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Subject: musings on strategy rss

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mads l. brynnum
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Musings on strategy

First of all: I’ve played this game two times (first as Lannister, then as Greyjoy) and I failed to win either. In fact, in my first game I played so horribly that I got almost eradicated. So this strategy article is foremost of all based on my experience as a looser. Furthermore, as has been pointed out in response to this article on FFG's forum, it's very speculative. Everything depends on how things work out during the Westeros phase on turn two, but I still think that som very specific thoughts on strategy can be helpful when deciding a general strategy. So here goes ...

(the picture below is a pbem-picture found on the geek. It's the only one with clear names on the territories and that's why I've chosen it.)



General thoughts
Apart from the obvious stuff, such as the armies being bigger and much more mobile than in the base game, a couple of things spring to mind.

First of all there isn’t a lot of claims (VP) on the board. Harrenhal is the only city/stronghold that is within reasonable reach for all houses and that gives only one claim. Stark and Greyjoy can fight over Riverrun, and if Lannister plays well he can fight with Baratheon over King’s Landing and that’s more or less it. Of course there’ll be exceptions, and especially Greyjoy has other possibilities, but they’re not obvious. This means that a) the claims in the ally deck and the claims in the Westeros phase becomes very important as does the timing of when you get them, and b) that you’ll rarely fight over claims, but over position. That is: important territories.

The second thing worth noticing is Baratheon. He has four claims within easy reach and a fifth not far away, but foremost of all he has territories that yield quite a lot of power and he does not lack supply as he did in the base game. In both the games I played, Baratheon totally dominated the bidding phases because no-one could raid his consolidate orders.

Now, let’s take a closer look on the four houses. I’ll write some suggestions as to what is generally important and then some ideas for initial strategies. For now I’ll start with Lannister and Greyjoy which are the houses I’ve played, but please note this is just thoughts and not thoroughly tested strategies.

Lannister

Lannister’s forces are divided from the beginning and even if he manages to take Harrenhall and keep King’s Landing, he’ll have a difficult time building up massive force. That means, I think, that it is paramount for Lannister to bring his forces together in the beginning of the game and thus making it possible for them to support each other. For that reason I think that the Roseroad area is the most important area for Lannister. It’s not too far from Silverhall and Lannisport and it’s a good place to mount an offensive against Baratheon from. It is, however, not good for marching against Harrenhall, but I think that if you don’t hold the Roseroad, you cannot hold or retake King’s Landing or march against Storm’s End. In both our games Lannister failed to hold the Roseroad, and in non of them did he come close to winning.

Concerning starting strategies Lannister has two options: holding King’s Landing in order to gain a claim from Hear me roar! or abandoning it in hope of retaking it at a more opportune moment. But no matter which you choose I think you should try and hold King’s Landing for as long as possible to get the most out of your garrison. Anyways, here’s my suggestion for the first two turns:

Turn 1
Defense +2 on King’s landing, consolidate on Tywin and raid or march on Jaime. The obvious choice of tactic card is Hold territory which would ensure that you could keep King’s Landing, but I think I’d go with careful planning hoping that Baratheon does not play control Westeros. That would make it possible to choose manage troops in order to move forward to support King’s Landing. For if you have a defense +2 and hold territory, Baratheon cannot take King’s Landing.

If you cannot play manage troops, move to Cornfield and Goldroad with Jaime and to Southern God’s Eye with Tywin. If you can play manage troops, use the extra move to either place Jaime and a knight in Tumbleton (keeping a footman in Cornfiels as you have used your power for careful planning) or move Tywin to the Roseroad leaving a footman in Southern God’s Eye. Both moves will give you some dire needed support for King’s Landing in the coming turn. Do NOT move Tywin inside King’s Landing – it will only trap him and make him useless.

The good thing about this is that it makes you ready to strike at Baratheon and thus for keeping or retaking King’s Landing. The bad thing is, of course, that you have no power left. So you could consider just playing hold territory from the beginning if you want to preserve power.

