What We're Playing: Game of Thrones & Warhammer Invasion

Written by Paul Goodhead

September 27, 2012 // 9:31 a.m.

Tags: #board-game #game-of-thrones #warhammer

A little while ago we took a gander at a couple of board games that we’d been playing recently, and both were pretty obscure titles. This week we’ve got a look at another two games, both of which are from IPs that you should recognize. Let the games begin.[break]

Game of Thrones the board game - £38.50 from maddisongames.co.uk

In terms of scope, Game of Thrones the board game is one of the largest and most complete games we’ve played; the board is a huge fold out map of Westeros and there are a large amount of mechanics to balance, such as diplomacy, movement and resource management. This means you’ll need a relatively dedicated group of players to play the game, as it’s not easy to pick up, and you’ll lose the best part of a whole day playing it, despite the claims made on the box.

You’ll also need a large group of you; the game claims to be for between three and six players, but realistically anything less than five is a problem as the geography of the map makes it too easy for the southern houses to cruise to victory.

What We're Playing: Game of Thrones & Warhammer Invasion *What we're playing: boardgames two

If you actually manage to get enough people together and get them up to speed on the rules, you’ll be rewarded with a rather brilliantly evil game of politics, betrayal and suspicion. Counters representing orders are placed face down on the board in turn, before all being revealed, meaning you’ve no idea whether your (supposedly allied) neighbour has just placed an attack or defend order on your border. One of the biggest compliments we can give the game is that it reminded us of our office game of Neptune’s Pride.

A final twist is the clever power struggle mechanic which sees players bidding to occupy certain roles within the Court of the Iron Throne. These bring with them certain advantages (such as getting to decide how ties in combat shake out) and can lead to some hasty last minute bargaining when you realize that the guy who you screwed over last turn now gets to decide where in the turn order you go.

At £38.50, the game isn’t cheap, but it’s got a level of depth and polish that are commensurate to its price, and we certainly enjoyed our time with the game. Just make sure you’ve got enough willing friends before taking the plunge.

Warhammer Invasion - £21.99 from gameslore.com

It’s not easy to develop a card game that is both tactically varied and quick to play but that’s exactly what Fantasy Flight has done with Warhammer Invasion. It’s quick to pick up too, as the turn sequence is simple and the mechanics intuitive.

Winning is simply a matter of destroying two of the three areas in your opponents capital while at the same time attempting to defend your own with units and support cards.

What We're Playing: Game of Thrones & Warhammer Invasion *What we're playing: boardgames two

Four decks are provided in the box (orcs, humans, dwarves & chaos) and each is pleasingly different to the last, meaning it’s necessary to be tactically flexible, depending on which deck you’re using. If you’re feeling particularly hardcore then you can go down the deck building route, teaming up a pair of the decks and hand crafting a set of cards designed to work together for maximum effect.

The one disappointment with the game is the rulebook, which is decidedly light on detail in a few key areas. It’s not an insurmountable problem, it’s easy to agree on a house ruling after all, but it’s still frustrating as you’ll only find out about these problems mid game.

As you’d expect from a deck building game, expansions are available which bring other Warhammer races into the game such as elves and skaven and evolve the game world. These aren’t cheap however, especially when viewed against the very reasonable £22 asking price for the core game.

These are, however, minor quibbles, and they shouldn’t overshadow the fact that Warhammer Invasion is one of the tightest and most enjoyable card games we’ve had the pleasure of playing in a long time. Do yourself a favour and leave the PC off for an afternoon, you won’t regret it.
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