So, the other day I played a few games with the decks from "4 decks from core x2" on cardgamedb.com and I have some issues before I start investing myself.
I noticed that once you get a lead, either in character count, hand size or power, it's very hard to come back from that. The game seems to flow downhill so to speak with the rich getting richer.
In one game, Baratheon vs Targaryen, the Bara player was down in character count 4-2 so used Valar Morghulis as his plot, but quickly found himself down 2-1 with the low income on that card. The Targ player just used both his characters to military challenge, producing a lock basically, as Targ's board could grow, but Bara's was limited to one or two with most characters costing 3 or 4. The final score was 15-0.
I did have a close game Lannister vs Stark, with Stark winning 16-13, but only 8 of their power was on the house. Eddard and Jon Snow made up the rest.
I think one of the biggest culprits is how the game determines initiative. It seems the more powerful the plot effect, the lower the init number. So one person (Joust) could have control of initiative most of the game if the other is playing those power plots. I haven't seen any cards that manipulate the init number but I'm sure they must have them.
So I guess my concern is, if I start buying into this game, am I going to find that most games end up with one side steamrolling the other like my Bara/Targ game, or is there actually parity like the Lanni/Stark game? It's entirely possible I missed some key rule(s) but I think I played pretty close to them. I'm primarily interested in 2-player action, but like the idea of multiplayer being better.
So, any opinions on the Joust capability would be appreciated. I know it's technically a "variant" of the game rules, but many people have recommended AGOT over W:I as a better 2-player game.