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Subject: The Influence Track rss

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Tim Rudisill
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There seems to be a dearth of strategy posts on this game so I'd like to get it started with what I feel is an extremely important element of the game: the influence track. I'll give my opinion on the three but I would certainly like for everyone to chime in with their own experiences and opinions. Of course playstyle will differentiate this. And as a forewarning, I am not the most experienced player. I've only played 3 games (3, 5, and 6 player game), though I have won 2 of those 3 (and excepting my wife, all of my opponents were very experienced.)

The Iron Throne: To me, this is the second most important influence. For me, I like being dead last. I want to see what my opponents do and then react to it. I often find that the person who attacks last is the one who achieves their goals and attacking last also allows for the most support. This isn't always true and sometimes you want to go first -- but I find that 90% of the time I'd rather be last than first. The whole tie-breaker thing is nice but hasn't really come up that much in the 3 games I've played. /edit - As mentioned below, this does have its moments. If you are at 6 castles and within striking range of a 7th, going first can be incredibly important as it allows you to capture number 7 before anyone else can act to take away one of your other castles. Basically, this throne is very important to me: either to go last or, rarely, to go first. You just need a feel for when one is more important than the other.

The Fiefdom Track: For my playstyle, this is the least important. However, unlike Iron Throne, I'd rather be higher than lower, so I'll actually bid a tiny amount on it. The sword is nice and being able to win ties is nice, but I find with the right strategy you can overcome these small deficiencies.

The King's Court: This is my favorite and I will go all-out to win this. First, those star tokens are incredibly important. You don't need all 3, but if you can't put down one or two, you are crippled. The raven is amazingly powerful, far more than its counterparts. The ability to switch out a token can determine the fate of entire areas and knowing what wildling card is coming up can determine games.

Being #1 in the King's Court will also let you make up for the deficiencies in the Fiefdom track, since you can swap out a token to help ensure that your battles will be won once your opponent's have revealed what they will do this turn.

Don't get me wrong: I know the Fiefdom track is important. I just look at it as the least important. If you are last in Fiefdom? You can make up for it. If you are last in King's Court? You feel the pain from not being able to muster in an important location or attack/defend with your best tokens. Luckily, I don't want to win the Iron Throne at all since I view going last as a benefit in this game, so I can save almost all my tokens for the King's Court and throw in a couple for the Fiefdom. What does you guys do and why?
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Nacho Facello
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Last game I played I won because I was second in the Iron Throne track. I had a very tenuous grasp on six castles going into the tenth round, and I wasn't going to be able to hold them all until the end. A couple of others were also at 5, and they were in very good position to take one more, so if I had a net loss of one castle during the turn I was done (I could win ties at six, the good thing about Lannister is that you have lots of strongholds nearby). Anyway, since a net loss of one would be a good result given my position, my only choice was to get seven first. First player in the IT track was Tyrell, who had only a single card (Lady Olenna), they attacked me with Martell support, but I could win that easily (next one I wouldn't, because he'd have all his cards), so in my turn I took Moat Cailin for the win. If I had been in a "wait and see" position last in the throne track? Yeah, I would have lost.

I find that the times where I prefer to act first (thus taking advantage of the fact that nobody had time to react to the placement of the order tokens) are more frequent than those where I prefer to act last (taking advantage of knowing exactly what everybody did).
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Brumb Bar
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Yup.The Iron Throne track started to be more important in in the later part of the game. In early part it is better to make moves last but afterwards it is hard to get 7 castles with low position at that track.
 
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Tim Rudisill
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I do agree. That fits into the 10% I was talking about. I actually won my first game because I was at 6 castles at the end of a round, then bid/won the Iron Throne to go first, and won the game before anyone else could act.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem very common to me, and I still spent the vast majority of the game wanting to go last and only one turn wanting to go first. It's also not something that could have won had my opponents realized that I could do it.

The Iron Throne has its moments ... they just seem few and far between.

 
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Sdric
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To improve the Iron throne track, you can play with the following variant :

Similarly as King's Court track where you can play 3,2,1 or no specials orders.
Your place on the Iron throne track allow you to see the next 3,2,1 or no westeros cards (one by deck).
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Radosław Michalak
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sdric wrote:
To improve the Iron throne track, you can play with the following variant :

Similarly as King's Court track where you can play 3,2,1 or no specials orders.
Your place on the Iron throne track allow you to see the next 3,2,1 or no westeros cards (one by deck).

