The Contenders for the Iron Throne assemble...

 

A few days ago, we managed to get another Game of Thrones battle in.  Our game consisted of the same four players as last time, running the same core set decks: Israel—Stark, Gabriel—Targaryen, Utley—Lannister, myself—Baratheon.

Utley desperatley searches through his hand, trying to get the Lannisters moving

 

Very early on, I managed to deal a stunning blow to the Lannisters through an unblocked intrigue challenge that happened to make him randomly discard one card from his hand.  Unfortunately for him, that card ended up being Jaime Lannister.  We were running core set decks, so he only had one copy of Jaime Lannister & no way to get him back, so that was pretty painful.  That moment kind of symbolized Utley’s whole game.  He struggled to get his Lannisters deployed and working.  His biggest successes came in helping coordinate group gang-ups to try to hinder the current leader.  More on that in a moment.

 

Me, just before the mugging began

In my limited experience, the Baratheons seem to like a rush style of play.  In each game I’ve played with them, I’ve jumped out to an early lead.  That was the case this time around as well.  After a couple of rounds, I’d managed to accumulate 12 power tokens.  That’s when Zach’s earlier article about being strong without appearing strong suddenly began to make more sense.  The other three players quickly united to take me down a peg, & I lost my Stannis Baratheon & Melisandre cards, each holding 2 power tokens.  I was now at 8, rather than 12, & had zero characters with which to defend myself.  After that, they just flat out mugged me with unblocked challenges.

 

Israel helping the Starks ascend to power

In the meantime, Israel had been building up a large groupof strong military & power cards, like those Starks love to do. He had about 8 characters on the table & benefited from the mugging I’d received.  He rapidly jumped up to 13 power tokens.  At his point, he also attracted the group’s ire.  We were able to kill off a few of his power-token holding characters & win a couple of power challenges to drain down his lead a bit.  However, we failed to crush him as utterly as I’d been crushed earlier.

 

 

 

While all that was happening, Gabriel had been quietly, stealthily picking up steam.  He profited some from my crushing.  He profited even more from when we ganged up on Israel.  After the dust had settled from our mass attack against the Starks, we looked around and saw the Targaryens quietly sitting on 13 power tokens.  Israel recovered to the point where he was also around 13 power, and I’d recovered to around 10 or 11, and it turned into every man for himself.  That lasted until Gabriel’s next turn, when he used Drogon & Rhaegel to finish us off & claim the Iron Throne.  Our first truly complete game had ended, & Gabriel Targaryen stood triumphant.

All must cower before his dragon-y fury!

We continue to really enjoy the 4-player incarnation of this game.  With a few games under our belts, we felt like we were more able to make intelligent decisions regarding title selection, & we even dabbled some in interfering in challenges on behalf of titles that our own titles supported.  The intricacy of the changing relationships between players from turn to turn continues to be a thrill.  Loving this game.