Final Fantasy XV – Platinum Demo – Playthrough Thoughts

Hands On - First Impressions

Yesterday (30th March) the second playable demo for Final Fantasy XV dropped, as well as a release date for  the full game on September 30th. I’ve played through the demo and written up my experiences below, because my thoughts are that important and everyone should read them.

Opening Cinematic

So the opening cinematic has these two angry looking but handsome guys fight each other with swords that are also guns. One of them has a leather jacket on and dark hair, the other has a big grey trenchcoat and blonde hair. They both look legit.

There’s also some other shots interspersed into the fight, one of a mysterious lass in a blue dress, and another, older, mysterious lass in purple and some kind of crown. There’s other stuff going on as well, but the fight between the two angry, handsome guys is the main thing.

Anyway, the cinematic ends when the leather jacket angry handsome man getting cut in the head.


So it turns out, the player IS the angry, handsome guy with dark hair and a leather jacket and sword that is also a gun. How cool is that? And it looks like we’re in a hospital, bit of an MGSV rip off if you ask me. There’s a brief, cryptic conversation with a mysterious lass in a blue dress, but not the same one from the opening cinematic. Then the angry, handsome guy falls asleep again.

When the angry, handsome man wakes up. The third mysterious lass has disappeared. In her place there’s this doctor. She doesn’t know anything about the mysterious lass! What a game.

Anyway, she asks you your name, and get this, you get to pick your own name. It suggests Squall, but who in the world would want to be called Squall? I was tempted to for DingusBellsprout, or Shitewank, but I settled on Jack because I wanted to get invested in the character.

So after more conversation with the Doctor, where you got to pick your own conversation choices. I wonder how much that will affect the game later, we’ll never know. A fourth mysterious lass comes in, but this one has ginger hair, and wears an orange dress. She is my favourite of the mysterious lasses thus far, but apparently her name is Quistis. Those guys at SquareEnix are crazy.

It turns out we’re at a school, but it’s a school for  super cool mercenaries. Which is the school we all wanted to go to really, isn’t it? So anyway, Jack the super cool teenage mercenary-in-training with a sword that’s also a gun, is a student at this school, and Quistis is his teacher. But she also fancies him. Best game ever.

You run around the school for a bit, having conversations with people, and there’s a cool card game you can play with theme music that’s really catchy that goes:

Duh- duhduh -duhduh- dahduh-duh- duhduh -duhduh- dahduh-duh- duhduh -duhduh- dahduh-duh- duhduh -duhduh- dahduh-DUH-DUH DUH!

It’s really catchy.

Quistis takes Jack to this weird cave where you fight the first boss, who’s this massive fire demon called Ifrit. He looks really cool as well. When you beat Ifrit, which is easy to do because you have a summon that’s a sexy blue ice lady called Shiva, he joins your team. The demo ends here, but I’m definitely sold on the game story wise, can’t wait to see where it goes next in September.


The gameplay is really good! A lot of the time you’re running around, but then at other times you’re in a battle. When you’re running around everything happens in real time, and your 3D character runs around on a pre-rendered background. The art on these backgrounds is GORGEOUS though. In a battle it’s kind-of-turn based, but looks like it isn’t because the characters have a time that fills up. This gives the battles a real sense of urgency, but also rewards planning ahead. Definitely looking forward to diving into this system more deeply when the full game is released.

Speaking of cool systems, there’s also really unique stats system called Junctioning. I literally didn’t understand any of it, but it was really cool.

Overall Thoughts

I’m really looking forward to Final Fantasy XV coming out.

Gossip & Lies – The Arbor Duplicate Drama

Gossip & Lies

Hello there, and welcome to the first edition of Gossip & Lies – The Thrones Weekly Dirtsheet.

I’m Mach, and much like the image above suggests I’m here to bring you this week’s boiled piss, concentrated.

We’ll be taking a snarky look back over the previous seven days of furious overreactions, wild speculation, spurious gossip and what happens when Banter goes wrong.

In person, the Thrones community is full of some of the nicest, funniest people I’ve ever met. Like everything else,  on the internet the very same community seems to be so much worse.

Arbor Duplicate Drama

The AGOT 2.0 discussion group on Facebook is a haven for “Community Discussion & Play,”  about “deck archetypes, builds, theory and more.” And more is what we’re going to talk about here.

