My heavy variant for MoD

Share big alternative variants (similar to and expansion), or maybe just talk/discuss small alternations to the official rules for better balance!
geekosa
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Posts: 19
Joined: 15 May 2020, 11:43

Hello, I created this variant last year, I played a lot with it and tried to change it by increment.

I share with you my current work.

Geekosa’s variant for Game of Thrones v2.1

Part 1: Starting positions
Power Tokens
  • 5 PT: Targaryen
  • 8 PT : Greyjoy
  • 10 PT: Stark, Baratheon, Martell, Tyrell, Arryn
  • 12 PT: Lannister
Track and Small Council
  • Track: Lannister, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell, Martell, Arryn, Greyjoy
  • Small Council : to be determined by bidding before the beginning of the game (see Part 5)
Units for non-vassals
  • Lannister gains a FM in Lannisport.
  • Lannister loses the “erratum bonus ship”.
  • Tyrell FM in High Garden becomes a KN.
  • Baratheon gains 2 FM in Storm’s End with a 2-str garrison and loses 1 FM in Kingswood and DragonStone.
  • Baratheon gains an additional FM in Dragonstone if Targaryen is in play.
  • Targaryen gains 1 additional ship in Pentos port and loses the 2 ships in Bay of Pentos.
Part 2: Orders
  • If a player declares his support with an army during a battle, the corresponding support order is discarded at the end of the battle.
  • A castle/stronghold offers a +1 in strength bonus if there is a defense order placed on it. This bonus is part of the defense order and is also doubled in case of Catelin Stark use (see Part 3).
  • A house can pay 1 PT to skip its turn without playing an order.
Part 3: House cards
  • Balon Greyjoy reduces the enemy hero strength to 1 instead of 0.
  • Catelin Stark, clarification : +1 bonus of defense order in castle is also doubled (see Part 2).
  • Queen of thorns clarification : A support order is discarded right after the battle. So Queen of Thorns still can "cancel a support".
  • Doran Martell, Varys, Euro Crow's Eye B and Ser Gerris Drinkwater clarification : the ability is used on the One Track.
  • Houses use their “Deck A” (which are Deck A for Targ, MoD Deck for Arryn, base deck for the other houses). When a house plays its last house card, if we are on turn#5 or later, the player gets the 7 cards from the “Deck B” instead (which is Deck B for Targaryen, and decks from FfC for Arryn and DwD for the base houses). Deck A cards which are not in the council are then removed from the game.
Part 4: Westeros Cards
  • Wildings Attack makes the wildlings token move right before the attack.
  • Each turn, after Westeros card IV activation, reveal the first card of Westeros decks I, II & III. These cards are also revealed at the beginning of the game, right after the initial Small Council bidding (see Part 5).
Part 5: The track & the Small Council
The One Track
  • There is only one track, which gives the turn order and resolve ties in battle. No influence token is given to the 1st player.
Small Council
  • The Small Council is composed by 5 titles : Hand of the King, Lord Commander, Master of Ships, Master of Whisperers and Master of Coins.
  • Hand of the king : has the IT Token.
  • Lord Commander : has the VSB token.
  • Master of Ships : can play two orders on the same naval army once per turn.
  • Master of Whisperers : has the Raven token.
  • Master of Coins : gains two aditionnal PTs at the end of the turn.
Stars
  • Every house (except Targaryen, see Special Part) has 1 star and 1 additional star for each people of the small council he controls. For exemple if Lannister player controls the Hand of the King and the Master of Coins, he will be allowed to play 3 stars.
Bidding
  • When a Clash of Kings (or DWDW) is activated, do this :
    1. Put the Hand of the King character card into his owner discard pile. Everyone bid PTs and a house card for Hand of the King title. Add the card printed strength and the PTs to know the value of your bid. The one who has the best bid value (IT Token splits ties) put his house card at the Hand of the king title location and gain Hand of the King abilities (IT token). The other players take back their house card in their hand.
    2. Do the same for Lord Commander, Master of Ships, Master of Whisperers and Master of Coins titles in this order.
    3. Bid PT on the the One track. Update it. IT token splits ties.
Miscellaneous explanations
  • At the beginning of the game, the small council is empty. Players bid for the titles of the council right before the Westeros cards reveal (see Part 4), before the game really begins. For this start bidding of the Hand of the King, Baratheon split ties.
  • House cards in the small council cannot be used into battle.
  • When a player takes back the cards in his hand, he does not take back cards appointed in the council, of course.
  • At the end of a turn, a player can revocate one of his card appointed in the council. This player takes back the card in hand and everybody bid for the title with the usual rules.
  • When a player goes from Deck A to Deck B (see Part 3), if there is a character in the council who shares the name with a Deck B card, replace it with the Deck B version. For example if Lannister has Jamie Lannister as Master of Coins and play his last house card in the battle during turn 5, he has now to use the Deck B Lannister Deck. In this Deck B, there is a Jamie Lannister card, so he replaces the Jamie Lannister A by the Jaimie Lannister B as Master of Coins.
  • When a player goes from Deck A to Deck B, cards which does not share name with B card stay as they are in the council. When the A card leaves the council, remove it from the game (put it with all the Deck A cards removed from the game).
  • The VSB token may be used to add +1 on final combat strengh on a fight on which you participate.
Part 6: Supply, Recruit & Garrison
Supply
  • Deck I Last Day of Winter card is replaced by the famine card from FFC, which has this effect: “Update the supply of all players while giving them a -1 malus”.
  • Right before a supply update, players can sell or give some of their barrels.
Recruit
  • Recruiting a ship outside a port cost you 2 recruit points. It still costs 1PT to recruit inside a port.
Part 7: Loans and PT
Loans
  • Loan costs are 1/3/5 instead of 1/4/7
  • Savvy Steward card makes you ignore the -1 effect of famine for the entire game in addition of its other effects (see Part 3).
  • If you are not the Targaryen player, Spy Master card revocates the current Master of Whisperers and appoint as Master of Whisperers the house card in your hand with the highest printed strengh.
PT
  • Every player except Targaryen player gains 1 PT at the end of the turn. Master of Coins owner gains 2 additional PT (see Part 5).
  • Players can bribe each other. Bribe is binding for an immediate effect. For exemple "If I attack this territory right now, you support me" is biding. "I give you some PT and you don't attack me on your current move" is binding. But "we don't attack each other this turn" is not binding.

