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

Subject: The Lannister-Greyjoy Axis rss

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C Sav
United Kingdom
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We've played a couple of games so far and in both games Greyjoy and Lannister forged an early alliance, leading to war between the Greyjoys and the Starks and allowing the Lannisters to push south and east. I'm curious to what extent this represents coincidence/groupthink among the people we play with, and to what extent it represents the best early move for the Lannisters and Greyjoys. Do you see this pattern emerging in your games or do you see many Greyjoy-Stark alliances?

Cheers!
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Nacho Facello
Uruguay
Montevideo
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Only played three games. The first (four players) one started with an uneasy truce between Lannister (me) and Greyjoy. It lasted one or two turns, then Lannister occupied the sea around Pyke, and things got complicated (there was a Clash of Kings in turn two, and Greyjoy had spent his best cards against Stark, so I had the upper hand). In the end, like with almost any four player game, Baratheon won easily.

The second one (six players), with the exact same Greyjoy player (Lannister was a new player), started with all out war between the two. Riverrun changed hands an average of almost twice each turn. At one point Greyjoy was close to winning, so everybody came together to screw them. In the end, Lannister got his fifth castle late in turn 10, tying with Baratheon and Martell (that's me), and winning by one stronghold.

Third game, I was Lannister, Greyjoy was a new player. Greyjoy was very passive, and I didn't dare do anything against him while he had the sword and top of fiefdoms tracks. The first six turns were quite uneventful, lots of raids, and with Stark and Lannister just not daring to do anything fearing that it might awake the Kraken. After a Clash of Kings on turn 7 everything changed, and I got the sword, and moved against Greyjoy. Stark spent half his time supporting Greyjoy against my attacks, and the other half attacking Greyjoy. It ended up with me winning on my first action on turn 10.

So, in my experience, there's no alliance there. Lannister has no reason to trust that Greyjoy won't push his advantage to take Riverrun and blockade Lannisport. Greyjoy has no reason not to do this, unless Stark is pushing very aggressively from the North. Stark has no reason to be aggressive, he can just let them kill each other and advance agains the Eyrie and Baratheon. I think a Greyjoy-Stark pact makes more sense than a Greyjoy-Lannister pact. Unless Lannister gives up Riverrun, which I wouldn't do as Lannister.
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Rick May
United States
Pinellas Park
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I've played about 5 games so far, and I'd say I haven't really seen a strong Lannister-Greyjoy alliance in any of them. My friend and I were talking the other day of the possibilities though. Greyjoy turns their full attention on Stark heading north and east. Lannister deals with Baratheon and (in a 5-6 player game) Tyrell. However, I honestly feel that, castle-wise, Lannister has more to gain from Stark in that alliance. I could be wrong though - just never tried it before.
 
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Sean Combs
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In our 4 player games, it seems an early Greyjoy-Lannister alliance benefits them both. Lannister needs to stop Baratheon from taking the south, while Greyjoy keeps his back safe. Ofc in the end, Greyjoy usually stabs Lannister to try gaining the win.
 
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Mike Smith
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Wigton
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Played 6 player yesterday. Lannister and Greyjoy allied early on. I was Stark and slugged it out with Greyjoy for the whole game, to our mutual exhaustion. It was a great struggle though! Sadly we finished early (Turn 7) when a player had to leave...so there was no proper final resolution.

I would say that both the Lannister/Greyjoy and Lannister/Stark alliances have their attractions. Lannister certainly needs to ally with one of them.
 
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Tagore Nakornchai
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Putney
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If Greyjoy goes North instead of South, he pretty much guarantees that both him and Stark won't win the game. Greyjoy gains very very little from the North - the only province in the North which provides more than one resource is Winterfell, and Stark will do everything to hold on to Winterfell. This will result in a stalemate, one that will probably be broken when Lannister coems North to push Greyjoy off the mainland. Fighting Greyjoy from the get-go hurts Stark because it relies on sitting in the North relatively unmolested for most of the game, as Stark is very resource-poor compared to the other houses unless it takes the Eyrie(4 guaranteed muster points, including Moat Cailin, 2 or so crowns, and at most 3 barrels), and Stark will have trouble holding off a superior Greyjoy force, especially if Baratheon decides to take advantage of Stark's engagements elsewhere and attacks the Narrow Sea, and deprives Stark of support it needs in Moat Cailin and White Harbor.

I see very little point in Greyjoy allying with Lannister and attacking Stark - it greatly strengthens Baratheon, as Stark control of the Narrow Sea is one of the few things that keeps Baratheon under check.
 
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Tom Hancock
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Charleston
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In a four player game, I think it makes all the sense in the world for Lannister and Greyjoy to ally. In a 5 or 6 player game I think it makes just as much sense for Lannister to ally with Highgarden and Greyjoy with Stark.

 
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Tim Rudisill
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I played my first 6 player game yesterday. I was the Greyjoys. Two people with whom I had not previously played any board games (much less GoT) were the Lannisters and Starks. The Stark player was pushing hard for me to attack Lannister, claiming that I could quickly make him irrelevant and that it's what Greyjoy should always do.

I'm not one to listen to advice like that, so I did what I planned to do anyway: I forged an alliance with Lannister. The result of that was really mind-boggling.

This is only my 3rd game of GoT and neither before were 6-player. I made a terrible mistake in round 1 that ended up being a key factor in deciding the game. I accidentally placed a star token in Pyke to try to muster more ships. Obviously, this was illegal so they just agreed to make it a normal consolidate power. This had two effects: 1) I had 2 more power than I should have, and 2) I wasn't able to take over Flint's Finger.

