by Luke Wortley (eldub)
Last time we talked about the story of plots – at least the story of the plots up to and including The Road to Winterfell chapter pack. With the King’s Peace, I think I could easily have added Tourney for the King. No doubt we’ll revisit Plot cards at the end of the first cycle.
Of the six card types (Agenda, Plot, Character, Attachment, Location, Event), the Plots, Characters, and Events get all the love in terms of our Nedly senses. But what about the actual places and cool toys that all the lovely folks in the Seven Kingdoms and beyond are carrying around with them. All too often we forget to give our Nedly shoutouts to the Locations and Attachments. In this edition of Nerdly Ned, we’ll be discussing just that.
Honorable Mention – Attachments*
These cards just missed the cut for Nedliest of the Nedly.
This card just missed the cut because the Nedly flavor is obvious but limited. The name of the card is fine, and considering Drogo’s arakh has no name (The Dothraki wouldn’t name a weapon…), I understand the title. The reason this card is Nedly is because, although every Dothraki screamer may know how to wield an arakh, none of them wield one like the Khal.
King Robert’s Warhammer
Another card that has obvious thematic value but isn’t quite doing enough for me in terms of story sense. Obviously the kneeling mechanic is a nod to Robert’s power and strength, how he made the Seven Kingdoms bow to him. However, the real shortcoming of this card, in my opinion, is that there’s no specific interaction with King Robert himself…and the art.
The Nedliest of the Nedly – Attachments
Obviously, these made the cut.
Crown of Gold
Let’s break it down from a Nedly perspective. It’s Terminal, which is certainly true of newly-melted gold; it doesn’t stay that way. Secondly, “Attached character gains the King trait.” Although funny in the most macabre way, it’s so consistent with the story. Drogo promised him a crown, and he got one (just happened to be the one that killed him), which is a nod to the final part of the game text.
Probably not on most of your radars. I confess that this card made my list partially for two completely vain reasons: 1) I wanted to pick a card many people would overlook in a Nedly sense and 2) I have way too much confidence in my ability to extrapolate meaning from text.
All that aside, Dawn is a very famous blade with a lot of history and weight, especially for House Dayne (hence the game text). If you do a bit of digging, you realize that Dawn isn’t just passed down to the current patriarch of House Dayne; the Sword of the Morning is only given to a knight of Starfall who has proven himself worthy. This fact is significant in the design of the card in that the blade itself becomes more mysterious, more mythical and, therefore, more powerful the longer the people wait for Ser Arthur’s successor.
Mare in Heat
Okay, we’ve all gushed over this card, and rightly so. Every aspect of this card’s design is Nedly (except for the art, which is normally a huge consideration for me, but given the game text is so thematic I’m willing to let it be a smaller concern).
Obviously the card refers to the Ser Loras Tyrell’s famous tilt against Ser Gregor Clegane, The Mountain that Rides during the Tourney for the Hand. Ser Loras, clearly the underdog, manages to unhorse Ser Gregor because Ser Gregor’s destrier essentially loses its mind when it crosses paths with the KoF’s mare in heat.
Need I say more? It’s a great card and has great connection to the text.
Honorable Mention – Locations
Locations, I’ll admit, are a little harder to pin down with flavor from the text without being too reliant on artwork. These cards were just shy of being Nedliest of the Nedly.
Gates of Winterfell
Gates of Winterfell, apart from being Stark’s main draw engine from the Core Set, is a nice look at the insular quality of House Stark. The Starks of Winterfell are very family-centered and fiercely loyal. To me, I see the kneeling action as the gates opening only to family members of House Stark or its loyal bannermen.
All in all, however, the location itself doesn’t exactly play a huge role in the story, so it only makes honorable mention.
Not convinced it’s a good card. However, I will admit that it’s a fun card to discuss, and that discussion doesn’t end with utility in the game itself. For those unfamiliar, The Boneway is a mountain pass on the Northern border of Dorne and the Stormlands. Several battles at the Boneway are mentioned in passing, and the description is limited. But, given the description in the story as well as the art on the card, I’m led to believe that its something similar in geography to Thermopylae.
What pushes this card into the discussion of Nedly merits is the idea of feigning retreat into a cramped mountain pass only to counterattack in a confined space (or, in this case, gain power). What keeps it out of the Nedliest of the Ned is that it’s still a largely unkown entity in the first book. It’s actually not until A Clash of Kings that The Boneway is mentioned at all, when Tyrion Lannister asks that Prince Doran Martell station armies at the Boneway to protect Princess Myrcella on her way to meet her betrothed, Trystane Martell.
Plaza of Punishment
Oh, Plaza, you weenie-eating machine. Apart from the fact that it’s a great card, it’s also a pretty Nedly one. The Astapor trait is very faithful to the books, considering the Plaza of Punishment is actually located in the city of Astapor across the Narrow Sea.
The Plaza of Punishment is exactly what you would expect; it’s a sort of coliseum of carnage. Disobedient slaves are executed and publicly displayed in the Plaza with the intent of deterring future insubordination. So, winning a power challenge and taking your opponent down a peg is quite fitting.
What, then, keeps this card out of the Nedliest of the Nedly? It’s not in the first book! We don’t get around to many of the Free Cities with Dany until books 2 and 3…
Nedliest of the Nedly – Locations
All the Nedliest Locations in the game up to this point based on the card text as well as relevance to the books at this point in the cycle, which is to say, Book 1.
Not much else to say about the winning dominance part; 8 STR is akin to having two strong Lord or Lady characters standing at the end of challenges. Dominance, indeed.
Don’t sleep on the +1 Reserve, either. Being King or Queen always gives you options.
The other most important location in the Seven Kingdoms, The Wall is the ultimate barrier. As such, it grants its watchers a significant strength boost. However, the Watch is pitifully low on numbers, as we see from both Jon and Tyrion’s points of view in the first book. Without sufficient Rangers, Builders, and Stewards to man the various outposts, The Wall is vulnerable against the oncoming winter. If defended successfully, the realm of men stays blissfully unaware of what ancient evils reanimate in the cold. Even the slightest miscalculation on the part of the Watch could lead to disaster for all. This card is extremely well designed and offers another layer of narrative in-game.
Although I’m starting to be convinced that this card is going to actually be pretty good (thanks, CT, for converting me on that front), I think it’s another one of those cards that sort of gets overlooked from a Nedly point of view because it was such a throwaway card when it was released in Taking the Black.
What makes this card so Nedly to me is that it triggers on plots. So, before tricks and shenanigans, before any meaningful events can happen – in other words, as soon as you pass through the gates – you must discard your weapons. No blades are allowed in Vaes Dothrak, as it is the most sacred of sites for the Dothraki. Everyone must abide by this law, and discarding your own attachments to make others follow suit and humble themselves before all the broken gods, is pretty friggin Nedly.
Well, that’s it for me, folks. Next time on Nerdly Ned I’ll be discussing events. Characters will probably be divided into a four-part series, where I tackle two factions in each installment. Feel free to debate and discuss in the comments or in the FB group.
Yall take care now,
*All images from CardgameDB