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HELP with Lannister in 2nd Edition!!!


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#41 wraith

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 11:05 PM

Joe Dizzy said:

I think you've nicely proven that poor play on Lannister's, Stark's and Greyjoy's part will lead to a bad game. If this is even remotely what you think diplomatic play by Lannister would be like, it's no wonder you think the game is broken.

Hang on. While the depiction of the diplomacy was very tongue-in-cheek, what really matters is the outcome of the diplomacy. With Greyjoy being so strong on the board at the start of the game, Lannister needs very strong support from other players to be able to stave off Greyjoy and stay in the game.

Now, it may be possible to get that at times, but failure to get it is not necessarily the result of poor diplomacy on Lannister's part. Really, Lannister has very little to offer others for their support. Basically nothing, in fact. He hopes that they will help him in order to stop Greyjoy, but smart players may well not be fooled into thinking that "stop Greyjoy" means "help Lannister", at least not beyond the point of turning Lannister into a dyke to hold back the Iron Tide.

Joe Dizzy said:

Regardless, if for whatever reason your GoT games are lacking in diplomacy Lannister is effectively screwed. Be it because Lannister's player is utterly incompetent or because the other players won't engage the game on that level.

Yes, that's precisely it. Lannister cannot con (and that's precisely what he has to do) his opponents unless they let him.

Now, it is true that Stark (and Tyrell, for that matter) needs to put enough pressure on Greyjoy to prevent him from winning before Stark is in a position to make his own power-play. (Stark is set up to slowly gather the north to him and emerge as a major power later in the game - that's how he'll win if he does.) However, Stark has very little reason to put in the effort required to shore up Lannister. That simply doesn't help Stark (and is difficult to boot). All it takes is for Stark to be a good enough player to do what he needs to do to keep things in hand and no more and Lannister is effectively out of the game.

Unless he can persuade Tyrell to help him, but the same logic applies to Tyrell. Or maybe Baratheon, which is even harder becaus Baratheon's path to Greyjoy is right through Lannister, but before you even consider the practicalities there's the fact that the logic applies to Baratheon instead. And to Martel also.

If the other players choose not to engage in the game at that level, Lannister is screwed so badly he basically has no chance and the game will be long and frustrating for him. And other other players have good incentives not to engage the game at that level. I want all the players to have a shot at enjoying the game even if the other players play well in their own interests. I don't want to depend on someone letting themselves get suckered to make the game fun for someone else.

Joe Dizzy said:

If your argument is, that the game should be balanced in such a way that diplomacy becomes a non-essential element of play, then you shouldn't play with Lannister in 4-player games.

Or six-player games at all.

Joe Dizzy said:

That's fine. But I think there is a legitimate point of view and enough actual experience with games which include a functional and competent play on the diplomatic level, that says that GoT isn't so much broken, as it is designed to give each house a unique play style.

Look, if I want to play a Diplomacy-style game, I've got Diplomacy, which is a game that does it well. In Diplomacy, there isn't just one player who is utterly dependent on getting others to engage during diplomacy. In Diplomacy, everyone is dependent on that, so everybody has to engage or die. A Game of Thrones doesn't do it nearly so well. In this game, the rest of the group don't depend on diplomacy, so may quite rightly choose not to do it.

(Now, if I had a good Diplomacy map for six players... Something to research, I suppose.)

Okay, so, now I'm going to give a little history lesson. I was an early player of the first edition of A Game of Thrones: the Boardgame. I'm not sure how much awareness of the history remains here.

When the first edition came out, it didn't take at all long for players to identify just how badly Lannister's on-board position was screwed. There were a few people who tried to argue, as is occurring here now, that diplomacy makes it all okay, but the evidence of severe imbalance was generally considered very strong.

And FFG admitted that there was a problem and issued an errata. That errata was incorporated into later printings of the rulebook, so that before the second edition came out the changed starting position was the default. (This errata moved Greyjoy to the bottom of the King's Court track so that this House starts with no access to special orders in a full game. The legacy of this can be seen in the second edition 6-player starting positions today.)

Now, note that they changed the default start of the game in response to play and analysis by the player community. In essence, they agreed that the game should not have been balanced the way that it was.

The player community in those early days also found that the way ships worked was a problem, and the analysis done convinced many of us that it was contributing to the imbalance between Lannister and Greyjoy. Furthermore, we suggested a fix to ease that issue. That fix was ports. Ports were not a part of the original game. As fan-created modifications to games go, there were a few versions of port rules floating around, as different people tweaked them in ways that they liked, but they operated on the same basic principles. Lo and behold, the first expansion to the first edition added ports, basically exactly the same as what had been figured out by the fans. There were tiny implementation tweaks, but certainly no greater than the variation the community already had.

The community considered these things to be great improvements, but many were never really happy with the result. Some have patiently waited in the wings until the second edition arrived, hoping that it would fix the last of the problems we saw.

So now, the second edition is here, and people are trying to claim that the game balance is exactly was the game designer intended. Well, no, that doesn't seem likely. The bulk of the elements we see in the new rules-set got that way through fixes demanded and/or implement by the fan community. There have been some further tweaks, but I for one am as-yet unconvinced that those tweaks have fixed the problems. Those tweaks are the altered starting position for Greyjoy (with one ship in port), the new House cards and the new mustering ability of the special Consolidate Power token.

Now, I haven't bought the new edition yet, and I don't intend to until and unless I am convinced that the balance problems (and specifically the balance between Lannister and Greyjoy) are alleviated or can be with house rules. I haven't gotten around to doing the extensive analysis of the House cards that might convince me of that.

