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

Subject: How to avoid lopsided 2p games? rss

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John McKelvy
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- So I got this game a year or two ago on sale at Barnes & Noble.

- I was a casual+ MTG player over several phases, the earliest being just when Antiquities was released (IE, 1993-94). My GF and I are both very comfortable with MTG. I sold off all my good cards and we now have about 12 "casual" decks of more recent releases. The point is, we are not strangers to card games and strategy games generally.

I was super excited to try this. I love the books, TV show, theme, etc. When we first attempted it, however, all of our games ended up being, in a word, boring. What normally happened would be that one player or the other would get a significant character advantage within the first four turns. They would then exploit that advantage to keep the opponent's characters from having any impact. Usually by killing them. In essence, the deck with the early advantage would get a lock on the game. We've done at least four plays now using different decks.

Needless to say, we were disappointed. I missed the twists and turns and tension that characterize two comparably powered MTG decks.

What do we need to do to make this fun?

1) A play it more so we understand the strategies
2) Buy another core set and build improved starter decks
3) Find two other folks to play with regularly (unlikely; our crew likes Euros and not CCG/LCGs)
4) Switch to MTG or Warhammer


I want to like this game - any advice appreciated.
 
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Drew Dallas
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Knowing when and if to use the reset plots and events in this game is extremely important. 'Claim soak' characters are also important to protect your more expensive characters, putting out 1 or 2 high cost characters without any low cost characters to protect them from military claim will quickly leave you with a mostly dead army.
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TTorres
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I'd also encourage you to find 2 more players and try out the melee variant. IMHO the game grows beyond its deck-building core in a fabulous way. The titles that players vie for add a wonderful layer of political maneuvering that I really enjoy.

 
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Terry Zembrzuski
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Hi, I would definitely say get another set and/or some of the expansion material. Also definitely play a lot more to learn more of the underlying strategy. I play mostly 2 player games and I love this game. Yes I have some lop sided games from time to time but sometimes you just get a bad run of cards and there isn't much you can do about that. Lol.

Once you learn more of the games depth you'll start really seeing how much of an impact your decisions have on both your game plan and the opponent. Like do I spend gold to bring this card in or save it for later in the round? Do I kneel this character to defend or save it for dominance??

Oh, finally, and I can't stress this enough. Go over the rules and the FAQ a few times to make sure your playing correctly! Even browse these forums to see what questions other people have asked about. The potentially complex timing of how actions and card affects can play out trip up a lot of people. And that can make for boring or lopsided matches.
 
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Tagore Nakornchai
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It is worth mentioning is that the Core Set Decks are very poorly optimised for joust (1v1) games. They inlcude a lot of cards that are only really worth it in Melee, and there's not enough consistency in the control oriented houses (Lannister and Targaryen) to stop the aggro houses.

The other point is the use of the "Valar Morghulis" Plot Card. It's like Wrath of God/Day of Judgement/Damnation in Magic, and you don't even have to draw it! It's great for recovering from a bad position, esepcially if your opponent has overextended themselves and flooded the board with characters. Another good reset is Wildfire Assault, though that isn't nearly as much a game changer as Valar.
 
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Agent 57
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Brutally honest statement coming... stop playing it as if it were magic.

Killing characters is the least meaningful thing to do in the game. HAnd destruction gives you a better long range game and power challenges consistently get you closer and push your opponent further away from the win condition. Fighting for board dominance is a trap.

Don't get me wrong, establishing strong board presence is useful, and killing your opponents characters can lead to the other things, but fighting to get it and maintain it when you could possibly be exploiting your opponents weaker and ultimately more important challenges is frequently a losing proposition.

Stark is the viewed as the strongest and easiest house to play by most new people to the game. Experienced players recognize Stark quickly gets the head on military challenges but are extremely weak in intrigue, so you can just put out cheap intrigue characters and destroy their hand, blocking just enough military challenges to prevent them from running away with the game by unopposed power, until the reset comes along. They have few, if any cards in hand, and you should have a mitt full. While they are top-decking you are tactically kicking that direwolf butt into submission.

If you are experienced MTG players you will certainly pick up on all the tactical and strategic richness the game has to offer, but it can be a slow crawl if you fixate on the common MTG tactic of vomiting characters and smashing your way to victory.
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John McKelvy
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Agent 57 wrote:
Brutally honest statement coming... stop playing it as if it were magic.

Killing characters is the least meaningful thing to do in the game. HAnd destruction gives you a better long range game and power challenges consistently get you closer and push your opponent further away from the win condition. Fighting for board dominance is a trap.