There was some confusion on this group, as to whether or not you can set up duplicates of The Arbor. It’s hard to tell where the genuine rules questions stop and the parody posts start. Thankfully though, our beloved and benevolent Facebook group mods swept in with swift, decisive action delivering posts sweet justice like Kevin Costner. They stopped the trolls in their tracks and nothing more was said of it.

Apart from the following all happening:

  • The joke posts kept coming
  • Cries of censorship from idiots
  • There was discord in the Discord chat,
  • The  beloved and benevolent group Mods looked like tools
  • Antagonistic Private messages about being antagonistic were exchanged.
  • The parody group 2.0 group for 1st Edition Elistists roundly mocked everybody.
  • Thrones players globally were united in boiled piss.

Who Reviews the Reviewers?

Let me preface this by saying, anyone who takes the time to write any kind of legitimate Thrones related content is a saint, and their efforts should be applauded. However, the latest chapter pack review got the piss boiling like no man’s business.

And which card was it that set everyone off? The Arbor of course. Many felt that the reviews had vastly underrated the card, with no one giving it a perfect 5 out of 5 score.

Another card (The First Snow of Winter) did get a perfect score, and obviously this got people up in arms. The comments devolved into a fairly amusing discussion of how the reviewers underrating and overrating cards at the same time. Fantastic.

Monday Morning Podcast Pileup

Somehow four of the seven million Thrones podcasts (Beyond the Wall, Banter Behind the Throne and Great Beards of Westeros, Wardens of the Midwest) were published on CardgameDB on the same day. I haven’t listened to any of them, because like all good hacks, I don’t need to research what I’m writing about.

They’ve made it to this column however, because the fire brigade did have to be called in as a result  of this sick burn from Dave Bamford ,UK Boro Melee National Champion, Host of Banter Behind the Throne and Generally All-Round Nice Guy on rival podcast host Istaril.

Dobbler Don’t Like Alt Art

Going through relatively unscathed between all the Arbor drama, former World Champion Greg Atkinson has come out against using Alt Art cards in competitive play. The post was long and Facebook formatting is wank so I didn’t read it. But someone probably got cross about it.

Yeezus Returns Fashionably Late for Easter

The one shining light in the Thrones Online Community, CardGameDB poster Yeezus, made a triumphant return to his thread “how do i get good at this game?” I’ll be honest, Yeezus is so good he makes me feel sick.

I’ve written over 20,000 words in total about Thrones in the past three years and none of it comes close to this level of brilliance. To try and explain it here wouldn’t do it justice, and would ruin perfect satire with deconstructionalist, navel gazing wankery. Just read that entire thread and subscribe to Tidal.

Come back next week for another pointless waste of time covering the drama, the idiocy, and most importantly, the boiled piss.

2016 Thrones Weekender – Manchester and Stockton Store Championships

I survived the 2016 Thrones Weekender and all I got was this lousy opening line.

It was way back at the Stahleck when Ben (Manchester TO) messaged me to find out when Beanie were doing their Store Championship so we could double it up again. That kind of tournament date/admin business is way above my pay grade, but from what I can gather, Fanboy hardballed for the Saturday and Beanie reluctantly accepted the (Mothering) Sunday date rather than have no Weekender at all.


I think we’re all grateful to Beanie for that, mainly so this picture could happen.

Manchester – The Fall

Most people arrived on the Friday night, and it would be remiss of me not to list some of the shenanigans that went down that night.

  • There was a long discussion of the history of inbreeding between the Stockton meta, this was mostly displayed in graphical terms on the back of Dominoes pizza boxes.
  • This discussion also gave the The Artist Formerly Known as TBP a new nickname in Sternly, because he had to gall to use that word three times in one sentence.
  • We played a Pokemon game based on throwing magnets onto a scoreboard. I got the lowest possible score, and not in the golf sense.
  • We went to Fab Cafe, because that’s basically what I do every Friday. This time it was even better because of the sheer number of people and different friendship groups colliding together. It was pretty much all my closest friends in my favourite bar, and I had a great time.
  • The Stockton lads had bought everyone who was coming to stay at the house a mini bottle of Jagermeister, which was most kind of them.
  • We packed our bags, obviously.

The Deck – Live at the Witch Trials – Targaryen – Lords of the Crossing

I was initially thinking about playing the classical Baratheon Fealty for the first event of the popcorn double feature and even built a deck to test out at Wednesday Night Thrones (Port Street Beer House every Wednesday from 7pm). However, due to an administrative error the deck was only 57 cards. This is obviously not ideal or even legal testing conditions.

