Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A game of "A Game of Thrones"

(c) Fantasy Flight Games
Used by permission
Last night my friend Brian G. had five of us over for a six-player game of A Game of Thrones (designer Christian T. Petersen, artists Tomasz Marek Jedruszek and Henning Ludvigsen, publisher Fantasy Flight).  I'd played this once before, at Grant G.'s house, and really liked it.  This time I played as the House of Lannister.  I started quick and moved out into the front of the pack in number of castles and supplies and expanded out into the center of the board, in direct violation of my two general rules for multi-player every-man-for-himself wargames:  Don't peak too early (and make yourself a target for everybody else) and don't be in the middle of the map (and make yourself a target for everybody else).

I had a reasonably good alliance with W.J. of the House of Greyjoy, but of course that couldn't last, certainly not with five castles and coming within striking distance of two more and an instant win.  So Greyjoy turned on me on the fourth round, and Baratheon and Martell joined in to pound the House of Lannister down to the point of having three lands, no castles, and two supplies.  I had to go back to my former capital and bang down the door with a seige engine just to get my old castle back.

Grant G. of the House of Baratheon suffered from attacks from multiple sides but gamely pressed on and fought his way back to a respectable position.  The lead traded hands several times, with the biggest push coming from Brian of the House of Martell, who peaked at six castles in the ninth round.  The rest of us managed to beat Martell back, while Rand of the House of Tyrell, who had trailed for most of the game, quietly surged in the last few rounds to a respectable second place.  But it was Mike R. of the House of Stark who made the strong finish in the tenth round and seized the Iron Throne of victory.

One reviewer on boardgamegeek.com compares the first edition of AGoT to Diplomacy, and I think that's a fair comparison, based on what little I remember of it from high school.  Alliances - or at least truces - seem necessary to survival and progress.  (But I don't remember Stark making any formal agreements in our game.  I think Stark has the advantage of bordering only two adversaries.)  Interesting, too, is an assertion in another boardgamegeek thread that Lannister can not win if Greyjoy decides to attack him early in the game.  I'm not sure I agree (and there is plenty of debate in that thread), but it is certainly true that if Greyjoy and I had come out swinging in the first round, I would never have made the progress I did by the fourth round.

In any event, we had a glorious game of conquest and treachery and beer and pizza.  All is right with the world - until the next time that the Iron Throne is in contention...

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