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A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Risk / Total War Variant rss

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Daniel Kurz
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Hey Community

Love this game to bits and can't get enough of it. I know that lots of people out there have done heaps of variants already and I haven't read through them all to see how close this resembles any others but I've been thinking of something to change the game up for a bit of fun.

Based on the standard game, whilst the westeros cards and different players make for variations between games, the map layout always leads to the same general battles between houses. The DWD expansion obviously changes this by advancing the action forward a few rounds to where the game board is practically all disbursed and ready for battles. My idea stems from this variant and incorporating a land draft idea from Risk. Now Risk is regarded as 'not a great game' so don't let that distract you just yet. This variant doesn't worry about keeping the theme of the game a great deal and is more based on outright war across Westeros.

In order to completely randomise the board looking at the land distribution there are 12 sea areas and 38 land areas (just did a quick count so please correct me if I'm wrong). I think it's still sensible to have the Home areas still belonging to the relevant house. So remove those 6 regions and that leaves 44 available areas. Divided by the 6 houses that will be 7 areas each (7.33 rounded down) plus the home areas with a few vacant areas. I had thought of options for segregating the seas from the lands thereby giving each house 2 sea areas each then 6 land areas or just take the luck of the draw where some houses may be land rich but sea poor. Given the importance of sea areas in the game though I'm inclined to lead to an even distribution.

So once the land areas are split, what to do with units? My initial thoughts are to give each house say 15 ministering points of units which can be used however they see fit for their draw of lands and strategy. I like the idea of at least having to assign at least 1 unit per area rather than allowing Power Tokens to be used just to ensure that there are battles needed to take land areas

Clearly based on the luck of the draw some may be rich in castles, or supply compared to others, however the great balancing dynamic of leader bashing should hopefully bring pressure on a castle rich player.

I'm unsure as to wether everyone should start just on 2 supply across the board so that they can all easily fit their 15 mustering points into 5 areas of single units and 3 areas of armies. The alternate would be to reconcile supply straight away based on the lands assigned but I don't know if this will result in too much supply that the houses without star orders will suffer for not being able to muster while the others can build significant armies? Would welcome some thoughts on that?

Assuming everyone starting on 2 supply, Given the first round has no Westeros phase, there won't be a muster or supply to cause someone getting too much of the benefits straight off the bat for their luck with land distribution. And with the random distribution of lands anyway the CP* order will be difficult to capitalise on with adjoining raids being played.

Apart from that it's pretty much normal rules. 6 rounds like DWD or the full 10 if you're in for a long night.

I have also considered the idea of allowing card drafting for the houses from the standard deck and the DWD deck as potentially the strategy for the houses may differ depending what areas they get assigned. So the standard drafting rules of only 1 copy of the same person in a deck and the 4,3,2,2,1,1,0 construction. I've never done a card draft before though so I'm not sure if this will open up too much of a strength to a particular house who has really strong cards. So would welcome some input on this idea too.

So there you have it, totally just a brain dump at the moment so if there's something I'm not considering or completely missed, fire away. Other thoughts, criticisms etc also fire away. Will the mechanics of the game be adversely affected somehow? I floated the idea to my play group the other week and they were interested so we may play test next time we can but I would also be interested in Moding or Mod/playing a PBF play test if the feedback is positive and anyone is interested.

Cheers for reading

Dan

 
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Daniel Kurz
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Just one thing I've considered is that with the land draw being 2 seas and 6 land (incl home area) so it is conceivable that the most someone will start with is 6 castles. Depending on the turn order, someone can then win the game with their first March if they go straight for the 7th castle.

So it could be that each house only get one less land area each so that the maximum castles can only be 5. Or keep it as before and enforce the rule that the game can't be won in the first round?
 
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Alexander Steinbach
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Interesting.

To prevent players from claiming too many castles with the draft, you could place garrison tokens on all the home areas whichcount as neutral forces. Add the normal neutral garrison token on Kings landing and one additional one somewhere else (I wouldn't chose the eyrie. Maybe riverrun or something).

This would allow for the drafting of exactly 7 land areas per player and would completely eliminate the location bias your players would otherwise have. In addition, this blocks all the most powerful locations for the first round.

I would also not allow any ships and siege engines to be placed during the draft. Keeping purely to footmen might be best.

