Brosef Stalin
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At times we have found our group with one extra person just floating around and watching the game, so we have been trying to figure out what to do with the poor schmuck. Here is our idea for a neutral force, based on the Bw/oB, that can step in and be added with their own special set of rules. Any rules/cards need some experimentation, as we have yet to get optimal balance down through multiple plays. This may also be a good way to wean a new player into the game, by letting him focus on a few simple elements before stepping in to the total experience. Currently, you would either have to use an unused house's units, your own cutouts, or pick up somethng from a local store to use as footment/knights.

Rules;
As a neutral force, BwoB takes no part on the influence track (always last), nor do they take part in bidding or the gaining of power tokens. This means that they cannot control vacated areas with a power token.

Supply track = lowest current player's supply.

Can only use Support tokens and March tokens (non-special), and all Raid tokens.

Enter the game via ANY uncontrolled and ungarrisoned castle/stronghold, so long as that area has an enemy land force in just one adjacent area.
(**note; this is the rule we expect needs change/clarification, since only places like Yronwood, Cracklaw, The Reach, Harrenhal, Moat Cailin, etc., would be available. May work better as fixed areas, and then would immediately enter in combat if that area is controlled)

Units are spawned via the Mustering card. However, BwoB gain other mustering points by:
- capturing areas with a fixed crown icon (1 per crown)
- raiding a Consolidate power token
- capturing a Consolidate Power token
(note that Special Cons. Power tokens are worth 2 mustering points)
- so, for example, the max mustering points would be 4, if they take King's Landing with a Special Consolidate Power token in place.
- these points can subsequently be used anywhere on the map during the Clean Up phase.

May only control 3 castles/strongholds.

Cannot muster ships or siege engines, but may use any ship to transport, so long as that fleet does not have a defense token, or is engaging in an attack (so their transport may be stopped anywhere along a 3-4 ship chain).

May support the Nights Watch by use of a house card (adding that card's combat strength but then discarded). Takes no part in high/low bidder results, but gains the ability to muster if the NW wins.

House Cards:
Beric Dondarrion: +4 / If victorious, gain March +1 order next turn.
Lady Stoneheart: +3 / If Beric is in the discard pile, she cannot be discarded.
Gendry: +2 / Two defense icons.
Lem Lemoncloak: +2 / Two Sword icons.
Anguy the Archer: +1 / If defeated, attackers must retreat (Loras may move again from starting March).
Thoros of Myr: +0 / Nullifies all casualties.

Many wrinkles to iron out, such as retreating (should they be allowed to, or just killed off, the latter affecting house cards of Gendry and Thoros), maybe changing out the house cards if better options. They may also work better (hell, maybe worse), if the turn total is increased since they are now possibly controlling a House's ability to take the easy Castles and Strongholds.

Another key point is whether they should only be allowed X number of units on the map. Suggested unit caps:
- equal to numerical total of cuurent supply (ex. 3-2-2 = 7 total units allowed)
- no more than the current round total, with a minimum as the numerical total of the lowest supply amount, so they gain strength as game goes on.

If someone likes this, and wants to create/upload a set of House cards, fire away! Any rule changes will be edited into original post (with due credit given).
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Travis Dean
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I like the sound of this idea. But there's a number of things that do concern me quite a bit.

One thing I'm not clear on, when they muster, does it have to be a castle/stronghold they currently have units on, or can it basically be a vacant stronghold...? A little confusing.


I'm concerned that they can be severely weakened by the weakest house. This encourages them to stand up for the weakest house so that they themselves can be more powerful.

Do they have a win condition? Or do they just run around battling for fun? I could still enjoy playing this house for the fun factor, but most players would want a goal or win condition.

Lady Stoneheart's ability is very powerful, but can also be a disadvantage. At least, if I'm reading it correctly. If played, since she can't be discarded (if pre-conditions met), she goes back to the hand after battle? If I'm misunderstanding and it's just for the effects of Patchface and Wildlings, then I don't like the idea of it. It might also conflict with some of the Wildlings cards. But if I'm interpreting correctly, then it could create a problem of eventually she'll have to be the last card played, which theoretically would discard her and return everybody else to your hand, but I just now realized that even this wouldn't happen properly. Since Beric is in the discard, she would keep returning to your hand and you would never get your other cards back! Can you clarify her ability? Either way, I think it should be changed. Cancelling the opponent's card's ability is an idea of a power...
 
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Brosef Stalin
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Certainly good questions.

does it have to be a castle/stronghold they currently have units on, or can it basically be a vacant stronghold...? A little confusing.

The idea was that they muster on vacant strongholds. However, you could set up some starting positions for them. Part of the reasoning behind the "vacant strongholds" idea was that they had options all over the map, instead of being stuck in the middle areas and potentially fighting only the 4 houses that start further South.

