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Karl M

HELP with Lannister in 2nd Edition!!!

67 posts in this topic

cadleo said:

 

Uhhh, why would you assume the houses are supposed to start off-balance? That makes no sense at all.

 

 

Because a lot of good, well-regarded and highly enjoyable games aren't set up to start off with everybody on equal footing. Diplomacy - this game's ancestor in spirit - doesn't start off all that balanced. Russia has more armies than the other powers. Austria is always on the brink of being torn to shreds by the sheer misfortune of sharing borders with so many powers. Turkey has it relatively easy, what with having at most two enemy powers to worry about.

In fact, those three powers map fairly nicely to Greyjoy, Lannister and Stark respectively. Not all games start off fair for everybody. That's what makes them fun and interesting to play. They invite both strategic and diplomatic skill to get you the win.

cadleo said:

 

Also, if they did start that way, the Lannisters would be much more powerful than the Greyjoys if it were supposed to resemble the books which you dont seem to have read.

 

 

I didn't make the claim that the game was supposed to mirror the books, why would you think that? I have read them by the way, but I don't see what this has to do with anything. I wasn't making a point about fidelity to the source material, I was making a point about game design.

cadleo said:

 

I would really like an FFG representative to comment on some of these concerns. The opinions of the sheep do not concern me ;)

 

 

How about we don't insult random strangers on forums? I'm sure we can all have a sensible and calm conversation about our thoughts and experiences on the game without calling each other names. It is possible to have different opinions about something without either party being wrong or "sheep" after all.

 

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cadleo said:

cadleo said:

The Lannisters should be one of the most powerful factions as it is in the books. "Possibly one of the hardest to win with", you say? You have lost the arguement with that statement, ser.


You gave three examples of someone who is new or does not know how to play as the Greyjoys. If you played against someone who knew what they were doing, the Greyjoys would spank the Lannisters every time unless they got seriously lucky with tide of battle cards and somehow a mustering card never comes up. Your navy was going to make a crushing attack!? Dude, if I was playing Greyjoy you would never have a navy.
Its unbalanced, simple as that.


What argument are you talking about ? You say playing the Lannisters is impossible, I say they can do well if played tactically and diplomatically and that what's this game is all about. The Lannisters are not an easy faction to play , so that makes them harder. But it's not impossible to win.

cadleo said:

cadleo said:


You gave three examples of someone who is new or does not know how to play as the Greyjoys. If you played against someone who knew what they were doing, the Greyjoys would spank the Lannisters every time unless they got seriously lucky with tide of battle cards and somehow a mustering card never comes up.

Well maybe you should play with a better Lannister player then. Or share with us your invincible tactics. Also I don't use the tide of battle cards since they are to random.

cadleo said:

cadleo said:


Dude, if I was playing Greyjoy you would never have a navy.


I don't think so, you'd first have to take Lannisport since Lannister can always build a fleet in the port or hide inside the port until a counterattack is possible.

 

I played a new six player game in the mean time. I provoked Greyjoy to concentrate his force against me. He was very strong at first taking Riverrun and the Golden Sound. But I reconquered Riverrun easily . Then he wanted to take Lannisport, but couldn't because I had already a lot of support towards it. He did invade south of Lannisport, to threaten my support from Stoney Sept, but could not hold on to it. He then went for Moat Cailin, which was not defended well at the time, since Stark thought Greyjoy and Lannisters were too busy with each other, taking it for 1.5 rounds until Stark came down on him supported from the valley, his ships and Winterfell. When Greyjoy used his Victarion card, I made a counterattack in the next round to free the Golden sound. We played the game until round 8 were my Lannisters took Seaguard as 4th castle . We stopped at the end of that round since it was too late, but it was clear that Greyjoy would not win the game. He only had two castles left although his fleet remained strong, but he didnt have enough land units to take and hold on to other castles.