Turn 2
What to do next is of course dependant on Baratheon, on the influence tracks and allies, but here’s some loose suggestions:

First of all, if you want to take your claim from King’s Landing early in the game, now’s the time to do it. By supporting Kings landing with Tywin from Southern God’s Eye (SGE) or the Roseroad, you should be able to keep it no matter what Baratheon does. Unless, of course, a mustering came up which will make it a lot more difficult.

By supporting from SGE you will, however, invite Baratheon to attack Tywin. You should be able to loose the battle without loosing casualties, and thus you can easily move to the more favorable position in Roseroad – a position you can support during turn 3 if you remembered to move Jaime forward. The same support which you – during turn 3 – can use for taking Silverhall.

Turn 3 and so on

A lot of things can happen during turn 2 and nothing is certain. I think, however, that you should pose yourself for a sortie against Kingswood in order to threaten Baratheon and in order to make it easer to retake/hold King’s Landing. Silverhall should be secured to give you the extra muster point, and I think that your troops in King’s Landing (if still there) should be used to raid or consolidate. From now on holding on to it will be difficult, and if you haven’t gotten your claim in turn two, you might as well try and grab it later.

Summary
Take the Roseroad as soon as possible. It’s vital if you want to threaten Baratheon, and if you don’t take it early on, I don’t think you’ll be able to later. Secondly you need to bring your forces together. I think you should do it ‘round Roseroad, but of course Acorn Hall and Harrenhall is a possibility as well, but that will make it harder to march against Baratheon later on. Furthermore you should consider whether it’s worth taking you claim from Hear me roar! on turn two. Yes, it might be the only chance you get for a long time, but if it’s the first claim to be placed on the claim track, chances are it’ll be lost later as the track fills up. And finally one important thing: look out for Greyjoy. Lannisport is not far away from Pyke, and Greyjoys “mission” is to hold the starting territory of either opponent.

edit 9/8 - deleted nonsense about being able to choose both careful planning and forge alliances. Not possible since Lannister only has two powers.

Greyjoy

I won’t make a thorough guide to moves and tactics for the first turns with Greyjoy. The first turn is rather obvious, and later on it depends too much on what Stark and Lannister does. Rather I’ll try and focus on some important stuff and point out some possible strategies.

First and foremost of all Greyjoy has an objective that’s hard to accomplish (in my second game I reduced Stark to almost no armies, I had four leaders and I still couldn’t take Winterfell), and there’s not much unraidable power within easy reach. But since it’s very hard to win without your special claim, you should always look for an opportunity to take either Lannisport or Winterfell. And luckily you have some leaders which are triggered by raids and they can prove themselves pretty nasty.

When playing Greyjoy you should, of course, take Riverrun early on. It’s easy to hold, it’s a muster point, and it gives you the extra claim which the other houses start with. Apart from that the obvious thing is to focus your interest on Harrenhall, but I’m not sure it’s the right thing to do. In fact I think The Crag is one of the most important areas for Greyjoy to hold because it enables an attack on either Lannisport or Winterfell. The question is: how do you do that?

Winterfell
The important thing about Winterfell is that neither you nor Stark can support it and that Stark cannot raid out from it and thus removing a trigger-raid on Flint’s Finger. The problem is that since you cannot support an attack, even if you manage to attack from both sides a small number of units and the garrison should be able to hold it.

The solution is, I think, to place a big army of mostly knights on The Crag with your strongest leader and possibly with another leader (eg. an ally) close by. Then, if Stark ever ventures away from Winterfell, you can use manage troops to march your army to Pyke and then further on to Flint’s finger. If you do this as late as possible you might be able to do it without Stark being able to move back and defend. Then, in the next turn, you can use your raid order to attack Winterfell.

But if Stark has a unit on Flint’s or you can’t do it (that is: you can do it by using the immediate effect of manage troops to move to Pyke and then attack, but the element of surprise will be lost), and it kinda locks a large part of your army to a defensive position. So maybe going for Lannisport is a better idea.

