Lord Varys spoke, gentler than the others. “We are not unmindful of your service, good ser. Lord Tywin Lannister has generously agreed to grant you a handsome tract of land north of Lannisport, beside the sea, with gold and men sufficient to build you a stout keep, and servants to see to your every need.”
Ser Barristan looked up sharply. “A hall to die in, and men to bury me. I thank you, my lords . . . but I spit upon your pity.” He reached up and undid the clasps that held his cloak in place, and the heavy white garment slithered from his shoulders to fall in a heap on the floor. His helmet dropped with a clang. “I am a knight,” he told them. He opened the silver fastenings of his breastplate and let that fall as well. “I shall die a knight.”
Ahhh who am I kidding? You probably know this quote from the series
Hey everyone, this is the first PBF game that implements the dynamic and formalized alliances variant (http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/951645/dynamic-but-formalize...). It is quite different from the normal game, so please read up on the rules (which will also be posted in the post below). This is the same game as the original 2nd edition game (e.g. no DwD expansion), with an added (advanced) diplomacy system.
Additional Rules Clarifications Game of Thrones: You also get one Power Token for each Port with at least one of your ships and no enemy Ships in the adjacent sea. Dark Wings Dark Words: If "Collect Power Tokens" is chosen, it will be handled the same way as the "Game of Thrones" Westeros Card. -These last are shamelessly stolen from our beneficent map maker, dave42.
Invites where made on the basis of their contribution towards creating this variant, on the basis of their willingness to play a V and some on the basis of my own game history. If you feel like you wanted to play this variant yourself then you can create your own game and I will be your external mod if so desired.
Originally I wanted to play this game myself, but considering confusion can arise regarding the rules I think it is very important for the external mod to be impartial (and be the same guy as the guy who designed this variant). Hence, I will moderate this game (of course, you are allowed to modify the map to speed up intermediate results).
Current invitees: H0DOR (accepted) Tuzzo90 (accepted) Phagos (accepted) Lord too fat (accepted) Dave42 (accepted) smithdj08 (accepted)
Alternates (choosing players who have 'V' in their preferences): ThePuck21 kairob Lockenkobar
Run down of the rules: No Ravens means no PMs except to me, so all diplomacy must me made within this thread. Don't try and edit your in game posts, put a line through it instead so people reading the thread later can understand what everyone else was referring to. You may change an action up until the next in game action is made. Be careful with Out of Turn actions as they must still count.
Bold for in game actions Italics for diplomacy Normal type for other comments. The default will always be that you do not leave a power token unless you explicitly state in your move that you do so. The rest of the rules are as standard, and as long as your formatting is clear that is acceptable.
Special consideration Try and keep up with the pace, this is a play test game. Hence I will use my powers as mod to keep the game going, and I will prompt people who forget to post etc. If you do not post for three consecutive days without giving me notice (either by PM or in this thread) then I will begin searching for a replacement. Furthermore, since I am moderator and designer of this variant, I would welcome any insight you can provide regarding your strategy. This provides valuable feedback for me regarding the gameplay.
(edit: some text in this post shamelessly stolen from 'lord too fat')
This variant uses formalized diplomatic statuses [war, neutrality, truce, alliance or a union] that depict the level of friendship and trust at any point in time. These relations can change dynamically over the course of the game and can even alter the victory conditions. Each diplomatic status above neutral restricts movements but allows (future) rewards and the long term possibility of mutual victory. This variant also incorporates several additions that are related to houses, track-tokens, Westeros cards and diplomatic relations. All in all these additions should really enhance the Game of Thrones board game experience, without destroying the (already) exciting game fantasy flight games has brought us.
The diplomacy phase A new phase is added in this variant, the diplomacy phase. There is only one point per turn where one can formally improve a diplomatic relation: This is the diplomacy phase and this phase precedes the planning phase (and comes after the Westeros phase). The diplomacy phase happens every turn (including the first one, unlike the Westeros phase).
Diplomatic relations Every house starts of being neutral with every house. You change your diplomatic status with a house that has units less than 3 tiles away from any of your units (e.g.: only 1 area separates you) during the diplomacy phase. If you are further away than 3 tiles during the diplomacy phase your diplomatic status will move 1 step towards neutrality (war becomes neutral, union becomes alliance, alliance becomes truce and truce becomes neutral).