Greyjoy is very strong at the start of the game, but once he has used up certain house cards or power tokens he becomes vulnerable to a counterattack. The only two housecards that were really fearful were the Victarion card (a guaranteed naval victory) and the Balon card (basically giving +2 str in any battle, while the enemy gets +0 str) . Damphear seems like he is powerful at first but has a high cost to play. The 4 str Euron card isn't very special either. So when Victarion and/or Euron/Balon are in the discard pile Greyjoy is vulnerable to counterattacks. His biggest strenght lies in the support his ships give him and his mobility.


Lannister has to defend Lannisport against Greyjoy using support from Stoney Sept and/or Riverrun. I think the battle between Greyjoy and Lannisport is pretty well balanced. Greyjoy starts strong, but is vulnerable to counterattacks and Lannister grows stronger in the following rounds. From there it all depends which alliances you make. You can have Stark put pressure on the Greyjoys from the north.

Also I don't find the Lannister house cards that bad , like you describe, on the contrary. Gregor Clegane and Kevan Lannister are really very powerful in land combat.


The game seems pretty balanced this way. Greyjoys and Lannisters keep each other in check /stalemate. This weakens them both obviously.
If Greyjoy concentrates his attacks against Lannister, the game becomes hard to win for both. Only if Greyjoy finds a way to hold on to his conquered castles he has a good chance to win. But this is not easy if the Lannister player defends himself well.


Now if they would make an alliance between themselves somehow Lannister could use the resources for an attack towards the south or east over land. And Greyjoy could threaten Stark and Tyrell by sea. Perhaps working together would make both stronger.


Since you refer to the books. If Greyjoys would have attacked the Lannisters in the books, the Lannisters would not have stood strong either, they had their hands full with the Starks. Though the Greyjoys would not have been able to beat the Lannisters in full scale land battles either. But they were certainly strong at sea.


Lastly if you still feel that Greyjoys are too strong you could try this and let us know :


passionis said:

Joe Dizzy said:

Is there anyone who has tried to exchange Greyjoys knight for a third footman?


 

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Joe Dizzy said:


In fact, those three powers map fairly nicely to Greyjoy, Lannister and Stark respectively. Not all games start off fair for everybody. That's what makes them fun and interesting to play. They invite both strategic and diplomatic skill to get you the win.

I didn't make the claim that the game was supposed to mirror the books, why would you think that? I have read them by the way, but I don't see what this has to do with anything. I wasn't making a point about fidelity to the source material, I was making a point about game design.

How about we don't insult random strangers on forums? I'm sure we can all have a sensible and calm conversation about our thoughts and experiences on the game without calling each other names. It is possible to have different opinions about something without either party being wrong or "sheep" after all.

 

 

 

The game is titled "A Game of Thrones". It is a given that it should mirror the books and it makes no sense at all to think otherwise, to the point of you arent even trying to bolster a real arguement here, youre just being contrary.

Dude, it was a line from the book (which you claim to have read) and it was a joke, denoted by the tounge in cheek emoticon. :facepalm:

 

zorzogoth said:

 


What argument are you talking about ? You say playing the Lannisters is impossible, I say they can do well if played tactically and diplomatically and that what's this game is all about. The Lannisters are not an easy faction to play , so that makes them harder. But it's not impossible to win.

I said it was unbalanced, and it is. The fact that the Lannistesr are not an easy faction to play is the first clue that something is wrong. Read the books.

Well maybe you should play with a better Lannister player then. Or share with us your invincible tactics. Also I don't use the tide of battle cards since they are to random.
 

They are mathematically at a disadvantage (even moreso without tide of battle cards). There is plenty of numbers to support this earlier in the post, I dont feel the need to repeat what was so effectively explained already. Scroll up.

I don't think so, you'd first have to take Lannisport since Lannister can always build a fleet in the port or hide inside the port until a counterattack is possible.

And your port is as far as they would get. A bunch of ships stuck in port for fear they will be sunk does not qualify as a Navy in my book. 

