Stahleck 2017

Stahleck 2017, bay bay!

Thu Nov 16th - 9:26:29

We’re on the tram to the airport!

Jack and Sam on the tram to Manchester Airport.

Fairly leisurely start to the day, and an early ish night last night. Played a couple of games so Sam could choose which deck he was playing in the joust: Lannister – Rains of Castamere or Greyjoy – Banner of the Dragon.


Thu Nov 16th - 9:39:31

On a different tram!

Jack and Sam on a different tram.

Cheeky swap at Cornbrook, and we’re actually going to the airport this time.

Sam is questioning how long I will keep this going before binning it off, I reckon it’s about three more posts.

Thu Nov 16th - 11:22:48

Had some vastly over priced breakfast and now there’s only really one option:

Jack holding a beer in Manchester Airport.Warm airport beer…

Thu Nov 16th - 12:29:07

And we’re on the plane!On the airplane .

Cannot wait to play some boardgames tonight.

Thu Nov 16th - 14:14:12

Just touched down in Frankfurt and it is very cold.

Time to dash through security and hopefully meet up with Scots before we get the train to Bacharach.

Thu Nov 16th - 14:58:28

Found some Scottish people!

Scottish people.

Thu Nov 16th - 16:02:22

Final stretch of the journey now, the lovely train to Bacharach. Last year it stopped for like an hour outside the station, hope that doesn’t happen again…

Planning a quick five minute drop off of stuff at the flat when I get there and then it’s time for the first walk up the hill of the weekend.

EU data roaming is excellent.

Thu Nov 16th - 17:02:21

Made it to the top! And Dave Bamford is here:

Dave Bamford.

Thu Nov 16th - 18:43:58

Just finished my first board game of the weekend condottiere with Dutch Tom, the Dutch national champion Franke and nice Ian.


i didn’t listen to the rules but managed to wing myself into almost winning twice. Decent game would play again.


Phone battery is low and signal at the castle is terrible so this could be the last post tonight…


Fri Nov 17th - 8:23:05

It’s Friday morning, woke up with a banging headache. But made it through, currently waiting for the melee to start.

It’s this time every year when I realise not everyone does fancy dress and I am perhaps over/under dressed.

Fri Nov 17th - 10:34:24

Round one of melee done, managed to squeak out second place despite my Late Summer Feast getting hit by naval superiority turn one.


Played against Nice Samuel from Sweden and two Brits. It was a good game but I was never in the running to win it after that start, just had to try and creep on power to keep second place.

Fri Nov 17th - 13:42:54

Round two of melee done, another second place…

I got to 14 power this time, which is pretty legit but not quite there. I also had a superior claim pulled for intrigue claim which pretty much killed the game for me. Handsome Kostas won, obviously.

I like playing against Kostas though, he does a lot of thinking and planning which is the opposite of how o play and I think that infuriates him.

Fri Nov 17th - 16:20:01

I won a round! Crazy business. Silly stuff really because Tony was on the table with me, which guarantees nonsense. I felt sorry for the Filipino lad Jerry getting dropped into a fake feud.

Also the naval superiority lad from earlier was on the table as well, which massively tipped the scales in my favour because I knew what was coming. A cheap win, but they all count.


UK Nationals 2016 – Tournament Report

It’s tough isn’t it? Walking the line between humble self deprecation, “oh, I’d be happy just to win a single game,” into rampant egomania “I will win this tournament, for I am the greatest player in the country” despite all evidence to the contrary.

I think that it is this conflict, this paradox that I enjoy this game so much. For me at least, it’s both impossible to feel both of these things and impossible not to. Perhaps I’m attaching too high a significance to a game based in a small part on luck or the mistakes of others.

Occasionally, you get that fleeting moment of having thoroughly outplayed an opponent, and won the gameOn your terms, with the deck that you built, tested and refined for days, weeks, and sometimes months. I think you can see that progress in my old tournament reports; from the days where they actually made it out of my drafts folder. The slow evolution of the Lannister City of Shadows deck and my understanding of the game. Topped off with a glorious 2nd in the Swiss and immediate fall in the Top 8 at the Stoke regional.

And the falls, the flip side of winning. The moment in which you realise the slight mistake that has cost you dearly.That the best players don’t seem to make, or at least make fewer of. When setting up a four cost character over a three cost one puts you on the back foot for an entire game. Those moments of clarity, where the path to defeat – and your tragic footsteps down it – is so obvious.

Perhaps there’s a thematic point to be made here tied into the deck I decided to play at Nationals this year. After a fairly successful run at the Paramour Invitational, I stuck with my Martell – The Lord of the Crossing deck for the tournament. Despite it doing nothing but lose in the month prior to it. That is kind of the point of the deck though, losing early and gaining the upperhand through losing, with Ghaston Grey, The Long Plan, and The Boneway.

How often, though, does losing on purpose translate to just losing?

