Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
13 Posts

A Game of Thrones (first edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Testing a thematic game balance rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jeff Khoury
United States
White Oak
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The problem is the board itself is so heavily slanted towards certain houses that balance can only be achieved by several changes. To date, I don't know if anyone has come up with a satisfactory solution.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Schulzetenberg
United States
Los Angeles
CA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
anathemus wrote:
I'm going to try a game with Lannister playing with the card deck from Clash of Kings while other players will play the normal aGoT decks.


Your thematic argument is spot on. I too wish Lannister was stronger to more accurately represent their status in the books.

That said, I don't think that giving them the CoK house cards is the way to fix it. Tywin, Jaime, and Gregor Clegane in particular are crazy powerful. Clegane is automatically one strength better than any card that another house plays, Jaime two better, and Tywin is able to buy as much power as he needs. In the base game, where military strength is so difficult to come by, that's huge. I suggest a more moderated approach. How about house-ruling Tywin or Jaime or both from the base set to a 4, which will be signifiant enough without giving them the full trio of amazing cards from CoK. I bet that'd be enough to give the Lion some teeth.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Khoury
United States
White Oak
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Totally random thought: why not give the Lannisters King's Landing? They held it in the books. Even a small force would make it more difficult on Baratheon, who normally just scoop it up effortlessly. Even if the city falls, the surviving Lions can either reinforce the House's other holdings or harass Baratheon's prize.

With a large force, there would be a real battle and an interesting exchange of cards. If the Lannister's can hold out a turn or two and either reinforce, or get lucky with an early muster, they'd be in good shape. Granted, giving them such an advantage would make them a huge target for the other players, but:

1. They are already a huge target (mostly due to their weak position), so that won't change
2. Said weak position allows them to be targeted by all 4 other houses, so they can be kept in line much easier than Baratheon or Greyjoy
3. A strong House Lannister, holding King's Landing and individually more powerful than each other house is very much like the books, so I don't have a problem with it. (Although the Tyrells had a huge army in the field, the Lannisters had 3 smaller forces under Tywin, Jaime, and [?--the one mustering at Casterly Rock that Robb smashed] plus King's Landing.)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Travis Hall
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
flag msg tools
JVKhoury wrote:
Totally random thought: why not give the Lannisters King's Landing? They held it in the books. Even a small force would make it more difficult on Baratheon, who normally just scoop it up effortlessly.

How big is "a small force"? If the size of Lannister's force is below 4, it may make it easier for Baratheon to take King's Landing than in the standard game. While Lannister would get to use a house card, so would Baratheon, so that pretty much cancels out.

Quote:
With a large force, there would be a real battle and an interesting exchange of cards.

With a large force, Baratheon could be screwed. Suddenly he has to deal with Stark in the north, Tyrell in the south, and Lannister in the west.

Note that I'm not saying this can't work, though. I've considered split setup for Lannister before, though mostly in the context of constructing a version of the game that has eight playable sides (Lannister, Stark, Baratheon, Tyrell, Martell, Tully, Arryn and Greyjoy). That game would have used reduced starting forces, to accommodate everyone on the board, and revised borders to create some more space, so my analyses from that aren't directly applicable to this.

But it would mean you'd have to do so very thorough analysis of the new position. You'd have to look carefully at what options Baratheon now has, at whether it suddenly makes sense for Lannister to just abandon one side or the other and march in force to one coast, and whether that screws over whomever Lannister decides to go up against. All sorts of other things, too. It's not a small change, and I'd suggest being very careful about it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Khoury
United States
White Oak
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wraith wrote:
JVKhoury wrote:
Totally random thought: why not give the Lannisters King's Landing? They held it in the books. Even a small force would make it more difficult on Baratheon, who normally just scoop it up effortlessly.

How big is "a small force"? If the size of Lannister's force is below 4, it may make it easier for Baratheon to take King's Landing than in the standard game. While Lannister would get to use a house card, so would Baratheon, so that pretty much cancels out.

Quote:
With a large force, there would be a real battle and an interesting exchange of cards.

With a large force, Baratheon could be screwed. Suddenly he has to deal with Stark in the north, Tyrell in the south, and Lannister in the west.

Note that I'm not saying this can't work, though. I've considered split setup for Lannister before, though mostly in the context of constructing a version of the game that has eight playable sides (Lannister, Stark, Baratheon, Tyrell, Martell, Tully, Arryn and Greyjoy). That game would have used reduced starting forces, to accommodate everyone on the board, and revised borders to create some more space, so my analyses from that aren't directly applicable to this.

But it would mean you'd have to do so very thorough analysis of the new position. You'd have to look carefully at what options Baratheon now has, at whether it suddenly makes sense for Lannister to just abandon one side or the other and march in force to one coast, and whether that screws over whomever Lannister decides to go up against. All sorts of other things, too. It's not a small change, and I'd suggest being very careful about it.


Some very good points here. One good option would be a single fleet in Blackwater Bay that would play havoc with Baratheon's King's Landing rush (esp if ports are used). I think a single fleet there could do more damage than a Knight in KL.

Also, a low strength force (2 footmen) could hold with say a free fortification marker + using a "defense +1" order. A fleet holding the Blackwater would allow one footman enough time to slip out of the city and add a "support +1" order (so the defenses would basically be exactly like in the book). Only trouble is, I don't think Lannister can place 2 * orders, but an early election isn't unheard of.

