Richard Seres
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Opening thoughts:

I have to admit that I did not play too many games yet, but I am a big fan of the GoT-univerze (both books and the show) so I still think that a few idea of mine could improve the game-mechanics or could make it more enjoyable.

First of all, I gotta say I like it that the game is pretty much balanced, but in my oppinion a little more distinction between the different houses would be warmly welcomed. For example, the Lannister House Cards' special abilities should be more around money, the Greyjoy HCs' around navy, the Tyrell's around supply etc. Also, I dont like cool abilities or icons when it is totally uncharacteristic, and I also think that Combat Strength should be more realisticly based on either the books or the show (Mace Tyrell 4, Blackfish 1? LoL). That's why I made new House Cards for all 8 houses.

Yes, 8 houses. I know about the famous 7-8-9 player variant of the game, where the board contains the western part of Essos, and I think it is pretty awesome. But - unlike the cards, I can make and print them easily - I am not able the make a whole new game table, so I have a different version. In my version, I can easily make small changes throughout the board to make a 7 player variant playable.
I admit it is almost impossible to squeeze the Tullys on the middle of the map, but I do not think they are a House with crucial importance. The Arryns however are very important, and the way the map is designed, it is not to hard to insert them in the game.

So my 7th participants are the Arryns. Of course, there are a few border-changes that are need to be made in order to keep the thin balance between the houses. The Eyre, the home stronghold of the Arryns would be in the middle of this area, sorrounded by 3 newly made territory, the Vale (barrel), the Bloody Gate (crown) and Gulltown (harbour, crown, stronghold). I honestly do not understand how could they left out Gulltown even without the Arryns, since this town is one of the biggest in Westeros.
The new sea territories: Bay of Crabs (from the Fingers to Gulltown) and the Bite (separating White Harbour).

I would also suggest three more minor changes: the North, in order to split the huge Winterfell-area, next to the Bay of Ice should be Deepwood with the harbour and an additional castle. I know the Starks are already ruling an enormous territory, but after all that is their adventage, isn't it? Beside, I only saw Stark win once, and with House Arryn appearing in the East, they can really use the extra land, I am even thinking that the Bear Island or maybe Skagos could be a separate land area (like the Arbor)
2. In order to alleviate the Greyjoy-Lannister fight, I think would be great if Lannisport and Casterly Rock were two different area (one with castle and 2 supply and one with stronghold and crown), making the Lannisters life easier, because I NEVER seen the lions win this game, not even almost win it...
3. Tarth should be a separate land area with a barrel, and would be interesting to see the Baratheon and Martell fight for it.

Okey, so these are my changes to play the 7-player variant. But I said 8 houses. That's right, I would involve the Targaryens, but since there is no way this map could hold 8 players, the Targaryens would be an alternate House of the Baratheons, so if a player chooses the dragons, he would start from Dragonstone, and the Baratheons are out of the game.

The other huge thing would be the addition of the Neutral House Cards. These cards would make a different deck, and when one of the Westeros card would say Nautrals (would be 3-6 cards with this line), everybody could bid secretly with their power tokens, without knowing which neutral card is at the top of the deck. The winner of the bid would win this card after he payed the price and take this card into his own card-deck, the other bidders can take back their tokens. The secret neutral card can be used only once per game, unless the ability of the card says elsehow.

Unlike these rule-changes and additions that I write down so far, the last change of mine is guaranteed to make the game more enjoyable. I say the players should be able to give power tokens (aka money) to each other, so the bribe and the intrigue between players would be stepping to a whole new level. Believe me, it is the best part of Spartacus, my favourite game of all time, and I am sure it could eliminate one of the game biggest problem: because of the rare bid, the power tokens are not really important, especially not in the late-game. All the time when we play, we end up bidding 10-12 power tokens at the end of the game, instead of 0-1-2-3 like in the beginning, so the tokens become highly inflated throughout the game. Needless to say, you cant change/trade House Cards, units, supplies or territories (you can make a verbal wish though in this last case) just PTs, but it will be more than enough.

The main viewpoint here was maintain the balance between the Houses, while strengtening both their unique dynasty and individual characteristic.
Also, I think there are not enough casualties during battles, so I tried to raise the number of sword icons a little bit without raising fortress icons.

1. Starks
Starts: Powertoken: 4, Iron Throne:3rd, Fiefdoms:4th, Kings Court:6th
Adventage: significantly more territories to conquer without fighting, can take 3 stronghold/castle (Winterfell, White Harbour, and newly made Deepwood), two harbour, 3 supply and 4 crown (deepwood+1) in the early rounds.
Disadvantage: can be attacked from both east and west in the seas, moat cailin crucial point, especially when Arryn playing
(4) Eddard Stark - when battleing in the North (above Moat Cailin) gains two sword and +1 combat strength.
(3) Robb Stark - if wins, gains a sword icon, and may choose an area where his opponent retreats.
(2) Roose Bolton - if wins, the opposite House Card is discarded for the rest of the game, can not be reshuffled or recycled in any ways.
(2) Greatjon Umber - 2 sword
(1) Rikard Karstark - if he one of the last 3 HC's, gains +1 CS.
(1) Rodrick Cassel - 2 fortress
(1) Brynden "Blackfish" Tully - do not take casualties in this combat.
(1) Meera Reed - this battle cannot be supported at all.
(0) Maester Luwin - can use the ability of one of the own discarded HC.
(0) Catelyn Stark - your defense order value is doubled in this area.