Part 8: Units & Battles
Siege Tower
  • When attacking a castle/stronghold: strength = 3 and deny the +1 bonus effect of the castle/stronghold (if there is a defense order on it, see Part 2).
  • In all the other cases, strength = 0.
  • Siege Tower is downgraded into a routed FM if it must retreat.
Part 9: Vassals
Bidding
  • At the beginning of each odd turn (1,3,5,7,9), we bid for the vassals. The best bidder choses a vassal, the second choose another…. IT owner split ties.
Starting positions
  • Vassals does not change the starting track positions on the One track.
Orders
  • Vassals use those orders coming from the house orders : March, Def*, Raid, Support, Conso*
PT
  • Vassals may have PT. They start the game with 2PT.
  • When a vassal wins a fight, the vassal gains 1PT in addition of the vassal’s owner.
  • On game of Thrones effect, vassals win 1 PT if they still have they home area.
  • When a vassal army leaves a land area, vassal owner must put a vassal PT in the empty land area. If the vassal does not own any PT, use a PT coming form vassal available PT instead.
  • Vassals can use its CP order to gain PT instead of recruiting.
Vassals during Battle
  • Vassals play with the original house cards of their house. At each battle done by the vassal, the vassal owner takes 3 random cards from the avialable house cards of the vassal and play one of them. The played card goes to the discard pile, the others go back to the available cards.
  • Whe a vassal deck has less than 3 cards, he take all the played cards from the discard pile and put it into the available cards. If we are on turn 5 or later, switch to the deckB instead.
Vassals during bidding
  • Vassals cannot bid for the council.
  • Vassals may bid for the One Track. Vassal owner choose how many PT vassal bid.
  • Vassals may bid on Wildlings Track but is unaffected by the wildling cards effect. He cannot be the highest bidder nor the lowest.
Miscellaneous
  • You cannot sell or give your vassal’s barrels.
  • If a Vassal does not own his capital anymore, when the Westeros card Recruitment is played, he may recruit in one of its castles/strongholds.
  • A vassal does not have any house abilities.
Part 10: Targaryen
These rules replace entirely the base rule of dragons :
  • Dragons Strength is upgraded on turn 2/4/6/9 instead of 2/4/6/8/10. Dragons still are able to reach 5-str with fire made blood effect.
  • Dragons with Strength ≥ 2 can fly, and thus move to an area which is up to 4 areas away. The areas crossed during the move may be sea areas or areas controlled by another player.
  • Dragons with Strength ≥ 2 are still considered as land units but they can support a battle on an adjacent sea area. If they do so, the strength of each dragon is reduced by 1 during the battle. They also can raid an adjacent sea area.
  • Dragons with Strength ≥ 2 can use a march order to attack an adjacent sea area. If they do so, the strength of each dragon is reduced by 1 during the battle. If the dragons win, the defeated opponent army must retreat and be routed, and the dragons come back in the area from which they marched.
When Targaryen player gains control of a territory, he may collect only 1 Loyalty Token on it. The remaining LT (if they exist) are collected by the Targaryen player at the end of the turn if he still have control of the territory.