I have some hope that the new ability of the special Consolidate Power order can help. Perhaps, on seeing that Greyjoy intends to take Riverrun, Lannister can use the Messenger Raven to put a Consolidate Power token on Lannisport and suddenly have extra strength to fight back in turn 2. (Even if mustering comes up, if Greyjoy cannot take Seagard as well, Lannister still gets equivalent muster out of this, and if mustering doesn't occur then Lannister gains 2 strength over Greyjoy.)

But this idea that the game is exactly as it is meant to be straight out of the box because somebody has seen Lannister smooth-talk his way to victory? Sorry, I don't buy that. Corrections got the game to the point where your Lannister is using it for the smooth-talking, and you aren't saying anything that wasn't said before those corrections.

(Also, I still smart a little from a play-by-email game years ago when, during the process of choosing our optional rules and house rules, a certain combination of house rules was put forward, and I said that those rules should not be used because they allowed Greyjoy to walk straight through Lannister, and to prove the point I outlined the exact moves that Greyjoy should use to do it. The rest of the group voted to play with those rules anyway, I was assigned Lannister - supposedly at random by the arbiter, though the truely cynical might question that given the situation - and Greyjoy walked right through me using exactly the moves I had instructed him to make. I should have simply stated that I would refuse to play if assigned Lannister using those rules, and I learnt that lesson, but the other lesson I learnt was not to trust anybody else's assurances that a game is balanced. Only evidence can show me that, and I'm not seeing much evidence here.)



#42 Joe Dizzy

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 06:59 AM

Double post.

Also, this forum software deserves to die a slow and painful death.



#43 Joe Dizzy

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 06:59 AM

wraith said:
Now, it may be possible to get that at times, but failure to get it is not necessarily the result of poor diplomacy on Lannister's part. Really, Lannister has very little to offer others for their support. Basically nothing, in fact.

But that's not diplomacy, that's a trade. Just because you aren't trading goods, but favours, doesn't mean that you're actually engaging in diplomacy.

wraith said:
A Game of Thrones doesn't do it nearly so well. In this game, the rest of the group don't depend on diplomacy, so may quite rightly choose not to do it.

Nobody depends on diplomacy, until you play a second game. Or a third. Or a fourth. Then all of a sudden your reputation comes back to haunt you and you're wondering why nobody wants to make a deal with you, but is entering allianes with people without getting anything tangible in return. (Or "playing sub-optimally" as I've heard it mislabelled often enough by people who can't really think beyond what's on the board.)

The diplomatic side of the game all comes down to trust. That's what diplomacy is and why it works so well with this game. That's what makes it exciting and engaging. If you can't work on gaining other player's trust, you're missing out on a big part of what makes this game so great.

wraith said:
So now, the second edition is here, and people are trying to claim that the game balance is exactly was the game designer intended.

I don't know what gave you that impression. Nobody is arguing for some kind of great designer's wisdom. I just disagree, that the game is somehow utterly broken and "obviously not playtested". I know it works for me and the people I play with. I can see that there are people who aren't getting as much enjoyment out of this game as we do, and that's unfortunate. I think there are ways to change what some consider an "unplayable" Lannister. I just happen to think, that it's not a fundamental flaw of the game. I consider it part of the game's asymmetrical nature. YMMV, obviously.

It's a question of playstyle, really. You're either enjoying diplomacy-heavy games, in which case Lannister is a house best left to capable players. Or you prefer to play with a bigger focus on confrontation. In which case Lannister is at a distinct disadvantage when facing Greyjoy. I think the unspoken argument is that A Game of Thrones is primarily and almost exclusively about military confrontation, which seems to follow the same fallacy that you are trying to pin on me. Namely, that there is some "true designer's intent", which you can measure the rules against.



#44 wraith

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 03:01 PM

Joe Dizzy said:

wraith said:
Now, it may be possible to get that at times, but failure to get it is not necessarily the result of poor diplomacy on Lannister's part. Really, Lannister has very little to offer others for their support. Basically nothing, in fact.

But that's not diplomacy, that's a trade. Just because you aren't trading goods, but favours, doesn't mean that you're actually engaging in diplomacy.

I didn't say "no goods". I said nothing. Diplomacy without anything to offer is just an attempt at trickery.

I've played my share of Diplomacy. In that game, effective players make offers during their negotiations. "Russia," asks Turkey, "band with me against Austria. I'll stay out of the Black Sea if you will, and I'll take Bulgaria and you Romania. Then we will move on to steamroll Austria, and you will get Vienna and Budapest while I will take the neutrals Serbia and Greece. That is obvious, but how do you feel about Trieste? Don't forget that we may have to negotiate a little with Italy." In that, Turkey is offering three supply centres (Romania, Vienna and Budapest) to Russia. None of those are Turkey's right now, so the proposed alliance is based on promises and trust, but Russia knows what benefit he can hope to get out of it. Romania is generally Russia's anyway, at least in the early game, so that's not much of a gain, but he really can't hope to gain Vienna or Budapest without an alliance much like this one. Russia needs active support from Turkey to progress further west in this region, and that's Turkey's bargaining chip.

In AGoT, what does Lannister offer Stark? "I'll give you Flint's Finger and Seagard." Yeah, no, you won't. If Greyjoy is a decent player, you won't have the military strength to make a significant difference in those areas. Sure, I hope to come and take them, but it'll be on my own strength. "I'll survive long enough for you to arrive and take Flint's Finger and Seagard." Fair enough, good luck with that. I'm too far north to help there, if I wasn't so far north I'd be making my move right now and the further duration of your survival is of little benefit to me, and by the way, don't try to pretend you're surviving for my benefit; you're surviving because if you don't, you're dead. So, you tell me, what is it that Lannister has to offer, precisely, if I've missed something?