Another deck I was thinking about playing was Night’s Watch Lords of the Crossing, which Big Mike had battered me with at Stoke a week earlier. The problem with this though, is that Mike had gone 5-0 with that deck, I knew he was coming to the Manchester tournament and I didn’t want to look like hack by playing “his” deck.

So, on Friday night just before people started arriving and shenanigans went on, I decided to put a Targaryen Lords of the Crossing. In my head, the logic was sound, Daenerys Targaryen flanked by Hatchlings can particpate in multiple challenges. Khal Drogo makes the agenda easier to trigger by opening up a fourth challenge and a bit more versatility. And if all else fails, you can just Dracarys! on any problem characters.

In execution though, I fucked it. I don’t have the deck still built, so I can’t post the list. But it’s really not worth typing out anyway.

Round 1 – Sweeney – Greyjoy – Banner of the Sun

This is the deck I really wanted to play. It’s the only deck I ever really want to play. You’d think my familiarity with this deck would have given me a chance in the matchup. It did not.

Sweeney and I were both grateful to be playing someone who was feeling equally rough from the previous night’s shenanigans. Anyway, I think I got some lads on the board early on, but Sweeney got some better lads on the board, like Balon Greyjoy.

I think Sweeney went first, and I let him get some challenges through unopposed with the hope of hitting my own challenges back. Without any burn or kill effects though these challenges were fairly low impact.

Turn two, Sweeney went hard with Rise of the Kraken, with Balon on the table, that made for some pretty rapid power gain that I just couldn’t do anything about. By turn three the game was over and I got to go to Tesco and buy some much needed Lucozade.

Round 2 – Big Mike – Lannister – Banner of the Rose

After a fairly terrible opening round I got paired against Mike who I think was at his seventh Store Championship in as many weeks. At the start of turn 2, he had just Jaime and Tyrion on the board, so I Marched to the Wall to leave, just one of them (Jaime) left standing. I also had a dragon and Daenarys out, and two Dracarys! in hand.

Mike played Margaery and at the start of the challenges phase goaded me by saying something along the lines of “I’ll boost Jaime with Marge now, and put him safe from any burn”. He then did a military challenge with Jaime. I went a little bit Fiery Jack and dropped both burn events.

Getting rid of Jaime proved to be somewhat of a turning point in the game, and I managed push out the win before Mike could really recover any board position.

Round 3 – Rheece – Martell – Banner of the Watch

I can’t really remember what happened in this game. But I do know one thing for certain, Rheece battered me. I’m fairly sure he got The Wall going, and I did not have the stealth, the icon spread or the burn to deal with it. Grotesque. This was a quick game, and we had plenty of time afterwards to go to the pub, which was a nice break in proceedings.

I think at one point in this game, the plot Game of Thrones really did me over, stopping me from doing my three challenges, and giving Rheece power from The Wall.

Round 4 – Booch – Martell – Lords of the Crossing

In this game there was a ghost in my deck. In the early goings things were looking strong, I had dragons for days and weenies to kill for claim. But I didn’t see Dany at all, my Summons missed and as she was the only draw in the deck (Protip: Don’t build a deck with only one source of draw in it), I just couldn’t get a hold on the board.

Life was made even more difficult when all I kept picking up for regular draw were reducer chuds. Booch is too good a player (and an innovative deck builder) to get away with bad draws and he won this game without me really putting up a fight at all.

Round 5 – Bryan – Lannister – Banner of the Rose

I love Bryan. I’ve also never lost a competitive game to Bryan. These two statements may be related. I closed out 1st Edition playing Bryan last at Stahleck, and with the way my day was going I thought the unutterable might happen and my streak would not continue into 2.0

Sometimes though, you just see the cards you need. I knocked off Bryan’s Cersei early on with a Crown of Gold, which took the pressure off my hand a little. From here I rode my luck out, got the Daenerys machine up and running and took home the win.

Still a 2-3 final record is nothing to write home about and I was pretty disappointed with how things had gone for me.


After the Swiss, Secondary Dave, drove a few of us other losers back to mine to rest up, have a shower and get ready for town. It was much needed. By popular request, I put on my “Golf Shirt”, because it’s a really strong shirt.


I just love golf.

