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A Game of Thrones (first edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Two players variants??? rss

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Simon Ouellet
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I was wondering if anyone knew a 2-players variant? I don't have many occasion to play with five players (actually, yes, but only with a group of non wargamers; I don't get to play with 5 wargamers often enough). So I was trying to find an intersting way to play with my girlfriend.....

Something like controling one or two houses and make the other neutral. Or even more intersting, each player have one starting house and the other three change during the game; you can get control of them if you're in a certain position (i.e. enough influence/intimidation to control them). That would simulate the shifting alliances of the game and maybe even add a new dimension to the game.
Now the big question : how can we do this?

Anyone has any ideas?
 
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Peter Vrabel
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I seriously doubt it would work. Too much of the game is dependant on negotionation, bluffing and second guessing.

Shame really, it's a such a good game otherwise.
 
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brian reardon
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san mateo
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Hmmm... with so many boardgame enthusiasts on this board, there has to be somebody who can come up with a good 2 player variant.

I really do like the idea of neutral houses whose loyalty can be earned for a duration... only to stab you in the back and switch sides.

If anyone else has any ideas, please post... maybe combined we might be able to whip up a good 2 player variant!

b
 
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Matthew McCormick
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The new expansion, Storm of Swords, is supposed to be better geared towards 2 and 4 player play. It also incorporates 'neutral' houses. I'm looking forward to it and hoping it comes out soon!

See the FFG rants for some details http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/rants.html
 
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George Van Voorn
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I really do like the idea of neutral houses whose loyalty can be earned for a duration... only to stab you in the back and switch sides.


Well, thinking of it: since you have to bid for positions it might be a nice idea to bid for houses as well. Of course, there would have to be some sort of ranking like "bidding starts on the house with the least units" or something. And should we include this bidding every turn or only when "a game of thrones" comes up?!

I don't know if this would work, but it's a shot. 2 players with 2 colours does NOT work, and believe me, I tried. But I'm seriously thinking about this idea now.

Come on, any responses?!

Oetan
 
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brian reardon
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san mateo
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Yes, yes, I think blind bidding on houses is definitely the way to go... I prefer to think of it as bribing though. Maybe the amount you spend on bribing affects your chance to gain temporary control of the neutral house. ie. number gold spent determines how many dice you win. High roller gains some measure of neutral house control for a turn or two. There should probably be some minimum total bid in order to have a chance to win the house. If both players do not bid a sufficient amount, then the neutral house gladly takes the bribe money but remains neutral.

Well, these are just some thoughts... If somebody could add to, revise, or harshly criticize any of these ideas, I would be appreciative.

Thanks and let's get a good discussion started. I know that with a joint geek effort, a very good 2 player variant is a very real possibility.

b
 
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George Van Voorn
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I prefer to think of it as bribing though. Maybe the amount you spend on bribing affects your chance to gain temporary control of the neutral house. ie. number gold spent determines how many dice you win. High roller gains some measure of neutral house control for a turn or two. There should probably be some minimum total bid in order to have a chance to win the house. If both players do not bid a sufficient amount, then the neutral house gladly takes the bribe money but remains neutral.


I've been thinking about it overnight, and I agree with Brian on this. The neutral houses supply mercenary forces, that need payment every turn. So, every turn there should be blind bidding, with a minimum amount determined by the number of units or something. But perhaps it should also depend on the amount of areas, units or whatever of the bidder! That way neutral forces work balancing: the player with more potential to win pays more for the help of neutrals.

Now, one important matter that remains is how do you receive income to keep this bidding process on? Maybe the answer is simple: you don't. Neutrals are not THAT easy to persuade, so you better think it over real good before you start activating neutrals. Bribing is very expensive, and several rounds neither player will control neutrals.

Every time there is "a clash of kings", the two human players may bid for the 3 items, vying for places 1 and 2. The three neutrals are just decided by die rolls. Note that this adsorbs less money than in a five-player game, so more power is available for the bribing of neutrals.

It is rather useless to play the "crown" order for neutrals: the money will be wasted anyway. However, when a neutral conquers an area this neutral has an endless supply of power to consolidate his areas.

Well, these were just some thoughts. I'll probably have more.

Oetan
 
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Simon Ouellet
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Interesting, I think we are going somewhere with this.

I also like the idea of intimidation. In a normal game (5 players) it's possible to threaten someone into doing something they don't really want to do (i.e. "if you don't do this, I'll attack you next turn"). So how about we add the borders to the bidding? Let's say you have more borders contact with a certain house, your bidding should be easier since you can intimidate them more easily. Something like having one free token (automatic and free bidding token, not a token you can use somewhere else) for each borders; or one for every two or three borders.