You'll probably have to try it a few times to see what works.
 
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Robert Kukovica
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A lot would come down to the luck of the draw, because some areas are just generally more useful than others, particularly the strongholds with two printed icons on them (either a barrel and a crown, or two crowns).

So here is what I would do... I would leave out King's Landing, Riverrun, Seagard and all the home areas, then randomly assign the remaining areas between the six Houses. I think there would be 29 areas, so one House would get one fewer than the others. That House could then start with an extra Footman or something, or alternatively you could only draw 24 areas and leave 5 empty.

If we go with the latter suggestion, each House would start with its home area and 4 other land areas. You could then also draw 2 sea areas for each House. Everyone would start with the same number of units, say 5 Footmen, 2 Knights and 2 Ships. You would be forced to put at least one unit into each land area, but I would give players the option to put both Ships into the same sea area and just leave the other one empty.

Now, there is no way of telling what kind of areas each player would be drawn. So, one House could be reach in castles, others could start with more barrels or crowns. I would give each player the chance to take advantage of his resources by doing the following: First we would have a Game of Thrones card, where each player would collect Power Tokens for the crown icons he controls. This would immediately be followed by a Clash of Kings. After the influence tracks have been settled, we would have a Supply card, then a Mustering in turn order. Some Houses would have an advantage in mustering points, but presumably they would have suffered earlier in the Clash or Supply.

The game would then start normally with the Round 1 Planning Phase. The Westeros decks would be reshuffled with all cards included.
 
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Alexander Steinbach
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I would not draw randomly, but allow players to pick areas in turn order. Randomise the turn order and allow the 6th player to pick 2 areas then go back via the 5th player to the 1st, etc.

Having a supply, game of thrones, clash of kings and mustering phase before the start is a good thing to do. But for this to work, you have to allow people to choose their territories. Random drawing may leave players with too big an advantage/disadvantage.
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Robert Kukovica
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Vardaine wrote:
I would not draw randomly, but allow players to pick areas in turn order. Randomise the turn order and allow the 6th player to pick 2 areas then go back via the 5th player to the 1st, etc.

Having a supply, game of thrones, clash of kings and mustering phase before the start is a good thing to do. But for this to work, you have to allow people to choose their territories. Random drawing may leave players with too big an advantage/disadvantage.


You may be right. I think if players were allowed to pick areas, they would probably try to have most of their territory connected, kind of like the map you would normally see around the third or fourth round in a standard 2ed game. That's assuming everyone would start with their home area. If not, they would just pick a good starting point, possibly a stronghold, and try to build around it.

It would be funny to see a random draw though, because the map would just be one big mess.
 
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Daniel Kurz
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Some interesting points there, thanks for all the input! A couple of my thoughts on the feedback

1. The reason I liked the concept when I first started thinking about this is the idea that with a random allocation of land, your forces are more than likely going to be spread far and wide which to my mind will be inviting much more conflict and especially conflict between houses that aren't normally in battle with each other. As such I think as it was pointed out, that allowing people to draft their lands will generally result in players still taking the areas close and connected to their home lands.

2. I totally agree with the idea of making some areas like Seaguard, KL and Riverrun being set neutral force areas that are not able to be distributed at the start of the game. They are indeed more powerful and by removing them from the draw, it also removes a few more castles to reduce the probability of drawing lots of castles.

3. It's a really interesting idea of leaving the home areas vacant with a garrison. Given the permanent power tokens in home areas they will still be under control of those houses so should they remain untaken by round 2 and a muster comes up, then the home houses could still muster in the areas. In my original idea of giving the home areas to each house as a guaranteed area I had assumed the standard 2 power garrisons in there but I guess that may lead to players still trying to focus their efforts around those areas given how important and strong they are? I think they are both interesting propositions and maybe worth a play test for both options.

4. Regarding units, I liked the idea of being kind of flexible and that's why I went for the idea of giving the number of muster points to each house rather than a set of units. I thought that then would mean depending on the luck of the land draw you could disburse the units accordingly for your strategy. I think siege engines should not be allowed however. With everyone having to put at least 1 unit in each area and going with everyone has 5 land and 2 seas, that's 2 ships and 5 FM. Then say the magic number is 14 mustering points, to fit into the supply limitations of 2 supply each there are each player can have 4 more units to make armies. Then the remaining 3 mustering points allows for upgrading FM to KN. Given that people who control the sea area are quite unlikely to control a castle connected to those seas, reinforcing your seas will be difficult and would probably take some interesting strategy to either make sure you used more of our mustering points on the seas or just sacrificed it. That's all the luck of the draw.

