It’s Thanksgiving soon! Holidays always mean time with family and friends. Although I love watching movies with them, or enjoying a giant feast together, I would rather do nothing more than play with them. This game is all about family. More specifically, about putting your family on the Iron Throne. This game might ruin everyone’s relationship, but at least your fantasy family will rule over the Seven Kingdoms.
This game takes place in the G.R.R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire universe. Most people probably know it as the Game of Thrones series. Anyone who knows anything about the show or books knows that the wars and political intrigue between the ruling families drive the narrative forward. This game lets you play out the tensions and struggles of these families as you take control of one of the six most powerful clans in Westeros. The complexity of the game helps mimic the intricacy of politics and war depicted in the show and books very well. If you’re fan of the show or books then it will be easy to get invested in the game; if you’re unfamiliar, then the mechanics will be very hard to follow during your first playthrough.
This game is not friendly to new players. The rule book is thirty pages thick, there are five different commands you can issue and three different versions of each command, five different icons printed throughout the board, fifteen different special action cards that are played at the start of every round, seven different trackers, and not to mention the forty two unique character cards that form the leaders and strategists of your armies. This game reflects a lot of the logistics generals have to track in war, so if your only exposure to war games is Risk, you’re going to be in for a huge surprise.
Art and Pieces
I’m always excited to see how artists imagine characters from books. The House Cards allow players to use fan favorite characters to lead their armies when combat arises; some of these cards really capture the personality of the characters. Eddard Stark cleaning his Valyrian Steel sword Ice is perhaps my favorite single card.
All the pieces are made of durable material, which is a must for a game costing so much. I must mention a big flaw with the army pieces. There are four different kinds of units you can place, and from certain angles, three of them are indistinguishable from one another. Although this might confuse your opponents of how strong your force actually is, it can just as easily confuse you. Also, House Martell’s pieces blend in with the map a little too much. Most of the other pieces have vibrant colors that help them pop up against the board; House Martell did not receive this benefit.
This game is long. There is no sugar coating this fact. This game lasts up to ten rounds. Ten rounds doesn’t sound like much but each one can last about an hour. Some people will quickly decide what their armies will do, but some players will contemplate every decision. That’s when this game quickly begins to stall. Alternatively, this game ends when a player captures seven castles and each player starts with one. Capturing six other castles should not be too difficult, but with enemies ready to storm any defenseless fortress you leave behind, it will take a lot more effort than you’d expect.
The game retails for $59.99, so this puts it at the pricier end of games. The game requires at least three players, but is best with six. Considering the hours it takes to play one game, the amount of people who will enjoy those hours, and the sheer magnitude of the game, I’d say it was retail price. You might be able to pick it up on sale on Amazon or some other online retailer; if you find it any cheaper, and you’re a fan of the series or of war games, you’d be foolish not to pick it up.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!