofind a PTQ near you, and perhaps we will see you in Brussels, Belgium April 10–12!

PTQS FOR PRO TOUR DRAGONS OF TARKIR

Columbus, OH

Nanuet, NY

Providence, RI

Roswell, GA

Magic Online Decklists

Behind the Scenes with the Galaxy’s Scum and Villainy

From: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=5335

As Civil War rages throughout the galaxy and the battles of X-Wing continue to pit daring Rebels against disciplined Imperial pilots, a third faction waits for its time to strike. Led by such notorious figures as Boba Fett and Prince Xizor, the galaxy’s Scum and Villainy will soon bring new ships, new abilities, and new excitement to X-Wing players everywhere.

As we continue to look forward to the release of the first four Scum expansions, the game’s developers, Alex Davy and Frank Brooks, offer their take on the faction’s introduction, including why it’s a natural fit for X-Wing and what the faction offers the game. They conclude by offering a couple of sample lists that illustrate how differently the faction’s squadrons may look, even as they share a focus on the faction’s penchant for dirty tricks and illegal technology.

Developers Alex Davy and Frank Brooks on the Scum and Villainy Faction

Why create a third faction for the X-Wing miniatures game?

Since the announcement of the Scum and Villainy faction at Gen Con Indy 2014, we’ve been asked that question numerous times by fans who are excited, trepidatious, or just plain curious.

One of the most compelling reasons is thematic. The faction offers a fitting home to the Star Wars galaxy’s most notorious bounty hunters, pirates, and Black Sun agents. When we watched the movies as kids, the galaxy’s scum etched themselves into our imaginations through a handful of memorable scenes: amid the filthy opulence of Jabba’s palace, in a dark Mos Eisley cantina full of weird and nefarious aliens, and on the deck of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer, where six sinister bounty hunters met with the Dark Lord of the Sith, their rag-tag equipment and disdain for discipline contrasting sharply with the surrounding signs of the Empire’s military precision. These Scum generally do their best to remain outside the conflicts of the Galactic Civil War, except for when it’s profitable to become involved.Still, they form an integral part of the Star Wars universe, exerting profound influence over the lives of millions, including many of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest heroes.

In X-Wing, the Scum & Villainy faction gives players the opportunity to interact with these characters and the seedy fringes of a galaxy at war. The criminal underground even intersects directly with the protagonists of theStar Wars galaxy: Han was hunted throughout the original trilogy by a score of ruthless bounty hunters throughout, while in Shadows of the Empire, Luke, Leia, Lando, and Dash Rendar had to contend with machinations of the cruel and calculating Prince Xizor. As we see them, the Scum faction’s rogues, villains, bounty hunters, and criminals are a quintessential part of the Star Wars universe, and it’s thrilling to bring them into the game.

What does this mean for the X-Wing? New stuff! New ships, new characters, new scenarios, and new ways to play. With such a rich thematic vein to mine, inspiration came easily, and the result is a third faction with an entirely different feel.

Dirty Tricks and Illegal Technology

In X-Wing, the Rebel Alliance focuses on teamwork and defense, and it features a high ratio of shielded ships and synergistic pilot abilities. The Galactic Empire has no such concern for its pilots, which means its dogfighters run the gamut from cheap cannon fodder to elite, fragile offensive powerhouses whose pilots rely purely on their own abilities for survival.

Meanwhile, the hotshot pilots of the Scum and Villainy faction represent a loose coalition of ruthless individuals whose motivations happen to temporarily align. Formation flying is rare, self-sacrifice unheard of, and pilots must pay nearly as much attention to their supposed allies as to their foes. Among the Scum, you can never be certain that some unstable mercenary won’t have packed his ship full of thermal detonators. Still, what they lack in military discipline and raw pilot skill they make up for with dirty tricks, highly illegal technology, unpredictable maneuvers, and some of the finest and wildest starships that money can buy.