I played a new six player game in the mean time. I provoked Greyjoy to concentrate his force against me. He was very strong at first taking Riverrun and the Golden Sound. But I reconquered Riverrun easily . Then he wanted to take Lannisport, but couldn't because I had already a lot of support towards it. He did invade south of Lannisport, to threaten my support from Stoney Sept, but could not hold on to it. He then went for Moat Cailin, which was not defended well at the time, since Stark thought Greyjoy and Lannisters were too busy with each other, taking it for 1.5 rounds until Stark came down on him supported from the valley, his ships and Winterfell. When Greyjoy used his Victarion card, I made a counterattack in the next round to free the Golden sound. We played the game until round 8 were my Lannisters took Seaguard as 4th castle . We stopped at the end of that round since it was too late, but it was clear that Greyjoy would not win the game. He only had two castles left although his fleet remained strong, but he didnt have enough land units to take and hold on to other castles.

You only took 4 castle as the Lannisters by turn 8 because you and the Greyjoys were locked in a mutually assured destruction pact. Yes. That was pretty much my main point. The setup is flawed so that both those factions get pooched. Lannisters moreso than the Greyjoy, but the inevitable outcome is that they are both too busy fighting eachother for scraps while Starks and Baratheons claim territory all around them at their leisure.


Greyjoy is very strong at the start of the game, but once he has used up certain house cards or power tokens he becomes vulnerable to a counterattack. The only two housecards that were really fearful were the Victarion card (a guaranteed naval victory) and the Balon card (basically giving +2 str in any battle, while the enemy gets +0 str) . Damphear seems like he is powerful at first but has a high cost to play. The 4 str Euron card isn't very special either. So when Victarion and/or Euron/Balon are in the discard pile Greyjoy is vulnerable to counterattacks. His biggest strenght lies in the support his ships give him and his mobility.

All he needs is a mustering card and all those castles he took will provide plenty of defence for that counterattack which is the only hope the Lannisters have. All he needs to do is defend. Not hard. If the Lannisters overcommit (because they can muster too of course) then they will be in an even weaker position against the Baratheons who can sweep in easily at their rear.

Lannister has to defend Lannisport against Greyjoy using support from Stoney Sept and/or Riverrun. I think the battle between Greyjoy and Lannisport is pretty well balanced. Greyjoy starts strong, but is vulnerable to counterattacks and Lannister grows stronger in the following rounds. From there it all depends which alliances you make. You can have Stark put pressure on the Greyjoys from the north.

Only if the Stark player is an idiot. Any fool can see it would be better to first conquer the North as the Starks and then he can dictate his own terms to either the Lannisters or the Greyjoys as neither of them can oppose him. Words are wind.

Also I don't find the Lannister house cards that bad , like you describe, on the contrary. Gregor Clegane and Kevan Lannister are really very powerful in land combat.

I may have mispoke about the house cards, its only the Jaime Lannister one that I have issues with, but it really is so wrong that it taints the game. There is absolutely no way to defend his stats when compared with the others guys. He is one of the most influential and showcased characters in the book, and he is represented awfully by this card. Period.


The game seems pretty balanced this way. Greyjoys and Lannisters keep each other in check /stalemate. This weakens them both obviously.
If Greyjoy concentrates his attacks against Lannister, the game becomes hard to win for both. Only if Greyjoy finds a way to hold on to his conquered castles he has a good chance to win. But this is not easy if the Lannister player defends himself well.

Correct. This is the imbalance and it favors the Baratheons and Starks.


Now if they would make an alliance between themselves somehow Lannister could use the resources for an attack towards the south or east over land. And Greyjoy could threaten Stark and Tyrell by sea. Perhaps working together would make both stronger.

Yeah, and perhaps Tywin Lannister will **** me some gold. Until then, the math doesnt support that, and forcing two players to work together just to give them a chance to win is ridiculous.


