Hello and welcome back to Wardens of the Midwest! Joe from Cincinnati here and today I am writing a review for a manufacturer of tokens and house cards exclusive to the Game of Thrones Card Game 2.0!
The manufacturer goes by the name Citadel Quartermaster. Michael Spaulding, of the Minnesota meta, is the brains behind the operation. You may have seen him on the Facebook group or at various tournaments, where he is known to dress up as the Black Fish!
A few months ago, Michael reached out on Facebook in search of content providers for the community and requested that we do a review on the new items that he is offering now on his website. Wardens of the Midwest was one of the groups chosen to do such a review, and so here we are.
I received a delivery of his products a few weeks later (which, important to note for integrity’s sake, were free of charge): A granite house card, a wooden house card and a set of wooden power tokens, which you can see in the featured picture above.
This review is going to be pretty straight forward. I am going to go through each product and give my opinion on the item, the quality, the price, any other things I liked or didn’t like about the item and, ultimately, determine if I would purchase them for myself or others at the price at which they are being sold. Without further ado, let’s get going!
Let’s start with the granite house card which, in my humble opinion, is the centerpiece of the entire collection. Not only is it extremely beautiful but it also appears very well made. It has a very satisfying weight and feel but, due to the cork back, it moves along the table very easily and doesn’t have any issues being picked up or moved; it won’t damage any tables you put it on. The gold foil inlay is also extraordinarily good looking. Probably my favorite part is the motto on the bottom. Each faction has its motto written along the bottom of the house card and, since the Night’s Watch doesn’t have a motto but they do have an oath Michael chose, what I think, is the single best part of that oath. The Sword in the Darkness. That is just bad ass. And having that on your house card is just adding to the attention to detail that you can see everywhere else on the card.
I can say that, after using this house card in several games over the past week, I will be using this as my house card from now on. When I went to my local game store for our game night, literally, everyone who saw it marveled at it. Asking me where I got it, if they could hold it and, overall, it got nothing but positive reviews in terms of its look and feel.
In addition to the quality of the house card itself, I was very impressed with the packaging it came in, below.
It came with a wax seal holding the wrapping closed. That kind of attention to detail is something that you’ll notice for every single product that I got for this review. You’re purchasing something for a game based on the Game of Thrones world and, immediately, the packaging makes you feel engrossed in that world. It’s little touches like these that make me appreciate the effort put into producing a product like this.
My concerns about the product are minor, compared to the pros, but I’ll give a quick listing of those as well.
First thing is the price. As far as spending money on gaming aids goes, it’s hard to define the point at which a player is willing to spend money on something that doesn’t enhance the game itself (such as chapter packs and the like). Every player has their set point of what they are willing to spend and for some people it is very high and, for others, it can be as low as zero. These granite house cards cost 40 American dollars each. I took an impromptu poll at my game store to see, without telling them the price, what they thought would be a fair price for this item. The average price people said they’d be willing to pay, after asking 10 people, was 30 dollars. Now, take into account that there were a few people who still use the cardboard power and gold tokens in our group, so that number may be a little stilted downwards. I know for a fact that the Night’s Watch house card from Gencon has been sold for more than 40 dollars, so this is not an unreasonable price for a high quality gaming aid. It is just a different market and I think Michael knew that going in. He makes premium products that may not be for every single player.
Another, much more minor concern, is that this house card doesn’t fit in a standard ultra pro deck box (the most basic version). As you can see in the picture below, the house card barely fits in the deck box on the left, and that is with a single sleeved 60 card deck without the plots or agenda (which you can see on the table.) I happen to use a Ultra Pro Satin Tower Deck Box, which is a bit bigger and, as you can see, on the right, the house card fits perfectly fine in that deck box.
Finally, the last concern I have is something that I kind of figured I would have to do before I even began testing with it. As you can see in the picture below, I chose to add a second house card to my board state for use in kneeling. Honestly, the granite house card is just a bit too bulky to be turning sideways each turn. This isn’t a big problem, especially since I know a lot of people do this anyway even with a standard house card. Moving something with power tokens on it can be a pain regardless, after all. But it does take up space on your board so if you’re a stickler for stuff like that, it may be somewhat bothersome.
Overall, this is a high quality, premium product that really stands out to anyone who sees it. It is well made, very artistically beautiful, with a great presentation from the moment you open the box. At the price of 40 dollars, I would purchase one. In fact, I am already planning on using them as gifts for a few people who have helped me and my channel/website. It may be too expensive for some people to spend on themselves but, with the winter holidays right around the corner, it is, in my opinion, a perfect gift for your faction loyal friends and family members who play this game. The concerns I have are minor compared to the overall product and each concern is easily remedied with a simple solution such as using a bigger deck box and using a second house card for kneeling for Fealty!
