Jozef Franc
France
Pariz
Île-de-France
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BALANCE PROBLEMS

After reading this forum I did not find any suggestions to change huge imbalances in average win rates. My playgroup decided to swap some standard house cards with Dance with Dragons (DwD) expansion house cards.

If the game is played by expert players, win rates are probably really about similar. However, I would like to hear your opinion on how to change the game if you play it at home with some friends who are inexperienced. For me, it is hard to get 6 people to play the game for 5-7 hours. As a result, we don't play often and there are always some new participants that have never played the game before. Needless to say that in this situation the game is not balanced at all. For example, when two new players play Lannister and Greyjoy, the one playing Lannister gets totally crushed as this house is hard to play and you can not afford to make any mistakes. Also even though I place the newest players to play Greyjoy and Stark, they nevertheless always have a very good game.

These are current statistics from thronemaster website (2nd edition):

Greyjoy: 24.8%
Stark: 23.4%
Baratheon: 18.2%
---------------------------------
Martell: 13.9%
Tyrell: 10.1%
Lannister: 9.7%

If they had equal win rate, the win rate for each house would be 16.6%.

Therefore, I would like to change house cards and give new players around the same chance of winning for all houses. We will play standard 2nd edition Game of Thrones. There are some rules I would like to impose on you when making such changes:

1.) Only swaps between standard and DWD house cards are allowed
I don't want to hear suggestions about changing borders, territory symbols, changing combat strength of different cards (like Balon is 1 combat strength instead of 2)... I simply want to hear suggestions regarding swapping some standard house cards for DwD house cards.

2.) Characters are not allowed to duplicate in the deck
Do not build a deck where Stark has Roose Bolton (2 strength) and DwD Roose Bolton (4 strength) as characters are duplicating.

3.) Not too many changes
Don't change the entire standard deck. Maybe swap 0-2 cards per house. 3 at max!

4.) No auto-win/OP mechanics
There is nothing wrong with cards that counter one another like Ariana counters Loras and maybe DwD Quen of Thorns counters Ariana. However, I don't like OP cards like Balon that can be countered only in specific circumstances (Catelly Stark, Kevan Lannister) and are mostly auto win.

Here is what my group came with so far. Please present your suggested changes in this format.

PROPOSITION

Changes are marked with blue color.

Baratheon:
The one house that is the very close to 16.6% win ratio. It is hard for them to get supply, nevertheless they will usually have plenty of power tokens and be able to get good track position. Also they can assist in case one house becomes so strong.
As a result I would not make any changes to this house.

Martell:
Hard to break out and hard to invade. They seem to be weak in power production. As a result we changed Nymeria Sand with Ser Gerris Drinkwater. Now Martell has agressive playstyle with many swords and fords only on high value cards. Doran Martell and Ser Gerris Drinkwater ensure Martell can increase position on influence tracks regardless of power production problems.

Tyrell:
Weak at start as they don't have any stars. They depend on mustering or clash of kings. Another weakness is that other players do not attack with footman, but rather with knights so Mace Tyrell is useless. Also players tend to attack Tyrell and delibrately use a low house card as they know if Tyrell chooses Loras (3) or Mace (4), he will be unable to cause casualties and will waste high cards. This is why we changed standard Mace Tyrell with DwD Mace Tyrell that has a sword and a ford. This is usefull for sea battles and now opponents are risking losing a unit. Another changes were made regarding 0 and 1 cards. Now we introduced DwD Margary Tyrell (0) and DwD Quen of Thorns (1). DwD Quen of Thorns is nice addition as Martell, Bara and Lannister have soo many good text ability. Now Tyrell and Martell cancel each other out. Ariana cancels Loras and DwD Quen of Thorns cancels Ariana, Doran... DwD Margary Tyrell is there as it is necessary to replace 0 card. Not so usefull, but can be critical in defence sometimes.

Greyjoy:
The eternal Lannister/Greyjoy conflict. In my experience if they decide to fight each other I have to literally tell Lannister what he has to do in order to not getting devasteted. It is not interesting for anyone. We decided to get rid of Balon Greyjoy and replace him with Rodrick the Reader. OP card is gone and new card is one of the best 2 card in the game. Greyjoy can force muster, supply, clash of kings etc. This is very strong. Other cards are unchanged and are still good for winning battles.

