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We just played a 4 player game of Game of Thrones and wondered a bit about the balance of house Baratheon. Unlike in the 3 player game where all of the southern zones are excluded from the game and can't be conquered, in the 4 player game all of those zones can now be captured with a relatively small army - there are a number of forts in those zones and house Baratheon is in prime position to take pretty much all of them simply by extending their fleet south a little bit.

In the game we just played I was House Baratheon and I managed to win fairly comfortably on around turn 5, despite not really twigging onto the potential of this strategy for a couple of turns. I also felt kind of cheap and so didn't really use this strategy as much as I could have done - it seemed that a player properly exploiting this strategy would be at a massive advantage.

Should some of these zones be excluded as they are in the 3 player game, or is simply intended that the other 3 players be aware of this and work together to stop house Baratheon from managing to do this?

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2 Answers 2

From what I can recall there are some completely out of bound territories in a 4-player game - I'm not sure you can make it right to the bottom of the map. Yes, I suppose it is easier for them to get a good start but really it is down to the other players pushing from the North and the West.

The pace of the 4 player game is considerably faster so you can't afford to sit back and bide your time like in a full 6-player game. You will very quickly get to a point where someone (or a few people) are only one or two captures from victory. And it will stay like that for the rest of the game, with the balance finely shifting until someone manages to take that last castle or stronghold.

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Sounds like some of our tiles might be miss-printed then. The only completely out-of-bound territory in our game was the 5th and 6th house home territories. –  Justin Nov 20 '12 at 9:59
    
Well I'm only working from memory, so that could still be right. As Baratheon push South to do a land grab, everyone else needs to get on the offensive and attack on the other front(s)! –  Daniel Lim Nov 21 '12 at 10:03

This is a "well known problem". I'd suggest to check out the variants mentioned in this post and BGG.

We prefer the "Rumble in the South" alternative:

In this variant, Stark and Greyjoy are unplayable and their lands are impassable. The impassable regions thus include: Bay of Ice, Flint's Finger, Ironman's Bay, Seagard, The Mountains of the Moon and The Narrow Sea. This variant is excellent at creating a true 4-way battle with shifting alliances! However I tend to make the win condition only 6 castles instead of 7 to speed up the game.


Using the above Lannister tends to be overpowered because of these things:

  1. They don't have the Greyjoys at their backs all game long.
  2. Stoney Sept is a strategic position by the capability of giving support to six other territories.
  3. Stoney Sept has six barrels in its neighborhood and Lannisters almost always capture Blackwater because of it and end with a level six supply.
  4. The Tyrells can't contain the Lannister ships at all (all the ships are going against them and Lannisters almost always have a larger army (because of the supply value).
  5. Their strongholds are far from the line of battle.

We have two alternatives to refine this, I prefer the first one:

  1. Stoney Sept and Blackwater is separated (like having a river): no support, no march, no raid
  2. Weaken (or even ommit) Riverrun: changing it to a castle and removing the barrel

We also tried weakening Blackwater (removing barrels), but it was a failed attempt... it lowered the motivation of others to fight for it...


In the other hand, Baratheon gets weak as hell (because of the lack barrels... they weren't able to capture Blackwater in the games we played), if the cards doesn't come in a really good order... So we decided to keep the area called "The Mountains of the Moon".

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