A few weeks ago I found myself sitting down with my friends for our usual favorite activity: board games. We decided we were going to try something new. That something new was the Game of Thrones board game by Fantasy Flight. Here are my overall impressions of the game.
For those unaware of the gaming company Fantasy Flight, their games tend to have a few things in common. Large boards, complicated rules, and more pieces than a Lego kit. Game of Thrones does not disappoint. It has a ton of little pieces that you need to keep an eye on. The rules also require a run through a couple times, but you’ll pick most of it up a few rounds into the game.
The game entails each player taking control of one of the great houses from the Game of Thrones series. I should mention that the game follows the books a little more closely than the HBO series, so the Martells and Tyrells are considered among the choices. The object of the game is to conquer 7 castles/strongholds before the game ends. One nice mechanic is that there is a set number of rounds so the game may only take a few hours to play or less depending on the players. I won’t go into all the game mechanics and details because we’d be here for a while, but I can tell you that game plays very similarly to Diplomacy, another great game. It requires everyone to set their tactics and moves at the beginning of each round and then resolve them. Essentially it requires you to anticipate your opponents’ moves and counter them at the get-go. But these can be disrupted by the character cards. Each House has cards that are played when players initiate combat with each other. These can range from simple boosts to army strength, to effects that can completely change the game. This adds a layer of surprise and additional planning.
Overall I found the game very well done. Fantasy Flight puts out quality games and once again they do not disappoint. I liked how the game requires you not only to think ahead, but really anticipate your opponents’ moves. It moves fairly quickly, but can drag when other players are resolving actions that don’t affect you. It’s one of those games that take a while to get a good grasp on, but once you do it’s really enjoyable. I recommend the game to fans of the series and strategy games like Risk or Diplomacy.
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