Luckily, two things really worked in my favor. First, the Baratheon player had seen how important The Narrow Sea was in the previous game, so she took that away from Stark immediately. Second, my alliance with Lannister was as solid as can be hoped for. I focused my attention on Stark while giving him support against Baratheon. Together, Baratheon wasn't a threat to us. Lannister became a huge threat. Everyone looked to me for support. Tyrell then pointed out that he could cripple Lannister if I lent him the ship support in their upcoming battle. I agreed. The inevitable betrayal was upon us.

Except it wasn't. I backstabbed Tyrell. Yes, Lannister was doing phenomenal, but Tyrell was the only one who could challenge my ship superiority. I gave Lannister my support and he ended up crushing Tyrell. After that, Tyrell was never a threat, having only 1 castle for the rest of the game.

While that was going on, I was waging war on Stark. I took out Winterfell then spread out and took out his other castles. I was up to 5 castles now on turn 6 (tied with Lannister). The other players were furiously trying to break the Lannister/Greyjoy alliance. Our core areas were safe from everyone but each other. As long as the alliance held, one of us was sure to win.

However, I was down to two cards. BUT - I had the Raven and knew what fight was coming up. We ended up fighting and I had the second-lowest amount of power. I had 14 while everyone else was 15-19 (except for one guy at 5). But I knew I couldn't let anyone else win that card... so I bid 12 (and I needed 1 power for next turns plans and I didn't want to completely wipe myself out). I won, though barely, as someone else bid 11. I got all my cards back.

Those cards allowed me to win my next two combats: Stark attacked me to try and get Winterfell back, but I used Balon (reduce opponent's card to 0) to successfully fight him off. Then I launched an attack from Winterfell: I moved one horse into Flint's Finger (which was still unclaimed) and moved my siege engine into Lannister's Riverrun. Since I had naval support and Victarion, it was an easy victory to win the game.

I had done everything I could to solidify that alliance. I supported Lannister when he needed it. When I knew the wyldling card that had no effect on win/lose or for highest bidder was coming up, I told him so that he would bid 0. And I strategized with him to point out any flaws in his logic or to help him figure out what to do. It worked: he stayed my ally until such a time that I could win by taking over one of his castles.

Final thoughts? If the alliance is solid enough, this alliance can easily win the game. The other players were basically helpless against it. However: Baratheon was being played by someone as inexperienced as me (only 3 games) and I've heard the game is Baratheon's to lose. Stark was weakened by not being able to launch a navy thanks to my control of the west coast and Baratheon's control of the east coast. This is probably a very different game if Baratheon allows Stark control of The Narrow Sea. I can see the argument for why Stark and Greyjoy should ally, but I think Lannister and Greyjoy is just as, if not, stronger. I can't say that with any authority since I haven't tried or seen the Stark and Greyjoy alliance though. Finally, I find it ironic that my screw-up in turn one was what ultimately allowed me to win the game. First, it gave me the two extra power I needed to get my important cards back, and second, it let the players relax just a little bit since I was sitting on 5 and not 6 due to not having the time to take over Flint's Finger earlier. If I had taken over Flint's Finger previously, I guarantee they would have placed those tokens just a bit differently and I probably would not have won.
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Dirk James
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Nicely played!

tcrudisi wrote:
I got all my cards back.


How come you got all your cards back?
 
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Tim Rudisill
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Massing on the Milkwater card has for Night's Watch Victory's Highest Bidder: Returns his entire House card discard pile into his hand.

And thanks. I didn't feel as though I started off well, but my mistake is one of the main reasons why I was able to win the game. Go figure.
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Kevin Robinson

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One thing that really got me hooked I will share in this anecdote, which I think summarizes some of the better parts of the game. I was Lannister in a 5-player game on the 3rd or 4th turn. As I still had the Raven, I had looked at the Wildling card that turn or the one before and placed it on top. When we flipped the Westeros cards for the turn we drew one Wildling tokens and the card that allowed the holder of the Raven to decide on whether we would collect money, bid on Influence, or do nothing. We also drew a Wildlings Attack card. That Wildling token took us to 12, and there were 14 shields (money) between us 5. And this is where the Tyrion in me took over. I had one shield, the Greyjoys had 2, and the other three some mix. It was clear the other three didn't want to lose to the Wildlings, and I subtly intimated that the Wildling card was the one with shields (highest bidder gets all bid shields back, yadda yadda). This was of course a lie. Being that Baratheon and Tyrell had a fairly uncontested go of the south, they felt pretty good about their supply, and bid all their shields. Stark was an unexperienced player, and had some bad luck in a sea battle earlier and just wanted to make it through the attack. Lannister (me) and Greyjoy, however, had been having a total slugfest. We both knew we needed to end our bitter enemy soon so that we may actually win the game. And here's where it got interesting.

That 14 to 12 ratio was sitting uncomfortable on us all, who would bid what? Tyrell, Stark, and Baratheon flipped 11 and Greyjoy flipped one of his two, while I flipped none. The Wildling card was a House Card related thing, and wasn't really a concern. This left Lannister and Greyjoy with one shield apiece, and me the ability as the holder of the Raven to call Influence bidding. Of course, Baratheon still had the throne, so what would happen if we both bid on the throne? Who would he choose? Surely the winner of the throne would then win the game. If I then held the throne, I could set the other two influence tracks entirely, as we all would bid zero. That is, if both bid on the throne. Perhaps the Sword or the Raven was that valuable? Ultimately I decided the risk was too great to put on the king who had already rewarded me once in the influence track with favorable position on the Greyjoys, I did not want to risk the balance of justice. But my ploy nearly worked. Making the others believe that their shields could be returned with a high bid nearly brought out all the money available. Had I then been king, I would have then awarded myself the prize for the next Wildling card for a bonus, as we all bid zero and the power would be zero.
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