My friends and I always use a few house rules to add more sneakiness into our games, here are some.
1) All power tokens must be kept hidden from other players at all times, apart from when you use them to bid or to control a territory.
2) Players may not search through an opponents house card discard pile but they are allowed to see the card on top.
Are there any other rules I can include to make it feel like I am the leader of my house (Lannister!) and that I am being discreet about my intentions?
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power tokens are important to keep in the open and counted always:
1. to prevent cheating.
2. to use your high number of tokens to outsmart you opponents and keep them guessing. For if they do not know how many tokens you have, they will bid without influence from you. i played on saturday with 12 tokens in play and the next highest was 6. so when i bid 3 and 3 for the first 2 paths and one player held on his 6 tokens to the last bid and found i had 6 as well and had the throne. he bid 2 and i bid 3. if they were secret i would have not been able to do that.
My friends and I are very honest when playing the game so the problem of cheating never comes up. However, it does create the problem of knowing exactly what each player will do, so by keeping the power tokens hidden we have difficulty predicting what each player is going to do. It also makes becoming someones ally a much more precarious role.
I don't really like these house rules and I'll say why.
If you're good at counting, or if you have the house cards memorized, you always know how much power people have and which house cards remain. The rules you propose don't reward treachery or conceit, rather they punish people who forget what happened two turns ago, or who haven't memorized all the house cards. You do know that people can look at the house cards in your hand whenever they want, right? The point is that people who haven't played as much don't gain a massive artificial disadvantage.Treachery and conceit come from guessing which decisions your opponent will make when you know what their options are.
There are several ways that the rules enforce the ideals of treachery and conceit which you value. For example, you are never allowed to show your opponent which house card you are using. You can tell them that you are using Tywin, but you can't show. They can never be certain, even if you wanted to let them have that certainty. They have to take your word for it. This means that if they decide to throw the battle they can never be sure that you aren't going to play Gregor and kill all their troops.
You can never show people how much power you are bidding. You can tell them you are bidding 5 tokens to stop the wildings, but for all they know you are bidding 0 or 14 tokens.
You can never assure someone you will give them support. They always have to ask for support after they've committed to the attack. You can promise to support them as much as you want, but after they make the attack there is always a possibility you will refuse to support them, or even support their enemy. At this point it is too late for them to decide not to attack.
Those are good points. I might try playing with the proper rules next time and see how they go.
However, hiding the power tokens will keep your opponents guessing to whether you actually have any tokens to bid at all!
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