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A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Fixing Lannister/Greyjoy starting imbalance - options? rss

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Maltuvion Irewood
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Let me preface this by saying I am relatively new to the game, but overall an avid boardgamer over the past decade. There is therefore a chance that I am trying to fix something that isn't inherently broken. My goal is not to make Lannister impervious to any offense from Greyjoy, but as it stands right now Greyjoy can seemingly trounce Lannister from round 1 with impunity, making Lannister dependent on the rest of the board reacting against Greyjoy, a task that will generally fall to Stark or Tyrell, both of which generally has their hands full doing other stuff in round 1.

My main gripe with the Greyjoy/Lannister situation is that "the fix" to it, according to some people on this forum, lies in people aiding Lannister/going on the offence against Greyjoy, which to me is a sign of bad game design; in a game where that doesn't happen, Lannister is blasted back to the stone age whereas Greyjoy will have gained immensely and irrevocably, due to the other player's inactivity/failure to respond.

I do not dispute that it does paint a target on Greyjoy and that other players should respond; but any design bruteforcing people into certain damage control scenarios straight off the bat with medium risk/high reward to the aggressor is, in my opinion, lackluster design.

So how can this be fixed?

- Changing Jaime Lannister so that whenever Tywin Lannister is in the discard pile, Jaime Lannister becomes a power 3 or 4 hero with 1 fort + 1 sword icon? Or alternatively give Tyrion 2 or even 3 combat strength when Tywin Lannister is in the discard pile? Both would signify, thematically and in line with the books, how they "come into their own" when forced to be on their own.

- Move Greyjoy's ship in Ironman's Bay up to Bay of Ice, making a relevant round 1 decision for Stark more pertinent (rather than the standard and mostly unconfrontational openings). Stark can still muster in the port, and diplomacy or saber-rattling will have to ensue. Thematically, it would signify Asha/Theon's northern campaign I guess. In this balancing context, it would make it impossible to support from Ironman's Bay. If this in turn gimps Greyjoy too much and removes any threat of an early Greyjoy aggression vs. Lannister, one could switch the ship from Port of Pyke into Ironman's Bay as compensation. I think that could potentially work.

- Nerf Balon somehow. Make him Combat Strength 0 and move Damphair to combat strength 1, Asha to combat strength 2. The card itself (Balon) right now is also very bad design; extremely simplistic and almost always a de facto "I win" button. Making him combat strength 0 would balance him ridiculous written ability imo. On another note, Margaery Tyrell in the new DwD expansion falls into same category of lazy/bad design imo, negating alot of tactics.

- Make Balon a power 4 card, Euron a power 2. No, hear me out. It'd make Balon even more of an autowin, but he pretty much already is. On the other hand, it'd allow people to compensate after his ridiculousness is out of the way, having a fair shot. It would also introduce some strategy into Balon; does the opponent pop a bad card because the fight's pretty much over, but is the Greyjoy bluffing because Balon is too crucial now? Which could lead to people bluffing Greyjoy, and indeed popping, say, Tywin, whereas the Greyjoy player thinks it's guaranteed in the bag. Can the Greyjoy afford this? Making Balon too good also makes him that more delicate. Right now as a power 2 card he's something you pop 'coz honestly, it's just a no-brainer.


Any other suggestions?

Edit: The goal is to make a turn 1 Greyjoy aggression a high risk/high reward scenario which is not as predetermined as it is right now, and which involves some actual tactical decisions rather than having Balon/Victarion/Euron guarantee victory no matter how the cake is sliced.
 
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Radosław Michalak
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It's not broken.
1. It's thematical.
2. Lannister has a big advantage - special orders and Raven.
3. Diplomacy, not only strategy.
4. If Greyjoy concentrates on Lannister since the beginning, it often results in weak both Lannister and Greyjoy.

EDIT
Every house is better for specific types of players. If you all like to play similar, then Lannister may be weak in your group.
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Simon
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i agree with the comments thus far. Its not broken, just a challenge.

There's also a good article on the forums here for Lannister lamping greyjoy straight away.
 
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Maltuvion Irewood
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Radziol, I believe you're avoiding the crux of the matter.

Thematically, Lannister should have Harrenhal and/or King's Landing. Tywin and Cersai are there, respectively. However, thematics should never ruin a game's balance or fun.

Lannister's big advantage doesn't prevent a turn 1 capture of Riverrun due to Greyjoy's predetermined "I win" opening vs. Lannister.

Diplomacy is a mutable thing; I do not diminish its importance. I am saying that right now, Lannister cannot really give any incentive not to be attacked, other than other people helping/growing strong.

"often results in weak both Greyjoy and Lannister" is rather vague; it results in weak Greyjoy if Stark, possibly even Tyrell, rushes to Lannister's aid. There are openings that account for any possible scenario, in which Greyjoy irrevocably wins over Lannister as in game over. Unless other people intervene forcibly. That is not always guaranteed.

This is not a question of a localized metagame. If you must know, our group is very diplomacy heavy. Our games generally take 7-8 hours due to excessive diplomacy and fun bantering. However, it doesn't change the issue at hand.
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Adam McLean
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Although the game may not "technically" be broken ... it did contribute greatly to whoever played Lannister to getting squashed or playing from behind nearly every game. We felt that he shouldn't have to always and only rely on outside forces to stay in the game (a Greyjoy ceasefire, Stark and/or Tyrell helping out, etc).

