Gambits and sacrifices

Share your best strategies, discuss some new wild opening moves you invented, and more!
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Posts: 4
Joined: 01 Mar 2022, 19:03
Favorite AGOT House: Lannister

I wanted to open up some discussion into some types of move that I rarely see others playing, gambits and sacrifices.

I'll run through some gambit lines that I have played for 6p base game, mostly focusing on the main lines.

'Patchface North' (yes I named them, but I had to call them something)
A Bara gambit to play against Stark, and a nice simple one.
You move one of your ships to Narrow Sea. The other one goes to Blackwater Bay, and you will muster more from Dragonstone with the special consolidate order.
Stark will attack you, one boat with a +1 march. You play Patchface and take Roose from their hand. Stark will play Greatjon Umber.

Main variations;
Stark might play Eddard/Robb against Patchface, to block Stannis. This is even better than the main line.
Play Stannis, hope for Greatjon so you win. Still decent if Stark plays Eddard or Robb.
Play Brienne. You probably get to keep your boat, but you might not. I don’t think this is a great option, but it’s worth mentioning, since Stark could be brave and play Catelyn. They will have to get rid of her somewhere if you Patchface Roose, maybe it will be here.

‘Patchface South’
Another Bara gambit, and similar to the first, but you play against Martell.
Move one boat to Blackwater Bay, the other to East Summer Sea. Muster from Dragonstone with the special consolidate order.
Martell will attack you with a +1 march. You play Patchface and take Arianne, or The Red Viper. Martell will play Obara/Darkstar.

Main variations;
Martell has options here. Similar to Stark they can block Stannis with Red Viper/Areo. They can try to punish Patchface with a 2 card, Nymeria, or even Doran. Doran is not amazing here because Baratheon’s influence tracks are not great. You do have the throne, but Martell will strengthen Stannis if they drop you.
Play Stannis, hope for Martell to play a 2 card, or Nymeria. Not too bad to see Red Viper or Areo here. If they went for Doran they should drop you on throne, since you don't have Stannis anymore.
Play Renly, hope Martell takes the risk for Nymeria or Doran. Bad if they play a 2 card, but not so bad if they play 3 or 4.
Play Brienne. Same as Renly, except she loses to Nymeria, might save your boat, or could destroy Martell’s boat against Doran. Very risky, if it works go get yourself a lottery ticket.

‘The Golden Gambit’
Over to the other coast, we have a Lannister gambit to play on Greyjoy. This one is complicated, and although people are familiar with Lannister’s opening, I don’t see many people actually playing the gambit.
Move your boat out of the Port of Lannisport into the Golden Sound with the -1 march. Use +1 march from the Golden Sound to attack Ironman’s Bay, other boat to Sunset Sea. Your last move will probably be to move your footman to Harrenhal from Stoney Sept, and leave a token in Stoney. Special consolidate in Lannisport to muster a siege engine. When you attack Ironman’s Bay, you are aiming for one of two things. Either win the combat, or get Greyjoy to play a 2, 3 or 4 card, order of preference is Euron, Balon, Victarion, and finally Theon.
There are several variations of this gambit, because of the variety of moves Greyjoy has available. They might move their boat out of their port, they might attack you in Golden Sound, they might defend in Ironman’s Bay, they might consolidate in Pyke and move the other footman, they might use both march orders on the land units, and there are a couple of other things they can do as well. Make sure you get a good read of Greyjoy’s orders before you commit to this. The Raven can help you pivot away from the gambit if Greyjoy does not play into it.
Some things that are consistent in all is that it is bad if you let Greyjoy win with a 1 strength card. You should also not let Theon beat Tywin, since this is bad trade. Tywin vs Victarion is not great, neither is Clegane vs Theon, but they are playable. That doesn’t mean you can’t mathematically allow any of this, it just means that Greyjoy reads you, or plays Aeron, you are in trouble. You always need there to be the possibility of tricking Greyjoy into a bad trade, but the trade will always be good if you win the combat.
Another thing to remember is that you need to be able to take Riverrun on turn two with Cersei. It is a must that you are at least able to do this, even if you don’t play exactly like that.
One last thing to look out for is how many power tokens you and Greyjoy will end the round. If they have significantly more than you, (7-5, 6-4, 7-4) a clash during the Westeros phase could easily get you wiped out if you still go for this. Mustering is not as bad as it looks, you can usually get another siege engine and still win in Riverrun with Cersei.
At the end of turn 2, you want to have Riverrun, and at least one of Ironman’s Bay or Sunset Sea. Or a solid threat on Pyke, but the main function of that would be to secure the above.

I’ll go into some of the main lines below;
Greyjoy can attack your two boats in Golden Sound. Route to Sunset Sea, preferably without losing any boats.
Assuming they don't, lets look at your next is your move. You will want to act differently if Greyjoy has a march in Ironman’s Bay or not.
If they do, move one to Sunset Sea, and the other can go Ironman’s Bay or stay in Golden Sound. If you attack you should not let your boat be destroyed (again meaning that if you allow it, don’t get read).
If they don’t have a march, then move one to Sunset, and attack Ironman’s with the other. You can let your boat be destroyed.
From there everything diverges depending on which cards are still in play.

