By Louis Brenton– December 7, 2011
“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.