Is this a joke? Knowing next Westeros Card(s) would be most powerful thing in the game!
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Tim Rudisill
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And also a wrong topic.

While I appreciate the input, Sdric, that would be best suggested in the "variant" threads.

I was hoping to get a bit more discussion concerning the influence track and everyone's strategies when it comes to it.

My wife values it slightly differently than I do: Kings Court, Fiefdom, Iron Throne, in that order. Her logic is that the combat is more important than turn order. In fact, she argues that the Iron Throne is the least important; she doesn't care what position she goes in (most of the time) and breaking ties has rarely come up in our game. But winning ties in combat? That can come up almost every turn.

I obviously disagree, but I wanted to share an alternate view.
 
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Dean O
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Tim, I agree with everything you said regarding the various tracks as benefits particular strategies (and realise that's what you are arguing for). But ultimately, I think flexibility in your strategy is invaluable - you must adapt to your opponents', for one, and you don't want them to predict yours too easily, for another. So the following are some further considerations when bidding:

The Iron Throne: As you say, it can often be beneficial to go later/last, and see what others have done (especially earlier), and sometimes better to be earlier/first (especially later or when going for the win). There are a few further considerations though. One is if you attack an opponent before they can attack you, you can remove their order, route their units and eliminate their siege engine before they can aggress further with it or pull it back. This is especially important with siege engines in the game as given their 4 attack/0 defence, the attacking party can have the higher combat strength for both parties. The next consideration is raids. Raiding your opponent's raid before they can raid your support, or their support before they raid your raid, can be CRITICAL to success. Finally, determining ties can also boost your position on the remaining tracks, and The Iron Throne track next round (so potentially the other tracks again), sometimes significantly (esp. when there isn't much power available) - in addition to also weakening your key rivals or strengthening their enemies if they tie.

The Fiefdoms: This track can determine what you can do, and what your opponents can do to you, in a somewhat similar fashion to the King's Court, for ALL of your areas with units. In addition, it can let you play a House card of one lower value than you might have had to, meaning you can save that 2, 3 or 4 card for one more battle. HUGE bonus there. Holding onto your 4 card can also deter opponents from attacking you.

The King's Court: I think you're pretty spot on with the value of this one - the Raven is exceptionally useful (though only being able to swap with tokens you didn't play can be an issue), and having three stars is great. However, simply having more than one star can also be sufficient, and there are considerations that can favour the other tracks as above.

So, to recap, I think everything that you said in conjunction with all that I've added needs to be weighed up along with what you need to achieve and what your opponents' likely ambitions are, but that no one track is simply 'better' than the others.
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Radosław Michalak
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I think that everything depends on:
1. Your style of playing
2. Your house
3. Which turn
4. What you want to do
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Alex Banks
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I was about to comment on the Iron Throne but when I scrolled down saw that Dean had already said it! Basically Siege Engines and Raids are key to the 'combat strength' of the Iron Throne - your raids can be pretty useless if you're lowest on the Iron Throne, and whenever someone has a SE by a Castle or Stronghold in one of our games the main tactic is just to attack them first, making them a massive target. Turn orders pretty important there!

A point that needs to be made I think, and has been mentioned above, is that while the Iron Throne and Fiefdoms are fairly situational in when they are useful, being higher on the King's Court is pretty much ALWAYS beneficial, no matter when in the game it is.

Early in the game, as said above, it can be useful to just see where everyone else is expanding to so the Iron Throne isn't too important. Equally the fiefdoms only has a benefit if you are involved in combats, which in the first few turns will be pretty low on everyones agenda, so I think it can be said that the first 3-4 turns those tracks may not have as much impact as you'd like.

Being higher on the messenger raven however allows you to both muster and/or expand, giving you more options on what you want to do. Plus, with the addition of the Wildling card ability for the MR it means even being top early game is useful (Valyrian Steel is pretty much useless at this point..!)

That isn't to say that at certain points the other tracks can't be better, espec the dominance tokens - in a game of low power tokens the Iron Throne can be ridiculously strong with all the draws going on, and Valyrian Steel of course makes high aggresion viable. I just think, in my experience at least, there's never a point where you don't mind being low on the KC. In fact I've seen people practically lose a game by being stuck at the bottom!
 
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steve lieb
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I'd generally agree that the Court track is consistently the most important in the game, Iron Throne next, and military track last.

The court track is the best IF you have the Raven. If you can't/won't stay in the lead there, the Iron Throne is more important.

