A Game of Thrones
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King Robert Baratheon is dead, and the seven kingdoms brace for war. House Lannister, whose daughter Cersei was Robert's queen, claims the throne for her young son Joffrey. From the Dragonstone Isle, Stannis Baratheon knows that Robert was not the true father of Joffrey, and rightfully demands the throne for himself. On the Iron Isles, House Greyjoy is about to embark on a second rebellion, but this time with a much grander goal. In the north, House Stark gathers its strength to defend what is right, and in the south the wealthy House Tyrell harbors an old ambition to sit on the Iron Throne.
As armies gather and ravens fly, a clash of kings is inevitable.
Based on the best-selling novel series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, the A Game of Thrones board game lets players take control of one of the great Houses of Westeros and embark on an epic struggle to claim the Iron Throne. Immerse yourself in a game of clever planning, careful allocation of power, diplomacy, and the exciting flavor of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Few games will compel five educated people to play until dawn, wrapped in a fantasy world as this game will. With less than five this game is good, but with the full number you get an intense, rich gaming experience. The world of boardgaming offers few products as good as this.
This game will compel you to read the literature in honors, that I suppose is the best complement I can make to its inventor.
I am from Poland where it is hard to get any board games. This game is available, thank God :] I played it twice and I really enjoyed it. Board looks great! Rules are easy. First it was strength to me that there is no dice but now I can't imagine playing it with dice. My friends and I are addicted ;) I am looking forward for expansion.
I gave this game 5 stars because it deserves more than 4 stars.
First, the game components are marvelous, nice board and wooden gaming pieces. The counters and the cards are nicely drawn and of good quality.
Second, the game itself is very intense. I have played it a couple of times now and the games were very excitting. We have played it with 4 and 3 players. The only thing that I can remark is that the games gets longer and more complex with every additional player.
The game has some diplomacy in it because you'll need to form / break pacts with other players. Also the bidding aspect of the game can get very complex; what do you need, how much are you willing to offer, do I have enough reserve in case of a wildling attack?, ...
And there is also a poker-aspect during battle. Which card shall I play, what will my opponent do, will he forsee me move, ....
The best part of the game is the planning fase where every player secretly plans his orders for each unit or army on the board. So one player can't see if another player is breaking or following the pact they just have made. Also planning an attack is a very mind-hurting job. You have to check your army strenght vs the other player's, keeping track of the bonuses you or the other player might have, trying to find out what card he could play, and so on...
This game is one of the best games I own... (And I have immediatley order the books of George R.R. Martin : A song of Ice and Fire.)
This is the game that Kingmaker would have been had it been developed in 2003. A bold claim to compare it to such a fondly remembered classic? Not at all in my opinion.
A Game of Thrones is a novel series set in a fantasy kingdom full of intrigue and conflict. Great houses vie to pursue their claim to the vacant throne. Armies clash as nobles form alliances only to swiftly betray them. No knowledge of these novels is required to enjoy the board game however. Characters make only a cursory appearance as flavour on the cards and the true heart of the game lies in the actions of armies and fleets along with the judicious application of influence.
The physical components are excellent. A beautiful map board, wooden pieces, thick card markers, and cards. It is all visually appealing, but what about gameplay?
Set up is preset with each player representing a house holding their home area and a couple of adjacent ones. The object of the game is to control cities and strongholds on the map. At the end of ten turns whoever has the most wins, or if any player controls seven at any time they are immediately victorious. As well as troops each player has five power tokens from their pool of twenty and seven house cards (explained later). They also begin in set positions on the three areas of influence within the game. The Iron Throne track represents the nobles' view of your claim to the throne, and determines the player turn sequence. The Fiefdoms track represents your bannermen and determines relative military strength. The King's Court track represents your spy network and determines the number of special actions you can perform in a turn. The highest positioned player on each track also has a special ability.
Each turn of the game has three phases: Westeros, Planning, Action. Westeros is the name of the continent over which the armies fight. This is skipped in the first turn only. Thereafter there are three stacks of event cards. The top card of stack one is revealed and resolved, moving on to the top card of stack two and then three. These contain events that will change minor rules for a turn but the most important three events are Supply, Mustering, and Clash of Kings.
Supply determines the number and maximum size of the armies a player can field. Mustering allows new troops to be recruited and old ones to be upgraded. Both these activities are only possible when the event cards occur so you can never guarantee having the troops to carry out all your plans, or the supply to support all the armies you want. This means that players must sometimes take a risk and adds to the tension as some players pray for an event just as others wish it not to appear. The Clash of Kings event allows for bidding to determine new positions on the influence tracks. Players blind bid their power tokens on each of the tracks in turn and are reorganized in order from highest to lowest bid. Ties are common and the top placed player on the Iron Throne track (remember I said they had special abilities) decides the order of tied bidders.
In the Planning phase each player has a number of order markers that they simultaneously assign face down to each area that they control containing units.
The orders are:
Raid: May disrupt actions in adjacent areas.
March: May move units in this area to an adjacent area or one linked by continuous sea units.
Support: Units may lend their strength to any conflicts in adjacent areas.
Defence: Increases the combat value of units in this area.
Consolidate Power: Players gain power tokens to add to their pool.
There are three of each order marker for each player, but one of each is a special and the maximum number of these that you can assign is determined by your position on the Court of Kings influence track. Once all orders have been placed they are all then revealed and at this point, before any actions are taken, the player at the top of the Court of Kings influence track may change an order in one of their areas for one they have not already used.
Then there is the Action phase where the orders are resolved. Resolution is in player turn order, with each player performing one action in rotation.
Firstly all raids take place. A raid can remove an adjacent raid, support, or consolidate power. Then units march. Any combat caused by movement into enemy held areas is resolved before the next units move so the order of play can be vital. Combat is not random, but contains bluff and the ability for allies to help as they see fit. Players add the strength of their units, plus any support from adjacent units, including those of other players if they can be persuaded. Each player then chooses and simultaneously reveals a house card which they will not get back until their entire hand of such has been used. These add their strength to the totals as well as having a special ability that may affect the outcome. Higher total wins, loser retreats or is destroyed. In the event of a tie the house higher up the Fiefdoms track is the victor. The highest placed player on this track may also give their side a +1 to their total once per turn making them very hard to defeat in combat.
Finally any areas still with ``consolidate power'' markers gain a power token or two for their house.
There are a couple of extra elements with neutral areas and wild barbarian raiders, but these add flavour to the game and neatly tie in more elements from the novel.
The game is wonderfully balanced (once a small change is made on the Court of Kings starting positions as recommended on Fantasy Flight's website). Each house has strategies that play to their strengths but cannot be too set in their ways due to the events and influence tracks. Experienced players will invariably beat the novice which is one of the signs of good gameplay in my book. It is possible for a player's position to get badly mauled but any obvious leader will face a unified front unless they politic well. I have not yet seen any house totally removed from play although it is theoretically possible.
The links between the different area of influence, action markers, and events produce a wonderful variability of play whilst retaining structure that is easy to understand.
The full five player version is very highly recommended. With less players one or more of the houses become neutral and the balance seems to swing towards certain starting houses. If at all possible play with five and enjoy a superb gaming experience.