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Subject: Game of Throne: Better than touring Swaziland rss

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If you like the idea of being pressed shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of murderous kings, untrustworthy scoundrels, scheming temptreess and a few too many brothers in line for the crown then a Game of Thrones is for you. The books by Martin are set on the Isle of Westeros a dreamy setting and the boardgame captures their dagger twisting brutality well.

This game is more for those that prefer direct conflict even though it has a good deal of backstabbing, tretchery and underhanded sneakiness. Its overiding feeling is one of claustrophobia and it is tense from round 2 up until the very end. To win the game you must grab seven castles or strongholds - a difficult feat given the small amount of space to knock around in and the constantly paltry resources to do your conquering by.

My favorite bit about A Game of Thrones is the asymertry of the board. Unlike many area control games A Game of Thrones spits in the eye of evenhandedness and fair resource allocation (although I expect some would differ) and sets each player up with a radically different domain. This adds to its replayability in that playing each house gives a very different player experience.

House Stark begins in the north, wide distances separate you from your enemies and generally you can afford to be pretty aloof until the late game. Stark is a nice place to offer a first time player of this game.

Baratheon and Pyke arrrh have their own island fastnesses and to a degree are one of the two easiest to play and those which I think are perhaps the most fun as you can project your power from the sea and allows a more unpredictable strategy. Both of them can become very dominant very quickly and snatching a win from either seems fairly common.

Lannister being the villians of the book are also the most disadvantaged although because of this kudos to anyone who gets a Lannister win. They certainly need to be more diplomatic than other houses might need to be. Lanister players are well advised to explore the possibilities of exerting their influence on the throne, raven and sword tracks in order to fend off their opponents. Don't give a new player Lanister if you hope them to come back for more is my advice.

The bidding that is associated with the throne, sword and raven tracks adds a great dimension to the game and beautifully expresses the fast changing fortunes of the competing houses. To add to the unpredictabilty each round a few event cards are pulled that can trigger mustering more armies for your ranks, reallocating food or triggering a wildling attack (barbarians uncouth in the bloody rituals of proper war). The game has a lovely chaos in that any strategy that you effect could well be undermined by these random events. That's not to say the game is random, it's just predictably unpredictable. laugh

Another bonus of a Game of Thrones is its order placement menchanism that enhances the diplomacy element and makes everyone unsure of the honesty of your 'allies,' assistance/non-agression. Even when the orders are revealed the trechery is not always obvious so you can savour the slow realization in the faces of your fodder, I mean friends, as your oh so cunning schemes are revealed (or squashed). This mechanic together with being able to influence turn order (and a few other factors) allows for really elegant interlinked strategies should you be able to pull them off in this already unpredictable game.

As to be expected from FF the pieces are good quality and if you've read the books there is an extra enjoyment from the theme. Our group raced off to Swaziland for a brief gaming holiday and when we weren't braaiing or swimming we played Game of Thrones again and again and again. It certainly beat touring and was worth border control.

Oh ja, House Tyrel, you tend to forget them, they're in the South somewhere, growing things. I hear they cover their knights in flowers.

Do get the first expansion to this, the ports alone are worth the cash, they make Lannisters' chances better, adds a sixth juicy player (House Martell) which redistributes the balance of power across the map enourmously. You might also think of making yourself a scoring track, some games can end abruptly because no one realizes someone has six castles.
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Snowball
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Gender: pot*ato. My opinion is an opinion.
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It's a very nice game, but I've never been in Swaziland, so I'm not sure about your appreciation
 
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Kamil G
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Very nice review.
It's pretty rare that someone is enojoying asymetry in this game, but I agree that it can be some factor increasing replayability. Playing Stark and for example Lannister can be very different experiences.

Oh and I found your advertisement of AGoT:
Quote:
If you like the idea of being pressed shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of murderous kings, untrustworthy scoundrels, scheming temptreess and a few too many brothers in line for the crown then a Game of Thrones is for you.

very entertaining. :D
Tyrrels growing things to the South also is nice statement.

One thing though: Westeros, afaik, isn't an island, it's a continent.

Cheers
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Aah thanks on the continent correction I was probably too busy looking at the dragons to notice.
 
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