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A Game of Thrones: The Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Deck Building Approach Help rss

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Matthew Hopkins
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My goal with the LCG is to develop 5 house decks (4 core plus Greyjoy, Martell eventually), that are all fairly balanced. My "gaming group" for the LCG is currently either my wife and oldest son, but may also be played with my gaming group of 3-4 other people. When we play, people can pick a deck either by preference or blind pick.

So far, I have purchased the following chapter packs:

Song of Summer
Change of Seasons
Winds of Winter

City of Secrets
Time of Trials
Tower of the Hand
Tales from the Red Keep

I am working on getting the rest of the Time of Ravens and Kings Landing decks.

Here is where I am getting challenged:

As I integrate new chapter decks in, my thought is to do the following in a systematic way: (I'll use "A Song of Summer" chapter pack as an example)

1) characters and locations with a specific house crest will always go to that house deck (as a fan of the books, this appeals to me greatly)

2) Attachments (some house specific and some generic) should be spread out as evenly as possible between the houses. For example: 3 Summer Tax cards(Lannister crest), 3 Black Raven cards(generic) and 3 Carrion Bird cards(generic), could be spread between the houses somehow. I have begun to set cards aside for Martell as I find them, so they would be included in this.

3) Plot card: Since there is only one in a chapter pack, my thought would be to hold out neew plot cards until I have six of them, and them give each house the option of replacing a current plot with a new one.

4) Agenda card: keep all of these seperate from the house decks, and let players choose an agenda before the start of the game.

I do have my own concerns over this approach: It dilutes the use of attachments in a deck (you may only get 1 raven card in a house deck). Also, these decks will start getting large, which again will dilute the deck's power. Perhaps I need to set an upper limit for deck size.

I'd welcome other player's thoughts on this undertaking. The decks I make will probably be somewhat static once established, meaning I do not see that I'll be swapping cards between decks too much, unless players agree on changes. I will integrate all future chapter packs.

Thanks all,

Matt
 
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Damon Stone
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I understand where you are going with this, but to be perfectly honest you are headed in the wrong direction. The decks will not remain balanced by simply spreading out cards equally among them. What you need to do is take a look at the House strengths and weaknesses and recognize where the balance is amongst the decks. For example, Stark versus Lannister. Stark will get compeltely destroyed by Lannisters intrigue challenges as a general rule. They need a way of compensating for that in some way. Adding more intrigue icons is a way to do so but then you may end up diluting their strength which is military dominance, often with the ability to not kneel for attack or defense depending on the character. Lannister finds facing Starks military a very risky gamble, but their ability to pump out gold and draw a lot of cards keeps their board from being wiped out too frequently as well as their ability to kneel Stark's best characters to force through a challenge they would otherwise lose.

So how to balance these two houses? When you put Lannister in the hands of an experienced player they'll beat Stark pretty consistently if you are not careful. I'd think about limiting the occurrence of their cards. Anything that seems very strong should be in there twice not three times, and anything game defining should be in there once. Stark has some powerful Winter effects which can boost their ability and Lannister is not harmed by either season so doesn't really need any Ravens (aside from a Carrion Crow which each House should get one, and season based decks should get two). Those could instead go to Stark, Baratheon, and Greyjoy (Winter) and Baratheon, Targaryen, and Martell (Summer).

Now if you are going to be most often playing melee (multi-player) you can get even more free with the cards because it is no longer about Stark and Lanni decks being balanced against each other, but Stark, Greyjoy, and Lannister being balanced against each other... which is to say that Greyjoy excels at military challenges also so Starks dominance there is suddenly being challenges. Lannister has to spread out their effects even more to retain control and leaving the wrong Greyjoy character standing could suddenly lead to unblocakable challenges.

My honest reccomendation to you is to develop fun and interesting decks for each house if you play melee. don't worry about balance you can always pull the most troublesome cards out of a deck by one until the decks win ratio starts to come back down inline with everyone else. Don't forget, in melee it is often the driver not the car, that decides who is the victor. The person who can forge alliances, seek actions for mutual benefit, appear to be the least threatening, and know when it is time to betray or abandon alliances and rush for the win, who will end up holding the Iron Throne.
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Matthew Hopkins
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Great advice and feedback, thanks so very much. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you.

I can defintely see the wisdom in how split up the ravens and carrion cards.


As for plot cards, I feel that this is also a tricky area to balance between the 6 houses.

Here's an idea that i'd be curious to get anyone's feeback on.

Instead of building house decks and their accompanying 7 plot cards, what if you collected all plot cards prior to the start of a game, dealt an excess number to each player (perhaps 10), and let them pick the 7 they want to use for that game. I have enough chapter packs by now that I could manage this.

This would obviously introduce a second layer of game randomness, but would also force players to look for new strategies each time, especially since I do not see the house decks altering all that often.

Thoughts anyone?


Matt

 
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Steve Zamborsky
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This isn't a good way to go with the plot decks. Really, the appeal for purchasing and playing an LCG/CCG/TCG are the myriad of strategies that can be developed using the cards at your disposal. And one core element of A Game of Thrones is the plot deck and how it integrates with the main deck you've created.

Why not just design each House deck with a specific focus in mind, including plots?
 
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Damon Stone
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More than the LCG thing, the unique control that the plot deck gives you is really important for getting a sense of what AGoT has to offer. I wouldn't deal them at random, I'd select 10 that specifically work with the decks/houses and let the players customize. I'd even consider getting a second copy of the more versatile plots (obviously barring the furies). This way you could have multiple plots represented in each grouping and players are forced to deal with the possibility of two Valars getting played in the same game, or figuring out if putting out a certain plot their opponent is likely to have first or second is the better choice, or even trying to aim to reveal it at the same time.

Deeper strategies, more fun.
 
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Justin Robben
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Matt, I am subscribing to this thread; hopefully more ideas/suggestions come about.
You and I seem to be in a similar boat.

I want the 6 houses to be as equally represented as a constructable game can be. So, a player can simply pick up one of the decks and feel like he/she has a fair chance and an enjoyable game.
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Jack Merridew
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i dunno i guess if i was going to try and build 6 decks for the six houses i would just build the deck that fits them the most

Stark Seige of Winterfell deck

Baratheon Power Rush deck

Martell Red Viper deck

Greyjoy Winter unoppossed deck

Lannister Kneel deck

Targaryen Burn or Dothraki if its melee
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