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

Subject: Errata - what will we see changed? rss

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Alex Banks
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So straight away I want to say this isn't an FFG-insult session. I have massive respect for the people there, and they've created a really beautiful, fun game to play.

However if you just look over the forum (the number of posts about 4-player imbalance alone!) you can see the game has some balancing issues. These will doubtless get an official 'fix' at some point, so I thought it would be good to just speculate and talk about what needs fixing and how it can be fixed in one topic.

Feel free to post both issues and possible solutions and I'll try to add them to the list. What I already have is:


4 players
Problem: In a 4 player game Baratheon has a much easier time securing territories in Tyrell and Martell's vacant position unopposed.
Possible solution: Turn over some of the neutral tokens in the South to make them impassable and/or make Tyrell the fourth playable House instead of Greyjoy

5 players
Problem: In a 5 player game Baratheon and Tyrell still have an easier time securing territories due to Martells vacant position in the South.
Possible solution: Turn over some of the neutral tokens in the SOuth to make them impassable and/or make Martell the fifth playable House instead of Greyjoy

Balon Greyjoy
Problem: *EDIT - After discussion, its probably better for only Balon Greyjoy to get a fix so-as not to cripple Greyjoys aggressive strengths*
Balon Greyjoy offers a guaranteed +2 victory, and in combination with cards like Aeron or Victarion, makes Greyjoy's cards appear imbalanced
Possible solution: Reduce Balon's combat STR to 1 or 0 or allow your opponent to draw a Tides of Battle Card and add it to their combat STR

Lannister
Problem: In almost every size game, Lannister has a much harder time securing and holding onto territories, particularly in games involving Greyjoy
Possible solution: Play without Greyjoy in 4 or 5 player games, as above or place an extra footman or ship in Lannisport at set-up or provide Lannister with some other early-game benefit


If you can think of any more issues that might need Errata changes, or disagree with anything I've said above please let me know!

Thanks
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Thomas De Wolf
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Greyjoy House Cards
Problem: Greyjoys House Cards are clearly superior to everyone elses, in particular Balon, Victarian and Aeron, allowing them to win almost any combat they choose to take part in.
Possible solution: Reduce Balon's combat STR to 1 or 0 or allow your opponent to draw a Tides of Battle Card and add it to their combat STR, Victarian's ability does not effect supporting Greyjoy ships


I think the Greyjoy house cards Aeron and Victarion are ok.

Aeron : expensive to play , costs two power so if Greyjoy plays him, he's not going to do well if a bidding round follows.

Victarion : if you would change him, you would also need to change the Kevan Lannister card which does exactly the same but for infantry. And thus you'ld weaken both sides, since Kevan can be used to make a heavy counterattack for the Lannisters. Victarion represents Greyjoys supremacy on water.

Balon : a very strong card. It takes away the risk of losing combat when Greyjoy has a higher combat value from units in battle. On top of that an opponent can lose his highest value house card without it having had any use.
This last effect is very annoying and perhaps too much of an advantage for this already powerful card so if you want to weaken this effect perhaps this is an idea : Balon resolves as normal but the opponent can take his house card back to his hand instead of putting it in the discard pile.

Other Greyjoy cards : nothing very special, the 4 strength house card Euron even has a very weak effect compared to others.

About setup for the Greyjoys

I always find it weird that Greyjoy starts with a cavalry unit. Maybe it could be exchanged during setup with an infantry unit.

It also would be very useful when Lannister could start with an extra infantry in Lannisport. (Baratheon and Greyjoy get an extra (ship) unit at setup so why could the Lannisters not receive an extra (infantry) unit to represent its superior military strength on land)
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Georgios P.
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I'm starting to think that Greyjoy is to this game, as Khorne is to Chaos in the Old World. Both are considered vastly overpowered by a certain type of gamer/gaming group.
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Alex Banks
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Aeron's affect in and of itself isn't so powerful, its only that in combination with insta-wins like Balon and Victarion his effect seems imbalanced IMO.


