Top positive review
13 people found this helpful
The best game I've ever played!
on 6 April 2014
Let me start by saying that I am a monster GOT fan and a strategy board game geek to boot so this game was the perfect gift for me. This is a living card game, which means there are new cards that get published which add to the variety of gameplay with new characters and rules, keeping it fresh for years to come, but everything you need to start with comes in this box and indeed you must have this box to play any of the other expansions sets.
This core box includes four of the six main Houses (Baratheon, Lannister, Stark and Targaryen) and the board itself which is only used for three or more players and just adds another dimension to what is effectively a card game. It's no exaggeration to say that the design and concept of this game is genius. The aim is to collect 15 power token via 3 principal means of engagement - Military attack, intrigue or power attacks. As in the books, there are many paths to victory and this is reflected by the three means of obtaining tokens. This game is exceptionally amazing because unlike many board/card games its also just as much fun two player.
The characters have traits and strengths that reflect their characters in the book, for instance Little Finger is devious and earns you gold, whereas the Stark armies are pure military might and Arya is elusive! Finding the balance is the key to victory. There are also various event, location and item cards that are great fun, turning a seemingly total victory to a crushing defeat in the flip of a card! I've heard gasps of horror when the ambush card is played! The blend of tactics and luck is perfect in this core box set.
This game can be enjoyed on many levels that develop as you appreciate the complexities of the game. Straight out the box, you can pick one of the four House decks and get stuck in. The different strengths of the Houses soon become apparent and it's a blast to play. Any fan of GOT will not fail to love the beautiful artwork and lore of these cards, you can tell they are made with love. There are also neutral cards, such as the Night's Watch, who any House can play, so even if you choose the Starks the bulk of your deck may be comprised of neutral cards if you so choose, adding an element of surprise.
The only cards you need to separate are the plot cards which should (unless House specific) be set aside so players can choose the plots in turn before they start. The plot cards dictate unique terms of play for each round as well as determining the amount of gold you get each round and who goes first (important!). The plot cards you choose and the order you play them is up to you and are fundamental in any victorious strategy. After players simultaneously flip their plot cards the action begins in turn. You can only make one type of attack each round, and once a character has been engaged (knelt) he/she cannot be used again that phase - even to defend! So if you use Ned Stark to attack your mum and lop Joffrey's head off, you can't use Ned as a defender should your sister send dragons your way on her turn! There are token penalties should you not be able to offer any resistance but this game is not about simply killing character cards who are more or less powerful than you. Tactics are central. Taking risks at the right time, second guessing your foes, holding back key event cards for when you'll need them the most. You can have up to three of any one card in your deck, which must be a minimum of 60 cards, increasing the chances of bringing it into your hand when you need it, but duplicate cards only serve as 'body guards' and not clones of the same characters in play - so the blend of your deck is vital.
In truth it will take many months to fully master the rules of this game, but that's half the fun! Learning the nuances of this game together is great fun in itself, and once you've mastered them you'll realise the true potential of this game as it becomes a true test of skill when you customise your own decks and play on the strengths of your House and the weakness of your foes. This game gets uber geeky for those that want it to but for casual players it's also great fun. Diplomacy, betrayal, shock, laughter, tactics with a splash of randomness! So go ahead, invest in your pleasure now! This game can also be played with up to six players if you buy two more expansion packs for Greyjoy and Martell which add a totally new angle!
There is also a good video online on how to play this game!