Lannister has basically nothing to offer, and without anything to offer, his diplomacy becomes mere trickery. You might be a very good trickster, but I like to play with smart gamers, and smart gamers are apt to see through the deceit to the empty box. If they choose to do so, there's nothing more Lannister can do. I'd much rather play Diplomacy, so that everyone has something to offer and the game stays interesting even when nobody is a sucker.

Joe Dizzy said:

wraith said:
A Game of Thrones doesn't do it nearly so well. In this game, the rest of the group don't depend on diplomacy, so may quite rightly choose not to do it.

Nobody depends on diplomacy, until you play a second game. Or a third. Or a fourth.

Some of us don't even regularly play games like this with the same group over and over. For a great many of us, a game needs to work as a stand-alone event, as next week we'll be playing a different game with (some or all) different people.

And even if that were not the case, many players prefer not to engage in that sort of meta-game play. I find that not only does it lead to a more enjoyable game now, it also improves my reputation rather than harming it. Players quickly learn that my play is based on what is happening in this game, and they can see what is happening in this game, which makes me more predictable regarding shifting alliances and thus easier to trust. (Principles espoused by Diplomacy experts as well, by the way.)

Joe Dizzy said:

The diplomatic side of the game all comes down to trust. That's what diplomacy is and why it works so well with this game. That's what makes it exciting and engaging. If you can't work on gaining other player's trust, you're missing out on a big part of what makes this game so great.

Okay, so you're Lannister, I'm Stark, and you've got my trust. So what? I believe you will deliver on your promises as best you can, but what are those promises?

Joe Dizzy said:

 

 

I just disagree, that the game is somehow utterly broken and "obviously not playtested".

Eight years ago, the player community identified serious flaws that were easily revealed within groups' first few plays and put forward fixes for the worst of them, and FFG responded by incorporating the fixes into the official game. While I doubt the game was not playtested at all, you really can't have stronger proof of a failure of the playtesting process than that.

The first edition has now had eight years of "playtesting" by the fan community, and is still considered to be unsatisfactory by many who engaged in those first couple of months of play at the start of it. It's not unplaytested, it is very thoroughly playtested, but it has failed the test to at least some degree.

Some of us were hoping the game would have gone through a more thorough (compared to what happened before the release of the first edition) round of in-house playtesting recently, and the new edition would present a fix based on new insights gained. Maybe it has - maybe I just need to do that analysis of using the special Consolidate Power in Lannisport and counterattacking in turn 2. But absent a new understanding of opening plays, many of us are still looking having everyone sit in dread during set-up praying that the Stranger won't assign us Lannister to play. A startling increase in the quality of the designers' in-house playtesting doesn't seem obvious at the moment.

Joe Dizzy said:

I know it works for me and the people I play with.

I'm not convinced that your group wouldn't be just as happy playing Werewolf. This is not something that lends weight to your argument. Remember, I was assured by six other players that I would enjoy playing Lannister despite my having demonstrated an irrecoverable flaw in my starting position (under the set of optional/house rules in use in that game).

Joe Dizzy said:

It's a question of playstyle, really. You're either enjoying diplomacy-heavy games, in which case Lannister is a house best left to capable players. Or you prefer to play with a bigger focus on confrontation.

No, you're presenting a false dichotomy there. The game isn't either "diplomacy-heavy" or "focussed on confrontation". There's a whole spectrum of middle ground there. I can see that at one extreme end of the spectrum, the great on-board weakness of Lannister doesn't matter, but at that same end of the spectrum, I'm not convinced that the board adds much to the game at all. I'm certainly not convinced that those who want to play games of near-pure diplomacy would find that play at all harmed by changes to the starting position to strengthen Lannister, and far from convinced that such a group wouldn't get more enjoyment out of just playing Diplomacy (perhaps on a variant map suitable for six players - I'm sure there's a decent one amongst the 300 or so maps on www.diplom.org.)

In the meantime, the rest of us aren't playing in utter silence, focussed purely on the tactical. We're negotiating, but we see that the board position does matter too, that the game has been improved by the changes that have strengthened Lannister to where it is now and that our enjoyment is still being thwarted by the remaining weakness of that House.

Joe Dizzy said:

In which case Lannister is at a distinct disadvantage when facing Greyjoy. I think the unspoken argument is that A Game of Thrones is primarily and almost exclusively about military confrontation, which seems to follow the same fallacy that you are trying to pin on me. Namely, that there is some "true designer's intent", which you can measure the rules against.

Actually, I'll stand by an assertion that a game should measure up to the designer's intent. In fact, I think the designer definitely should have an intent when creating the game. Part of that intent should usually be for the game to be enjoyable to play (though certainly the intent may be further qualified - enjoyable in what way? for what type of player?) No, just just enjoyable, it should enhance the enjoyment of its target audience. That's not a fallacy at all.

Now, you tell me your group enjoys A Game of Thrones: the Boardgame. Good for you. But I'm not convinced that the game enhances your enjoyment, nor specifically that the great weakness of Lannister's starting position enhances your enjoyment, nor that this aspect of the game enhances the enjoyment of the majority of groups. In fact, I think it is actively detrimental to the enjoyment of most players, and the game would be enhanced for almost everyone - possibly even absolutely everyone - if Lannister were able to hold a line against Greyjoy in the early game.

But unfortunately I am still unable to construct a variant to achieve that without serious adverse side effects, and so AGoT remains among the least-played games in my collection in recent years.



