Angry Augury
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I haven't played AGoT since March. As much as I enjoyed the game in the 1st Edition, I only had two plays of 2nd Ed. before things went down hill. It wasn't the game itself that was the problem, but the players.

For years, I couldn't find a single other person to play a board game with me. They're just not popular in this country. Finally, in the last year I had five to six willing people to jump in and join the chaos anytime. We had some good experiences with Battlestar Galactica and are still having great fun with Arkham Horror (with just two of the previous 6 people joining) but what I really wanted was a full 6-player AGoT session.

We tried it once and it was a learning game for 4 of the players. There were a few hiccups since the rules were completely unknown to them. We decided after that game that we'd wait to receive the replacement board before trying the second game. Sadly, as I'm sure many of you remember, the replacement board took ages to come. Eventually, one of our play group was moving away so we decided to just use the flawed board and play one more round of AGoT with him.

Big mistake.

Aside from one guy in game one who couldn't make it, the other members all had experience with the game. To replace the other guy, I invited a new acquaintance from the next town who is interested in all things geek. I thought it might be a smoother experience--at the very least, a fun farewell party for the one guy. I was wrong. The game was ruined by the personalities of the other players. Allow me to explain.

Lannister: This was me. I'd like to think I wasn't a problem in this game. We still had one new guy so I was trying to go easy on him, especially since he was Greyjoy right on my doorstep. I still had to play referee to keep the game moving smoothly as AP was a problem in the first game and would likely be so in this one. I must admit, I also suffer from bouts of AP so trying to enforce a time limit was as much for my sake as for the others. I only wish AP was the only thing wrong in our group.

Tyrell: The going-away-guy. This was his farewell party. Before we found the new group of people to play with, this guy was the annoying guy in the small group I had. But as time went on and I acclimated to his personality, he became one of the most dependable. At least he always had the spirit of the game in mind when he played anything. The big thing about him that's not a problem but personally befuddled me is that in every competitive game we play, he tells all the other players that I'm the biggest threat and need to be dealt with--and they believe him! He would even say it before games begin when NO ONE has an advantage and they still listen to him and go after me. It was insane. Bravo to him for being so influential without even trying. The worst part is he won the majority of games we played and still everyone thought he was innocent and I was the target. It's funny in hindsight but super annoying when it's happening.

He wasn't a problem.

Greyjoy: New guy. He was learning the game so played pretty defensively. Ok, he played too defensively. As in he did absolutely nothing until Turn 9. And even then he didn't want to play too aggressive so he'd make small attacks then withdraw. Needless to say he didn't win. Basically he just served to be a placeholder for his lands while the rest of the game went on. The reason for this, he explained afterwards, is he's not comfortable in confrontation.

He probably should have mentioned that before accepting to join a war game. People tried giving him advice to get him out of his shell during the game but he always just decided to hold back and be a pacifist. That makes for an uneventful game.

Martel: The quiet guy. All his orders were placed within 30 seconds of the Order Phase starting. He engaged in no negotiation through the game. Brokered no alliances, though he shared an obviously unspoken truce with Tyrell. He was impatient that it took anyone else more time to place an order. Demanded a time limit be set, which isn't a bad idea and we did start one up by mid game.

After this disaster of a game, he agreed that it didn't go well. His suggestion is that we make a house rule to forbid all negotiating during the game. That's right, he felt that all the other players were playing the game wrong because we were engaging in the diplomacy aspect. He thinks the game should just involved moving the pieces and playing the cards in silence until there's a champion. No truces. No alliances. No scheming. Just mechanical game play.

Stark: The spaz. Showed up to the game late then didn't want to get a refresher on the rules even though it had been months since the only game he played and he didn't remember the rules by his own admission. He said he'd pick it up as we go along. Ok, fair enough.

So as we play, if he finds himself in an unfavorable position he would claim it only happened because we didn't explain to him that it would happen since he doesn't remember the rules. He felt that meant he should get a free pass to take back whatever move put him in a bad spot. Once during battle, after the House Cards were revealed and he ended up not having enough strength to win, he said, "Oh, that's not the card I wanted to use," put it back in his hand and pulled out a card strong enough to win.

NO! NO! NO! You can't do that! But he tried. Again and again. An Order Token not favorable after seeing what the enemy is going to do? Time to change it for something that gives him the advantage. Ugh... I spent most of the game scolding him for not taking responsibility for his own actions and paying attention to the board.