And I agree that it can still be fun, but those games can be far and few. Diplomacy might work, but Greyjoy knows he can dominate there, what if he has no desire for diplomacy. Help from neighbors may work, but what of they have battles on other fronts as well, so that can't necessarily be counted on ... plus, help and support are relative terms in this game, in the long run, they'll backstab you for their advantage anyways (and should).

So our fix is:



At least for us, this fix allowed for Lannister to have some breathing room at Riverrun and prevented Greyjoy from having access to Lannister's doorstep. It sometimes made the Riverrun/Seagard border as guarded as the 38th parallel but gave Lannister some confidence to move east and south.

In addition, it still allows for the suggestions above such as diplomacy and help from neighboring houses.

Note that this is for the 1st edition, but it appears the sea border is the same in the 2nd edition as well.
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Eric Matthews
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Games with asymmetrical starts (Cosmic Encounters is the classic example), require the players to balance out the more powerful starting player. If this were a two player game, or even a game that didn't involve shifting alliances I'd be inclined to agree with the "broken" suggestions.

Honestly I think the only issue is the expectations of players, many of whom may be used to "balance" from a video game/ synchronous games (like stratego or most standard two player war games). Asynchronous Start games are not supposed to be balanced in the strictest sense (by definition actually), and because of that this will not be the game for everyone. "Fixing" this would actually break the game, because then it would require you to "balance" all of the houses to this philosophy... And once you did that... boom you end up with a generic war game with a "pasted on theme".

Find a random way to choose houses. Or even a skill based one, like play a light or super light warm-up game that uses completely different skillset to determine the order you chose the houses in. And when you end up facing that dreaded house that you think is broken, get out your negotiation skills and ally with the other players against great broken house X. Make your case there.

I promise you this is on purpose.


E
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Nathan Chaney
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Greyjoy has some really good cards, while Lannister's cards really don't stand out. Aeron, Balon, and Victarion are all excellent cards, and that's not even including their 4. They're not quite as annoying as Bolton, but they can make it really difficult to fight Greyjoy.

I have seen a Greyjoy-Lannister alliance several times, and usually it ended up well for both of them. I've also seem them fight from the beginning a few times, and that tends to end badly for both of them. Those two facts alone suggest that (especially for Lannister) both of them want that alliance. As a side note, I don't think I've ever seen Greyjoy not go after Stark at some point. But Stark, if they're doing badly, can use Roose Bolton, which gives them some flexibility in choosing when to use their best cards.

When it comes down to it, there are really only three players that can threaten Greyjoy - Stark, Lannister, and Tyrell. Tyrell requires a lot more planning and setup than the others, and isn't nearly as likely to happen. So allying against the "broken" house with other players often doesn't really change things for Greyjoy.
 
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Adam McLean
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I agree on your points about asymmetrical starting positions and I happen to enjoy those kinds of games in particular ... I think the problem that happens in AGoT is that the asymmetrical has also become too scripted.

To simply say that the Lannister player must use their negotiation skills to even compete isn't exactly fulfilling when everyone else knows that's what you need to do.

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Matteo Angioletti
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oatesatm wrote:


So our fix is:



At least for us, this fix allowed for Lannister to have some breathing room at Riverrun and prevented Greyjoy from having access to Lannister's doorstep. It sometimes made the Riverrun/Seagard border as guarded as the 38th parallel but gave Lannister some confidence to move east and south.

In addition, it still allows for the suggestions above such as diplomacy and help from neighboring houses.

Note that this is for the 1st edition, but it appears the sea border is the same in the 2nd edition as well.


Be note that a change like that is a huge one, maybe more warranted in the first edition where Greyjoy started with 2 ships in Ironman's Bay and Lannister had to rely only on chance to muster new units.

Mayor consequences are:

Greyjoy can't take Riverrun in turn 1,
To take it later he must attack from Seagard unsupported, while Lannister has 4 areas to support with, with at least 2 (Lannisport and Stoney Sept) unlikely to be raided.

So with this variant Greyjoy needs more than ever to slip into the Golden Sound to have a chance at going against a defensive Lannister.

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Rist Sindar
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This is not purpose.
Greyjoy have Sword, but not a special orders. Greyjoy can't mustering without westeros cards, but Lannister can do it every turn.
Greyjoy are often careless, and have been defeated by Lannister not once.
Lannister (and Stark to) must use special consolidate power order every turn, when they in war with Greyjoy.
And one more,- Greyjoy battle cards have only few swords.
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Matteo Angioletti
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Maltuvion wrote:


I do not dispute that it does paint a target on Greyjoy and that other players should respond; but any design bruteforcing people into certain damage control scenarios straight off the bat with medium risk/high reward to the aggressor is, in my opinion, lackluster design.

So how can this be fixed?

Edit: The goal is to make a turn 1 Greyjoy aggression a high risk/high reward scenario which is not as predetermined as it is right now, and which involves some actual tactical decisions rather than having Balon/Victarion/Euron guarantee victory no matter how the cake is sliced.


