The game has no clean and clear way of resolving ties. Rather, ties are resolved based on track order.
This is especially punishing if you’re out of tokens and can’t do better than the bottom of the tracks. Crucial battles can sometimes be won and lost on tiny margins.
Ties in battle don’t go to defenders, as one would commonly assume in a wargame. Instead, ties are resolved by seeing whoever is higher on the Fiefdoms track (the Valyrian Steel Blade one).
This means that anyone above you in the track effectively has a +1 strength advantage, unless you have a house card to counter this effect. You better make sure you have more strength in the battle than they do.
Furthermore, the player at the top of the track has the Valyrian Steel Blade, which they can use to optionally add one additional strength to their total. For a net gain of +2 after house cards are revealed. This ability is usable once per round.
In every other scenario besides battle, the holder of the Iron Throne resolves ties. Consider it ‘currying favor with the throne’. Scenarios where ties can occur include:
- Choosing final track order in a Clash of Kings bid
It is common that one or more players will have similar bidding amounts during the Clash of Kings phase.
In that case, the iron throne holder alone will rearrange tied houses. Note that you can only be swapped with other players that bid the same as you. So bidding at least one token assures that you will be in front of everyone who bid 0.
In times where everyone is very low on tokens (such as when you have two consecutive bidding rounds), the iron throne holder will do a lot of rearranging, and it is common to find the iron throne holder leading on 2 or all three of the tracks.
So don’t underestimate the power of resolving ties in determining the game outcome.
- How to shift a house from bottom to top on Swords and Raven
- Choosing bidding order during Wildling phase
If the players collectively lose the Wildling phase, the iron throne holder will choose among the lowest bidders to receive the worst penalty.
Likewise, the iron throne holder can choose who wins from among the highest bidders. So don’t make them angry.