We are truly living in the golden age of fantasy. With the release of Lord of the Rings, screenwriters, directors and producers realised that not only was fantasy not just the privilege of campy children’s films, but that it could also have intriguing storylines and powerful, original characters woven into them. I’m sure there were plenty of fantasy fans twenty years ago, but only after the cloak of unacceptability was torn away from the genre did the public realise that hey, swords and dragons are pretty cool!
George RR Martin & subsequently, HBO’s Game of Thrones continues on the back of that widespread acceptance, and unsurprisingly, there’s now a range of games released that allow anyone to indulge their fantasy bug, conquering Westeros…or Essos for that matter!
There’s a variety of different Game of Thrones games out at the moment, the first of which is the Game of Thrones board game. This release seems to be a pretty sound game, as two players, competing as Houses Stark and Lannister, compete against one another, either with steel and grit on the battlefield or through guile and intrigue within the court at King’s Landing. With game-changing plot cards and challenges to complete once one has assembled one’s forces, this edition of the game seems pretty cool, but only caters for two players. Due to this, the frantic, backstabbing nature of the houses in the series cannot be emulated with friends and is ultimately lost.
Next up is the new Game of Thrones slot game, released by Microgaming. Taking the enormous rise of online casino gaming and putting a fresh fantasy edge on what is usually a gaudy and neon endeavour, the new slot game is being held rather under wraps for the time being. The only details released thus far are that it will include all the memorable characters of the show and, unlike most slot games, will feature state of the art computer graphics; the creators hope it will be a “masterpiece of slot”. We’re not sure what that means either, but with the popularity of the series it’s sure to be quite the money maker for the designers. Will other online casinos, such as RiverBelle, follow suit? Let’s hope so!
The last, and in this reviewer’s eyes, best, Game of Thrones game released of recent is the Second Edition of the wonderful A Game of Thrones series, created by Fantasy Flight Games. In this game, recommended for 4-6 players (!) fight it out as the 6 main houses of the series, fighting it out through diplomacy, war and political intrigue to see who deserves to sit upon the iron throne. Players are expected to form alliances with their fellow players, throwing the absorbing prospect of stabbing your friends in the back, and with plot cards, tide of battle cards (that take into account morale, weather and tactical opportunity) and two expansion packs for books A Dance with Dragons and A Feast for Crows, this game looks like the real deal, set to entertain fans of the books and network series alike. You guessed it; winter is definitely coming!