Westeros Problems

Writer_smallerWhat are those rules again . . .?

It’s been a long time since we’ve managed a game of Game of Thrones, but we’re angling to get it to the table sometime soon. It’s heavy, but a really great game. One of the first really heavy games we ever bought. In terms of rules and game play, it does actual flow quite well, despite a chunky 30-page rulebook. All the different mechanics work quite well, and it makes for a really engaging session.

But ports, though. I don’t know why this is, but we always end up looking up ports during a game. They are a particular type of territory that seem to be an exception to every other rule in the game, and we can never quite remember exactly how they function. I’m never quite sure if this is because they are needlessly complex, or if the rules could be explained better. It is, by and large, a decent rulebook though.

Thinking about Game of Thrones and its weight always puts me in mind of Eclipse. That is a game that is just as complex (if not more so) but all the mechanics seem to knit so effortlessly together that we never have to look things up. The game just flows far better than a game of its type has any right to. You are researching technologies, upgrading your fleet, exploring and colonising systems and managing a basic economy, and it all just gels. It might be one of the truly great game designs in our collection, I think, and definitely worth a look if a 4X or sci-fi is your thing.

In news, this week, there have been so many Blood Bowl teasers, videos, and news that I may just explode like an over-inflated squig. Way back in my Warhammer years, I picked up a copy of Blood Bowl, and was a huge fan. Unfortunately, most of my time was spent trying to convince people to play it, as opposed to actually playing the damn game.

Luckily, this time around I seem to be surrounded by people who are as excited about the game as I am, so I will be going all in – as many teams and expansions as I can afford. I have heard a lot of great things about Guild Ball recently, and if it wasn’t for the re-release of Blood Bowl I would almost certainly have picked it up by now. But Blood Bowl is a classic, so Guild Ball will have to wait (until I meet someone with a copy willing to give me a demo game).

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Football for Nerds

Writer_smallerFootball Crazy, Football Mad

For those not of Europe, or those even further removed from the sporting world than we are, the ‘Euros’ are currently on. This means Ireland collectively goes down to the pub a few nights a week to watch our national team play soccer.

At the time of writing the comic, Ireland had managed one defeat and a draw. However, by the time of writing this blog post, they had added a victory to this tally (1-0, exciting stuff, right?). This has in fact allowed them to qualify for the next stage, so I guess the competition could not accurately be described as fierce. Nonetheless, even the most die-hard fan would admit that getting to the this stage was far from likely, so it is a big deal for a country not given to major sporting success in this field. The media coverage, and national interest, has felt ubiquitous.

Anyway, no-one comes here to read about soccer, you’re all here to read about board games. So I guess I should apologise now, because I’m far too excited about Game of Thrones to talk about board games this week.

 

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

There genuinely was whooping and shouting and cheering in our house. That was not exaggerated for comic effect. That was one of the most tense, grim, action-packed, exhausting and satisfying hours of television I have ever seen. Mostly thanks to what was probably the best battle scene ever filmed for film or television. From when Ramsay sent Rickon running across the battlefield, until Jon Snow grappled him to the ground, it didn’t let up for a minute.

As absorbed as I was in the episode, I don’t think I realised exactly how invested I had become in Game of Thrones until the Stark Banner was unfurled again at Winterfell. I couldn’t then help but join in the cheering, in that sense of justice, relief, finality and bitterly won success.

The only board game related note that I can add to this is that we will definitely be playing the Game of Thrones board game the next chance we get. Although it will be a little strange to visit a Westeros so changed, holding hands of cards filled with characters long since deceased. It will almost be nostalgic, if a little tragic.

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The problem of choice

Writer_smallerThe problem of choice

So when I said last week I was super-busy with work and other terrible non-comic things and would have a blog post next week, I of course didn’t meant this week. I meant next-next week. Have some much needed time off coming up, so I can recharge my batteries, put more time into the comics, and play some games.

What’s everyone been playing?

What should I play?

Can I be in your gang?

 

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Drinking game (of thrones)

Writer_smallerDrinking game

The format for this week’s comic was stolen from The Animaniacs. The story itself, however, is taken from real life. The true horror of that night is hard to relate in comic form. It was past three in the morning when the game ended, and if it went on any longer, I really believe blood would have been spilled. Actual real blood, and not figurative game blood.

The problem here wasn’t type of game, it was simpler than that, coming down to nothing other than length of game. If you have a few drinks with friends over the course of one or two hours, you can play some fun games. But if everyone drinks over the course of four or more hours (truth be told we might have had one or two before then) then it can become a different experience all together.

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Game of Thrones – What a difference a season makes

Writer_smallerWhat a difference a season makes

If season four of Game of Thrones taught us anything, it’s that Tyrion doesn’t have the field to himself when it comes to Westeros’ Man of the Year awards (at least amongst fans, in Westeros itself, Geoffrey buys the accolade every year). From a House that hadn’t much mention, let alone screen time on the series to date, came one of the show’s more memorable characters. The Red Viper of Dorne single-handedly managed to spark interest in that Southern part of the Game of Thrones board game map. Of course, those who have read the novels will argue and counter this point, but as soon as anyone who has read ahead opens their mouth I stick my fingers in my ears to avoid spoilers, and so remain happily oblivious to their protestations.

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