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I have only played the game once, but after that experience I do not see why anyone would bid on the Iron Throne track. The main advantage it offers is to go first, but I never could see a use in it. It always seems like it was best to go last, waiting to see opponents' actions. Holding the throne token also did not seem useful. Ties are not very common, especially ties involving you in particular, and unlike Dice Town, there is no material reward a player can offer you for picking them.

In my case, playing House Baratheon, it was even less useful, as being last makes Stannis more valuable.

The game is so well designed and deep that it feels like I am missing some large advantage that the track offers. What is its value?

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Is the game of thrones board game, or living card game? I think it is the former, since I own the latter (although I haven't had time to play a game) and don't remember the iron throne track. –  user1873 Jul 16 '12 at 6:35
I am referring to the board game. I may be using the wrong words because i was taut the game and never read the rules. What i am speaking of is the 3 positions that are bid on, where you win the throne, the valerien steel sword, and the raven. If anyone knows the right name, please edit my question –  Andrey Jul 16 '12 at 13:09
The question is appropriately named and tagged. (As of now, we don't have any questions about the living card game.) –  Gregor Nov 3 '12 at 1:30

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Control of the Iron Throne grants you the decision in all (non-battle) ties, not just ties involving you. This can be useful to try and balance other players in respect to your own position (weaken closer players, for example, or the ones with a stronger board position).

The ability to resolve ties can be quite important when bidding, which can happen in two primary places. First, once the bid for the Iron Throne has resolved and the order is determined, the new holder of the Iron Throne now resolves ties in the bids for the Fiefdom (sword) and King's Court (raven) tracks. This allows the holder of the Iron Throne to bid less than otherwise and still have a reasonable assurance of a decent placement. The positioning of other houses can also be important at this point. Second, the bidding to defeat wilding attacks: the holder of the Iron Throne determines who gets the benefits or penalties in case there is a tie for the high or low bidder.

Finally, although it is often beneficial to let others go first in order of play, it can also be beneficial to go before your opponents. For example, your Raid order could remove another Raid order before it has the chance to remove your Support order.

All that said, while there are advantages, I usually bid harder for the King's Court track than any other, myself. I love the starred orders too much.

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So would, bid for first, or don't bed be good advice? –  Andrey Jul 17 '12 at 18:04
@Andrey: I really couldn't say, since it is vastly situationally dependent. There are times I ignore bidding on the Iron Throne, and at least once where I won the game by bidding on (and winning) the throne. I depends on what you are trying to accomplish, what others are trying to accomplish, and how much influence everyone has to bid with. –  Caleb Huitt - cjhuitt Jul 17 '12 at 18:13
I've found having the Iron Throne to be very useful at the end of the game when I'm making a final grab for a stronghold. It gives you the opportunity to make a grab for the last point or two before anyone else can march. Additionally, the Iron Throne track is part of the tiebreaker. Granted, it's the last step after Stronghold count, supply strength, and power, but it could potentially happen. –  EvilAmarant7x Jul 18 '12 at 20:25
Seconding EvilAmarant's comment - if two players have 6 stronghold/castles, the winner is likely to come down to whoever has first march. Both players will likely have their eye on a stronghold which can be captured in the move, and if one of those has first move according to the throne track, they are likely to be the winner. –  lilster Dec 25 '13 at 8:38
Iron throne is indeed invaluable to select WHO gets to win bids for the starred orders and the other track. in the game i played, i was the leader on all 3 tracks whenever i had the first. and tended to get shunted back a whole lot when i WASNT the throne leader. since i actually was doing great and people DIDNT want me to have all 3 tracks. so they made me the "loser" of the 3 tracks instead... and THATS harsh. Plus raid is only useful if it lands before the other's guy raid (or order you'd rather remove before they before they raid your raid) [answer converted to comment] –  Mouhgouda Aug 22 '14 at 12:22

another important aspect of going first that is often overlooked is how it effects siege engine (i play the game in a foreign language, so if that is not what it's called, i assume you know what i'm referring to all the same). since its only value is when it attacks, if you have it adjacent to an opponent, going first could be the difference of having a siege engine or losing it entirely. i hope this helps.

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Although I'd usually consider the Throne the lowest priority to bid on it is possibly the best option if everybody is low on Influence Markers (e.g. if you bid two turns in a row or right after a wildling attack). In that case the average bid on everything is rather low and a lot of ties occur. To be king can grant you the best average for them all. Besides it is one of few ways to influence all the map - even that dreaded super-player you don't share a border with. Tie breaking is subtle and while not usually a huge advantage for you individually it is still an influential power for the big picture.
Also people may share the oppinion of the thrown being a low priority so it can be snatched cheaply at times - especially if you are king to begin with and decide a potential tie. Kings sometimes establish themselves early and stay on the throne throughout since often nobody really challenges him on that while he can get the throne cheapest (tie breaking).

The positions 2 - 6 however are nothing I'd really bid on (as opposed to Raven and sword where the difference between 2 and 6 is huge). Nonetheless the turn order can be quite relevant for the finish.
Imagine you conquer one to three castles for a total of 6 but aren't able to really secure it. Unless the orders that your opponents chose for this turn (before knowing you'd advance) allow them to react immediately they will have zero opportunity to attack. This turn they may be taken by surprised, next turn you can finish before they can do anything about it. If you move before your neighbors do that is. Even an indefensible position doesn't matter if the opponent can't attack. You don't necessarily need the #1 spot on the throne either as long as those that actually threaten your castles move after you. This way you can realisticly take up to four castles before the enemy can do anything about it, albeit in two turns.
The risk is twofold: for one thing they may not be surprise-chained after all and stop / undo your initial gains before the turn ends. Secondly the Westeros phase in the follow up turn can change your position on the throne: you may not go first after all even if you did this turn around. If you fail you can expect heavy punishment.
In any case this can potentially be a chance to win from behind, especially if you combine it with siege weapons (this strategy doesn't defend anyway after all). You don't even need to leave troops but merely markers since you don't plan on defending - a small army may be all you need.

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