After pizza and beer, we settled down for a 5 player game [our sixth player never arrived and never called]. It was a new game for 2 players, a second time for 2 more, with myself as the voice of experience.
Stark - Matthew [me]
Greyjoy - Loretta
Lannister - Andrew
Tyrell - Sean
Baratheon - Ted
After two learning turns, we began the game in earnest. I prefaced with an explanation of several of the general openings and established strategies open to the various players. We had a couple of table rules to help the learning curve [ie, if a player forgot to establish power in a territory they were vacating, they were allowed a one time retroactive establishment]. The pattern that quickly emerged involved a Lion/Squid spat and a Stag/Rose fight, leaving Stark to leisurely build up power and position. It was a good learning session for teaching how not to get too focused on one opponent.
Turn 1: Baratheon took King's Landing. Lannister took Riverrun and earned power. Stark moved one footman north for power, and took Moat Cailin, Widow's Watch and the Narrow Sea. Greyjoy took Seaguard and Flint's Finger. Tyrell moved aggressively to take all three Cities available to him, and also moved his ship in to the Sunset Sea to protect Highgarden.
From here, multiple musterings and clashes were the order of the day. This allowed Stark [with 2 footmen pumping out power in the North] to gradually improve his position until he controlled all three tracks by turn 5. I used the Iron Throne and the general paucity of power to help Greyjoy and Baratheon hold their ground against the much more successful Lannisters and Tyrells. The Stag and Rose indulged in multiple suicidal confrontations around Storm's End which mirrored their growing off-board antipathy. The Lions steadily marched up the Neck to Greywater March, killing off Squids as they went. Lannister said that he just wanted a peace agreement, which Greyjoy stubbornly refused. A successful Greyjoy naval attack into the Golden Sound finally materialized with Tyrell assistance, but by that point the entrenched Lannisters could not be moved on land. All this cumulated into a Turn 5 Stark breakout, involving the capture of Flint's Finger, Seaguard and Craclaw point [the Eyrie was taken turn 4] during that turn for victory.
I opined that the idea that States only have interests was very true in this game. One cannot afford things like revenge attacks or spite bids. Such things may hurt your immediate opponent, but they will probably only really serve to make a third party stronger. Also, keep your word, but don't make extravagent promises in the first place.
We narrowly voted down a suggestion to immediately play again [it was 11:30, with work in the morning for some]. But the whole group agreed on a repeat in the near future.