Combined Combat Strength: 15(17), 2(5) sword and 2 fortress

2. Greyjoys
Starts: Powertoken:3, IT: 7th, Fiefdoms: 1st, KC: 7th
Advantage: Strong navy and abilities, can conquer important territories before Lannister and Stark in the beggining
Disadvantage: Small spreading possibility, must beat Stark or Lannister, while defending at the same time.
(4) Euron Crow's Eye - gains a sword icon and wins tie battles on sea
(3) Victarion Grayjoy - if attacking, all participating Greyjoy ships add +2 to combat strength instead of 1
(2) Balon Greyjoy - printed combat strength of opponent is reduced to 0
(2) Asha Greyjoy - if Theon discarded, gains a sword icon and +1 CS
(1) Theon Greyjoy - if defending an area with a castle or stronghold, gains a sword icon and +2 CS
(1) Dagmar Cleftjaww - gain a sword icon for every two friendly ship adjucent to the battleing area
(1) Andrik the Unsmiling - 2 sword
(1) Harras Harlaw - 1 fortress
(0) Aeron Damphair - you may pay 2 power tokens, discard and replace him with a card from your hand, or pay 5 power tokens, discard and replace him from the discard pile.
(0) Rodrick the Reader - if wins, you may search through the westeros decks, choose one card and place it on the top of the deck.

CCS: 15(18), 3(6+) sword, 1 fortress

3. Lannisters
Starts: Powertoken:7, IT: 4th, Fiefdoms: 5th, KC: 2nd
Advantage: Rich and influanced family
Disadvantege: Greyjoys very dangerous, must defend harbour, also Tyrell can cause problems early on
(4) Tywin Lannister - if wins, gains 3 powertokens
(3) Jaime Lannister - sword and fortress, if he is the strongest remaining HC in your hand, double it.
(3) Gregor Clegane - 3 sword when attacking, 1 if defending
(2) The Hound - 2 fortress
(2) Kevan Lannister - if attacking, all Lannister Footmans add +2 CS instead of 1
(1) Bronn - sword
(1) Addam Marbrand - one of your knight add +3 instead of +2, but dies if you lose
(1) Ilyn Payne - if wins, may destroy one opposing Footmann adjucent to the embattled area.
(0) Tyrion Lannister - may immadietly cancel your opponent House Card and return it to his hand. He cannot choose a new card
(0) Cersei Lannister - if wins, may remove one order token of your opponent from anywhere

CCS: 17, 3(6) sword, 3(4) fortress

4. Tyrells
Starts: Powertoken:6, IT: 8th, Fiefdoms: 3rd, KC: 3rd
Advantage: big area to take relatively free in the early game, great supplies, also last player in the 1st round, so he may see the other houses tacticks.
Disadvantage: Lannister and Martell dangerous enemies, also Greyjoy, + luck of "superhero" house card.
(3) Loras Tyrell - if attacking and wins, move the March order, can use again this round
(3) Randyl Tarly - 2 sword
(2) Mace Tyrell - if wins, you can move forward twice on the supply track.
(2) Garlan the Galant - gains a sword when attacking
(2) Paxter Redwyne - when battleing adjucent to Arbor, all friendly ships (supporting to) add +2 combat strength instead of +1
(1) Aerys Oakheart - fortress
(1) Mathis Rowan - sword
(0) Leyton Hightower - when defending a castle, opponent CS is maximum 5.
(0) Queen of Thorns - may immadietly remove an opposing order token adjecent to the embattled area
(0) Margaery - if battleing agains male, his CS reduced by 2 (can go -)

CCS: 14, 3 sword, 1 fortress

5. Martells
Starts: Powertoken:5, IT: 6th, Fiefdoms: 2nd, KC: 5th
Advantage: the best separated House besides the Starks, can defend well
Disadvantage: hard to steal territories from Baratheon and Tyrell
(4) Red Viper - 2 sword, retrieving forces cannot move next turn
(3) Areo Hotah - 2 fortress
(2) Obara Sand - when attacking, gains a sword
(2) Darkstar - copies the ability of the opposing HC
(2) Gerris Drinkwater - when battleing agains a HC with lower CS, he lose -1 combat strenght
(1) Nymeria Sand - when attacking, gains a sword, when defending, gains a fortress
(1) Tyene Sand - if lose, can kill 1 footman as her last act.
(1) Arianne Martell - if defending and lose, your opponent cannot march to this area, both you and him retreat.
(0) Doran Martell - immadietly move your opponent of the bottom of an influance track of your choice
(0) Quentyn Martell - you can retreat without loss before the riskcards