5. Another interesting idea for the card draws before any rounds. I don't know if this would create a lot more of a divide though depending on what land draws you get. Having lots of supply is not much use if you don't have castles to muster in. Maybe for the first play test, we keep it straight forward to see how the interaction of the land works with everyone being fairly equal on units. Definitely worth some thought though

Cheers for the input so far
 
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Chris S.
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dbgomes wrote:
Now Risk is regarded as 'not a great game' so don't let that distract you just yet.


Risk is a great game that is only criticized by people who got butt hurt from losing their massive army to two drunk measly infantry that keep rolling sixes.

I was actually considering writing a satire review of how much better Risk is better than AGoT, but haven't had the time yet.

That being said I think your idea is interesting. Perhaps you can group the areas together like Strongholds, Castles, Sea areas, and Land Areas?Draft or randomly give players a certain amount of areas from each group:

Strongholds: 10 (1 for each player?)
Castles: 9 (1 for each player?)
Sea Areas: 12 (1 for each player?)
Land Areas: 18 (2 or 3 for each player?)

This gives everyone 5 or 6 areas, and then you put garrison tokens in the other strongholds. I am in favor of randomly assigning the areas because otherwise you will end with players most likely keeping their units close as possible, but you're trying to shake things up and make it more like the DWD variant.

Edit: I also think 15 mustering points is too much. Maybe more like 10?

1 SH.
KN and FM in Stonghold.
KN in Castle.
One FM in 2 land areas, and the third land area gets a KN.
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Robert Kukovica
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Right, I've had a little too much time today, so I've actually done a random area draw to see what kind of map it would produce. I have followed my own suggestions (posted above), and I can now honestly say those suggestions do not provide a starting position I would be tempted to play.

Here is what I got: MAP

I gave each player an extra Ship to start with in port, except for Tyrell, whose home area doesn't have a port, so Tyrell starts with another Ship in a sea area.

As you can see, Lannister and Greyjoy start with four castles, and Lannister actually has two empty castles within reach in the first round, but still cannot realistically hope to win the game early. He would also struggle to do anything with those two castles in Dorne, so he would probably just try to defend them for a while and eventually lose them. Greyjoy would presumably take King's Landing and try to hold his own in the area around Ironman's Bay, but those two areas in the south are useless to him.

Stark was lucky to draw three connected areas in the middle of the map, as well as the Golden Sound, so he would presumably try to take Riverrun and Lannisport, and essentially play as if he were Lannister in the original map.

Martell is also not too bad. He was lucky to get Salt Shore, so his armies are well connected, and he benefited hugely from other houses vacating the sea areas they got drawn, so his seas are connected as well. He would presumably fight Lannister and try to conquer the same territory he has in the original game.

Now we come to the biggest problem in this draw... Baratheon got some very bad luck and has a couple of useless areas scattered around the map. His home area is an island, so he cannot ever expand from it, unless he is lucky enough to draw Shipbreaker Bay as well. I have mustered a bunch of Ships for him in port, as well as in Storm's End port (an option he is lucky to even have), but Tyrell has a strong fleet as well. They would be forced to fight it out in the first round, with Greyjoy probably supporting one of them. Whoever won would be alright, while the other player would effectively be eliminated from the game. Greyjoy could have had a similar problem at Pyke, but in this case he was lucky to get Ironman's Bay.

I have done my best to simulate a Clash of Kings as well, where Tyrell did the best. Understandably of course, since he starts with four crowns and only one castle. Baratheon is in a dreadful position here as well. Lannister is pretty poor as well, but at least his position on the map is very favourable.

I think these rules need a lot of changes to have a chance of producing a decent result. For a start, every House should at least have a few areas that are connected, instead of those single Footmen somewhere in Castle Black where they have no hope of ever contributing anything useful. I wonder what would happen if players were allowed to trade areas after the draw. In the above case, it might be a good option for Lannister and Stark to just trade Lannisport for Winterfell, and perhaps Baratheon could get out of trouble by offering the Fingers or the Stony Shore to the players who can access those areas by sea, in exchange for something more useful.