#45 Joe Dizzy

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 05:55 AM

Again, you are talking about trades and calling it diplomacy. A trade is an exchange of goods or services: "You do this and in exchange I will do that." Or to put it in game terms: "You attack Greyjoy and in exchange I will not invade this sea zone." That's a trade. It isn't diplomacy.

Diplomacy is the ability to get what you want, while everybody feels that they made a good choice. I can understand people not enjoying that kind of gameplay and that's fine. But if you consider it trickery, then you're not really exploring the depth of gameplay that A Game of Thrones offers. You're basically just playing a fancier, dice-less version of Risk. Which is fine, but then we don't really have a common ground to debate on. I am not talking about fancy, dice-less Risk and you're not talking about diplomacy. It's as simple as that.

You've also misunderstood or misread my position. I am not at any point arguing against implementing houserules that change the set-up in regards to Greyjoy and Lannister (or whoever you feel is making the game too unbalanced to enjoy). I think that's the way house rules should work. If something doesn't work for you and the people you play with.. change it! I'm just not agreeing with the assertion that the game cannot be enjoyed, because Lannister isn't strong enough to slug it out with Greyjoy on the first two turns. This does not indicate a game that wasn't properly playtested, but instead a game that is supposed to be assymetrical. It's a simple difference in how we value certain elements of the game. I'm not saying you're wrong for not enjoying the game the way it is.

Also, I wasn't arguing that "designer's intent" is irrelevant. I was saying that, since we have no way of knowing the "designer's intent" it's absurd to argue that the game is obviously not doing what it's supposed to. We don't know what kind of gameplay experience it's supposed to offer. The way we played it, things worked out perfectly fine. So we assumed, that that is how it's supposed to be played. I'll wager that you - who AFACT haven't actually played 2nd edition - will base your assessment on something similar. (BTW, I have only played 1st edition a handful of times, and I'm not going to start making claims about it one way or another. This isn't what this thread is about, anyway.)

That's not to say that the game will be enjoyable for every group and every kind of playstyle. It just means that the assertion that Lannister is no fun to play, is simply not universal. And if this thread is about coming up with house rules to beef up Lannister's position, then that's great. But I was under the impression that this was about strategic tips how to play as Lannister. And the assertion that 2nd Edition hasn't been playtested, because Lannister isn't on equal footing with Greyjoy in the first turn, doesn't really help anybody.



#46 wraith

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 05:59 PM

Joe Dizzy said:

Again, you are talking about trades and calling it diplomacy. A trade is an exchange of goods or services: "You do this and in exchange I will do that." Or to put it in game terms: "You attack Greyjoy and in exchange I will not invade this sea zone." That's a trade. It isn't diplomacy.

Diplomacy is the ability to get what you want, while everybody feels that they made a good choice.

Let's assume that Stark, in your example there, does attack Greyjoy, that the speaker, whom I would assume to be Lannister, does not have objectives that depend on invading that sea zone, and that Stark wants that sea zone to not be invaded by the speaker. You say this is a trade, and fair enough. However, under those conditions, it looks to me that Lannister did get what he wanted, and since Stark gets what he wants, he most likely also feels he made a good choice.

That satisfies your definition of diplomacy.

Basically, what you describe is both a trade and diplomacy. Trade, in the sense of negotiated offers rather than exchange of goods (which you dismissed earlier), is often a part of diplomacy.

Unfortunately Lannister doesn't have anything to trade (and please, speak up if you think he does - I've asked twice previously), so he's left with convincing his opponents with just what he says. Of course, helping Lannister win the game is not what his opponents want - in fact, long term, it is explicitly incompatible with what they want. So rather than actually giving the other players what they want, the Lannister player has to make them think they will get what they want without them ever actually getting it. That's why I call this trickery - because it is trickery.

And there's nothing wrong with engaging in a bit of trickery. However, if your opponents won't let themselves be tricked, it doesn't do a lot of good. It really comes down to the diplomatic skill of your opponents, because they can easily shut you down if their diplomatic skills are good enough to recognise when they are being manipulated.

Joe Dizzy said:

I can understand people not enjoying that kind of gameplay and that's fine. But if you consider it trickery, then you're not really exploring the depth of gameplay that A Game of Thrones offers.

You said yourself that Lannister's opponents can rebuff his attempts to win through diplomacy by simply not engaging on that level. So, as (say) Stark, I can "explore the depth of gameplay" in a fashion that presents me with a new means to lose, or I can not and improve my chances of winning. That's not exactly taking it to a higher level.

Really, given your dismissal of the on-board strategic elements under examination here, it seems to me that it is your group which is not really exploring the depths of gameplay in AGoT. You seem to be limiting yourselves to the diplomatic aspect, and not making full use of the strategic aspects when that will get you what you want. That doesn't mean you, personally, are playing poorly when given the "difficult" task of playing Lannister. Rather, it means you can succeed in that tasks because someone else is playing sub-optimally.

The really good player, the player who has really mastered the depths of a game, is the one who understands all aspects of the game and furthermore uses the aspects that help him at the time. My contention is that a Stark who lets himself be "persuaded" into a loss by Lannister is not that player.

And furthermore, I want to play games against good players, and to improve my opponents' play when it isn't good. If I did win through what I call trickery, I'd follow up by informing the players I persuaded how I managed to get them to go from moves that might help us both to moves that really helped only me - and that is required if Lannister is to win from the current starting position - so within a session or two, those techniques should not work any more. Without any substance backing up the promises, the improvement of diplomatic skills in the "see through deception" side of things should outpace the improvement of diplomatic skills on the "con people" side of things.

