A Game of Thrones is one of my new favourite board games. I played two quick games last night, and I’m hooked. (And by quick, I mean they only lasted 90 minutes instead of the expected 3 hours.)
Now this game isn’t for everyone, you have to enjoy deep strategy games and knowing the difference between a Lannister and Stark definitely adds to the experience. Once you figure out all the rules (warning: there’s a lot), the game play is lots of fun.
A Game of Thrones reminds me of Diplomacy (especially being able to support other players in battle), but doesn’t suffer from the grinding paralysis that every game of Diplomacy I’ve played devolves into. All of the games elements – alliances, secret orders, leaders with special powers, warfare, and power and influence tracks – really complement each other well and create a complex, but extremely fun experience.
I did well in both games we played, as House Greyjoy in a 4-player match and Baratheon in a 3-player game. Ultimately I lost to rapidly advancing opponents from Baratheon and Stark. I can’t wait to play again in a full 6-player match, and see what House Tyrell and Martell have to offer.
The only game play problems we ran into was it was too easy for Baratheon to take over neutral territories in the 3-player game. And in both games, the uneven distribution of Muster and Supply cards screwed us over (all mustering in the first game and none in the second).
Looking at boardgamegeek, a lot of players have noticed the Baratheon imbalance in 4-player games. It’s pretty easy to solve, though: just house rule the south territories impassable or switch Greyjoy for Tyrell. There were also a fair number of complaints about Lannister being underpowered.
The publisher hasn’t commented on the imbalance but there is a FAQ. Some surprises in there, like Robb Stark’s house card allowing the Stark player to control the opponent’s retreat regardless of if he’s the attacker or defender.
I’m looking forward to playing again.
I was wondering if anyone else was having issues with the 3 player game? We played 2, 3 player games and house baratheon won both fairly easy. Within 5 or 6 turns. We own the 1st edition and it had the same problem. We were hoping that this was fixed in the second version. If it is the goal of house stark and lannister to stop the baratheons then the game is flawed. You shouldn’t have to have to houses gang up on one to prevent them winning the game every time.