Since you refer to the books. If Greyjoys would have attacked the Lannisters in the books, the Lannisters would not have stood strong either, they had their hands full with the Starks. Though the Greyjoys would not have been able to beat the Lannisters in full scale land battles either. But they were certainly strong at sea.

Incorrect. The Greyjoys were a shell of a house who would crash like waves on the walls of Casterly rock. Even after the Lannister armies were scattered all across the Riverlands and the Reach, the Greyjoys still chose to attack Northern targets even though Lannisport and Casterly Rock are just across the water from them. Yes, they were/are and should be stronger than any other house at sea, but again, this is hardly represented in the game. Basically by one house card and thats it.

 

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cadleo said:

 

The game is titled "A Game of Thrones". It is a given that it should mirror the books and it makes no sense at all to think otherwise, to the point of you arent even trying to bolster a real arguement here, youre just being contrary.

I'm pretty sure that's not true. Look at Battlestar Galactica. That game doesn't mirror the source material to the degree that you argue AGOT should. If it did, there'd be no point in handing out Loyalty Cards as we already know who the Cylons are. We even know when and how certain characters leave the show. It mirrors the feel of the source material. And I agree that a good, licensed game should do that.

I would argue that A Game of Thrones succeeds in mirroring the feel of the books. The game is just as dependent on trust between houses, on promises and threats and a lot of maneuvering to stay on top. There are tactical decisions to make, strategies to follow and diplomacy to handle. And much like the books there's a tenseness and undercurrent of paranoia present, which gives both successful advances and sudden betrayals the elegant kick which made the books so memorable.

If you believe that Lannister starts off too weak, and thereby wrecks that feel for you, then I'm very sorry. It didn't in my games, and as far as I can tell nobody I played with felt that the game missed its target due to the way Lannister was handled. But your original point was about a balanced game, wasn't it? And now it's about fidelity to its source.

Isn't that interesting?

cadleo said:

 

Dude, it was a line from the book (which you claim to have read) and it was a joke, denoted by the tounge in cheek emoticon. :facepalm:

Clearly, your clever barbs are too much for us simple-minded folk here. Do try not to overwhelm us with your great insight and knowledge and explain your points more slowly and with simpler words, so us "dudes" can benefit from your great wisdom.

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Played as Greyjoy today and won by turn 5. It is true that this first attack wave is virtually unstoppable. (Although admittedly, I was playing against 5 players who had never played before. So launching an all-out attack on Lannister wasn't very sportsman-like. But if I had tried the same thing with my regular group, I would have been "most dangerous player" for the next five games to come.) Lannister can try to limit his losses, but he cannot stop Greyjoy on his own.

But that wasn't what won me the game. If Stark had actually bothered to apply any pressure on my end I wouldn't have managed to hold 6 strongholds and grab the Crackclaw Point in turn 5. (By that time Baratheon had left it unguarded and during bidding that turn I spent all my tokens on grabbing the Iron Throne.) In fact without a timid Stark player and a momentarily distracted Baratheon player, Greyjoy would have been stopped by turn 5 or turn 6 the very latest. At which point Tyrell, Martell or Baratheon would have likely been a contender.

But for Greyjoy both Moat Cailin and Flint's Finger are impossible to hold, if Stark decides to advance while Greyjoy is busy reaping strongholds in the south. You need all your house cards to grab and hold the south. As Lannister it is in your best interest to make sure Stark keeps Greyjoy busy, and Baratheon focusses on the south, instead of turning against his "story ally" in the north. And if he does decide to take up residence in the North, Greyjoy needs to hope he leaves Cracklaw Point and Harrenhal alone. Because the cards it takes to actually conquer those two, will have seriously depleted your hand.

So I think, while Greyjoy is very aggressive and thus easy to play for beginners (much like Khorne in Chaos in the Old World), it takes a lot of skill to give him a fighting chance with more experienced opponents. Without some clever diplomacy Stark, Lannister, Tyrell and even Baratheon can easily keep you from grabbing an easy win.