And it's not like he was just dropping things randomly as he was the biggest AP problem out of all the players. Constantly taking 10 minutes or more to place tokens before we set up a time limit then, before revealing, take back all of his tokens and rethink their placement while we all waited.

Yet he wasn't the biggest problem.

Baratheon: The problem.

Sure, a pacifist is annoying. A guy who thinks anyone who talks is ruining the game is a hassle. The AP king who wants to take back all his moves constantly is a pain in the neck. But there was one guy who was worse than them all.

The Baratheon player is a guy who hates to lose. Yeah, not many people would say they like losing, but he thinks if he can't win then it's pointless to even play a game.

He spent a lot of time attacking and invading territories but if an attack failed or a counter attack came his way, he would get angry. Not just at the situation, but personally incensed at the player attacking him. He attacked Stark to the north, Martel to the south and even started encroaching on Tyrell's push to the middle. When he found himself on a three front war--that he instigated--he became furious that the other players had the gall to strike back at him.

He yelled at Greyjoy for doing nothing--which was true. He felt it was Greyjoy's job of keeping Stark off his back. He yelled at me for not moving south and starting a war with Tyrell so he wouldn't have the resources to stop the Baratheon push into his lands. He yelled at Tyrell and Martel for not fighting each other instead of uniting against him, the one threat to them both. He even yelled at Stark for attacking him, saying he did nothing to deserve it--completely ignoring the two turns he spent destroying Stark's initial fleet.

Apparently in his mind he was off limits to attack and they were all violating this rule.

Then, even with his complaining of a three front war and that he has no allies, he started to push into my territory!

By this point Tyrell was coming north and I needed to take care of him, too, and I didn't need another front against a mentally unstable Baratheon. So I tried to make a truce with the guy. I launched a large counter assault against where he encroached into my lands and told him to willingly back away. I drew a line on the board for my lands and promised I wouldn't go his way as long as he stayed out of my lands. In exchange, he would be able to count on me as an ally against Tyrell who was an enemy to us both.

It seemed like a fair deal to me since at the time Baratheon was still quite a powerhouse but having to fight four enemies would take that advantage away a heck of a lot faster than just with three. Plus he'd be able to say he had someone on his side when he was so preoccupied with the idea that everyone was ganging up on him for "no reason".

He thought it over, nodded in agreement and takes his weak house card that will allow him to lose and retreat. Then, just as we're going to flip the cards, he puts it back into his hand.

"Wait," he said, mischievous grin on his face. "If I'm giving you your land back, what are you going to give me?"

What? I thought I already explained the purpose behind our deal, so I explained it again: he gains an ally instead of another enemy on his door step.

He shakes his head claiming that he doesn't see how it's in his best interest. "If I don't give the land back to you, you couldn't take it from me. You're not strong enough. So I don't see how this is a good deal for me to make."

So our negotiations resumed, getting a little more heated as it seems like he's going to break off the truce seconds after it was agreed upon (something he had done in game 1 as well).

In the end, my closing point in the negotiations was, "You're right. If I try to attack you I will lose. But if you don't accept the agreement, I will attack you. Again and again and again. And so will Stark, Martel, and Tyrell because you'll have no one on your side. Sure, you can hit me hard and try to take me out but every high powered attack you make against me lets the other three armies know you're just a little bit weaker to stand against them. Yes, if we go to war I will lose the game but I assure you that you will too."

He seemed to agree, finally, to the original truce we set up but now I was in a panic. Was he going to backstab me anyhow? So now I'm wondering if I hit him with the Mountain and destroy all his units expecting a betrayal or do I believe he'll do the right thing and I uphold my word in an agreement that I just spent nearly 20 minutes arguing to achieve.

In the end I decided not to backstab him and he actually played his weak card allowing me to win and retreated his army to the agreed upon location outside my lands.

Sadly, that's not where the tale ends. Though I was helping him against Tyrell in the middle, the continuing attacks from Stark and Martel drove him from Dragonstone. It was at that point that he said it looks like there was no chance for him to win so he didn't see a reason to keep playing.

Yes, he wanted to just up and quit mid game because his poor choices had put him in a very bad spot. He said it was pointless to put anymore time into the game when it was clear he wouldn't be the champion. So then began about 20 minutes of talking by all players trying to keep him in the game just so we could finish. Eventually he agreed to stay but pouted the whole time. He even came close to winning again in the end with a tie but that wasn't good enough for him.

