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Discussing Melee

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33 replies to this topic

#1
Radix

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The forum has dropped in activity recently. So i am here to attempt to regain activity by discussing a new topic: melee.

Melee has not been discussed too much, and is often seen as being less competative than Joust. But it is a deep format, and I would argue much more fun. It encapsulates perfectly what AGOT is. The backstabbing, the politicking, the utter lack of control over what happens.

I have decided to start writing about melee. An introduction, then some primers for specific melee qualities (titles), and some decklists.

But first, I want to know what everyone thinks. Why do you like melee? Why do you not like melee? What could be done to improve it?
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#2
widowmaker93

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I don't mean for this to come out trolly, but it will anyway so here goes....

 

LOL Melee. :lol:



#3
Radix

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Could you elaborate? Why do you feel that way about melee? I am trying to assess the general attitude towards melee.

#4
xchan

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I really like the melee format, it's a great multiplayer experience and the titles give some extra layer of depth. I don't get why people in here seem to despise it. I would also like to know their opinions as to why they dislike the format so much and what they think it needs to be improved. 

 

I was introduced to the game in a melee format and it's what we usualy play casually in my meta. Joust is good, but the current small card pool, high variance and snowball effect makes matches very predictable. Is not good for the game to have a match decided in the first couple of rounds, and for me, it's not pretty to completelly destroy/control my opponents as it creates some NPE.  

 

Melee, on the other hand, gives players time to comeback (unless your meta is full of d***heads that pray on the weakest to win), so they can shake the game state and feel they were participating in it, intead of being expectators. 

 

I don't think the format is quite there though, as the card pool is small and there are few viable options for it (power rush or delayed power rush basically). Control is really hard to achieve as cards tend to target only one player. I really wish the devs would expand more into melee and create more cards like Even-Handed Justice, to strengthen the format and open it up a bit. It's a good card for Joust and an excellent card for melee, and all it needed was the multiple player target. For the Watch! could have benefitted from something like that for example.

 

It would also be nice to see some more cards that allow you to alter a combat whithout requiring you to be participating in it. Maybe some house could have a theme (Martell or Night Watch probably?) where you could pump an enemy to gain some benefits if said enemy wins the challange (something like, target attacking/defending character gets +/-2 STR this challange. If said character loses/wins the challange, gain 1 power for your faction card). I don't know... 

 

But what I really want to see are official rules for cooperative (2vs2 or 3vs3) melee format, where players share power counts and the whole battlefield/locations/dead pile, etc. so they can work together. It would make for interesting new deck ideas that require some other player running something to fully benefit from it.



#5
Radix

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Tyrell has Highgarden. Greyjoy has Raiding Longship, which can work on anyone's attack.

I also like the idea of a different format for team play. You would have to alter/remove the titles, but you could add your own features. I have a few ideas such as Wildlings vs the Wall, battle for control over King's Landing, Dothraki hoards raiding cities, 1vX White Walkers, or Slaver's Bay.

#6
istaril

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As a podcast, we try to feature Melee as often as we can: recently this episode here focused on the competitive melee game, and my appearance on GBOW highlighted Melee (and, of course, Beards). About a third of the time I'm playing Thrones, I'm playing Melee. Melee has also featured a little more prominently on FFG's own site recently thanks to Kennon's front-page articles; You win or you Die, Choose your Title Part 1 and 2

 

There's a catch though - part of the reason the community treats Melee like a second-class citizen is because FFG seems to. Store Championships/Regional kits aren't designed for melee prize support, rules for melee tournament structure STILL haven't been added despite the call for them. While Melee still has a prominent place in the competitive game in 2.0; most French tournaments run both, as do the premier events (Road-to-Stahleck, for instance) and a couple of regionals (ETX), and is a part of Nationals/Gencon/Stahleck/Worlds, it's not really supported throughout the competitive game.


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#7
Radix

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That makes sense. I dont like the current rules for points in melee. First place gets a huge advantage, over twice the points of second place. Although this does lower the risk of collusion that could arise.

Hopefully if we can get FFG to support melee,it could pick up in popularity.

But I also feel like there is more than just lack of interest due to lack of support. There is an undertone of distate for melee.
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#8
bored2excess

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I agree that there's an undertone of distaste, and in my opinion it's simply because it doesn't lend itself to a competitive format. When it's a group of friends sitting around playing ridiculously, it holds up well and gives a pleasantly different experience, but it's brutal playing it seriously. It's intensely long and has an overwhelming amount of cards and interacting effects in play/hand at any given time.