Don't get me wrong, establishing strong board presence is useful, and killing your opponents characters can lead to the other things, but fighting to get it and maintain it when you could possibly be exploiting your opponents weaker and ultimately more important challenges is frequently a losing proposition.

Stark is the viewed as the strongest and easiest house to play by most new people to the game. Experienced players recognize Stark quickly gets the head on military challenges but are extremely weak in intrigue, so you can just put out cheap intrigue characters and destroy their hand, blocking just enough military challenges to prevent them from running away with the game by unopposed power, until the reset comes along. They have few, if any cards in hand, and you should have a mitt full. While they are top-decking you are tactically kicking that direwolf butt into submission.

If you are experienced MTG players you will certainly pick up on all the tactical and strategic richness the game has to offer, but it can be a slow crawl if you fixate on the common MTG tactic of vomiting characters and smashing your way to victory.


Point understood and taken.

As an MTG player, straight big-heavy combat creature decks are my *least* favorite. They are boring to play, easy to stop. I generally favor blue control+red burn.

We'll give it a few more tries.

I don't believe multiplayer is much of an option - with the crew I have, I'll be a more likely to get the boardgame version of this on the table (Which is one of my top games.)
 
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John McKelvy
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Agent 57 wrote:
Brutally honest statement coming... stop playing it as if it were magic.



Stark is the viewed as the strongest and easiest house to play by most new people to the game. Experienced players recognize Stark quickly gets the head on military challenges but are extremely weak in intrigue, so you can just put out cheap intrigue characters and destroy their hand, blocking just enough military challenges to prevent them from running away with the game by unopposed power, until the reset comes along. They have few, if any cards in hand, and you should have a mitt full. While they are top-decking you are tactically kicking that direwolf butt into submission.


So, thinking out loud, it seems like gaining initiative in order to launch low-cost, disposable intrigue challengers is a decent strategy against Stark?

It sounds obvious now that I type it. . .

Update:

Just finished another game this evening.
- I was Baratheon, vs. Targaryen.
- Targaryen did very well for the first three turns.
- I survived by sacrificing disposable characters and trying to defend as many challenges as possible to prevent uncontested VP bleeding.

- On the 5th, 6th, and 7th turns I managed to get some parity in character strength. Probably because I was consistently able to get a bit more income per turn.
- By the 6th turn, I had 4+ renown characters (One was Robert Baratheon). I decided to throw caution to the winds and go for guaranteed victories in blue, not so much for the claim itself but for the bonus VP.
- Critically, I gained initiative in the 7th round and went all-out in blue one more time. The lizards had lots of dragons and were very buffed up. But on final tally, we tied in blue, giving me 6 VP and the game.
- Had targ played ONE more point of blue strength, I would have been totally hosed.

So, fortunately, this session vindicated my hopes for the game. Even though I won, it was probably due more to a few rules misconceptions early on and slightly more focused play than my opponent at the end. Targ definitely seems to have a lot more interesting synergies and dynamic strategies in its deck. Then again, that might just a normal "grass is greener" reaction?.
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Agent 57
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Targ is a reactive house, not precisely control, not precisely aggro, more "disruption" the ability to strongly attack and toss out events and other effects that mess up opponents strategies.

Baratheon is a rush house for the most part. They hit hard and fast and snag a lot of power very quickly. The strategy you used is called "delayed rush" in the game. It is one of the best strategies in melee (multi-player) and as you can see with the right match up does well in joust (1v1) as well.

A word of caution, one of the mistakes new players frequently make is blocking every challenge. If you lose a challenge and kneel someone that is one less potential attacker you have on your side. Knowing when and what to defend is one of the first major steps in learning the game.

Congrats on your victory, sounds like a good game with a fair amount of back and forth.
 
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Agent 57
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A lot of players switch the plots around but personally I see that as a mistake (except in joust with condemned by the realm, that plot should never be used head to head). Pulling Valar from Stark actually makes it harder to beat Stark if players are new to the game not easier. Valar is the countdown clock for Stark, can they win the game before they are forced to play that reset? The longer they wait the fewer cards they have in their hand and the more painful it will be for them. As the Stark player gets better he recognizes that wiping out one or more troublesome characters, especially ones with Intrigue icons is sometimes worth losing board advantage, trusting that an early use will see you with a better hand than you would have later and the likelihood that you will still end up with the better military characters.

Of course, YMMV.
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