Grab the chance to take on the role of one of the noble Houses in George R. R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, by playing the Game of Thrones Board Game. Carry the banner of House Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Greyjoy, or Tyrell and battle it out to gain control of the Iron Throne, and ultimately, all of Westeros. Mirroring the complex backdrop of the books, it takes more than the strength and power of one’s troops to win this war game. Players must outwit their opponents through strategy, resource allocation, diplomacy, and a fair amount of backstabbing – all the exciting elements of A Song and Ice and Fire!
A Game of Thrones board game takes place near the end of the first book, though there is no need for players to follow the series in order to play it. The premise is simple enough. Following the death of King Robert Baratheon, Queen Cersei of House Lannister claims the throne in the name of their eldest child, Joffrey. Robert’s brother, Stannis Baratheon, is aware that Joffrey is not Robert’s son in truth and claims the throne for himself. House Stark prepares to fight for honor and justice. Following their own ambitions, House Greyjoy and House Tyrell decide to join the fray, intent on claiming the Iron Throne for themselves.
The Game of Thrones board game comes with an array of beautiful components, including a map, House Units (footmen, knights, and ships), tokens, House Cards, Westeros Cards, and a rulebook. The board itself represents Westeros and is divided into several regions. At the beginning of the game, each player randomly selects a House and places their Units on the board. Players can then place order tokens to determine the basic actions that Units in a specific region can perform. Types of orders include march, defend, raid, support, and consolidate power. The execution of actions follows a unique ordering system that keeps all players active throughout every phase of gameplay. Tokens and areas of influence bring in factors to support or hinder players, adding more depth to the war game. In addition, each turn (except for the very first one) begins with a Westeros phase, where the Westeros card drawn can affect the players’ supply, troops, or influence, or can cause Wildings to attack. At the end of ten turns, the player with the most cities and strongholds wins.
The game’s numerous components give it the right amount of depth and variety without being too overbearing and are complemented by rules that are relatively easy to follow. In addition, Game of Thrones board game is one of those rare war games wherein troops do not define a victory. It is, in fact, possible to win without moving one’s armies, though it would take a great amount of cunning to get your opponents to fight amongst themselves and leave you unscathed. The drawback to the game is that it can be quite difficult to recover if one’s troops and resources are devastated early on. When this happens, a player can opt to form alliances or simply give in to the inevitable and work to ensure that the player who caused his downfall will not win.
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