They could clearly have different starting positions based on the number of players, would just require more experimenting. This is the largest point of contention we've had for the BwoB, since each option has pros/cons of strong natures.

Do they have a win condition? Or do they just run around battling for fun?

Meant to be battling for fun. We tried to gimp them in order to create a force that could just harass different players. Also, they're a force that's easier for new players to jump in and try out; with no victory conditions, it has seemed to be a better intro than "pick a house and get rocked by experienced players since you don't know what you're doing yet".

Lady Stoneheart's ability is very powerful, but can also be a disadvantage.

Quite true. We were playing on her appearance in the book more than anything.

I'm not crazy happy with a number of the cards we created, especially the bland Gendry/Lem cards. In fact, if you think that they shouldn't be allowed to retreat, Gendry is a card with no bonuses. House cards definitely need to be balanced/edited.

Appreciate the feedback, since this is a work in progress.
 
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Brosef Stalin
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(Continuing the starting positioning/muster-anywhere debate)

In a six-person game, there's a 3/10 chance to pull the "Mustering" card right away (obviously scaling up if not pulled).

However, you could throw the clause in there that the BwoB can muster automatically on the first turn, or the second, etc. Maybe they could muster every Odd-number turn or something along those lines. (note that their unit/army caps offset the possibility that they have high numbers beating the piss out of everyone)

Also, in a 6-person game, the following areas are available from the start. They are grouped, so in order to prevent the BwoB from initially starting in all of one area (potentially surrounding Tyrell/Lannister), you could force them to choose one area in each of these geographical groups or something:

North:
Moat Cailin
Flint's Finger
Seagard

Central:
Harrenhal
Cracklaw Point
Riverrun
The Reach

The South:
Storm's End
Yronwood
Starfall
Oldtown



 
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Travis Dean
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One other consideration, then, for mustering is a mustering option when there are no vacant or BwoB castles. This happens frequently in our games that there are no vacant castles, and sometimes one or two may become vacated, but this is rare. I would make this a special clause, maybe, for the case that they have nowhere to muster. Maybe they have to choose a space with crown or barrel icons or something...
 
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neko flying
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I am not sure about the balance (the cards seem a bit overpowered) but it sounds like fun :)

I like the idea of an additional, non-competitive, "just for fun" player. If anything, I believe this player's goal should be to always attack the strongest player(s) and make sure the game reaches the last round. Then, the BwoB also wins (normal victory conditions apply to all other players, the game has two winners).
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Noah Stein
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You know what might be an interesting idea, is to change their combat rules, just a little bit.

The BwoB never struck me as the sort of people that would knock an entire army out of an area, but rather they strike where they can, taking money, and lives, where possible.

Give each of the BwoB generals a special ability appropriate to the character, plus each one has a sword (or two). One should definitely have the ability to downgrade a K to a FM.

When they win a battle, the losers do not retreat as normal. Perhaps they stay in place but become routed, or maybe they just lose the casualties like normal.

The mustering issue is a real one. One thought, again, prompted by the stories, would be that any time someone leaves a space, but doesn't leave behind power, the BwoB gets a mustering point or maybe just musters a FM in that space (you know, the army has moved on, taking what they want, spawning sympathy for the BwoB). I feel like that doesn't happen a lot though, so maybe something greater than that.
 
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Adam McLean
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I really like the idea of adding another player into the mix ... although I do see the difficulty of balance, mustering, and board congestion.

Maybe I'll throw a couple cents in as well, although I may be grasping at straws here:

Rather than another playable faction on the board, how about a player that tries to influence things from off the board. What I mean is, have the BwoB have cards to play with that they either have for themselves or can give to other players. It could include the leaders as noted above, as well as cards representing generic units. These card could have some sort of benefit or added strength, maybe they have a trigger. Possibly favors may be bought and paid for in some way.

Having some units under your control on the board might be nice as well, but rather than a full army like the other houses, maybe more like the allies from A Storm of Swords.

However it is done, I would like to see the BwoB have some kind of win condition. Obviously not 7 castles, but maybe if certain game conditions exist, they instead get the win ... which would be where their influence and assistance of the other houses throughout the game would be trying to lead. Possibly a small deck of cards with different win conditions that BwoB gets randomly or they choose at the beginning of the game.


Anyways, that might be a whole different direction that nobody wants to go, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
 
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eita tetaata
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I like the idea, but, as some above, I'd like to see some win condition.
Some quick ideas:
- after X rounds, if all House players have less than Y castles, BwoB wins?
- if any player loses his last castle to BwoB, they win? (This would add some reasons for the strong players to help the weak).

As I said, these are just quick ideas, some thing to reflect upon.
 
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