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Subject: Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue - short review rss

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Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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Thinking about my next move.
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So, if my only options are these, then I shall...
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Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue is the pinnacle of simple rules an total, absolute absence of any sort of link between mechanics and theme - even me, a person used to Knizia way of beign and designing, was taken aback by how abstract and themeless this game is.

Anyway, the game goes like this: each player receives, at the start of the round, a hand of cards - for four players, each gets 9 cards. The number of rounds the game lasts is equal to the number of players. The cards are divided in four colors (and this is the only thing that matters - name, image, is all for show; there aren't even numbers on the cards, which can mean that Knizia only had 50% of his usual amount of work, as his games are usual numbers and colors). In his turn the player must play one of his cards on the table, or he must pass and be out of the round. The first cards must be played in a single row, forming the bottom row of the court (this bottom goes to a maximum of 8 cards). Once there are two cards in a row, the person may play a card in a new row above them, forming a pyramid (first row with 8 cards, second with 7, third with 6, and so on). The card played in the new row, however, must match the colors of one of the two cards below it.

The pyramid can go up until there is only one card at the top, but, usually, it won't go this far, as the limition that the card above must match the color of one of the two cards bellow can (and, most of the time, will) block one or more players from adding cards to the rows, as there won't be a valid play. When this happen, the player counts how many cards there are still in his hands and take penalty points equal to the number of cards. The last player to add a card to the pyramid wins the round and takes one Throne card (which have negative points from -1 to -3, as the penalty points are "positive", and the purpose of the game is to have as lowest points as possible in order to win). Take note that last player to add a card is different then first player to play his last card.

And that is it. This is the whole game - adding a card, every turn, to the pyramid, trying to play as many cards possible, hopefully be the last one to add a card to it, and, if not, taking as few penalty points as possible. Players will try to play the cards as to block others - like, if you do not have more yellow cards, you might put a gray card above one gray and one yellow, lowering the chances of a yellow card be played later.

It is hard to make a simpler game.

Now, I was expecting a much worst game, to be honest. From what I had read and heard, the game lack, no only in theme (which is completely true), but, more importantly, in quality. I was expecting a game much more dependent of luck, with very little room for actual good play, leaving for the players only the task to try their best to handle the cards they are given. Well... yes, Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue has a fine deal of luck - if you take 5 or 6 cards of the same color, chances are that you will be shut down by the others and a chunk of penalty points maybe coming your way. However, the preponderance of luck is lower than what I expected to be. Not only there is room for smart play, one can actually prepare for his next moves. The only bad part of the randomness is the Throne cards, that range from -1 to -3, since, in a tight game, the decisive thing could be the difference between taking a -3 card or a -1. I understand that this exists to create a fog in the amount of points department, as to not be able to know exactly how much points all the players have, in order to have more tension in the end game, giving hope for the participants ("he gained two Throne cards, but both could be -1, now, if I only could take a -3, maybe even a -2, I could win..."). It works for this side of things, but I didn't liked (I could just take out the -3 card, though).

The theme, as I said, is a joke. Nothing is related to anything. The theme could be whatever you want - Vegetable Wars, Revolution of the Colors, Suit Conflict, you name it. As such, is completely possible to play the game with a standard deck of cards (using the aces, a couple of 2s and a 3 as Throne cards) and a pen and paper to register the penalty points. Or you can cut color papers and you will be good to go.

The components, by the way, are OK: the cards have square shapes, which I'm not fond of, but do help to make the pyramid less tall. The box is huge for its contents. The penalty points markers are standard stuff.

The playing time ranges from 20 to 30 minutes - more players, more time playing, as there will be more rounds.

So, to sum it up, Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue is an easy game to teach, learn and play. But won't be anything special - it probably won't be the favorite filler of someone, nor it will be asked. Beign neutral enough, though, it doesn't offend, so I can't see beign refused with a passion also, considering the quick playing time and easiness. Do I recommend it? Not really. For instance, Love Letter is better and cost basically the same. Sure, the experience of both isn't the same, one not beign a complete substitute of the other, even more because Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue can accommodate up to six players. Even still, the recommendation is more in the level of "buy if you find it by half price".

Regards,


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Christopher Dearlove
United Kingdom
Chelmsford
Essex
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SoRCon 11 23-25 Feb 2018 Basildon UK http://www.sorcon.co.uk
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I acquired a free copy and recently pulled it out to try. Any spoilers are of course nonexistent, the theme is (and for once the term is accurate) pasted on.

It seems fairly slight, but it went down well when I pulled it out. And it's got enough skill level that I haven't lost yet (but drew one, even with tiebreak).

So I'm not sure whether it's worth however much is charged for it (no idea how much) but it's a reasonable little filler. If I manage to pick up another at any point, I know where I could gift it.
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