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Why is noone complaining about the obviously unbalanced Starks?


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#1 Lujo86

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:02 AM

 I find this very, very odd, seing as how Starks outclass all other houses by a wide margin and are also the root of the Greyojy/Lannister problem.

I've researched all possible threads on the Lannister/Greyojy issue here, over at BGG and at AGoT PBEM yuku, and what I find odd is the lack of response to what are to me glaringly obvious problems. Everyone is focused on the Greyojy/Lannister issue, but the fact that there IS an issue stems directly from THIS:


javascript:void(0);/*1331420320496*/

Since I can't seem to figure out how to paste external stuff here, anyone interested please read it there, it's quite long, but the essence is that the Stark/Greyojy matchup is even worse than the Lannister/Greyojy one, and what I see as reasons for both of those problems. And in that regard the game is not a little unbalanced but a complete train-wreck only nobody seems to have figured it out yet, or at least post online about it.

On the scale of how bad it is, it goes into a "I want my money back" territory, and that's coming from a playgroup which played it from 1st edition vanilla and never had problems with house Lannister once we figured out the original "stoney sept" optimal sequence for them.



#2 Lujo86

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:05 AM

 Oh, and the detailed analysis is in the current last post on that thread, on the second page. the one that lists the sequence of factors that lead to all the problems staring with the map, then the cards, etc...



#3 jhagen

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:13 AM

We all know that the starks are the best all around house in the game:

-They have 2 sea and 2 land bottlenecks to defend.

-They have the best house cards.

-They generate the most un-raidable power tokens through consolidating.

They are just a late game winner, or a turn 10 winner. they do not have 7 castles/strongholds within easy reach to win sooner.

We don't complain about the Starks because Baratheon wins the 3-5-player game too quickly. his ships support a lone siege to take all the southern castles for the 7 victory point win by turn 3-4

Or Greyjoys take 3 castles/strongholds turn 1 get a lucky muster turn 2,3 and roll to 7 victory castles just before Baratheon.

The game is then broken before the need to address Starks amazing benefits.

 



#4 Lujo86

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:14 AM

 All you have said is true, good to see a very good number cruncher / strategist post about it even in this way.

However, what I'm really arguing is that most if not all unbalances in the game stem from that problem. The solution to fixing the Greyjoy/Lannister problem is, in my opininon, not simply nerfing one or buffing the other, but rather looking at the possible reasons the developers felt Greyjoy needed a hand of cards which includes Balon, Victarion and a 4. And that reason is the immesurable depths of Starks long term advantages over Greyjoy.

And the Baratheon 5 player problem is also related to that problem. Since Stark's advantages force Greyjoy into crushing Lannister, without Martell, Baratheon playes like a house with no neigbours. I know this, because I've had the amazing luck of drawing only Baratheon in 5 player games for years, back when there was no barrel on kingswood, and I don't think I ever lost untill Greyojy started keeping Lannister alive just so someone can keep tabs on Baratheon. No necromancer Roose back then also ment that Stark had incentives to fight Baratheon as well to recycle his hand.

I'm saying Stark is the root of all problems here, not something that can wait. The other things just crop up in games more often, but are in fact a direct concequence of stuff that is not immideately visible.



#5 jhagen

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:29 AM

ok played another 6 player this past weekend. i was lannister, and anotrher experienced player was greyjoy.

we used optional rule:

Riverrun has a strength (4) neutral garrison in it.

This modification allowed the game dynamic between lannister and greyjoy to change just enough to allow lannister's survivability long term.

game went 9 turns with martell hitting 7 victory just before stark (6).

and it is confirmed:

stark was new to AGOT, but not to wargames.

he shored up his defenses, made no undue pushes or assaults or over extended himself or attracted too much attention. and was handsomely at 6 castles in no time.

this caused us to apply the next modification to the game:

house cards are separated into 5 piles (4,3,2,1 and 0 respective to the printed power value on the card)

then they are dealt out randomly to the players in the standard allotment.

this does 2 things:

makes gameplay by each house differ from game to game depending on their power cards.

statistically lowers the power of stark's and greyjoy's power combos (the only way for these guys cards power is to go down) while boosting barratheon's and martell's cards.

cards which depend on other cards to be in the discard pile now state (any discard pile) instead.

place the cards in opaque TCG or LCG sleeves to conceal their colours... and bam you are done.



#6 Lujo86

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:35 AM

 Well, I'm glad someone ran into the problem do that it can be discussed, but I fear mixing up the cards will not help it. Here's Why:

1) Greyjoy doesn't have any power combos. He has 3 individually powerfull cards, and they are powerfull only in terms of winning a fight and nothing else, everything else he has is, well, not very good against a double or triple sword. Aeron is his only utility card, but he gimps you money. If you take away his cards he has nothing.

2) Stark doesn't need his power combos to be stronger than Greyjoy - he allready has incredible map advantage. That is the only real reason Greyjoy needs to have the cards he has, and it's nowhere near enough to help Greyjoy. If you take Roose away from Stark, you'll only make him play like everybody else in terms of recycling his hand - but that's just scratching the surface.

The problem here isn't the cards as it were. The problem is the narrow sea, and the sea border between Greywater Watch and Bay of Ice. Also, the composition of the "fingers" area - the fact that there isn't anyting on that peninsula that can't be attacked/raided or supported from/by the narrow sea means than noone but Stark can get any permanent advantage there. Also, the fact that troops stationed anywehre there can retake any other castle Stark loses to Greyjoy is a huge deal. Then take into account that any routed troups from almost anywhere can retreat to any tile on the peninsula, and take the map, light it on fire and go draw another map. :)

I suggest to anyone to play more games where Greyojy and Lannister make a non-aggression pact and stick to it just for testin purposes, and keep everything else as is. It will become obvious soon enough. 



