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Game of Thrones Board Game: Strategy Guide


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A friend of mine recently bought the Game of Thrones board game (second edition) and six of us will be playing it possibly some point tomorrow. I must admit, I'm not brilliant with tactical/strategy games, so I'm fearing a heavy defeat! A few of my mates have already played the game so I'll be one of the least experienced players there.

So I was wondering if there are any generous veterans willing to offer some advice and battle tactics to help me challenge for victory. If they can supply some handy tips, I'd very much appreciate it and I'm sure other first-time players will too, if they stumble across this post.

Don't worry, you don't need to explain the rules. I've read the instruction manual so I've got a pretty good understanding of the game rules as far as somebody can without playing it.

The plan is we get assigned Houses at random, so I could get Stark, Lannister, Greyjoy, Baratheon, Tyrell or Martell. I don't have much idea regarding the strength/weakness of each house, so again, any pointers in that respect would be most welcome.

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Well strategies all depend on which house you are playing.

If playing Lannister you need to be extremely wary of the Greyjoys (raiding with your ship unless they are attacking,if attacking use the Raven to switch to a defense order.) As Lannisters you want to have a decent army in Stony Sept, from there they can support much of the Lannister territory (Lannisport, Riverrun, Harrenhal). Make sure you keep the Raven if a Clash of Kings comes up in turn 2.

As Greyjoys it depends. You can hit the Lannisters hard at Riverrun or merely take Seaguard and Widows Watch (I think that's the castle on the peninsula north of Pyke). I'd advise getting a ship in the sea zone that attaches to the Starks for raiding purposes. Other than that, try and consolidate as much power as you can early as you desperately want a clash of kings (in order to get the use of special orders).

As Starks (I've only played them once sadly) but I'd think you want to get control of the sea zones in the east and west as soon as possible. As well first turn move in troops into the two territories north/northeast of Winterfell with crowns on them. Why is it important to get them early despite not having castles? Because from every turn onward you consolidate power on them and get 4 power per turn at least. From there just go towards what is weaker. I prefer going after the Sword on any bids with them (as well as always going for at least one special order). The Starks also feature the most broken house card in the game, Roose Bolton.

As Baratheon there are a couple of options. You can take King's Landing first turn if you like, and having it can prove very beneficial. However doing so means the Starks will control the season north of Dragonstone and you will never get them out of there. So I usually move at least a ship north immediately. I like to keep the Throne as going first comes quite handy as they have a lot of potential routes to go. If at all possible you want a combat against the starks as soon as possible. Why? Because your 0 card (Patchface) can get rid of the Roose Bolton card immediately (until the Starks go through their deck.

Tyrells kind of are borked I think in the game. Takes awhile to get anywhere although they do have their fantastic 3 card (Loras) and their 4 (Mace) can turn a battle unexpectedly. However do not use Loras against the Martells as they have a card that completely nullifies him. They desperately need a bid to get special orders as well.

The Martells just slowly expand and make sure you control the sea zone outside of Sunspear as well as the Sea of Dorne. Their 0 card (Doran) is a wicked bastard you can fuck someone over with, or use as a threat to get people to back off. Having the sword is nice as a lot of their cards feature swords on them to kill armies.

As a general strategy, always keep at least 1 to 2 power tokens handy even after a bid. I've seen many times where there was a bid one turn and a "No consildate power orders can be used card", then the next turn features a bid again. In that case if you are the only one with even just one power token, you control everything on the bid.

Another general tip, if you hold the Throne it is very handy to only bid what you think is the minimum needed in subsequent bids to tie the lowest bidder, as the holder of the Throne determines all non-battle ties. This is especially handy when bidding on Wildling attacks.

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Thanks for your advice, much appreciated and some very good tips there. As fate would have it, I got stuck with the Tyrells on my first turn. I was fairly crafty I allied with Martell. Secured Oldtown, Three Towers, Dornish Marshes, Arbor and the Reach. If anyone plays as Tyrell I definitely recommend taking control of the Reach. Lannister attacked Baratheon Iron Throne, I supported him but the guy messed up his attack and failed. By doing so, Lannister also didn't attack me leaving me to attack Baratheon at Kingswood. Used Loras to win that and then go onto Storms End and also won that.

I left combat quite late because the people I played with usually used their strong cards at the start. I couldn't get Kings Landing. I turned on Martells on turn nine (arguably too late, he had most his army up north) so I managed to get both Prince's Pass and Starfall. In hindsight, should've done it earlier so I could try and get Sunspear. I ended up third out of six with four castles (I lost Highgarden on the last turn to Greyjoys). Starks won.

Second game I was Lannister. I didn't do particularly well that time. I allied with Greyjoy as advised, they were pretty happy with it because they could attack Stark and get the Eyrie. I won Riverrun and Harrenhal but couldn't push outwards. Didn't go north of Riverrun at all. Tyrell kept attacking me but I defended fairly well. I tried to get Highgarden but couldn't get there. Also couldn't beat Baratheon on the one above Kings Landing (Crackclaw something?). Baratheon's won. Finished joint 4th out of 6.

Note regarding Tyrell cards, Queen of Thorns can be a VERY good card. Stops support order.

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  • 1 year later...

I played this for the first time the other day. took us 2 hours to set it up and learn the rules and another 3 to complete the game but boy was it worth it!

I had Baratheon - i was a bit disappointed that it was the Stannis branch, not the King Robert branch from the 1st book but never mind.

I spent the game moving around the South unopposed as the other two players (Stark and Lannister) fought it out in the Neck. Baratheons are in a great position as Stark needs to get South to stand any chance of winning and aside from the sea (which is easy for the Baratheons to control) the only route is via the Neck which the Lannister will naturally try to defend.

So i was left alone as Lannister didnt want to attack South and spread himself thin, i was able to conquer the whole of Dorne and all of its castles / strongholds, whilst moving my forces up to protect my interests.

I won fairly easy, could have been more convincing if i launched a last minute attack on Lannisters Southernmost forces but i didnt get there in enough time.

I also got hit with the Wildling card that resulted in all of my Knights being removed from the board which set me back considerably!

Next time i'm going to be Tyrell (to hell with the 3 player limitations on House control) and see how they fare.

It seems there is some hard luck being Lannister as they are slap bang in the middle of everything and struggle to get a foothold - maybe alliancing is the best way for them?

Anyway - great game!

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Advice: Don't be Lannister

They have the worst cards by far, and aside from positioning have no advantage in the game and are surrounded by enemies. Tbh they need to fix their cards as well as fix Roose, or at least change the rules regarding him a bit.

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