“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”
I’ve heard this quote countless times over the last year, despite having little knowledge of the book it came from. HBO’s adaptation of A Game Of Thrones changed all that, and I’m now a fervent fan of George R.R. Martin’s work, even if I’ve not read all the books yet.
But don’t worry, I’m not here to talk about the novels and excellent TV adaptation. No I’m here to reveal the numerous board games that are available, and have been available for quite some time now. Please note that these are only basic overviews, I will go into more detail in later reviews. I just felt that if you’re new to the series like me, you might want to know what sort of stuff to start looking for.
A Game Of Thrones (The Living Card Game)
The most interesting aspect of this game is that it’s actually an adaptation of an older collectible card game that Fantasy Flight Games first released in 2002. Fantasy Flight converted it over to the LCG format in 2008 and it has stayed this way ever since. It’s been a big success for Fantasy Flight, and while it’s perfectly possible to play the game straight out of the box via a very balanced base set, many like to buy the monthly expansions that enable them to constantly upgrade and improve their decks.
In the core set, it’s played between 2-4 players, but it’s definitely built for a full group of players. Players take on the role of 4 of the major house: Stark, Lannister, Baratheon and Targaryen and must attempt to seize 15 power points. What’s interesting here is that there are 3 distinct types of challenges: Military, Intrigue and Power, which can be played to give you an edge over your opponents and earn different rewards. It’s a slick, beautifully presented game, rich in theme and dripping with flavour.
A Game Of Thrones (The Board Game)
I’ve literally just got my hands on a copy of this, so can’t really tell you to much about it at the moment. What I do know is that it’s a 2nd Edition of the game that was first released in 2003. It’s infamous for taking an extremely long time to play (typically around the 4 hour mark) and for being an incredibly back-stabby game. As I like games like this, I’m quite looking forward to getting stuck into it. It featured two expansions: A Clash Of Kings and A Storm Of Swords, and elements from both expansions are included in the new revision. The game takes place over 10 turns and sees players amassing armies and trying to seize control of Westeros. From what I’ve seen of the instructions it’s a fairly complicated game, but it does appear to have a lot of potential for intrigue and political might. One thing I like about the card game is that it’s very swingy, with games often going several ways before a winner is determined, and from what a friend has told me, the board game is very similar. Expect a review very soon.
Battles Of Westeros
Many battles take place in the novels, so it should come as no surprise to learn that there is a war game that takes place in George R.R. Martin’s fantastical world. Unlike the other games, it’s designed from the off for just 2 players, and sees them pitting rival houses against each other on the battlefield. The game comes with a huge amount of playing figures and is far quicker to play than the other A Game Of Thrones titles, with a game typically lasting around 45 minutes. I admittedly know very little about this last game, but it does look very interesting. Needless to say I’ll be hopefully picking up a copy very, very soon.
I appreciate that these are only brief intros (and in the case of Battles Of Westeros, rather flimsy) but hopefully they’ll inspire you to at least check the games out.