Ryan Finley
United States
Mukwonago
Wisconsin
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We're going to be giving this game a try today in my regular gaming group, and if it all possible I'd like to try to get a leg up. I watched the rule video posted here to get an idea of the different elements. What are some things to focus on as a first-time player? I notice that the different houses have different strengths. How are players assigned to houses generally? Should I hope to get one house over another?
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Sean D.
Canada
Langley
British Columbia
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We just had our first game last week. The lack of mustering made it hard to get going. Always keep your Castles guarded from sneaky attacks from the Sea. Navies play an important role, that's how the player who won our game did it!

We did a random draw for House assignment. Since no one knew what the strengths/weaknesses were for any house none of us cared too much. We did our best with the rules, but noticed a few things we did wrong after the fact. We try to limit rules lookups too much in an opening game and just get into the feel of it and the flow of the game. We fully expect to get things wrong in the first one, so we just count it as a learning experience and focus on the fun. Then go back after and re-read the rules, it will have a lot more meaning with having played a game.
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Charles Hasegawa
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Chandler
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Houses are assigned randomly unless your group wants to pick (we've done that before when people are sitting around the board already and don't want to move).

From my playings, it seems like Lannister and Stark have it the hardest. Since everyone will essentially have a war on (at least) two fronts, the key to hanging on is your alliances. Having someone assist or at the very least agree not to attack you for a turn or two makes all the difference in what orders you can use.

Take advantage of any specials you have. having the sword means you can be a bit more aggressive in starting combat. Having the raven means being aggressive with orders since you have the safety net of replacing one.

Boats and control of the water is huge.
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Brumb Bar
Poland
Kraków
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For first play u have got to know that fleet is very important here. Remember to give much support orders too.

If u play in 5 players the game will be much unbalanced. I suggest to make southern provinces impassable and change the map to the 1st edition type. Link is here http://boardgamegeek.com/image/135978/a-game-of-thrones?size...
If u dont do it probably baratheon or tyrell will won the game. Predominance for south houses is huge
 
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Matt Shinners
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New York
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Bimbul wrote:
If u dont do it probably baratheon or tyrell will won the game. Predominance for south houses is huge


Yea, with only 5 players, the Southern houses have a huge advantage. Those Martell areas are pretty much free for Tyrell and Baratheon.

You can counteract this by blocking them off or using another variant. If you don't go that route, make sure that other players know and put pressure on those houses ASAP.
 
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BobbySoFamous .
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I'll go through my tips quickly since I already typed them all yesterday and BGG just wasn't working. I played twice for the first time the other day and here are the things I noticed:

* The Raven influence track is the most important in my opinion. It SUCKS not being able to do any special orders. Having the Raven token also puts you at a huge advantage.
* Start panicking when an opponent gets to 4 castles. I had 4 castles in a 5 player game where I was Baratheon and I marched into 3 castles easily on Turn 5 to win the game leaving everyone wondering what happened.
* Get to know the other houses' cards. I thought I could take Riverrun in turn 2 but out came Balon Greyjoy who drops your house card's power to 0! What, The Mountain with a zero attack power??
* We tended to spread our troops thin to try to cover as much land as possible, but it seems better to keep tighter armies and to use support a lot.
* Try to establish naval superiority in key sea zones like the Bay of Ice and the Narrow Sea if you're an east coaster. Those sea zones touch a lot of different lands and ships there are in a good position to support battles or raid opponents' orders.
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Jim Puccio
United States
Massachusetts
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I have one game of this version under my belt and have only played the original version a few times, so take what I say with a grain of salt. Also it was a six player game which after careful consideration feels like it is the "right way" to play the game.

I think that the highest priority in the game early is to gain power tokens. Some houses will be better at this than others, but not so much as to create a devastating advantage. Tyrell, for instance, has a "power battery" island that they can use to generate power every turn if you let them. You have to ask yorself what you can do to create power tokens for yourself while disrupting those opportunities for other players.

I agree that the raven track is the most important track. The iron throne track is situationally important depending on if you want to use tactics like playing the Raid order before an opponent can. Sometimes it is tactically better to go last, so again where you want to be on this track depends on your strategy.

It is always better to be higher on the sword track, but you must prioritize this bonus with how much scrapping you intend to do and such. Mainly it is important to be higher than your neighbors, but if youa re Highgarten you don't really care where Stark is on the track, or if Martell then Greyjoy is not all that important. Lannister needs to worry about everyone as does Baretheon.

The Raven track is key especially later in the game. The more units you have the more orders you can place and having access to the special orders will allow you to weild more influence on the board.

What I have not yet figured out (again because I only have one game) is what the strategic keys are for each house. I played Martell in my game and made a tactical error in the first turn that probably cost me the game (built 2 boats instead of a boat and a footman). I think with Martell military strength is paramount because of what's easily available on the board and the fact that you will be in the middle of a hammer and anvil with Highgarten being the hammer trying to get out of their corner and Baretheon being the anvil with their extremely fortified position around King's landing. You also have to worry about Lannister nipping at you, but only a little.