Quite Often

Sometimes writing a tournament report is easy. The through line to weave between games is obvious and exciting. It’s fun telling the story of what happened in the game and the jokes write themselves. Other times, more often than not, it’s hard work. Staring at a screen of H2s with the following:

Round 1 – ??? – ??? – Fealty?

Round 2 – ??? – Stark – ???

Round 3 – Keb – ??? – ???

I’ve been wearing my wank hat and getting all existential instead of actually writing the report. So who knows which way this one will go. Presumably though, it’ll be easy and fun for the first three rounds and then take a turn for the worse…

The author, getting the disdain the above wankery deserves.

The author, getting the disdain the above wankery deserves.

Round 1 – Phillip Craker – Lannister – Fealty

Big Phil, as I’m not sure anyone calls him, actually appeared in my very first tournament report, which is nice. And, I don’t want to go in two footed here, but he’s actually the “villain” in one of my all time favourite Thrones stories when once, against a friend at a Regional, he didn’t count gold one marshalling phase to avoid the passive on his own Theon:

Theon Greyjoy

Leading to Sam, the aforementioned friend, having to kill his Stannis. Nasty business, always call for a judge if you think a player ruling is dodgy.

Anyway, no hard feelings, lets have a nice game.

Phillip started with a very strong board of Cersei, PycelleTyrion and Red Cloaks. I started with one of each icon attachment and a Milk of the Poppy, and went about my business. Stopping the military challenge, the two claim intrigue challenge and Tyrion‘s gold generation was massive. Especially as it meant that Phil couldn’t ambush in any claim soak.

The following turn, I went with Heads on Spikes to Phillip’s A Noble Cause, and hit Tywin. Noice. Instead Phillip marshalled Ilyn Payne, who’s only target was a Bastard Daughter. From here I pretty much ground the game out, eventually closing with The Boneway, having worked up to the win in challenges or win in dominance scenario.

Round 2 – ??? – Targaryen – Banner of the Lion

I can’t remember my opponents name from this round because I’m terrible, but he was from Lincoln and had his copy of Syrio signed by the actor who played Syrio in the TV show. I know this because we both had Syrio on setup which was nice. Until my Syrio wore a Crown of Gold and then he marshalled Mirri Maz Durr.

In hand, however, I had Attainted, Condemned and Milk of the Poppy to shut that business right down. I turned Mirri into an expensive Iron Throne and stuck the Milk on the Syrio. I think keeping just enough back to Vengeance for Elia the military challenge. Successful first turn.

Over the following turns I hit with Heads on Spikes, and started racking up tokens with the Boneway. My Naval Superiority hits… Counting Coppers. For some reason, even though my opponent had a gold leftover and a standing dragon, I went into a challenge with Nymeria and she got burnt. Ouch.

I still had Arianne though, and wanted to make her count. But in one challenges phase, she got hit with Nightmares and I was facing down the one gold, standing dragon dilemma again. Sometimes you see a trap. And even though it is an obvious trap, and you know it’s a terrible idea. You just have to stick your hand in that trap. I intrigue challenged with Arianne. Dead Arianne.

By this point, I’m really clinging onto the game in terms of board position but I’m sat around 12 power. Condemned on Tyrion is saving my life, as it’s keeping the opponent from winning power challenges and but I am refilling The Boneway, quite nicely. In fact, it has now got 5 vengeance tokens on it.

I play First Snow of Winter to reduce the opponents board to just Syrio and Tyrion and marshal Ghaston Grey and no characters. In the challenges phase, the only play for my opponent is to pass challenges, win dominance and see what happens next turn. If he does a challenge, he’ll lose one of the characters to Ghaston and another to my Marched the following turn. Oh, and I’ll win with The Boneway.

The first time I triggered The Boneway, my opponent specially asked if it was two or three power gained. I explained it was three. This information did not stay in his head. He throws intrigue with Tyrion. Ghaston, Boneway.


Round 3 – ??? – Martell – Banner of the Lion

Another name I can’t remember, sorry! And I can’t really remember a massive amount about this game.

But I did get away with setting up just Arianne and also having two Imprisoned in hand when my opponent playing The Mountain. Which is one major threat gone, even after a Confiscation. The challenges phases were a mess in this game as we both had Nymeria on the table, but going second most turns meant I got the most value of out her.

I think it was the classic, winning challenges, Lord of the Crossing bonus and Boneway to finish the game off.


Feeling pretty good about my record I went out to find some lunch and ended up going to…


It was delicious.

Round 4 – Tom Smith – Baratheon – Fealty

And here’s where things start to go wrong. I foolish throw away a setup of Harmen Uller, Bastard Daughter and Roseroad. Because, in my twisted mind, setting up a Bastard Daughter reduces the usefulness of Harmen Uller.

Fucking Idiot

As a punishment, I get a much worse three card setup and a hand with three reducer chuds and bastard two bastard Bastard Daughters, and my only “good” character, Littlefinger, has been knelt by Melisandre.

