The utilization of house card captures and unit leaders is an excellent variation to A Game of Thrones: Second Edition.
If you own Battles of Westeros, the use of Commander pieces instead of leader tokens should be applied.
Each team uses two commander pieces and places them into a unit. The unit with the Commander always plays the matching house card of the commander piece. The chosen commanders will always be the house cards with the two highest combat ratings:
1) Starks- Eddard and Robb;
2) Lannisters- Tywin and Gregor;
3) Baratheons- Stannis and Renly;
4) Greyjoys- Euron and Victorian;
5) Tyrells- Mace and Loras; and
6) Martells- Oberyn and Areo.
Matching the commanders with house cards shouldn't be an issue if you own the core BOW set and the Baratheon expansion.
The only two variations to the game are:
1) The unit with the commander piece always plays the house card of the matching commander. (Unless the Lannister player draws Tyrion's house card, then the commander unit must draw another house card as instructed in Tyrion's house card text).
- If two commander units attack each other, then a "Tides of Battle" card must be drawn.
-If a commander unit attacks a non-commander unit (a unit without a commander or just a regular unit), then a "Tides of Battle" card must be drawn. So essentially any combat ensued with at least one commander must draw a "Tides of Battle" card.
- A commander piece does not add to the combat rating unless combat is ensued. (i.e. If a Stark unit with the Eddard commander piece is in a hex with one footman and one knight, then the combat rating of the army is 3. Eddard's commander piece does not add four until it enters combat). Thus, if an army with a commander unit provides support to another unit, then it would not provide the additional combat rating on the commander's house card.
- Commander pieces can't be in areas without other friendly units and have the same movement rules as the footman and knight pieces.
Loras Tyrell's text ability may only be used once per round.
2) Commander pieces/House Cards can be captured.
- If all units are lost to an army containing a commander, then the commander is captured by the player in the opposing combat.
- Commanders may be released only by using diplomatic methods.
If you do not own BOW and are interested I'm playing this variation then I suggest purchasing the A Song of Ice and Fire miniatures at DarkSwordMiniatures.com. All the commander pieces can be purchased for $10 each.
My experience After playing several games:
This variation truly captures the essence of the series. With Tywin gaining power tokens and Gregor tearing it up with three sword icons, this is a true depiction to how a game of thrones is played. There is always hope when your commanders are on the field, but the moment you lose one your moral is shot to the ground. There is no more worrying about opposing players drawing their four house card when you only have a two left. And with the tides of battle cards, chance can be on your side or totally against you!