My reasoning is that owning the Iron Throne means you can:
1) constantly harm your opponents by pushing them to the bottoms of ties.
2) you force everyone else to bid higher for everything because they HAVE to beat you and your allies, not simply tie.
3) #2 leads to power token shortage, which we've found is a subtle but powerful factor in 6-player games. You might have troops all over, but if you can't control areas you leave behind, you can't consolidate those forces.
4) I agree that the court 'stars' are absolutely critical. With the Iron Throne, you're generally going to be able to (cheaply) keep yourself at least in the 1 star area, and probably be able to throw one or more opponents down into no-star country.

Finally, while people tend to fight HARD to take down leaders when they get to 5 or 6 castles, with the Iron Throne you only have to prevent someone getting 7 - you can sit happily at 6 and know you'll win an endgame tie.

So I guess while the #1 spot on the court is great, the #1 spot on Iron Throne gives you more broad-reaching advantages in almost every turn.
 
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by being last on iron throne u cant react to what your opponents do because u have already placed ur orders. unless u know what your opponents are gonna do (in which case they are not very tough opponents if they're easy to predict). so i dont buy the "reacting" argument. sure it works sometimes when u happen to be in a certain situation.

my main argument for why the iron throne is awesome and hugely important:


tie brakers. if ur on spot one, u can always throw urself first in all bidding ties and decide everyone else (there are always at least two 0 bidders per bid, not to mention other ties. but most importantly, as i always make a strong early alliance, i (as holder of the iron throne) can place my ally higher up in all bidding. so with my ally we make an agreement that one of us bids a lot on iron throne, and the other one bids high on the other tracks (or the other way around).
i have played this game 6 times (3 times with 6 players and 3 times with 5) and we have gotten ties in every single bid.

theres also the reasons explained above. but when there has been a big and long 2v2 situation, the "team" holding the iron throne has made life a living hell for the "team" that doesnt have it.

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Amin
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noob_saibot wrote:
by being last on iron throne u cant react to what your opponents do because u have already placed ur orders. unless u know what your opponents are gonna do (in which case they are not very tough opponents if they're easy to predict). so i dont buy the "reacting" argument. sure it works sometimes when u happen to be in a certain situation.




When I'm lower down on the Iron Throne, I often use 3 march orders and gather my units to resolve the +1 order last from a secure location. That allows me to see where the other players move and if they attacked me, and to attack or counter punch wherever is weak or necessary. The fact that I have a large force gathered might be used to deter someone from attacking me in the first place, particularly if they are using siege engines.

But being high on the Iron Throne really helps with raids and having the Throne token with bids, as mentioned earlier. And it allows you to get vulnerable troops away quickly when necessary. I do think the Iron Throne is underestimated in my own gaming group, which is fine by me, as I can often grab the token
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Rick May
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I haven't read through all the replies, but my personal strategy has been shaped by the people I play with. One of my friends LOVES the Iron Throne and will bid very high in order to ensure he can keep it. With that in mind, I never put much in - just enough to make sure I'm somewhere in the middle.

While I definitely see where going last can be an advantage in certain situations, I think that I more often see an advantage in being able to strike first - both with Raid and March orders.

I agree that Fiefdoms are a nice to have, but not necessarily a need to have if you plan carefully.

King's Court - I usually want to have at least one star so I can use the special consolidate power order.

Another important factor is who holds the iron throne. Almost always we seem to have ties - especially between those who bid nothing. Being on the friendly side of the Iron Throne gives you more leeway because you can be assured you will rarely be at the bottom of any track.
 
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James Bond
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Every time i won the game i was higher in The Iron Throne track then my enemies around me. Attacking your enemies and beating their army before they can attack you is one of the most important thing in the war. Besides, sometimes there will be a situation, when you will need only one castle to win. And by some luck, you will be the first person to move your army, thus being in position, where no one can stop you from taking another army, just because no one can attack before you do it.
 
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George Christodoulou
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The importance of each track is purely situational.

If u are at a hard war having fiefdomes dominance is important. The fear of the valyrian steel blade overshadows all battles making your opponent to even avoid several attacks in fear u will use the blade, even though you end up not using it even once!

To play first is very important in one thing other than marching first. Raids. Very very important to raid first and protect your support and cp orders.

Also essential is that u can arrange all ties. U see that lannister and greyjoy have an unholy pact? Give lannister the upper hand in fiefdoms and court and make him play after greyjoy. I am sure he 'll at least think to backstab his ally.
 
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Marko Badric
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To be honest, I greatly disagree with OP.