Joe Dizzy said:

You're basically just playing a fancier, dice-less version of Risk. Which is fine, but then we don't really have a common ground to debate on. I am not talking about fancy, dice-less Risk and you're not talking about diplomacy. It's as simple as that.

You can talk about what you like, but I'm talking about A Game of Thrones: the Boardgame, which is neither "fancy, dice-less Risk" nor diplomacy, but a game that combines elements of both diplomacy and on-board strategy. Given the nature of this forum, I'd suggest you do likewise here.

Joe Dizzy said:

You've also misunderstood or misread my position. I am not at any point arguing against implementing houserules that change the set-up in regards to Greyjoy and Lannister (or whoever you feel is making the game too unbalanced to enjoy). I think that's the way house rules should work. If something doesn't work for you and the people you play with.. change it!

On the contrary, you seem to have misunderstood mine. Firstly, I cannot implement house rules to do this (unless I am willing to accept serious negative side-effects). The problem is too ingrained in the base game. Some fans have long believed that a fix would require a change to the topography of the board. Secondly, while a house rule (if one could be found) would make the game useful to me, I contend that the game would be far improved for the great majority of players if said rule were incorporated into the official rules. And why not? The current official rules have gotten there by incorporating such house rules.

Joe Dizzy said:

I'm just not agreeing with the assertion that the game cannot be enjoyed, because Lannister isn't strong enough to slug it out with Greyjoy on the first two turns. This does not indicate a game that wasn't properly playtested, but instead a game that is supposed to be assymetrical.

Then you a tilting with a straw man, because nobody has asked that Lannister be strong enough to slug it out with Greyjoy on the first two turns, nor that the game be symmetrical. As I said, I'd like to see Lannister able to hold a line against Greyjoy. Holding a line and slugging it out are not the same things. "Strong enough to slug it out" would imply that Lannister can fight back against Greyjoy with reasonable chances of being able to overcome him, while "able to hold a line" would imply that Lannister can merely prevent Greyjoy from defeating him for a time. There's no implication of being able to fight back, not even a requirement that his defense be certain, just that his defeat not be certain either (when Greyjoy is well-played strategically and absent non-strategic concerns). Nor would the desired change make the game symmetrical. When one House has the ability to be aggressive and the other does not, that is not symmetrical.

And incidentally, when you declare that the game is "supposed to be symmetrical", you are effectively making a claim concerning designers' intent, which you later say you have no way of knowing.

Joe Dizzy said:

Also, I wasn't arguing that "designer's intent" is irrelevant. I was saying that, since we have no way of knowing the "designer's intent"

Perhaps you don't, and I don't have absolute insight into the designers' thoughts, but there is a certain amount that we can deduce about the designers' intents from such things as how they have responded to the community over the last eight years, comments that they have made, even the way they wrote the rules themselves.

Joe Dizzy said:

The way we played it, things worked out perfectly fine. So we assumed, that that is how it's supposed to be played.

I prefer a larger sample size. Reports from other groups back up my analysis, so I am comfortable not relying on your group alone for my views of the general case.

Joe Dizzy said:

(BTW, I have only played 1st edition a handful of times, and I'm not going to start making claims about it one way or another. This isn't what this thread is about, anyway.)

You can refrain from making claims about 1st edition if you like, but the two editions are really very similar (especially when including the options from expansions that were incorporated into the second edition), so people with experience from the first edition will often have insight that is applicable to the second edition. While examining analysis to check whether it is affected by one of the changes between editions is wise, summary dismissal of analysis from the first edition is not.

Joe Dizzy said:

That's not to say that the game will be enjoyable for every group and every kind of playstyle. It just means that the assertion that Lannister is no fun to play, is simply not universal.

I don't give a hoot about universal. There are people who enjoy huffling paint, but that doesn't stop me from declaring that huffing paint is a bad thing to do. The Lannister/Greyjoy balance issue is showing itself to be problematic for enough groups (and for long enough - eight years now) that I think it can safely be considered a problem in general.



#47 Joe Dizzy

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:54 PM

Among all those excerpts and comments, I'm losing sight of what point you're actually trying to make or if you are just cherry-picking lines from my post to disagree with. Anyway, I'll just post a few clarifactions since you seem to be arguing against an opinion I am not actually defending.

First of all, trades are part of diplomacy in much the same way the eating is part of buying groceries. One presupposes the other. And if you want the former to be worthwhile, you have to put some effort into the latter. Which is to say, that trading services ("You attack him, I will leave you this area.") is the result of diplomacy in this game. It's what diplomacy is aimed at. You seem to conflate the diplomacy necessary to get to such a trade with the trade itself.

Secondly, your claim that Stark attacking Greyjoy on Lannister's behalf is akin to engaging in a losing strategy for Stark, is so blatantly false to the point of being disingenious. If Stark has any strategic foresight at all, he will realise that not only is Lannister incapable of keeping Greyjoy in check on his own, but that if Stark does not intervene in case of an all-out attack on Lannister by Greyjoy, he is effectively handing Greyjoy the game. It's a point I've already made earlier in this thread. A Stark player who ignores Greyjoy steamrolling Lannister has failed to understand this game at the most basic strategic level. This is just as much a failure to play this game effectively as is ignoring Baratheon's advance in the south.

Finally, the rather useless tangent of "designer's intent" is taking us away from any fruitful discussion. We are of course all making necessary assumptions about this game (such as there is a designer's intent), but I am just pointing out that these assumptions are far from a sensible basis to make any great pronouncements about how "broken" or "badly playtested" this game is. We can rely on personal experience, but not on something that's essentially random guesswork. My playing the game "successfully" and without any hiccups isn't supposed to be proof for anything other than what it is: my experience of playing the game "sucessfully" without any hiccups. You're free to put as much or as little value to this as you see fit. But in the spirit of keeping this conversation both civil and pleasant, I'd ask you not to condescendingly dismiss my contributions and experience as not "good enough". If it doesn't influence your opinion of the game, then that's fine. You don't need to harp on about it. It's rude and suggests that you're not particularly interested in a discussion, so much as interested in bullying your way through this thread.