We went for some food, and then we went to Bar 21, which used to be one of the absolute worst bars in town, but recently got revamped into a slightly nicer Fab Cafe but with quiz machine. It again, was great fun.

Because I’m a good boy, I stopped drinking at 12 on Saturday (after trying and failing to get people to play The Resistance with me when everyone else wanted to go to sleep), ready and fresh to hit the north east the next day.


In an episode of  his Comedy Vehicle,  Stewart Lee said: “Sometimes you just have to put a joke in that’s just for you.”

In that spirit of self indulgence, instead of writing jokes for the previous half of the tournament report I put 8 references to songs or albums by The Fall. How many did YOU spot?

Stockton – Redemption Sun

The Deck – Lannister Banner of the Sun

I wanted to do well on the Sunday after doing generally wank in Manchester. So I went back to my Lannister Martell deck from Stoke. Expecting a lot of Lords of the Crossing again though, I switched out Here to Serve for Game of Thrones, given how easily it did my Crossing deck over the day before. This meant I also went back up to two copies of each Maester, and dropped the dupes on Cersei’s Wheelhouse and Sunspear, neither of which I saw for the rest of the day.

Round 1 – Sweeney – Greyjoy – Banner of the Sun

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Somehow I managed to get drawn against Sweeney in round one for the second day on the trot. This was probably my favourite game of the entire weekender though. It was a surprisingly close for a game where Sweeney setup a triple duped Balon Greyjoy.

In the early exchanges, I was mainly focused on trying to shut Balon down with consecutive Tears of Lys, and bringing my own board position up to scratch. I timed my Game of Thrones turn with Sweeney’s Rise of the Kraken, which seemed crucial to top the game from running away from me.

After this round, I think Sweeney had Balon and Nymeria on the board. I had Jaime, Tywin, both Maesters and crucially Casterly Rock. Sweeney 14 power, me 11.  Whoever went first in the next round was probably going to win the game. We both flipped Calling the Banners, and I won the initiative by having less power on the tie.

In my hand I have a Treachery, which I’m saving for the Nymeria trigger, but Sweeney attempts to draw it out from me by playing Littlefinger. I risk giving him the cards. I think I marshall Tyrion at this point. At the start of the challenges phase, Sweeney says he has an action, and then proceeds to do the maths in his head to see if I can win the match. I sit back, confident that I’m going to stop Nymeria not matter what he settles on doing.

Once Sweeney had settled on a plan, I Treachery on Nymeria and Sweeney has only bloody drawn into a Hand’s Judgement, bollocks. Tywin loses a power icon (I think) Caleotte eats a Confinement, that really was a killer Littlefinger draw.

I go for my first intrigue challenge with Pycelle, and Sweeney has to block with Littlefinger. I swing military with Tywin and Jaime, opposed by Balon, getting up to 13. With the second unopposed intrigue from Jaime and Tyrion winning the power, I won the game.

HOWEVER, it may not have played out like that. Something isn’t sitting right in my memory there and I can’t work out what it was. There’s no way if Tyrion was on the board, Caleotte would have been Confined. Anyway, it was so close but I came out on top.

Round 2 – Wedge – Lannister – Banner of the Rose

At the tail end of last year, Wedge and I seemed to get paired up in most tournaments. This is an issue on a couple of levels:

  1. We’ve played together a lot, especially at the end of 1st Edition, as we were the only two players mad enough to keep playing the dead game.
  2. He’s a much better player than me.

After taking a free jazz, jokey Greyjoy Lions deck to the to Top 4 yesterday (and very nearly the final), he played his “proper” deck at Stockton to get some practice in for Madrid. I expected a tough game.

And then I saw my opening hand. I got Jaime, a reducer and a limited location on setup. Holding back in my hand 2x Treachery, 2x Put to the Sword and 1x Tears of Lys.

Wedge opened on A Noble Cause against my Calm Over Westeros, I made him go first and protected my hand from intrigue claim. Wedge then played out Tywin and an Arbor Knight riding a Mare in Heat.

I held three gold back, but played out The Hound to guarantee I’d get my win by 5 strength. A Treachery on the Mare, and Tywin was Put to the Sword. In the next round Wedge’s Syrio got hit with a Tears of Lys, while I supplemented my board with Tyrion Lannister.

In the final round of the game, Wedge marshalled Jaime, and I again used Treachery to cancel the Mare and Put to the Sword on Jaime. At this point Wedge conceded and we went to KFC for lunch with a good 45 minutes left in the round.

