So, I noticed while playing a 4 player game, that Highgarden DOES NOT have a neutral forces token. Why is that? Is it to balance the map (especially between Lannister and Baratheon)? Or am I missing something? Pyke has on both sides of its neutral token a "3" for a 3-player game. Highgarden also has only a "3" for a 3-player game.
Am I understanding this correctly?
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In the first edition, the fourth player was the Tyrell player, so no need for a token. Have they changed that?
They have chanced that. The 4 player version has Greyjoy, Stark, Baratheon and Lannister as playable houses. The 5 player version adds the Tyrrels and the 6 player version Martell.
I just played my first game of this and at first I thought this was an error. But then I read on page 28 in the manual that the 4 player version has 12 neutral forces.
Too bad that the Tyrrels are not playable in the 4 player version. They meantion on page 6 their land is the heart of chivalry in Westeros after I read that I wanted to play them. Was that meantioned in the books ? I must have missed that. Anyway, it got worse, I let the others chose first and I ended up with the Lannisters (I don't really like them).
I recently played 2nd edition with Stark, Baratheon, Lannister and Tyrell, and it went great. We made pyke off limits, and put neutral forces tokens in the southern lands near the normal martell starting location and also in Seaguard. The balance was almost spot on, the only change we will make next time is downgrading the Seaguard from 2 muster points to 1.
We had a 4-player game last Sunday using regular rules, and we ended up with a similar realization that Greyjoys and Lannisters should be mutually exclusive in a 4-player game. The biggest issue wasn't the supposed "Greyjoy steamrolling lannister on turn 1" but the unlimited Baratheon conquest in the south. We plan to switch Lannister to Tyrell. We will keep Greyjoys in the game because otherwise Stark will have it too easy alone in the north, and Lannisters don't have to fight against Tyrells right off the bat either.
I'm definately interested to hear how your variations work out! On a side one, good to see I'm not the only one out there who thinks the default 4-player setup doesn't really work out.
To stop Baratheon, we keep the original rules, but close off all the neutral areas in the south. That means that all neutral tokens for 4-6 player games are instead used with their undefeateable mode made for 3 player games.
We also connect the shipbreaker bay to sunset sea to allow baratheon and lannister/greyjoy to fight by sea, though due to how the game is set up, every game so far have been a double duel of stark vs baratheon and greyjoy vs lannister, which is due to the critical importance of the narrow sea for both stark and baratheon, and the extreme proximity (by both land and sea) of lannister and greyjoy. However, if stark rentlessly defends the narrow sea and actually holds it for a while, things might play out differently, so we'll be keeping this variation for a while when playing 4 player games (which is most of the time, since we can't get 5-6 players to attend due to how long a game usually takes).
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