Maester Cressen is fucking up my shit with the attachments, and I have to put a Milk of the Poppy on him instead of something good. The obvious strategy here, is to play the two Bastard Daughters and then Wildfire to hit Tom’s hand and hope for the best with top decking next turn.

Tom gets Stannis, I get nothing.

The game is already running away from me, but I manage to grab Ghaston Grey, which I use on Robert Baratheon. We do the same thing next turn, I have zero power, Tom is sitting around 10 power. Even with a second Ghaston, I can’t stop Tom from closing that game.

Only one loss though, I can still make the cut by winning my next few games…

Round 5 – Even – Martell – Fealty

So I got Even’d here. Anyone who’s played an FFG card game in the UK (and beyond) will know that feeling. The man is a card game machine. In 2016, he’s won a Regional in all the games he plays. Which is all of them. Scarily good.

Even was slightly weakened, however, after going to time in his last game, but that didn’t really make that much of a difference.

I mulliganed out of fairly bad hand, and got an even worse one. Two cards, one character to chose from either Caleotte or Rattleshirt’s Raiderand Ghaston Grey. Of course now, the obvious choice is setting up both characters. But I didn’t do that, I went with Ghaston and the Rattleshirt’s, who were promptly Marched to the Wall.

Losing the only attachment hate in the deck was harsh, especially as my Nymeria quickly ate a Milk of the Poppy. Even wasn’t kind enough to even give me some challenges to lose in the first turn so rebuilding in the second turn was a little stalled.

I did what I could to put up a fight against Even’s deck, but I just couldn’t maintain board parity and my Boneway was very quickly overflowing with vengeance tokens. Sadly, it didn’t make any difference.

Round 6 – Ian Pollard – Lannister – Banner of the Kraken

I was still holding out the hope that a 4-2 finish might sneak me into the cut given strength of schedule, but even that was looking unlikely. Thankfully, I got paired against a fellow First Edition Elitist in Ian, who is always a pleasure to play against.

For some stupid reason, I forgot to trigger The Long Plan after losing a challenge. This was very costly, as it meant that I couldn’t place Attainted on Tyrion and play Arianne the following turn, after missing with Heads on Spikes.

Following that, after bringing Nymeria into play to shut down the Mountain, she got hit with a Tears of Lys. Very nasty. With Nym gone, I really, really needed to see a Milk of the Poppy and an Imprisoned to stop Tyrion and The Mountain dominating the game. I grabbed a Milk with Building Orders and begrudgingly stuck it The Mountain, with my deck being quite heavily weighted towards five cost characters.

This was only a temporary relief, as Ian played Confiscation the next turn and I didn’t punish it with Naval Superiority. I was seriously lacking in resources and could only really afford to play out Arianne each turn and keep The Mountain off with Areo Hotah. This didn’t last long though, as even with two First Snow turns, Areo fell victim to intrigue claim.

With not a lot of hope left in the game, I duped solitary Arianne, to try and get through Ian’s military challenge and claw an angle back into the game with a military challenge definitely killing one of Tyrion or The Mountain. And then Arianne was Put to the Sword, saved then killed for military claim. Well played Ian!

Final record 3-3. After a strong start, I let myself believe and then:

Fucked it

Awesome Mix 20


Look at this hacky album cover. Hey you made this in summer, why not show a beach? Scum.

Right, I’ve been meaning to do one of these for each Awesome Mix CD I’ve done since late October 2014. I just never got round to doing it. Maybe I’ll go back and do a retrospective, snarky look at the songs I chose to listen to while commuting. That seems like quite a lot of effort and it’ll all disappear one day anyway when I die and no one pays for the hosting on this site anymore.

Nihilism aside, here’s the list for Awesome Mix 20 with a bit of justification, a bit of autobiography and a few weak jokes. Some of these jokes came from Lauren first and you’ll be able to spot them because they’re the bits that you, personally, don’t find funny. Anything you do find amusing is a certified Mach zinger1.

1. When You Were Mine – Prince

I hadn’t actually heard this Prince song before seeing Har Mar Superstar cover it Primavera festival. I’ll talk more about Har Mar later on, but I feel stupid for not listening to this song before now. Prince man, just too many hits.

It’s kind of an unwritten rule, after twenty of these CDs that if a Prince song is going on, it should really be the first track on it, because Prince is the best.

2. All My Friends – LCD Soundsystem

This is my absolute favourite song at the moment, and not really one I appreciated until recently. With LCD first time around I was all about North American Scum, Daft Punk etc, and Never as Tired as When I’m Waking Up.

Somehow I missed All My Friends, despite it being the best song ever. Anyway, I was planning on doing some wanky navel gazing stuff about how much lyrics mean to me right now. But fuck that, just put the song on loud.