Anyway, I will think some more on what could possibly be done. In the mean time, I will put other people's suggestions to the test as well and see what I get.
 
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Björn Grafström
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Interesting idea. Will throw in my two short cents.

A) I don't believe you should draft house cards. There would still be a lot of changes all around.

B) Pyke and Dragonstone provides a problem that Odrl has pointed out in his post. It's more or less useless if you don't have the sea connected to the island (yes, I'm aware that's what the situation is for Baratheon in DwD). One easy thing to change this would be to make Seagard the home area for Greyjoy and King's Landing the home area for Baratheon, and give Pyke and Dragonstone a neutral garrison of at least a strength of 5.
 
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Robert Kukovica
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bagisbjorn wrote:
One easy thing to change this would be to make Seagard the home area for Greyjoy and King's Landing the home area for Baratheon, and give Pyke and Dragonstone a neutral garrison of at least a strength of 5.


That could work quite well, they are both Strongholds with two printed icons, so they are worth the same as the original starting locations (assuming they also get a garrison of 2 of course). It would be interesting to see someone starting with two crowns and no barrels, as opposed to two barrels like Highgarden and Lannisport. A slight disadvantage is that King's Landing and Seagard don't have a port, so it would be much more difficult establish control of the adjacent sea area, but then again, Tyrell also starts with the same problem in this variant.
 
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Chris S.
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Well I got bored today and decided to try out my suggestions on the map. Here are three maps created using Random.org:

Map 1: http://tinyurl.com/GT5UOlXnoJhxYqRN0cJa

Map 2: http://tinyurl.com/HfQpo7Vfvnj6YqUNJeqp

Map 3: http://tinyurl.com/bM1a8R2ZMeNfaaqdxzkR

For the most part I think my idea can work. Everybody is pretty equal on land, and no one has naval superiority over anyone else since everyone only has one ship. Even if you start off on Pyke or Dragonstone without Ironman's Bay/Shipbreaker Bay you aren't really in bad shape.

I think everyone should start off with 2 supply since it's possible someone can end up with zero and someone else can have 6 if you adjusted supply right away. 2 strength Garrions can be placed in the the home areas (places with KN and FM). A permanent PT will also have to be placed in the home areas, and the PT already printed on the board will be ignored (this will mean everyone can only have a max total of 19 PT). The remaining Strongholds can be given garrisons of 5, however I would like to point out that if you plan on playing this variant IRL, there aren't enough 5 strength garrisons to place on the board. You would have to use The Eyrie (6), King's Landing (5), Sunspear (5), and Storms End (4), or you could just use 3 strength garrisons for them all.

This is how Map 1 would look like completed (randomly distributing the garrison tokens from the actual game to the remaining strongholds):

http://tinyurl.com/IxCrwNvBniaGhLvLAprF

It's funny in all the maps no one got Winterfell, or the Reach. Tyrell got the Kingswood all 3 times.
 
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Robert Kukovica
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The Shadow Hound wrote:
This is how Map 1 would look like completed (randomly distributing the garrison tokens from the actual game to the remaining strongholds):

http://tinyurl.com/IxCrwNvBniaGhLvLAprF


I think this map looks a lot healthier than mine did, mostly because there are a lot fewer units on the board, so there is actually space to move into.

Dragonstone could still end up being an impossible starting position though. Greyjoy has no special orders, so he has to wait for a Mustering to put a Ship into Shipbreaker Bay. Until then his army on Dragonstone cannot move anywhere, so the best it can do is to consolidate power. It would be even worse if that Baratheon Ship was in Shipbreaker Bay, since it would have nothing better to do than to just mercilessly raid Greyjoy. In that case even a Clash of Kings wouldn't help Greyjoy, since Baratheon could always raid his CP*.

Also, I think it's a slight disadvantage to start in Oldtown, as it doesn't have any crowns or barrels.
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Chris S.
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Odrl wrote:
The Shadow Hound wrote:
This is how Map 1 would look like completed (randomly distributing the garrison tokens from the actual game to the remaining strongholds):

http://tinyurl.com/IxCrwNvBniaGhLvLAprF


I think this map looks a lot healthier than mine did, mostly because there are a lot fewer units on the board, so there is actually space to move into.

