After the Battle of Blackwater, the Great Houses are busy licking their wounds and Westeros knows a few days of peace. House Lannister has won a decisive victory and formed a new alliance with House Tyrell, but far more important than the battles are the intrigues that weave between the shadows. In the heart of King's Landing, Tyrion Lannister plots to return to power and the Queen of Thorns takes Sansa Stark under her wing. House Bolton and House Frey prepare in their own way to strike a devastating blow at the Starks, while to the south the Princes of Dorne plot revenge against the Lannisters for past wrongs. Soon these plots will determine the fate of each Great House.
Men and Buffoons is the first pack chapter of the Blood and Money cycle and presents what will be the overarching themes of the entire cycle. Like the two cycles that preceded it, Blood and Money focuses on the next volume of the Chronicles of Ice and Fire, drawing on the best-known events and characters from Storm of Swords; it also focuses on one of the game's most important resources: gold coins. Thanks to a brand new keyword and some powerful recurring events, each faction gets new ways to spend its gold coins and just as many ways to earn them. Managing one's gold coins has been essential since the Base Set days, and soon every faction will have more gold and more coins at its disposal than ever before.
THE PRINCE'S PLAN
The advent of the Blood and Money cycle is accompanied by the debut of a new keyword in the game (the first since the days of the Basic Set): it is Donation, and it gives you a new level of control over your card's power level.
For example, one of the first cards to contain the keyword Donation is House Martell's blind Siniscalco, Ricasso (GT16-15). Putting Ricasso into play costs 3 gold coins, but the character has Donation (2), which means that when he comes into play you can move up to 2 gold coins from your chest to Ricasso. You are never obliged to move these coins, but once they have been placed on a character you cannot spend them and you will lose them if the character leaves the game. However, as we will see shortly, giving gold coins to the right characters is always convenient.
Placing gold coins on a card via Donation has no intrinsic effect, but the function of that gold is defined by the rest of the text on that card. Obviously, donating gold coins to Ricasso has powerful implications for cards like Doran Martell (GT01-105), Doran's Game (GT01-119), and Sunset Star Cavalry (GT10-35), but it's up to you to decide exactly how much to invest in Ricasso.
For an even stronger impact, you may choose to donate 2 gold coins to Ricasso (the maximum you are allowed to place on him); however, doing so costs you a total of 5 gold coins, and you may need to keep your money aside for other effects. Giving Ricasso a single gold coin gives you a smaller effect at a lower cost, and in desperate circumstances you can always play Ricasso simply for his challenge icons and his FOR, without worrying about his ability. It is precisely the precision with which you can control the abilities of cards with donation that makes these cards so adaptable and appropriate to sudden changes in the game of thrones.
By donating 2 gold coins to Ricasso the moment he comes into play, it is as if you had two additional plots in your past plot pile!
The other Martell card in this chapter pack also acts as a counter to Ricasso and is representative of the many ways you can spend your gold coins in the Blood and Money cycle. Prince's Plan (GT16-16) is an event that allows you to choose any character. Until the end of the phase, that character receives 1 additional FOR per storyline in your past storyline stack and gets a challenge icon of your choice! However, this event is not like most events, which remain in your discard pile after being played. At any time after losing a challenge, you can pay 1 gold coin to take the Prince's Plot from the discard pile and put it back into your hand. The versatility of this card lies in the fact that even when your opponent knows that you have that card in your hand, you can still use it to enhance your challenges over and over again.
The Donation keyword and recurring events offer you many ways to spend your gold coins... but how can you earn more? Fortunately, this cycle introduces new income for each faction, starting with a number of locations such as the Port of Slave Bay (GT16-14) for House Targaryen. These non-unique locations cost 2 gold coins and during the deployment phase can usually be knelt for 2 gold coins... provided the conditions are right. They can therefore provide you with large amounts of gold as long as you can tie them to your faction's main themes.
For example, in the case of the Bay of Slavers Harbour you can always kneel the location to receive 1 single gold coin, but if your opponent has 4 or more characters in his pile of the dead you receive 2 gold coins! With a similar location for each faction and more new economy cards to add to your deck, you can get the gold you need to make your deck and your new endowment cards work properly.
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