We went to Card Kingdom in Ballard a couple weeks ago with some of Nick’s friends from work and we played A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (second edition), which I’ve been meaning to blog about. Card Kingdom was a pretty cool place. They sell all sorts of board games, card games, puzzles, tabletop games, etc. and they have tables set up so people can play at the store. They also have private rooms where you can play (which is what we did). There is a cafe, too, which provides food and drinks to the gamers. We’ll definitely go back there again sometime.
The Game of Thrones board game felt very similar to Risk, but it takes place in Westeros, the continent in the Game of Thrones world where most of the action takes place. The board game supports up to 6 players (unless you let multiple people play as one team, like we did), where the 6 players represent 6 Great Houses from the Game of Thrones series: House Stark, House Lannister, House Baratheon, House Greyjoy, and House Tyrell. You can still play the game with as few as 3 players and it seems like the creators of the game thought that out well, changing the rules a bit to support fewer players. Like Risk, the world is broken up into many regions and the goal of the game is to try to take over as much of the realm as possible.
The game was much more complicated than Risk, though. For instance, players are allowed to control the seas around Westeros and use the seas to move their units quickly around the continent (Nick and I tried to employ this strategy). Another difference is that there are four different types of units and some are better at defense, whereas others are better at offense. Furthermore, players receive house cards (characters from the series, who aid the player during battles), order tokens (which allow each of the player’s controlled regions to perform various actions), and power tokens (used for bidding). Oh, and I almost forgot! One of the cool things about the game is that there are also three influence tracks (the Iron Throne, the Fiefdomes, and the King’s Court), which allow players certain abilities based on their ranking on the tracks. The player with the highest ranking on each track also gets a dominance token for that track, which allows additional special abilities.
It was the first time most of us had played the game and it took us a while to get started, because we had to set everything up and learn the rules. With all that there is going on in the game, it was definitely overwhelming at first, but everyone caught on quickly enough. There game lasts 10 rounds (unless a player controls 7 castles/strongholds before the 10 rounds are over) and each round consists of 3 phases:
- The Westeros Phase: The top card from each of three decks is turned over and their effects are carried out. Wildlings can also attack during this phase and players will have to work together to fight them. (This phase is skipped in the first round)
- The Planning Phase: Players assign orders to each of the regions they control by placing order tokens in the regions. There are 5 different types of orders: march, defense, support, raid, and consolidate power.
- The Action Phase: The order tokens are resolved and most of the player activity takes place.
There is a lot that I left out (I told you it’s complicated!), but we had a lot of fun playing it. Your first game will probably go pretty slowly (we had to cut our game short about halfway through), but should go faster after everyone gets a handle on the rules.
So if you love strategy games, I’m sure you will enjoy A Game of Thrones: The Board Game. We certainly did!