 

Melee in a less controlled setting just generates burnout and almost always ends in kingmaking to some degree, so it's hardly my favorite if conditions aren't favorable.

 

I agree that there also aren't too many "melee" cards, which constrains it a bit. On the other hand, I like that they aren't printing cards that exclusively have purpose in melee, I disliked that in first edition.



#9
laiyna

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First of all, Melee is the better format, its a more social experience. How now titles are handled it makes for a much better game experience.

 

But now melee does not work, because of the current card pool there are no real negotiations, and because of the titles and lack of defense options the game only lasts for 2-3 rounds, highest initiative prob wins in round 3.

 

We need Melee Plots, we need Melee orientated Events. So there is more interaction between players in a melee game, and not 4 players having a solo game for the fastest power grab.

 

Laiyna



#10
laiyna

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I don't mean for this to come out trolly, but it will anyway so here goes....

 

LOL Melee. :lol:

 

expected more from a Small Council member, very disapointing


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#11
mnBroncos

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For fun I LOVE melee and don't get to play it enough. It is the better "board game" experience. However, when it comes to tournament it is just frustrating and because you stated why in the original post "the utter lack of control over what happens" that is terrible for a tournament game. So many games I lost because one opponent decided to let someone win or made big misplays gets mad because you made one move that hurt them so they sick to destroy just you at any costs, kingmaking etc. So as a board game experience it is a ton of fun but when it comes to tournament format melee is kind of a joke because of the lack of control over what happens. 



#12
istaril

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But now melee does not work, because of the current card pool there are no real negotiations, and because of the titles and lack of defense options the game only lasts for 2-3 rounds, highest initiative prob wins in round 3.

 

We need Melee Plots, we need Melee orientated Events. So there is more interaction between players in a melee game, and not 4 players having a solo game for the fastest power grab.

 

I strongly disagree here. Not to the idea that melee plots are bad, but that we don't have real negotiations - there are a number of cards that work across the table and serve as negotiating tools; Maester of Whispers, Dracarys, Margaery Tyrell, Iron Fleet Scout, etc - that can help you gain control over what happens in challenges other than the ones you're involved in. And sure, which the game is currently a rush game (1.0 was too, in its early life) - that's because control decks haven't really hit their stride (in joust either!) and aggro is not an option. It took a while for even the 1.0 cardpool to mature to the point where melee decks could just as easily be rush as control. 

 

However, when it comes to tournament it is just frustrating and because you stated why in the original post "the utter lack of control over what happens" that is terrible for a tournament game. So many games I lost because one opponent decided to let someone win or made big misplays gets mad because you made one move that hurt them so they sick to destroy just you at any costs, kingmaking etc.

 

 

 

I don't think that's fair either. If it were almost out of one's control, I'm not sure how I can explain why my co-host, Darknoj, never misses a melee cut. I don't think Corey Faherty has either. Interestingly, I believe every French player to attend Worlds (from Maekar in 2012 onwards?) has made the melee cut - and France is a country where melee is played far more regularly. In fact, I think the Melee cut is disproportionately filled with the same players, year after year (and not just because it's a somewhat smaller event).

 

There are more tools to compensate for a bad draw in melee (the titles, negotiations, etc) - but you have to play the entire board. It's a hugely skill intensive process. Now I don't dispute that a player *can* ruin the table for everyone (if they start playing outside their own best interests), in my experience that's much rarer than people say it is AND there are ways to avoid it that are inherently a part of the melee game (e.g. don't knock someone so far behind they have no hope for their own best interests - trust me, it's in your best interest too).


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#13
widowmaker93

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double



#14
widowmaker93

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expected more from a Small Council member, very disapointing

 

Two points....

 

1). It's no secret that I have no great love for melee. I'm jaded from years of bad 1.0 tournament experiences that have happened. That being said, I've not played melee in 2.0 yet so it very well may be better. I don't know.

 

2). Anyone who knows me, knows that was a joke. I'm rarely serious about anything I say. So please don't take it the wrong way. I don't hate Melee, but I don't like it either. The LOL Melee line has kind of been a running joke within the Thrones community for years. I just don't care about it one way or another. *shrug*



#15
Libor

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Why I don´t like melee? - I don´t play it competitively, only casual, and a lot of games are decided by the choices of other player. When I win I have very often feeling that some step or mistake or choice of challenge of some player help me to win, not my own abilities. Someone wrote above that melee is what AGoT is about - negotiating, backstabbing and so. I am not this kind of player - if I win thanks to some promise or deal that seems unfair to some player or which I won´t keep later in the game, it´s not the win I would enjoy. That´s my own personal problem, I know, but still a problem for me.