I think the point about Kevan vs Victarian is this:

a) Kevan is a lot more situation-specific. Early in the game he's good, but as it goes on you'd hope a lot of yours (and your opponents) footman would be upgraded into Knights if possible, in which case he's only good if you're fighting with what is effectively a weaker army.
Ships only fight other ships so Victarions bonus is always helpful.

b) Kevan's initial combat STR is 1, so yea if fighting with 3 is like a 4 STR card (with no symbols), but with less or if he's attacked he's a useless 1. Victarions initial combat STR is 3, so if youre fighting with 3 ships hes effectively a 6 STR card, and even if you are attacked 3 isn't a bad return.

Basically Victarion feels like 'play this for instant sea victory', Kevan is not really his land equivalent. Maybe another fix is needed so-as not to confuse Kevan's including support and Victarian's not, reduce Victarian's STR to 2 or 1 to make him more similar to Kevan.


Maybe an extra unit for Lannister would help yea, allow him to expand quicker and hold off early Greyjoy attacks.
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Alex Banks
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Joe Dizzy wrote:
I'm starting to think that Greyjoy is to this game, as Khorne is to Chaos in the Old World. Both are considered vastly overpowered by a certain type of gamer/gaming group.


I don't think Greyjoy are as OP as Baratheon in the overall scheme of things - only their House Cards
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Thomas De Wolf
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I'm starting to think that Greyjoy is to this game, as Khorne is to Chaos in the Old World. Both are considered vastly overpowered by a certain type of gamer/gaming group.


I do not consider Greyjoy neither Khorne overpowered in both games, they are just easier to play and easier to understand how to play with. But winning with them still takes a considerable effort. Though that effort might have been lighter than the effort you would need to win with Lannister or Tzeentch.
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Georgios P.
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Zorzogoth wrote:
I do not consider Greyjoy neither Khorne overpowered in both games, they are just easier to play and easier to understand how to play with.


I agree entirely. It's just that the suggested errata always goes back to Greyjoy in one way or another. I've also heard of people dismissing Chaos in the Old World, because it's "all about Khorne".

I'm not sure if the game needs errata to fix any perceived issues with game balance. But considering the many comments about the set up in a 4-player-game, I could imagine a variant showing up when the FAQ eventually goes live.
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Kevin Corbett
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This game will never be perfectly balanced. If it was you would have identical cards and identical start positions such as four players start in a square map. Lanister always was a tougher position and Baratheon, Grejoy and Stark always won more games then Tyrell, Lanister and Grejoy.

This game is best played with 5 or 6 players. Storm of swords was meant for the 4 player game.

I highly doubt you will see much change in the Balance of the game. Just use diplomacy, ruse and have fun playing the different houses.
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John Clark
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Grayle84 wrote:

I highly doubt you will see much change in the Balance of the game. Just use diplomacy, ruse and have fun playing the different houses.


From reading a bunch of the analysis here, the problem with 4-player is not that Baratheon is overpowered, but that the first turn of the game becomes entirely scripted - the other houses have only one option on the first turn of the game (two of them must attack into the neutral areas while the third agrees not to take advantage of that) and that is boring.

Its a bit like the original Imperial card in TI3 - the card was powerful, sure, but that could be overcome with diplomacy and attacking - but the problem was the game was boring - player 1 takes Imperial and player 2 takes Initiative in order to take Imperial next turn.
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Matt Shinners
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Alexthebanks wrote:

Greyjoy House Cards
Problem: Greyjoys House Cards are clearly superior to everyone elses, in particular Balon, Victarian and Aeron, allowing them to win almost any combat they choose to take part in.
Possible solution: Reduce Balon's combat STR to 1 or 0 or allow your opponent to draw a Tides of Battle Card and add it to their combat STR, Victarian's ability does not effect supporting Greyjoy ships


Greyjoy's strong house cards and strong abilities in combat make up for the fact that they're pretty boxed in to begin with. Sure, that puts pressure on Lannister, but Lannister is supposed to rely a lot on diplomacy (and stabbing people in the back). I think that having stronger house cards makes up for how boxed in they are, and I don't think they're OP at all.