I think that the situation is not so unbalanced from a tactical viewpoint.

Greyjoy starts with a big unit+sword advantage and Balon ensures a certain win, but bear in mind that Lannister has the Raven and 3 starred orders. It's true that in the very first turn there's nothing that prevents Greyjoy from taking Riverrun, but after he has used Balon, how long can he push the attack? Lannister can muster a Siege Engine, set up a net of support and at least avoid a complete elimination.

Then you have to consider that diplomacy and balance of power are almost unwritten mechanics of the game: if Greyjoy is all committed south and out of big cards, how can he resist an attack from Stark to Seagard? How can he hold the Bay of Ice, or even set foot there?

The main problem lies in the fact that while every new player can take up Greyjoy, use his big cards and win some battles in the very early game, it takes an experienced Lannister to strategically plan for a successful defence and a later hard counterattack.

Usually when Greyjoy and Lannister clash, neither of them wins (Greyjoy may do good, but often gets stuck for the rest of the game trying to go into Lannisport and the Golden Sound while the board, and especially Stark, blossom and win).


If you still feel that diplomacy can't compensate for the strategical unbalance, you may try to change the sea border as illustrated above.

Nerfing Balon to 0 and upping Aeron to 2 can be an interesting swap, but
you may also change Kevan Lannister to a 2, working also when you are defending (downgrade the Hound to a 1, not lore accurate but may work), or make Balon ability work only on attacking.
 
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Amin
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oatesatm wrote:

So our fix is:



At least for us, this fix allowed for Lannister to have some breathing room at Riverrun and prevented Greyjoy from having access to Lannister's doorstep. It sometimes made the Riverrun/Seagard border as guarded as the 38th parallel but gave Lannister some confidence to move east and south.

In addition, it still allows for the suggestions above such as diplomacy and help from neighboring houses.

Note that this is for the 1st edition, but it appears the sea border is the same in the 2nd edition as well.


Yes, that front always seems to be heavily guarded in a cold war situation (if not open combat) with this mod. But I've played it before several times and it works fine.

I think that the Lannister/Greyjoy front was best balanced with the Clash of Kings expansion and the powerful Lannister cards available to deter or defend against a first turn attack. In some ways, despite the ship change, the 2nd edition takes a step backward, but there are plenty of mods and suggestions you can try out by searching this forum or the 1st edition forums. If a map change makes you uneasy, as suggested above, a simple change to make Kevan's text work on defense as well as offense might work, though I've been playing the ADWD variant for a while so I haven't had a chance to try that one in-game yet.
 
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Maltuvion Irewood
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I think it will probably illustrate my point more succinctly if I copy/paste Jhagen's pertinent analysis of the issue at hand. All credit goes to him. The original thread can be found at: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp?e...

Allow me to also say I appreciate the feedback. I just think it's a glaring design flaw - and a huge flaw argumentatively - that one faction's success resides on something as mutable and fickle as diplomacy, especially when the price of it failing is so potentially dire. Look below for elaboration.

___________

Original Post:

the script for you to win everytime with greyjoy over Lannister:

Greyjoy order script

TURN 1

PLACE ORDER TOKENS

(march -1) Ironman's bay
(march +0) Pike
(consolidate) Greywater Watch
(consolidate) Port of Pike

RESOLVE TOKENS


10 Pike(march +0) knight -> Riverrun
11 Pike(march +0) footman -> Seagard
12 ** Is there a combat? if NO, skip to line 20
14 Play "Aeron Damphair" card
15 If Lannister played "The Hound", play "Victarion Greyjoy" and move into Riverrun
16 If Lannister played "Tywin Lannister","Ser Gregor Clegane" OR "Ser Jaime Lannister", play "Euron Crow's Eye", destroy lannister's unit and move into Riverrun
17 If Lannister played any other card, play "Asha Greyjoy", destroy Lannister's unit(s) and move into Riverrun

20 Ironman's bay (march -1) ship -> The Golden Sound
21 ** Is there a combat? if NO, skip to line 40
22 ** Is "Aeron Damphair"in your discard pile? IF yes, skip to line 30
23 Play "Aeron Damphair" card
24 If Lannister played "The Hound", play "Victarion Greyjoy" and move into The Golden Sound
25 If Lannister played "Tywin Lannister","Ser Gregor Clegane" OR "Ser Jaime Lannister", play "Euron Crow's Eye", destroy Lannister's ship and move into The Golden Sound
26 If Lannister played any other card, play "Dagmar Cleftjaw", destroy Lannister's ship and move into The Golden Sound
27 Skip to line 40

30 If Lannister discard pile holds "The Hound", play "Euron Crow's Eye", have fleet destroyed and take The Golden Sound
31 If Lannister discard pile holds any other card, play "Victarion Greyjoy" and move into The Golden Sound
32 If Lannister plays "Tyrion Lannister", play "Dagmar Cleftjaw", use the Valyrian steel blade, have fleet destroyed and take The Golden Sound

40 End the turn, Lannister is done (for).

Summary for turn 1:

Best case for Lannister (to consolidate):

2 knights, 1 footman in Lannisport
1 ships in Lannisport (port)

