Posted by: markfender | January 19, 2016

A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition LCG

Over the Christmas break, I got the opportunity to play this game…several times.

gt01_mainIn fact, probably too many times. But, as a fan of the 1st edition, the new edition is pretty good.

Now, there are eight factions in the main box, unlike the 1st edition which only had four (Granted, two of those factions were added for the second edition). The bad news, of course, is that you need three copies of the base game to have three copies of all the cards. Which is a continual annoyance from FFG. However, they packed a lot of cards for different factions into the main box, so I’m a little more inclined to forgive this time. It’s still kind of annoying though.

Another great change is that the box is smaller. It’s a pretty minor thing, but the standard FFG square box size was always too big for their Living Card Games. So I’m glad to see them picking a box size more appropriate for the amount of material contained therein.

As for the game play, it’s basically the same. There’s challenges, a dominance phase, and plots. There’s been a few tweaks to gameflow, but nothing too major. The rulebook is better at explaining itself and the really complicated turn-windows/moribund states rules language has been dramatically cleaned up. This shouldn’t impact your regular casual games, but, if you ever degenerate into one of those card-rule-based arguments about timing, it should be a lot easier to figure out now (The last edition was pretty arcane when it came to that).

A fairly major change, at least for how we play, are the Title cards. In multiplayer games, everyone gets a Title that gives them a special ability, a person they can’t attack, and a person they get bonuses for attacking. In the new edition, there’s two people you get bonuses for attacking. Likewise, the abilities got stronger (if they needed it – certain cards remained the same). In another dramatic change, these are picked privately, with no revealing happening until everyone has picked a Title. This can make the game state a little more random than I tend to prefer (especially if someone’s on the edge of winning and you need to pick the perfect Title to stop them), but with the addition of two enemies per Title, I can certainly see the reasoning behind the change. This will change how multiplayer plays out.

Out of the box, I’d say the eight factions are pretty well balanced. All of our games were pretty close. Every House got a slight shift in how they played. The Baratheon, for instance, used to gain Power all the time. Now, they kneel your characters (which will ultimately end in them claiming more Power). The Martell were best when they were losing, but now, in addition to that, they also gained an odd timer where they can potentially explode late game. But, it’s a Living Card Game, so I’m sure every faction will get new schticks as more cards are released (It’s kind of the nature of the beast).

So, in short, it’s good. It still is the best multiplayer card game of its ilk. It still has thematically appropriate abilities for all the characters, capturing the books fairly well. And you should probably get it.

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