Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Game of Thrones - The Card Game

Last week, Adam at the club ran us through a game of the Game Of Thrones card game, by Fantasy Flight Games (btw, thanks!) Now although I've played plenty of board games involving cards, I've never actually played a full blown card game.  Players each control one of the Factions from G R R Martin's books (Starks, Targaryens, Lannisters etc)

There is a nice balance of mechanics in the game.  The goal of the game is to gain a certain amount of power, mainly by gaining it for themselves or stealing it from other players, although there are opportunities.  Each turn, players must first simultaneously play a plot card, striking a balance between a card that either gives them more money, initiative for the turn or lets them earn more power.  Players then use their income to play characters and locations from their hand, making sure they have a mix of cards suitable for the different types of challenge, military, intrigue or power.  As players win or lose these challenges, they have to "kneel" the card they used in the challenge, meaning those cards won't contribute to winning Dominance for the turn.  Winning Dominance gives the winning player more power, thus putting them closer to victory.

That's the basic turn process (I've missed out a couple things,) but the depth of the game only comes out when you look at all the individual abilities on your cards.  I only caught a glimpse of the different abilities available, but the faction I played, the Starks, seemed in keeping with the background from the books i.e. good at warfare, positive effects had a downside too.  All in all, A Game of Thrones was really enjoyable to play, seemed very balanced and had some great artwork on the cards.

Of course, with card games the boxed game is only the tip of the iceberg, a quick online seach reveals that there are at least fifty expansion packs available!  Admittedly, most of them cost only a tenner, but that it would be a hell of a temptation in a "I'm bored, I think I'll buy another pack of cards" kind of way!

Still, I've been trying to get the Mrs to play a few more games and I think this might be more her kind of thing, especially with the background material and the artwork.  We have a holiday coming up in June, so I might pick up a copy for the evenings.  Maybe.


  1. Not played many card games but it's something to kill a few hours and beers!

  2. This is one of my favourite games of all, not just of card games. It's really deep. A good tip for expanding the game, is actually to buy a second copy of the Core Set, as this really opens up some deckbuilding options.

    The rest of the expansions (small ones, not large) are not so easy to just pick up I think. They tend to come out as Chapters, and really need to be picked up together, as you will get new game mechanics that are spread out over the chapter packs.

    Anyway, thanks for writing about a great game, I love Game of Thrones.

    1. Ahhh, is that what the product description means when it says "the second instalment for X expansion?" Still, it's an inexpensive way to expand the game.

    2. Yes, that is exactly it. At a glance, it may seem inexpensive, but you should be prepared to purchase the whole chapter.
      So far I have added only a single package, and it introduced two new mechanics "Joust" and "Melee" abilities, and there are cards giving this abilities to certain houses, but not every house. You need to buy the rest of the chapter to even out the addition of this pack. I feel it may be the same for other chapters.

      Easiest expansion, is to add the larger house expansions, like the Martells or Greyjoys, I think.