Special Part: House abilities
Each house has at least 1 special power, see below.
Stark
  • When a Westeros card named “Winter is Coming” is drawn, Stark player may use any star orders he wants during this turn (he ignores star limits and the forbidding orders).
  • Stark player can use a Land Raid* order as a March executed in the Raid phase. This March cannot trigger a battle, and he cannot leave a PT in the empty area.
Greyjoy
  • Greyjoy player cannot buy a loan from the Iron Bank. The IB order is considered as a void order.
  • You can use Raid* to raid 2 Support/Defense/Raid/CP orders adjacent to your area.
Lannister
  • If Lannister uses a CP* order to collect PT, Lannister player gains an additional PT.
  • Lannister player can use a land CP* order to gain the usual PT and choose a house who has an army adjacent to the order. Lannister player revokes one character of this house from the council. Everyone execpt the targeted player bid to replace the revoked character. The revoked house card goes back to his owner hand. Lannister player must discard his Cersei Lannister card to activate this ability.
  • If Lannister player is selecting a 3PT/5PT loan for buy, he may reveal the top card of the loan deck and buy this loan instead, for the same price. If he choses to buy the inital loan, he put back the revealed card on the top of the loan deck.
Arryn
  • In battle, if there is more Arryn KN than the total opponent KN, Arryn side has +1 bonus during this battle. This ability may also be triggered if Arryn is supporting and not fighting.
  • If Arryn wins a battle, he may pay 1 PT to upgrade one of its participating FM into a KN.
  • After “Westeros cards reveal” step, Arryn player may launch a bidding of the Small Council or the One Track. Arryn player must discard his Littlefinger card to activate this ability. Arryn player may use this ability only if there was no bidding effect caused by CoK or DWDW this turn).
Baratheon
  • Baratheon may use a Raid* to destroy a defense or a support order anywhere in the land of Westeros (not in sea). Baratheon player must discard his Melisandre card to activate this ability.
  • In a battle, if the house card Baratheon player played has a printed combat strength at least superior of 2 points than the opponent house card, add a Sword symbol to the Baratheon house card.
Tyrell
  • Tyrell does not suffer from the -1 of the famine card.
  • Tyrell player may use a land CP* order to choose a player who has an army adjacant to the order. Tyrell player gains the usual PT from this order and steal 2 PT from that player. Tyrell player needs to discard Margaery Tyrell card to activate this ability.
Martell
  • Martell may pay 2PT to transform a sword symbol into a fortress symbol (and the other way around) when he plays a house card.
  • Martell can use a Land Raid* to choose an adjacent army. The owner of this army must discard one of his House cards with the least strength value. Martell player must discard his Nymeria Sand card to activate this ability.
Targaryen
  • Targaryen stars (court track) is equal to the number of dragons he controls.
  • When Targaryen player plays a Daenerys card, he may pay 2PT to add a sword for each Dragon with str ≥ 2 participating in the battle.
  • If Targaryen player controls King’s Landing or two castles/strongholds in Westeros, he is now able to bid for One track.