Round 3 – Kat – Targaryen – Banner of the Sun

I first met Kat when we travelled to Leiden last year for the Dutch tournament. Which I’m hoping to get to again this year, but that’s mainly a case of funding. In the game, we both had fairly strong starts, with us both getting our big characters out in Dany and Tywin. I also had a Put to the Sword in hand though, and managed to see Dany off before she could start wrecking my face. My Nymeria ate a Dracarys! though, which made me a little sad.

In the next round, I threw Gregor out there to get Nymeria‘d, knowing I was going to off her with Tears of Lys. Then on Kat’s intrigue challenge, Gregor got Lys‘d. Top bants all round.

I threw some more dupes down onto Tywin, because he’d become Attainted, and was looking very vulnerable to that Tears of Lys event. Luckily though, I was getting my own intrigue challenges off, and kept managing to pull it for claim. Very fortunate.

With Jaime and Tywin doing their renown business, and Kat being too economy starved to play the Khal Drogo or the Dany (who had been Fire and Blood + Rebuilding back to life) in her hand, I managed to see out the game.

Round 4 – Kostas – Baratheon – Banner of the Rose

So I was 3-0 and feeling pretty good about myself. Then I got drawn against Kostas, who I’d been forewarned by Tony (Cockbongo) that he was on a mission, taking down Store Championships all over Scotland.

Robert Baratheon, absolutely dominated me in the early rounds of this game. I had one moment of banter when I ambushed the Widow’s Wail onto a duped Maester Caleotte, to surprise win a power challenge. As a character who generally wants to lose challenges, he was quite effective with higher strength as it did mean I got win challenges with him or kneel a much better character out of contention. Well that would have been true if he wasn’t continually kept knelt by Melisandre.

I sensed the opportunity to change things around with Game of Thrones, as Kostas only had Melisandre on the board for an intrigue icon. Unfortunately, Kostas had been drawing from The Red Keep pretty consistently, and to my absolute horror he had Selyse Baratheon in hand. Another intrigue icon as well as a kneel from Melisandre.

This well and truly did me over. I now could neither win an intrigue challenge of my own, or defend one coming back at me. After that, there was no chance of recovering the game and Kostas rushed to a victory via Lady Sansa’s Rose the following round.,

Round 5 – James – Tyrell – Lords of the Crossing

I found myself in odd situation in this game against my charming podcast co-host, James (WARNING: It’s a podcast about wrestling not Thrones because the world doesn’t need more of them.). It wasn’t quite a win and in, as even if he lost Wamma most likely had the SOS to make the cut. If I lost, I had to hope that my SOS was enough to sneak in.

James has also written our match up here, doing a much better job of it than I will do. So read that, get a good sense of the game and then come back for some self deprecating jokes.

No, seriously, I’ll wait.

Right, so as you know because you’ve just read Wamma’s report, he battered me.

Top 8 – Kostas – Baratheon – Banner of the Rose

Somehow though, I made the cut at 8th place. It probably helped that the only people I lost to came 1st and 3rd in the swiss, but still it was shaky. Unfortunately, coming 8th did mean I had to play Kostas again.

In a very similar fashion to the first game, Robert Baratheon did a number on me. I won an intrigue challenge early on, but didn’t have the Tears of Lys to put him away. As the game wore on, I had TywinJaime, and Cersei all on the board, but couldn’t manage to stop Robert with a Seal of the Hand on him.

So I was out in the Top 8 again. but generally pleased with my performance for the day. There’s an extra step up that I haven’t quite managed yet to get into the top echelon of players. In the high pressure games my decision making is often slightly lacking, and my outright refusal to do complicated challenge maths may have something to do with it…

Meager Contributions

I really cannot say enough how much fun I had this weekend. The Thrones community is so great, even if it is full of 1st edition elitist snobs. I’d like to give thanks out to the following people:

  • Anybody who came up for both nights out in Manchester, you were all incredible.
  • Sam and Lauren for allowing me to fill the house with nerds for the weekend.
  • Sweeney for giving me 5p when I was short at the bar on Saturday afternoon.
  • Sternly for bringing the weird Pokemon magnet game,.
  • Secondary Dave for doing a good portion of the driving, and for his order in Byron on the Saturday which is one of the funniest things I’ve ever witnessed.
  • Sam Wilson for being my constant sober Thrones companion.
  • No thanks to Wedge for the deck advice which I regularly ignore, and for his car failing it’s MOT meaning I had to drive on Sunday.
  • Keb for shouting “Keb!” in the style of Steve Holt everytime her name was mentioned by a TO
  • Ben for TO’ing in Manchester.
  • Josh and Wex for the Dominos Pizza Boro Incest Diagrams
  • Dave Bamford for leaving the Spice Girls in our living room.