Lannisport
I never tried going for Lannisport, but actually I think it’s easier to take than Winterfell. By moving from The Crag to Goldroad (with support from Sarsfield, maybe), but still leaving supporting units in The Crag, Lannister will have a hard time retaking Goldroad. Maybe you won’t be able to attack Lannisport on your next turn, but maybe you can take Cornfield wich will almost certainly assure you Lannisport in the turn after. The obvious problem about this is that you can’t do it if Lannister hasn’t moved towards either Baratheon or Harrenhall. But then again, why shouldn’t he?
 
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Damien Browne
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I really shouldn't be replying to this, as it is getting late, and I tired.

However, I have just completed my second full game of ASOS today and came out winner, so I am finally getting my head around what is going on. I played Greyjoy, for reference, and no player made 8 claim by turn 10. I finished with 7. It was a VERY tedious task! (But fun, all the same.)

mads b. wrote:


Lannister

Lannister's forces are divided from the beginning and even if he manages to take Harrenhall and keep King's Landing, he'll have a difficult time building up massive force. That means, I think, that it is paramount for Lannister to bring his forces together in the beginning of the game and thus making it possible for them to support each other. For that reason I think that the Roseroad area is the most important area for Lannister. It's not too far from Silverhall and Lannisport and it's a good place to mount an offensive against Baratheon from. It is, however, not good for marching against Harrenhall, but I think that if you don't hold the Roseroad, you cannot hold or retake King's Landing or march against Storm's End. In both our games Lannister failed to hold the Roseroad, and in non of them did he come close to winning.

In both my games, Lannister was played by the same player. He won the first game (which was a learning game for us all) and held a clear lead in the recent game until perhaps turn 8 when it all fell apart. By that time he had 7 claim, and none others had more than 5.

Today, he held Roseroad, so I agree with that part. I am not yet sure whether they should hold two separate wars, or combine their army. (To do what exactly?)

Lannister did well today assaulting Baratheon, holding Harrenhall and Kings Landing until turn 5.

Quote:

Concerning starting strategies Lannister has two options: holding King's Landing in order to gain a claim from Hear me roar! or abandoning it in hope of retaking it at a more opportune moment. But no matter which you choose I think you should try and hold King's Landing for as long as possible to get the most out of your garrison. Anyways, here's my suggestion for the first two turns:

I agree that keeping King's Landing as long as possible is required. To lose control of this area of the board can give Barratheon a clean sweep.

Quote:

Turn 1
Defense +2 on King's landing, consolidate on Tywin and raid or march on Jaime. The obvious choice of tactic card is Hold territory which would ensure that you could keep King's Landing, but I think I'd go with careful planning hoping that Baratheon does not play control Westeros. That would make it possible to choose manage troops in order to move forward to support King's Landing. For if you have a defense +2 and hold territory, Baratheon cannot take King's Landing.

If you cannot play manage troops, move to Cornfield and Goldroad with Jaime and to Southern God's Eye with Tywin. If you can play manage troops, use the extra move to either place Jaime and a knight in Tumbleton (keeping a footman in Cornfiels as you have used your power for careful planning) or move Tywin to the Roseroad leaving a footman in Southern God's Eye. Both moves will give you some dire needed support for King's Landing in the coming turn. Do NOT move Tywin inside King's Landing - it will only trap him and make him useless.

The good thing about this is that it makes you ready to strike at Baratheon and thus for keeping or retaking King's Landing. The bad thing is, of course, that you have no power left. So you could consider just playing hold territory from the beginning if you want to preserve power.

Not having contemplated much the strength of Lannister, I have seen the strength of opening with Control Westeros. You can take Harrenhall with a consolidate order, providing power to leave behind in the starting territory.
Further, consider that Lannister begins with the raven, so there is no dramas for Lannister on the second turn to play Consolidate in King's Landing and if no attack is imminent (this is bad play by Barra but it happened turn 3 today - when Barra needed to consolidate his forces.) Lannister can build a garrison in King's Landing.