3. Subways – The Avalanches

Another new tune from Primavera, this one was officially played for the first time at around 5am on Saturday morning and it was glorious. In fact the production of the entire CD was being delayed until the entirety of the new Avalanches album came out, but then I saw Subways was already available on iTunes, so it went straight in at track three.

4. Girl – Beck

Way back in 2005 this was one of the few songs that my brother and I agreed on. He was mainly into either metal or hip hop, not coincidentally anything opposite the indie that I was listening to. But we both agreed that this was a banger. I’d pretty much forgotten about this song until there was a group chat about Beck playing the Albert Hall the other night and then saw that it had made the setlist.

A “perfect summer jam,” even if only wankers use the phrase “summer jam.”

5. You Win Again – Bee Gees

As it seems to happen with all these CDs, one song sneaks on there that is clearly “not very good.” But it gets on there anyway because I laugh every time I hear it. This is that song. Just listen to that snare sound at the start. No snare in the world sounds like that, and yet as soon as it starts I am giggling like a little girl.

The lyrics in this song are quite unbelievably bad as well:

Oh girl, oh girl, oh baby I shake you from now on
I’m gonna break down your defenses
One by one
I’m gonna hit you from all sides
Lay your fortress open wide
Nobody stops this body from taking you

That is full on spousal abuse right? And lets not even get started on what that “fortress” metaphor is all about.

Still that snare sound, massive.

6. I Hope – Har Mar Superstar

This was my favourite new discovery from Primavera. After watching too much of the fucking awful Floating Points set, we made the decision to give Har Mar Superstar a watch and it was just the best possible decision. Fancy, someone enjoying themselves while on stage, entertaining the crowd and actually playing songs.

Anyway, this was the most memorable one from the set barring the Prince cover which has already appeared on the mix.

7. I Just Can’t Help Believin’ – Elvis Presley

68′ Comeback Special Elvis is the best Elvis. Did you know that before the film was recorded, Elvis sacked his long term manager Colonel Tom Parker because Parker wanted the King to do a film consisting of just Christmas carols? Instead Elvis decided he was going to play live and loud in black leather. Best decision ever.

Ignore all of that though, because he didn’t actually play this song at the 68′ Comeback Special. Instead it appeared on another musical documentary Elvis: That’s the Way It Is, covering Elvis’ time jumpsuited up in Las Vegas. This is the second best Elvis.

8. Berlin – Kyle Craft

Another new one, I don’t really trust music recommendations from anyone because I’m a wanker. Usually a recommendation will make me actively dislike a song, because I’m immensely stubborn. Sam Buchanan has a proven track record so if he says something is good, I’ll give it a chance.

He wasn’t wrong about Kyle Craft.

Berlin is the standout track from his debut album Dolls of Highland, it’s a sleazy melodrama that lands just the right side of Jim Steinman. It’s also a song with a story, and they just don’t write songs with stories anymore. Except they do, because this came out in 2016.

9. Molly’s Lips – The Vaselines

There’s a clown horn in this song, how many songs try that? And more importantly, how many get away with it?

Just the Vaselines, innit.

10. Dirty Dream Number Two – Belle & Sebastian

Right, this song has been the equivalent of this in the back of my mind since forever:


Also to do this fucking GIF I had to do the following:

  • Google vintage screensavers
  • Find you can still make crap screensavers in Windows 10
  • Wrestle to get the point across within the character limit
  • Actually set it as my screensaver
  • Download and install some screen capture software (OBS)
  • The screen cap stuff software wouldn’t install without some new DirectX drivers
  • So then I had to install the new DirectX drivers
  • Try and install OBS again.
  • During this time the annoying screensaver kept popping up uninvited.
  • Fuck with the settings on OBS to make it screencap properly. This included a complete computer restart.
  • Capture the shitty screensaver on video.
  • Edit the video to cut out the bit where I click “preview screensaver”
  • Export the video as a gif.
  • And then upload it to this post.

It really wasn’t worth it, what a massive waste of time.

It isn’t even the best line in song.

11. Jackie – The Walker Brothers

Rumours that this song has been included because it means I get to sing the line:

My name would then be handsome Jack

Have been greatly exaggerated.

Anyway, you know Saint Scott Walker, on headphones, on the bus. Yes, I only listened to Scott Walker because The Long Blondes told me to in 2006. I’m not cool and neither are you.

12. Queen Bitch – David Bowie

Well, what can I say about David Bowie that hasn’t already been said better and more interestingly by other people? Fuck all. I like this song though.

I was once listening to the radio where some hack DJ was interviewing Rachel Stevens of S Club 7 fame. She was in her post pop group solo phase and pushing her new album “Funky Dory”. Which I think we can all agree is a very clever and original title for an album.

Less clever, though, is the fact that she kept saying about how the lead single, also called “Funky Dory” sampled the David Bowie song “Funky Dory,” (actually Andy Warhol). I’m tempted to declare this on a level with war crimes, but given what’s on the news as I’m typing this, it seems insensitive.