Which, if we return to the original point of this thread (Lannister) just seems to confirm my original suspicion, that Lannister needs to be very diplomatic during the first few turns and make sure that everybody else at the table understands that they need to keep Greyjoy in check. If, for some reason, you have a gaming group that is very soft or light on diplomacy, this might be a bit of a challenge.

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Joe Dizzy said:

But your original point was about a balanced game, wasn't it? And now it's about fidelity to its source.

Isn't that interesting?

It was about both. They are related.

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 I have played this game a great number of times starting with the first printing and all of its expansions, and Joe hits the nail on the head. This game is very balanced, because it's all about diplomacy. If pressure is not being applied of a strong player, reguardless if they are stark, greyjoy, or anyone else for that matter, they can very easily win. This game is also about the spirit and feel of westeros which my group and I all find to be spot on. 

Getting back to the specific issue of "The Lannister Problem," its all about diplomacy get stark to get on them, or even baretheon and tyrell. untill of course lanister becomes too powerful, and then they are turned on by their allies, and so on and so on.

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Diplomacy in A Game of Thrones 2e, 4 player game.

Turn 1:

Lannister: Hey, Baratheon, you know that Stark is the real threat, why dont you go ahead and attack him. While I can offer you nothing tangible, I assure you this is the best move you can make.

Baratheon: No thanks. Im going to go ahead and take over Dorne because no one can contest me. Good luck with the Starks. Winter is coming.

Lannister: Hey, Stark, you know the real threats are the Greyjoys and the Baratheons right? If you let Baratheon go unchecked he will take over Dorne, and the Greyjoys are surely going to turn on you one day. Best that you attack one or both of them now.

Stark: Well, it is tempting to wage a stalemate war with the Baratheons to keep them out of Dorne, but that really doesnt get me closer to winning and it makes me weaker against both you and the Greyjoys. And while the Greyjoys are close to me, I think the targets nearer you are more likely to be hit by them. Nah, I think I will just take all these uncontested northern provinces and then attack whoever is left. Good luck, and quit trying to kill my kids.

Lannister: Hey Greyjoy, you know you want to attack the Starks right? I mean, the North doesnt have nearly enough castle for you to win with and there are some easy kills right here next to my capital that I cant defend, but ya know, do me a solid and go North instead and leave yourself less defended to me. I swear I wont attack. A lannister always pays his debts after all.

Greyjoy: Shut up, *****. Ill be taking Seagard and Riverrun and if you have a problem with that I will give Cersei to the Drowned God after I give her to my dogs. We do not sow (or diplomasize).

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LoL @ cadleo's response. top notch.

 

To the original poster:

My opinion is that there is no help for Lannister in 2nd Edition without reworking something. (this was to be the job of playtesting on FFG's part).

Assuming all players are good at the game and make logical or "proper" play decisions, Lannister is done for.

My suggestion would be to leave Lannister out completely unless you have a 6 player game. Use Tyrell instead.

 

To all the rest of you:

Any argument you have for Lannister to stop Greyjoy from raining on lannister's parade involves diplomacy and multiple houses "ganging up" on Greyjoy. This does not always happen.

I understand there is keeping to the lore of the game. But for those who do not read the books, this is dubious... at best.

In the end we are left with a situation that needs fixing.

I say we brainstorm some kind of solution. here is one i will offer:

I suggest a first turn consolidate for Lannister as an option. Take Harrenhal.  Build a footman and boat to support against greyjoy and I just hope a muster card doesnt come up turn 2.

 

To FFG:

This is not acceptible. properly playtest your games. please.

Please offer a addendum or fix for this. It's like playing chess with someone when all you have are pawns

There is nothing Lannister can do with units on board or cards in hand to take Greyjoy on 1 on 1. No other interraction like this occurs in the game. This is because of starting positions on the board AND the influence tracks.

Try:

Moving Greyjoy below Lannister on the fiefdoms track and no sword for them.