These tricks, technological advances, and maneuvers lead directly to an increased diversity among the squads available to X-Wing players. This is important because asymmetrical competitive thrive on diversity. The more viable lists and strategies that exist, the more varied and exciting the gameplay.

Variety is something at which the Scum’s loose cannons are going to excel, and we have put together a couple of sample lists to illustrate the point.

Dual Aggressors

Alex’s list features one of his favorite Star Wars characters, the cold and merciless assassin droid, IG-88.

IG-88A (36)
Predator (3)
Advanced Sensors (3)
Proximity Mines (3)
Shield Upgrade (4)
Inertial Dampeners (1)
IG-2000 (0)

IG-88C (36)
Predator (3)
Advanced Sensors (3)
Proximity Mines (3)
Shield Upgrade (4)
Inertial Dampeners (1)
IG-2000 (0)

Total Squad Points: 100

A two-ship list is a huge gamble, especially when you’re relying exclusively on a forward firing arc, but IG-88 can do things that other pilots can only dream about.

With their native boost actions, Advanced Sensors, and access to both a K-turn and the Segnor’s Loop maneuver, these Aggressors are masters of repositioning. Advanced Sensors allows them to perform a boost action before executing a maneuver, which means you can angle your K-turn or Segnor’s loop in jaw-dropping ways.


A 360-degree view of the agile Aggressor.

Thanks to IG-88C and the IG-2000 Title, both ships in the list get an evade token each time they boost, and Predator helps ensure the ship’s shot doesn’t go to waste. Proximity Mines are also made more flexible by Advanced Sensors, allowing them to be dropped either before or after the Aggressor performs a maneuver, making them an ideal tool for dealing with fragile, high pilot skill enemies like TIE phantoms and TIE interceptors. Against a swarm of enemy ships, which is easily this list’s toughest matchup, IG-88A’s ability to provide shield regeneration can help the droids weather the storm. Then, Inertial Dampeners add an extra dash of unpredictability to an already versatile list.

This is one of my favorite ways to fly dual IG-88s, but the fantastic thing about this ship is how many different options it provides. With a dial chock full of green maneuvers, Push the Limit is an excellent choice, and Advanced Sensors can be swapped out for Accuracy Corrector, allowing IG-88 to focus and evade for defense, secure in the knowledge that he will roll at least two hits with his attack. Adrenaline Rush, Advanced Sensors, and IG-88D make for even crazier K-turn possibilities, and Expert Handling gives you access to a large ship with both boost an barrel roll!

Thugs and Pirates

Frank’s list features one HWK-290, two Z-95 Headhunters, and two Y-wings. Though all of these ships can also be flown by the Rebel Alliance, the list has a distinctive feel when flown in the Scum faction.

Torkil Mux (19)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
Dead Man’s Switch (2)
Engine Upgrade (4)

Binayre Pirate (12)
Dead Man’s Switch (2)

Binayre Pirate (12)
Dead Man’s Switch (2)

Syndicate Thug (18)
Autoblaster Turret (2)
Unhinged Astromech (1)

Syndicate Thug (18)
Autoblaster Turret (2)
Unhinged Astromech (1)

Total Squad Points: 100

This list attempts to leverage as much as it can off of Torkil Mux’s ability. By reducing an enemy’s pilot skill to “0,” Torkil Mux allows for his entire squadron to attack the targeted ship before it can attack back. To that effect, this list gets away with paying the minimum price for pilot skill, thereby leaving room for several utility upgrades.

Bidding low on pilot skill leads to some other benefits, too. The Binayre Pirates, with their pilot skill values of “1,” can maneuver early and block enemy flight paths, pinning down ships for the Syndicate Thugs to target with their Autoblaster Turrets. Additionally, as the battlefield becomes more crowded and chaotic, the list’s liberal use of Dead Man’s Switches may force your opponent into some truly difficult play decisions.


A 360-degree view of the Scum-themed Z-95 Headhunter from the
Most Wanted Expansion Pack.