Another thing to go over is what to about Riverrun. I like letting Greyjoy have it, and keeping my footman. I don’t like allowing Greyjoy to route to Harrenhal on turn 2, so I will normally move my footman there. The other way to do it is to go to Riverrun before Greyjoy and routing to Harrenhal. If you can get Euron out here it is great, but it is quite bad to lose your footman so Hound is a good card. This trade is almost like a mirror of the one you make in Ironman's Bay, where you are the one who needs to play the perfect card, and Greyjoy has the better options. Victarion is the no nonsense safe card, and The Hound is only OK against him Greyjoy could also Asha you, and this is petty bad. But knowing you might swap out The Hound brings Euron back into play, and it is very good to swap him for The Hound. Same concept as in Golden Sound, just much riskier.
Lastly, the muster. I said that you need a siege engine, but if you upgrade your footman you will have one point left. You can get another footman, or you can get another boat. A new boat in Golden Sound is handy for if you just lost one.

That’s enough examples to open up with, but I encourage people to add some more of their own, or discuss the ones I have explained.
Getting onto the broader topic about sacrifices now. Considering how limited supply is, losing a unit can be a good way of quickly redeploying elsewhere. It could also help you stabilise a tense border, trade cards, make your opponent waste their turn, or anything else you can think of that is more valuable than keeping a unit.
Anyone reading this will probably remember a game where a mustering card has come up, but they were supply capped. Yet even when supply capped, I find that players are apprehensive about losing units. The way I see it, if a mustering card comes you are losing those units, but it’s rarely equated like that.
So what do people think of sacrifices? Have I convinced anyone to try a gambit? Have you played one before?
Thanks for reading everyone.

TLDR: Destroy your own units, particularly on the first turn.
Reactions: 0
Posts: 4
Joined: 01 Mar 2022, 19:03
Favorite AGOT House: Lannister

Here's another one I've been working on, which I call the Dragon Gambit. This one is for MOD to be played as Targaryen with the ‘A’ cards.
The idea is to trade a dragon for as many tokens as possible on the first turn. This is done by attacking with the -1 march, using a single dragon, and playing Illyrio. The theory behind the move is that Targ will pose less of a long term threat if they lose a dragon, which will make them less of a priority target. It also gives them huge bargaining power with the extra tokens, which they can use to heavily pay off one or even two of the other houses into leaving them be. An added bonus is that it gets Illyrio out of the way.

Since Targ can jump the dragon anywhere on the board, it is technically possible to play against any house. This means there are too many variations to go over everything, so I’ll focus on the best example, as well as some more general principles I use.
The best place to play this move is against Arryn in The Eyrie. This is because Arryn has a combination of strong home garrison, stronger units in their home at the start, and a lack of punishes compared to other houses. They can destroy the dragon with a sword, but every house can do that, and Arryn gives the most power tokens for it. On the other hand, if Arryn decides they want to give Targ as few power tokens as possible, they will still give more than any other house that tries to do that.

On the subject of not destroying the dragon (Dragon Gambit Declined), there are also some extra things Targ can do if they want to try and keep the dragon, but still get the tokens. Another reason this is good to play against Arryn is that they have Anya Waynwood, and sometimes Arryn will prefer to take the extra tokens themselves and let the dragon escape. Targ can follow a similar line of logic by promising to gift some extra tokens to someone for not using a sword, or not doing some other kind of punish. This works even better against houses without double swords (Arryn), especially if they only have few cards with swords (Arryn again).
*Quick side note, I think token gifting is underused, but that's subject for another topic.

One of the main issues is if Arryn moves their two knights before Targ has a turn, but it’s much more common for Arryn to go to The Narrow Sea first. That being said, if Arryn does move their knights, or for whatever reason I don’t want to play this against them, my general rules of thumb are to get a minimum of 5 extra power tokens, with a minimum of 7 if I risk the dragon, and to avoid any other harsh punishments on top, such as Patchface or Cersei. I normally won’t look at options for Bara and Lannister because of cards like that, and Greyjoy is also not good try, mainly due to Asha.
That leaves Martell, Stark, Tyrell, and also other moves against Arryn. I don’t think there is a clear enough difference between them in theory, it’s more down to personal preference and how the board looks at the time. I don’t like trading with Martell or Stark, but that’s my more general feeling as Targ, not specific to this move. Also, if there is no worthwhile option then it’s quite easy to simply move the dragon somewhere without attacking.

Any thoughts on this? I have heard a lot of people saying that they think Targ feels stale, so I have been trying some new moves to freshen up their play. This one has worked well so far, and I think it’s worth a go for anyone who feels bored of playing as Targaryen.
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