T-Bob: "Game of Thrones" fans need to try the board game
by T-Bob Hebert,posted Apr 15 2014 8:57PM
This past Sunday, I engaged a group of new found friends in a couple rounds of the "Game Of Thrones" board game. Wow! What a game... I don't know when the last time I had so much fun getting so stressed out. The GoT board game is an excellent representation of both the books and HBO television show, as it encourages laughing and high fiving with one hand while stabbing your "ally" in the back with the other. Sunday marked my third time playing the game, yet it was the first time I started to experience some of the subtlety and genius of the game design.
Let's get this out of the way first... "Game of Thrones," produced by Fantasy Flight Games, is not an easy game. This is not like "Ticket to Ride" or "Monopoly," where you can learn to play in 5-10 minutes. This is a game that will take a bit of a commitment the first couple times you play, and may feel like somewhat of a slog at first.
The reason I didn't enjoy this game the first two times I played was that I didn't entirely know what I was doing, and yet, it had a whole group of people constantly asking me questions. Also, some of the personalities in the group were not conducive to a good gaming environment. Anybody who will complain about the game being "too complicated" or gets bored or just brings a negative outlook in general SHOULD NOT BE INVITED! I cannot stress enough how much the attitude of the group will effect your level of enjoyment. When you have a positive group that is into it (maybe even a little role playing) this game is amazing!
Although you want everybody to have a good attitude, be warned; during the course of a game, saltiness will occur. The game takes place between 3-6 players as each person assumes control of one of the major houses and dukes it out for control of the Iron Throne. The Baratheins, Greyjoys, Starks, Martells, Tyrells, and of course the Lannisters are all there. The game board is a beautifully drawn map of Westeros filled with locations and landmarks that fans of the book and show alike will appreciate.
The aesthetics of the game are wonderful. All art is a joy to look at and gives you a further appreciation of the universe George RR Martin has created. The game ends after 10 rounds, or if one of the houses can capture 7 castles at once. There is no second place. In the words of the great Ricky Bobby, if you are not first you are quite literally last. The fact that there is only room at the top for one leads to all sort of back room deals and maneuvering as players try to work together, while also positioning themselves for ultimate victory. Friendships will be tested.
I think when I realized just how much fun I had when I lost the second game in a row, and instead of being frustrated, we were excitedly recapping the crucial moves and decisions that had tipped the game either way.
If you are a fan of the show, or just a fan of games, I cannot recommend "Game Of Thrones" enough. The high production quality and clever game mechanics give it a ton of depth and replay-ability and is well worth the price of admission. I myself cannot wait for next Sunday when once again, we shall gather to battle it out for control of the Iron Throne.
Cersei Lannister put it best when she said, "When you play the game of thrones you either win, or you die."