In the end, Tyrell won and I was happy since a.) it was his farewell game to begin with and b.) he was the only person there playing the game in the proper spirit and trying to just have fun.

Because of this game, the Baratheon player has never been invited back to join us. Plus Stark's annoyances, Martel's adverse feelings towards the diplomacy of the game and Greyjoy's fear of conflict has made this an unattractive choice of game for our game nights.

As much as I love AGoT, I don't think I'll get to play it again unless I meet a new crew of gamers. Hopefully they'll be a little more agreeable.



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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
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Re: The Final Game of Thrones
That sounds like one of the most accurate GoT sessions that I have ever heard of, considering that both the books and the television series are also populated by a bunch of psychopaths.

Regards,


Jim
Est. 1949

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Martin Presley
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Re: The Final Game of Thrones
AGoT is a game for a very specific kind of player: one who is competitive and sportsmanlike. If either of these qualities are lacking, they shouldn't play. Which is a shame, because it's a fantastic, brilliant game, but can fail so hard when the wrong people sit around the table.

Hope you can find some more mature players in the future to get this game back on the table.
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Georgios P.
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Re: The Final Game of Thrones
hoobajoo wrote:
AGoT is a game for a very specific kind of player: one who is competitive and sportsmanlike. If either of these qualities are lacking, they shouldn't play. Which is a shame, because it's a fantastic, brilliant game, but can fail so hard when the wrong people sit around the table.

Hope you can find some more mature players in the future to get this game back on the table.


(bolded by me for emphasis)

This. So very much.

I've finally found a decent number of players who fit the first category, but half of them fail at the second. And then there are a number of players who succeed at the second but fail at the first.

I might have to accept that 4-5 player Game of Thrones is the best I can hope for.
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Brian Mc Cabe
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Re: The Final Game of Thrones
Joe Dizzy wrote:
hoobajoo wrote:
AGoT is a game for a very specific kind of player: one who is competitive and sportsmanlike. If either of these qualities are lacking, they shouldn't play. Which is a shame, because it's a fantastic, brilliant game, but can fail so hard when the wrong people sit around the table.

Hope you can find some more mature players in the future to get this game back on the table.


(bolded by me for emphasis)

This. So very much.

I've finally found a decent number of players who fit the first category, but half of them fail at the second. And then there are a number of players who succeed at the second but fail at the first.

I might have to accept that 4-5 player Game of Thrones is the best I can hope for.


A lot of people believe that the working definition of competitive is to win at any cost.

Brian
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K Wink
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Re: The Final Game of Thrones
Excellent report - I laughed out loud reading it!
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Angry Augury
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Re: The Final Game of Thrones
WinX wrote:
Excellent report - I laughed out loud reading it!


You laughed out loud while I cried inside.
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Mike Stevens
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Re: The Final Game of Thrones
Great session report. I enjoy the books and the HBO series and have been wanting to play this game for a long time. One of my friends owns it but has never brought it to Game Night because he does not think we will get enough people to play it. Of course if we got people like your game group that would ruin it for everyoneshake

It sounds like you were a very good sport about the whole thing. Hopefully you can find a more enthusiastic group to play it with next time.
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Kelly Fischer
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Re: The Final Game of Thrones
Best session report I've ever read. Which is strange because it is in doubt if you'll get to play the game again due to all of the personality traits this game highlights. But it was such an accurate representation of the game play.

I love this game.

Next time, invite friends over and punch them in the gut as soon as they enter the room. If they smile and get you back sometime before everyone sits down at the table, you've assembled the perfect group.
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Nik Bun
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Great game report. Weirdly it makes me wish to play the game again, you have a very livingly style of writing. Do not give up, the game is fun for sure but as the others said it is hard to find the right people for it.
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Angry Augury
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Bungi wrote:
Great game report. Weirdly it makes me wish to play the game again, you have a very livingly style of writing. Do not give up, the game is fun for sure but as the others said it is hard to find the right people for it.


Thank you for the kind comments.

I did end up playing one more game (or 2... why can't I remember?), albeit years later. That report is here on BGG. Still see the annoying personalities of people creep through but it was a much better experience.

I just don't understand how the game was fun and civilized, including having backstabbing, back in 1st edition but suddenly I get 2nd edition and it is a source of PTSD.
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