Worst case for Lannister (doing anything else other than consolidate eg: attacking Riverrun):

1 footman in Stoney Sept

TURN 2

If mustering comes up:

Siege (Riverrun)
2 footmen (Pike)
ship (Ironman's Bay) from (Seagard)
upgrade footman to knight (Seagard)

PLACE ORDER TOKENS

(march +0 or +1) Riverrun
(march -1 or +0) Pike
(consolidate) Greywater Watch
(consolidate) Port of Pike
(support +0 or +1) Ironman's Bay
(support) Seagard
(raid or raid*) The Golden Sound

Lannister now has in lannisport:

2 ships (port)
3 knights (Lannisport)

RESOLVE TOKENS (best case for Lannister)

The Golden Sound (raid) on Lannisport (port)

10 Riverrun(march +0) knight+siege -> Riverrun
11 Play "Balon Greyjoy" and use the Valyrian steel blade(if needed) and enjoy Lannisport.



I understand there is only the defense +2 token that can stymie this method for occupying Lannisport turn 2 upon muster, and if that is your playstyle i suggest the Pike footman rides to riverrun turn 1 with the knight. The script was designed for all outcomes in mind (muster, no muster, alliances and such)

This however requires Lannister to do nothing but consolidate turn 1. if he doesn't. he loses Lannisport turn 2 if a muster comes up.

___

Regarding losing Seagard to Stark:

Stark has no reason to overextend themselves to Seagard. Stark has no hopes of holding it. save for attaining the 7th castle for victory on his push turn. otherwise support of it can be cut too easily.

___

Potential counter to OP scripted move:

Disclaimer: I have played once and it was as baratheon. I am not intimately familiar with each card but believe I have a grasp.

It has been clearly stated that lannister can not hold riverrun in the first turn against a determined greyjoy, and jhagen has posted the "surefire" strategy to always win riverrun first turn and destroy lannister.

Using Jhagen's script, the greyjoy has placed march - 1 on his ship and march - 0 on pike.

Meanwhile, lannister placed march - 1 on stoney sept, support +1 on golden sound, and march +1 on lannisport.



Please remember: Lannister acts first on the first turn and may play 3 * order tokens.

Order of events in action phase:

Lannister resolves the march -1 to move the footman into lannisport.

Greyjoy resolves march +0 to move knight into riverrun and footman into seagard.

Lannister resolves march +1 into riverrun with 1 knight and 2 footman. (4+1 = 5 strength). support +1 is added from golden sound (now 7 strength). Kevan lannister is used (I am not sure if he is 2 or 3 or 4 strength but its irrelevant). Kevan adds 2 more strength for the footmen (9 strength) and lets say 2 for himself (11 str).

So greyjoy has played damphair and may pay 2 power to switch him out for... balon greyjoy? balon would increase the knights strength to 4 total and reduce lannister strength to 9. Euron would increase greyjoy strength to 6 but leave lannister at 11. Even if greyjoy had marched both the footman AND the knight into riverrrun this would be insufficient to withstand the lannister attack.

Actually, the support isnt even required in golden sound. You can play a defense + 2 in golden sound. That way when greyjoy attacks golden sound he is starting at -1 to your +2 and he no longer has aeron damphair so might have to blow balon or euron.



Anyway, if someone can tell me where I am wrong, feel free. Sure, its a lot of effort to win riverrun but thats a stronghold for you and 1 less for greyjoy.



Also, dont forget lannister has the raven and can switch out one of those orders if he sees something different shape up. Finally, the lannister player should be making every overture to stark to take advantage of a preoccupied greyjoy and start moving in from the north.



Counter to above stated counter-move:
The counter to your move orders is to:

consume march -1 token in Ironmans bay and not move, allow Lannister to roll into riverrun. then faceroll them once they land.

kev lannister is useless on the defense. so the lone knight from Pike can land. follow script for card playing.

.....

next!

_____________


Bottomline:

I think the important thing here is to also realize that in order for lannister to defend itself agains an emminent defeat at the hands of greyjoy,

Lannister cannot:

1. Expand to many regions to collect power or supply or castles.

2. Consider his vast options for moves and differing strategies for the ensuing game.

3. Play the game as every other house can.

4. Most importantly, have fun.



It has become such an issue that i am not allowed/refuse to play Greyjoy in the high number of player games, because i make the game "not fun" for the Lannister player.

What kind of game do you think the Lannister player will have if Greyjoy decides to NOT attack right away? saving his assault for say turn 3 or 4? and Lannister is stuck holding the bag with a massive defensive army in Lannisport and nowhere to go with it. All the while everyone else is moving and expanding and playing the game.



+++side note+++

Also realize that "mustering" and " a game of thrones" can come up turn 2.

if that happens, Lannister is REALLY done for. cause then Greyjoy bids 5 tokens for the throne and moves before Lannister and thusly ends any other argument for taking Riverrun or holding Lannisport. Baratheon has no incentive whatsoever to give Lannister advantage, he is Bara's more immediate neighbours and opponents than Greyjoy. And it'd be in Bara's interest to have a strong Greyjoy to pounce at Stark or Tyrell.