#48 cadleo

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 06:09 AM

 

Lol good post, Wraith, but I think youre wasting your breath on Joe. He will either not aknowledge what you and I are both saying or he simply doesnt understand it. Id love to get a play by mail game going with him and let him play the Lannisters and show us all how its done lol.



#49 jhagen

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 07:49 AM

since noone is offering house rules to fix the issue. (like i did a few posts ago)

Lets do the opposite.

I propose a greyjoy turn 1 to 3 order combo to best put lannister behind the 8 ball and on the brink of defeat. if not defeated by then.

one with mustering turn 2 and one without.

have at 'er.



#50 Joe Dizzy

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:57 AM

jhagen said:

 

since noone is offering house rules to fix the issue. (like i did a few posts ago)

Lets do the opposite.

I propose a greyjoy turn 1 to 3 order combo to best put lannister behind the 8 ball and on the brink of defeat. if not defeated by then.

one with mustering turn 2 and one without.

have at 'er.

 

 

I'd be quite interested in that. Especially if we then talk about a combined defensive move by Lannister and Stark, or harsher yet a combined response by the two. So far, every attempt by Greyjoy to run out Lannister has resulted in Greyjoy being almost eliminated a short while later. So I'm honestly eager to hear more about Greyjoy's prowess in regards to Lannister's debilitating weakness.



#51 cadleo

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 03:49 AM

jhagen said:

since noone is offering house rules to fix the issue. (like i did a few posts ago)

I have already paid for this game. The playtesters were paid with my money. They didnt do their job. I dont think its too much to ask for FFG to be the ones to fix it. I thought your ideas were a good start, but we shouldnt be burdened with fixing a game that was supposed to be playtested fully.



#52 jhagen

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 09:31 AM

agreed, but FFG has our money now. so i say we fix what they couldnt (or wouldnt)



#53 vendredi

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 07:02 PM

Long-time lurker who finally managed to pick up a copy of 2nd edition for myself. I've been following discussions of the "Lannister weakness" here and on BGG, but it doesn't really ring true to me after looking at the game...

From the "theme" standpoint, I actually think the Lannister position is quite faithful to the first book. Remember that:

{SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1)

 

 

1. Cersei bribes the gold cloaks to take King's Landing but the actual number of Lannister swords in the city is very small.

2. Tywin is furious with Joffrey for executing Ned, because the Lannisters are caught between Baratheon-Tyrell and Stark in the North and fighting on two fronts. He dispatches Tyrion with a real Lannister force to try and hold King's Landing.

3. Lannister loses every proper Stark engagement save for the feint by Bolton, which puts paid the notion that the gold of Casterly Rock somehow enables the Lannisters to fight any better than the northmen.

4. Balon Greyjoy decides to go after Stark rather than much richer Lannister due to a personal grudge against the Starks.

 

 

 

{SPOILERS END HERE}

So really, the book Lannisters aren't really all that more powerful than they're represented on the board game. They're just very lucky and very good at politicking - both of which are adequately represented by their positions on the Influence tracks: lousy on Fiefdoms, best at the King's Court, and second best on the Throne.

 

Now, from the game balance perspective...

Karl M said:

So we did many scenarios in which the Greyjoy tried to take Riverrun and saw that it was impossible for the Lannister player to counter in any way. We spent a couple of hours trying to see if somehow we were wrong but it seems we are not. This is by not applying the new Battle cards systems. It all because of the Aeron Damphair card that let you see the opponent card and for the cost 2 power token makes you changed the card ( but Aeron is discarded) Combined with the +1 the Valyrian blade it gives no chance to the Lannister player.

 

While Damphair allows the Greyjoy player to dictate the outcome of every battle, 2 power does hurt! Also, Lannister can dictate the strategic situation so long as they hold the Messenger Raven - they can change orders. If Greyjoy holds 2 power in order to use the Damphair, they're unlikely to gain on the King's Court Track and likely will not have special orders. I think the combination of special orders, the Raven, plus the fact that Lannister will act before Greyjoy makes them very deadly and hardly a pushover. The key is to use the Raven to change key orders from raids to support, and staying ahead of Greyjoy in turn order - both easy to do if Greyjoy must conserve power for Aeron.

Here is my proposed: "Riverrun or Bust" Lannister opening:

1. March -1 for your starting ship. If a march shows up on the Iron Fleet, then you can retreat to the Port at Lannisport, where you can continually raid any attempt at Greyjoy fleet support with impunity. If Greyjoy doesn't try to smash the Lannister fleet, then you can continually raid their ship support and force them to split up if they want to do something.

If a March doesn't show up on the Iron Fleet, use the Raven to change the fleet action to raid to counter any Greyjoy attempts at raiding or support.

2. Move the footman from Stoney Sept to Harrenhal.

3. Special Order consolidate in Lannisport and muster another knight (or siege tower if you want Riverrun for sure!).

You are ahead of Greyjoy in total strength even if a mustering comes up and can raid any attempt at support from the sea with your navy. Greyjoy likely has access to very few special orders as well if he's holding out for Damphair and won't be likely to rise on the Court track if a Clash comes up. 

