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Subject: A two player session rss

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Menin Gate at Midnight, Will Longstaff, 1927.
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"At the landing, and here ever since" - Anzac Book, p. 35.
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I have read often that this game simply does not work with two players. I would agree that the game as intended does not work with two, though my partner and I still on occasion play the game and control two (randomly drawn) colours each, with Greyjoy left out. The missing elements are of course deceit and alliances, though the element of surprise is still very strong. The games we've played have been fun, and tense, and I have no qualms about playing A Game Of Thrones with two players if that is all you have. Here is a session review from one of those games:

I drew the Houses of Stark and Lannister, whilst my partner drew the Houses of Barratheon and Tyrell. At this early stage we were both thinking about the future and about where the possible battles may occur.

My initial problem was that Stark and Lannister begin so far apart, thus my forces, for a time at least, would be separated. At the same time Tyrell and Barratheon begin much closer together, and a little too close to Lannister.

I figured, as Stark, I need to spread out quickly to get to Lannister. Ignore the nearby supply and towns and simply get south fast and establish some sort of boundry against Tyrell and Baratheon. From here I could then reconsider the situation and pick up those cities and supplies that were behind my lines.

Thus out my cavalry and infantry went, far from home to search for new lands to conquer and to assist my Lannister allies who very early on appeared much in need of held. Boldly they rode south claiming the land they passed with a carefree attitude...or should that be careless attitude. Within two turns Tyrell had moved north (as is not too unusual) and in my careless march south I had left my western shore, and my capital, wide open. Tyrell quickly moved in and invaded Stark territory, leaving me quite in a state of shock. Yes, it is a rather obvious move, but with all the pressures placed on Lannister I assumed they would be the focus, not Stark. It was like being caught with your pants down in the middle of the street, or all your units down south whilst your enemy attacks your capital.

Everything, all my units, immediately did an about face and rushed back to home. Tyrell used my home territory as a base and began to spread out into more Stark lands. With a muster they built more units and began to capture surrounding territories. With Lannister having to hang on for the moment I focused on re-taking Stark homeland.

The muster initially appeared to be my undoing. Tyrell was mustering forces in traditional Stark lands. But in hindsight in was a blessing. Lannister built fleets, Stark built units where they could, and thus the noose begant to tighten.

Within two more turns Tyrell was surrounded in the north. Lannister focused on the waters to corner the Tyrell fleets and with no place to retreat to they were destroyed. On the land, whilst Stark had mustered in Stark lands, it was not enough and Stark slowly beat back the Tyrell forces before they too were forced to surrender with no place to retreat.

Tyrell's bold adventure placed them in a difficult position. They had sent out a large invasion force but had failed to support it, instead hoping to expand quickly in the north. At the same time their inability to focus on their homeland had seen the relatively small land forces of Lannister launch a brutal campaign in the south. From here, Tyrell seemed doomed.

In the meantime the House of Barratheon had been raiding the coast, making small inways towards the House of Lannister with their armies and fleets (as I had expected). Lannister had done well to hold their own and even make some small progress against the malnourished Tyrell and with the House of Stark now safe from the Tyrell forces they were about to receive some needed support. Stark again turned south, this time utilising their fleets to transport units to the centre of battle.

Slowly moving south once again the combined armies of Lannister and Stark strangled Tyrell without hope of submission. Their few surviving armies in the south were destroyed and the Barratheon units covering much of the southern lands were forced onto the defensive.

In time, and with little help available, the House of Barratheon crumbled under overwhelming pressure, losing their home territory on the last turn and being lucky to survive with four units (two fleets, two infantry). It was a cruel reverse of fate for the Houses of Tyrell and Barratheon. My partner had beaten me in the last game, and this had perhaps given her a false sense of security. Tyrell had sent out a massive invasion force that seemed for a moment to crush the House of Stark. Though they failed to follow it through sufficiently. Stark and Lannister combined against this force and destroyed it completely. The Greeks use the words hubris to explain Tyrell's bold moves, and nemesis, to explain their crushing defeat.


 
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Matthew Jensen
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Interesting session report. Two player would definitely make the game feel different but, as you show, it sounds like things would still play well.

I'm assuming you play the two Houses as if two different players were playing with an iron-clad treaty between them. No power pooling or anything like that right? Let me know if you do anything differently.

Thanks again for the report!

Keep on Gaming!
 
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Menin Gate at Midnight, Will Longstaff, 1927.
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"At the landing, and here ever since" - Anzac Book, p. 35.
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Yeah, the two powers are played completely seperate. Its easy enough to do, have a hand on your left, and a hand on your right. We basically played as if we were two separate people with a strong alliance, as you said.
 
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Euron Crows Eye
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radcliffe
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Hi - what victory conditions do you use? Do you combine the number of strongholds held by both house on your team or whatto?
 
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Menin Gate at Midnight, Will Longstaff, 1927.
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"At the landing, and here ever since" - Anzac Book, p. 35.
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Good question, we actually didn't use victory conditions because obviously it would be easy simply to swap cities between allied powers. We also like to see the game run through for a while. Thus we played to the end of the turn limit, and whoever had the most cities at the end won. Given I had destroyed Tyrell and beaten back Barratheon to within a few units, it was pretty clear who had won.

P.S. My partner had actually beaten me fairly convincingly in the previous game we played and was feelling pretty confident about this one, so I'm allowed to be a little bit cocky with this session report...
 
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William Gaskill
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There is something wrong about allowing Lannister & Stark to be alliesshake

Nice report AGoT is a great game but the need to have 5
players to fully enjoy is a pain.A friend & I do something
like you do but play the "non-player"Houses via a Action
Matrix that runs them on a system.Its a little clunky but
does open the game up.

OD
 
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Menin Gate at Midnight, Will Longstaff, 1927.
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"At the landing, and here ever since" - Anzac Book, p. 35.
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Spoiler from all books:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
What about Sansa and Tyrion? Or 'Arya' and the Bolton Bastard? Or The Hound and Arya? Or even Robb and his wife. Ok so they may not be rock hard alliances and they may not all be Lannisters but it's very close, and I think the alliance we had in our game reflected this (Yep, justified my way out of that mess...). Don't be surprised if the revamped Starks end up allying with the Lannisters to fight off Daenrys when she finally arrives on Westeros...ok well that may be a surprise, but still...
 
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