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Subject: Looking for a few suggestions for new players rss

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Bryan Nelson
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Hello all,

I bought the Core Set for my girlfriend for Christmas, and we've yet to try it. I've been browsing some of the 'newbie' threads, but wouldn't mind a bit of specific advice from the veterans, if you'd be kind enough to share your opinions.

First, a bit about us. She's reading the Song of Ice & Fire books, has seen all of A Game of Thrones on HBO, she's a big fan. She loves board games, but tends to get frustrated if the rules are too complicated, particularly if she feels like she's being thrashed (she hated Twilight Imperium for the first half of the first game we played, but after a pep talk at dinner time, she came back, won the game, and has really enjoyed the two other times we've played, even during the game she finished in third place, with no real hope of winning). She's got next to no previous experience with CCGs or LCGs, except for us trying Call of Cthulhu for two games, which were very frustrating for her, because she felt like she never was really in control of the game or had a decent grasp of the rules til near the end of the second game, just before I (semi-crushingly) solved two stories in one round. She is, however, keen to try AGoT.

I'm also a fan of a Song of Ice & Fire. I've got a lot of board game experience and tend to be the 'rules guy' in our gaming group. I have the same two games of CoC under my belt, and I used to play Magic several years ago, so I'm comfortable with these kind of card games. Of the two of us, I tend to keep a cooler head when I'm losing a game, and I usually am a bit quicker to pick up on the strategy of complicated games (largely since I look at forums like these ). When I do teach the rest of the group, I try to help with not just the rules, but general strategies and the like as well.

I really want her to like this game, and have it be a regular gaming option for us, or our group as well. I'm planning on showing her the FFG walkthrough videos, and she's read most of the rulebook already, which she'll finish before we try the game. I would expect she'll like the game a lot more if she wins her first time, or at least loses a very close match.

Anyway, on to questions:
- Presuming we can find two more people to play with, would you recommend a joust or melee for a first game? If we play in a group, I expect to be teamed up on, which is fairly regular in our group dynamic, but I can live with that.
- Secondly, she will play Stark, as they're her favorite from the book and the show. If we play a joust, could you recommend which of the remaining decks I should use. From what I've gathered from my research online, I lean towards the Lannisters (control-ish decks were fun for me in Magic), but I've read they're considered the most powerful in the core game, plus favor intrigue, which seems to be Stark's weakness... this would be fine, but I'd rather weigh the odds slightly in her favor for a first play.
- Lastly, anything you can think of that I haven't mentioned to help make a 'complicated' game a bit easier for her to understand the first time?

Thanks guys, I really appreciate the help
 
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Scott Awesome
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Tell her to use Valar Morghulis early, while she still has characters in her hand. Most new players put it off until they are forced into it, then have a hard time coming back.
 
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Count Ringworm
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Everything I've seen would recommend joust for a while first, while you both learn the game and the cards. Melee just adds way too much for people figuring out the system to deal with.

If you want to give her a leg up on the first few games, with her running Stark, maybe you could run Targaryen? They have a bit of a learning curve and seem to be a little weaker with the basic core-set deck.
 
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Matt Shinners
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TipsyGamer wrote:

- Presuming we can find two more people to play with, would you recommend a joust or melee for a first game? If we play in a group, I expect to be teamed up on, which is fairly regular in our group dynamic, but I can live with that.


I would recommend Melee over Joust, but that's because I'm a huge fan of the 4-player and only a moderate fan of the 2-player. However, the new set that FFG just released as a 2-player game is a much more solid intro to the game, and I feel better balanced than the core set decks of AGoT: LCG. If you have the means, I would pick that set up and play a few 2-player games that way. It's usually ~$20, though Amazon has had it as low as $10.

That game also removes a few of the trickier rules (Deadly being the main one), and it was designed as 2-player, so it's more balanced. As you grow your card pool, get familiar with the game, and build your own decks, the Joust game using the AGoT:LCG cards becomes more balanced and more fun than just the core set.

Quote:

- Secondly, she will play Stark, as they're her favorite from the book and the show. If we play a joust, could you recommend which of the remaining decks I should use. From what I've gathered from my research online, I lean towards the Lannisters (control-ish decks were fun for me in Magic), but I've read they're considered the most powerful in the core game, plus favor intrigue, which seems to be Stark's weakness... this would be fine, but I'd rather weigh the odds slightly in her favor for a first play.


Don't play Lannister - if you do it well (which it sounds like you would since you already know you like control-ish decks), she won't have fun. You'll keep her characters knelt out and her hand empty the whole game. A lot of people start thinking Lannister is weak until they figure out the power of control decks, so if you already know that, you will probably play it semi-effectively.

Either of the other decks should be fine, though the Targ deck can be annoying if the right cards come up. I'd probably recommend the Bara deck.

Quote:

- Lastly, anything you can think of that I haven't mentioned to help make a 'complicated' game a bit easier for her to understand the first time?


Watch the videos - they're great.

Tell her that everything on the cards are meant literally - if you take an exact interpretation of the card, even if it seems weird, you're probably going to play it right - don't try to read anything into the cards that isn't there.

I would think about changing up the plot decks, as Stark doesn't really like Valar Morghulis until the player is a bit more experienced and knows when they can benefit most from a reset. The 'Mutual' plots are also less useful in Joust, so they can seem a bit underpowered compared to the plots that will be active in that format.

