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Game of Thrones is a two-player card game by Fantasy Flights that allows the player to assume the role of either House Lannister or House Stark to continue the vicious battle for power over King’s Landing.

I was very pleased with the high quality of the cards and tokens, they are very thick and durable.  The cards have great pictures of the people, places, and objects that make Westeros so complex and treacherous.

Each round is driven by Plot cards that each player chooses and reveals simultaneously.  The plot determines who wins the initiative, as well as how much gold you will be allotted for the round and how much damage each player can inflict after winning a challenge as an attacker.

Within each round there are seven phases.  If you have ever played a game like Magic: The Gathering, the concept of most of these phases will seem very familiar to you.

The Challenge phase is the most intriguing and intense part of the game.  This is where players declare their attackers and their defenders and determine the results.  This is the most complex part because there are three types of potential challenges possible, depending on each character: Military challenges, Intrigue challenges, and Power challenges. Only character cards with a challenge trait that matches the specific challenge trait can defend, and each success and failure has specific results that are rendered in accordance to the type of challenge.

The most exciting part of the game was reacting to the characters. I found myself going above and beyond to keep my favorite characters from dying. Each round was like reliving how I felt with the books and show: no one was safe. I constantly felt like doom was right around the corner. The dread was palpable when The Mountain entered the battlefield. There was much rejoicing to watch Cersei Lannister eat it, and we were both legitimately disappointed to lose Ned Stark.

The speed of game play can depend on your ability to build up and defend your characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this game, even though I got demolished the first time playing through – but you and I both know what we say to the God of Death. Not today! I will definitely be playing a lot of this game in the future.

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