Having Lannister start with Riverrun.

Removing the support restrictions on fleets.

 

 

If i wanted a lopsided game, I would play Axis and Allies.

Speaking of lopsided, why is my board warped? Was it miscut?

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cadleo said:

Diplomacy in A Game of Thrones 2e, 4 player game.

Turn 1:

(...)

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.

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. Of all the houses in the game, Lannister is most dependent on working the table and working the players. You can't rely on pure numbers and optimal use of cards and orders and expect to win. In fact, nobody can - unless you're stuck with poor players. Your card hand will run out, and by that time you better hope you haven't stepped on anybody's toes too bad as they will steamroll you.

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. 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.

As I mentioned, Greyjoy is the most straight-forward house to play. If you don't know anything about strategy games, you will still know how to play as Greyjoy by the third turn. Lannister is very dependent on alliances and cooperation, and if you lack the skill to cooperate or the players to cooperate with, Lannister will rarely stand a chance. Compare that to Stark who has to make sure that the game stays undecided until he's gathered up the strength needed to make his move and most of the time Greyjoy is the most ripe and easy to pluck fruit. (Which is also why Stark's reply in your little skit, is a complete failure on a comprehending Stark's strategy.) While Baratheon has to keep the rest of the table away from him, so he can invade the South. He can do that either through diplomacy, or through clever use of his fleet. In a way Baratheon is probably the most flexible of houses in a four-player game.

My point is that Lannister becomes increasingly interesting to play, the deeper your gameplay goes. If you don't care for diplomacy though, I can imagine there are numerous little screws you can turn, to lessen the discrepancy between Greyjoy's military prowess and Lannister's ability to respond. BTW, I could easily imagine a year or two from now a small expansion with a variant set of house cards.

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jhagen said:

My suggestion would be to leave Lannister out completely unless you have a 6 player game. Use Tyrell instead.

This is not acceptible. properly playtest your games. please.

We thought about doing this, but it felt wrong not having the Lannisters in.

To their credit, FFG is an amazing company and this is the first of many games of theirs ive played that I ran into this problem. I am fairly confident they will fix this, but I would really like to hear any kind of official opinion on these concerns.

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I just recently received this game and have only played a couple of times neither of which was Lannister so I could be missing something with what you're saying. What I don't understand is that with your testing it seems like you're assuming that a mustering card will come up and you can reinforce the units that you have moved out to take the three castles but if that doesn't happen you will have several castles all which are lightly defended and can easily be taken by a Lannister army. Lannister always start in a position where it is very easy for them to gain a higher supply rating which will allow for them to have stronger armies if they choose to defend and build armies then attack. Like I said I haven't played as the Lannisters although I plan to make it my next choice to test this out but I don't think they are as bad as you're claiming I just don't think they're being played to their strengths in your games.

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zorzogoth said:

Maybe the following strategy might help.

 

You should leave Riverrun open for Greyjoy in the first round, since it's impossible to defend it if Greyjoy wants it. Instead go for Harrenhal. Move your 1 infantry and 1 cavalry into Stoney Sept. (has now 3 unit army) Then move two infantry from Stoney Sept into Harrenhal. Leave a cavalry in Stoney Sept for support.

Next round if a muster has happened :

you buy another infantry at Harrenhal and two infantry at Lannisport. The greyjoy will likely have bought a cavalry in Riverrun and units in Seaguard if he took that one.

If a bidding for the tracks occurs, try to remain high on the iron throne track, so you can attack before greyjoy does. Also Try to hold on to the Raven token for the special orders and hope for the greyjoy to loose the Valyrian sword.

Place a raid token on your boat to counter a raid or support on the Greyjoy boat, a support in Lannisport , a support +1 in Stoney Sept, a march +1 in Harrenhal.