Reminder: Turn phases
  1. Westeros Phase
    • Westeros Deck I – II – III - IV
    • Westeros cards reveal
    • Arryn ability usage
    • Vassals bid (odd turns only)
  2. Planning phase
    • Choose secretly orders
    • Reveal orders
    • Crow activation
  3. Execution Phase
    • Raid orders
    • March orders
    • CP orders
  4. End Turn Phase
    • PT Gains (bonus for Master of Coins)
    • Players can revokes their members of the Small Council
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Last edited by geekosa on 12 Oct 2020, 14:59, edited 93 times in total.
geekosa
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Posts: 19
Joined: 15 May 2020, 11:43

There are some choices I want to explain. I will extend this comment to explain some other topics in my variant.

Here : Support usable once.

GoT is based on one of the greatest Strategy game of all time : Diplomacy.
Diplomacy is way more balanced than GoT is. But it's not my point.

In Diplomacy, you put your order by writting it on a paper. You can support but only if you write everything. For example my unit in area A support unit of area B attacking Area C. It supports for 1 planned move.

In GoT, a support can support everything, everywhere several times a turn. It's not balanced nor logic.

That's why in my home rules, you still are able to support wherever you want, without planning it, but you cannot do it several times a turn anymore. Your support ordres are discarded after usage.

It creates some opportunities. If you have some unraidable support for example in sea of Dorne, the multi-usage supports makes almost impossible for another player to take an area around this unraidable support. Your only solution is to wait for Westeros III card banishing support.
Here with this rule, the unraidable support may not support everywhere at the same time. If he thinks he may use this support for several reason, he has to choose. So you can attack only to force the oponent to use his support to denfend himself, and then start you real attack else where.

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About the tracks

I wanted to balance the tracks, especially the IT track which is way weaker than the 2 others.
In MoD, the fact the 1st gets a vassal is not a good answer because it increases "whole or nothing" of this track. It does not have the progressing enefits of the other tracks. The 1st already has IT token which is quite strong. It's the other places (2nd, 3rd...) which are not very rewarded currently in GoT.

That's why I give them 1PT everyturn to 1st,2nd and 3rd (at the beginning it was an additional crown symbol on their capital, but I changed it for a free PT every turn, which is simplier).

This provides another way to gain PT which is great for my vassal mod : we have to bid for them every odd turn. But IT track is still interesting for vassals because you can only "buy" a vassal which is lower than you on IT track. If you want vassals you cannot bid 0 on IT bidding !

On the other way, the fact of having NO stars is really very punishing. This is why people often bid a lot of PT on KC track and not on the others because having no star is too punishing and makes the KC track too important.
That's why I created the rule on which people who do not have any star (#5, #6, #7) still are able to use a star order but have to pay for it.
This is costly, especially for #7 but it open some orders and some strategy they can use sometimes. It "opens" the game in some way adn balances the 3 tracks.

