Spotlight on A Game of Thrones: The Board Game
“When Aegon the Dragon stepped ashore in Westeros, the kings of Vale and Rock and Reach did not rush to hand him their crowns. If you mean to sit his Iron Throne, you must win it as he did, with steel and dragonfire.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords
The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros are divided and the War of the Five Kings is ready to explode. The north has declared for Robb Stark, the Iron Islands rise in rebellion under Balon Greyjoy, and in Sunspear, the leaders of House Martell plot revenge for past wrongs. Meanwhile, the heart of Westeros is in turmoil as Lannister, Baratheon, and Tyrell struggle for power in King’s Landing.
To restore order to Westeros, one House must throw down all challengers and claim the Iron Throne. In A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, you take command of one of these six Great Houses of Westeros. You’ll muster armies and lead them on the road to war, but you must never neglect the political arena. To claim the Westerosi strongholds and achieve victory, you’ll need to decide when to forge new alliances… and when to break your promises.
Today, we turn a spotlight onto the battles and trickery of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game – the only game that matters!
Lead Your House
"They are your people, and they love you well,” Magister Illyrio said amiably. "In holdfasts all across the realm, men lift secret toasts to your health while women sew dragon banners and hide them against the day of your return from across the water.”
–George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
At the onset of the War of the Five Kings, many of the Houses are separated by land or sea. Stannis Baratheon plans his coup from the island citadel of Dragonstone, House Stark holds the vast northern reaches of Westeros, while House Tyrell rests comfortably in the bountiful lands of the Reach. Though the Great Houses begin the game separated by distance, you will quickly come within striking distance as you lead your armies across Westeros with fire and sword.
Every turn, you and your opponents assign orders to your armies in the field. You may raid the land to sabotage your enemies’ plans, send your armies on the march, fortify your defenses, support your temporary allies, or consolidate your power in regions firmly under your control. All orders are assigned secretly so you’re never certain of your opponent’s true intentions. Can you really trust the Dornishmen to honor your arrangement? Is House Baratheon planning to steal the Eyrie as soon as your armies are called elsewhere? You must start outwitting your opponents well before the first armies are moved on the board.
To achieve victory, you must conquer seven strongholds or castles, but with up to six players and only twenty of these crucial locations on the board, your quest for victory will necessarily involve a clash of kings. But even as you play the game of thrones, you must be mindful of the threat stirring beyond the Wall. The wildlings grow in strength as the game goes on and will attack unpredictably. When this happens, all Houses must band together and support the Night’s Watch or the consequences will be grievous for all of Westeros.
Bloody Battles, Courtly Intrigues
"I will not treat with Renly," Stannis answered in a tone that brooked no argument. "Not while he calls himself a king."
–George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
Your armies in A Game of Thrones: The Board Game are your tools for conquering the realm and claiming the Iron Throne. After all, your intrigue and political machinations won’t benefit you if you don’t have the forces to make good on your threats. You’ll lead armies of infantry and knights into battle, construct siege engines to surpass the walls of a stronghold, and command fleets in the oceans that surround Westeros.
Your armies are crucial to achieving victory, but the characters of A Song of Ice and Fire provide the leadership your armies need. Every combat is resolved without dice or any form of chance as each player selects a single character from his House to lead his forces in the field. The chosen House card and its abilities, combined with the strength of the units in the battle, determines the ultimate victor in every battle. Of course, these characters have countless potent effects. You may strike from the sea with Victarion Greyjoy, disrupt your opponent’s plans with Cersei Lannister, or force your opponent to retreat as you choose with Robb Stark.
Few battles take place between two Houses in isolation. Other armies wait nearby, ready to lend their aid to one side or the other. You may issue the support order to an army at the beginning of a round, allowing it to partake in any conflicts that occur in adjacent regions. Gaining the support of a nearby army can turn a seemingly inevitable defeat into victory, but help is never free. You may help Baratheon capture King's Landing… but only in exchange for the castle of Storm's End. By positioning your armies to support another player in battle, you can demand regions, castles, or favors in return for your help.
Not every battle is waged on the bloody fields of Westeros, however. Some conflicts take place in the courts of King’s Landing as lords, ladies, knights, and courtiers jockey for position and power at the Red Keep. Throughout the game, the Great Houses struggle to achieve dominance in three arenas of power: the Iron Throne, the realm’s fiefdoms, and the king’s court.
If you devote yourself to gaining power over the Iron Throne, you can use your influence to shape the fate of Westeros as you see fit by deciding the outcome of non-combat ties. Alternatively, you can exercise your influence to bring the smallfolk and the fiefdoms to your side. With these new recruits swelling your army, you are much more powerful in battle, potentially overwhelming opponents who lack the support of the fiefdoms. The final area where you can demonstrate your power is at the king’s court. Here, more influence means access to the secrets and spies of Westeros. You may issue special orders to bolster your armies, or even change an order after all players have revealed their plans. Wherever you exercise your influence in A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, the power struggles of King’s Landing are as deadly as any pitched battle.
Expand the Story
"To go north, you must journey south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward, you must go back. To touch the light, you must pass beneath the shadow."
–George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons
The core set of A Game of Thrones: The Board Game simulates the state of Westeros in the first two books of A Song of Ice and Fire, at the beginning of the War of the Five Kings. You can advance the game further in the story, however, with the addition of two expansions, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, both available through our in-house manufacturing.
A Feast for Crows is a four-player scenario for A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, and it introduces House Arryn to the struggle for the Iron Throne. This expansion offers an alternative setup, providing a tactical situation reminiscent of the fourth book in George R.R. Martin’s series. Violence is imminent between the Great Houses of Westeros, and in addition to a new House and an alternative setup, the A Feast for Crows scenario also offers a new path to victory. Every Houses must strengthen the defenses around its ancestral seat of power, while simuntaneously sallying forth to complete objectives before the other players.
You can advance still further in the series with A Dance with Dragons, an expert-level six-player scenario for A Game of Thrones: The Board Game. As in A Feast for Crows, an alternate setup presents the Houses as they stand at the beginning of the fifth book in A Song of Ice and Fire. The game of thrones has raged for some time, and many characters have died since the beginning of the series, while more have risen or fallen in importance. To reflect this, A Dance with Dragons includes forty-two alternate House cards, which present previously unseen characters like Ramsay Bolton and Quentyn Martell.
Claim the Iron Throne
"So long as Tommen sits the Iron Throne, the realm sees him as the true king. Hide him under the Rock and he becomes just another claimant to the throne, no different than Stannis."
–George R.R. Martin, A Feast for Crows
The Great Houses struggle for dominance and their battles will shake all of Westeros. Do you have the power to destroy your enemies and rise to the Iron Throne? Call your banners, muster your armies, and march on King’s Landing in A Game of Thrones: The Board Game!