Don't get me wrong - I love the fact that being almost nullified early on doesn't necessarily spell out slow and frustrating snowballing doom for you.

But in every single game I've played with people that are not playing for the first time, the last few turns everyone gangs up on the player that is closest to victory at that time. That is perfectly reasonable, until you get to the situation where one of the losing players realizes that someone else is going to win this turn no matter what. And then he basically has the power to choose who that person would be.

My mindset when playing board games is that I should play optimally no matter what happens. If you can't win - you should postpone your demise as long as possible. My friends don't subscribe to that idea.

In short - the outcome of a game isn't decided by who played the best out of the better players, but who one of the losing players chose to win at the very last moment.

And the rational behind that choice can be anything from he is/was my ally to I just want to start a new game faster or I simply like him/her better.

The only solution I can think of is add different points for second, third etc. places. However, this goes against the very essence that when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.

How often do you encounter this problem (for me literally every game) and what possible fixes have you found (if any)?

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    This isn't an answer to your question but you might find this conversation about kingmaking useful for analyzing group dynamics.
    – Alex P
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 3:57
  • 2
    Also not an answer, but there's a big difference between "he is/was my ally" and "I just want to start a new game faster". While I agree the second one is annoying, the first (or it's dual, "he betrayed me") seems like a perfectly legitimate basis for a kingmaker choice: the potential for such a choice later in the game serves as a credible threat earlier in the game. Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 7:23
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    @BenjaminCosman, I agree. That is why I included both - reasons range from somewhat reasonable to outright unsportsmanlike. The problem is that you can't gain such an advantage that you will win despite a losing player's attempt to give the victory to someone else. It doesn't just add a rattlesnake threat element to the game so you will be more cautious backstabing someone early on. It is a losing player deciding at the very last moment always.
    – ndnenkov
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 7:40
  • @AlexP awesome. I didn't know there is a term for that. Reading the answers right now.
    – ndnenkov
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 7:41

2 Answers 2


While I haven't played Game of Thrones, kingmaking is something that happens in a ton of games. And I've only ever found a couple ways of effectively dealing with it.

  1. Embrace it. Sometimes, it is just part of the game. Sometimes picking an otherwise sub-optimal move in hopes of currying favor for a possible (or probable) kingmaker scenario is a valid tactic. Not snowballing someone to oblivion can gain enough favor that you win the table politics. If you choose to embrace it, realize that table politics can become far more important in your games. It can also make those games more interesting (or more frustrating) depending on your feelings towards table politics.
  2. Treat it like luck. This may not work if kingmaking scenarios happen often, but you can treat it like any other luck-based or random event. Just like when you need to draw that certain card or get that high roll to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, sometimes you just have to hope a kingmaker chooses you over the others. Winning or losing because of a kingmaker can feel like a cheap win or loss. It can also be a learning opportunity into how you should play to avoid such scenarios if it bothers you. Also, like other random events, sometimes you just get screwed. Don't let it bother you and move on.
  3. Encourage not being a jerk. If this really bugs you or people in your playgroup, encourage people who become kingmakers to just stay out of it, especially if their motives are less than sportsmanlike. Just like with any other not-technically-illegal-by-the-rules-but-still-a-jerk move, tell people you don't like it when that happens. If one person keeps doing it, stop playing with them (and possibly politely explain why). You play the game to have fun. Don't play with people who suck the fun out of it. Either they will learn and stop or they won't be around to suck out the fun.1

1 I realize this is an easy thing to say and a much harder thing to do without bruising egos and hurting friendships, but setting healthy boundaries is essential to good relationships. And if someone can't respect those boundaries (or at least agree that maybe playing a certain game isn't good if they value you as a friend) then they might not have been a very good friend to begin with.


This is a great question! And the information on Kingmaking linked above is very useful and on-point. However, You still need an answer, and while I can't provide you with an answer that will be applicable in all situations for all games, I can give you an answer that I have come up with for playing this game with my friends. We also had this problem, and we came up with the following solution, which depends on the situation:

The solution: When the end is guaranteed - end the game.