#7 jhagen

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:44 AM

the power combo that stark has is this:

he would assault greyjoys echelon with his: (march +0)

Eddard Stark 4 // (2 swords)

then run onto Seagard (2 knights 1 siege) supported by riverrun's 2 footmen... with one footman

then use (march -1) and play:

Roose Bolton 2 If you lose this combat, return your
entire House card discard pile into
your hand (including this card)

and then hit Barratheon's castle in the south with

Eddard Stark 4 // (2 swords)

IN THE SAME FREAKING TURN!

that my friend is a combo.

 

The card set is the combo.

Shuffling and mixing really powerful card sets like greyjoy's and stark's allows for different dynamics and have balanced play in the play.

for example in out playtest Greyjoy put the hammer down on starks assault with

Stannis
Baratheon
4 If your opponent has a higher position
on the Iron Throne Influence track
than you, this card gains +1 combat strength.

by using:

Queen of Thorns 0 Immediately remove one of your
opponent's Order tokens in any one
area adjacent to the embattled area.
You may not remove the March Order
token used to start this combat.

this broke the support of (+1) with a knight and a footman (4 total strength taken out) allowing a retaliatory march to take back seagard.

 



#8 Lujo86

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 07:39 PM

 Yes, well, I said GREYJOY doesn't have combos, Stark DOES.

And Stark can do what you described EVERY turn, once set up. And worse than that, he can use Ned to take something every turn and have him back for defense while Greyjoy can only cry about it. That way he never overextends.

Which is just a fragment of how horribly unbalanced Stark is, and also the root of the Greyjoy/Lannister problem.

However, mixing cards up is not really a good call, as "power" cards are not distributed evenly among the power numbers. In case your're nor sure, both Starks and Greyjoy's hand CAN go up in power. Starks 0 is awfull, and there are strictly superior 2's to Greatjohn Umber. Even Ned can be improved upon by getting the Red Viper, and whoever gets Roose and Gregor is in for a ride.

And Greyjoy would change any of his 1's and Theon in a blink of an eye if he could get anything with 2 forts. Hell, he'd trade anything for Tyrion or Arriane Martell.

Roose needs to go, period, and then the map needs rebalancing to give Greyjoy a chance against Stark, and then you can do somethin about Greyjoy's cards. I say, play a couple more game and see for yourselves. 



#9 Prince Capsicum

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:02 PM

 Or Greyjoy and Baratheon give Stark a hard time that can't come back from. I did this the other day in a four player game and Stark was demolished.



#10 KC Accidental

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 08:21 AM

 I don't really see how the Starks are so unbelievably unbalanced. 

They have 2 bottleneck sea areas yes, but that also means 2 areas to defend. In almost every game we've played Baratheon moves a ship north and wins almost every time. That means they have easy access to the North, exact same happens if Greyjoy attack north by sea and again they will come out on top more often than not. If that happens then Winterfell is easily attacked. They can muster into both seas but it can be hard if they get pushed back. 

The Starks need to go BACK in order to gain any power areas and that means moving troops. Anyone else can advance towards areas that their opponents might go to in order to gain power, thus setting up a defensive perimeter. Starks take a step back in order to do this. If they do this they also can't muster ships early to get a naval advantage. Supply is also an issue so they also need to aquire those areas to increase their very small armies. 

So basically Stark can fall behind in supply and power very early on and it's not always easy to recover. I think there's balance here, not necessarily perfect but there is a balance. Starks have only ever won one game that me and my friends have played. Other victors have been Lannister, Baratheon and I think Tyrell.



#11 Monsterberger

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 04:00 PM

Lujo86 said:

I suggest to anyone to play more games where Greyojy and Lannister make a non-aggression pact and stick to it just for testin purposes, and keep everything else as is. It will become obvious soon enough. 

 

The last game I played featured a Greyjoy/Lannister alliance and it was unstoppable!  As Martell, I was completely cut off from them by Tyrell and Baratheon, so all could do was harass my neighbors (mostly Baratheon).  There was absolutely no coordination between Tyrell, Stark, and Baratheon, so the game ended in about eight rounds with Greyjoy on top and Lannister in 2nd place.  I was able to jump into 3rd place by the end by raiding Baratheon's support order out of shipbreaker bay in order to take Storm's End.  That move may have precipitated the end of the game by rendering Crackclaw Point and King's Landing quite vulnerable.



#12 SF-Serbia

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 06:02 AM

Lujo86 said:

 I find this very, very odd, seing as how Starks outclass all other houses by a wide margin and are also the root of the Greyojy/Lannister problem.

I've researched all possible threads on the Lannister/Greyojy issue here, over at BGG and at AGoT PBEM yuku, and what I find odd is the lack of response to what are to me glaringly obvious problems. Everyone is focused on the Greyojy/Lannister issue, but the fact that there IS an issue stems directly from THIS:


javascript:void(0);/*1331420320496*/

Since I can't seem to figure out how to paste external stuff here, anyone interested please read it there, it's quite long, but the essence is that the Stark/Greyojy matchup is even worse than the Lannister/Greyojy one, and what I see as reasons for both of those problems. And in that regard the game is not a little unbalanced but a complete train-wreck only nobody seems to have figured it out yet, or at least post online about it.

On the scale of how bad it is, it goes into a "I want my money back" territory, and that's coming from a playgroup which played it from 1st edition vanilla and never had problems with house Lannister once we figured out the original "stoney sept" optimal sequence for them.

If we go by the book, Starks were neutral, with no need to conquer. The only thing that got them going, was decapitation of Ned Stark, who is alive in the game.






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