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Subject: Returning to first edition (with ports) rss

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Merric Blackman
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After a few weeks where Jesse was unavailable, we returned to play a five-player game of A Game of Thrones, this time using my first edition set rather than Jesse's second edition set.

For five players, there's little doubt that the older map is far superior (although I still have reservations about the game), although with 2nd edition eliminating Greyjoy would seem more balanced than the insane "let's get rid of Martell" option that FFG suggest.

Unfortunately, AGOT does require five good players to be properly engaging. In this game, we had John, and he's not an experienced player of games. He also didn't pick up the rules and strategies quickly - in this, his second game - he still didn't really understand support orders and would often get confused about what the tokens did.

Thus, he was easy pickings for those of us who wanted to attack him. His play was better than that of the neutrals that otherwise would have taken up a missing player role, but a poorly-played House Tyrell does lead to balance problems.

The factions were taken by these players this game:
Jesse - Greyjoy
Sarah - Lannister
Jon - Stark
Merric - Baratheon
John - Tyrell



Yes, there should be a port token on Highgarden - it had wandered off somewhere.

The initial moves for the game saw The Narrow Sea stay quite untouched as neither I nor Jon moved for it - instead, I moved ships into Blackwater Bay to support an attack on King's Landing and thus captured it in the second turn. Sarah's Lannisters started moving down south as warfare broke out on the seas between her forces and those of Jesse's.

After a delayed start, John's Tyrells started moving east, while Jon consolidated his hold over the north.

My big problem was supply - I didn't have much of it. It greatly constrained my forces and thoughts of going into the north-east to get more were dashed by a great expeditionary force of the Lannisters which took Crackclaw Point. Jon was looking quite good as he kept Greyjoy at bay, and even Tyrell was expanding at this point.



Indeed, John finally managed to get a big enough force together to take Sunspear. Meanwhile, I pushed Sarah out of Crackclaw Point - and she made an error in her retreat, as she split her forces; she thought she'd be able to take The Eyrie, but misread its strength. My attempt to get into the Narrow Sea failed, as Jon retained control of it.

Jesse used his control of the waters to move into Winterfell, capturing it from the Starks. Likewise, Sarah captured Highgarden from the Tyrells, as our lines became very stretched.



The next turn was a turn of reverses for Sarah - her forces falling as Greyjoy and Stark went on the attack. Jon recaptured Winterfell, and I pushed into Tyrell territory. Highgarden fell again - to Jesse this time. Sarah and I wondered why Jon was attacking Sarah rather than Jesse - capturing a castle made a lot more sense than attacking an out-of-position force.

At this point, Jesse was one castle away from winning, I was two. The final (seventh) turn of this game had me going first, but my leaders were problematic: a 3 and a 0. I needed to both take Storm's End and take Highgarden, but Jesse's force in Highgarden was too strong for an easy attack. So, I hoped that John could hold off Jesse's force and attacked Storm's End, easily taking it.

And, of course, John's orders were so poor that Oldtown was easily taken by Jesse. John had the Sword of Westeros, but it didn't help. Jesse took the seventh castle and won the game. I wasn't particularly surprised - my own chances of winning the game were low, and I had to gamble to attempt it.



Throughout the game, I had low supply and high influence - at once point, I ran out of influence tokens in my supply! - and I was pretty strong on most of the influence tracks, but I was unable to get the Sword for the final set of turns, and that hurt me in the end.

I remain unconvinced by A Game of Thrones; the strategic position of the houses seems unbalanced and the board is awkward. There are definitely things that the second edition does better than the first, but it's a mixed bag. Ultimately, there are other light wargames I'd rather be playing (and I'd prefer even more a heavier wargame!)
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I'm interested by your last comment. What light or somewhat heavier wargames would you play with 5 or 6 players in preference to this?
 
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Merric Blackman
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Nogser wrote:
I'm interested by your last comment. What light or somewhat heavier wargames would you play with 5 or 6 players in preference to this?


6 players:
Virgin Queen, Here I Stand* (towards the heavier end).
Dune, Twilight Imperium 3e.

5 players:
The Napoleonic Wars*, Ikusa, Antike, Shogun

Mind you, with 5 I'd probably prefer to be playing The Republic of Rome or 1830. (or a shorter game...)

(*: these ones I haven't played yet and really want to!

Possibly Axis and Allies.

Game of Thrones has a number of awkward "gamey" elements that irritate me.
 
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Michael Noakes
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MerricB wrote:
Nogser wrote:
I'm interested by your last comment. What light or somewhat heavier wargames would you play with 5 or 6 players in preference to this?


6 players:
Virgin Queen, Here I Stand* (towards the heavier end).
Dune, Twilight Imperium 3e.

5 players:
The Napoleonic Wars*, Ikusa, Antike, Shogun

Mind you, with 5 I'd probably prefer to be playing The Republic of Rome or 1830. (or a shorter game...)

(*: these ones I haven't played yet and really want to!

Possibly Axis and Allies.

Game of Thrones has a number of awkward "gamey" elements that irritate me.


I'm been wondering if Game of Thrones is a game I'd like to pick up or not, and this isn't very encouraging. But is the comparison to Here I Stand or (a personal favourite, even if it rarely hits the table) The Republic of Rome a fair one? Both are extremely long games to play, and high in complexity; is GoT of comparable length?
 
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Merric Blackman
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Quote:
I'm been wondering if Game of Thrones is a game I'd like to pick up or not, and this isn't very encouraging. But is the comparison to Here I Stand or (a personal favourite, even if it rarely hits the table) The Republic of Rome a fair one? Both are extremely long games to play, and high in complexity; is GoT of comparable length?


AGoT is a lot shorter. We were able to have a game of it in under 2 hours, albeit it didn't go the full 10 turns. But that's part of the problem: it's hard to get a short 5 or 6 player wargame with interesting decisions. Due to the way that mustering and supply work in AGoT, dependent on the draw of specific cards, it can end up being very frustrating to play.

Is it a bad game? By no means, but it isn't one that I enjoy that much. If I'm looking for a 5-player game that plays in about 2 hours, I'll probably choose a Eurogame over a wargame in any case, because the form suits the timescale better. (Or a hybrid, like Shogun or Wallenstein).

However, the mere fact that I don't like it that much doesn't mean you and your friends won't think it's really good; I've got quite a few idiosyncrasies in my love of games. (For instance, I don't like Eclipse much...)

Cheers,
Merric
 
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Geoff C
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SpaceCadet01 wrote:
Hi
I've just bought a copy of the Game of Thrones Board Game (First Edition) yet all the cards are in Chinese. Do you know anywhere on the net where I can find what the cards say in English please?
Thanks!


http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/725721/card-photos-needed

MerricB wrote:
I remain unconvinced by A Game of Thrones; the strategic position of the houses seems unbalanced and the board is awkward. There are definitely things that the second edition does better than the first, but it's a mixed bag. Ultimately, there are other light wargames I'd rather be playing (and I'd prefer even more a heavier wargame!)


Interesting....by unbalanced, I'd call them asymmetrical. I don't understand the awkward board comment. And I cant think of anything the second ed. does right, it mashes nearly all of the original expansion bits in with no thought to actual balance issues that needed addressing (support knots).

I'm a huge fan of the first edition. It is beautifully done imo in terms of pure planning and plotting.
 
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