First of all, I must say it doesn’t feel right to be writing an article. I should be reading articles instead of trying to write one. And guess what, I do read them. I consume every single aspect of this Game of Thrones card game and I can say I love the game like few others. That gave me the courage to come here and share some thoughts with you guys!
The subject is Melee. More specifically, why the melee format should have support from everyone that likes the game. So, I present a series of 5 points that hopefully will make you cheer for melee as a competitive official format like it used to be.
1. Melee, despite all imperfections, is what makes Thrones unique!
Several card games will rise; several card games will fall and hardly will you find an LCG that provides such a good multiplayer experience. Making deals, forging diplomacy and trying to outplay 3 foes at the same time is something that only AGOT provides. I am sure Netrunner, Conquest, and others are wonderful games, but they lack a format that addresses this aspect of gaming. The same can be said about SW Destiny and the much awaited L5R.
Only Game of Thrones has Melee! For only joust, there are several other slightly worse options… Of course, some might even say that those options are as good as Thrones. I disagree.
2. Melee provides a group play experience.
This is obvious. Some might not like a group play experience, but I do believe that card gamers in general like social interaction.
Why not have this also inside the game we dedicate so much time and effort to?
3. Melee influences the type of players that enjoy the game.
This might be a bit too much of a statement to make, but people that are friendly/social enough to like melee are cool people. Those people do not take the game to a personal level and enjoy a multilevel game experience. They also tend to be great losers and great winners. They are my favorite kind of players!
The Thrones community is “different”. At least, we like to say it is… If that is not true, we for sure think it used to be “different” at some point. I think having a melee format has something to do with that. In my opinion, we have even the best type of joust players now. Cool people attract cool people.
4. Melee is an important entrance door to the game.
With the reset to Second Edition, everything was new and fresh. We lost our favorite cards and our collection, but we got this whole new game with a growing base of new players. The blossom was great for sure! But now it seems the time of renewal is passing.
New players now face themselves with big card pool and plenty of stuff to learn. Is not as easy to start anymore.
As more time passes, new entrants will become rarer. Melee can help in that. Picking a multiplayer game to discover with friends is something that most of us have done. Also, having a group of new players is always better than having a single person learning it alone.
I started 1.0 like that. I know others that also started with melee when the game was already in a mature stage. The chance I started playing would have been little if the game was presented to me like: “Hey, I know a great card game with an awesome lore… wanna joust?”
5. Melee relates with AOIAF perfectly.
Collusion aside (that is subject for a whole new article), schemes, betrayals, pacts, deception are what make melee great. In the Game of Thrones melee game, no one is your friend and melee gives room for all kind of situations. Hidden intentions in the deals, managing your threat level, making people believe you are the prey: all those aspects that are present in our beloved history come to life in a melee game. And the best part: there is no escape from it!
So, for those that made through all those five points, it must be said that besides all those arguments, melee will never prevent you playing joust! Melee is a great format and needs all the support it can get from the Thrones community and FFG. It is crucial for the making our game unique and special in the long run!
Lasty, I have to admit I am indeed very biased in talking about this awesome format and what it means to AGot. But, in my defense, why should it be different? Afterall, melee is my second favorite constructed format!