EDITED: I streamlined my suggestion a bit
Ok, to start, this could surely only work with more than 6 players. I'm mostly basing it on what popped into my head when I saw this 9-Player version of the game.
One thing I love about the GoT books is the notion of the various houses 'declaring for' the different kings, and switching sides at opportune moments. This is done well enough in the standard game with simple verbal agreements but when you get up to 9 players I think you could add something more robust. Also lets more than 1 out of 9 players win.
What I keep thinking about is a system where you can, before acting out any order, 'declare for' another player. You then become their bannerman and your win condition becomes making sure they become king. Of course the 'winner' of the game is still whoever becomes king, but the bannermen get a kind of 'silver medal'.
You aren't tied into your alliance and can declare for someone else at any time. You can even declare for yourself to escape an alliance and try to make it on your own.
It should be noted that, after your declaration (and braking bonds with the previous alliance), the other player is under no obligation to accept you, so you could burn your bridges and then end up left high and dry.
I can think of a couple of restrictions straight away.
- You can only declare for someone higher up on the Iron Throne track
- There is a limit to how many bannermen a player can have (1 or 2?)
The main advantage to declaring for someone else would be to have a chance at being included in a victory when there is otherwise no hope. Having a powerful ally should also give you a chance to get back on your feet for a chance to go for it alone later.
There should also be some disadvantages to encourage players to break alliances. My main though is that, if you are a bannerman, and you get 7 castles, you don't win, as your win condition is now to let your 'liege lord' win, so you would have to break the alliance and declare for yourself to get the win.
Also, I quite like the idea that if positions on the Iron Throne track change, so does the pecking order within the alliance. That way you can usurp the top-spot within an alliance by voting higher than them. (promotes internal squabbling). To help retain their position, the 'leader' within each alliance should settle ties within their alliance for voting.
Other than that, you still follow the same rules. Only your win-condition changes.
- No sharing land with allies as that gets complicated when you change sides
- no using each others ships
- Allies can still attack each other, refuse support etc. I know this one sounds strange but the books have plenty of instances where bannermen who have declared for the same king squabble among each other. It is up to the leader to keep his men in control.
When I visualize this I imagine making little banners for each house and literally flying another houses banner above your house screen to show who's side you're on.
The main thing I'm not sure on is exactly how to balance the win condition. I want there to be some kind of disadvantage to being in an alliance. I can't think of a good way to do this within the game as being on the winning team is still winning, even if you only got a 'partial victory' for being a bannerman. My only thought on doing this is some kind of material gain outside of the game, with less for bannermen than the victorious 'king'
FOR EXAMPLE, you could play for a pot of real-world money. Not my personal style, but you could play for rounds of drinks after the game etc. If a player wins on their own it's winner-takes-all. If they had bannermen then they have to give them a cut (about 1/4 value each). They still take the lions share in any case, but every time they accept a new ally, their cut reduces, and the bannermen will have a reason to try and take the top spot to get the larger share for themselves.
Edited by Staurty, 21 August 2013 - 05:46 AM.