Dragonstone could still end up being an impossible starting position though. Greyjoy has no special orders, so he has to wait for a Mustering to put a Ship into Shipbreaker Bay. Until then his army on Dragonstone cannot move anywhere, so the best it can do is to consolidate power. It would be even worse if that Baratheon Ship was in Shipbreaker Bay, since it would have nothing better to do than to just mercilessly raid Greyjoy. In that case even a Clash of Kings wouldn't help Greyjoy, since Baratheon could always raid his CP*.

Also, I think it's a slight disadvantage to start in Oldtown, as it doesn't have any crowns or barrels.


Sure Baratheon could raid Greyjoy in Dragonstone, but he doesn't have any other troops over there so Grejoy will still be safe from attack. In this random set up Greyjoy is actually the only one who can safely CP for 2 PT in the Arbor so I actually think Greyjoy would do just fine. And you can really say negative things about everyone, Baratheon starts in Riverrun which doesn't have a port, Starks Homeland is Oldtown (no barrels or crowns), Lannister's homeland is surrounded by Stark's forces, you have to look at the whole picture when comparing starting positions. Not everyone's starting position will be great and everyone will have weaknesses and certain challenges they will have to overcome. That's what will be the fun part of trying a variant like this, and it will be different everytime.
 
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Daniel Kurz
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Hey everyone.

Glad to see I'm not getting flamed for this idea just yet

I too had spare time yesterday and did 3 different versions of the variant on an excel random generator template that I set up. i set up maps for each of them but just didn't get time to put them on here but loving that you guys have done the same overnight.

The versions I did were (I'll edit the post to add the maps when I'm home)

1) Everyone starts with their home area. Seagard, Riverrun and Kings landing are neutral (i used strength 4 garrisons just as a starter). The remaining areas are all disbursed randomly leaving 5 areas vacant. From the draw on this, I think it produces too much of a gap based on the luck of the draw. In this version Greyjoy ended up with lots of sea areas and others had no seas.
Home Areas + Random

2) Same as above but seas are disbursed evenly so 2 per house. I think this worked out much more evenly.
Home Area + Equal Seas

3) All home areas are vacant. Seagard becomes available so that with the 5 vacant areas from the above options they are all disbursed. I think Round 1 would lead to everyone rushing for the closest home area to make theirs.
No Home + Equal Seas

There are some good points made from the last few posts so tonight when I'm in front of the computer, I will post the maps for the 3 tests that I did and see what everyone's thoughts are.

I think one thing to add is that in this variant the diplomacy will be paramount.

Thanks for the input so far!

Dan

Edit: Maps added and discussion points below.

The maps are filled with single units to show the allocations so 7 mustering points have been used. Depending on what the number of mustering points are that everyone is allowed (10, 12, 14?) then people can focus their units in the area that are useful to them. I like to give the flexibility to use those x number of remaining mustering points how ever you want/need based on what you've got.

The points made about Dragonstone and Pyke are very valid, they become very hard to use without control of the seas. Perhaps it is allowed that you can allocate any number of your remaining mustering points to the land area or ships in the ports of those areas. So in Map 2 for instance, it would be useful to have 3 ships in port to try and push out to the seas. The houses that occupy those seas currently would be sacrificing the opportunity of land elsewhere is they also put 3 ships in the sea area just to prevent the expansion from the islands.

Of the 3 versions that i knocked up above, for me Option 2 is the most balanced in my opinion. I like that there are 5 free areas around the map plus the garrisoned areas so people have a bit more of an option to move from difficult spots. Option 1 leaves too much imbalance on the seas. Option 3 i can see a rush for the 4 mainland capitals and the 2 island capitals are going to be difficult to get to with the seas issue.
 
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Tyler B
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The Shadow Hound wrote:


This is how Map 1 would look like completed (randomly distributing the garrison tokens from the actual game to the remaining strongholds):

http://tinyurl.com/IxCrwNvBniaGhLvLAprF



Chris,

So, if I'm reading this right, in this map the home areas would be the strongholds drawn, so:
Baratheon: Riverrun
Greyjoy: Dragonstone
Lannister: Sunspear
Martell: Lannisport
Stark: Oldtown
Tyrell: Seagard

And I thought Seagard/Riverrun/Lannisport was a bottleneck before!