King's Court is by far the least important in my book. The only thing that you absolutely need is one star for 3 move orders. Everything more is convenience enhancing, particularly if you compare it with other two tracks.

I do believe that all the tracks are situational, but from my experience, the Sword is by far the most versatile Dominance token. It is essential as a Sword holder, to be as aggressive as possible, to fight at least one, if not two battles per turn. The most significant ability it gives you is none other than psychological - the enemy will always know how hard it will be for him to win battles. It enables some cards that are otherwise almost never fully effective to shine - all those low level cards that you lose battles with, namely Garlan Tyrell who wreaks havoc.

Being on bottom of the Throne track is all fine and dandy in the early game, but later on, the outcome of the game generally depends on the playing order, particularly when raids become essential. Not to mention that you can basically snatch victories with it. Once you grab a hold of this token, nobody will ever have the guts to bid high for it, and you can hold it all game long. The biddings resolve in your favor, always, and that's quite powerful, most of the time.
 
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Martin Hall
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Kings Court track matters most in the early and mid game for CP* orders, as well as the third Move (+1), etc. Having the Raven and being able to swap orders is also very important.
 
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Ioan Mitiu
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Interloper wrote:

King's Court is by far the least important in my book. The only thing that you absolutely need is one star for 3 move orders. Everything more is convenience enhancing, particularly if you compare it with other two tracks.


Yes and no. Keep in mind that there are also a lot of Westeros cards which impose certain order-type restriction for a turn and in this circumstances being able to have one more order of other types may be really, really important !

Quote:

I do believe that all the tracks are situational, but from my experience, the Sword is by far the most versatile Dominance token.


It is very powerful indeed - also because there are Westeros cards which allow for Sword's holder to deny March +1 or defense ability ... which may be a huge advantage !
 
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Thom Wright
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To be honest, I am a reserved attacker and tend to not have to worry about ties and a one bonus that much. I love jumping around on the throne track. If you make enough moves And bid well, you have the last move in one round and the first in the next. You can completely devastate a person this way. If you have Doran Martell (plus a muster) it's even easier. You are almost guaranteed to take a strong location, but that's a one trick pony.

Having no stars can actually lead to having no orders for some locations, which is always wasteful. So being too low on that track is awful. The raven is of course invaluable when in the thick of things. (especially when you "trust" in a tricksy ally.)

But I'm a new player, surrounded by those that know more.
 
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JayhawkCO JayhawkCO
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I figured I'd add my thoughts for discussion's sake, but do keep in mind my group normally plays with four players, so there might be some differences from a six player effort:

The Iron Throne Track
I either want to bid enough to win the bidding or bid nothing at all. The difference between being 2nd and last is not different enough to warrant making it more difficult to win one of the other dominance tokens. Being first, however, has its obvious merits: every bid is effectively +0.5, you can break ties to punish your enemies, you can raid before your opponents, etc. The most important reason to want to hold the Throne early is to be able to choose to muster or supply if Throne of Blades is chosen. Depending on the opening you have made in the first couple of turns, it can make or break your position. Another nice thing about the throne is that people generally bid a bit tentatively for it because it's the first to be bid, so the dominance token can often be won more cheaply than, say, the Messenger Raven.

The Fiefdom Track
The Valyrian Blade is easily the least valuable token in my opinion. Yes, having the Sword is effectively a +2 in battles against everyone, but its related Westeros Card, Put to the Sword, is less important than Throne of Blades or Dark Wings, Dark Words. One player already won't have the ability to play a March+1 and not being able to defend is often mitigated by successful raids. As opposed to the Iron Throne track, I will make minimal bids if I have the tokens to spare just to try and bump myself above immediate neighbors if possible.

The King's Court Track
The Messenger Raven is obviously an important dominance token, but depending on which house you are, it might be less important than the Throne. The main importance of having the Bird (as my friends call it) is the ability to control your money. By knowing what the Wildling Card is and by controlling if you collect money or bid on the influence tracks if Dark Wings, Dark Words comes up, you are able to make sure to maximize your power token collection and usage. For this reason, for me it's more important to hold the Bird if I'm the Baratheons or the Starks, the two houses who most easily generate power tokens. You'll likely be the richest players in the game, and by limiting when others can collect tokens and choosing exactly when the bids happen, you'll be able to hopefully keep yourself on top of the King's Court and additionally gobble up the throne as well. Again, if you don't have enough to get the Raven, you must try to at least get one star as being without can be crippling.

Comments encouraged.

Chris
 
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