Lannister's fun and ability to act in the game is far too fickle from an objective design-standpoint and it rests on something as vague and mutable as "diplomacy". I do not mind Greyjoy and Lannister being at each other's throats; I want it to be a viable option that either can pursue in a high risk/high reward scenario hinging on skill, cunning and smart strategy. Not to be something one (Greyjoy) has to be disincentivized to do for no good reason other than a vague threat that it might bite him in the tail later (if everybody else at the table rises to the challenge, that is to say, everyone but Martel and Baratheon) and the other one (Lannister) has to dread frantically due to inherent disadvantage.
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Kokken Tor
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Suggestion for alternative Lannister starting position:

-Swap 1 Kn in Lannisport for 2 FM.

What do you think? Same combat strength, but more flexible (?) and it makes Kevan a more potent counter to Balon.
 
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Ioan Mitiu
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Kokken Tor wrote:
Suggestion for alternative Lannister starting position:

-Swap 1 Kn in Lannisport for 2 FM.


Or add a Footman in Stoney Sept - it worked in 2 of our games, because Kevan' 1-strenght could be "Balonized" with less impact ...
 
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Maltuvion Irewood
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Kevan only works on the offense though. It still means he is "only" primarily useful for reclaiming either Riverrun or Lannisport - and if Greyjoy follows the sequence, there's a speedway to either. I'd consider boosting Lannister through Kevan and a footman to be more of a band-aid than an actual satisfying solution, though I may be wrong. Reason is that it doesn't change the overarching problem of Lannister being pigeonholed into certain moves for pretty much the entire game.

I still think it is extremely bad game-design that the sequence listed above has not been adressed. I find it even more ludicrous that some people advocate that "it'll balance itself out" through vague, mutable terms such as "diplomacy". If this is the solution we might as well stick a label on the game saying "Oh, by the way, unless you're a huge fan of untested, imbalanced assymetry and you got a masochistic silver-tongued diplomacy-freak and 5 other players wanting to listen to his incessant pleading, this game is probably not for you since Lannister demands this in order to have a chance at succeeding; there simply is no alternative. Tough luck son."

I don't mind assymetry at all, but it should be done right.

It is simply not fun that some indisputably strong moves from one player (Greyjoy) pretty much without contestation demolishes another player and forces over half of the table to throw aside any pretense of strategy and reason in a mad scramble to push Greyjoy and alleviate the pressure on Lannister. And even then they may not be successful; what if they, on the first round, did some moves that made it even harder for them to invest in saving Lannister's ass? What then? And what if they do come to Lannister's aid but are themselves punished by their immediate neighbors (Martel punishing Tyrell, Baratheon punishing Stark)?

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Matteo Angioletti
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I don't find anything ludicrous in the fact that if Greyjoy invested most of his armies and big cards going over Lannister areas Stark player should be going or at least threatening to go into Seagard and Flint's Finger: he stops another player from becoming too powerful and gains a stronghold. (Tyrell contribution with just 1 footman to support Lannisport is also not so bad as Tyrell may want a strong Lannister going east against Baratheon).

That said, I concur it's bad design that a player can gank on another with almost total impunity: usually when Greyjoy and Lannister clash, the former often doesn't win in the end but the latter has a very little chance of coming back. Not that much fun for the Lannister player.

Anyway IMHO Greyjoy best strategy is not to going all over Lannister as it can result unproductive in the end game. (I'm not saying this was the designer intent)
 
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Seli L
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Maltuvion wrote:
I still think it is extremely bad game-design that the sequence listed above has not been adressed. I find it even more ludicrous that some people advocate that "it'll balance itself out" through vague, mutable terms such as "diplomacy". If this is the solution we might as well stick a label on the game saying "Oh, by the way, unless you're a huge fan of untested, imbalanced assymetry and you got a masochistic silver-tongued diplomacy freak and 5 other players wanting to listen to his incessant pleading, this game is probably not for you since Lannister demands this in order to have a chance at succeeding; there simply is no alternative. Tough luck son."


Maybe FFG are just keeping with the tradition. The 1st edition originally had the problem that Greyjoy could (IIRC) take Lannisport in the 1st turn, which FFG later addressed by adjusting King's Court to give Greyjoy's one star to Tyrell.

Seriously though, I agree with you. It is ok if the game is "imbalanced" e.g. because Stark has many more territories, but this is broken. Stark's territories are compensated by being poor, but Lannister's situation is compensated by what, requiring the player to be the best player at the table?

Thematical doesn't matter if it makes the game worse. The alleged advantage of Lannister, 3 star orders and the raven, can vanish as soon as the beginning of turn 2. Diplomacy is useless if the other side just doesn't want to listen for whatever reason. Greyjoy focusing on Lannister can result in them both being weak, but it can also result in strong Greyjoy, with all the towns being strongholds. And how is the game supposed to be fun if Lannister simply has to focus on defending the coast and can't do much else, since with Greyjoy's strong cards it's just so tempting to strike at Lannister?

