I am a massive A Game of Thrones fan, I love the books, the TV show, the world in general. I had heard there was a card game of it, but there where so many expansions out it was a bit confusing. When Fantasy Flight Game decided to reboot it into a second edition I thought that it would be the perfect time to dive into the world and see what the game is like.
Lets open her up and take a look inside....
The first thing you will see are a slab of tokens. This being a FFG game its not a surprise that there are plenty, and that they are the usual excellent quality.
On the back of the learn to play book, is a quick guide to the run down of play phases, and the main traits (ability words on cards) that you will see in the game. It is a great thing to keep near you to make sure the game flows smoothly.
Lets look at how it plays....
The basic idea is you need to get to 15 power for your faction. This can be won by taking it from your opponent, or claimed during an unopposed challenge (where your opponent does not block you)
Each card can have up to 3 symbols on them, which correspond to the different challenges you can issue. A sword for military challenges which result in the claim value being killed if you win. an eye for intrigue challenges which results in the claim value of cards being randomly discarded from your opponents hand, or a crown which is power challenges, which result in the claim value of power being taken from your opponents house card.
Each round you can initiate only 1 of all of those challenges, so you could issue 1 of all 3, or just a power, or an intrigue, it is your choice, but to attack and to block you need characters that have the corresponding icons on them. Cards have a strength value, so you add the strength of your attackers, and the defenders strength the highest one wins. If they do not block the challenge is unopposed and you get another power for your faction. When you initiate a challenge you kneel your character (turn it 90 degrees to show it has been used) you also kneel a character that blocks, so you need to make sure you are using them at the best times.
Traits on cards add to this making decisions much tougher, such as characters with Renown, who gain an additional power when participating in challenges, but this stays on their card rather then the faction one, so if they die that power goes. Stealth allows you when attacking to pick one defending character with out the trait stealth and they can not block. There are many other traits you will discover as you play, and how they work together can be crucial for victory.
Take a look at this excellent tutorial video to get an idea of the game here
The game played above was a classic match up, and it felt perfect in theme. The Starks with their allies took the early lead, over whelming the Lannister forces, with Robb Stark leading the way, until some typical Lannister sneakiness disposed of him, and Tywin started clawing it back due to the Lannister economy powering the cards, and the intrigue challenges stripping the opponents cards so he had few options to play with.
I have played plenty of card games in my time, Magic the Gathering, Warlords, old Decipher games like Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings (not the FFG one). I have to honestly say this is the best one I have ever played. It works well, the rules are clearly written and laid out, its an LCG so I don't have to chase the powerful cards. It looks beautiful on the table, has perfect theme to fit the subject, with the levels of strategy required, when to challenge, who to use, what plot to play, what events to bring out and when, so many factors, and styles of play are available it makes this a must have for card gamers, and Game of Thrones Fans. n Even if you have not seen or read A Game of Thrones, but are a card gamer you will love this, and it may encourage you to dive deeper into the world where you will only enjoy it more knowing more about the characters, and seeing how their traits actually do relate to them in game, and in print and on screen.
You can pick up your own A Game of Thrones the Card Game second Edition core set with an RRP of £29.99 from your local game store
Stick with us as we look at the Factions in future articles to give you an idea of how they play, and take a look at some of the upcoming chapter packs that add more to your game.
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