13. Sometimes – James

I’ve been meaning to put this song on a mix CD since thinking it was “quite good” when I saw James at Kendall Calling last year, but I kept forgetting about it until this CD. Now that I’ve listened to it more, the lyrics are a bit shit. They’re basically like Nick Cave’s Tupelo but shit.

Still quite like the rest of the song though.

14. Tempted – Squeeze

Back in the mid noughties, I went to quite a lot of gigs at Doncaster Dome. Which for those of you who didn’t grow up in North Nottinghamshire/South Yorkshire is a weird swimming pool/ice rink combo that also had a sports hall where they put on gigs.

You’ve not really experience The Strokes live unless you’ve seen them in the kind of room you’d expect to be full of desks ready for GCSE English exam. One of these gigs was Paul Weller, which I went to with my Uncle Bryan. For the record Weller was shit. He didn’t even play any Jam songs, making a point about how that period was over.

Six months later, he’s on the Brits receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, and playing Jam greatest hits set. I felt personally betrayed. While I was at this gig though, my Uncle Bryan was telling me about how he saw Paul Carrack at “the Dome” a few months earlier, and being an idiot I didn’t know who Paul Carrack was.

Bryan explained that he was the singer in Mike + the Mechanics (and, for a period, Squeeze). For some reason, I heard Derek and the Dominos  not Mike + the Mechanics and thought “that’s not right, Derek and the Dominos” is Eric Clapton.

Moral of the story, bands, don’t have alliterative Something and the Somethings band names. It confuses teenagers. This is my story ‘about’ Paul Carrack.

15. Jane Beat the Reaper – Kyle Craft

A second appearance from Kyle Craft on this mix. I like this song mainly because you can scan in Mach in place of Jane for most of the lyrics and that appeals to my ego.

16. New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down – LCD Soundsystem

Obviously, this song is quite a personal rant from James Murphy to New York.

But given the wider message about the place you live becoming unrecognisable and half the people there letting you down; I don’t think any song sums up the mood of post Brexit Britain better.

17. Single Girl – Lush

Pfft, this is clearly only on here to fill out diversity quotas. Stupid SJWs ruining everything.

18. Temptation – New Order

This was a last minute entry that only made it on after watching the ropey New Order performance from Glastonbury. Despite, that this remains an all time great. I’m only slightly annoyed that I didn’t think to put “My Girl” on here as well to go with this song and the Squeeze number.

19. Son Of A Gun – The Vaselines

Been on a bit of Vaselines kick recently, and as Molly’s Lips is less than 90 seconds long, I thought they deserved another track. This, being the other one Kurt Cobain covered, is obviously the best one because I’m a filthy casual.

1. Fans of my drafts folder will recognise this line from the, as of yet unpublished, Primavera post.

Seaham Regional 2016 – Top 8


Regional season has started! Well it started a month ago, but they were in the South and therefore not worthy of my time. This was my first tournament where I was representing two Thrones teams, the Port Street Elite (Wedge, Arwel and myself) and Team England (Wedge, Dave Bamford and Josh Chambers).

We were ready to intentionally draw our way to the cut, talk in a cliquey manner between rounds about the merits of First Edition, and – most importantly – use our Small Council baubles to police the tone of those hawks online when they’re talking shite.

The Deck

The plan for this Regional was to play Martyrell, as they’re two houses I haven’t had much experience with so far in 2.0, and I had a list ready to take to Port Street. Then I lost faith in it on the drive home from work, kept the Banner cards and made it main house Lannister like a try hard.

The idea was Lannister and Tyrell good stuff, with a slight Knights sub theme, because really I am boring player and deck builder who’s just not very good. It did okay in testing, only losing one game against a Greyjoy Fealty deck it had already beaten twice when I was five pints in and not getting the luck of the draw.

I would type the decklist out, but really, who cares?

Round 1 – Dave Bamford – Baratheon – Banner of the Kraken

Disastrous start for Team England, as we were drawn against each other. This is also a bad start because Dave and I are supposed to play each other in 5th round “win and ins”. 2.0 has absolutely no respect for First Edition traditions. Anyway, Dave and I both go for the risky one character setup, Tywin with a Green Dreams attached and Asha Greyjoy. Neither of us March to the Wall turn one, however, I did get to use my Green Dreams earlier than I would have liked as Tywin got hit with some Filthy Accusations.

With Tywin locked down for a round, I Traded with the Pentoshi and went first to fill out the board. Dave got his kneel on the go with Melisandre on the board, which took out either The Hound or Tyrion. Then stuck a Stinking Drunk on Tywin, locking him out of next turn as well. Great start.

I did my best to recover board position in turn two, but Dave got a Lightbringer‘d Robert Baratheon out on the table and another Stinking Drunk on Tywin. With kneel at critical mass, and Bob defending challenges for fun, there was not a lot I could do.

