Ray Shipp
Australia
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Hi everyone! My name is Ray and my son owns this game. I was thinking of organising a game but can only get 4-5 players together at any one time. After reading many posts on the imbalance issues with 4 and 5 player games, I set out to try and see if I could fix the problem, without changing the House Set Up.

Feel free to punch holes in or add to any of my suggestions as I admit I haven't playtested these. Well here goes;

1.All Neutral House cards and House Set remain as per rules.

2.If a player is about to assault a neutral castle or stronghold,one other house in the Planning Phase may use a +1 Defense Order from their order pool to strengthen the neutral stronghold or castle, instead of using it on one of their own.

3.If a player assaults a stronghold, one other house in the Planning Phase may use a +2 Special Defense Order (if able) from their order pool to strengthen the neutral stronghold, instead of using it on one of their own strongholds.

3.A house may use a Support order (if able) in the Planning Phase to support a neutral castle or stronghold as per normal support rules, remembering that support must be from an adjacent territory to the neutral stronghold or castle and that the house issuing the order owns the adjacent territory from whence the support came.

4.Tide of Battle Cards must be used in a battle for a Neutral castle or stronghold

5.Neutral House Cards can be used (from the defending neutral house) in a battle with the attacking house, who may also use House Cards. One of the non attacking Houses uses these cards in the battle and discards as per normal rules.

6.When a Muster Westeros Card is drawn in the Westeros Phase, one house per turn, may choose to use some or all of their Muster Points to Muster in Neutral Castles or Strongholds instead of their own, or divide between each.

These measures are all designed not to stop the assaulting of neutral houses but to make other Houses think harder about it before doing so. At the very least, higher casualty results should result from these changes which should change the balance a little in the south where Baratheon and/or Tyrell can have free reign to too many easy castles. If I have gone too far with these changes and pushed the balance too far the other way, please let me know.
I think in a 5 player game I may reduce some of these measures perhaps.

What does everyone think? I'll be playtesting in a couple of weeks.
Please let me know
Cheers Ray

 
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Radosław Michalak
Poland
Bytom
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Gaming is for having fun. Fun requires clear rules.
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Looks like Variant for me

I don' understand 2 and 3. You attack Neutral Forces in Action Phase, which is after Planning Phase. Do you just have to predict other player's attack?
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Matteo Angioletti
Italy
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As Radziol noted, the wording of point 2 and 3 is not clear.

If in the Planning phase a player places an order over a Neutral area it would be clear to everyone that it is a Defense order, so other players may react accordingly. You should then modify how the Planning Phase works, maybe having each player placing all of his Order in reverse IT track position?


Assaulting a Neutral area would now act as a battle, while before it was only a matter of can/cannot enter the area.


Overall I think you are putting to much work into it, while the problem could be resolved with less fiddling using a different setup from the one proposed in the rules.

For 5 players you may remove Greyjoy and Pyke, Seaguard is downgraded as Castle (and/or with a 3 Garrison), or you may remove Baratheon and Dragonstone.

For 4 players, either make Southern neutrals impassable (Blocked south) or remove Stark and Greyjoy and make their lands impassable (Blocked north).
 
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Emile de Maat
Netherlands
Hengelo
Overijssel
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Moved Thread
Moved this thread from the Strategy forum to the Variants forum.
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Ray Shipp
Australia
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I don't feel that this will be a problem (Allocating defense orders during the Planning Phase.)Yes people will know you used a defense token against an upcoming attack on a Neutral castle or stronghold but Houses will have to weigh the downside of this versus the attacker taking the neutral castle in an easier manner. Yes you are second guessing what an attacker might do and it waste a defense token from time to time but if it deters or makes it more difficult to win those strongholds. Some players will feel that it's worth it. Alliances can help here with one house sacrificing some of its own defense in a neutral stronghold for the greater long term good. Even the threat of a defense order here (in combination with other measures above) will make some attackers think twice or delay a turn in an attempt to muster more forces. At the very least, it would be more of a challenge than it is now. Also there is no obligation to other players to invoke any of these measures except TOB and House Cards.

If Baratheon can pillage southern kingdoms without opposition he will most likely win in a 4 player game in particular. These measures will give him some pause for thought allowing others time perhaps to subjugate him or attempt to pillage later themselves.

I realize that changing House Set Up is a little easier, but many people want to play Greyjoy from time to time in a 4 player game and this may allow them to do so. What do people think? Would these changes achieve their purpose?

Cheers ray
 
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