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A Game of Thrones is one of my new favourite board games. I played two quick games last night, and I’m hooked. (And by quick, I mean they only lasted 90 minutes instead of the expected 3 hours.)

Now this game isn’t for everyone, you have to enjoy deep strategy games and knowing the difference between a Lannister and Stark definitely adds to the experience. Once you figure out all the rules (warning: there’s a lot), the game play is lots of fun.

A Game of Thrones reminds me of Diplomacy (especially being able to support other players in battle), but doesn’t suffer from the grinding paralysis that every game of Diplomacy I’ve played devolves into. All of the games elements – alliances, secret orders, leaders with special powers, warfare, and power and influence tracks – really complement each other well and create a complex, but extremely fun experience.

I did well in both games we played, as House Greyjoy in a 4-player match and Baratheon in a 3-player game. Ultimately I lost to rapidly advancing opponents from Baratheon and Stark. I can’t wait to play again in a full 6-player match, and see what House Tyrell and Martell have to offer.

The only game play problems we ran into was it was too easy for Baratheon to take over neutral territories in the 3-player game. And in both games, the uneven distribution of Muster and Supply cards screwed us over (all mustering in the first game and none in the second).