Dire news comes to the Great Houses of Westeros in this Chapter Pack, but you’ll find plenty of new tools to help each House survive the dangerous times to come. A Dire Message continues developing the cycle’s prized keyword, allowing you to play a number of more powerful characters, attachments, locations, and events, but at the price of possibly giving your opponent power. Many of the cards in this Chapter Pack carry the prized keyword, and you’ll find new, prized versions of iconic characters and locations ranging from Robert Baratheon, to Ser Balon Swann, to The Iron Throne itself!
However, you’ll also find more support for the second theme of the Conquest and Defiance cycle: bringing the Houses together to form multi-House decks. Traditionally, in A Game of Thrones: The Card Game, the Great Houses remain separate, perhaps bringing one or two select members of another House into their confidence. But now, A Dire Message is coming, the winds of winter are blowing harshly, and the leaders of Westeros may discover that working together is preferable to dying alone.
The Task At Hand
Throughout the Conquest and Defiance cycle, every House has received Bannerman characters that benefit from the presence of characters belonging to other Houses. You’ll find even more of these characters in A Dire Message. House Stark gains the Northern Clansman (A Dire Message, 110), who gains renown or stealth if you control a Baratheon or a Lannister character, respectively. House Targaryen receives a similar character in the Dragon Ambassador (A Dire Message, 113), who gains deadly if you control a Greyjoy character, and an Intrigue icon if you control a Martell character.
Because these characters receive benefits directly from other Houses, they lend themselves naturally to creating multi-House decks. You can easily include two such characters in your deck, as well, since both characters receive benefits from the other House’s characters. Including both characters only give you more Bannermen, enhancing the power of cards that trigger off of your number of Bannermen, such as Mors Umber (The Banners Gather, 13)
Even with the help of the new Conquest (Spoils of War, 1) agenda and a wide spread of characters that benefit from adding another House to your deck, sometimes you need to search for a crucial piece of your deck’s plan for victory. To that end, you could include the applicable plot introduced in this Chapter Pack: A Task in the East (A Dire Message, 118), A Task for the King (A Dire Message, 119), or The Turncloak’s Task (A Dire Message, 120). Each of these plot cards allow you to search for a card, but which card you can search for is based on your House card.
For example, if you reveal A Task in the East and are using a Martell House card, you can search your deck for any Greyjoy card, reveal it, and add it to your hand. If your House card is Greyjoy, on the other hand, you would use The Turncloak’s Task, and search your deck for any Targaryen card. With the help of these three new plot cards and the Conquest agenda, you can piece together the cards you need to establish your alliance and claim victory over your opponent.