I also changed drak wings dark words, because in all my games with base rules, I see only once (!!) the Raven owner choose to launch a bidding. Because he is already 1st in the most important track, why would he choose to start a CoK ?
So, in the base game, this card is flawed. That's why I have to find out a card effect which
- talks about track bidding (because this is the way of the card, remember, it replaces a CoK and a GoT card from the 1st edition)
- let the Raven owner choose (because there is a "IT own choice" in deck I and a "VSB owner choice" in deck III so Raven owner have to choose something about gaining PT and track bidding.
That's why I created this effect on which he select at least 1 track. On this track, those who were well positionned gain PT and then we launch a track bidding on this track. It's a elegant way to have PT + biding with Raven choice in the card effect.

I'm still openend to DWDW reworks. If you have ideas, tell me.


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I try not to change Hero card effect because it is counter-intuitive to have an effect different than the one written on the card.
But I had to make 1 exception with Balon Greyjoy.
Balon is the OP card in GoT 2nd edition. When they changed the Balon from 1st edition (which was a 1str card) into the 2-str card in 2nd edition, I'm not sure they tried it before ^^
This card is completly broken.

It wins against everything whatever the hero played by the oponent, and can win "unwinnable" battles.

The right thing to do is to put it back at 1-str. But it is hard to change, because it would need a change about a 1-str GJ card...
So a simplier way is to change the effect (which reduce the oponent hero to 1 against 0) which does the same than put Balon to 1-str.

I encourage you to do this, for balancing purposes.


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About units, I think ships are too strong. Since we cannot decrease their strenght in any way, the idea I had was to make them costlier to build.
You still can recruit them for 1 Recruit points, but only in the port. You can recruit them in the sea, but it cost you 2Recruit points.
So you have tochoose : recruit a boat right in the battle is now more expensive.

It is a GREAT change, because ships is not the only way to go any more.
but you really NEED naval order from MoD for this change.


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For Siege Engine, I encourage you to try this variant.

0/4 str for SE makes no sense. Because it is way too strong in attack and useless in def.
1/3 str is way more balanced on this point of view. Castles are less easy to take and more defensable. And to improve a little the SE, they can retreat as a routed FM (you can imagine SE are are Engine manipulated by soldiers. If they loose, they leave the engines behind and fly).

Def orders are now very useful in castles (+1 passive bonus if Def order). So it add some usefulness to Raid* and to SE.

I really encourage this variant for you.
Last edited by geekosa on 18 May 2020, 15:30, edited 4 times in total.
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Tex
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Favorite AGOT House: Arryn

Nice and extensive variant! Well done [mention]geekosa[/mention]

I like giving Iron Throne a boost, as it has always been the weakest track, even in MoD.

Also the change to support is interesting, as trying to break into an opponent stronghold with huge walls of support everywhere, sure is frustrating (and not very realistic either, as you pointed out). This can even be something we might try out one game just for fun :)

Dragons being able to attack land is pretty insane though ^^ How have the games been for Targaryen with this variant?
geekosa
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Joined: 15 May 2020, 11:43

Thank you for your answer.

I have to admit the dragons section of my variant is not created for a balancing point of view, but more for a thematic PoV. (dragons can burn boats near the sea as we saw it in the serie).
To counterbalance that and not make them too OP, I lowered their growth a little, I reduced the dragon moving range to 4 areas, I make the loss of a dragon very hard (loss of stars) and I reduced the starting number of boat of the Targaryen to prevent an early expand to Baratheon.
Targaryen are still very strong ^^

I have not play with Targ enough games with this variant to make sure it is balanced (to enableTarg we need to be 6-p at least).
But I remember one game on which I crushed the Arryn quite early in the game ^^. But it was before the starting boat reduction and the dragon growth reduction.
Last edited by geekosa on 17 May 2020, 13:49, edited 3 times in total.
geekosa
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Joined: 15 May 2020, 11:43

A feedback in a 5p game :
Lannister, Arryn, Stark, Baratheon, Martell. I played Lannister
Tyrell and Greyjoy were vassals.

