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J.P. Morgan
United States
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Game of Thrones Session 10/18/2003

This was our first attempt at a full blown 5-player Game of Thrones. Our last attempt was conducted with just 4 players, and the we stopped about half-way thru at turn 5. I think the initial impression for most of us is that the game definitely plays better with 5 people than with 4, as there is more chance of interacting with your neighbors in some fashion.

For this session, the players were as follows:

House Tyrell (Green) - B-man
House Stark (White) - Rad.
House Greyjoy (Black) - Yeti
House Lannister (Red) - Me.
House Baratheon (Yellow) - Joe

All started out pretty quietly, as each house simply went from region to empty region, in a massive free-land grab before the others could lay claim.

House Lannister proceeded to expand through Riverrun, Stoney Sept, HarenHall, all the way to CrackClaw Point without opposition.

House Tyrell freely expanded in the south, starting in HighGarden, through the Dornish Marches, all the way to the borders with Sunspear.

Baratheon, having secured a foothold in Kingswood and Storms End, proceeded by naval route to acquire the Montains of the Moon and the The Fingers in the north.

As for the neutral powers, Eyrie and Sunspear, no attacks could ever be mounted against them as the threat of attack from the real players made priorities pre-determined.

In the North, the picture was slightly different, as House Stark faced an agressive opponent in House Greyjoy. Both Stark and Greyjoy, having acquired whatever territories they could, eventually came to blows in the region of Moat Calin. This was the site of several pitched battles, as both houses could never mount overwhelming numbers against each other, even though Greyjoy possessed the Sword of Valerian. As soon as one side retreated from the area, it would turn around and launch another offensive to re-gain the lost region. Surprisingly, casualties were few, and supposedly realistic as indicated by the designer's notes. Both Stark and Greyjoy each lost about 2 or 3 pieces between them, a mixture of knights and footmen. As an emerging feeling of stalemate grew, House Baratheon soon moved into a position to lend its support to either side, but shrewdly decided to let the two houses battle out amongst themselves. Soon it became apparent that Greyjoy possesed the upper hand in terms of mustering points, and that this would become significant in future turns.

As far as event cards went, only one really significant attack of Wildings ever came about, with a strength of about 8. This was successfully crushed by all the houses, with Stark leading the way and earning back a lost House Card in the process. Also, bidding for position on the influence tracks did not significantly change the standings for most of the game.

Meanwhile, in the South, House Tyrell and House Baratheon soon came to blows over the disputed area known as the Reach. Here, as in the North, a series of sea-saw battles took place. But in this case, Tyrell won the day as Baratheon was over-extended because of its possessions in the North.

House Lannister during this time clearly profited by letting the other houses duke it out. It choose to simply mark time, consolidating its position in the center of the board, and slowly acquiring larger and larger armies as mustering points became available. It soon had enough armies to conquer Blackwater from Tyrell, and eventually threaten to invade King's Landing.

By the end of the game, with Tyrell attempting to mount an invasion of neutral Sunspear, Stark and Greyjoy locked in mortal combat, and Lannister and Bartheon nearing conflict, it became apparent that a three way tie was in the making: Lannister with 4 city areas, Greyjoy with 4, and Baratheon with 4. Tyrell had 2 city-bearing regions, while Stark only possessed 1. Since supply levels were also the same among the leaders, the tie-breaker was determined by available power tokens. Greyjoy and Baratheon each with 3 power and Lannister with 2. The final scores were:

Baratheon 4 (tied for first)
Greyjoy 4 (tied for first)
Lannister 4
Tyrell 2
Stark 1

All in all, a very enjoyable game.
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