In the group of people I play with (and that group is not always the same people, which makes things even worse, as all those "Stark must known" arguments just don't work), we avoid this by still using the 1st edition house cards (and in fact I myself dislike more of the 2nd edition cards, e.g. fighting against Doran is such a nightmare). Balon "I win" there has 0 strength (and it's still considered to be a very powerful card), Victarion is not this strength 3 "I win" card, and Aeron "one of my buddies wins for 2 power" is not there at all. And although Greyjoy in 1st edition still has probably the best set of cards of all the houses, it is not so outstanding, thus Greyjoy has to try harder than just go with brute force, and this gives Lannister somewhat more breathing space and possibilities.

So I'd suggest trying nerfing Balon, and possibly other strong Greyjoy cards too, although they shouldn't be as weak as the 1st edition cards, since 2nd edition cards in general are much more powerful (if you've even wondered why Cersei feels so weak, it's because it's an exact copy of the 1st edition card). Making Lannister cards stronger might be an option too, with being surrounded in the middle of the map and having the worst mobility it's not like Lannister is in a very good position even without being in Greyjoy's sights.
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Maltuvion Irewood
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Tuzzo90 wrote:
I don't find anything ludicrous in the fact that if Greyjoy invested most of his armies and big cards going over Lannister areas Stark player should be going or at least threatening to go into Seagard and Flint's Finger: he stops another player from becoming too powerful and gains a stronghold. (Tyrell contribution with just 1 footman to support Lannisport is also not so bad as Tyrell may want a strong Lannister going east against Baratheon).


Except what is stopping Tyrell from claiming every single barrel AND The Reach AND/or Harrenhal as well? Or Lannisport for that matter, conceding Riverrun to Greyjoy on a permanent basis. Greyjoy and Tyrell could just as well reach a tacit understanding. On another note, is it any preferable for Lannister to have Tyrell that close on a more permanent basis? Loras says hi btw.

How do you suppose Stark will be able to reliable hold Seagard and Flint's Finger, considering the former can only be supported reliably from Moat Cailin, and the latter is pretty damn near impossible to hold as well from round 2-3 and onwards? Greyjoy can very easily still hold at least 1 strong card after the sequence, as I've outlined. If Greyjoy is forced to maximum card expenditure on the sequence, he can pretty easily reacquire a full hand without conceding any key territories long-term.

Let's also not disregard the problem that such aggressive behavior is hardly part of traditional Stark opening strategies at all, and will most likely result in a Stark player sacrificing any self-interest based strategies he may have in an attempt to correct the fallacies of the game's design.

Tuzzo90 wrote:

That said, I concur it's bad design that a player can gank on another with almost total impunity: usually when Greyjoy and Lannister clash, the former often doesn't win in the end but the latter has a very little chance of coming back. Not that much fun for the Lannister player.


My group and I played 2 games yesterday. First game we ran normally. Greyjoy attacked Lannister but didn't follow the sequence (he was unaware of it), which led to Lannister being locked down for the rest of the game and putting Greyjoy in charge of Riverrun because Greyjoy simply got too strong a unit lead. He didn't get Lannisport and Riverrun changed hands once or twice, but everytime Greyjoy had strong cards he could easily retake it. Lannister's entire game was a rearguard action, especially because Tyrell pounced with Loras for Lannisport -> Riverrun last round.

The second game I secretly gave the Greyjoy player the sequence as I randomed Lannister. Turns out nobody anticipated having to sacrifice any pretense of "what do I want" in order to rebalance the game. Result was me being ousted, no matter what I did. We stopped after round 3 and discussed the implications of the tactic. We agreed to restart and remove the sequence, since none of us had it memorized (first time the Greyjoy player saw it).
He was able to mimic it slightly though, and ended up winning the game. Why? Because none of the other players wants to "play for another player" right off the bat, not knowing what the Greyjoy is up to. And nor should they! Result, however, is that Greyjoy's start is incredibly strong right off the bat, and by the time other players revert any strategic considerations they may have had in a mad bid to control Greyjoy, Greyjoy has been able to regain his cards through small, pointless skirmishes before they reach any of his heartland. Meanwhile, Martel especially uses this unique opportunity to go Oldtown or Highgarden by sea.

Tuzzo90 wrote:

Anyway IMHO Greyjoy best strategy is not to going all over Lannister as it can result unproductive in the end game. (I'm not saying this was the designer intent)


Going for Lannister either nets you all of Lannister's lands or force everybody - particularly Tyrell and Stark - to scramble towards Lannister lands in a mad bid to compensate for him being demolished. In my experiences they very rarely reach the heartland of Greyjoy, and Greyjoy will always be able to reclaim it relatively easy because Stark and Tyrell will be overstretched, thus vulnerable to Martel and Baratheon.

And really, if we're being cynic, why should Tyrell not want Lannister dead? It's pretty much certain Tyrell will acquire The Reach, possibly Harrenhal, Stony Sept (the support zone) and having all available barrels in relative safety. Greyjoy will have Lannisport and Riverrun possibly, or concede Lannisport to Tyrell as well. Result? Tyrell and easily Loras both Lannisport and/or Riverrun for a late-pounce. It's probably a 50/50 bid depending on whether or not Stark has used Greyjoy's campaign against Lannister to really fortify, in which case Greyjoy may be forced to try for Winterfell or Moat Cailin.