4a. (no muster drawn) Play Special March +1 in Lannisport, Raid in the sea, and Special Raid in Harrenhal (to remove any defence orders). Switch one of the Raids using the Raven with a Special Support +1 order if you can afford it (either the ship or the footman). With a +1 March Knight/Knight/Footman in Lannisport, a Footman/Ship +1 Support, you have 8 strength. If you were gutsy and went for the Siege Tower, you have 10! Even if somehow you cannot place a support, you have 6 (8) and should be able to deny at least some ship support to Greyjoy land forces (even if you had to hole up in port you should be able to raid the surrounding sea), who can at best manage 3 (the Knight/Footman stack) + 1 (another Footman) +1 (if he split his ships, but this may not be likely) +1 (Valyrian) = 6, which is still beatable if you took the Siege Tower option. Play Gregor Clegane; Greyjoy's best defenders cannot avoid all casualties and an early game bloodying will give you the edge you need for further battles.

4b. (muster) You have even more options here. Add another ship and change the Footman in Lannisport to a third Knight, and muster another Footman in Harrenhal or upgrade to Siege Tower. Either way you have an overwhelming force that can take Riverrun. Note that if a muster was drawn, Greyjoy may decide to go after Lannisport if he has control of the sea, but if you were able to crush Riverrun, retaking Lannisport and bloodying the remaining Greyjoy forces even further is easily doable. This may be costly though if Greyjoy forced your ship into port earlier and thus take the ship from you, but hey, no war is ever completely free from risk.

You may want to use Tywin for Riverrun and save Gregor Clegane for retaking Lannisport, but I'd rather have the guaranteed casualties on Riverrun and bet that Greyjoy will likely ask for some breathing room.

I feel this opening has the fewest number of holes in it, but let me know if I've missed anything. Trying to hold both Lannisport and take Riverrun at the same time is tricky but I think it's still doable for the Lannisters. Greyjoy cannot use any special orders on turn 1 (at least if you're playing five players), so they definitely cannot out-muster you at the opening.

I feel G. Clegane is the best leader for an early battle against Greyjoy; taking one or two units off Greyjoy early is needed to blunt his bite and teach him not to mess with the lions, although you may prefer the power tokens afforded by Tywin, or alternately, you may want to go Footman heavy and use Kevan so as not to burn your best leaders early. The key again behind the strategy is to exploit the Messenger Raven, Special Orders, plus the fact Lannister acts first.

 

But again, this strategy is only if you want Riverrun and must have it early. Personally I feel Riverrun makes a better bargaining chip with either Stark or Greyjoy. Lannister can easily surround Riverrun at any time and apply some serious pressure on the holder in favour of the other northern power, so using it as a bargaining chip can make either northern player play a little nicer.

Also, do spoiler tags work on this forum?



#54 zorzogoth

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 08:24 AM

 

Hello Vendredi , I enjoyed reading your strategy very much ! I think it is very capable of putting Lannister in a bargaining position or even cripple the Greyjoys if they attack Riverrun. This strategy counters his house cards : even a Victarion that has support from his ships will not be able to defend against the counterattack. Balon and Euron won't be enough if you attack with a siege tower.  With Clegane, Tywin and Kevan, the Lannisters have good options to make a strong attack.  

One less attack / movement order for Greyjoy hurts him tactically . And he might loose the Valyrian sword if he starts bidding on the Raven to get more star orders.

One remark : would it not be better to place/switch in a defence +1 on the ship in the Golden Sound if Greyjoy puts an attack order on his ship at Iron Bay. You could play the hound for a total strength of 4 , while Greyjoy would need to play at least a + 2 house card but will probably spend his Aeron due to uncertainty, which is good since he loses a good house card and two power while you only lose the Hound and retreat your ship.



#55 abStractDeath

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:09 AM

Vendredi that is almost the exact same strategy I came up with while playing lannister vs greyjoy and it works. Although I think the best choice for Lannister to to ally with greyjoy and split riverrun and seaguard with each other. If greyjoy isn't willing that strat is your backup along with an alliance with stark to really put greyjoy in his place. People focused too much on taking Riverrun first turn and worrying about a muster card coming up 2nd round. I've played about 6 games so far and had a muster card 2nd round maybe once. I think it is actually a worse strategy for greyjoy to try and take riverrun and seaguard and hope for the mustercard then playing it safe and not wasting much needed resources on Riverrun early.



#56 vendredi

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:22 PM

zorzogoth said:

One remark : would it not be better to place/switch in a defence +1 on the ship in the Golden Sound if Greyjoy puts an attack order on his ship at Iron Bay. You could play the hound for a total strength of 4 , while Greyjoy would need to play at least a + 2 house card but will probably spend his Aeron due to uncertainty, which is good since he loses a good house card and two power while you only lose the Hound and retreat your ship.

 

 

I actually forgot about Sandor but now that you mention it this is a great idea too! Greyjoy has no leader than can beat Sandor's two fortifications in 2nd edition so you can force Greyjoy to spend a House card. Since you've got Specials to spare you could play defence +2 as well, forcing Greyjoy to spend the Valyrian blade or play a +3 or better leader.

Actually, I think Lannister's leaders are overall better than Greyjoy; if the other houses left Lannister and Greyjoy to duke it out I believe Lannister always will come out on top - their better initiative and Raven power is just so much better than the Sword. The Greyjoy deck is good only if you are on the offensive, and because Lannister always marches first Greyjoy can never truly be on the offensive unless the Lannister player lets them.

Still though, any good Greyjoy player knows that you can (and most definitely will! Lannister cannot afford to lose any strength in turn 1!) save the navy with Sandor anyway and likely won't burn the Damphair. Lacking Sandor for later might hurt too if Stark attempts to muscle in on your territory or if Tyrell goes north; so whether or not you want to use Sandor is probably best left to your judgement of the players at the table.