You'll now be trying to attack Riverrun with Kevan Lannister. This will give 6 str for the 3 infantry, 1 from Kevan, 1 from your march order, 1 from your support in Stoney Sept and 2 from your Cavalry in Stoney sept. Also give a support to Lannisport for the two infantry units over there they add another 4 from Kevan. This will be an attack worth 15 .

Greyjoy can get 15 theoretically but this will be very difficult for him : 5 from units in Riverrun, 1 from the sword, 2 from defence (if he even has this or if it isn't raided by your boat) , 1 support from his boat (if not raided) , 1or 2 support from the infantry in the territory north of Riverrun, 4 being his highest card.

 

 

The dispatching of troops from Stony Sept, keeping a knight there for long-time support is a very clever idea, of which I had'nt thought of, so thank you for this one !

On the other hand, having Footmen (or anything else, by the way) in Lannisport isn't going to help a battle occurring in Riverrun, right ? or am I missing something ? And also, if the Greyjoy player sees that the Lannister has planned this tricky counterattack, a single Defense Order or a Raid to blast the Support order will make the counterattack impossible, wasting all the Lannister's orders for Turn 2 (after a Turn 1 all spent on preparing the Turn 2).

Regarding the overall discussion, I understand each side's points. My personnal view is that playing Lannister and knowing that on the first turn you can do nothing to counter your neighbour, and even getting promises of help from anyone on the board cannot change the fact that Greyjoy will, without any cost, possibly be mustering from 4 Cities and Strongholds on turn 2 while you will only be mustering from two (and these units will remain even if you get to make them retreat, while the units YOU didn't muster will not be generated ever, leaving you with a 1 turn delay over all your opponents), is a real balance issue.

And I am not taking the idea that the Greyjoy will be weakened after they lost their best House cards as a serious argument, since

a) it is the same for all Houses

b) they have 3 powerful cards which will make them win battles, and one (Aeron Damphair) that gets discarded either for a powerful strategic effect (getting to choose the right card for the right battle), or simply for a quicker recycling of the powerful cards effect

House Greyjoy starts with one more unit than its neighbours, more accessible areas, more accessible strongholds. It already was so in the First Edition of the game. The problem is that what was added in this 2nd edition, instead of a reajustment in favor of the Lannisters, is a set of Greyjoy cards which are MORE powerful than any of the previous ones... Balon Greyjoy himself means that your opponents must be prepared to face only defeats until they manage to mount an army which will have more than 3 Force more than the Greyjoy's ; which, considering that the Greyjoy will have more Strongholds than the Lannister, seems pretty impossible to achieve. 

And also, the Lannister player will want to keep a higher position on the Iron Throne track AND a good position on the King's Court's... while not being able to spend a single order to gain Power token, whilst the Greyjoy can gain at least one per turn through the Ship in Pyke's Port.

It is a bit too much to bear, I think, for an enjoyable game for a Lannister House player, diplomacy fun or not.

 

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Oh, and also : the other House which got a better set of House cards in this 2nd Edition is... House Tyrell.

The Lannisters' other neighbour (which of course is pretty happy with a weakened neighbour focused on fighting on a different front, and can reach the Lannister's base camp in a few turns).

To people who argue that the Lannister need to make alliances to get a chance of winning : what prevents the Greyjoy and the Tyrell from reaching a much more profitable and obvious alliance on their own ?

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Akodostef said:

The dispatching of troops from Stony Sept, keeping a knight there for long-time support is a very clever idea, of which I had'nt thought of, so thank you for this one !

On the other hand, having Footmen (or anything else, by the way) in Lannisport isn't going to help a battle occurring in Riverrun, right ? or am I missing something ? And also, if the Greyjoy player sees that the Lannister has planned this tricky counterattack, a single Defense Order or a Raid to blast the Support order will make the counterattack impossible, wasting all the Lannister's orders for Turn 2 (after a Turn 1 all spent on preparing the Turn 2).

