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Hi, I was wondering. Assume someone has A Game of Thrones and its two expansions: A Clask of Kings and A Storm of Swords. What is most widely seen as the right way to play? (I am planning on getting all three, although slowly, because of low budget, heh)

Assuming 5 players...
Map: Original. (best for 5, 6 and 4 have their own maps/variants)
House Cards: Storm
Westeros Cards: Storm? (I've seen complaints about original ones)
Ports: Yes

These are the options where I've seen the most consensus (am I right?)

For the rest, I'm not so sure.

Siege Machines / Fortresses? (I understand these need to go together)
Wildling Cards... do they add much?
Leaders seem to be accepted, right? (Leaders must go with Storm cards, right?)
Tactics?
One-Time orders? (I have no clue about these last two...)

And, Am I forgetting some other option? I know Allies can't be used in the original map.
 
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Charles Hasegawa
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Re: Most accepted way of playing if you have the three games
House cards - I think the original or expansion - they both seem good. I don't care for the others, it seemed to be more "wild".

Ports, always.

Westeros Cards - The new ones in the Storm can keep the game more interesting, but the originals work fine if you use the one time orders - just expect everyone to use their muster one right away

Siege Machines / Fortresses? This is to taste. Personally, I don't think they add anything to the game, but time. Forts let you turtle a bit, which is just a hassle...

The group I played with liked the one time orders because of the mustering, but if you use the new Westeros cards, you can live without them. I liked that they contributed to the uniqueness of each house and added more flavor to the game, but some people don't like the "unevenness" of the powers.
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Eric Grutz
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Re: Most accepted way of playing if you have the three games
If I'm not mistaken, if you are assuming to play with the Storm Westeros cards, don't you have to play with the leaders, since there are cards in there that tell you execute captured leaders?

But for the rest, here's my take:

Siege Engines/Fortresses: A matter of taste. They come in handy when needed, but I find that aren't used that often.

Wilding Cards: I really like them, because they can be very unpredictable. Sometimes the punishment is less than the original game, but sometimes they are much worse. Much, much, worse.

Leaders: To me, leaders are almost a must to include if you have them. Unlike the Siege Engines, leaders dramatically change the game, and IMO for the better. Even with playing with new players, I think it is worth it to take the extra time to explain leaders and how they work.

Tactic cards: If you are playing with experienced players, they are a nice addition. But with new players, forget about them.

One-Time orders: I also like to have those one-time mustering orders. Also, if people understand how to give orders, then they can grasp one-time orders right away.

Battle Variant: You didn't mention this one, but I want to add it. Unlike others here at BGG, I kind of like this variant for the exact reason why others hate it. I always hated the certainty of the battles is AGoT and missed having some sort of dice rolling. So I do like that variant, because it adds a little (not a lot) uncertainty to the outcome of the battle, which to me adds fun to the game.
 
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Rob Corn
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My version:

Storm of Swords: Leaders and cards (Westeros, Wildling, and House). No tactics! (unless playing on the four player Storm of Swords map, then you need the tactics)
Clash of Kings: Ports, regular one-time orders, forts, and one siege engine per house instead of three.

The cards from ASoS are nice because there are no reshuffles, and it gives the token-bearers some more options. The house cards are nice since they're more interesting than the base set but not as mind-bending as the Clash of Kings set. The Wildling cards are nasty but fun.

One siege engine instead of three works out well in my opinion. It provides some offensive punch but also gives the defender a chance. With multiple engines there was too much chaos for my group. The forts have to be played with at least an engine, or you get unbreakable defenses.

Also if you're playing the five player map consider changing the Greyjoy and Baratheon knights to footmen to offset the extra ship they both get -- in the five player game Baratheon wins most often followed by Greyjoy in my experience. The six player game seems to be better balanced, but Stark has an edge since he has four "home" cities compared to everybody else's three. My group is thinking about merging Moat Calin and White Harbor for the six player game and putting a stronghold in the new merged territory. But those are changes you may or may not see a use for as you get experience.

The leaders are the most significant addition, and when combined with the one-time orders (mustering, mostly, but also supply) you can get some pretty surprising results with the consolidate power activated leaders. The leaders really change the game, for the better I think.

