Bored? Game! – Game of Thrones: The Card Game

Based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin, The Game of Thrones television series has been hugely popular across the world. The third series is set to be released at the end of March and to keep you all going until then we’ve been reviewing Game of Thrones: The Card Game.

Not to be confused with A Game of Thrones Living Card Game, Game of Thrones: The Card Game is based around the HBO television series and acts as a standalone card game for two people. The battle for the Iron Throne is on between the houses of Stark and Lannister and who wins will be determined by the cards.

Each player is given a deck of 50 cards, one Stark and one Lannister, these decks contain various different cards ranging from character to location, each having a different effect on the game. In addition to the House decks, each player has seven plot cards which determine how each round of the game is played.

Each round is split into seven stages; plot, draw, marshalling, challenges, dominance, standing and taxation, and here is where we started to get confused. The instructions that come with the game look a little confusing at first glance and tend to over-word things at times. For example, the last two stages involve straightening your cards up and returning unspent gold to the pile, so why they need to be phrased as separate stages is a little odd. After reading the instructions several times and finding an instructional video on YouTube we were good to go, sort of.

The game is certainly one that gets easier to play the more you play it, and each round seemed to get a little faster and the clouds of confusion a little thinner. We started off playing really simple rounds with one attack each which then got more complicated as our confidence grew. I recommend this tactic to anyone, it eases you in a little better and reduces the chances of flipping the table as you rage quit.

The game has been designed for fans of the HBO series and knowledge of the programme certainly does help explain a couple of minor details. One of the character cards in the Stark deck is Syrio Forel, the master sword-fighter and Arya’s instructor. The card gives another character you have in play certain abilities and is pretty much a defence card in itself, mirroring a scene in the series when Arya escapes. This extra level of detail isn’t needed and my housemate who has never seen the show wasn’t left baffled by anything, but I did feel that I got more from the game than he did having seen it.

But is it any good? It’s confusing and complicated, but yes it is good. Despite the fact that it took us around three hours to set up, work out what was going on and play a game I’ve been left wanting to play more. The cards themselves are very good quality with images from the series on each one and they will certainly be more durable than other cards I’ve used.

Game of Thrones: The Card Game would be great for a fan of the show and would make an excellent introduction to the Living Card Game, which is more complicated and multi-player. It could also appeal to players of other card games such as Magic: The Gathering who are looking for a new game to play.







One response to “Bored? Game! – Game of Thrones: The Card Game”

  1. Dean Bowman avatar

    I’ve played the Game of Thrones LCG a fair bit and this does look like an introductory pack reskinned with HBO art work, which is fair enough as i’m sure it will introduce a few more people to the game. It is very complicated, but the reason everything has to be structured so precisely is that there are cards that mess with every conceivable part of the game. I think AGoT the LCG is a lot better than Magic the Gathering (although that’s sure to be controversial) – its more fun and your less likely to get shut down by a deck in two turns. And its also wonderfully thematic (the Starks are all about honour, the Lannisters about wealth, the Martels are about revenge and the Greyjoys about being gits). My favourite card is the Lannisport Brothel which lets you pay to lock down a character – during the course of a game i sent Ned Stark, Arya and her direwolf and the entire Northern Host to the brothel:)

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