Patience is somewhat important, but also important is to note that if you can remove enemy units you need to do so. It's generally worth the effort and potential cost to remove routed units and gain territory even if you will not keep it. If the opponent wants to replace the units they must take a turn to do so and have access to special orders (unless of course a "Muster" comes up).

Resource management is tricky because Supply is so huge, but to control supply you need more units. To have more units you typically need to either hold more castles/strongholds or spend special orders every turn mustering which affects your ability to generate power I am assuming that there is a good balance for each house that differs for each one based on the lay of the board around each house. As people play the different houses perhaps they can comment.
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BobbySoFamous .
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Here are my thoughts from studying the board on where each house's power center should be:

Stark: Moat Cailin
Greyjoy: Seagard
Lannister: Riverrun
Tyrell: Highgarden?
Dorne: Sunspear?
Baratheon: King's Landing
 
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Thamor
Finland
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I am old player of Game of Thrones boardgame, I haven't played this new edition, but what I have gathered it hasn't changed at all.

For 5 player games the opening moves for houses should be in little different order for all, but the basic idea is the same for everybody usually.

-Take keeps for mustering power
-Move units to places where they are secure to gather power tokens (should be done as fast as possible, having 2 crown areas with 2 footmen will mean every turn minimum of 4 power tokens to your side.)
-Plan ahead for supply, you don't need high supply straight away, but most important is leaving spaces for new units, usually at first mustering better is more footmen than straight away siege engines/knights. Only keeps that don't have room for new footman is better to upgrade.
-Last and most important always watch the Sea Areas and really plan well for situations when you lose an important sea area. But don't lose sea areas, makes your playing more easy.

So basic moves. This is for normal 5 player game, without special orders or leaders or anything game changing. Only ports and siege engines from the basic units are in play.

Stark

Winterfell march -1 // Move the footman to take crown castle black, Karhold doesn't matter which. Karhold might be better if you think Greyjoy will take Bay of Ice, which he will if you don't get any ship there, so Karhold is much safer place. (You need to establish power gathering straight away) then Move the the knight to moat cailin.

White Harbor march 0 // Move the footman to moat cailin, both foot & knight there. First hard decision is here, leave power token to hold white harbor or not (using power token to hold 1 muster city is not always the most important. You do have a choice of moving the footman to winterfell and moving the knight to take moat cailin, but having that footman in moat cailin increases the pressure on greyjoy and he will harder time of thinking tricky moves straight away unless he wants to lose seagard.

Shivering Sea march +1 // The most important thing about this move is to remember to use it as your last march order. This is because tricky baratheon if he sees that stark isn't moving the ship or moves the ship before his, might plan for early attack to wipe eastern seasides to his use, which will be game over for stark in that situation. Losing Narrow Sea is a deathblow for Stark. And with +1 march if baratheon moved first even if they have 2 of their ships there, stark should still be able to win in battles that come down to cards and baratheon starting play is broken after that. But showing +1 march on that ship means the baratheon doesn't get funny ideas.

Ps. White Harbor moves, getting that 1 barrel on first turn and later leaving token on Widow's watch is a good choice too, so stark has 2 barrels fast. Later on more barrels come from The Eyrie area. Stony shore is usually always a wasted move to go there. From widow's watch you can move with the ship that is in turn 2 at Narrow Sea, to Eyrie barrels or move it to help at moat cailin.

Later turns is depended on the muster cards, 2nd turn no muster card means you should prepare to get that 2nd barrel if u didn't already.

Greyjoy

Important to take and hold Sunset Sea, without that sea area greyjoy expansion is totally blocked by Stark and Lannister.

Greywater Watch Power order // It's better to just sit here with the footman it had good options for orders there.

Pyke March -1 // As on the first turn there will be no fighting, you first march should be to take seagard. Knight there atleast, but footman has 3 options and you should think which is better for you turn 2 orders. Stay on pyke, usually means power order for it on turn 2. Move to flint's finger, turn 2 muster gives you a knight/siege there to use anywhere where your ships can reach. Last option is to just go bolster that knight with the footman.

Ironman's Bay March 0 // This will be your last move, after you have seen the first moves from everybody, normally this is always to take Sunset Sea, but having a option if the Lannister failed to defend it's homesea area. Depending what cards people are using from what edition, in some cards the greyjoy could always overpower the lannister sea area, but it would have moved both it's ships out of reach of his land units which usually meant that it could lose seagard to aggressive Stark.

But main objective is Sunset Sea for Greyjoy and holding seagard, from those positions the greyjoy can decide the game for Stark/Lannister/Tyrell. The bad thing in later games usually in my group after those 10+ games is that Lannister&Tyrell agree that they won't let greyjoy have the Sunset Sea, which effectively blocks them to their starting area. The expert moves for grejoy is to attack Riverrun from Lannister, but that will usually boil them to fight to the death with Lannister and that Looming white death Stark hangs on the north gathering more forces.

Lannister

Stoney Sept is the most important region for Lannister to group it's army and use it as Support order staging area. Defensive move is usually the best for starting Lannister, so they see what Greyjoy does and what agreements they can make and hope they last.