Lannister:
Since Greyjoy lost Balon, not much change is neeeded. We replaced Kevin Lannister with Ser Addam Marbrand. This is becaue Lannister struggles in the middle of the board and so he needs something for the late game.

Stark:
I left this for the end as it is the hardest one to change. Stark is always strong in our games. The ability to replenish your hand and defence cards are making him a formidable opponent. Since taking away Roose Bolton would totally change the playstyle, we nerfed one sword card and took away one defence card. Instead of Greation Umber we gave Stark Steelshands Walton (one fortification), instead of Ser Rodrick Cassel we gave him Damond Dance-For-Me (one sword) and instead of The Blackfish we gave him Walder Fray (if any other player gave support to your opponent, he must give you this support instead). This way Stark does not have swords only on Eddard (4) and lose his ability to retreat without losing forces twice (now he will take more casualties).

LAST REMARKS
Stark/Greyjoy/Lannister balance is probably the most important one as Greyjoy is a militant house and has to attack somebody in order to progress. Now with Balon gone Lannister has a chance. At the same time, Stark has only one house card with fortification so he takes casualties more often when fighting Greyjoy.
What do you guys think?
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Ed Dub
United Kingdom
London
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Interesting idea - always wondered if swapping cards is a simple and effective balancing solution? Will follow this thread googoo
 
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Björn Grafström
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The changes to the Stark house cards means he no longer win the war of attrition vs Greyjoy. I don't think that change will make Greyjoy win less.

To be honest I think the only house card change that is needed for balance purposes would be to use Rodrik the Reader instead of Balon Greyjoy. The other house cards are just fine I would say.
 
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Jozef Franc
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Pariz
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I disagree. Stark is nerfed precisely because Greyjoy lost Balon. Now Stark can effectively calculate strenght of his opponent and use Ned Stark to full effect without being shut down by Balon. Without this change Greyjoy would lose the war every time.
Stark still has his gimmic of returning all housecards with Roose Bolton, however, he is weaker in defence.
 
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Fajeth Fajethsson
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I don't quite understand.

You say, you mostly will play with new players. A perfect balance would only hurt them and help the veterans.

Just don't give them Lannister or anything you consider harder to play. Also the game is not only about winning, especially for new players. While Martell hasn't a great score either, they are not likely to get wiped out. Thus I consider them a good house for beginners (same as Stark). Baratheon is great for beginners, too, unless you play Mother of Dragons. In that case my order for beginners vs veterans would be: Stark, Martell, Tyrell, Greyjoy, Arryn, Lannister, Baratheon, Targaryen.



I do some tweaks myself, but for a different purpose. I don't like cards that feel boring/weak (such as Caitlyn, Margary, Melisandre or Darkstar/Obara (same card). I also don't like the "I win" aspect of Balon. And Lannister indeed needs some love to compensate for their position.

My Card changes are:
- Balon and Asha swap card strength (easily made if you use sleeves)
- Ser Kevan swaped with Ser Addam Marbrand (or only swap the text ability if you use sleeves)
- Change Areo Hotah with DwD Hotah (or simply give him 2 towers)
- Give Darkstar or Obara the Text ability of Illyn Payne
- Give Catelyn Stark the ability of Ser Garris Drinkwater
- Give Tywin Lannister the ability of Queen of Thorns (DwD)
- Give Melisandre 2 Swords instead of 1
- Give Margery the ability of AFfC Lysa Arryn

There are some more really cool mechanics but I hesitate to mess more with the balance right now. Maybe later:

- Little Finger (AFfC)
- Bronze Yohn Royce (AFfC)
- Melisandre (DwD)
- Stannis Baratheon (DwD)
- Aeron Damphair (DwD)
- Rodrik the Reader (DwD)
- Qyburn (DwD)
- Walder Frey (DwD)


In addition to card changes I give all house but Baratheon and Greyjoy a second ship in their harbor (Tyrell: not in the harbor but in Redwhyne Straights) and an additional Foodman at their home territory. And for theme I also grant Greyjoy and Baratheon an additional ship at the cost of their starting Knight)