If attack is imminent, Lannister can decide if it is better to switch to a Raid, Raid+1, or Defence+2. Quite often today, the raid / raid+1 proved the difference - stripping Barra of much needed support orders. Barra finally managed to bring another army through to play a raid order himself, forcing the defence +2, allowing Barra to finally take King's Landing.

Also, in retaking the King's Landing, Lannister found two siege engines invaluable supporting from Roseroad.

Further, it was when he tried to join his forces from Lannister to the war with Barratheon that he lost his position of strength. (IMHO)

Quote:

Greyjoy

I won't make a thorough guide to moves and tactics for the first turns with Greyjoy. The first turn is rather obvious, and later on it depends too much on what Stark and Lannister does. Rather I'll try and focus on some important stuff and point out some possible strategies.

First and foremost of all Greyjoy has an objective that's hard to accomplish (in my second game I reduced Stark to almost no armies, I had four leaders and I still couldn't take Winterfell), and there's not much unraidable power within easy reach. But since it's very hard to win without your special claim, you should always look for an opportunity to take either Lannisport or Winterfell. And luckily you have some leaders which are triggered by raids and they can prove themselves pretty nasty.

When playing Greyjoy you should, of course, take Riverrun early on. It's easy to hold, it's a muster point, and it gives you the extra claim which the other houses start with. Apart from that the obvious thing is to focus your interest on Harrenhall, but I'm not sure it's the right thing to do. In fact I think The Crag is one of the most important areas for Greyjoy to hold because it enables an attack on either Lannisport or Winterfell. The question is: how do you do that?

I played Greyjoy in both my games. I thought I was doing well early the first game, until I got utterly destroyed in about turn 7. I made several grave errors, one of which I believe to have been to pay interest in Harrenhall, which I held all of about half a turn.
Today, I barely moved east of Riverrun, and I found that very advantageous.
The Crag *is* very important, in fact is was fundamental to my win today and I nearly saw it come crumbling down, by leaving support forces in the Crag. When one of my leaders in Sarsfield faced a Lannister leader in Goldroad, both with raid orders, with Lannister higher on the Iron Throne, the choice was for him to attack my leader for a capture, but with my support I had the advantage, or to attack my SUPPORT, which left me wide open.
He had a leader, knight and footman at my open door.
Further, it seemed tempting to move in behind him to take the empty Goldroad, but with the Cornfield, Lannisport and nearby Silverhall - a trap was imminent to close. My leader retreated to Ashemark, and discussions ensued about my ability to steal his much valued allied Tyrell forces, until he was finally forced to retreat.

Had he ran south, he would have won the game. But he did not, he ended up heading east, through Sarsfield and then taking my precious Hornvale.

So, in my opinion, I believe that after Riverrun and Pyke itself, the two most important lands for Greyjoy to hold are Capefort and Flint's Finger.
To my dismay, I allowed Stark to control Flint's Finger, and only attempted mid game to take Winterfell. I agree that it is nigh impossible.

However, I believe it *could* happen.

Opening move? I still haven't solved the optimal opening move.
I went with control westeros, and took (Anya?) in with a raid.
But Capefort can do it as easily with move+0. Then you can move +1 from Pyke, sending one infantry north, and the leader and infantry into Capefort, not wasting your precious first turn power.

My first turn in fact was reversed of this. I used the leader to take Riverrun, where she stayed all game.
Capefort moved south and east, taking the supply in Ashemark and standing firm south of Seagard.

I left one single infantry there all game until I lost it on.. turn 7?
by supporting from RIverrun and Capefort.
When Stark finally gave up, he moved his leaders and troops to Whispering Wood to attack from the east, and I defended Riverrun, supporting from Capefort and .. (called?)

Eventually I moved infatry north from Hornvale, to force the Stark retreat (leaving Hornvale open for Lannister).

By this time I had a Tyrell alliance, with the leader attacking Flint's Finger from Pyke. He never could take Winterfell, so retreated to The Crag to reclaim it from Lannister control.

