Derrick Billings
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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So last night, we opened up and played a three player game of Game of Thrones, 2nd Edition.

I was the only veteran player, but one of the other two had played first edition a long time before, sufficient to remember the basics. As Stark, I really didn't play as well as I'd liked. Partially this is out of politeness, as I tend to muzzle my aggression when playing with new people, especially when I'm the one teaching the game.

Stark quickly expanded Southward, pushing Baratheon out of the Shivering Sea and taking Moat Cailin, while placing a footman in Karhold for power generation. The Footman in White harbor went over to the Fingers, claiming an extra supply Barrel. On subsequent turns, a push into Seagard proved disastrous. Despite fending off Lannister's first attack purely via the Valyrian Steel Blade and lucky draws on the Tides of Battle, Stark was soon pushed across the river into the Twins. Despite a seventh-turn lunge that carried the northmen to Dragonstone and striking distance of Crackclaw point, there was never the wherewithal to consider a decisive strike.

Meanwhile, Baratheon's game was rather eventful. Rapidly expanding Westward overland, Baratheon briefly held six cities by advancing as far as Riverrun and the Reach. Despite early success, frequent Clash of Kings cards kept the game very power-depleted and the Wildlings were very unkind. First, Baratheon was knocked to the bottom of the influence tracks by King Beyond the Wall, then later was forced to demote every knight to a footman. After these setbacks, the other two players soon reclaimed lost territory, in particular losing Harrenhal and the Reach to Lannister while Stark took Dragonstone. A seventh-turn lockout of Support orders, followed by eighth-turn lockout of Defense orders spelled doom.

Lannister was the biggest surprise to me, though not in hindsight. Without Tyrell or Greyjoy in play, Lannister quickly hit component limit on ships in Sunset Sea, Golden Sound and Ironman's Bay. He took Harrenhal early but emptied Stoney Sept to do it, leaving his linchpin support out of his calculations, enabling Baratheon's early game blitz. His ability to land and support troops with his many ships enabled him to respond nimbly, though, quickly retaking Riverrun, and then pincering Stark between there and Graywater Watch. Pushing a ship into the Bay of Ice meant Winterfell was kept under constant pressure, which ultimately proved decisive, especially with Stark's forces mostly elsewhere and the meager units remaining left, in a word, Defense-less on turn 8. Throughout the game, Lannister lost several fights due to Tides of Battle cards (not least because Stark leveraged the VSB for all it was worth) and it probably would have been over a turn or two faster if not for the whims of fate.

All in all, my conclusions are probably as obvious as they are limited--in a three player game, the Rock-Paper-Scissors arrangement means tactics are far more important than diplomacy. Alliances feel like bullying, though it's no less a game of chicken as to which partner will backstab the other first. That's probably no comfort to the poor sod who's been pounded into ruins by the time that happens. I really didn't expect Lannister's navy to exert so much influence in the north and the riverlands, either. In first edition, there are so many tempting targets in the south that I didn't account for the fact that it was a huge dead zone in the new edition. (Except for the Arbor, which seems a bit random.)

The small GM screens included are a godsend, but I do think I will do what I did with my First Edition after I lost some power tokens--replace them with glass beads in Red, Black, Green, etc. The weathered and muted colors of the new edition cause them to be less than obvious. The plastic pieces, being deeply colored and glossy, do "pop" adequately enough, and the glass beads will look sharp, I think.
 
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Edwin Priest
United States
Inverness
Illinois
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Nice report.

Does the 2nd edition make any accomodations for three or four players? The 1st edition is generally not so good with four unless you use the A Storm of Swords expansion, and not very good at all with three.
 
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Brian Mc Cabe
United States
Arizona
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There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why . . . I dream of things that never were and ask why not
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Quote:
As Stark . . . I tend to muzzle my aggression when playing with new people . . . Stark quickly expanded . . .


;-)

Brian
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