These changes are play tested and made for a interesting and fast game. But of course they require more changes and a specific taste
 
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Björn Grafström
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aleksandrov2 wrote:
I disagree. Stark is nerfed precisely because Greyjoy lost Balon. Now Stark can effectively calculate strenght of his opponent and use Ned Stark to full effect without being shut down by Balon. Without this change Greyjoy would lose the war every time.
Stark still has his gimmic of returning all housecards with Roose Bolton, however, he is weaker in defence.
I've played plenty of games with that single card change at it works just fine. Victarion is still around to mess with the potential strength of the Greyjoy attack so Stark can't be sure what the opposition power will be. I've seen Greyjoy conquer Stark with this change, and I've seen Stark do the same to Greyjoy.

But as Fajeth states, if you mostly play with beginners, you might not have to change anything. They will become veterans in due time and will discuss possible solutions with you then
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Jozef Franc
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Well, it is boring for me to play Lannister all the time or to tell a player playing Lannister what to do in order not to get obliterated by Greyjoy.

Regarding other houses, some are just easier to win. Like Stark for example.

Therefore, we changed some housecards to try to balance things out.
 
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Roman Kirk
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There's also another recent thread where some ideas for card replacements were gathered.

An older attempt are the S-T6/7 modifications; it's interesting that your group independently came up with a very similar set of changes. The S-T6/7 variant is as follows:

Baratheon
- Stannis -> DWD Stannis

Martell
- Nymeria Sand -> Ser Gerris Drinkwater

Tyrell
- Mace -> DWD Mace
- Alester Florent -> Paxter Redwyne

Greyjoy
- Balon -> Rodrik the Reader
- Aeron -> DWD Aeron

Lannister
- Kevan -> Ser Addam Marbrand
- Cersei -> Qyburn

Stark
A slight modification to Catelyn's effect that isn't allowed by the rules of this thread; it's pretty insignificant anyway. In a 7-player game (with full AFFC set for Arryn), Stark gets Walder Frey as an eighth House Card.

I'm personally inclined to leave out the change to Aeron Damphair, especially when using the MoD expansion and its sea orders. In fact, the extra advantages for Greyjoy and Tyrell that come with the expansion might justify adding another change to Lannister: Replacing Tyrion with DWD Cersei. Certainly not a good card, but compared to Tyrion's effect which is actively detrimental to Lannister most of the time it still seems like an improvement.
 
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Jozef Franc
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Well, we didn't invent all the rules out of the blue. I read all possible forums on the internet that I could find in order to balance the game. So we implemented some suggestions and invented some new ones.

I have to stress out this house cards change is supposed to be played with the standard version Game of Thrones board game and not MoD!

Let me be more precise: these changes are here to balance aspects of the game that seem to be broken. These problems are:

1.) Greyjoy can crush Lannister unless Lanni player is much more experienced. Greyjoy house cards are simply too strong (especially Balon).
As a result, we removed Balon. Now it is more even as Greyjoy has a sword, but Lanni has Reaven and ability to muster. No more OP Balon card.

2.) Tyrell is weak at the start if Martell decides to invade 2 round via sea.
So we gave Tyrell DwD Margary Tyrell that prevents the conquest of Highgarden. Since Martell can cancel Loras Tyrell and has some pretty nasty house cards (Doran, Arriana, Drinkwater), we also gave Tyrell DwD Quen of Thorns that can cancel opponent card text abilities.

3.) Now that Greyjoy has been nerfed, Stark is even stronger. Ability to replenish house cards and immunity for casualties are just too good.
We left Roose Bolton but nerfed his defence cards.

That's it, it works for us.
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Jamie Pollock
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Agree with the Balon swap out! Getting Addam Marband in there for Kevan Lannister also makes sense since Knights tend to be more prevalent than footman.

Has anyone used all of the DWD cards in the base game or MOD game? Curious as to how they play as they seem to contain some high power options presumably to burst stalemate situations, e.g. DWD Aeron, Mance, Qyburn.

Also how does all this sit with the FAQ 2.0 which officially gives Lannister a much needed and long overdue extra ship in their port?
 
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