When You Play the Game of Thrones You Win or You Die!

Die?  Bloody hell Cersei it’s only a card game; can’t we just play strip instead?  Yes it has arrived, the Game of Thrones version 2.0 LCG from FFG is in my sweaty hands right now!  As you can probably tell I’m a bit excited about this and think it’s going to be huge.  This week I’m going to review the core set and basically try to make you all buy into it!

So what do you get in the box?  Well it’s Fantasy Flight so quality components; a horde of tokens, two full colour rule books and enough cards to experience each of the eight factions from a casual play point of view.   You can build a legal deck for an event and I think it’s very good value for £25.  One box is all you need if you’re a fan of the TV show and or books with the feel of the houses captured fantastically with their rule interactions and way the decks play.  If you are more competitive or just enjoy deck building though you’ll want at least one more box.  What you cry, one £25 box isn’t all I need!  Good heavens!  (Or possibly a rude word and then off.)  Each core set contains approximately a third of what a competitive player would require to get every possible deck building option and therefore that guy will buy three core sets.

But that’s £75 you shout impotently at the screen.  Well yes it is but if you consider for a moment that you will be able to build ANY deck you can think of and to do that for MTG just for standard it would cost around £900 per set release it’s not too bad really.  Coupled with the fact that ‘keeping up’ is just £10 a month then I’d say it’s well worth it, especially if you get involved early on (like now).

So price aside is the game any good?  Yes.  Very.  I’ve played a few games now and the technicality of the plays, the plot decks – using duplicate cards as shield type effects is all amazing.  Each player has a draw deck from which he plucks his chosen characters, locations events and attachments.  He also has a separate stack of plots from which he chooses one per turn.  These plots grant varying amounts of gold and differing initiative and claim values.  They also have interesting rules they grant for the turn and it is this plot phase that sets the game apart.  Selecting the right order to play your plots is key to securing victory which is done by amassing power tokens rather than destroying the enemy.  These two mechanics really capture the spirit of the Game of Thrones for me and make the game stand out against the competition.

So who should buy it?  Well fans of the books and TV series will love playing with their favourite house and characters in a battle of wits with their pal.  Fans of card games will love this because the game play is slick, but with huge depth and tactical forward planning required.  Fans of gaming in general will enjoy the way the game feels whilst you’re playing it and with a dedicated multi-player version groups of gamers will love getting involved.  A word of caution though, whilst the game is slick and fast it does seem a bit bewilderingly complex to start with, particularly if you’re not a player of the other LCGs.  But bear with it because after a few plays all becomes clear and clicks into place.

Basically I think this game is brilliant, exceptional art and production values, great rules and mechanics and a wonderful feel to the game play – this is a must own for gamers.  If you’re not sure then see if someone will teach you the basics and you’ll be sold.  Even if you just get the one copy to stick on the shelf for those multi-player gatherings then it’s a worthy investment.  I’m the proud owner of three core sets and I’m looking forward to doing some deck building and challenging my way through a few games in the near future!

Check back next week for my Tyranids in action!  Until then keep on playing! – Mark

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