I'd get a few "normal" games under your belt before adding the bells and whistles though. Maybe use the ports from the start, they should have been part of the original game in my opinion -- just use a cutout or something to imitate the ports of you don't have the Clash of Kings expansion.
 
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Tony D.
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Re: Most accepted way of playing if you have the three games
Partizan242 wrote:
If I'm not mistaken, if you are assuming to play with the Storm Westeros cards, don't you have to play with the leaders, since there are cards in there that tell you execute captured leaders?


The card you're referring to, "Swing the Sword," also prevents players from issuing their March +1 order for the round. This can be huge, and in our last game (on the ASOS board) when the "Punish the Guilty" card was revealed, the "Swing the Sword" effect was chosen at least twice when no hostages were being held. So the new Westeros cards are perfectly playable without leaders.

Haggis wrote:
Storm of Swords: Leaders and cards (Westeros, Wildling, and House). No tactics! (unless playing on the four player Storm of Swords map, then you need the tactics)


Interesting, since Tactics cards provide one of the two ways to get hostages back. Do you mind if I ask what led you to use Leaders but not the Tactics cards? I'm not knocking at all, I'm curious - our next game will probably be on the original board with Leaders, and like the OP I'm looking for all thoughts on the matter.
 
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Rob Corn
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Fat Tony wrote:
Interesting, since Tactics cards provide one of the two ways to get hostages back. Do you mind if I ask what led you to use Leaders but not the Tactics cards? I'm not knocking at all, I'm curious - our next game will probably be on the original board with Leaders, and like the OP I'm looking for all thoughts on the matter.


I didn't like the tactics (Control Westeros is my main complaint) on the base game due to the number of cities/strongholds and the large benefit to having a +1 to each bid.

I felt the leaders added enough complexity to the game without needing to add Control Westeros and Manage Troops (with so few land territories, Manage Troops and the leaders allow you to almost completely reallocate your forces in one turn). I just don't see players using anything but Control Westeros for almost every turn since the advantage is so big. There's also the chance to severely shaft the leader if all the other players gang up with Support Allies, which seemed kind of cheap to me -- it's an automatic turtle breaker. I like a mildly chaotic game and the tactics looked like they'd create at least moderate if not high levels of chaos.

But I haven't tried the tactics on the 6 player map, so maybe I'm off base. Tactics work great on the 4 player map becuase if you play Control Westeros you're sacrificing Forge Alliances, and that's a tough trade since the ally cards are so strong. And in my games of Storm of Swords, I think maybe once has a hostage been released through Secure Hostages, so I didn't see that as a big loss.
 
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Adam McLean
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Haggis wrote:
Fat Tony wrote:
Interesting, since Tactics cards provide one of the two ways to get hostages back. Do you mind if I ask what led you to use Leaders but not the Tactics cards? I'm not knocking at all, I'm curious - our next game will probably be on the original board with Leaders, and like the OP I'm looking for all thoughts on the matter.


I didn't like the tactics (Control Westeros is my main complaint) on the base game due to the number of cities/strongholds and the large benefit to having a +1 to each bid.

I felt the leaders added enough complexity to the game without needing to add Control Westeros and Manage Troops (with so few land territories, Manage Troops and the leaders allow you to almost completely reallocate your forces in one turn). I just don't see players using anything but Control Westeros for almost every turn since the advantage is so big. There's also the chance to severely shaft the leader if all the other players gang up with Support Allies, which seemed kind of cheap to me -- it's an automatic turtle breaker. I like a mildly chaotic game and the tactics looked like they'd create at least moderate if not high levels of chaos.

But I haven't tried the tactics on the 6 player map, so maybe I'm off base. Tactics work great on the 4 player map becuase if you play Control Westeros you're sacrificing Forge Alliances, and that's a tough trade since the ally cards are so strong. And in my games of Storm of Swords, I think maybe once has a hostage been released through Secure Hostages, so I didn't see that as a big loss.


I agree with Haggis on this one, the reason the Leaders are necessary in ASOS is the lack of ships and they create many options of marching with wide open areas. On the base game, with Leaders and ships along with Tactics, there is so much chaos in such a cramped area. However, I suppose if you play with 3 players on the base game, Leaders and Tactics could have a place as they'd allow you to cover more ground.
 
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