However, by leaving an infantry in Flint's Finger, with move +1, and building a siege engine in Pyke with move-1, and the leader with raid activation, siege engine and knights, you can build a strong army quickly in Flint's finger to attack. The problem was always the support in Seagard.
However, a raid (or raid +1) in the land south of seagard would remove the problem. I just never timed it right, and lost that territory by the time I could try.

On turn 8 Lannister leader had his leader raided, and stranded, and the siege in Tumbleton moved to Roseroad so I raided my leader into Goldroad, empty of any Lannister.
Supply came up in my favour for the first time all game, and I took Lannister turn 9 taking claim for holding it at the end of the turn.
He of course brought men to arms, but my raid attack prevented his counter attack.

I have other first turn opening move ideas for GJ but... too tired

Quote:

Winterfell
The important thing about Winterfell is that neither you nor Stark can support it and that Stark cannot raid out from it and thus removing a trigger-raid on Flint's Finger.

really? I thought - and we play - that you CAN support across the seas with those leylines.
Quote:

The problem is that since you cannot support an attack, even if you manage to attack from both sides a small number of units and the garrison should be able to hold it.

And again, I had no trouble bringing my attack strength to 11 before cards - siege engines, and all, and also support ally card from Tyrell for 3 power get 3 support strength. These are circumstantial, but there are many ways to do it. Holding it is the hard part.

Quote:

The solution is, I think, to place a big army of mostly knights on The Crag with your strongest leader and possibly with another leader (eg. an ally) close by. Then, if Stark ever ventures away from Winterfell, you can use manage troops to march your army to Pyke and then further on to Flint's finger. If you do this as late as possible you might be able to do it without Stark being able to move back and defend. Then, in the next turn, you can use your raid order to attack Winterfell.

The moment you plan over two turns you're bound to fail.
One muster is all it takes, and Winterfell is impregnable again.

Better to leave a siege engine in Pyke, an infantry in Flint's finger (consolidate order was good - if he raided it - oh well. If he attacked it, run away.)
And your force in the crag with a raid order leader. Then when the time is right, two -or even three - march orders to get in.
Further, if you obtain a leader with a consolidate activation, then your pattern of consolidating feels harmless. Briefly.

But leaving your forces in the Crag forces Lannister to hold strength nearby, causing you to leave yourself open when you attack winterfell.

I found it would be better to assault Winterfell, but fail, and then "run away" only setting yourself up to return. I left my infantry behind due to "stacking limits" because I had the siege engine in Pyke.

Quote:


But if Stark has a unit on Flint’s or you can’t do it (that is: you can do it by using the immediate effect of manage troops to move to Pyke and then attack, but the element of surprise will be lost), and it kinda locks a large part of your army to a defensive position. So maybe going for Lannisport is a better idea.

Lannisport
I never tried going for Lannisport, but actually I think it's easier to take than Winterfell. By moving from The Crag to Goldroad (with support from Sarsfield, maybe), but still leaving supporting units in The Crag, Lannister will have a hard time retaking Goldroad. Maybe you won't be able to attack Lannisport on your next turn, but maybe you can take Cornfield wich will almost certainly assure you Lannisport in the turn after. The obvious problem about this is that you can't do it if Lannister hasn't moved towards either Baratheon or Harrenhall. But then again, why shouldn't he?


Ultimately, the best plan for Greyjoy is a defensive stance.
I took in turn all the lands about Riverrun, but failed to keep my supply chain high. I was particularly weak in supply all game until turn 7. Other players sat on 5 or 6 the entire game.

But this in itself let me join troops quickly when I needed to in turn 8 and 9.

Greyjoy needs to barrage itself in, consolidating power anywhere it can, and not WASTING power leaving lands otherwise empty.
The power is crucial, for gaining claim, retaining the sword and Fiefdom's and preventing OTHERS from gaining claim.

Then, when someone leaves themself open (be it stark or Lannister) strike quickly, and end the game.
At least, that's what worked for me today.
 
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