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A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (Second Edition)» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Review – A Game of Thrones (7P) rss

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Peter Norberg
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This weekend I had the pleasure of playing 'A Game of Thrones', the board game, based on George R. R. Martin's bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire novels. The first thing I noticed, as with most of Fantasy Flight Games productions, is the high quality of the game board, player screens, game cards and plastic units. I'll come back to these later.

A Game of Thrones is published by Fantasy Flight Games and designed by Christian T. Petersen. It can be played with 3-6 players and takes approximately 2-4 hrs. The three games we played all took 3-5 hrs. I give this game a ranking of 7/10.

A Game of Thrones is a wargame where each player control one of the six Great Houses that seek to control the lands of Westeros. By mustering armies and conquering territory each House seeks to gain control of seven castles or strongholds. If no House has managed this by the end of the tenth turn the House with the most castles and stronghold wins.

Each turn starts with a Westeros phase where the top card of each Westeros deck is drawn and resolved in order. Westeros cards have a large impact on the game and decide when it's time to muster new armies, when the Wildings attack and more. When the Westeros phase has been completed each player assigns orders to all his units and armies on the game board. This is done by placing order tokens face down on each unit or army and then all players reveal their orders simultanously. Lastly, in the action phase, all orders placed in the planning phase is resolved.

Upon reading the rules I was quickly drawn into the game mechanics and found that I suddenly looked forward very much to playing the game. And A Game of Thrones didn't disappoint me. It had a few issues though. One was the plastic units. There are 4 types of units in A Game of Thrones; footman, knight, ship and siege engine. These were of high quality and at first glance looked very well made. But upon playing the game I felt that they looked very similar. It was sometimes hard to see if it was a footman, knight or a siege engine you had in a sector.

Another issue was the game board. It was very detailed and well made but in the 4 player setup that we used the starting positions of the four Great Houses (Stark, Greyjoy, Lannister and Baratheon) gave especially the Baratheons an easier game while the Stark got the worst starting position. If I had designed the game I would have changed which Great Houses were used in the 4 player setup.

Having said that I think that A Game of Thrones is a good game. The bidding system for the three influence tracks (Iron throne, Fiefdome and King's court) is the best I've tested so far and I've never seen players use as many power tokens in order to rise as high as possible on these tracks. Bidding systems in other games often have a secondary role but in A Game of Thrones it was vital and had a profound effect on what you could do on the game board. It was also a nice touch to add a player screen for each Great House to hide power and order tokens from other players.

Combat in A Game of Thrones is straightforward and quick. There are some advanced rules to increase the randomness of battles but we didn't use them in the games that we played. One interesting feature in combat is the support order that allows armies in adjacent territories to lend support to one of the warring faction. It's even possible to lend support to other Great Houses than your own which opens up for some diplomatic options and alliances.

I recommend this board game, especially to all who enjoy the work of George R. R. Martin.
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Tiago Perretto
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Kilanuman wrote:
Bidding systems in other games often have a secondary role but in A Game of Thrones it was vital and had a profound effect on what you could do on the game board.


It is secondary in Game of Thrones, but it has a profound effect when it happen.

Have played 2 games so far that not even one Clash of Kings came out. So, no bids.

So, secondary and important.

Regards,
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Igor Brígido B. Sales
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This game is crazy random regarding the leader until it stops after some round and we see who won.

I truly hate it (but i see its good points).
 
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detinn wrote:
This game is crazy random regarding the leader until it stops after some round and we see who won.

I truly hate it (but i see its good points).


I am not sure what you mean?
 
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Jeff A
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Played this last night and a couple of my group were saying that its too random.

My response is that it has random aspects, the tides of battle, the Westeros cards etc. But I disagree that its too random, there isn't really that much randomness. They included things like the "random choice" of leader your opponent selected during combat. I would counter that you have full knowledge of what leaders they can use, as we play, you can ask to see your opponents cards prior to deciding.
Last night I got really burnt by not thinking enough about the card I decided to play.

Compare this game to a game like Eclipse (not the vampire one) where every aspect of the game is random, your land hexes, the tech you can research, combat by dice etc.

I think there is a lot of deep strategy in this game, things that I have only thought of and haven't tried.

Keeping with the Game of Thrones story, you need to do things that are not typical even in other area control games, like making alliances that you intend to break, betrayal etc.

The gentlemen last night that didn't enjoy themselves were the two that didn't attempt to even make any alliances with those next to them. And seeing that one was Lannister, this was a bad decision on his part.
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Peter Norberg
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Kingsix wrote:
I think there is a lot of deep strategy in this game, things that I have only thought of and haven't tried.

Keeping with the Game of Thrones story, you need to do things that are not typical even in other area control games, like making alliances that you intend to break, betrayal etc.

I agree, we played three games in a row and for each new game we used more advanced strategies. A Game of Thrones is more advanced than was obvious the first time we played the game.
 
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