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A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Dune politics variant rss

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David Jackman
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How would everyone feel about this variant(shamelessly stolen from Dune):

Any contracts or agreements made while at the table (in public) must be fulfilled.

This game shares similarities with Dune, and this is one of my favorite rules from that game.

It might look, at first glance, to be against the backstabby spirit of AGoT, but it opens a lot of room for cleverness and plotting. I cant tell you how many times in Dune someone else handed someone the victory because they agreed to something they shouldnt have ahead of time.

Thoughts?
 
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Moshe
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Since when are agreements in Dune binding? I've never played it that way..

As AGoT is the ultimate back-stabbing game, I believe it won't do good for it. Relying on agreements is really against the spirit of the game, and having a certain alliance on one side makes you a huge threat on the other.

The (mostly) non-random nature of AGoT will probably turn it into a dry game, as it will be based on pure strategy, while this is a negotiation game (which Dune isn't, which is why in Dune it might work).
 
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David Jackman
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Dune not a game of negotiation? I think we might have been playing two different games.



That is the excerpt from the rules:

Players can make any kind of verbal deals or bribes between
one another. Once made, these deals and bribes must be
stated aloud and must be honored. A player cannot renege on
a deal or bribe. Spice can be part of the bribe or deal.

This might be counter-intuitive as to why this promotes backstabbing, but it really does.

You can be very tricky with this sort of thing. Some examples:

"Okay, I will only leave one footman here if you support me in at least one combat next turn." He might not realize that one combat is one against himself.

"Dont raid my support here and I will let you choose all of my attacks next turn." Little does he know, it doesnt matter because that support is key to you winning this turn.

etc etc. The deals are not meant to be "I WILL NEVER ATTACK YOU" sort of things. Just one off sort of situations. We actually have a house rule (in Dune) where deals are null and void if more than one turn old.

It really does add to the scheming and backstabbing, not detract from it.

EDIT: another point - this does not stop people from making 'non-binding' agreements. This allows for some more heavy-handed political intrigue. In Dune, we physically shake on binding stuff, but there are obviously many more non-binding deals flying around the table.
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Moshe
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I don't see any reason anyone would trust ANY agreement that isn't binding.

As for negotiation - it's not that Dune doesn't contain negotiation, it's that it's not based around it completely.
At least when I play it with my group, there might be a lot of table talk but there's no comparing that to the level of negotiation found in games of Game of Thrones, where negotation is everything.
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David Jackman
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Just as an aside - I don't think anything is 'broken' with AGoT - on the contrary, I love the game. It doesn't need any changes - this is meant as an idea for a variant to change the feel of the game.


Starkiller wrote:
I don't see any reason anyone would trust ANY agreement that isn't binding.


Yeah, i agree - but with my 4 plays of AgOT (which isn't a ton, I admit), we dont trust any agreement period, so (in my metagame, at least, which is going to be very different from yours) it doesn't seem like that would change much.

The idea would be it would give players an option to 'wheel and deal' a bit more.

There are use cases for binding and non-binding agreements. For example, saying that 'I will do what I can to hurt X player next turn' would be too vague for a binding agreement. However, saying 'I will attack Winterfell next turn' is not.

In my Dune games, at least, people avoid using binding agreements because of the uncertainty that comes with other player actions. Also, announcing to the table your intentions is a pretty huge hinderance in both AGoT and Dune.

They still have their place, but they have some serious drawbacks as well.

Starkiller wrote:

As for negotiation - it's not that Dune doesn't contain negotiation, it's that it's not based around it completely.
At least when I play it with my group, there might be a lot of table talk but there's no comparing that to the level of negotiation found in games of Game of Thrones, where negotation is everything.


You most definitely can play Dune without negotiation, but this comes down to how individual groups play. The 'binding agreement' rule is probably one of the main things that encourage it in Dune.


 
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Greg Low
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Starkiller wrote:
I don't see any reason anyone would trust ANY agreement that isn't binding.
You don't need binding rules to have trustworthy agreements, as long as honoring the agreement benefits both parties, or the aggreived party will be able to impose sufficient penalties on oathbreakers. Things aren't always zero sum between two parties. In game theory, think of coordination problems. It may be than an agreement benefits both parties in the agreement (probably at the expense of those outside it). In the cases where keeping the agreement is logical for both sides, it's a stable approach even without rule-based enforcement.

Even where agreements are slightly less stable, there are reputational reasons to honor agreements. There's lots of potential for kingmaking in AGoT, and angering the person in third place may ensure that you aren't the one that wins.

Best,
-Greg
 
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