Players may only move 1 diplomatic level at a time during the diplomacy phase, players may not move down but may chose to not move up. Declaring war is always possible (but comes at a cost when you are not in the diplomacy phase) and automatically decreases the diplomatic standing to war.
From war to truce jump While you can only advance 1 level in diplomacy, there is one exception: going from war to truce. Without this it would become difficult to ever get out of war. So: During the diplomacy phase, if two players are at war (and are within diplomatic reach, e.g. being separated by no more than one tile). Either player can discard 2 power tokens in order to offer a truce, if the truce is rejected the player gets his power tokens refunded. The holder of the iron throne can also broker a truce between 2 parties (including himself) and does not need to pay the power token cost.
Tides of battle cards: Tides of battle cards are used as a random, semi-secret and asymmetric reward system. When you are in a truce, both players receive a ToB that represents the benefits they gain from this truce. This benefit can be anywhere from 0 to 3 (the ToB strength), and translates into 0 to 3 power tokens at the CP-phase. For an alliance and a union you also get one or two publically revealed ToB cards, these result into an additional alliance / union bonus at the CP phase (should the alliance / union hold). The shared reward is calculated as follows:
Alliance: half the ToB strength, rounded down (e.g. 3=1, 2=1, 1=0, 0=0 for both players) Union: half the sum of the ToB strengths, rounded up ((e.g. 6=3, 5=3, 4=2...etc)
Thus if Greyjoy has an alliance with House Tyrell. Greyjoy has secretly drawn a 2 strength ToB and Tyrell a 0 strength ToB. In the middle there is a 3 strength ToB, so Greyjoy receives 3 power tokens at the CP-phase ( 2 from secret and 1 from open) and Tyrell receives 1 (0 from secret and 1 from open). After the diplomacy phase, the remaining cards ToB deck can be viewed by everyone Swords and fortification icons are ignored (with the only exception being the first Tyrell ability, see: house perks) but skull icons are not.
distribution of ToBs At the end of the diplomacy phase, all diplomatic relations are updated on the diplomacy sheets and if the total count of required ToBs exceeds 24 then: First the holder of the Iron Throne chooses one diplomatic relation he is in, and both players receive their ToB (and possible 'open' ToBs are revealed) Then, following the iron throne track, every diplomatic relation is granted ToBs. If there are not enough ToBs to formalize a diplomatic relation, the ToBs are distributed as follows: 'Open ToBs' > 'closed ToB of the player that is higher on the IT track' > 'closed ToB of the player that is lower on the IT track'. Diplomatic relations with less ToBs than normal still count as a truce / alliance or union in every respect. Of course, if the required ToB count is less than 24..then this procedure can be skipped and everyone receives ToBs immediately.
The skull icon: When a player has drawn a skull icon as his or her secret ToB, then this player has the ability to reveal this ToB card at any time during the action phase. Doing so reduces the diplomatic status to 'war,' without any additional costs. If a successful attack is performed on the former ally (e.g. a territory has been taken by combat) then the player that used the skull immediately gains power tokens equal to the sum of the ToB strength (of both the secret and open alliance cards). Players can also choose not to use the skull ability, in this case the ToB counts as a 0-strength ToB in the CP phase. If a skull icon is drawn as the open ToB for an alliance or truce, both players can use this ability (e.g. it will be a very uneasy alliance :-) ).
Breaking an alliance Breaking an truce / alliance or union during the action phase without a skull icon costs power tokens (see table 1). If you can't afford the power token cost you can also discard all power tokens and reduce yourself on the supply track accordingly to table 1 (but never lower than 0).
Obviously, as with the skull, you automatically engage in war and you forego any bonuses from the relation with that player in the CP phase. No 'backstab award' is granted (unlike using the skull ToB).
Transitivity At any time, all alliances and unions must be transitive (but not truces). As in: You cannot ally with anyone that one of your allies is already at war with. Hence (since declaring war is immediate and irrevocable for the remainder of the turn) by declaring war upon a player that is allied with your ally, you force your ally to choose between you or him. The game does not continue until transitivity is restored. If you are forced to declare war on an ally, because another ally of yours did so, you do not have to pay the penalty for breaking the alliance (but obviously you do not get the rewards from it either)
Example: Greyjoy and Lannister are allies, Greyjoy and Stark are allies. Lannister declares war on Stark. Greyjoy must now EITHER declare war on Lannister OR declare war on Greyjoy, the game will not continue before transitivity is restored. Greyjoy chooses to maintain its alliance with Lannister and declares war on Stark too. If this were outside of the diplomacy phase, then only Lannister has to pay the 'backstab' price (Greyjoy can break his alliance with Stark for free, since he is following his other ally).
