A Game of Thrones The Board Game

King Robert Baratheon has been assassinated, and the continent of Westeros plunged into all out war. Great Houses will use fear and blood to lay claim to the Iron Throne - but only one victor will sit upon it. This is the backdrop of the A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (set in George RR. Martin's Songs of Ice and Fire world).

Designer - and founder of Fantasy Flight Games - Christian Peterson has done an excellent job illustrating the geography of this massive conflict, and through laying out some smoothly engaging mechanics, providing us with a riveting gameplay experience.

One of up to 6 players can lead the armies of Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Greyjoy, Tyrell, or Martell, on a mission to conquer as much of the seven kingdoms as their power will yield - and power is life in this world. 

The board recreates the balance of power in Westeros with cunning accuracy. Holding a city like Lannisport gives the player a greater food supply chain to field larger armies, whereas holding a city like Kings Landing yeilds more power tokens to be used in the bidding for influence. Thusly, like in the story, the Lannisters begin the new war with greater forces. The Baratheons start with greater power.

The turn is divided into a series of phases: Bidding, Order Token deployment, and Order Token resolution.

Players must first bid Power Tokens for the Iron Throne which grants initiative. Bidding on the messenger Raven grants order efficiency (stronger order tokens that can be played), and shelling out for the Valyrian Steel Sword rewards the recipient with improved Combat prowess - with combat ties awarded to whoever ranks higher on the track.

Players then place their order tokens face down on the territories they control (land or sea) which allow their forces to march, defend, support, or raid against nearby rivals.

Be warned that you must always follow the conditions of the three cards drawn from the Westeros Decks at the start of the round as well (random events that effect the game that turn), which add a whole other tier of strategy to an already perfectly-integrated experience.

Combat is a ultimately a numbers game: Who can muster and march with the greatest armies and armadas, and who can play the strongest Character Cards that will always add unique mechanics to the battle. And when naval convoys allow armies to move halfway across the continent in a single turn, predicting enemy movements is when the real game begins. The first player to capture 7 strongholds before the 10 rounds are over will definitively sit on the Iron Throne.

And while the regal war rages in the south, the Wildlings prepare to invade from the north through Castle Black. When the Wildling Track maxes out (due to too many unlucky Westeros Cards),  it becomes everyone's problem.

The wonderful game art and sleek pieces add to the vibrancy of the Game of Thrones Board Game. You will spend hours commanding armies on the field of battle - and plotting in the chambers of your small council. This has long been one of JADE's favourite war games and is worth bringing into your fold. For it has long been known that all kings shall fall. Valar Morghulis.

Written by: Jeff Clive

Images sourced from:  https://www.fantasyflightgames.com

A Game of Thrones The Board Game A Game of Thrones The Board Game Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 5/17/2014 08:01:00 pm Rating: 5

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