Suggestion/food for thought: what if you removed Riverrun from the draw and made sure that only 1 of Oldtown/Highgarden was selected? This would make it so no home area directly neighbors another one.

Suggestion #2 on your system setup:
Step 1: assign home areas randomly (with my above suggestion): KN + FM
Step 2: assign castle randomly: KN
Step 3: assign 1 sea area randomly: SH
Step 4: assign 1 land area randomly: FM
Step 5: let each person choose 1 unoccupied area (edit: no castles or strongholds) to occupy with either 1 FM or 1 SH -- huge caveat: the selection is done in secret (sent to mod), and if 2 houses select the same area, neither gets to place the FM/SH they desired and they start 1 unit down (similar to a standoff in diplomacy, where if two units try to march into the same area, neither does)

edit: if you get Pyke or Dragonstone, you can use your selection to try to get a ship mustered in the surrounding sea. someone else may block you from doing so though. this would also allow you to gain a little control of starting position in terms of barrels/crowns if your other areas have none... and maybe claim a neighboring territory for support as well.

Thoughts?
 
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Tyler B
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The Shadow Hound wrote:
A permanent PT will also have to be placed in the home areas, and the PT already printed on the board will be ignored (this will mean everyone can only have a max total of 19 PT).


Additionally, if you play online, you can play with "21 power tokens available" if you want to keep the 20 available for power.

EDIT:

I think OP WANTED this to be more like Risk, in that most every territory already has troops associated with it. I think a happy medium to what I mentioned to The Shadow Hound above would work... maybe give everyone 2 random land territories (FM) with one chosen one.

So the starting would be:
random-Stronghold (KN,FM) (6/10 occupied)
random-Castle (KN) (6/10 occupied)
random-Sea Area (SH) (6/12 occupied)
2xrandom-Land Territory (FM) (12/18 occupied)
player choice-Land/Sea (FM or SH): if two players pick same spot, neither gets it

of the 38 land areas, 24-30 will be occupied
of the 12 sea areas, 6-12 will be occupied

and total, 30-36 of the 50 areas will be occupied to start the game, mostly randomly
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Kal Ixor
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I think the game's mechanics simply don't lend themselves to something like this, so you'd have to change more than just how the starting locations work.

It seems like it would be very difficult to reliably muster or consolidate power, so perhaps new rules for mustering (e.g. always muster every turn)...but then the uneven split of castles at the start might make this unfair.

A lot of changes required to really make this work, but could be an interesting game design project!
 
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Tyler B
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Here's an example map I made just now using my suggestions.

http://tinyurl.com/2bdPTQ0Z8nDdDmcVZqog

yes, I randomly drew the original 6 home strongholds

Additional implemented suggestions,
1 - to help mitigate the island stronghold home area problem, give Dragonstone and Pyke each a starting ship in port, in the base game each house here starts with an extra ship anyway
2 - I gave every unoccupied stronghold a garrison of 3, and castles nothing. In this variant of the game, I don't think you need the 4-6 garrisons, because likely the armies won't be able to mobilize enough forces to take them in the early game.

Martell is the only house here that "got screwed" by not getting any territories around their home territory.