Joint victory condition: If you manage to build up a long diplomatic relation and do not get backstabbed along the way, the 3th level diplomatic status (union) allows for a shared victory.
The shared victory is triggered if you and the house you are united with are the only union to have 12 castles combined. If multiple unions are at 12, the game continues until this condition is met (or if the game ends at the 10th turn, or if a player obtains 7 castles individually).
As such, a 3-way (or more) victory cannot occur.
Alliance overview and keeping ToB's seperate Diplomatic standings are administratively handled by the players themselves using a very neat tool developed by lars tragl (though: update required). A moderator or player can manage an overview of diplomatic relations in a neat table if they wish to keep an overview. Secret and open ToB cards of different diplomatic relations are of course (at all times!) kept separate. E.g. you cannot use the skull card you got from a truce with Stark to backstab your way out of an alliance with Martell. In a real table game, I recommend using spare footmen and place them near the closed and open ToB cards to indicate they belong to that specific diplomatic relation.
Alliance Perks: To create asymmetry in alliance preference every house gains 2 unique abilities. Besides an original ability (ability 1) that mainly helps that house, all houses also gain a secondary ability that is shared with any house that has a diplomatic relation of ally (or higher) with them.
Ability 1:Knights of summer A the CP-phase, if the combined sum of swords and fortification icons on all the ToB cards within a diplomatic relation (truce and up) exceeds 1 then house Tyrell has the option of letting both players discard a card from their hand. ability 2: The fertile reach If you or any of your allies would get a downgrade on the supply track due to a supply update coming from a Westeros-I card (not from a wildling attack), lose 1 supply less than required. House Tyrell is very chivalrous and likes to consolidate their power by displaying acts of valor on the tournament field. Furthermore, during wartime their bountiful harvest is a great asset. However, be careful of getting too close to the Tyrells, as their ambition is boundless and great champions may get hurt in the tournament field.
Ability 1:Vengeance House Martell can freely break its truce, alliance or union pact with any player that has at one point in the game utilized the skull ability of a ToB, if house Martell engages in combat victorious in the turn it declares the war then it gains 'a backstab bonus' as if it had used a skull ability 2: Spears of the Sun When the last days of summer card is revealed from any of the Westeros Decks house Martell and its allies can muster one footman in an area they control which contains no castle or fortress. House Martell does not forget and they will wait in the Dornish sun to extract their revenge. They also excel in guerilla warfare, and excel at fighting in desolate areas.
Ability 1:Expose weakness Whenever house successfully Greyjoy takes a castle from another player by combat, everyone that this player is allied or truced with (thus not for unions!) receives 3 tides of battle cards. These ToB cards are revealed, and all skull cards revealed this way will replace the original secret ToB card their allies had. ( if the ToB cards are limited, Greyjoy can choose the order by which this happens ) Ability 2:The iron price Whenever Greyjoy or their ally successfully takes an area, they can steal 1 power token from the original owner. Greyjoy and their allies receive 1 less power from playing a consolidate power on an area which contains a crown. The Greyjoys have learned that they can be defeated by a unified Westeros, they wish to sow animosity within the other great houses, while they reap the rewards other houses have worked for. They do not plow the fields, or work in the mines...they pay the iron price
ability 1: A truly just man (a.k.a. the shadow baby) When the 'put to the sword' card is revealed from Westeros Deck III, destroy a footman of any one player you are at war with and is lower on the Iron Throne track. Ability 2:Sellsails Whenever the 'Mustering' Westeros-I card is drawn, house Baratheon and its allies may muster one additional ship in a port if they have a port that has no enemy units in the adjacent sea. Allying yourself with the true King might be the most honorable thing to do, however you will find that Stannis does not really has eyes for anything but the iron throne.
