Previously I made a 9 player variant MOD map and a set of house cards in description. I recently put in some of the ideas from here and made a new version of variant AGOT map for 10 players:
Several concepts were included in this map:
1. I tried to keep the gaming style and strategies for the six Houses that official AGOT board game has;
2. I tried to make all Houses can be played like what they like in the novels;
3. I tried to converge the two official expansion scenario to this map.
I still try to made House card sets of the six Houses that official AGOT board game has. I only changed a few characters but combinations of symbols and text abilities for every House remained.
I have a gaming design for MOD A Feast for Crows expansion scenario of House Stark's Objective cards, so I give Catelyn this text ability and included two of the Stark's childs in the House cards. For the similar reason, I replace Eddard with Rickard Karstark because Eddard is no longer alive in A Feast for Crows scenario.
North part of the MOD map is based on this points: the starting choice of House Stark is nearly unchanged comparing to official AGOT board if he does not make direct conflict with House Bolton. House Stark would be weaken on the both sides of the sea area, so I made a few adjustment by connecting Moat Cailin to Kingsroad, making House Stark more easily to march south by purely marine forces.
I excluded Euron and shift Baron and Asha.
I think it is too serious for both Tully and Greyjoy to fight for controlling Ironman's bay if The Pyke is entirely surrounded by it, so I let The Pyke connected to more than one sea area. Shivering Sea is likely for replacing the place of The Sunset Sea in the official board.
Two major changes for Lannister on the map:
1. The Golden Sound is away from The Ironman's Bay and is totally surrounded by The Sunset Sea (which takes place for The West Summer Sea in the official board);
2. Golden Tooth act like Riverrun in the official board as Lannister's basic territory, except that Lannister is now completely away from Greyjoy's threat.
I expect these changes can give Lannister a dominant advantage on the land without any modification on House cards abilities.
In general, I shift Ranly and Tarth to House Tyrell also for the reason of my future designs for MOD A Feast for Crows scenario.
I planned to include all 10 Houses appear in my MOD A Feast for Crows scenario, so the changed characters of Tyrell are also for recreating the scene in the novel, like how Melisandre remove Ranly from Tyrell's hand, and then how Garlan destroy Baratheon's footmen in Battle of the Blackwater.
I only noted here that the West/East Summer Sea in official's board are replaced by The Sunset Sea and Stepstones. The Summer Sea was recreated as a new sea area for House Targaryen.
House Arryn has its new sets of House cards because I would like to put the official AFFC house cards of Arryn in my MOD A Dance with Dragons scenario. Most of their text abilities are related to Objective cards of A Feast for Crows scenario.
For the map of the Vale, my ideas were: 1. to decrease the consolidate Power token icons; 2. to create an area that is hard to get in, and hard to get out.
Tully's text abilities are specially design for each specific condition on this map:
1. Jason is specialized for fighting Greyjoy at Seagard;
2. the Blackfish gives Tully a great advantage along the Trident riverside that with his text ability, Support order on The Twins can provide combat strengths to the whole Riverland (Riverrun, Harrenhal, and even Maidenpool);
3. Robin's text ability limited Tully to have fortification icons ONLY besides the rivers (Riverland and the North). If Tully march south away from riverland, his house cards will give Tully's units no protections.
4. Walder Frey's text ability increase the cost of other players invading Riverland and perfectly describes what he did in the novel.
I specially design a set of text abilities for Bolton to manipulate positions on Valyrian Steel's Blade influence track for what Ramsay and Vargo did in the novels. Bolton's best strategy is to surrender and cooperate with Stark marching south, lock on the player who is trying to take advantage on his positions on VSB influence track and beat the shit out of him, especially when Stark is that kind of player. The point is that if Stark insist to destroy Bolton from the beginning of the game, it is very hard to ask for help from other players. That is what I tried to create the house Bolton in this variant: a silent, cunning, but obedient vassal of house Stark at the beginning.
I think it is quite an interesting oppotunity to make Arya appeared in the house card.
Except for the map design of Essos and Slaver's Bay part, I didn't try to make any significant creativity on Targaryen's text abilities too much. I believe that the connections between The Sunset Sea, The Summer Sea, and Stepstones will give Greyjoy and Martell great influences for Targaryen to invade Westeros.
Additional gaming mechanisms and rules
there will be Neutral Force tokens :
(5) Kings Landing
(2) Blackwater's Bay
(2) Bay of Norvos
(2) Sea of Myrth
Additional rule for Neutral force tokens on sea areas is that players cannot muster Ship to adjacent sea area with Neutral Force tokens.