Whereas a Rebel squad that features the same ships would most likely fly in formation, those tactics are unwise in this list as taking down one of the Z-95 Headhunters with Dead Man’s Switch could very easily injure the other. Accordingly, this list requires a bit of finesse to fly, especially since the Y-wings have to get very close in order to be their most effective. That’s why the Unhinged Astromechs allow for the Y-wings to move more unpredictably. Additionally, the list’s emphasis on Torkil Mux means that he has a rather large target on his head, so you need to be very careful with him. Try to fly erratically and use his boost from the Engine Upgrade to get out of arcs and at Range 1–2 of his prey.

Of course, these lists demonstrate just a couple of the many new squadrons the faction provides, and we hope you will enjoy experimenting with the galaxy’s Scum and Villainy as much as we have!

Doctor Who: Eighth Doctor Sourcebook

I’m excited about this one from: http://gamer-goggles.com/blog/doctor-who-eighth-doctor-sourcebook-9718/

8th doctorrDoctor Who: Eighth Doctor Sourcebook

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, this Sourcebook explores the Eighth Doctor’s adventures on Earth and beyond. With detailed information on all the allies, enemies, aliens and gadgets that he encounters, as well as examining each of his adventures, the book contains a wealth of material for the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG, and is also a fact-packed resource for fans of the show!

After being shot in a gang war in San Francisco, the Doctor regenerates just in time to stop the Master one more time. His eighth incarnation had much to contend with, not least the Time War, during which he had a fateful encounter with the Sisterhood of Karn once more.

 

As well as detailing the Eighth Doctor’s adventures, this sourcebook also contains a complete campaign – The Doom of the Daleks – that sees the Doctor’s deadliest foe erasing him from existence, forcing his companions into a race against time itself to save him!

CONSTANTINE AND NICK NECRO PREVIEWED FOR TRINITY WAR

From: http://www.tabletopgamingnews.com/constantine-and-nick-necro-previewed-for-trinity-war/

Constantine

WizKids continues their two-fer previews with a look at John Constantine and Nick Necro for the upcoming Trinity War HeroClix set.
It is interesting what a repaint can do for making two figures with the same sculpt look like two very different models.

Source

From the preview:

We are getting close to the release date for the DC HeroClix: Justice League – Trinity War set coming early next month but that won’t slow us down in our previews for you! Today we have two magicians that used to train together now they fight each other John Constantine and Nick Necro.

Enter the Dreamlands

From:   http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_news.asp?eidn=5336

Call of Cthulhu LCG | Published 23 January 2015

“Only three fully human souls since time began had ever crossed and recrossed the black impious gulfs to other dreamlands, and of that three two had come back quite mad. There were, in such voyages, incalculable local dangers; as well as that shocking final peril which gibbers unmentionably outside the ordered universe, where no dreams reach.”
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce that the six classic Asylum Packs of the Dreamlands cycle for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game have been reprinted and are now available!

Long out of print and in demand, these six Dreamlands Asylum Packs are now available via Fantasy Flight Games’ in-house manufacturing. Each has been updated to the sixty-card format which features three copies each of twenty individual cards, and this printing incorporates all errata from the game’s latest FAQ (pdf, 1.0 MB).

What Lies Within the Dreamlands?

It was the Dreamlands cycle that first introduced the game’s popular Day and Night mechanics, which add a sense of time and a heightened tension to its struggles. Meanwhile, the cycle also introduced a number of fantastic Dreamlandslocations and Dreamer characters, those daring souls who have learned how to explore the strange and mysterious realms beyond our mortal world.

Here, in a realm where your imagination makes you strong, you’ll be able to climb The Seventy Steps (In Memory of Day, 30) and converse with the intrepid Randolph Carter (Search for the Silver Key, 63). However, the Dreamlands can also be treacherous, and you must remain wary, lest you be ambushed by the fearsome Dreamlands Fanatic (In the Dread of Night, 47) or stumble into The Cavern of Flame (In the Dread of Night, 49).

