(Apparently this isn’t going to be that “mini” a guide. Just explaining choosing your house has taken me a while).
Game of Thrones (GoT) seems to be one of the most misunderstood games out there. Many people find the rules confusing or incomprehensible, and unfortunately watching people play often doesn’t help. Advanced players stack modes and multiballs, and this makes it very hard for a new player to understand what is going on.
I had problems figuring out the game until one day I watched a person just play a single mode by itself. I thought I should try that. And low and behold the entire game opened up for me. And it went from a game I dreaded during tournaments to one of my favorite modern games.
When you start the game you have to choose a house to play. Your choice gives you a power for the rest of the game and makes that house mode available at the start of the game. There are really only three useful houses:
Choose House Tyrell! This house lights a yellow light in one of the inlanes, and the side can be switched by pressing the flipper button. Any time the ball goes through the lit inlane (including return feeds from the ramps or releases during multiball) the shot multiplier on every major shot increases by 1x. Your job is to use the flipper buttons to make sure the correct inlane is lit whenever a ball is coming back to you from a ramp. I will talk about these shot multipliers below, but Tyrell is by far the most powerful house unless you are a really really really good player.
If you don’t want to score a ton of points House Martell is an ok second choice. This house allows you to add-a-ball during multiball by hitting the action button. This only works once per ball, and if you don’t get a multiball on every ball your house power is basically wasted. It takes a lot more work to get a high score playing Martell compared to Tyrell. Martell can be a worthwhile choice for really good players with excellent multiball playing skills, because for them the add-a-ball can help reach level 2 and higher multiball jackpots for big points.
House Greyjoy is for really good players that want to have everything. The modes can only be played one at a time and they are a little harder, but when you complete a mode you get to steal that house’s power. This means you could have both House Tyrell’s and House Martell’s powers, but to do this you have to complete the modes first. In theory this is a great idea, but starting the Tyrell mode is a pain in the butt, and you often miss out on a ton of points playing the Martell mode without the Tyrell boost in multipliers. When you are comfortable with the game, play around with Greyjoy, but I have found my scores are much better just starting as Tyrell.
Now that you have chosen a house, you can actually start playing pinball!!!
There are five main shots: Greyjoy (left orbit), Targaryen (dragon), Lannister (center ramp), Stark (right ramp), and Martell (right orbit).
GoT is all about playing house modes. Each mode is timed and has a certain set of shots you need to make to complete the mode. Complete 3 modes to light the extra ball. Complete 4 modes to qualify the Hand of the King wizard mode. Complete all 7 modes to fight for the Iron Throne!
You will begin the game with your chosen house mode ready to start (white “chose your battle” insert will be lit) at the center ramp. Other house modes can be qualified by hitting their associated shot three times (Greyjoy, Targaryen, Lannister, Stark, and Martell) or completing target banks three times (Baratheon and Tyrell). Shots and target bank completions only count towards qualifying a house when you are NOT already in a mode or multiball. If you took my advice, the Tyrell mode is already qualified, which is good because those targets are dangerous.
Blackwater multiball is the main multiball. The light lock is lit by hitting the green Tyrell targets, and the lock is at the center ramp shot. Lock three balls to start the multiball. During multiball, hit the five main shots for jackpots to light the center ram for super jackpots. You can collect an unlimited number of supers during a short timer, and then the five main shots re-light for jackpots with higher values. For the first Blackwater multiball you can hit either Tyrell target to light the lock. Subsequent multiballs require you to complete the Tyrell bank to light the lock.
Now this is enough to know to start learning GoT. Chose your house and start playing modes individually. Learn what shots each mode takes in order to complete it. Learn which modes you like to play and which are harder to complete. (Hint: Targaryen takes three completions in order to actually complete the mode)!
Once you have a good idea of how to complete each mode, then think about how you might want to stack things. Stacking two modes that have similar shots allows you to work on both (and get the points from both) at the same time. Stacking modes with Blackwater multiball can work well, especially Greyjoy and Lannister because they all use all five of the major shots. But the important thing is that you play to your style, stack things however works for you.
Now for the gravy, and it is called shot multipliers! If you have been playing Tyrell and moving your inlane lights, you have already been benefitting from shot multipliers and have probably seen your scores go up. Now we take it to the next level.
Detail #1: Every time you make one of the five major shots, it scores the shot times the current multiplier, reduces the multiplier down to 1x, and then increases the shot multipliers for other shots. The other shots vary depending on what shot you made, but that is a detail I don’t worry about. I do know that the center ramp increases the multipliers for all four of the other shots.
Detail #2: Your shot multiplier is limited to 3x at the beginning of the game. It goes up 1x for each sword you collect up to a maximum of 5x. You light swords by completing houses, and collect one by shooting the Stark ramp. (Many people find the Stark ramp to be backhandable. I am not one of those people).
Detail #3: Your shot multipliers can be multiplied by the playfield multiplier. The playfield multiplier is activated by hitting the center ram multiple times. It is also capped at 3x at the beginning of the game and swords can increase the maximum to 5x.
Detail #4: Your shot multipliers time out. When they time out they all drop back to 1x. To refresh the timer you just need increase a multiplier by making one of the five main shots or rolling over a lit Tyrell inlane.
What this means is that you don’t want to hit the same shot over and over because it will have at most a 2x multiplier (if you got it from the Tyrell lit inlane). You want to shoot quickly and accurately so the multipliers don’t time out. And you may want to shoot the center ramp and Tyrell inlane to build the multipliers before you hit a high value shot.
GoT According to David
So here are the specifics to how I play GoT. Hopefully I will see it played against me soon.
My goal in every game is to get the extra ball and Hand of the King. I use Blackwater multiball as a tool, but I don’t prioritize it after the first time.
First shot is always to the center ramp. I pass the first chance to start a mode because want to be able to continue qualifying houses and I almost always want to stack two modes together.
Next I qualify Lannister and Greyjoy, trying to alternate shots so I benefit from the multipliers.
On my next mode start, I will chose modes depending on how close I am to Blackwater multiball. If I have zero or one ball locked, I will choose Lannister and Tyrell. (Most people only play Lannister when they can stack it with multiball but I find it easy enough to finish in single ball play). This is because they have similar shots and Tyrell makes you shoot the Tyrell targets which progresses towards multiball. If I have two balls locked I will chose Greyjoy and Tyrell (because I can center ramp to double collect, get the ball to the left flipper, hit the Tyrell targets, and hit the lock to start multiball). If I am choosing a mode and starting multiball at the same time, I chose the Greyjoy and Lannister combo.
The reality is that my preference is to complete Tyrell and Lannister before getting into multiball. This allows me to collect two swords and increase my shot multiplier max to 5x before getting into multiball stacked with Greyjoy.
If all things work out, I have completed three houses and collected the extra ball.
My fourth house is then almost always Stark. I start Stark alone (the exception is I will sometimes stack it with the first level of Targaryen). I then just center ramp over and over (while getting the lit inlane) to build the collect value and then left orbit when I feel like it for a 5x collect. It usually is worth 200-300 million.
Then we are in Hand of the King!
Now this perfect storm doesn’t happen all the time. But when it does happen it is sweet. I got one of my favorite pinball complements after finishing both Tyrell and Greyjoy in about 20 seconds. A spectator said “That is the most efficient way to play GoT I have ever seen”!
Good luck folks!