I'm trying to make this variant a 5-10 player game by providing Neutral Force tokens for each house. When there are lesser than 10 players, players are not limited for specific houses selections. Everyone can select the house they prefer this time, and those houses not selected by players will have specific sets of Neutral Force tokens on the board (like Martell in the official AGOT board game).
I will release my designing materials for MOD (still 10 players) A Dance with Dragon Scenario on this map soon. Following the release of this scenario I will suggest another gaming mechanism, a Westeros Deck IV that can merge the basic AGOT 10 player game with ADWD scenario.
My designing MOD 10 players A Feast for Crows scenario will take more times but is also ongoing.
I'm trying to generate materials for this set to Tabletop Simulator as workshops.
I must say, I really like what you are doing, I hope you keep working on the variant.
I however have a few suggestions if I may in terms of balance:
1) I believe the Balon equivalent should be with strength of 0 or 1, 2 is just all win card. Nobody likes GJ just because of this guaranteed win really..
2) The Boltons feel kind-a broken. From one side, they almost have guaranteed Valerian Steel Blade if they fight somebody that has it. Making it worthless for Starks to even try, same goes to any house that can get a surprise attack by ship.
- Their 0 is as always a guaranteed loose, so the text doesn't make sense. I believe you should change the 0 card to 1 or two shields (more info below)
- Their high card (4) making it require you to invest at least 1 more unit if tied to win (passive +0.5)+ if they are on the top of the track (passive +1.5) which is a lot for a 4 card.
- Bolton don't have shields, Ned Stark or w/e he is renamed to, will chop them off really early in the game. All that stark need is to have 1 more CS in the first fight to ensure victory vs their 4.
- Bolton is pretty much fighting around having an additional 0.5 CS advantage due to wining potential ties by being ahead on the fiefdom track, kind-a boring and again making it pointless for any nearby house to go for it. It would make sense if Ramzy has some kind of skill relevant to what he has in ADWD, so I suppose if Roose is in the discard pile, you gain 3 swords (no need for extra +1 in this one)
3) Targarian is overall good, however:
- Daenerys's ability is pointless, I don't see a reason why you would need the power tokens before the end of the marching order resolution phase, you mainly need power tokens at the end of the round before bidding. (Tywin once won me a game because I needed 1 power token to leave behind my army in order to win after marching out but that's like... 1 game ever...) So I believe you'll need to change this one into something else like knights +1 or deserting footmen joining your army before the battle resolution supply permitting or something idk..
- Groleo is also pretty OP, even though he would need a ship sacrifice, Targarians are basically playing with 3 (4CS) cards, IDK, it seems too OP to me.
4) House Tully seems fair enough except Walder Frey, Too OP can mess up your game just by playing a 0 card, If played in the right region, you can end up spending up to 4 power tokens and at the same time he gains up to 4, no victory condition just discarding a 0 card, which is even a bigger deterrent than Doran, from who you recover on the next clash and from Walder, there is only going to be more misery on the next clash because you'll loose pretty much any influence.
- Tully also lacks Towers...
Apart from the above, I really love what you have done. I hope we can get the cards in a better resolution eventually.
I would suggest making it a bit more simple, too much text abilities are hard to balance out. More icons (not enough shields)
If you ever need help with theory craft or play testing let me know
Thank Sir Zeliec for your reply and suggestions.
You really pointed out some points I was still worried about and gave me a good direction about how to think for a better balance in the game.
1) During I worked on this, I've been keeping in mind how strong Greyjoy's House cards are. Prior to modify the house card set of Greyjoy, I intended to modify the board for the balance instead. I kept most of the homelands and valuable areas away from Greyjoy's navy. I also removed Supply and Consolidate symbols on Seagard, making it less valuable for Greyjoy to occupy it against Tully. From my perspective, Greyjoy need to spread his units more to gather supply and Power tokens on my modified board, which may weaken his advantage on house cards as a balance.
So I currently would not suggest to change the House card set of Greyjoy.
2)I do have concern about the (4) text ability. One of my backup design is:
_(4) If you are lower than your opponent on VSB Influence track, this card gain one fortification and one sword icons. If you are higher than your opponent on VSB Influence track, this card gain two sword icons.
