Based on the George Martin novels (and pre-dating the successful HBO television series) A Game of Thrones is unusual in that it is a tie-in game that, unlike the vast majority of tie-ins, can count as a success on its own terms.
Each player represents a family in the warring continent of Westeros, and although alliances can be formed during play (and also broken) each player’s objective is to ultimately take control of a number of regions on the board.
The game works over three ‘phases’ where the players plan their moves, send secret orders, develop strategies, and make alliances. There will be much battling and players can choose to help each other out in a battle – to keep an alliance intact, perhaps, or to stop one player becoming too powerful.
In addition to shuffling their armies across land and sea, players will also be drawing Tides of Battle cards that add randomness and unpredictability to the game; potentially affecting not just the current player but everyone. It’s a game made of up of combat, strategy and diplomacy.
Many tie-in games smack of publishers cashing in whilst the show/book/whatever in question has its moment in the zeitgeist. But A Games of Thrones bucks that trend. If you’re a fan of the book, or TV series you might miss the complex characterisation and political manoeuvrings of them, but for the machinations of war, A Game of Thrones is up there.
A Game of Thrones is, like the novels that inspired it, all about intrigue and political and military manouvering. A game with backstabbing as a central theme will probably not suit younger players!
Not much. Any 'down-time' will be spent studying the board and scheming.
It's a thinky game but not one that will ever have an 'optimal' move; as you won't know for certain what the other players are planning.
Older children who are comfortable with the double-crossing and combative nature will find that the game has a good deal of variation from play to play.