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Lannister – Aziz
Tyrell – Andy
Martell - Leigh
Greyjoy – Me
Baratheon – Ian
Stark – Adam, then Giora

Returned to another round of ADWD play by email. This was the first time I got to play Greyjoy in pbem gaming and I decided to test out going aggressive vs Lannister if he did not have a conservative, defensive opening, to try and set up well for a tiebreak win. He did not have a very conservative opening, so I went for and took Lannisport, burning my 4 card to do it. Everyone else had rather a quiet opening, with no major battles and no other loss of territory on turn 1.

End of turn 1:

Mustering was drawn on the first turn with Lannister building up a 4 man army on Riverrun. Turn 2 also brought a clash of kings, which turned out to be a rather important one. I managed to retain hold of the blade, which was important, while Lannister retained the throne. Both of us ended up with no stars as we saved some power for a potential future bid, but it turns out that there would be no other bid that game! (partly my doing, actually).

Turn 2 orders:

Lannister made a deal with Tyrell to double team my army in Lannisport. It was routed out and then destroyed by Tyrell moving into searoad marches. It was a setback for sure, and a good example of the blowback that can happen if Greyjoy goes for Lannister on turn 1. My own march orders were focused on bringing my fleet back up north and beating the Lannister fleet. I was also able to use the Reader for the first time in that sea battle and select the nothing happens card for deck 1, as either a muster or supply at that point would have helped Lannister much more than me, as Stark had taken seaguard and greywater. The other major event of the turn was Tyrell’s navy in the East getting sandwiched by multiple forces and Martell taking the Reach. Tyrell actually tried to escape north with his otherwise doomed fleet but in the end it was wiped out, though I believe it took another turn to do so and only complicated the situation up north.

Turn 3 worked out very well for me, as the lack of muster or supply kept me close in numbers to Lannister. The ideal draw came out with no support orders, and I planned to make use of it well, as Lannister was setting up for a strong inland support system (actually, I had planned to use the reader to bring that no support card out next, but since it was already out and could not be selected again according to the rules of the reader card, it kind of forced my hand to strike on turn 3).

Turn 3 orders:

Since I had last march on Lannister and sea superiority, I used it to take lannisport back from Lannister, which was easier with the garrison having been wiped out before. I also used the reader in the battle for the second time, as the battles with Lannister and another ship battle with Tyrell were enough to cycle back all my cards. This time I used the reader to select nothing happens for deck 2, as a game of thrones wouldn’t really help me and I was happy holding onto the blade with no stars, given that Lannister didn’t have stars either.

Around this point, the original Stark had to quit the game due to time constraints, and Giora was brought into take his place. Stark and Baratheon had been having decent relations but their treaty expired and Baratheon went hard after Stark, taking out white harbor and his ship in port there. Giora was facing trouble as the Baratheon fleet stretched from castle black to storm’s end, so I kept giving cease fires to him in the west to give him a chance to hold off Baratheon.

Things got worse for Stark with the wildling attack that came up mid-game. He was not in good position, so he gambled by bidding a lot of tokens to try and get highest bidder to beat the 12 strength attack. However, everyone else cheaped out and the card was something inconsequential, the nothing happens I think. So he wasted his power for no benefit, and even worse, because it wasn’t fought off, the token went back to 8 strength, not zero, which meant that Mance raider was still very strong for Baratheon, who kept putting him to good use against Stark. Again, I let stark consolidate safely at times to bolster him up vs Baratheon and to have someone to cycle cards with.

With mustering on turn 4, Lannister and I both put out siege engines on the lannisport/riverrun front.

Turn 4 orders:

I knew he went first and he went in for a big attack, but I was willing to use my aeron damphair card and burn a lot of power to hold off and win the battle. I used a smart raid to take out support rather than trying to defend myself. Then I counter attacked via sea to take riverrun and put myself in a pretty good position. Final march used qarl the maid to refresh my power tokens to a decent amount in case of a bid (I believe it was part of a common card deal with Martell, who used Gerris to move ahead of Tyrell on fiefdoms). Lannister threatened to use the throne to clog up the game with no more musterings, but I did not mind as I didn’t really need any more mustering, plus I could always turn to the reader.

By the end of turn 4, things were looking good for me as Greyjoy. Martell was also doing well, having been on the attack vs Tyrelll and holding onto the Reach. Tyrell had backstabbed Lannister around KL and taken KL for himself, but otherwise he was finished in the east really. Baratheon was making inroads against Stark, who was playing well but sorely missing the lack of the ship in white harbor, as the timing of the exchange of territories meant he never got the chance to break out of port there. He also couldn’t afford to fight me with the blade and ship support in my hands, so kept agreeing to peace deals with me. I said I’ld leave him be until turn 6, because I don’t make deals for the final turn of the game: everyone should be free to play for the win then. In fact, making deals on a last turn can often lead one into kingmaking scenarios that could be avoided, whether intentional or not.

Turn 5 orders:

Stark was not happy with the lack of security for turn 6, so on turn 5 he made a deal to work with Lannister against me. I trusted him and did not raid away his support in seaguard, but I was still wary of a potential betrayal and I played that way to be safe in case he did betray me. And he did, supporting Lannister into riverrun. However, I was ready for it and thought about my options carefully before selecting my card for a battle that I would lose either way (I had only my 3 and 4 card left). I used the 3 card, even though that meant I would not be able to cycle back my 4 card. Then I used my 4 card to successfully attack Stark, as I was free to do so now. Lannister then attacked me with a large number for his second march, and I ended up having to use Aeron and burn a lot power to hold him off. But again, it was ok as in my final march I used reader for the third! time in the game as I retook riverrun and chose game of thrones for the upcoming last turn, to prevent another chance of a bid and to hold onto the sword and keep Lannister also at zero stars. In the end, the backstab ended up working rather well in my favour, as I was able to take Seaguard without breaking my word.

While this was going on, Baratheon continued to attack vs Stark. He was able to take out the large routed Stark army that I sent running out of seaguard, crushing it and taking moat cailin. Martell was also hitting it to Tyrell, taking Highgarden, as well as (allegedly) backstabbing Baratheon to take Storm’s End (which would lead Baratheon to half angrily/half jokingly refer to him as ‘the lying scum’ in the resulting email and be the third big backstab event of this exciting pbem game). It would now be a 3 horse race between Greyjoy, Baratheon, and Martell going into turn 6.

Turn 5 end of turn:

Turn 6 orders ('raid city' due to lack of march +1):

Turn 6 brought up a nice draw, including supply and the card I was hoping for put to the sword (both put to the sword cards had been remaining in the draw so I knew the odds were almost 50/50). I used put to the sword to prevent march +1 orders, which limited what Baratheon and Martell could have done by bringing them down to two marches and no march +1. Since Lannister and Baratheon (down to marches now) moved before me, I set up to counter any move against me via sea. Lannister gave up there, settling to retake KL for himself to finish strong. Martell played well vs Tyrell overall this game, but he was fighting into the heart of Tyrell territory now and Tyrell moved first. It was too much to face and he lost highgarden, though he managed to retain storm’s end vs Baratheon.

Stark played a solid final turn and Baratheon was unable to stop him from taking back one of his castles. In the end it did not matter, as even if that had ended up at 5 vp (they were 4 each), the stronghold tiebreak was irresistibly in my favour with 4 strongholds. It was an end of the game to a rather fun PBEM game, though the end of the 5th turn had made it my game to lose in the 6th and the put to the sword draw was a very nice draw on turn 6 in my favour, sealing the deal.

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