I think that without the original text ability of (4), it is not that easy for Bolton to be ahead on the fiefdom track. Ramsay (3) and Donella (0) both have to satisfy certain conditions to activate their text abilities. With Stark's two CS1 card's printed abilities, I think Bolton will be vulnerable for having too much sword icons but less other ways to weaken Stark. This is one of the purpose I gave Ramsay that kind of text ability.
I managed to set the tones of House Bolton's strategy more like the story before the Red Wedding. House cards' abilities affecting VSB influence track is one way I came out first. I may try to come out other ideas than that afterward.
3) I do agree your point that Groleo gave Targaryen three (4CS) cards. I may downgrade it to +2 instead of +3, or change it to what I originally came out:
_(1) If you are attacking a land area through ship transport, you may upgrade one of your attacking Targaryen's Footman to one available Siege Engine by removing one transporting Targaryen's Ship.
My perspective to Daenerys' text ability is not on the combat but on the overall gameplay how Targaryen would be. It basically guarantee Targaryen can consolidate Power tokens several times more than other players. When Targaryen's major opponents on the board are Martell (and Bolton if it comes from the Shivering Sea with its text abilities affecting VSB Influence track right now), I think it is somehow fair for Targaryen to do so. It might be optional after the change of Bolton's text abilities.
4) I agree to change Walder Frey's text ability by entirely erasing the part Tully's opponent discarding Power tokens.
I really learn from your perspective how to think more for every text ability affecting the opponent. It is now changing some of my house card designing on my variant A Dance With Dragon scenario on this board.
I may regenerate the cardboards after more discussions and designs.
Thank you very much.
First of all, I made another set of Bolton's House cards for basic game.
This is similar to the official ADWD Stark's combination of Ramsay/Reek.
Here I share my design of a six-round game A Dance With Dragons expansion scenario on my 10 players variant map.
I completely shift the official Stark's ADWD card set to Bolton. The timeline of the North is much like Roose Bolton is marching north and meet Ramsay.
The only change is that I exchange the character Davoc Seaworth (1CS) with Estermont, reflecting the upcoming combat at Storm's End.
I made a completely new set of Stark's House cards in ADWD variant, including the characters that refused to join Stannis (like Lyanna) or those remnants that pretended surrendering to Bolton (like Wyman and Barbrey).
The combination of Robett Glover and Wex Pyke keeps Stark's cards in hand (similar but harder than original Roose Bolton's text ability).
Lady Barbray is specially design to sabotage Ramsay/Reek combination or Melisandre's text ability.
jeyne Poole is design to mess things up between Bolton and Stannis.
The design of the North is that Stark has to give up Winterfell to protect White Harbor and wait for counterattack. Bolton has to use Winterfell as a death trap, luring Stannis's army in and slain him with Ramsay's three swords. Stannis must try to jump in the trap to prevent Bolton from controlling Dreadfort and Winterfell at the same time. One mustering with both strongholds for Bolton will make the situation desperate for Stannis and Stark.
Many characters were changed for fitting the story.
One ship (in the official ADWD scenario) were removed from the north, so I added one more Footman on The Pyke.
Lannister has two only things can do as the story went:
1. take Riverrun;
2. ask Tyrell not to attack King's Landing (which is a little bit nonsense compared to the official ADWD scenario because Lannister now has 5-6 castles/strongholds safely in control and far away from all the threats)
Tyrell has to choose from several strategies:
1. Take Dragonstone;
2. Take King's Landing;
3. Fxxk it and spend three March order to move the whole army back to Horn Hill;
4. March the Ships to Stepstones.
Since I downgrade the stronghold of Oldtown to castle, I think it is not that necessary to put the neutral force token as additional defending forces.
I only change most of the characters.
Golden Company (replacing House Tully)
Golden Company completely change the official ADWD scenario that Tyrell, Martell and Baratheon now has a more complex diplomatic relationships because Golden Company will eventually keeps attacking storm's land or Dorne severely for having his stable territory. Text abilities of Haldon and Eagon will make Jon Connington more powerful during the game. But at round 10, Jon Connington's "always 0" will make text abilities of Haldon and Eagon pointless at all, which means that Golden Company only have 5 rounds of text abilities' advantages.
The house cards are directly from official AFFC expension.
I gather all the units of Arryn's to The Eyrie, reflecting that the Littlefingers did not fully control the Vale and need one round's preparing for attacking.
Daenerrys' text ability reflects the unstable control of her dragons. The chance of drawing skull icons in Tide of Battle cards makes this ability scary for inevitably navy battle at Stepstones.