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CD Harris
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TipsyGamer wrote:
- Presuming we can find two more people to play with, would you recommend a joust or melee for a first game? If we play in a group, I expect to be teamed up on, which is fairly regular in our group dynamic, but I can live with that.
- Secondly, she will play Stark, as they're her favorite from the book and the show. If we play a joust, could you recommend which of the remaining decks I should use. From what I've gathered from my research online, I lean towards the Lannisters (control-ish decks were fun for me in Magic), but I've read they're considered the most powerful in the core game, plus favor intrigue, which seems to be Stark's weakness... this would be fine, but I'd rather weigh the odds slightly in her favor for a first play.
- Lastly, anything you can think of that I haven't mentioned to help make a 'complicated' game a bit easier for her to understand the first time?

Stick with Joust until you have the basic rules down. Melee games with all new players take a really, really long time.

I'd also recommend getting a second Core set and building more consistent decks than the ones included--those can play rather randomly. If you do that, there won't be as much of an issue with one deck being stronger either. I recommend these, which are the ones my group learned the game with. Each House has its own playstyle; just pick the one that suits you best.

Once you move on from just the Core set, the game gets pretty complicated. The FAQ is chock full of errata, fine points, and timing charts. For now, I'd say just use the FAQ for the timing charts. If you learn those as you learn the game, everything else will go smoother. You can absorb the rest later.

Welcome to the meta.
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Dave Kudzma
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The rules suggest melee, and truly melee is a great way to start learning. There are more targets for players to attack, as opposed to joust where a novice player might get overwhelmed early, and with no experience to draw on to regain composure and recoverThe only issue I have with it is that it is VERY long to learn that way; there will be so many more cards to read that this could also be overwhelming and the draw out process might suck some of the fun you're having out of it.

I personally learned melee. It's a great way to learn the game, a fun way to play, and even a new player has a better chance. Given what I know now I think I wouldn't have minded a few games of joust, then both players could get to know the factions a bit better, there would be fewer interactions and complications, fewer rules questions, and certainly a shorter duration.

I'm not a fan of the core as-is. Getting a second core and using those preconstructed decks that were linked in this thread is the BEST way to go. After that I'd say Stark vs Bara. You'll see two totally different strategies that way.
 
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Scott Awesome
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If you start with melee, I'd recommend using the titles but not using the support/oppose stuff. I found that it made the newbies very excited to grab the one they wanted, and cut out what could have been another several minutes of explanation and questions before and during the game.
 
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Dave Maynor
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I think I have only played a handful of jousts myself. The game just doesn't hold up for me without at least 3 players. If I want head to head, I play L5R, or many other games. But the titles in Melee ARE the game to me, the decks and factions all secondary to the title strategies.
 
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Joseph Wisniewski
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I have taught the game to new groups of players several times, always Melee, and it worked fine. Yes, it will take a while, but just let people know that if the first game seems really long that most games will last about half as long once everyone knows how to play.

I was using the Core Set, pre-built house decks each time.
 
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Nick
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My girlfriend and I have been playing joust exclusively since we got the game last summer. We just picked up our second core set and two house expansions but haven't had a chance to play with new decks yet.

For using just the core set, I'd recommend building new plot decks. There are a number in there that only affect a melee game ("If you have more than one opponent..."), so those should be ditched.

If she's going to play Stark I would also ditch Valar Morghulis. It's a fun card, but my girlfriend was never able to get the hang of it and it's probably not the best for beginners.

Stark is a good choice for her. They're a military powerhouse which is the easiest for a beginner to play (killing the opponent is more intuitive than destroying their hand with intrigue challenges).

I would definitely not use Lannister yourself. Or Baratheon for that matter, so I guess I agree with the Targaryen recommendation.

The only other tips I have are to keep the keywords list handy (deadly, ambush, stalwart, etc) and be prepared for a LONG game the first time you play.

Have fun!
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Bryan Nelson
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Thanks for all your advice, everybody. We ended up playing our first game last night. She's a bit confused by some of the complicated rules, and still trying to see all the strategy behind a lot of the moves and timing of the game, but says she enjoyed it, and would play again (so mission accomplished). She even asked if we could play again soon, so I guess she enjoyed it enough to try to invest the time to really get it down, though she asked me to keep most of my 'strategic advice' to myself next time, hahaha.

I played the Targ deck, and thought that was alright. I think I'll try Baratheon against her next time, and save Lannister for once she's gotten a few games under her belt.

The game was, overall, about 3 or so hours to play, which hopefully we'll trim down a bit as we get more familiar. She ended up winning 15 to 13, I think, came back from behind with Jon & Ned to score the win on a power challenge and winning dominance.

Looking forward to trying again
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Bryan Nelson
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We played again last night. This time I took Baratheon, and she took Lannister. Much quicker game this time... around 75 minutes, I think. I won this one rather handily, lots of power for Robert's Renown, and Davos soaking her Military claim. She was also fairly stifled for gold as a result of playing Blockade as her first plot, and getting hit by the Baratheon plot that blocks income boosters. Says she had fun, but was really frustrated by the game, as she didn't feel she ever really had the gold to do anything.

One question we had though, she had Joffrey out (claim a power when a Lord or Lady is killed), and I soaked a bunch of deaths by saving Ser Davos... I let her take the power, but I wasn't sure that was right. Does a saved character still count as killed for something like that?

Thanks
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Count Ringworm
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TipsyGamer wrote:

One question we had though, she had Joffrey out (claim a power when a Lord or Lady is killed), and I soaked a bunch of deaths by saving Ser Davos... I let her take the power, but I wasn't sure that was right. Does a saved character still count as killed for something like that?

Thanks


Nope- character wasn't killed, it was saved. No power for Joffrey.
 
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