For the player's choice areas, here's how I would do it per house:
-- Lannister: looks to be strong in the north, but lacking supply; would try for widow's watch, or if feeling ballsy, the Narrow Sea; a deal could be made with Martell to not take the Narrow Sea, let Martell have it, and hope to drive out Stark from the north ASAP; The Arbor is a lost cause, D or CP until the end of his days
-- Baratheon: still on an island, but luck of the draw gave Ironman's Bay to go with Pyke; to fully consolidate this area, Golden Sound would be good, but Martell needs it to stay competitive without Lannister help; go for the kill and take Golden Sound, if nothing else it prevents Martell from getting it; alternatively, could strengthen hold on the Reach (and eventually Lannisport) by going for the Blackwater, owning Kingswood makes it possible to hold Reach early as well; no throw away territories
-- Greyjoy: securing Shipbreaker Bay is paramount; since no hostiles have King's Landing, CCP or Storm's end, take it now, or go for Blackwater Bay to take it later with support; could also try for Narrow Sea to get the FM at the Twins back, but Lannister/Martell likely to agree that one gets it; low on supply, so MotM/Blackwater could be interesting options too; I still think getting another ship in the east is of paramount importance as the ship in Sunset Sea is a goner, as is the FM in the Dornish Marches
-- Stark: The southwest is home, and getting Redwyne Straights really helped; take West Summer Sea to ensure no one else does, ensuring unraidable support round 1 to take Oldtown; might be able to work with Baratheon to kill Greyjoy's FM to get FM at the Boneway back; unfortunately, other troops are too spread out; add a defense at one of them and hope Catelyn can hold on when called upon; really, an easy choice
-- Tyrell: great draws in the southeast; scattered FM are worthless to start, but can get unraidable support in round 1 to get Yronwood or Storm's end; go for ESS to get this support; with Starfall's supplies pretty much secure early, no need to take Salt Shore; go ESS and secure unrraidable support in Sea of Dorne
-- Martell: got the short end of the stick; only house with no immediate help to secure home area; supply is not a problem, crowns are; take Golden Sound to ensure Baratheon can't; take Salt Shore to help out in Yronwood; or take MotM/Narrow Sea to try for the Eyrie round 1; or take Searoad Marches to help defend homeland; best option is to take Golden Sound to ensure Baratheon can't

so the best (ie, what I think is the best, what I would do as a player) player's choices (sent to mod) are:
Lannister: Widow's Watch - gather supply, no chance of a block
Baratheon: Golden Sound - go for the kill, there's a chance Martell doesn't take it
Martell: Golden Sound - waste a ship to prevent Baratheon at least (might be better options, hardest house)
Greyjoy: Blackwater Bay - set up turn 1 King's Landing
Tyrell: East Summer Sea - Oldtown turn 1
Stark: West Summer Sea - unraidable support turn 1 with options

Baratheon and Martell cancel, so the opening map would look like:

http://tinyurl.com/bG10jAu39YFdCjChOfjs

poor Martell, at least they have Doran!

Which leads to my final suggestion. You may have noticed that I left the influence tracks blank. I think it would be good to give everyone 10 PT to start, and have an immediate CoK before first round orders, but after secret territory selection. this gives you a further chance to help your opening game strategy. in this scenario, Martell might bid all 10 on fiefdoms in order to have a chance at surviving. (ties for IT track would be broken by random roll).

Thoughts?

EDIT: this variant definitely would rely on larger scale diplomacy in the early game. for example, in the middle of the map Lannister, Tyrell and Martell might all agree to CP (with martell getting an unraidable CP* at Lannisport) to help all their early game positions. Tyrell and Lannister aren't likely to keep these troops anyway, so may as well use them optimally while they can!
 
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Daniel Kurz
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More great work there Scottishduck! I think it's almost at a point of play testing. On paper things may look different to when you put it into action and diplomacy starts.

I would still like to test my option 2 map also so I have a thought. If we set up two PBF variants

1. Risk Variant (mine)
2. Random Variant (yours)

How about I mod game two so that you can play as one of the players and you mod game one so I can do the same?

I like the idea of the 10 power tokens and immediate COK for both games as the key to them both is that players strategies are going to change dramatically depending on the luck of the draw.

When I get a chance in front of a computer I will do a conscise list of the rules for the two games to make final refinements and then we can move from there.

Let me know if your interested and mail me if you want to discuss anything. Dan
 
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Tyler B
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Just some further thoughts...

I don't know that I'd recommend playing the game, I was just giving suggestions to mitigate some of the "game breaking" problems with a random draw.

True random starts is fine in a game like Risk, because there is one thing to worry about: taking over territories. In AGoT, you have to worry about taking VPs, taking enough supply, taking enough crowns, collecting power, and, maybe the most game-breaking aspect of a true random draw in this game, support orders and land-sea interactions. In Risk, the water doesn't matter. For example, if you own Brazil, you can always go to North Africa. This is not so in AGoT, and poor draws could leave you without a chance.

I think to pull this off you have to decide 1 thing: do you want a game where everyone has a shot to win? Sure, AGoT as written is very difficult for Martell and Lannister to win (and the stats show this), but there are dedicated resources and playstyles to help these starting positions. In a true random draw, you will get some houses with huge advantages over others. Just by looking at the random draw, I'd wager you could identify 2-3 houses that were most likely to win and 1-2 that had no shot in any given game.