    Truly modern art.

  • Vince for the excellent company in the car on Sunday morning, and for haranguing him about free Playstation games on Saturday night.
  • Bryan for being the only Thrones player I’ve never lost to.
  • Kostas for the time he found me in Leiden, and two lessons in big boy Thrones.
  • Wamma, for being a gentleman and paying my entry on Sunday morning.
  • Rheece for always appearing more drunk than me.
  • Craven, for being the only member of the Banter channel who couldn’t make the weekender, who was sorely missed.
  • All my opponents.
  • Apologies to the various others who I have missed out.
  • And, you, The Reader, thank you.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this report and thought “I wonder if he can do this sort of thing with a 140 character limit, why not find out by following me on Twitter. Also, if you enjoyed reading this report and thought “I wonder if he can do this sort of thing verbally, but talking about wrestling rather than Thrones, you can listen to my Wrestling podcast The “K” Word.

Stoke Store Championship – Top 8 – 3rd in Swiss

I did quite well at a tournament on Sunday, and it’s been awhile since I’ve actually published a tournament report. Mostly as a result of the report becoming wider in scope than just the tournament itself (see the unpublished reports from Batalla, Dockside Brothel, Weekender Part 2 Blackwater Bay, UK Nationals and Stahleck), and me not pulling up any trees on at a tournament (see the unpublished reports from Batalla, Dockside Brothel, Weekender Part 2, Blackwater Bay, UK Nationals and Stahleck).

Still people seem to enjoy reports when they actually make it past the big orange publish button and don’t just wallow in a load of half written jokes. With the weekender coming up, this fairly simple report should be enough of a warm up to writing a strong TR, mainly just to see if the magic is still there.

The Deck

Before the Burnley Store Championship a few weeks ago, I got told off by Wedge for always playing the same glass cannon Greyjoy deck that was easy (Seastone Chair + Balon = Win, disruption to that or go past Round 3 = Lose), but didn’t play up to my experience or knowledge of the game that I could use to my advantage against those filthy new 2.0 players.

That is 1st edition snobbery. I hate all the new players (and potential friends) and want to keep the game exclusive to the people I already know and like. If you are a new player give up, you’ll never be good enough and stop ruining the game for us veterans.

So having been called on my laziness, Wedge and I built a new deck for the Burnley SC. It was Martell Banner of the Lion and it was quite bad. The ideas were there, but my execution was severely lacking. I think I came 12th, which was quite poor when the rest of the Manchester meta in attendance made up three of the top four.

As a creature of laziness, before going to Port Street for Wednesday night Thrones I made a few quick changes to the deck, switiching around the main house and Banner, and came up with the far superior Lannister Banner of the Sun. Given a few more runs out on a Wednesday and a new chapter pack to slip a cheeky Gregor into the deck. I was fairly happy with the build.

After showing the list to Wedge on the Saturday before the tournament, he recommended switiching out the dupes of Pycelle and Caleotte and putting in a copy of Here To Serve for a Maester on demand. This was very good advice, and a move I hadn’t previously considered. Mostly out of stubbornness that I’d never owned the chapter pack with At the Gates in it in 1st Edition, and therefore had never built a deck using it. I’d be damned if I was changing that now (I did change that).

Anyway the deck looked something like this (typing from memory, so if there aren’t 60 cards in there it’s because of that, not cheating honest):


1x Marched to the Wall
1x Calm over Westeros
1x Wildfire Assault
1x A Noble Cause
1x Here to Serve
1x Summons
1x Calling the Banners


3x Lannister Reducer Weenie
3x Martell Reducer Weenie
3x Tywin Lannister
3x Tyrion Lannister
3x Bastard Daughter
2x Cersei Lannister
2x Jaime Lannister
2x Nymeria Sand
2x The Hound
2x Brothel Madame
1x Maester Caleotte
1x Grand Maester Pycelle
1x Edric Dayne
1x Syrio Forel
1x Gregor Clegane
1x The Tickler
1x (nuh, nuh nuh, nuh nuh, nah nah!) Arianne, Arianne, Arianne, Ari-Ari Arianne


