Benjamin Piehler
United States
Kansas City
Kansas
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As you all probably know, 4 Player games have some balance issues. 3 of us had played a few times, and we had one player who needed to learn how to play. To offset the imbalance, we gave Baratheon to the newbie.

Turn 1 was fairly standard, Greyjoy took Seaguard, Stark moved to Moat Calin, Lannister moved to Riverrun and Baratheon moving to the Narrow Sea.

Aside from a sea battle where Stark defeated Baratheon in the Narrow Sea, combat was scarce in the early game. Greyjoy, Stark and Lannister stretched their domains while waiting to see what Baratheon did next.

Stark expanded as far South as the Eyrie. Greyjoy held only Seaguard, Flints Finger, Greywater Watch and the surrounding ocean. Lannister added Harrenhal to his domain, while Baratheon took the Reach and Crackclaw Point.

Crackclaw Point (Baratheon) and Seaguard (Greyjoy) were sandwiched between Lannister and Stark domains. Around this point, probably around turn 3 or 4, players started passing notes (sending Ravens, if you will.). Lannister and Stark sent eachother more than a few. Greyjoy sent one message to all three players. Baratheon, being a new player, didn't send any messages.

Greyjoy, citing that in 4 player Baratheon usually wins, had assured Stark and Lannister he wasn't expanding into their lands. Baratheon remained out of negotiations. Stark tried to get Lannister and Greyjoy to attack eachother unsuccessfully before striking at Seaguard himself with support from Lannister at Riverrun. Greyjoy seemed legitimately surprised that Lannister and Stark had chosen to attack him instead of Baratheon at Crackclaw Point.

At this point, Stark was at 5 on the victory track, still adjacent to Crackclaw Point and very close to Flints Finger. Greyjoy publically convinced Lannister that by supporting Stark against himself at Seaguard, he had unwisely surrendered the North, and victory, to Stark. At this point, around turn 7, Greyjoy, Lannister and Baratheon all teamed up against Stark. Lannister supported Greyjoy in retaking Seaguard and meanwhile Baratheon claimed much of the South and the neutral castles. By the 10th turn, Greyjoy and Lannister had agreed to let Baratheon, the new guy, win.

The irony is that Baratheon cared little about the outcome of the game, did not participate in negotiations and fought mostly against neutral forces. The biggest development was Stark moving against Greyjoy and breaking his agreements with Lannister. Had Stark made his moves against Greyjoy and Lannister a little later, he might have won the game. After being labeled a backstabber, Stark found little support for the rest of the game.

Being a 4 player setup, the one with the most to gain through a lack of cooperation between the other houses was Baratheon, who coasted to victory... But at least we made it to round 10 with four people.
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N S.
United States
Massachusetts
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A well done little session report that perfectly sums up everything that is wrong with the 4-player game. The rules for taking neutral territories make it far too easy. In addition to the geography giving Baratheon a pretty ridiculous advantage, I feel like there needs to be an element of risk/uncertainty when you're attacking a neutral territory. Instead it's just whoever gets there first gets to take it - and that person is generally Baratheon.
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brad sheehan
United States
New York
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Best way to play 4 player is to make all those neutrals insurmountable. Othererwise baratheon wins by turn 3/4 if the player is experienced.
 
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Dezza
Australia
South Australia
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Noahboa wrote:
I feel like there needs to be an element of risk/uncertainty when you're attacking a neutral territory.
Maybe draw a tide of battle card for the neutral forces. That way there'd be a chance you can't take it, and a risk of losing a unit.
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