A Game of Thrones The Board Game (2nd Edition) Review (Tabletop)
If you have read any of my other reviews, you know that I am a fan of many things, and yes the Song of Ice and Fire novels by George RR Martin and the vivid characters and intrigue he creates within them are some of them. A Game of Thrones The Board Game (2nd Edition) is a strategy conquest board game set amongst some of the powerful houses, mighty kingdoms, and political intrigue that are throughout the novels. In the game you take command of the one of the great houses of Westeros and through a combination of conquest, politics, and economic management work to subdue your foes and sit upon the Iron Throne ruling them from it.
All that said, one does not need to be familiar with the books to play and enjoy A Game of Thrones The Board Game (2nd Edition). At its heart it is a strategy game, and those who enjoy games like Risk, Axis and Allies, and Diplomacy will enjoy it as well. In fact several of my review sessions were with folks who had not read the books but they had just as much fun as those who were familiar. Of course, for a few of them, my exuberance for the fantastic world and rich characters in the story had them in search of both the game and the first book shortly after it ended.
A Game of Thrones
The objective of A Game of Thrones The Board Game (2nd Edition) is pretty strait forward. Be the first to capture seven territories, seven being a very important number from the books, which have strongholds or castles, or hold the most of these territories at the end of the 10th round of play.
Easy enough, to get there, however, the game uses several different mechanics which allow both the game and the players to influence how it is accomplished. It was the blend of these controls that left me loving the game as together they created a simple to follow, yet constantly changing, experience which forced me to plan ahead while being ready for anything. Before I can speak to them however, let’s talk about the basics.
Sea of Swords
The board for A Game of Thrones The Board Game (2nd Edition) is a map of Westeros divided into smaller areas depicting the smaller fiefdoms, territories, and seas that make it up. Each area is named and may also include one or more special icons noting advantages that owning the area will bestow. The first is the castles or strongholds mentioned above. The second icon is a crown, which notes how much power the area will give to the player. Power is measured by the accumulation of power tokens, and is spent by the player in several ways to influence the game, more to come on that later. Finally, a territory may also display a barrel icon which represents how the area will contribute to the players supply and support lines, which may limit the number and size of its standing armies. While castles are acquired as soon as the territory is conquered, one interesting mechanic of the game is that power and supply is only changed when the right card comes up, I’ll touch back on this later, which means that even though a territory is acquired its benefits may not be available immediately representing perhaps the extra time it may take to get a new land fully under the control of its new lord.
|Our Rating for A Game of Thrones The Board Game (2nd Edition) Review (Tabletop)|
Even though the board and its pieces remain the same from game to game, the shuffled event decks and other mechanics create a experience each time you play. Add to that the six possible houses one can start along with simply playing with new opponents and the game can be played again and again. Furthermore, the game includes setup rules for games with fewer than six players which are new experiences unto themselves.
As with the other Fantasy Flight Games we have reviewed the quality of materials included in the game do not disappoint. The game uses a mix of materials such as thick printed cardboard stock for order markers and power tokens and marble-looking plastic sculpted to represent unit types and colored to match the associated house. Beyond the various pieces actively used in the game it also includes two quick reference sheets and sight shields which not only prevents your neighbor from seeing your well laid
Though there are 30 pages of rules included with the game, they are organized in a clear, easy to understand manner. Even with all the moving pieces, a single player can read the rules and easily teach them to another player in a round or two of play. The game also includes two quick reference cards, as well as a few rules on each of the house site shields.
While the many pieces and rules may seem overwhelming at first, after even a single game one can see how they come together to create an intuitive and rich play experience. The various decks change the game enough to keep players on their toes, adjusting strategies round by round, while the unique ‘bidding of power’ and influence tracks offsets this adding in a risk for reward control. Finally, the encouragement of side deals and secret alliances, with just a few golden rules, allows the game to have the
Number of Players
3+ The game includes specific set up rules for play with 3-5 players. While these games can be a bit less forgiving to new players, I found that they presented different challenges which forces one to utilize other strategies adding to the replay value and experience of the game.
Under any name this game would be fantastic, yet I was amazed to find how well its use of bidding, influence tracks, and multiple event decks truly captured the intrigue and feeling of the Game of Thrones novels. For any fan of strategy/conquest board games Game of Thrones (2nd Edition) is a must buy, and for those looking to do more than observe the world of Westeros this game will not disappoint.