“When you play the Game of Thrones, you win…or you don’t have time to finish.”
–Cersei Lannister (had she been at our house this weekend)
As I posted previously, House Brenton recently leaped into the fray in the battle for the throne of Westeros.
The day the package came, we were on a pretty tight schedule, so we didn’t have time for a full game. However, we’d already read the rules & watched the tutorials, so we thought we’d at least get the game out & play around with it a bit, trying to get a feel for the flow of the game. We got a decent handful of turns in, with Gabriel running the Targaryens against my Baratheons & Israel’s Starks. Gabe dominated the table with his dragons & generally terrorized us, accumulating quite a power tokens lead before we had to call it a night.
The next night we were able to actually set aside some time to really dig in & play. This time we invited my buddy Michael Utley over so we could have a full-blown, 4-man melee. He’d never played before, so we had a solid half-game experience advantage on him.
We had a house guest show up much earlier than anticipated, so we weren’t able to completely finish the melee, but I’d say we were around two-thirds done when we had to call it. Gabriel wasn’t getting dragon draws as frequently as he had the previous night. Nonetheless, Israel & I were worried about him and directed several attacks his way while we felt like we could. A bit later, he finally managed to marshal Rhaegal. He immediately paid the cost to activate Rhaegal’s duplication ability & got himself an easy dragon “1-UP.” He managed to wreak a little havoc before we had to call the game.
Israel’s tactic of choice was to equip the Ice sword early in the game & then dare us to block him as he challenged. I think we were all a bit too attached to our unique characters to be willing to sacrifice them, so he got a few free hits in.
Utley managed to bring Jaime Lannister out pretty early, as well as the Lurkers at Harrenhal. Both of those cards had the “deadly” keyword, & they gave me a lot of fits trying to figure out how to handle them when he was on the attack. I was absolutely amazed at the Lannister ability to generate gold. He was frequently generating twice as much gold as any other player.
I was able to make a pretty solid run with the Baratheons throughout the length of the game. I was fortunate to be able to marshal Queen Selyse very early. I then used her power to grant intrigue to anybody & everybody (unique cards only, of course) in my force. I was able to do quite a few unblocked intrigue challenges to both Israel & Gabe, neither of whom could seem to come up with characters who had intrigue icons. Later I was able to bring King Robert into the game and get in some pretty hefty power challenges for big payoffs. When we finished the game, I had a pretty comfortable lead.
After our company came, Israel & Gabriel were occupied with our guest. Utley & I had been enjoying the game so much, we decided to start up a 2-man joust game. Regrettably, we weren’t quite able to finish that one either, because I had to get up fairly early the next morning, but we had another really enjoyable two-thirds of a game. I had a pretty solid lead in power tokens, but he had gotten every member of the Lannister family but Cersei onto the table, so I feel like he had a pretty good chance to make a late run.
In closing, let me offer some initial thoughts on this game for my TC brethren who are considering it. After 3 partial plays, 2 in multiplayer mode & 1 in 2-player mode, I absolutely, positively love this game. Both Israel & Gabriel 100% agree. All 3 of us are jonesing to play it again, and are lamenting that we have such an incredibly busy week with very little gaming time available.
In joust (2-player) I already enjoy the game more than Magic (which I also enjoy….I’m not one of those anti-Magic guys). The whole time Utley & I were playing through the joust, we were exchanging glances & grinning, knowing we’d struck gold with this game. But as much as I enjoyed joust, it’s the multiplayer game that really puts this game over the top. Adding in the game board with the titles adds such a fun relational dynamic to the game. I feel that it doubles the strategic options in the game, and I’m looking forward to getting a lot of games in so I can really explore the possibilities. I would quickly & gladly recommend this game to my friends here in the TC community.