Turn three  I draw into a kill, but Robert gets a dupe, and Stannis hits the board. Tywin has participated in precisely zero challenges, The Tickler isn’t hitting anything, and given the number of knelt characters Gregor isn’t having the best time of things either.

Before long, Bamford has convincingly won.

Round 2 – Ash Eddon – Targaryen – Banner of the Lion

After a fairly terrible start, I console myself with the fact a 4-1 can still make the cut, and if Dave plays like he did against me for the rest of the day, I’ll probably have a decent strength of schedule. Ash was all over me in the early exchanges of this game, we both had Jaime on the board, but he had far more supporting characters backing him up.

I only just survived in round two thanks to a well timed Nightmares on a Storm of Swords turn, and even with a Wildfire Assault in turn three I was still struggling for board parity, had Ash drawn into a kill event or Khal Drogo, I would have been done for.

I managed to Much and More into a Western Fiefdom for a bit of much needed economy, and then drew Tywin Lannister. Ash let slip that he had to play his own Wildfire Assault soon, so I went into lockdown mode. For the next few turns I threw everything in the way of Ash’s challenges, and trying to stop his Jaime winning too many military challenges, and build a board around getting Tywin out, and keeping him and Jaime around.

I saved my Marched to the Wall to fire turn seven at the same time as Wildfire. leaving me going first with Jaime and Tywin against Ash’s Jaime and a lesser character. I top deck Gregor Clegane and Put to the Sword. With the tide fully turned in my favour, I had ground out a win from the edge.

Round 3 – Craig – Lannister – Lord of the Crossing

This was a fun game, I setup a duped Hound and a weenie of some kind, then opened up with Trading with the Pentoshi versus A Noble Cause. I go first and use my Trading gold to marshal a duped Tywin Lannister and a Tickler. My opponent does exactly the same in his marshalling phase, neat.

Given the stalemate in board positions, we both elect not to do any challenges and go straight to Dominance. As first player, I give my Tickler a spin and hit Tywin. Ouch. It’s difficult when such a random swing happens like this, because you have to look apologetic and earnest so as not to be a complete dickhead, but inside you feel like you’ve just pushed an seven year old boy out of a window and enjoyed it.

My opponent said this was a one in a million hit. I’m no expert in statistics, but I think realistically it’s more of a two in forty three hit. Still unlikely though, and a massive swing in my favour. Craig’s Tickler hits a Red Cloak, but I don’t have any on the board, so not a major deal.

Turn two, I have Ser Ilyn Payne in hand and go for Calling the Banners to get enough gold to pay for him. However, in quite a turn up of events, my opponent drops First Snow of Winter (with no 4 costers or above on the board) and I draw into Ser Gregor Clegane, who clearly takes priority when there aren’t going to be any 3 cost characters on the board in the challenges phase anyway.

Except for my Hound, who is still duped from setup. Seems legit.

Anyway, I go first and play Gregor, Craig marshals Cersei. The First Snow of Winter goes off and leaves Cersei on her own. She doesn’t last the military challenge. I swing the intrigue with Tywin and pass, with The Hound still standing.

Craig decides to play big with a I Never Bet Against my Family, and comes out big with Tyrion and Jaime. If I had that, I would’ve been tempted to use that satisfy military claim and keep big Cers about, but each to their own. Craig picks Jaime, forces the Hound back to hand with a military challenge and gets an intrigue away for free. Then he fucks off to the discard pile.

With just Gregor and Tywin on the board the chances of one of them being Marched to the Wall seemed pretty high. However, given that Ilyn Payne was still in hand, I was pretty confident I was going to kill whatever Craig marshalled as soon as he marshalled it anyway. From here I just ground out a win with the King’s Justice and a military challenges keeping the board small, and the lovely combo of Casterly Rock and Small Council Chambers (which I think is better than people are giving it credit for, just don’t play it against Greyjoy) closing the game.

Round 4 – Sternly, no – Night’s Watch – Fealty

At 2-1 I was feeling better about my prospects of making the cut, however I wasn’t that keen on playing against a very defensive Night’s Watch deck, especially not one that manages to get three Ranging Parties out very early on. However, I drew most of my renown characters, starting with Tywin, then following up with Randyll, Gregor and the Knight of Flowers.

Sternly was doing all kinds of Night’s Watch nonsense, throwing birds around and recovering them with Chett and had a reasonable board presence, just not quite enough to stop my big guys running about. If there’s one way of getting around a defence deck, it’s gaining loads of power from winning challenges.

Round 5 – Andy Hornby – Targaryen – Banner of the Lion

This was a very close game, which a win and in really should be. We were also deck checked, which put us about 10 minutes behind the rest of the field meant that by the end of the game we had quite an audience. I seem to play worse when people are watching me, or I play just as badly, but people point out my mistakes. Which then plays on my mind and I make further mistakes. The yips.