3x Roseroad
3x Kingsroad
3x Western Fiefdoms
2x Sunspear
2x Cersei’s Wheelhouse
2x Casterly Rock
2x Lannisport


2x Widow’s Wail


2x Hand’s Judgement
2x Put to the Sword
2x Tears of Lys
2x Treachery

Round 1 – ??? – Targaryen – Banner of the Lion

I’m terribly sorry that I’ve forgotten the name of my round 1 (and probably everyone else) opponent. He was Manchester meta, but not proper Manchester meta because he can’t come to Port Street on a Wednesday due to work and he can’t be a proper player because he didn’t play 1st Edition.

But this was a fun game. Turn one my Tywin got hit with a Heads on Spikes, which made me very sad, but I managed to hold of the Smash Brothers with a well timed Brothel Madame. I got a military challenge of my own off, killing a chud and leaving Drogo, Jaime, and Tyrion on my opponents board. Then I hit Drogo with a Tears of Lys, and went into Round 2 with a Marched to the Wall.

My opponent (again sorry) fought back by bringing Dany onto the table but it was tough for him to recover from losing two big characters so early on and I managed to push through for the win.

Round 2 – Josh – Lannister – No Agenda

I got to sit downstairs at the big table for this one so that was nice. My Tywin got Tickled in the dominance phase turn 1, so that was less nice. With just The Hound on the board with a Widow’s Wail on him, I was so positive that my opponent was going to March that I flipped my own March, hoping to take 2 of his bodies down with one of mine. Josh played Confiscation and congratulations, you played yourself. I recovered with a duped Tyrion who managed to survive the military challenge, and then I used a nice combo of Calling the Banners into Wildfire to put big characters (Nymeria, Cersei and Syrio) on my board against Josh’s board of mainly weenies. Josh’s deck stalled out and I squeezed out another win.

Round 3 – Ryan Wood (edit, not the Southern one) – Targaryen ???

I honestly have no idea what happened in this game, and I can only apologise for that. So let’s say that it was a very close game where I got lucky with my deck, and really didn’t deserve to win but somehow came out on top. This is a reminder to take notes at tournaments.

I’ve come back with a memory of what happened in this game!

It actually was very close and evenly matched. Late on in the game, I put out Joffrey, and then Wildfired my own  Milked Tywin and Cersei for a power rush. If I hadn’t have been stupid, I wouldn’t have returned Arianne to hand in the previous challenge phase and would’ve won outright there and then. But I’m not that clever.

Anyway, knowing that I’m going to be losing an intrigue challenge, I ambush the Widow’s Wail onto Joffrey which puts him out of contention for Dracarys! I’d love for this to be a conscious decision, but I literally hadn’t even thought about until my opponent brought it up after the game.

With Arianne on the board, my opponent couldn’t afford to military me, because it would give me the extra power to win. In my challenges I got to use The Hound for a military challenge, bounced to hand, then Arianne for an intrigue and then bounce her to bring The Hound back out for the winning power challenge.

Round 4 – Big Mike/The Sellout – Night’s Watch – Lord’s of the Crossing

As it often happens, I have a history beating Big Mike when I really didn’t deserve to. Back in 1st Ed I did a double over him in a Lannister Knights mirror match, despite him having exponentially (I know this isn’t the correct use of exponentially but suck it maths nerds) more knights than me. I’ve just gone back to try and find the post where this happens and it was sat unfinished in the drafts folder. SHAME. EDIT: This post does exist here.

Anyway, I hadn’t properly read Lords of the Crossing before now, because only a square would turn up at a tournament knowing what an opponent could possibly do in a game. It also seemed like all of Mike’s other opponents were as cool as me, because he’d battered them before they knew what was happening as well.

I get quite a few tools to keep Mike’s hand empty in the early stages of the game (mainly through locations), and decide that I can probably play slowly and stall the game out for a win. While this was partially successful, Mike did have an empty hand by the end of the game, it didn’t matter because he also had fifteen power.