#57 vendredi

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 12:38 PM

Karl M said:

Also, a Tyrell / Greyjoy alliance in the first turn can pretty much destroy the Lannister player. Since Tyrell can use the Loras card to make an attack on Lannisport with Mace Tyrell (see card description for details on that) but that a whole different story!

 

I also wanted to address this point - Tyrell can in no way take Lannisport on turn 1 unless you oblige him. House cards are never played unless an actual battle takes place. Thus, Loras can only be used if there are forces in Searoad for Tyrell to engage and play the card. The only way this could happen is if Lannister moves into Searoad on Turn 1, which is a stupid decision to do considering the bloodthirsty Greyjoys are at your door.

The only other possible way for this to happen is for Greyjoy to take the Golden Sound, move a footman into Searoad, and intentionally lose to Tyrell playing Loras so Tyrell can execute the second march into Lannisport - which is incredibly, incredibly brain-dead play by Greyjoy and should allow you to smash him even without Lannisport.

In any case, Lannisport is hardly the keystone of the Lannister strategy. Yes, it's a home territory, but the two areas Lannister really needs are the very humble Stoney Sept and the Blackwater. Each is firstly completely invulnerable to raids or support from the sea and secondly each supports an incredible number of territories. A Lannister player that can secure both has control of almost all the south.



#58 KC Accidental

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 03:49 AM

 I read most of the this but skipped the last page or so so apologies for any ground being run over again!

I think it's worth pointing out that Seagard and the North is a much more inviting target for the Greyjoys and this scenario has little chance of coming up. If it does (and apologies again if this has already been discussed, dismissed or debunked) then surely there are strategies that can be played that aren't pre-determined or set in stone. In a game I played I managed to take out 3 Tyrell territories with much weaker Baratheon forces due clever use of house cards, supporting tiles and raids. Also worth noting was what cards my opponent had left. 

I understand that this scenario goes by earlier turns and influence positions but what makes this game great is that everything can be turned around and you can very quickly find yourself in a reverse situation than before. First time we tried this game out we got a Clash of Kings card on the 2nd turn! There are so many ways that can force Greyjoy to make or not make certain moves, ranging from Stark getting involved, Wildling attacks reducing power tokens etc etc. When we played the Lannisters and Greyjoys both had the biggest forces on the board but neither won. I myself managed to win with Baratheon all down to swift attacks using ships on the last turn. Because I was pinned back with only 1 on supply track for many turns people just kind of largely left me to myself, I was not a threat. Tables turned though with some luck with resupply and mustering. I know its a different scenario but there are always moves to make and to force your opponent into. Its a great strategy game that can be unpredictable at times. Not all these moves are set in stone and will work the same each game. 



#59 vendredi

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:38 PM

KC Accidental said:

I understand that this scenario goes by earlier turns and influence positions but what makes this game great is that everything can be turned around and you can very quickly find yourself in a reverse situation than before.

This is very true. I got a couple more games in over the weekend with the "Riverrun or Bust" opening (alas, I am stuck perpetually playing Lannister in my play group as I seem to be the only fan of the House from the books) and I'm convinced that a "Riverrun at all costs" attempt is not the optimal Lannister starting strategy. For one thing, it's important to avoid too early confrontation with Greyjoy - don't get tempted by all the seemingly easy castles at Seagard, Pyke, and Flint's Finger. You'll never be able to hold Greyjoy down long enough to avoid having another player gut you in the rear. If you can nail them as part of a Greyjoy backstab at the end game sure. Also a really aggressive posture early doesn't necessarily bode well for future cooperation with Greyjoy.

I gambled on this on the last game but with a majority of my fleet blockading Pyke and a majority of my House leaders discarded, House Martell (who had traded control of the ocean in exchange for leaving Tyrell alone) made an assault on the lightly defended Golden Sound and took Lannisport with an incredible invasion force, which proceeded to chew through my rear Lannister areas.

House Lannister's main problem is they have a front on all sides both at land and at sea. You will be hard pressed to try and maintain even two fronts evenly on just one of the theatres. Lannister is the player in most dire need of a strategic alliance to start or at least a nonagression pact. If Greyjoy doesn't irrationally hate you then he's a good candidate for this; he generally doesn't want to waste strength fighting you all game.

On the flip side, Lannister is in good position to make friends. Stoney Sept, Harrenhal, and the Blackwater are all in easy reach and provide you with tremendous leverage over the big conflict spots that can occur in the three way brawl for the South between Dorne, Tyrell, and Baratheon. It's more important to husband your strength and spend it on strategic support or raids that help the southern powers wear each other down rather than fight directly. Your low rack on the Fiefdoms track also really encourages this. A second priority should be the construction of a decent fleet in the Golden Sound - mostly to deter sea attack on Lannisport, but that fleet can quickly go on the offensive when you're ready for the win.

 



#60 Don Pedro MCh

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:31 PM

So Vendredi, you would suggest different course of action for Lannister than immediate conflict with Greyjoy who took Riverrun on turn 1? Expansion towards the eastern coast in hope for grabbing cracklow point? Cause it's certain that you can't live on 3 mustering points for very long before other houses will amass forces much greater then yours. Is it possible to continue to place the special consolidate power token in your capital in order to muster troops AND keep Lannisport safe at the same time?. I can see the benefit in taking the central positon on the map in blackwater and threatening either Baratheon or Tyler, witch will posiotion you as the perfect Martell ally. Do you have posiibly any experience with this or any other leave-the-riverrun-to-grayjoy-for-the-first-turns strategy?






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