I see both of my Tears of Lys early in this game, which I use to take out a Dragon (meh, but attrition innit) and The Hound (Fuck yeah, him and Tyrion were causing many headaches for me), but generally Andy is coming out ahead.

By the time I get Tywin on the board, I’m facing down Mirri Maz Durr and Tyrion. Luckily though, I find my anti Mirri tech in the Red Cloaks and start to power them right up with the excess Tywin gold, I also manage to get a Knight of Flowers (plus a Little Bird) out, who kindly takes the “heat” off the Red Cloaks with a Crown of Gold.

I manage to win a clutch intrigue challenge when Andy miscalculates and goes in for 7 strength, not realising, that I haven’t moved a gold onto the Red Cloaks for the Challenges phase yet, meaning I can win on defence with a weenie and keep my good guys in play for retaliation.

With Tywin neutralising the Mirri threat even with Dracarys! lowering his strength, I manage to eek out a win with the Small Council Chamber, and renown slowly closing the game out. This was the closest a game going to time that I’d played all day, and I think I was quite lucky to get away with winning it.

At 4-1, I was definitely in the cut and had successfully pulled of the submarine. I was pretty pleased with the result.

Top  8 – Tom – Baratheon – Fealty

A high pressure game against Baratheon fealty, with kneel being the only thing I’ve lost to already today. This game was pretty much decided in turn one, I open with Trading against A Noble Cause, with Tywin, 3 other intrigue characters (TyrionArbor Knight and Brothel Madame) and Tears of Lys in hand. Robert and Fiery Followers hit the board, with the already setup Melisandre taking out Tywin.

Tom was playing first, gives me a gold for the Brothel Madame, and fires intrigue with the Fiery Followers. If I block the challenge with Tyrion, Robert can intimidate the Arbor Knight and defend my intrigue challenge with Melisandre, meaning I don’t get to Tears Robert. So I have to risk letting the challenge go unopposed and hope that the one in five chance that Tom doesn’t pick Tears.

He does pick the Tears for intrigue claim and my big chance at killing Robert Baratheon early has been missed. This is most likely karma for the lucky Tywin hit earlier in the day, so can’t complain too much about not getting lucky, as I almost definitely did just chance my way into the Top 8.

From there it was just really difficult to recover board position with Melisandre and Robert wrecking my face. I put up what I could to try and stay in the game, but it was just too much trying get around Tom’s huge board and his draw engine coming from the Red Keep. Well played to Tom.

Arwel, Dave and I all went out in the Top 8, Wedge continued his winning ways all the way to final.

Six Person Melee Banter

Given that Wedge and Even had made the finals, the rest of us poor souls who travel with these annoyingly good players were sat about with nothing better to do. Add in Josh and Dave who were hanging about for the banter, we had enough for a six person melee game. I usually hate melee, as I’m not very good at it, but given that everyone involved is hilarious and we were playing our Joust decks, it could only be fun.

In this game we had:

  • Josh – Night’s Watch – Lords of the Crossing
  • Tony – Martell – Lords of the Crossing
  • Me – Lannister – Banner of the Rose
  • Andrew – Lannister – Banner of the Dragon
  • Dave – Baratheon – Banner of the Kraken
  • Helen – Stark – Fealty

We didn’t manage to finish this game, because the final finished (Wedge won, the bastard) before we got chance and really everyone wanted to go home, but that didn’t stop everyone being a dick to each other for a good hour or so.

Before we even began, I managed to incur the wrath of Helen and Josh for considering putting Weapons at the Door in my plot deck instead of Trading with the Pentoshi, apparently that was bad banter, but I don’t really see a problem with it myself.

Some other things that happened in this game:

  • Andrew playing Game of Thrones to try and stop anyone doing anything.
  • Andrew plays a Treachery on Josh’s Kingsroad, with the gold I gave him from Trading.
  • Me introducing Bronn into the fray and missing my action window to buy him back at the end of marshalling.
  • Josh firing back with A Meager Contribution when Andrew counted income.
  • Dave kneeling my Hound for no good reason.
  • Helen dropping Varys and everyone being terrified of Varys.
  • Me throwing an Intrigue challenge and Tony, and then another intrigue challenge with a banter Olenna’s Informant. Tony forgetting to use The Long Plan.
  • Me playing Much and More to try and find a Nightmares, but also to slow the game down giving everyone cards..
  • My Tickler being the one chance of stopping Varys ruining everyone’s day.
  • Tony Nightmares‘ing the Tickler to dick me over, rather than stopping Varys.
  • All looking lost (as I was going to March anybody left after Varys) until Dave Nightmares Varys.
  • Josh playing Trading to give everyone three gold.
  • Fucking Andrew using another Treachery, stopping my Kingsroad going off. This was an attempt to stop me being able to afford Jaime, when I had 7 gold left. Varys, Melisandre and Nymeria were still on the board at this point.
  • Me going first and winning as many intrigue challenges as possible to secure second place with the Small Council Chamber. Then everybody else won power challenges against me.
  • Josh baiting Andrew into doing a military challenge against him then, Josh ambushing in Allister Thorne and then Watcher on the Walls‘ing to kill all the attacking characters.
  • Everyone wanting to leave, but also finish that challenges phase.
  • Tony winning.
  • Josh getting the last action of the game kneeling Northern Rookery with Halder to give a Steward plus one strength.