I don't really have the game setup in front of me to crunch numbers and positions, but I think a good setup is possible.

I also don't think Baratheon has too much to worry about positionally. It's pretty much accepted that Baratheon has the best position and Lannister the worst. Properly tweaking King's Landing so that Baratheon doesn't get an (essentially) uncontested march on the capital (and that sweet Blackwater Bay support order placement) and so that Lannister actually has some claws addresses both imbalances at once. (And is more faithful to the actual source.)

A strong Lannister will naturally be beaten down by all of its neighbors (in Diplomacy, Russia has an extra army to compensate for all of the enemies she borders). A weakened Baratheon still has a very good position, but may need to focus more on navy to cherry pick the coasts if KL is too hotly contested, or to keep back a covetous Stark (although, a strong Lannister will also keep some of Stark's movements in check around the neck).

Finally, although the Lannister's might hold KL, they will never benefit from the superb Blackwater Bay support order as long as Baratheon still holds Shipbreaker Bay (the one surrounding Dragonstone?). No other house can hold KL half as well as Baratheon, so even outright giving it to the Lannister's isn't nearly as bad as the standard setup, which outright gives it to Baratheon anyway.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Khoury
United States
White Oak
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Scratch what I said about Lannister vs Stark. What I'm talking about doesn't actually improve Lannister in the west. It might even convince Greyjoy and/or Stark and/or Tyrell to alliance against the Lions and crush them even harder. But, still, they'd have enough forces to regroup around Harrenahll if driven from both the Rock and King's Landing, and probably have enough to retake one or the other (something that standard setup would never allow them).

Greyjoy probably benefits from this setup, now being positionally the best (which once belonged to Baratheon). But, it's not as egregious a first place as before, and Stark might have more to say about the Krakens if they don't have to worry so much about the growing power of the Stags in King's Landing.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Travis Hall
Australia
Brisbane
Queensland
flag msg tools
JVKhoury wrote:
Only trouble is, I don't think Lannister can place 2 * orders, but an early election isn't unheard of.

Lannister can place three special orders (in the standard game). Lannister even gets the Messenger Raven.

Quote:
I don't really have the game setup in front of me to crunch numbers and positions, but I think a good setup is possible.

Seriously, you need to do that during your development phase. Remember the kerfuffle when the game first came out concerning Greyjoy walking all over Lannister in the first turn? The one that required errata pretty much immediately after release? That happened because the designers didn't crunch the openings. Every possible combination of orders should have been examined to see if

Quote:
I also don't think Baratheon has too much to worry about positionally. It's pretty much accepted that Baratheon has the best position and Lannister the worst.

That second sentence is true, but while Baratheon is generally considered to have an advantage, it is certainly a fairly subtle one. It isn't like Baratheon just walks all over the other houses game after game. It wouldn't take much to take Baratheon from the strongest house to unplayably weak.

Really, analysis of advantage needs to examine the available resources for each house in its natural theatre of operations. For example, in the standard game...

Baratheon controls five muster points: Dragonstone (2), King's Landing (2), Storm's End (1)

Stark controls five muster points: Winterfell (2), Moat Cailin (1), White Harbour (1)

Tyrell controls four muster points: Highgarden (2), Oldtown (1), The Reach (1).

Crackclaw Point is naturally contested by Baratheon and Stark. Sunspear is naturally contested by Baratheon and Tyrell.

Baratheon has a subtle advantage over Stark, partly due to the fact that he gains advantage by winning in the contest for either of Sunspear and Crackclaw Point, and partly due to the fact that Stark generally requires a little more time to secure his base areas.

But make King's Landing too strong for Baratheon to take, and we have...

Baratheon controls three muster points: Dragonstone (2), Storm's End (1)

Ouch. Now the balance swings far against Baratheon.

To negate the advantage Baratheon gets in the standard game, you'd have to still allow him to take King's Landing, but at some cost, which probably has to come in terms of time and momentum. It's not an easy thing to achieve.

Quote:
No other house can hold KL half as well as Baratheon, so even outright giving it to the Lannister's isn't nearly as bad as the standard setup, which outright gives it to Baratheon anyway.

I really have to dispute that assessment. If Lannister can hold King's Landing with certainly (and let's face if, if he can do so, he can do so without support from the Lannister forces in the west), Baratheon is almost certainly out of the running from turn 1. Even holding Crackclaw Point and Sunspear in addition to Storm's End still only puts him on even footing with Stark, in terms of mustering and city count alone. Basically he then has to win on every front to make a game of it at all.

The advantage the shift gives to Lannister may be less than what is taken from Baratheon, but that isn't really a strong criterion for assessing game balance.

In other words, do your analysis very thoroughly.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Khoury
United States
White Oak
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree Travis.

I think that it's good for Lannister to be a speed bump in KL, but they should also be able to hold it with poor Baratheon play, or be able to fall back to the west if they play well.

Right now, I'm just throwing out ideas. I don't really have the time to set up an opening scenario and really crunch, which I also agree is necessary for any worthwhile plan.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Noway Jose
Canada
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What a fantastic thread to try and balance this game, i've been on the fence due to this immediate disadvantage (my gamers are all ridiculously smart and tend to exploit lol)

any idea how that mod worked anathemus?

Cheers!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.