Friday, April 21, 2006

A Game of Thrones

There's a board game called A Game of Thrones that some friends of mine love to play.

Normally I stay away from tactical war games. In high school, my group of friends loved to play tactical war games, the more detailed the better (at least that's what it seemed like to me at the time). And I played, but never did very well in them.

Lately, I've been playing A Game of Thrones, and it's a nice change from the ultra-detailed war games I played in high school. The game is detailed, but the focus is not so much on simulating an actual war, as trying to capture the feel of a series of novels the game is based on. Diplomacy among the players is not only expected, but almost mandatory.

Another interesting aspect of the game is that it's difficult to actually eliminate a player. Units retreat when defeated, and the boundaries of kingdoms ebb and flow over time as territory is retaken. You win the game not by eliminating the other players, but by positioning yourself so that on the last turn of the game (turn 10), you can ensure you hold the largest number of cities on the board. You can also win by holding a certain number of cities (7 cities for a 5 player game, 6 cities for a 6 player game), but I think that's relatively rare.

I still don't do extremely well at the game, but it's fun to play. I'm doing better in a play by email version of the game with those same friends, so there's definitely something to be said for having more time to think about all the ramifications of a move.

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