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A light, quick game which is sure to please fans with its well done images from the show, but there isnt a lot to the game
on November 14, 2016
The Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne Game is going to appeal to fans of the show because unlike other Game of Throne games, this one includes images of the actresses and actors of the television show and therefore feels more like the television show. However, while the game is surprisingly quick, there really isnt much to it because there isnt a lot of strategy involved. You basically each get turns to attack other players and players who arent attacking or defending can still join in by helping the attacker or the defender. One team wins and influence is spread which is how you win the game. Others loose and suffer the losses. Repeat the next turn. Repeat again.
Well, that is probably not quite accurate because the players can also call a truce instead of attacking each other and then must negotiate the terms with someone getting something or else everyone suffers a loss. Players can also say that they want a truce and then actually attack their opponent. But, more often than not, the game boils down to everyone just wanting to attack each other which of course is true to the television show.
On each player's turn, they draw a card which shows which house and therefore which player they are to attack. The attacker and the defender each draw a card from their own decks and each can then boost up the power of their character tokens by moving a crown from the leader to the card for that character. The attacker chooses which of these characters to use and then the defender does as well. After this is done, the other players not directly involved in the conflict and ask to participate on either side. The attacker or defender can accept or decline the support. The attacker and defender then choose one card from their deck to play. The cards can be hostility which can add power in addition to the power of the characters being used, truce or a player card which comes with special powers. The battle is won by the team that has the most power and those on the winning side are all rewarded by spreading influence and maybe taking hostages. Repeat for each player until one player has spread all of their influence and the game ends.
After our first time playing we already found problems with the game that caused me to give it only three stars.
The first problem is the crowns that are used to show power. While the spikey yellow crows are very nice visually, once you start stacking them it becomes difficult to see how much power is on each player card. We therefore spread out the crowns on each player card instead of stacking them so that there wasnt a problem with someone mistaking how much power was involved when deciding whether or not to battle.
While the hostage taking does add a different aspect to the game, it doesnt contribute a lot. To take a hostage, the winner of an attack draws a card from the defender who was defeated. It would be great if that card was an actual player card so that you could relate to the character, but that isnt how it works. The card drawn could be a character card, or it could be an attack card that only has a number on it. The game treats both the number and the player card the same, but they dont feel the same when you play.
We played with three people and thought that this was too few. You definitely want more people and five would probably work best so that the attacks are not always 2 on 2 if everyone participates.
Lastly, the instructions really arent very user friendly. We had to read them over and over when we had a problem like a tie between an attacker and defender and we wanted to find out what to do. We found it useful to download the PDF version from the Fantasy Flight Publishing site so that we could search for words in the document instead of trying to flip through the print version. It would have been helpful if there were a summary of the rules in the box along with the manual.
Overall, there is no deck building or anything else that requires a lot of skill. You just wait your turn to attack or join in attacks in hopes that your five influence coins are sent to other houses so that you win. If you win or loose depends on the cards in your hand and how much power you gain by playing your attack card which can have a value of up to 20. It is a quick, light game sure to please fans with very nice photos and the Game of Thrones theme of war between the houses.