Monday, August 18, 2014

Who's Who in Westeros

Perhaps in response to declining book sales and the rise of the e-reader, many bookstores such as Barnes and Noble and even Portland's own enormous Powell's Books have added board game sections. This is great because it introduces our hobby to a much wider audience. An audience that many of the smaller game publishers have begun to notice. An audience that may be looking for something perhaps a bit easier to play than Arkham Horror. An audience that watches cable television...

New audience, say hello to Game of Thrones: Westeros Intrigue, a card game for 2-6 players, designed by the renowned Reiner Knizia.

The game is absurdly simple, consisting of four sets of tiles representing four of the great houses of Westeros from the Game of Thrones television series, with an image of a character from the show on each tile. The tiles are shuffled together and dealt out to the players, who must play them to the table one at a time until all their tiles are on the table or they are unable to play any more. The catch is that tiles can only be played in certain patterns, either in the first row next to another tile if there's room (there can only be eight), or in a higher row, in which case the tile must be played above two other tiles, one of which must be from the same house.

At the end there is a complicated scoring system, as there always is in a Reiner Knizia game.

It should be pretty clear that this is a game about colored tiles whose only connection to Game of Thrones is that it has been decorated with images from the show. I don't necessarily object to fill-in-the-blanks licensed games like this (see my generally positive review of The Lone Ranger Shuffle the Deck Card Game), but this one is particularly bland.

To be honest, the only reason I bought this game was so that I would have a set of tiles with the names and faces of the characters from Game of Thrones, so I can tell who's who when I'm watching the show.

Rating 2 (out of 5) Not actually a bad game, just an overly simple one, although I will be the first to admit that I am probably not in the game's target demographic.

Date played: July 4, 2014

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