As for needing neutral force token adjustments, I doubt we'll see an actual change on this from FFG.
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Alex Banks
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I guess to label 'Greyjoys cards OP' is misleading on my part - it isn't that every Greyjoy card is stronger than every Lannister card for example, its just that two cards in particular - namely Victarion and particularly Balon - are insta-wins. No other cards in the game guarantee you victory like these two do - I like that they put in a lot of 'situational' cards which you have to work in certain situations. These two give you all the benefits with no penalty - if you attack someone in the sea with Victarian, you've won. If you attack anyone ANYWHERE with Balon, you've won. I don't think this is what FFG had in mind with these cards, hence why I think some Errata might be needed..

I understand what everyones saying about 'if you want a balanced game then you might as well play a game thats set-up symmetrically', but surely there is a limit? If, for thematic reasons, we decided that Lannister should instead start with 15 power tokens rather than 5, to represent their wealth, and Greyjoy should start with only 1 footman, to represent how small their land army actually is, then people would call foul on that right?

I would say surely the main reason we play games is to have fun, enjoy the theme, enjoy the gaming experience as a whole. A big part of that IMO is feeling like you are fairly treated, and I think lowering the STR of Balon Greyjoy or placing some neutral tokens down on the board isn't me making a statement about the symmetry or lack-of in the game, am just thinking what will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone..!

Also, having played Lannister for 3 games in a row now, I have to say relying on diplomacy only works if people are willing to play that way - if you happen to have aggressive neighbours as Lannister its going to be very difficult for you for most of the game.

Remember most of the issues regarding the board we're talking about are in 4-5 player games.
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Alex Banks
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Grayle84 wrote:
Lanister always was a tougher position and Baratheon, Grejoy and Stark always won more games then Tyrell, Lanister and Grejoy.


This is exactly the kind of thing I'd hoped they might have fixed for this edition..
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John Boone
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MattShinners wrote:

Greyjoy's strong house cards and strong abilities in combat make up for the fact that they're pretty boxed in to begin with. Sure, that puts pressure on Lannister, but Lannister is supposed to rely a lot on diplomacy (and stabbing people in the back). I think that having stronger house cards makes up for how boxed in they are, and I don't think they're OP at all.


Agree with this 100% I played Greyjoy in a 6-player game and felt I had to go offensive from the start so I wouldn't get squeezed out by the Starks and Lannisters.
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Alex Banks
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jwboone wrote:
MattShinners wrote:

Greyjoy's strong house cards and strong abilities in combat make up for the fact that they're pretty boxed in to begin with. Sure, that puts pressure on Lannister, but Lannister is supposed to rely a lot on diplomacy (and stabbing people in the back). I think that having stronger house cards makes up for how boxed in they are, and I don't think they're OP at all.


Agree with this 100% I played Greyjoy in a 6-player game and felt I had to go offensive from the start so I wouldn't get squeezed out by the Starks and Lannisters.


I'm sorry but I still don't agree with this
I haven't heard of any games so far where Greyjoy has been 'squeezed out', the opposite in fact, most of them resulted in Greyjoy taking the North from Stark or taking the centre from Lannister (because of said cards).
Give Greyjoy good offensive cards, yes, thats fine. That doesn't mean you have to give them unbeatable cards..
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Georgios P.
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Alexthebanks wrote:

Give Greyjoy good offensive cards, yes, thats fine. That doesn't mean you have to give them unbeatable cards..


How is Balon or Victarion unbeatable?

Balon's text effect is pretty much nullified, when attacked by a superiour force (+2 and you're even, +3 and he loses).

Victarion gets you somewhere between +1 to +14 points. And that's a theoretical maximum where you are fighting a battle where you have two adjacent sea zones giving you support and have a maxed-out fleet. If Greyjoy makes it all the way across to Shipbreaker Bay, controls Sea of Dorne and attacks the East Summer Sea, he might make it up to +18. Which is a very unlikely situation or at the very least, if Greyjoy has such control over the sea zones, Victarion is the least of your problems.

Compare that to Kevan Lannister, who can double his footmen's effectiveness during combat, but is fighting on areas which have far more borders, and thus far more possibilities to ramp up the bonusses. Kevan's theoretical maximum is at +30, if he is swarming in on The Reach from all sides.