Should you dare to enter the Dreamlands, you may also come across some of its stranger residents. Ghouls, Gugs, and Zoogs all appear in these Asylum Packs, as do a handful of eldritch Tomes that may shed light upon these realms of dreams, such as a Dream Diary (Twilight Horror, 4) or The Book of Black Stones (Search for the Silver Key, 79).

Altogether, the Dreamlands cycle is filled with cards that echo and evoke H.P. Lovecraft’s visions of a realm in which the dreamer can experience unparalleled freedoms, witness unimaginable beauty, and find himself subjected to unfathomable horrors.

Dare to Dream

“Carter resolved to go with bold entreaty whither no man had gone before, and dare the icy deserts through the dark to where unknown Kadath, veiled in cloud and crowned with unimagined stars, holds secret and nocturnal the onyx castle of the Great Ones.”
–H.P. Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

Travel with Dreamers, visit the Dreamlands, and take your games of Call of Cthulhu into strange, new realms. The six classic Asylum Packs from the Dreamlands cycle are now updated and available. Pick up your copies today!

Note: Due to subtle variations in print quality that arise with in-house manufacturing, players must sleeve these cards in opaque or art sleeves to use them in tournament play.

Designing Epic PvP

From: http://www.alderac.com/blog/2015/01/21/designing-epic-pvp/

y Seemingly Obsessive Quest to Bring More Fun to More Tabletops
By Ryan Miller

Back when Magic first came out, I took a stab at my own dueling card game. You had your character card, a bunch of move cards, and lots of cool weapons. My brother was my first (and only) play tester, and we played on handwritten cards I had cut out of index cards.

The game was fun, but flawed – attacks were way too easy to block, causing my beleaguered brother to drop his hand on the table and say “this game is never going to end!” The game was quickly shelved, but the idea is something that has stuck with me for the last 20 years – ever since then I’ve really wanted to make a great fighting card game.

Flash forward a couple of decades, and I’m still kicking around ideas. Last year, I was meeting with Luke for some game design work, and pulled out a game I had been working on. He wrote up the story in the last designer diary, so I don’t want to rehash too much, but I will say that those first playtest were a blast! I had the basic game mechanics down, but as he usually does, Luke instantly had some ideas that made the game far better.

The core mechanic is the aggression system. Each turn, you gain 2 aggression, in the form of two face down cards from the top of your deck. Aggression is the resource of the game, so the more aggression you have, the more attacks you can sling at your opponent. Once you have gained aggression, you may then decide to draw any number of cards – but you must draw them from your aggression! This balance of hope and drama really adds a lot of excitement to the game.

Do you play risky and draw a bunch of cards in the hopes of getting that one card you need to finish your combo? Do you let your aggression pile up until you can drop a massive attack? There are a lot of tactical decisions you must make based on what you’ve got in front of you as well as what’s in your hand. It all combines to make a really fun and fast bashing card game.

ranger5The attack mechanic is also a lot of fun. Most cards are moves, which you use to not only attack your opponent but to block your opponent’s attacks against you. During their turn, your opponent will play one or more moves against you – and you’ve got until the end of your next turn to block them. This becomes a huge part of your decision on how many cards to draw! If they’ve gone wide and played a ton of moves, you may need to draw more cards to defend yourself. On the other hand, if they’ve only got one or two, you might hold back and take some early damage so you can build up your aggression.

My favorite aspect of the game is the character building. Early on, Luke and I discussed ways to make the game have more of an RPG feel. My initial idea was to have class and race cards that you could mix and match. These cards would then give you some base abilities that would alter how the standard deck played, but wouldn’t alter the deck itself. Eventually the idea of having one standard deck, and then class and race “boosters” of about 15 cards each came up – you would shuffle those cards together and have your character’s deck.

After lots of brainstorming, we finally decided to just do race and class decks. That way, we could make the cards much more tailored to the characters. And we knew from Paul Peterson’s brilliant Smash Up that shuffle building was something players enjoy. Since our game mechanics are miles away from Smash Up, we felt like if we could make this work, we could offer players a very different shuffle-building experience. We did some quick mockups, and the idea was a winner!