My point is, if we're talking likely scenarios, why rule out that people see it as advantageous to eliminate an opponent pretty much 100% cost free early-game and share his lands? From an objective stand-point, it's a sound strategy, particularly because both stand to gain alot (especially a relatively secure area with 3 barrels from Tyrell).

We agree it's bad game design, but I really think it needs fixing. One player's fun should not hinge on everybody taking pity on him and gently "allowing" him a chance IF he pursues ONE overly defensive strategy while everybody else is having fun making plans, strategies, engaging in offensive diplomacy etc...
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Maltuvion Irewood
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Seli_L wrote:
Maltuvion wrote:
I still think it is extremely bad game-design that the sequence listed above has not been adressed. I find it even more ludicrous that some people advocate that "it'll balance itself out" through vague, mutable terms such as "diplomacy". If this is the solution we might as well stick a label on the game saying "Oh, by the way, unless you're a huge fan of untested, imbalanced assymetry and you got a masochistic silver-tongued diplomacy freak and 5 other players wanting to listen to his incessant pleading, this game is probably not for you since Lannister demands this in order to have a chance at succeeding; there simply is no alternative. Tough luck son."


Maybe FFG are just keeping with the tradition. The 1st edition originally had the problem that Greyjoy could (IIRC) take Lannisport in the 1st turn, which FFG later addressed by adjusting King's Court to give Greyjoy's one star to Tyrell.

Seriously though, I agree with you. It is ok if the game is "imbalanced" e.g. because Stark has many more territories, but this is broken. Stark's territories are compensated by being poor, but Lannister's situation is compensated by what, requiring the player to be the best player at the table?

Thematical doesn't matter if it makes the game worse. The alleged advantage of Lannister, 3 star orders and the raven, can vanish as soon as the beginning of turn 2. Diplomacy is useless if the other side just doesn't want to listen for whatever reason. Greyjoy focusing on Lannister can result in them both being weak, but it can also result in strong Greyjoy, with all the towns being strongholds. And how is the game supposed to be fun if Lannister simply has to focus on defending the coast and can't do much else, since with Greyjoy's strong cards it's just so tempting to strike at Lannister?

In the group of people I play with (and that group is not always the same people, which makes things even worse, as all those "Stark must known" arguments just don't work), we avoid this by still using the 1st edition house cards (and in fact I myself dislike more of the 2nd edition cards, e.g. fighting against Doran is such a nightmare). Balon "I win" there has 0 strength (and it's still considered to be a very powerful card), Victarion is not this strength 3 "I win" card, and Aeron "one of my buddies wins for 2 power" is not there at all. And although Greyjoy in 1st edition still has probably the best set of cards of all the houses, it is not so outstanding, thus Greyjoy has to try harder than just go with brute force, and this gives Lannister somewhat more breathing space and possibilities.

So I'd suggest trying nerfing Balon, and possibly other strong Greyjoy cards too, although they shouldn't be as weak as the 1st edition cards, since 2nd edition cards in general are much more powerful (if you've even wondered why Cersei feels so weak, it's because it's an exact copy of the 1st edition card). Making Lannister cards stronger might be an option too, with being surrounded in the middle of the map and having the worst mobility it's not like Lannister is in a very good position even without being in Greyjoy's sights.


Thank you - I agree wholeheartedly. Sadly I don't own the first edition, so I can't utilize those house-cards. However, I appreciate the suggestion and feedback.

I wish there was an elegant way to fix this. Starting units may be the most straightforward option, as it doesn't require printing out houserules or changing housecards with proxies.
 
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Matteo Angioletti
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Maltuvion wrote:
We agree it's bad game design, but I really think it needs fixing. One player's fun should not hinge on everybody taking pity on him and gently "allowing" him a chance IF he pursues ONE overly defensive strategy while everybody else is having fun making plans, strategies, engaging in offensive diplomacy etc...


Yeah, I don't disagree with your whole analysis.
In my experience Greyjoy went for that route only once, but Lannister was able to muster something and to not lose any unit. He lost Riverrun and was never be able to fight for the win, but he trew all he had against Greyjoy and forced him to commit too much to take and hold Lannisport. Greyjoy could not reach the seventh castle in the mid game and in the end he was pushed back to 4 VP, while Stark won with 5.

A quick fix is the change of the sea border around Seagard and Riverrun as said above(you can apply a removable red line to mark the new border). Greyjoy may still have the upper hand and Lannister will be almost forced to a single standard opening, but there will be less steamrolling.
 
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Maltuvion Irewood
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Tuzzo90 wrote:
Maltuvion wrote:
We agree it's bad game design, but I really think it needs fixing. One player's fun should not hinge on everybody taking pity on him and gently "allowing" him a chance IF he pursues ONE overly defensive strategy while everybody else is having fun making plans, strategies, engaging in offensive diplomacy etc...


Yeah, I don't disagree with your whole analysis.
In my experience Greyjoy went for that route only once, but Lannister was able to muster something and to not lose any unit. He lost Riverrun and was never be able to fight for the win, but he trew all he had against Greyjoy and forced him to commit too much to take and hold Lannisport. Greyjoy could not reach the seventh castle in the mid game and in the end he was pushed back to 4 VP, while Stark won with 5.

