Playing the Game of Thrones

Westeros,in all it's cardboard glory.
I had my reservations when I first saw the Game of Thrones board game. I'm a an of the books (and the recent TV series as well) and I was kind of worried that it might not capture the feel of the books.

Turns out that the A Game of Thrones (AGoT) board game does measureup to the novels and captures it's essence wholly. I had a chance to play the game with a couple of my friends in a cafe recently as one of them bought a basic set online for a steal (half the current price on online auctions).

In a nutshell, the AGoT basic board game is well-designed and a lot of fun to play with instead of being draggy like other boardgames. The game puts you in the boots of a warlord for one of the five (initial) Great Houses: Baratheon, Stark, Lannister, Tyrell and Greyjoy. Each of the Great Houses have their own strengths and weaknesses reflected in their stat cards and initial status in the game. First off, aesthetics. The board is big without being bulky and the various counters and other sundries are packed by House. The pieces are made of wood, reminiscent of old Risk sets which is higly appreciated in my book. I like plastic pieces though but for AGoT, the choice of wood just nails the medieval fantasy feel of the novels. The illustrations are top-notch but kind feels too gloomy with all the dark colors running through the graphics.

Lannisters cornered!
In terms of game play, AGoT is surprisingly fast and furious. I expected a game would last 2 hours but with only 10 turns and an alternate winning condition that would make things quicker, AGoT does not drag at all. It plays without dice reducing the bulk of the board; instead it makes use of various action counters and icons for combat and other game play elements. Combat might have been standard boradgame wargame though the addition of Wildling attacks make the game more chaotic. Politics is represented by event cards pulled out per turn with players lobbying for favor using the consolidate points they earn.

A Game of Thrones plays well and I can say that it is one of the best boardgames around today. As for us, we're looking forward to further the experience by acquiring the expansion boards as well.

Cardboard Valyrian Steel and the THRONE!!!
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