 

Why I like melee? Because it´s very funny format for casual play when we are only three or five players that evening and everyone can play a game. I like the way I have to thnik about cards in multiplayer format - Raiding Longship, Bronn, Trial by Combat... It´s completely different experience!!!

 

I don´t want to see cards that work only in melee (there were some in Tale of the Champions cycle in first edition), that´s waste of chapter pack space for jouster in me. But on the other hand I could imagine deluxe expansion after some years with (only) melee focus. That could be great for some players, although I´m not sure for the commercial benefit.

 

Finally - thanks to radix for this topic and reviving of forum, more topics, more discussion is always good!!!



#16
Joshaw

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Melee is the only reason I ever gave the game a chance, having little interest in one on one card games in the past. I enjoy the social aspect the game employs. I appreciate the diplomacy and manipulation it takes to compete in a game. I like that melee rewards multi-faceted players. It's a shame that FFG doesn't support it the same way they support the joust format, as I feel it's one of the bigger components that separates AGOT from their other card games. I briefly played competitively in 2013, but eventually stopped because joust isn't a whole lot of fun for me. It's a bummer that so many people treat it like a joke, but considering the problems competitive melee has faced in the past, it's hard for me to fault them.



#17
ToucanPlay

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I love melee, but I think you have to accept it for what it is: an amazing game to play with friends over drinks, while putting no bearing on the outcome. I never played competitive melee, but I can easily see how it can be very frustrating for players. You also hear stories of players hailing from the same meta doing things in a way to favor each other, which completely breaks the game.

 

Also, the new title system is better, but I still don't recommend using them with 3 players. In a 3 player table, an unfavorable choice of titles can completely ruin you. Sometimes, no amount of skill will save you from this, with titles being discarded at the start and all, and you're left with no good options.

 

4-player table is super fun though. I play it with my friends almost every weekend.


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#18
bored2excess

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I love melee, but I think you have to accept it for what it is: an amazing game to play with friends over drinks, while putting no bearing on the outcome. I never played competitive melee, but I can easily see how it can be very frustrating for players. You also hear stories of players hailing from the same meta doing things in a way to favor each other, which completely breaks the game.

 

Also, the new title system is better, but I still don't recommend using them with 3 players. In a 3 player table, an unfavorable choice of titles can completely ruin you. Sometimes, no amount of skill will save you from this, with titles being discarded at the start and all, and you're left with no good options.

 

4-player table is super fun though. I play it with my friends almost every weekend.

 

 

It is the better "board game" experience.

 

 

I think we've hit on the crux of it here. Melee is a board game. Joust is a LCG. They're just wildly different experiences that will beget wildly different opinions. And since melee's not the main focus of the game, it will always fluctuate wildly in each individual's interaction with it too.



#19
Radix

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I played a 3 player melee game last week with my Greyjoy Crossing deck. I opened with Naval Superiority against all Noble Causes, so naturally I became target number 1. But I still won.

I did this by strategizing my title picks. I often had initiative, and when I got raiding longship out my opponents made me go second. I always picked a title that was likely to have an opponent support me. Master of Laws and Coin are almost always picked, and by taking advantage of it, ot was 1v1 rather than 1v2. This also had the consequence of the person supporting me attacking the other player. Which caused retaliation. The result was a free for all, while I slowly gained power off of unopposed and LotC.

You cant control what happens, the skill is how you manage it. There are several variance reducers; from Master of Laws and Coins, to support protecting you, the Crown Regent's redirect, and the innate part of the game where your opponent cant pick on you because they have to worry about 2 other players.

As for Kingmaking, you need to manage relative power between people. If one person get clearly ahead early, he is going to get dogpiled and wiped out. If one person falls behind late in the game, he may bevome the Kingmaker. You need to learn what a player will do. There was the recent article on Melee personalities. You should recognize whether your opponant is a Cersei, Brienne, QoT, or Chella.

#20
Banjo

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Last Time I played melee there was a first snow of winter played every turn. And then a varys board wipe. It was quite a low impact game where I won with Bara fealty because Dominance. I like Melee with friends and I would try Melee competitively if it was an established format in the Meta. I think the reason people don't take it seriously has been stated already, FFG doesn't support it so its not on peoples priorities to be good at.

 

Also I think its also a very intimidating experience for newer players in the competitive scene.