Regarding the overall discussion, I understand each side's points. My personnal view is that playing Lannister and knowing that on the first turn you can do nothing to counter your neighbour, and even getting promises of help from anyone on the board cannot change the fact that Greyjoy will, without any cost, possibly be mustering from 4 Cities and Strongholds on turn 2 while you will only be mustering from two (and these units will remain even if you get to make them retreat, while the units YOU didn't muster will not be generated ever, leaving you with a 1 turn delay over all your opponents), is a real balance issue.

And I am not taking the idea that the Greyjoy will be weakened after they lost their best House cards as a serious argument, since

a) it is the same for all Houses

b) they have 3 powerful cards which will make them win battles, and one (Aeron Damphair) that gets discarded either for a powerful strategic effect (getting to choose the right card for the right battle), or simply for a quicker recycling of the powerful cards effect

House Greyjoy starts with one more unit than its neighbours, more accessible areas, more accessible strongholds. It already was so in the First Edition of the game. The problem is that what was added in this 2nd edition, instead of a reajustment in favor of the Lannisters, is a set of Greyjoy cards which are MORE powerful than any of the previous ones... Balon Greyjoy himself means that your opponents must be prepared to face only defeats until they manage to mount an army which will have more than 3 Force more than the Greyjoy's ; which, considering that the Greyjoy will have more Strongholds than the Lannister, seems pretty impossible to achieve. 

And also, the Lannister player will want to keep a higher position on the Iron Throne track AND a good position on the King's Court's... while not being able to spend a single order to gain Power token, whilst the Greyjoy can gain at least one per turn through the Ship in Pyke's Port.

It is a bit too much to bear, I think, for an enjoyable game for a Lannister House player, diplomacy fun or not.

 

You can protect the support from Stoney Sept with a raid order against the Greyjoy raid order (from your fleet at the Golden sound or from Lannisport). Or you can raid the defense order (although it will likely be nothing more then a +1). You can do all this if you have the Raven.

Keeping an infantry in Lannisport is useful if there isn't a mustering card. So you can place a mustering order there in the next round. Also this gives you extra defense supported again by the Stoney Sept horse.

Greyjoy could be mustering from four castles but will he have enough supply. And then he will become a threat for Moat Cailin (Stark) and be regarded as a threat by all players. This could be a good moment to make an alliance with Stark. 

In a first counterattack when playing Balon, Greyjoy can only reduce the one strenght on Kevan, but the latter will have a lot more strength from the infantry (including any supporting infantry). It all depends on the situation of course. Will Greyjoy fear an attack from Moat Cailin and put a defense order instead of a support order in Greywater watch. Will you be able to raid a support or defense order with your fleet and the Raven.

I'ld go for the Raven when a bidding occurs, since it gives you star orders which Greyjoy doesn't have. Then it depends if Greyjoy has used two power tokens to play Aeron , will he go for the sword rather then the raven... etc.

I agree that Balon is very strong. The most annoying about him is that you loose a house card without having had the chance to use it's strength.

Victarion is powerful on the sea and when supporting with his ships. You'll loose a fight against him. Greyjoy knows this and thus this can become a mind game in which Greyjoy wants to spare Victarion for later use (or use Aeron). So perhaps you could gamble on this one. (not the most sound strategy but if it works you could do some damage, or have your opponent burn two power tokens)

The rest of the house cards are decent but not super. Aeron is balanced by his cost to play.

An alliance between Tyrell and Greyjoy in which both attack you would be devastating indeed. But would Tyrell gain much from this ? There are more juicier targets in the south. And if they still do that Martel will be lurking over Tyrell land.

I think Lannister is very challenging to play, while the Greyjoy player has a more straight brutal path to victory early on. The way to victory is not paved for the Lannisters and requires diplomacy, strategy, tactics, bluff, insight and experience.

I'ld definitely not give Lannister to a new or timid player. Perhaps the problem lies with this. I'm thinking about giving an extra infantry to a Lannister player that is inexperienced and switching a horse with an infantry on Greyjoy's side if Greyjoy is more experienced.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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