He jumped up power quickly with a Street of Silk, a successful Heads on Spikes pull for Jaime and a gift of 2 power from me Wildfire Assaulting his Benjen Stark. This was the one time all game where I got Gregor out and he killed some Messenger Ravens, I’d much have prefered him to pillage a 3 cost character. I also gifted him the win, by not putting Pycelle into an innocuous power challenge, saving him for the second guaranteed win Intrigue and draw), when Mike had A Clash of Kings revealed to take him to the win. BAD JACK, BAD. 3-1.

Round 5 – Nice Josh – Targaryen Banner of the Rose

Josh has written up this game over on CardgameDB, and this post is likely to be a paraphrase of that with added self deprecation. I’ll contest this statement from that report though:

“Jack was a very good 1st Edition player”

Which anyone who’s ever played against me, or read one of these reports will know that this is simply not true.

I had a pretty awful setup hand, so I mulliganed into an even worse setup hand. Leaving lovely Nymeria out there alone to get Marched to the Wall. But I did managed to get my Sunspear and Cersei’s Wheelhouse combo on the board making initiative decisions more difficult. Anyway, I got my Lannister boys out (TywinTyrionJaime) and then Big Tiz ate a Crown of Gold. Luckily though I had the draw to follow up with Cersei. In the final round Josh made a mistake by trying to do a challenge against me. Meaning I had enough power icons standing to win the final blue challenge and close the game.

So at 4-1, I was pretty happy with my day and ready for the cut. When the standings were announced I was pleasantly surprised to be in third place.

Top 8 – Mike Horan – Targaryen Banner of the Sun

There seems to be a lot of Targ going at the moment, weird. Wonder if they’re faction plot card will empower burn or not. Some people seem to think it’s a reprint of Threat from the North, which if true is going to boil so much piss on CardgameDB. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Anyway, Top 8 and I was thinking about driving back to Manchester in time to cook a roast dinner. I was on the backfoot for just about all of this game. I started with Cersei and some other intrigue weenies, and Casterly Rock and looked ready to really do damage to Mike’s hand. Then Cersei got MilkedJaime got Nymeria’d and my dreams got crushed.

I held off on my reset wanting use Calling the Banners to level the board instead. But holding off two military challenges a turn and having enough to fight back with was too difficult. Cersei ate a Dracarys! And even with Gregor taking the Nymeria heat off Jaime and Tywin, I couldn’t whittle down Mike’s board to regain control of the game.

I think I made some really poor decisions here with Sunspear and Nymeria, for example taking a military icon when Syrio was on the board, that perhaps if I actually thought about challenge maths and did sums in my head might’ve played out differently. But playing the game well does not interest me. I also had the choice of leaving two cards in my hand Desert Scavenger and a game changing Put to the Sword, or kneeling a Desert Scavenger to play the Desert Scavenger. I went banterous, and the PTTS, went for intrigue claim.

Justifying this in the car afterwards, had I kept both, I had to hope that the Scavenger, went for intrigue claim, kill the Scavenger in play and another (good) character for military claim. Then put all my guys into a military challenge that I wasn’t guaranteed to win by 5 given the opponents board presence just to get the PTTS off. Go for the banter.

By the seventh plot, it was clear which way the wind was blowing, and then the unthinkable happened! A double Marched. The dream. Literally everytime me and my opponent setup two characters each I always say “DOUBLE MARCHED” and it never happens. But even though the double Marched did me over (Bye Gregor, bye Jaime). I then drew a Roseroad and Tears of Lys. Good game, and I’m back on the M6 thinking about honey mustard parsnips.

Meager Contributions

Thanks go to:

  • Eddie and Steve for putting on a great tournament at GTG
  • All my opponents, particularly those whose names I can’t remember
  • Wedge for having a bad day, as that always makes my day better.
  • The banter from the Sheffield lads, excluding the Anti-Banter himself, Matt Cannon.
  • You, lovely reader, for reading this.


Bloody hell, over 2000 words on what was supposed to be a small unambitious write up. I’ll hopefully be back next week with a two part write up of shenanigans from the Manchester and Stockton SC’s.

Also, if you liked reading this, but was thinking I wish there was less Thrones and more Professional Wrestling, why not check out The “K” Word?

Subterfuge – Live Blog

Hello there, welcome to the Subterfuge live blog. Please make yourself comfortable, this could be a long one.

Subterfuge is a game of strategy, diplomacy and war that takes place over a week or so. I’m going to try and keep this updated over that time.

I’m keeping this post private while the game is in play to stop anyone scouting me, but once the game is over, I’ll release the beast to the world…


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.