Tattered Prince is for defending text abilities of Golden Company and Greyjoy, since they both have text abilities that exchange Power tokens for CS.
Missandei is ...
Some very OP text abilities (like Jon Connington and Missandei) are taking into account of their start setting in the scenario and its shorter game.
I have more ideas and supplemental rules with this ADWD scenario. I will share them later this month.
First of all: You do a great job!
However, when I saw the map (alone, i.e. without the hand cards) I had some serious worries if this map can result in a balanced game (even with diplomacy on). Let me put this further with some examples:
1) Targaryen: Their homeland (anything east of Lys) is basically not reachable and they have no direct enemy. Thus they can bring all their troups to the lands around Golden Field and additionally the can harvest 4-6 PT each round.
2) Greyjoy will claim Seagard and Lannister will claim Golden Fields (bith for very good reasons). Tully seems to have a desperate position. I suggest to redraw the Westerlands. I would rather install some possible conflicts between Lannister and Tyrell instead of Lannister and Tully.
3) The Narrow Sea: I would argue that this sea belongs to Arryn. (At least I would claim it as Arryn.) But this is first of all not thematic (Arryn should not directly act in the southern diplomacy) and, more important, this unnecessarily cuts off Baratheon from Essos. I support your idea of adding additonal seas in order to somewhat weaken the power of ships. But I suggest to redraw most of the sea borders in order to get a more dynamic play.
4) I counted 48 recruitment points. However, they are quite uneven distributed over the map. Maybe this can be improved in general. (As long as this is not chosen for good reasons.)
I am looking forward for you next great material!
Awesome stuff again! I have some concerns in terms of balance but I'll be sure to give you my thoughts on them later on when I have more time to spare.
In the meantime, do you mind sharing the Photoshop source files for the cards on each house?
Some replies to L F.
For Targaryen, the main problem is not the homeland being invaded. It is my intention to connect Volantis to Dorne through Stepstones (same sea area as the East Summer Sea in the official game), giving House Martell a major rule for Targaryen to reach Westeros. If Martell make allies with other players controlling The Sunset Sea, which mostly would be Tyrell or Greyjoy, it is nearly impossible for Targaryen to break through their back-to-back supporting on the sea area unless other players involved. In the meanwhile, Volantis will be under Martell's attack. Under this condition, I don't think additional PTs give Targaryen advantage against that.
Another aspect I intentionally made Targaryen this way is for a ten round game, I want to give Targaryen a reason that other players in Westeros would try to make that kind of allies to prevent Targaryen from landing Westeros. If Martell helps Targaryen like the story goes, eventually there will be a super big problem for other houses in Westeros to fight them back. I want to make that kind of AGOT board game with Targaryen.
I do agree your suggestion that my map seems to tie Tyrell and Lannister together too much. Tully's bad position between Greyjoy and Lannister is still a problem for me. One way I tried on the map is to remove the Supply icon on Seagard, making it less valuable for Greyjoy to control it. The other way is Tully's House cards. Many Tully's house cards of my version are specialized for defending Greyjoy's claiming on Seagard. I think that unless we split Riverland and Westernland into an intense area and give more barriers, Tully is always in a bad position and requires diplomacy to survive.
Currently, Westernland is designed to recreate the territory of Lannister in official game that Golden Tooth replaces Riverrun in the official board (without the Supply icon).
I'll keep incubating until a better idea came out.
Narrow Sea is designed for recreating some of the scenes in the story:
1. Myrcella's sailing from King's Landing to The Dorne through Braavos;
2. Stannis' sailing to the north.
These will be in Objective cards I'm working on for the AFFC scenario on this map.
I want to make a point that under previous design for Narrow Sea, Stannis will never let Arryn to control it because Arryn can then raid every Stannis' supporting order on Blackwater's Bay and Shipbreaker's Bay. I don't know if this is good or bad, but this IS intentional to lure Stannis to Narrow Sea, spending more his units on the sea and weaken his force on the land.
I currently have no way to make the structure of sea area more simplify as the official board was when Essos is considered. Instead of making each house more balancing (by having same resources and structure of territories), my first priority to make this map is to lure each house do something more like what they did in the story. This purpose dominate most of my drawing on the sea area. So I will keep this sea area structure until better idea came out for solving balancing problems between Greyjoy-Tully and Bolton-Stark.
I never count that o_O and it seems a good way to revisit the whole structure of the map. I will take it into serious consideration whenever I recreate the map!
Thank you for your suggestions!