It's also kind of logical for a neutral house to ally with the most dangerous from its point of view. If Stark is surrounding Pyke, they'll be more willing to join than to attack Stark. I know Pyke allying with Stark is not consistent with the books, but I'm talking from a gaming point of view

Basically, we do a bidding once in a while to gain control, but with an advantage for the player with the most "contacts" for each of the three neutral houses. It means that you can take control of any houses, but some are easier and some harder.

I think there is a good strategic aspect to it. If you're sure to keep control of a close neutral house, you'll spend more power tokens on areas of influence or other houses, only to realize the other player kept all is token to take control of this house and hit you from behind. It's also a challenge to position yourself so it's easier to take control of neutral houses while preventing your opponent from doing the same.

Speaking of areas of influence, how do we place the neutral houses on the areas of influence? They should change through game like normal houses...
 
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brian reardon
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Definitely some very good ideas here.

How about in addition to bidding on houses, you can also blindly bid solely to undermining the other players bid. It would require at least half the number of tokens the other player bid(and the correct house), but this would result in blocking a control bid. While it is cheaper to undermine, it requires predicting which house the other player is attempting to control and being confident enough to spend precious tokens. If you are lucky in your undermine attempt, then you have cheaply blocked your opponent. If not, then you have wasted tokens. Either way an attempt to block cannot result in gaining control of a neutral, only in undermining the other players plans. Seems like a potentially fun move if you feel like being a bastard(figuratively speaking).

b
 
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George Van Voorn
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Quote:
I also like the idea of intimidation. In a normal game (5 players) it's possible to threaten someone into doing something they don't really want to do (i.e. "if you don't do this, I'll attack you next turn"). So how about we add the borders to the bidding? Let's say you have more borders contact with a certain house, your bidding should be easier since you can intimidate them more easily. Something like having one free token (automatic and free bidding token, not a token you can use somewhere else) for each borders; or one for every two or three borders.


I'm not really sure whether this would work, already because it is some sort of difficult. You will want a measure that is relatively easy, like for instance the number of units a house controls. Also, maybe the neutral house is the one intimidating to you!!!

I still think it is better to percieve the neutrals as some sort of mercenaries, although they might have an agenda of their own. You fight for the one who is paying. Else, if you are interested in the books by Martin, involve diplomatic sentiments for the different houses. House A is cheaper to bribe for player 1 than for player 2, just because they are more on the same page. But if you really don't want to pay up, well, every man (house) has his price...

I'm also thinking about objectives for the neutrals now. Say, player 1 has al his forces engaged against player 2 or a neutral. It will surely be tempting for his neighbour to pay him a visit! Instead of just paying to obtain someones services you also have to pay to keep the peace. Maybe, if you don't pay, your opponent may take control of that neighbour and use those forces!

I think that's an idea. Neutrals can have three types of agreements with the players: non-agressive (truly neutral and out of the game), at war, or allied. If you attack a neutral he automatically is at war with you. Your opponent gets to control that house, until you manage to get peace again. Peace could be power (money), and perhaps a die roll modified by sentiments (again, some houses are more natural allies than others). More money (and one turn in between to gain trust again) is needed to persuade this neutral to join you!

What to do if two players bid? Should the higgest bidder win? No, I don't think so. Instead, power is a die modifier for who gets control. Say, the difference is +3 or more player 1 gets control, -3 or less is player 2 and in between is neutral.

Well, sorry, just some more ideas.

Oetan
 
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Sjoerd van der burg
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Really like your idea's.


How about there is no bidding for neutral houses, but u pay tokens for each order.
No two players can give orders to the same house in a particular round.

The first order is placed by the player ranked highest on the iron throne trail.
Which leads to houses getting claimed or not.

The orders come out of your own house orders and for orders with stars the normal rules apply.
Attacking with a neutral house is possible, but the neutral house cannot use housecards.
If u are supporting this attack with your own troops, u can use one of your own housecards to assist.

Each game round the first order given to a particular neutral house costs 2 tokens, additional orders are 1 token.

Nb. u dont have to border onto the area u are senting orders to.
Nb. rules for supply apply to neutral armies.
Nb. rules for recruting apply.
Nb. neutral armies leave a token when leaving an area.
Nb. if u move neutrals out of an area and take that area for yourself in the same gameround u cant give orders to this house the next gameround.
Nb. when a battles against a neutral house is won normal retreating rules apply.
Nb. when attacking a neutral house the attacker may not use a housecard.
Nb. when defending against a neutral house the defender must use a housecard.


I haven't tried it yet, so no idea if it might work.laugh

Ps. don't know yet if u should be allowed to attack yourself to get rid of your last housecard.
 
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