I understood there was a balancing issue as soon as the 1st turn. Bara cannot take KL from me if I play a def+2 order on it. And it he does not attack, I can play a CP* to muster, making Kl out of his reach for a long time. Then I can take riverrun turn 1, cracklaw point and harrenhall on turn 2.
Short version : Lannister is too strong.
=> For the game we made the modification in my variant in turn 1 : Exchange Bara and Lannister position on IT track. Bara does have the IT back. The big change is Lannister (since they do not have IT token) does not have KL 2-str garrison any more. Bara now may take it turn one if he plays attack+1 from Dragonstone and Stannis Baratheon.
It's way more balanced this way in my point of view.

At the end on the game :
1 - Martell
2 - Lannister
3 - Stark
4 -Baratheon
5 - Arryn

This game hilighted few minor issues in the vassal handling (IT owner may keep all vassals of himself everytime if he plays smart). I made few minor changes to make sure it does not happen anymore.

It hilighted also that Arryn player is kinda stuck between all neighbour houses. He has a lot of troubles to expand, his house cards are too defensive. His house ability is good but does not seem to make the difference. Anyway, I'll try to figure out something to boost them a little and make him more dangerous in offensive perspective.
geekosa
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Joined: 15 May 2020, 11:43

I made few changes after brainstorming.

The 1st one is the bonus on castle/strongholds if we place a def order on it. This rule now only applies to players, not on vassals. Because this rule makes a vassal castle impregnable with a Def+3 on it.

The second one is a kind of buff for Arryn player, who definitly need this. He has now a special ability he can use by discarding his littlefinger card. He can now use the tricks of Littlefingers to make chaos ("chaos is a ladder") and thus creating a CoK effect when he wants !
geekosa
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Posts: 19
Joined: 15 May 2020, 11:43

For my next game, I'll try somthing else with vassal orders :
Give them the orders coming from the house orders. My goal is to match the vassal orders in the original game but with a less powerful Def order (Def+3 on a castle, it's very hard to take it).
It also reduces the miscomprehension with forbidden orders with 2-part vassals orders.
It's simplier IMO.

I'll try it.

As I said : my rules are iterative : I have ideas, I try it and I keep or throw it away.
geekosa
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Joined: 15 May 2020, 11:43

Updated in v1.7.

One of the main point is for Lannister : giving them 1 PT every turn is a quite strong ability. Now it gives 1 PT bonus if they use CP* for PT, which seems to be more balanced.

Lannister was the only house with no special effect on a star order, now they have one with Cersei. It offers them a possibility to get rid of this weak card.
geekosa
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Joined: 15 May 2020, 11:43

I have some ideas about a 2.0 version. I don't know yet if it is convenient, balanced, interesting...



The main goal is to create a small council.

For that, we replace the 3 tracks with only one which gives the turn order and the ties win in battles (it replaces track #1 and #2 but with no Token).

And on the other side create a small council with :
-Hand of the king (who has the IT token) + power to revocate small council
-Master of coins (who gains PT every turn)
-Master of Spies (who has the Raven Token)
-King's Guard Commandant (who has the VSB Token)
-Admiral (who has some advantage on sea battles)

Each member of the small council you have gives you 1 star.

The goal is to place the members of your family in the small council to have the benefits of these positions.

I imagine for each member of the council a kind of bidding but you bid an house card + PTs. The best bid put his house card in the council and gains the advantage of the position. But he cannot use this house card in battles as long as the hero is in the council.

I'll try to create something around this core idea.
geekosa
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Joined: 15 May 2020, 11:43

v2.0 is here.

Despite the new mecanics, which are quite interesting IMO, I see one good side effect :
The Dark Wing Dark Words issue (Raven owner almost never choose to launch CoK because he is already 1st in the most important track) is no more. Indeed a player may now have the Raven Token while having only 1 character in the council and being in weak position in the one track.
=> Raven owner will choose to launch CoK more often than in the base game without changing the card effect.

If there is something which is not clear about the small council, feel free to ask.

I also simplified my home rules for vassals bidding
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