CCS: 16(15), 2(4) sword, 2(3) fortress

6. Baratheons
Starts: Powertoken:5, IT: 1st, Fiefdoms: 6th, KC: 4th
Advantage: Starts the battle, Dragonstone steady mustering castle, Kings Landing in reach
Disadvantages: Martell could be annoying? I do not know, probably the best House.
(4) Stannis Baratheon - gains a sword and +1 CS if your opponent is higher on the iron throne influance track
(X) Melisandre - combat strength equals the number of tokens payed divided by two, if tokens payed gains a sword also
(2) Renly Baratheon - if wins, can upgrade a participating footman to a knight
(2) Davos Seaworth - if wins, gets back Stannis if he is discarded
(2) Brienne of Tarth - sword and fortress
(1) Saladhor Saan - if you are supported, the CS of all non-Baratheon ships is zero.
(1) Tycho Nestoris - can steal 2 powertoken from opponent, if not enough PT, opponent suffers -1 CS and slice down a position of an influance track of your choice
(0) Patchface - ignore text ability of opponent
(0) Selyse Florent - if Melisandre alive, gains a sword and a fortress
(s) Cortnay Penrose - if defending a castle or stronghold, his combat strength equals the opponent HC's CS+1

CCS: 12(13+X+s), 1(4) sword, 1(2) fortress

7. Arryns
Starts: Powertoken:5, IT: 5th, Fiefdoms: 7th, KC: 1st
Advantage: defense+diplomacy
Disadvatage: crowded middle-territory
(3) Bronze Yohn Royce - 2 sword
(2) Peter Baelish - +3 powertoken and if wins, may move up 1 or 2 position on every influence track
(2) Lyn Corbray - if defending and wins, may counterattack immadiatly
(2) Vardis Egen - sword
(2) Shagga son of Dolf - CS is doubled if attacking, gains 2 sword if in the Moon Mountains
(1) Nestor Royce - gains +1 CS and a fortress icon if defending
(1) Mya Stone - can retreat without casualties
(0) Lysa Arryn - can defend a castle or a stronghold once against any army, then discarded for good.
(0) Robert Arryn - after the battle, can look and discard one opponent HC from the hand
(0) Lady Waynwood - friendly supporting armies CS doubled (not own)

CCS: 14(17), 3(5) sword, 1 fortress

8. Targaryens
Starts: Powertokens:4, IT: 2nd, Fiefdoms: 8th, KC: 8th
Advantage: power and loyalty
Disadvantage: positions early on
(4) Daenerys Targaryen - sword and instant death
(3) Barristen Selmy - sword and 2 fortress
(2) Grey Worm - when battleing, all Targaryen Footman (just the main force) add +2 CS instead of one, and gains 1 sword after every footman
(2) Jorah Mormont - sword and fortress, may die instead of Dany, cannot be used again
(2) Daario Naharis - no female can use ability against him
(1) Rakharo - may die instead of Dany, cannot be used again
(1) Griff - if defending the last, or attacking the 7th castle/stronghold, his combat strength is 5.
(1) Aegon Targaryen - can randomly choose another HC for the opponent hand instead of the one he played
(0) Varis - can immadietly reduce opponent supply chart by one
(0) Illyrio Mopatis - gains 3 powertokens

CCS: 16(20), 3(+) sword, 3 fortress

Natural Cards:
(4) Jon Snow - can used only against wildlings, after the defense and the card draw.
(s) Mance Rayder - combat strenght is equal the wildling threat/2
(2) Jason Mallister - cannot fight against the ruler of Seaguard, can be used against wildlings either, after the defense and the card draw
(2) Jaquen H'ghar - can be used in addition, with a normal HC
(2) Vargo Hoat - the winner of the battle can buy swords for 3 powertoken (maximum 3 sword)
(2) Berrick Dondarion - sword, if lost you get him back
(2) Thoros of Myr - opponent combat strenght reduced by 1
(1) Arya Stark - instant death
(0) Walder Frey - any ajucent supporting army that declares support except the current enemy must support you
(0) Sansa Stark - +1 powertoken
(0) High Sparrow - can steal the IronThrone, the ValyrianBlade or the Raven token from his opponent
(0) Others - every main army killed in the battle if played.

Well, these are my ideas, please forget my english, and concentrate on the subject, I would love to know what you think about all this
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Jack Eddy
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I think that in the spirit of A Song of Ice and Fire, the cards represent the power that each character gives an army, not the fighting prowess of the character themselves. So yes, Mace Tyrell would provide a much bigger strength and rallying bonus to an army than the blackfish.
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Axel van Hof
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I really like the idea of neutral housecards. The only complaint I can think of is the back of the card instantly giving away that it's a neutral housecard... Perhaps that could be solved adding a rule that states you can keep the identity of your neutral housecard a secret?
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K Wink
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Interesting stuff and I would like to hear how your play-testing goes. How do you plan on re-drawing the map? Using printed overlays? If so, I'd like to see them, if you wouldn't mind posting them. I'd like to see your re-drawn borders exactly as you've envisioned them.

Also, how would you modify for 5 players with this variant? I typically have 4 other guys to play with.

EDIT: Also, I must be missing something. What does Jon Snow's card mean when it says, "Can only be used vs wildlings"?

EDIT: Also, when do you get to play the neutral cards? In place of a standard house card?
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