Wednesday, 11 July 2012

An introduction to A Game of Thrones: Second Edition strategy

Four simple rules

 A typical A Game of Thrones: Second Edition player

  1. The guy next to you is not your friend (aka You win or you die)

Seldom does anyone ever win A Game of Thrones without plunging the knife of fate into the supple spine of complacency.  Be cautious of people who are pressing on to their 5th or 6th castle, as they will be quietly but ravenously eyeing up any meekly defended castles that are within striking distance.  The one consolation is that you can’t be stabbed in the traditional sense if you stab first, and this is where much of the intrigue in the game descends from. 

Usually the time for betrayal comes around turn 8 or 9.  Turn 8 is a little early and will likely earn you the spite of your allies and neighbours, at which point they will have up to 2 turns to rally against you, but on the other hand it gives you a head start on your endgame compared to your competitors.  Turn 10 is almost always too late for a plan to come together, unless the game has dissolved into turtle warfare.   

"Bite the pillow, I'm going in dry"

  1. If you are moving down the influence tracks, you are losing

Holding a dominance token will make you one of the ‘big swinging dicks’ in the political environment, and people will be much more likely to bend the knee and make concessions for you.  Being high up on a couple of tracks will make people think twice about betraying you.  Languishing at the bottom of the tracks will make you a huge target and your former friends will likely be bartering for how they will carve up your lands.  It’s not about how resourceful you are with the influence you have afforded, but rather how much of a threat you present to your potential attackers.  As a general rule, you should try to stay above your enemies on 2 out of 3 tracks whenever you can. 

Finding a nice safe spot for a lone footman to consolidate power (or a port-bound boat) will pay constant dividends and keep you up to speed with the power economies of your rivals.   

  1. Boats
Navy is an essential part of any long term strategy.  If you control your enemy’s home sea, and can hold it, then you have a safe shot at their capital and can usually raid their support core.  This is why Lannister has such a relatively poor shot at victory, because Greyjoy can easily blockade them and cripple their mobility.   

  1. Use every order type

For some people it will go without saying, but all orders are useful when deployed correctly, and, diplomacy notwithstanding, victory should go to the player who uses them most wisely.  The orders which are most crucial are Consolidate Power and March, and the prospect of doing neither of these on any particular turn should not be taken lightly.

Next part: House Baratheon

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