The Golden Sound Defend +2 // This is simply always the best option to force grejoy out of ideas of early attack. The Raven special order swap is used here almost always. If Greyjoy used support order for his ships, you raid them. If you have some agreement with Tyrell that they take Sunset Sea so they can defend Highgarden from seas you should swap it support order for your ship. But if greyjoy has that 0 march order, you can't take the risks.

Stoney Sept Support +1 order // This area is the most important for lannister, because it's the best place to use your support orders to hold Riverrun, Casterly Rock and Harrenhal. Raven order can be used to get that -1/0 march order to take harrenhal at 1st turn if things are clear to take them, but usually Greyjoy seeing this would have inclination to being aggressive and taking riverrun from the lannisters.

Casterly Rock March +1 // Footman takes riverrun and knight goes to bolster the support order. With these moves Lannister would have 5 strength defence on Riverrun against Greyjoy attack there, usually impossible to overcome with greyjoy and forcing them to move to their free areas.

Stoney sept is the glue that keeps you from losing Riverrun to greyjoy.

Tyrell

There is no single most important location at first moves. It's more about how will you try to win the game and almost always you should decide from the start is it Lannister or Baratheon first, when the game progress hitting the weakest is a good choice. Another thing is that Tyrell mostly is the only one to hold/slow/stop easy baratheon win of the game.

Redwyne straits March +1/0 or Support +1 // The same as stark, save this move as the last one that you do, because moving this ship decide alot on what you are going to do for the other players. Take Sunset Sea if they greyjoy didn't take it, you have an option even to attack Sunset Sea if the greyjoy used his sword in an early battle like fighting Lannisters. If greyjoy did something different than normal moves, taking that Sunset Sea from them is a good option, because control of that for Tyrell would leave Highgarden proteced as long as you can hold it for yourself. The support option is if you are afraid of very aggressive Greyjoy move to Highgarden from the beginning and they are saving the sword for that ship in Sunset Sea, so you don't have option to attack it unless you have had some agreement help from lannisters, but they usually have that defend +2 order so they can't help.

Highgarden -0 March // Footman to Arbor to start your power token collecting. Knight to Dornish Marches.

Dornish Marches +1/0 March // This order might be your last too, if greyjoy attack highgarden, this middle force is the most important to drive them back. But then having that +1 march here rather than on redwyne is a choice the player has to think. +1 March here brings you lots of options to try annoying Baratheon too and lots of options to where to move.

If you think greyjoy will think of taking highgarden, then having all your 3 orders march orders leave that last March order as your option to see what the greyjoy did, in the end it's foolish for greyjoy to try take highgarden at the beginning, but even moving their one footman to annoy Tyrell might confuse your game, but always have that option to take highgarden back. Greyjoy with highgarden and muster comes up is a really bad situation for Tyrell.

Baratheon

This house is the most comfortable and the most easiest to win, because it's starting position is so strong and many keeps are in easy reach without fear of other houses being able to stop you. The hard decision or the easy win move for baratheon comes from the sea. Either in a crucial moment they manage to push their way to Narrow Sea or they push through to Tyrell keeps.

The most basic start is to take Kings Landing, but for myself I usually have started always with Sunspear in 5 player game. Noticed just now they have fixed in the new edition Sunspear as being neutral 6 strength, which is a very good change. So baratheon goes back to basics, take Kings Landing first if you can.

Kingswood +1 support // Tyrell has the option to prevent this, but you can't do much about it. Just be happy that their starting moves get broken too and you just get pushed back little.

Shipbreaker bay March 0 // Making your sea/land areas to fortress is about getting a ship to blackwater bay and putting ships with +1 support. Another option if you choose sunspear as your first target is Summer Sea, but Tyrell is ahead of you in fiefdom so maybe first taking Sea of dorne is more important, you need to have that 2:1 advantage before cards are played.

Dragonisland March +1 // If tyrell didn't stop your support footman you are free to take Kings Landing. If they prevented it, your better choice is to spread out and take 2 small keeps Storm's End & Crackclaw point.

Optional moves are to spread out to those 2 small keeps, but move your other ship to Sea of Dorne, to be much more able to annoy Tyrell and be faster in a position to bounce Sunspear. Turn usually see lots of consolidate power from most other houses, atleast if the card was supply and not muster. Because with 3 pieces nobody can move that easily to anywhere but their starting positions. For Baratheon it's time to move ahead, if you took kings landing spreading out to small keeps is important or go for the supply bonus. If you spread out in 1st turn then bouncing that sunspear / kings landing is a must to take on turn 2. With Sunspear being strength 6 it needs a lot of force to take it. Another important move that is optional is to go hard to Narrow Sea with both ships and hope muster on turn 2 to get your ships on all the important seas. North move is really annoying for Stark, because they are already pressured alot from the Greyjoy threat and Stark if they lose both sea areas from their starting positions will on the defensive for a really long time, but stark can prevent this move with his +1 march order on their ship, but if they fail that you have a option to take the fight to north straight away.
 
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