Next is the wooden house card. Since you, as the reader of this review, cannot touch the house card, I’m going to tell you a few things about it. First, every mark is etched out of the wood. So, as you run your finger along it, you can feel the edged raised against your finger. In addition, you can see the grain of the wood running down the house card. The outer edge of the card appears to be burnt, giving it that classic ‘worn’ feel to it, which I really appreciate. When I asked the players at my local game store, they all agreed that it was a nice card and, at only 15 dollars, was very reasonably priced. In fact, a few people were actually surprised because they thought it would be closer to 20 or 25 dollars. Now, this is the single sided house card. They also sell a double sided house card which has the house symbol literally cut out of the card. Unfortunately, I didn’t get one of those, so I won’t really review it. But, in my opinion, if you’re buying a specially made house card for your deck, you’re doing it for the main house, not the banner. So I don’t really have an issue with it being one sided in this case.
The owner of our local game store, Arkham House Games in Cincinnati, James, decided to put the house card through his patented durability test (he basically tried to break it). But it didn’t bend, splinter or become misshapen at all. He even decided to test if it would stain, so he licked it.
He described the taste as “woody, with a bit of a chemical after taste.” However, the mark dried and disappeared with no damage to the card.
Obviously, I let him keep it after that test…
…James is a weird guy. In a good way though (I know you’re reading this to see if I’d actually include this part, James!)
But it is now the house card that he uses for his Tyrell decks and he had no complaints about power tokens fitting on it or anything of the sort.
As for my concerns, I have never played with gaming aids made of wood before. There’s a chance that, in high humidity areas such as Florida or even Cincinnati, they may warp over time. I can’t confirm that for sure, as I cannot really test the wear on it over a long period of time, but I do know how wood responds to humidity. Hopefully the chemicals that James tasted on the card are part of the solution to preventing such things from occurring.
Other than that, there really are no concerns. It’s a great product that looks good and doesn’t cause any problems with…anything. Well made, durable and it apparently doesn’t taste too bad either.
Without hesitation, I would buy this both for myself or for a friend. At 15 dollars, it is very reasonably priced and looks incredible. James even said that he’s going to paint the house card green and yellow now that it belongs to him. If he does it in any kind of reasonable time frame, I’ll be happy to update this post with his work. That is definitely the kind of stuff you can do when you use wooden gaming aids.
Finally, we come to the neutral power tokens. These are also made of wood and the icon is etched out of the wood, much like the faction card above, so again you can feel the edges of the etching raised against your finger. They even make a very pleasant woody clink when fiddled with during those turns when your opponent is taking foreeeeeever with their marshaling. Shout out to my fellow game table fidgeters!
They are the same size as the Stark power tokens from this past year’s tournament season so, as with those tokens, you will likely be stacking them in piles of 3 or 4 on your house card, as they don’t all fit in single layer rows (obviously). I personally prefer the tokens that are similar in size to the core set power tokens that can fit 5 rows of 3 tokens on a single card, but that is merely a preference. I see plenty of people using those Stark tokens so I know there’s a market for them.
As with the house card, they are durable but still light. I didn’t let James lick these, but I have a feeling they would taste just as woody and chemical-y as the house card.
And, because it is made of wood like the house card, I have the same concern about humidity warping them over time. It would be quite irritating if even one warped slightly, so that you could no longer stack them cleanly on your faction card.
They cost 20 dollars for a set of 15. This concerns me. I’ve spoken to several people, both during this review and prior to it, and most people have come to the agreement that 20 dollars is, basically, the top of the range when it comes to price of power tokens. When there are high quality sets of tokens available in this community at 10 dollars (admittedly, with the intention of undercutting the market), that 20 dollar price point is a hard sell.
Honestly, I would not purchase a set of these tokens for myself or any of my friends. The price is too high and the product isn’t high quality enough to make up for that. I assume that etching wood tokens is a bit more expensive than the other tokens on the market, so I understand the higher cost, it’s just a shame because the market right now does sit at between 10 and 15 dollars per set. In addition, my personal preference is the smaller tokens that all fit in a single layer on the faction card but, again, this is all personal preference. The product itself is quite exquisite.
Overall, there is so much I can say about the quality of the product with only a few minor concerns for each product. I am very impressed with not only the product itself but also the presentation of the products, especially in regards to the Granite house card. Without a doubt, that is my favorite item in the entire collection. The wooden faction card is also of extremely high quality and good price. The power tokens are a little too expensive, but are just as high quality as the other items. And, let’s all be honest, when it comes to gaming aids, the quality of the product is ultimately the main determining factor. A cheap but bad product will not make you happier than a slightly more expensive product that looks twice as good.