Maybe, to get the "interaction of houses that don't normally interact" you could do one of two things:
1 - randomize the starting positions but leave them the same. (what does that even mean?) What I mean is, randomize where each house starts relative to the real map. Maybe put Greyjoy in Dragonstone; Martell takes Winterfell; Tyrell gets Pyke; Lannister is in Sunspear; Stark gets Lannisport and Baratheon gets Highgarden. Use the same territory set up as the real game, but the houses have new neighbors with new card interactions
2 - randomize the starting stronghold for each house, then let them do a draft for everything else: a starting castle; 3-4 other areas, sea or land; all 3 influence tracks. This would give new neighbors with new home areas, but people can pick up crowns or supply as they see fit, along with taking the blade or raven advantages if available (at potential expense of a good territory near their homeland). You might see a Sunspear occupying house take the Sea of Dorne with their first pick rather than taking that star order, or a King's Landing house take Blackwater Bay.

 
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Chris S.
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scottishduck wrote:
The Shadow Hound wrote:


This is how Map 1 would look like completed (randomly distributing the garrison tokens from the actual game to the remaining strongholds):

http://tinyurl.com/IxCrwNvBniaGhLvLAprF



Chris,

So, if I'm reading this right, in this map the home areas would be the strongholds drawn, so:
Baratheon: Riverrun
Greyjoy: Dragonstone
Lannister: Sunspear
Martell: Lannisport
Stark: Oldtown
Tyrell: Seagard

And I thought Seagard/Riverrun/Lannisport was a bottleneck before!


First, sorry for the delay, and yup that's how it will work.

Quote:
Suggestion/food for thought: what if you removed Riverrun from the draw and made sure that only 1 of Oldtown/Highgarden was selected? This would make it so no home area directly neighbors another one.

Suggestion #2 on your system setup:
Step 1: assign home areas randomly (with my above suggestion): KN + FM
Step 2: assign castle randomly: KN
Step 3: assign 1 sea area randomly: SH
Step 4: assign 1 land area randomly: FM
Step 5: let each person choose 1 unoccupied area (edit: no castles or strongholds) to occupy with either 1 FM or 1 SH -- huge caveat: the selection is done in secret (sent to mod), and if 2 houses select the same area, neither gets to place the FM/SH they desired and they start 1 unit down (similar to a standoff in diplomacy, where if two units try to march into the same area, neither does)

edit: if you get Pyke or Dragonstone, you can use your selection to try to get a ship mustered in the surrounding sea. someone else may block you from doing so though. this would also allow you to gain a little control of starting position in terms of barrels/crowns if your other areas have none... and maybe claim a neighboring territory for support as well.

Thoughts?


Those are good suggestions, however I have come to the belief that if a variant like this was to be played then perhaps the 6 original homelands should be randomly distributed and the other strongholds receive the neutral garrisons. Since people are so worried about being "fair" and Oldtown has no icons so it sucks, buncha commies.

I also believe my idea of strictly assinging the units like that should be scratched. In Risk you're able to place your units where ever you want, so I will distribute the areas the same way but only with a FM and SH in those areas. This will give everyone 5 mustering points and my above map would look more like this:

http://tinyurl.com/VhWrPbYFYLI4bxJywr7B

Then one mustering point at a time, in Iron Throne order, everyone will muster an additional 7-10 mustering points or so in the areas they control, including ports which would solve the Dragonstone/Pyke problem. You will not be able to muster SE. So the map would look something like this:

http://tinyurl.com/zHanXgnL0NSvKuUZxv00

I think distributing all the land and sea areas would be a mistake, becase then there will be very little room to retreat units and the players may end up losing units before they even get to move.
 
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Chris S.
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Kalix wrote:

It seems like it would be very difficult to reliably muster or consolidate power, so perhaps new rules for mustering (e.g. always muster every turn)...but then the uneven split of castles at the start might make this unfair.


I don't think that's really a problem, in fact it makes more interesting gamplay in my opinion. Players will just have to be smart about where they place CP and early diplomacy will probably revolve around this.

I am also not sure how forcing a muster would even be a solution.
 
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