Meagre Contributions

  • Thank you to Games of War, Seaham, for hosting a well run tournament. Also thank you for having all your stock severly reduced because the store is closing. That meant I could pick up Wolves of the North for bargain.
  • Thanks to all my opponents, you were lovely.
  • Team England – Josh, Wedge & Dave – 3/4 in the top cut! Who knows where our ceiling is with Thrones?
  • Port Street Elite – Arwel & Wedge – 3/3 in the top cut! Who knows where our ceiling is with Thrones?
  • Wedge for being good bants in the approx 5 hours we spent going Manchester -Seaham – Manchester in one day.
  • No thanks to Wedge for winning, meaning we were some of the last to leave.
  • Even, Tony, Helen and Andrew for bringing Scottish bantz south of the border.
  • And of course, you the reader, for enabling this nonsense. I’ll see you next week for the Stoke regional.

Just one last thing…

Mach's Thrones Book

Coming soon…

Gossip & Lies – Intentional Bores

Gossip & Lies - 14/04/16 - Intentional Bores

Welcome back to another edition of Gossip & Lies – The Thrones Weekly Dirtsheet.

Just a small bit of house keeping before we get down to the boiled piss. Obviously, last weeks edition missed it’s deadline and didn’t get published. This was entirely my fault, I let my public down and I hold my hand up to that. You deserve better from the fourth estate.

It also, was always in my mind that the first edition was going to say it was weekly, then just be a one off. A good heel is always one step ahead of the crowd, ready to piss them off in a different way as soon they start getting cheers..

But I had quite a long walk home from the pub this week and I’ve probably got enough half jokes about the mad shite people have been doing online to get a full feature out of it this week.

Intentional Bores

There’s been some more drama this week about Intentional Draws. While I was pitching hot takes to my editor, I told them I had two possible angles on it, but couldn’t decide which one. My editor said they both sound weak as piss, write them both and ironic pre-amble and you might just get away with it.

Hot Take #1

Sometimes I bring a notepad with me to the weekly Thrones meetup, and am as guilty as any one else for having a quick, mindless doodle during my opponents marshalling phase or while they’re doing challenge maths that I can’t be bothered to work out though.

In a tournament scenario however, intentionally drawing is just not on. It’s disrespectful and it affects your own game. You should be thinking a few turns ahead, not working hard on a sketch or colouring something in.

Hot Take #2

I can’t imagine ever doing an intentional draw. Mainly because I don’t think I’ve ever had an opponent who I haven’t wanted to brutally murder for the crime of being an adult who plays a card game as a hobby. Utter scum, the lot of you.

Mad Shite Yer Blathering

Fuck off with yer Magic.


The author, trapped in quandary over whether it’s ethical to create more boiled piss to write about.

Who Reviews the Reviewers – Part 32537548

Idiots have been kicking off again over review scores. And not just idiots who think film critics have an agenda against Batman v Superman (more like an agenda against wank films, amirite?).

My favourite idiot this week, bravely took a stand on CardGameDB to expose the corruption of the reviewers. They had unfairly rated the card To the Rose Banner! by being so small minded and not considering an illegal combo. Honestly, where do they get these reviewers from?

Said poster did not back down when he was called on his Mad Shite by people much cleverer than me, with the top sass came from Istaril. How was he supposed to know to check the Rules Reference Guide* for a rules question before mouthing off online?

It really was an impressive display of narrow mindedness while shouting down others for being narrow minded.

*Full disclosure, I have never read the Rules Reference Guide or the standard rulebook for 2.0 and I’m mouthing off online, which might make me a hypocrite.

Entrance Music (For a Card) – Expensive Cat

All I really want is for Thrones to be more like professional wrestling, which means cards need entrance music. So I’m taking the liberty of having my own gossip column to give every card their theme song.

Cat Stark has recently undergone a gimmick change and come back as a flashier, more expensive card. She is however, still a cat, and as such there’s no better entrance music for Expensive Cat than Shonen Knife’s I Am A Cat.

This is definitely not just an excuse to post a Shonen Knife song because I’m going to watch their gig tonight.

Obviously, writing this fucking nonsense takes a lot of work, if you’d like to support future editions of Gossip & Lies, why not give your money me on Patreon? If that, frankly ludicrous, request is too much for you, you can find me on Twitter as @JackMachin, listen to me talk about wrestling on The “K” Word podcast or check out my band Twin Visions.

Thank you for reading, I’ll (probably) see you next week.