Once again, we have a new game sent to us from the nice people at Esdevium. This time it’s ‘A Game Of Thrones – The Card Game’.
Having recently reviewed The Big Bang Theory – The Party Game, you really couldn’t get 2 games more diametrically opposed! Although, it did also bring to mind this clip for one of our testers…
‘A Game Of Thrones – The Card Game’ is a living card game, much like Magic: The Gathering, where you can buy additional packs of cards to bolster your basic deck. We were playing with the core starter kit, which comes with 4 starter decks representing 4 of GoT’s 6 great houses (Stark, Lanister, Baratheon and Targaryen). You also get a game board, 60 power counter, 44 Gold Dragon Tokens and 6 Title Figures.
Really, had I been a bit more organised, I should have read the reasonably hefty (for a card game) rule book prior to us all meeting up to try it out. I think it would really help to have at least one person have a decent overview of the rules before playimg, rather than trying to learn as you go. Not unlike Sheldon and the gang, we were 3 reasonably experienced gaming geeks (and one geeks rather less geeky girlfriend), but it still took a while to get through the first round, as I was having to refer back to the rules to check what to do next, which slowed things down somewhat.
The object of the game is to gain power by military, political, and devious means to take the Iron Throne. Each round is split into a sequence of 7 phases – Plot, Draw, Marshalling, Challenges, Dominance, Standing and Taxation. At first glance, it is rather overwhelming seeing the rules, but the book is well written and has numerous examples so you can see how things could play out. I won’t even try to explain the rules here, but the basic premise is that the cards you play either give you pluses or minuses to the amount of power and gold you receive that turn, whilst other cards allow you to attack or defend against other players. The various ‘title figures’ also give you pluses and minuses to gold, power, or strength of your units. In addition, cards may also have special rules about when you can play them, or give additional bonuses. Although it appear really complex, once you’ve got your head around it and have played a few rounds, it all becomes much easier. Even the non-geek among us was getting the hang of it, and (unlike Penny) was enjoying it.
The general consensus was that, given the time, ‘A Game Of Thrones – The Card Game’ would be a fun and engrossing game. It’s maybe a little more complex than it needs to be, but that may also add to longevity of it. It’s a game that’ll take some time and dedication to get into, and is probably not the sort of thing you could just take out and decide to play one evening with some uninitiated friends. But for fans of the living card game genre, it’s well worth a look.