A quick fix is the change of the sea border around Seagard and Riverrun as said above(you can apply a removable red line to mark the new border). Greyjoy may still have the upper hand and Lannister will be almost forced to a single standard opening, but there will be less steamrolling.



Yeah, I am leaning towards that as well. It's a good suggestion, so let's pin that for now as a viable option and keep a constructive discussion going; the border does remove the brunt of the potential steamrolling, but the fundamental problem of Greyjoy being able to stab Lannister successfully more or less at a whim throughout the game (and 100% surely in the beginning) without Greyjoy having to fear any immediate repercussions from Lannister (especially at the beginning), persists.

Would it help changing Kevan Lannister to apply his bonus to defense as well? Sure, it will allow Lannister to Footman-fortify one point and pretty much guarantee a tough battle, but I hardly see how that is different from Balon or Victarion.

Or how about giving Lannister a Knight on Stony sept? Or a power token on Harrenhal from the start? The latter would not really change anything, but it would potentially strengthen Lannister on a turn 2 muster (and turn 2 muster is very much a problem for Lannister already due to losing Riverrun in round 1).

Thoughts?
 
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Seli L
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Maltuvion wrote:
Sadly I don't own the first edition, so I can't utilize those house-cards. However, I appreciate the suggestion and feedback.


You, at least technically speaking, do not need to have those cards. Their description can be found in the files section of the game here on BGG, and if you put your cards in sleeves, you could put inside small pieces of paper with the alternative descriptions.

 
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Seli_L wrote:
Maltuvion wrote:
Sadly I don't own the first edition, so I can't utilize those house-cards. However, I appreciate the suggestion and feedback.


You, at least technically speaking, do not need to have those cards. Their description can be found in the files section of the game here on BGG, and if you put your cards in sleeves, you could put inside small pieces of paper with the alternative descriptions.



I'd still consider it a "last" solution, as I am generally not that fond of replacing pieces/cards; I'd be more keen on a solution working with just the 2nd edition basic set, as it'd be more in line with solving the problem "at its roots".

Any feedback on existing suggestions/other suggestions?
 
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Ioan Mitiu
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Maltuvion wrote:

I'd still consider it a "last" solution, as I am generally not that fond of replacing pieces/cards; I'd be more keen on a solution working with just the 2nd edition basic set, as it'd be more in line with solving the problem "at its roots".


Me too.
I'd prefer a solution based on additional units placement but let's see if this is possible ...

Quote:
The second game I secretly gave the Greyjoy player the sequence as I randomed Lannister


Could you please list the exact sequence ?
I'm really curious about this - because I managed to win 3 games with Lannister ( out of ~10 played until now ) and in 2 Greyjoy was partialy or all the time against me and here is how I played ( I should mention also that we play with ToB cards ) :

Game 1 - T1 : Place March+1 on Lannister' ship. Place March 0 order on Lannisport. Place CP on Stoney sept.
Don't know exactly the Greyjoy orders in first game - the ideea is that I attacked it first of all in Ironman's Bay ( 2 to 1 for me initially ), I played Jamie ( +2 = 4 ) and he played Asha ( +1 = 2 ) - probably a mistake. ToB gave him 1 advantage - after a sword usage - but still lost the battle and retreat in port. There was no more issues after this with him on that game as long as he agree ( from T3 ) to became my ally and to harash Stark.

Game 2 - T1 : Place CP on Stoney Sept. Place March 0 on Lannisport. Place Raid order on ship and change it to March +1 ( cannot resist to attack again ).
Greyjoy ( played by my wife this time ) placed a Defense +1 order on his ship. Used sword for +1 => 3 to 2 for her this time from begining. Used The Hound this time against Dagmar ( 4 to 4 ) but she managed to get an +2 while I get a +0 ToB so I lost the battle but my ship survived and retreat to The Golden Sound.
Her moves was to group the second ship in IB and to occupy Riverrun with initial units from Pyke ( second march ). I moved my Footman from Lannisport to Stoney Sept.

Game 2 - Westeros card effect : Most important to note - Mustering took place. She had now 2 Knights and 1 Footman in Riverrun - I gather 3 Footmans in Lannisport.

Game 2 - T2 : Place Support +1 order in Stoney Sept, March +1 in Lannisport, Support ( normal ) on ship from Golden Sound - replaced with a Raid. Greyjoy orders was something like : Defense in Riverrun, March -1 for the new Knight in Pyke, Support on ships from Ironman's Bay, March 0 in Greywater Watch.
I used the raid to eliminate her naval support and attacked with everthing I had Riverrun - 1 K + 4 FM + 2 ( special orders ) = 8 against 6 as start. My wife Balon-ize Kevan but he still bost all my 4 Footmans for a 12 to 9 ( sword used ) power. I draw a ToB with a sword on it so not only that I won the battle but managed also to kill her Footman.

The game continue with Greyjoy no longer a real threat (*)

I realized that I was somehow on the edge - she could use Euron instead of Balon and draw a better ToB or ( probably even worse ) no Mustering could happen between turns ... but still ...

So - I'm curious about the "oficial script for Greyjoy".

(*) - unfortunately after that game I'm unable anymore to bring her back to table ...
 
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