Ability 1: The quill is mightier than the sword At any time during the action phase, by paying 3 power tokens, you may search the ToB deck for any ToB card, reveal it and replace any secret or open truce, alliance or union card from any player with it This cost is reduced by 1 if it is your own card you replace. Ability 2: Game of thrones If the 'Game of Thrones' card was drawn in the Westeros phase, then during the diplomacy phase: All unions revert to alliances, all alliances revert to truces and all truces revert to neutrality (and cannot be improved this diplomacy phase). Except house Lannister and the houses that are allied with house Lannister. War may still be declared by anyone. Some wars are won with swords others with quills and ravens
Ability 1: Winter is coming If house Stark is at war with a house that is 1 place above him in the fiefdom track. Then the 'Winter is coming' card from any of the Westeros decks allows house Stark to move up one position in the fiefdom track (and then the winter is coming card is resolved as usual). Ability 2: Loyalty When having drawn ToB cards for an alliance or a union, one or two of the open ToB's can be replaced by one or two new random ToB cards, if both players agree. In addition the joint victory condition for a union is lowered to 11 castles. House Stark values honor and valor of scheming. By removing open skull or 0 strength ToB's the mutual trust can be increased and working towards the joint victory will be easier.
Also a perk for each of the track tokens is added: The iron throne: During the CP-phase: The holder of the iron throne also gains 1 power token for everyone he has a truce with or is neutral with. The Iron Throne holder can broker truces (see: from war to truce jump). The Valaryan steel blade: The VSB can also be used when supporting an ally (or someone you are united with). This happens after house cards are declared. The raven: You are allowed to diplomatically engage with anyone less than 4-tiles away (e.g. being separated by 2 tiles).
Game changes -Wilding track increased from 2-4-6-8-10-12 to 3-6-9-12-15-18 -Total power tokens increases to 30. - Tywin house card 'power token ability' increased from 2 to 3. -During the diplomacy phase, if the 'web of lies' Westeros-III card is revealed. All diplomatic relations are frozen (can't be upgraded), just like the 'Game of Thrones' ability from Lannister (only this time it also affects Lannister and its allies) -With respect to the 'Game of Thrones' card, if you have a ship in your port and the adjacent sea is held by someone you are truced / allied / united with then this sea area is not said to be ' controled by an enemy player' so you can still receive a power token
Strategy tips: -The iron throne got a more powerful than in the original game -Keep in mind that diplomatic relations deteriorate if you are not close enough in proximity during the diplomacy phase. Thus you can deteriorate other alliances by driving them apart (literally). -There will be a slight power token inflation, take this into consideration when bidding for tracks and choosing whether to leave power tokens behind. -Cheap ways of breaking a diplomatic relation with someone: 1) wait until the diplomacy phase and declare war (free); 2) utilize a skull card (free + backstab bonus if you attacked succesfully); 3) try to have him declare war on you by calling him a bastard or denying the existence of his honor (free); 4) try to have another ally of both you and him to declare war (if you were allied or united: free) -Understand alliance dynamics and the transitivity condition, if two of your allies start fighting: you are bound to declare war on one of them (same for unions, but not for truces). -Truces and higher diplomatic relations greatly reduce your movement possibilities, it is really difficult to get more than 4 castles whilst being allied to both your neighbors. -Diplomatic statuses only provide formal restrictions, you are still allowed to outbid them on tracks, cut off their movement options, lie to them, promise support and not provide it (except for unions) or openly scheme with their enemies. -If your ally vacates a land (without leaving a power token) you can simply walk in there without breaking the alliance. -Lannister can change a skull or 0-power ToB of himself with a 3-power ToB, at the cost of 2 power tokens (e.g: he can 'shit gold,' and earn 1 power token) -Tyrell can choose to let you discard your cards even if you don't want to (but only if you are truced ,allied or united with them). -Being allied with Greyjoy reduces the effectiveness of consolidate power orders. -Later in the game, the shortage of ToB cards will be problematic for everyone. However, having a higher standing on the Iron Throne track will create some advantages. -After the diplomacy phase, the remaining cards ToB deck can be viewed by everyone (e.g. you can see how many skulls are left)
Clarification of how Tides of Battle will be used over the course of a turn:
Example of how alliances will be remembered by the moderator (using neat excel / paint skills):
I think it will be skipped. But of course we are able to talk.
For example: if you'd like to change the dornish for the ironmen let's do it!
Damn you Phagos! You reply faster than I can mod!
There will be a diplomacy phase round 1
What happens is that I give you around 12-24 hours to switch houses. From there on I will initiate the diplomacy phase, and I will let you know what the options are in that phase (and how the procedure works).
Just let me know when you are satisfied with your current house (I take it tuzzo and phagos are), once everyone has stated they are happy we can even begin earlier than 12 hours from now (crazy reply speed guys )