Hey all! Two weeks goes by so fast! But I’m back and ready to talk about more fun things you should try. This week I’d like to focus on a game that I’ve probably tried to make you play if you’ve seen me in the last few weeks.
I love a good board game day, a big group of people playing a couple hour long strategy game with a lot of complicated cards and pieces, and some day I’ll be talking about more of those games; but lately I’ve been on the lookout for games smaller groups can play. 2 people games especially can be hard to find in general, let alone ones that keep their replay-ability.
This is why I want you to try A Game of Thrones Hand of the King. It’s a small and fairly simple game for 2-4 players. Games take around 20 minutes on average and you can really understand the game in just a few turns.
The game contains 36 character cards, 7 banner tokens, and 14 companion cards. The “board” is a randomly dealt 6 x 6 grid of the character cards. These cards feature characters from each main house in Game of Thrones and 1 Varys card. Varys is your playable piece in the grid. Essentially, each player takes a turn moving Varys to collect members of each Game of Thrones house. The player with the most character cards from a particular house holds that banner token. The person who has the most banner tokens at the end of the game wins. When the last member of any house is taken from the “board”, the player who picked it up immediately draws a companion card. Companion cards are made up of various side characters from the show and each have their own game effect, adding some luck to a mostly strategic game.
To move Varys on your turn, you call any cardinal direction (no diagonal movements allowed) and a house. You will then pick up the Varys card, and move it in the direction you named, to the last card matching the house that you named in that direction. You’ll pick up that card, any card you passed over that is also the house you named, set Varys down in that now empty spot, and compare the cards with the other players to see if you can take a banner token from the pile or another player.
There are a lot of things I appreciate about this game. First of all, it is still very strategic for being short and simple. You don’t need to just plan your next move; you need to have that chess mentality of thinking several moves ahead considering all options based on your opponent’s turns. There’s a fun internal struggle to choose the best option available. Secondly, even if you didn’t watch Game of Thrones or didn’t like it, it has very little to do with the show aside from its skin. This game could work with a number of themes but happens to fit Game of Thrones well. Lastly, this is a very affordable game despite it being published by the well-known Fantasy Flight Games company. I picked this up blindly from Target for $9.99 and can’t believe what a deal that turned out to be. As of this moment, it’s also on sale for $9.97 on Amazon! The contents are of decent quality and I love the art style too.
It should be noted that while I’m in love with this game, Adam still wins 90% of the time. That hasn’t stopped me from playing any chance I get though!