And all of that is cut down effectively, with a simple Raid order. All of a sudden, the best Greyjoy can hope for is a +4 advantage using that card. And again, only if he maxed out on supply before and has his fleet all together. It's far more likely that Greyjoy's fleet peaks at a size of about 3 (and possibly another 2 due to support). In essence, Greyjoy has a card that is worth 6 (or 8 if you planned well and nobody raided you, which you really, really should with Greyjoy).

Beating a value 6 card, isn't all that hard really. Just attack him with a superiour force, like Balon (+2 gets you about even and +3 beats Victarion) and play your highest card. And all of a sudden Greyjoy falters and loses his great advantage.

I really can't see how those cards make Greyjoy unbeatable. You have to plan ahead, and keep his ability in mind; but that's pretty much what the mix of strategy and diplomacy in this game is all about.

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C Sav
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In the two games we've played so far, Greyjoy started brightly but lost momentum later on. Their cards are powerful but if they play their big hitters (Balon, Euron, and Victarion) too early, they start to look pretty vulnerable, which is bad news with the Lannisters to the south...
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Alex Banks
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Joe Dizzy wrote:
Alexthebanks wrote:

Give Greyjoy good offensive cards, yes, thats fine. That doesn't mean you have to give them unbeatable cards..


How is Balon or Victarion unbeatable?


By unbeatable I mean that in the case of Balon you literally can never 'beat' him card-for-card. If Greyjoy has the Valyrian Steel blade you literally have to plan to have FOUR more attack than your opponent if he still has Balon. I think thats rather extreme..

Victarion is not technically unbeatable, but in any naval battle he attacks in the absolute minimum he will have STR-wise is 4 (3+1), which is the maximum that Lannister could put out. And thats if Victarion is used badly.

As I've said before, the difference with Kevan is yes in one battle you can have an incredible amount of STR (potentially), but after that one battle you're stuck with a bunch of footman rather than Knight, which is why its a double-edge sword

I'll just give one more example of what I'm getting at and then drop the issue, because its clear many people don't agree with me on this one. That's fine, we don't all have to play the same

Greyjoy is going to attack Lannister with, what else, ship transport. The area being attacked is a key strategic point (think Seaguard, Lannisport, Riverrun, etc.) that both want desperately to hold. Their combat STR is even and both have all their cards available. Lannister has the choice to use their strongest card (Tywin) but of course if they do then they will have to wait a while to use it again, leaving them vulnerable to future attacks.

Greyjoy has FOUR cards that will equal or beat Lannisters strongest - Aeron (choosing an appropriate card), Balon (guarenteeed +2), Victarion (even or higher depending on how many supporting ships their are) and Euron (even).

I'm sure people can say: 'but what if you raid away the support' (well then they can play any of the other 3 cards), 'Aeron's expensive' (I'd pay 2 power if it guarenteed me victory), 'Euron's the weakest 4' (He'll still win you combats the same as Eddard, Tywin, Red Viper)

My main gripe is Balon, and I firmly believe he needs some sort of fix to not remain an imbalanced card.
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Alex Banks
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Oh and Merry Christmas one and all for tomorrow
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Georgios P.
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Thanks for your clarification. I hope you're having a good time with your friends and family.

Alexthebanks wrote:
Their combat STR is even and both have all their cards available.


And this would be the point where Lannister has made a strategic mistake. If you have to rely on playing your highest card, you're not playing strategically enough.

The trick in winning this game is only fighting when you are unlikely to lose. (It helps to get the backing/support of other houses.) Or if you're going into unwinnable fights, do so with the intention of depleting your opponents' hand. If Lannister and/or Stark play smartly, they can make Greyjoy waste his strongest cards on minor battles without actually harming your units... and with you only losing some of your lesser cards.

Greyjoy has very strong cards, I agree. But that just means that you can appeal to that player's hubris, and make him waste his cards early on, giving him little with which to defend himself, when the inevitable return attack comes around.

You are of course right, that with the Valyrian Blade Greyjoy can always rely on some extra punch. But that's the point. If the Blade wouldn't actually turn fights around for its wielder, it'd be quite a waste.

