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Is there a 2-player variant for Games of Thrones?

It is hard to work out one as the game is all about alliances and betrayals which is hard to have with only two players.

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There's nothing stopping you in theory but, much like 2-player diplomacy, it reduces the game from one of evolving alliances with tactical nuance woven throughout to a purely tactical slug-fest.

The simplest option is to play the 4 player game with each person controlling 2 factions. You could try the 6 player game with each player controlling 3 factions (assuming you are playing second edition or have the appropriate first edition expansion), but this gets out of hand fast.

The main problem is the fact that the 7-cities to win threshold is too low. There are 14 cities in the 4 player game, meaning you could just take an even split of the map, have one of your factions give all its territory to the other and win without really fighting, which defeats the spirit of the game. Consequently, it is recommended that you modify the victory condition to be:

  • 10 cities between your two factions to win

Here are some other rules to make this work:

  • Each faction maintains it's own power pool and position on the influence tracks.
  • As in the regular game, trading power is not allowed.
  • Players bid influence for both of their factions in any simultaneous bid.
  • Factions maintain their own supply
  • Factions have independent piece limits
  • Factions may use each others boats for naval transport
  • Factions cannot attack each other's units (to prevent burning bad house cards), but may take unoccupied territories from each other.

There are three possible faction pairings:

  • Stark + Greyjoy vs Lannister + Baratheon (this is probably the best as it creates naval conflict on both sides of the map)
  • Stark + Baratheon vs Greyjoy + Lannister (this one may end up being a stalemate due to each side's ability to get total naval dominance on half the map, but it isn't necessarily unbalanced)
  • Stark + Lannister vs Greyjoy + Baratheon (this one is not recommended as it is the most unbalanced)
  • Thanks very much for the advice. I'll follow your suggestion and give some feedback :) – Jasmine Aug 24 '17 at 14:45
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As you said yourself, one of the key mechanics of the game is forming alliances and breaking them eventually, all for your own benefit. With two players, you already know who will be your enemy at all times, and so do they, so there's no need to ever ally with the other player.

In addition, the map is too large to be played by only two factions. You can see that the game already takes out major regions in the south for less than a certain amount of players, but there's no such variant prepared for less than three players.

Not all games can be house-ruled to fit a certain group of players, and this is one I'd stay away from trying to do so. The closest you can probably get to making it work is by giving each player multiple factions, however due to the mechanic of forming alliances, this will likely not give you the game experience you hope for.

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