The second edition of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game has been launched late last year, fact that surely brings a lot of joy to the fans of the TV series and books.
Since this board game is based on a series of fantasy books, it comes to no surprise that the rules are very complex. Below I will offer only an overview of the game, and the ones who are interested in the complete set of rules can find the ones of the first edition in PDF format here.
As opposed to the first edition of the game, that could only be enjoyed by 3 to 5 players at a time, this edition allows a maximum of 6 players. This is simply translated as: more friends, more fun! Or enemies, for that matter, since the alliances in Game of Thrones are known for not being long lasting. In fact, betrayal and deceit are essential in this game, as victory can be achieved easier when others are determined to act upon one’s request. The augmented complexity also led to an increase of the estimated duration of the game to 4 to 6 hours from the original 2 to 4.
In the beginning of the game, each player picks a House that will serve him both for battles and diplomacy. These two aspects are equally important in this game. At the end of the game, which lasts for 10 rounds, the player who controls the most game is declared the winner. Instant victory may occur before these 10 rounds if any of the players controls 7 castles. When various Houses battle, the inflicted damaged is calculated based on a points-system that is detailed in the rules of the game. The other players are not the only danger one may encounter. The Wilding Threat also plays an important role in Game of Thrones, as the value of the token representing the beasts increases from 1 to 12 as the game progresses. Once the maximum is reached or the Wildlings Attack card is played, the players need to concentrate more on this event rather than the devious plots and schemes they weaved against each other.
The Wilding Threat track is independent of the players and only affects the North, but the other three influence tracks, which take place all over the map can be worked upon by any and all of the houses. The “Iron Throne”, “King’s Court” and “Fiefdoms” tracks each focus on the move order, the military might and the intelligence and knowledge of the Houses. All of these play a smaller or a bigger role in winning the game.
Except for the casual killing or betraying, there is nothing to put off the small kids, even though I suspect that the majority of the players will probably be represented by grown-up geeks. The greatest relief is that if you get to the top of the King’s Court track, you become Varys the Spider, but you get to keep the family jewels.