My point is, that while I agree that Greyjoy is very strong, it is also something which you can take into account when developing a strategy to win the game. You need to have the long game in your sight, and not just the next stronghold or castle. That's what makes this game so appealing. While Greyjoy will try to rush to a win. Stark and Lannister will be content to just keep calm and crush their opponents a turn or two later.

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Alex Banks
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Fair enough. I totally see what you're getting at, I think I just don't necessarily play with people who might think that way.

Either way, in my own games Balon Greyjoy is getting some kind of 'fix'. It seems unlikely FFG will find an elegant solution to fixing House Cards until a future expansion anyway..

And thanks.
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my biggest problem with greyjoy is that they really cant advance anywhere. they have to start fighting either the lannisters or starks or then they really have to stay put in early game.

this means that they are the only faction that have to fight in the beginning AND cant muster units as they can't use any special orders. so the only thing they can rely on is their house cards.
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Tom Hancock
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Greyjoy has strong cards but that's it. They usually make a strong thrust into the riverlands or the north, use their power cards to gain it, then get smacked down when dagger cleftjaw is trying to defend pale from gregor clegane.

You aren't attacking greyjoy enough. Feint at them and watch their cards get wasted..

The only fix I would like to see is something making conquering neutrals less predictable and more deadly, which should solve the balance issues in 4-5 player.
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Tom Hancock
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Pale should be pyke- stupid autocorrect.

What are the starks doing in these games where greyjoy is running all over lannister? ??

Just curious.
 
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Alex Banks
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hancock.tom wrote:
Pale should be pyke- stupid autocorrect.

What are the starks doing in these games where greyjoy is running all over lannister? ??

Just curious.


I don't want to talk too much about why I think Balon's OP any more (hes a major factor in Greyjoys strength), my reasons are all above, so I'll avoid card comparisons.

In the games I've played (and if you read the reports on this site too, from what I remember), unless Stark pushes beyond Moat C. early on in the game the early engagements tend to be Lannister-Greyjoy. As you say, Greyjoys stronger cards then win him these early engagements. Of course at this point its then up to Stark or Lannister to capitalise on this and counter-attack Greyjoy.

Stark - The presumption there is that Stark has planned for this (or hasn't allied with Greyjoy himself), instead of say trying to expand towards the Fingers, finish taking the north or even fighting off Baratheon if he's taken the important Eastern sea area. So in the right circumstances yes, Greyjoy will be punished. But its very dependent on one other house being ready for this.

Lannister - Presuming Lannister still has a reasonable army after being battered by Greyjoy, if they counter-attack whats to stop them from then being attacked by Tyrell or even Baratheon? Losing a battle isn't as simple as just 'taking the hit' to make him waste good cards, its quite possible you'll lose units if other houses are alert to this strategy and attack the areas you retreat to.

Lannister's problems don't derive from Greyjoy, they are just compounded by them being so close and Greyjoy being capable of choosing which battles they are guarenteed to win. Couple that with Lannisters position on the map in relation to other houses and it means Lannister are relying very heavily on friendship from both Stark (retaliating against Greyjoy) AND Tyrell (not taking advantage of a weakened Lannister). In the games I've played situations just don't align like that in Lannisters favour.

These problems aren't irresolvable, and I'm not saying the game is broken. Lannister are technically capable of winning, but I think steps could be taken to make it more fair for them (by say adding an extra footman in Stoney Sept at the start of the game, something like that perhaps)
 
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Joshua Siegfried
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Maybe I misunderstood what you meant in your original post, but when you said...
Balon Greyjoy offers a guaranteed +2 victory, and in combination with cards like Aeron or Victarion, makes Greyjoy's cards appear imbalanced
Possible solution: Reduce Balon's combat STR to 1 or 0 or allow your opponent to draw a Tides of Battle Card and add it to their combat STR.

...I was a little confused. If you are using Tide of Battle cards, why wouldn't the opponent be able to draw one and add it to his combat strength?

The bonus from the Tide of Battle cards is applied to your combat strength, not the house card itself, so if you drew one, you would get to add the bonus to your combat strength. Am I missing something?
 
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