What does this mean? It means that if the game gets to a situation where A player will win the game, and there is no way to stop him. Simply end the game. This can get hairy, since there are obviously optional rules, tides of battle, and leader cards, but in some cases it can be obvious. Let me now list some of the situations in which we can end the game so that Kingmaking does not become too much of an issue. These are situations that my friends and I have encountered, discussed, or have experience and then reflected on.

Why? We figured there is no reason to elongate a game that is over, especially if there is a clear ending to the game or a clear winner. Yes - we know that there are lots of factors that could potentially change things, but usually these changes are so specific, and require multiple players working together, abandoning their own chances of winning, or suicidal, silly actions just to prevent someone from winning - which goes against the way we like to play games.

1. A player is able to win and nothing and no one can stop him no matter what.

This is the simplest situation. It could be that a player just needs to move a unit into an empty space with a castle to win the game, and that's just it. If the only way to prevent this win is by clearly throwing the game and breaking your position, then just announce the winner.

2. A player claims that he can win on this turn and no on can stop him.

If no other player can dispute this claim and show that there is a way to stop that player from winning that does not "break" the game by requiring any player to play in a way that is obviously counter to their own possibility to win or without throwing the game, then the claiming player wins. However, if there are still actions that can be done to prevent this, the game continues "as normal" until another situation which could end the game arises.

3. Two Players both claim that they can win the game on this turn unless the other one wins first.

If one of the two players has a timing advantage, such that they could clearly win before the other one, (ie: it is basically a race with one player having an advantage) then you need to analyze the situation. If a player has to sacrifice their chance to win the game, or make a move that is against the games objective (purposefully abandoning a castle, or sacrificing troops) just to prevent this, then the player with the timing advantage should win. If there is indeed a way to prevent this without throwing the game, game continues as normal.

If there is no clear advantage to one player over the other, game simply carries on as normal - and in this situation Kingmaking still remains a problem.

These situations can help reduce the problem of end-game kingmaking, but as you can see, it can be tricky to apply. Use at your own discretion, and probably discuss this with players before implementing it.

By removing the opportunity of a player to throw the game out of spite, or to make moves that are against the objective of the game you can limit the kingmaking

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    I don't like this one. Throwing the game or disadvantaging yourself significantly is too abstract. When someone is close to victory it does often happens that everyone else is forced to sacrifice troops/castles/positions. The end result is that the person that was first to "throw the game" isn't that much disadvantaged as everyone had to purposefully do the same. Also I think that if there is a way someone else might win, even if there has to be a lot of luck involved, the game should still be played out.
    – ndnenkov
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 12:31
  • 3
    I agree to stop the game only when it is impossible for a person not to win, but kingsmaking has already happened at that point.
    – ndnenkov
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 12:31
  • If the only way for me not to win is if another player moves his troops out of a castle so another player can take it and win instead of me is that okay? It certainly depends on if this is victory by turn 10 and most castles, or victory by reaching the required amount of castles before turn 10. But in both cases either there is a clear winner or there is not. In the case of a clear winner - just end the game and be done with it. If it's not clear, keep playing.
    – Inbar Rose
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 13:13
  • Ok, if "throwing the game" just means changing who wins and it is impossible no matter what happens other than the contestants for victory intentionally not winning, then I agree with this rule. Although I still prefer the postpone losing as long as possible version better because (1) it is less error prone, (2) there is no discussion needed to decide weather there will be unconditional victory this turn.
    – ndnenkov
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 13:27
  • This means that if there is such victory (1) the group discussion wouldn't spell out a "solution" for the victor he might have otherwise missed. (2) some people just wont see it and not agree to the premature stop. This means that the immediate stop is executed a few moments later when it now benefits another player rather than the first persion that should have won at the moment some, but not all of the players, have figured out there will be an unconditional victory.
    – ndnenkov
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 13:28

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