Based on the popular A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R. R. Martin, “A Game of Thrones” collectible card game, better known by its fans as AGoT, is produced by Fantasy Flight Games. Though the novel series has received a huge boost recently from the popular television series A Game of Thrones, this card game was first released in 2002, long before the TV series was even conceived. Thus, the card game has gotten a big boost in publicity, as has George R. R. Martin’s series of books.
In the card game version of Martin’s universe, players take on the role of the leader of one of the “great houses” of the fictional fantasy world of Westeros. The purpose of the game is to take control of King’s Landing and the Iron Throne. Along the way, the game’s players attack each other with their military forces, use intrigue and spying, and (like characters in the books and the TV show) are forced to make bold choices and power plays to gain support of the game’s non-player characters.
There are many card types in the game, including military forces, alliance-building cards, cards that help you create an “agenda” (essentially changing the rules of the game), world event cards, and plenty of character and location cards representing recognizable features from George R. R. Martin’s popular A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. The card game was designed to include sudden changes in momentum and player fortune, much like the story arc in Martin’s series.
A Game of Thrones CCG has won two Origins awards: one in 2002 for Best Trading Card Game and one in 2003 for Best Card Game Expansion. The game has changed many times in its decade of existence, including a recent conversion to what Fantasy Flight calls a Living Card Game, rather than a Collectible Card Game as it was originally designed. If you’re unfamiliar with what exactly a Living Card Game is, basically A Game of Thrones now uses fixed packs rather than random collectible cards, focusing more on multiplayer “Melee” rounds rather than head-to-head jousts.
The game is unique in that each player has to use two decks: a 7-card plot deck and a larger deck of between 40 and 60 cards made up of characters cards, attachment cards, location cards, and special game events. The game uses a draw deck as well as a discard pile and a dead pile for characters or locations that are killed or in some other way destroyed.
How to Win A Game of Thrones
The game ends when any player gains 15 power tokens between their House card and character cards that are in play, however the game includes lots of extra cards and events that alter the total number of power tokens it takes to win. Players earn these power tokens by succeeding in challenges against their opponent, but because of the nature of the universe the game is based on, there are also cards in the various expansion packs that let a player earn power tokens for his House card or characters in other ways besides challenges and military attacks.
A Game of Thrones, like most card games that gain any sort of following, is played tournament-style, under special tournament rules put together by Fantasy Flight Games. These tourneys have taken place every year since 2003, a year after the game appeared. New decks and cards are still being introduced, as Fantasy Flight Games does their best to take advantage of the new popularity of the books, thanks to the popular TV show that airs on the HBO network.
Players Cory Faherty and Tzu-Mainn Chen have both won multiple titles and are considered the top A Game of Thrones players in the world, though thanks to changes in the game, converted from a CCG to a Living Card Game, the field appears to be wide-open. The new playing style means that players used to the old version of the game have to evolve and adapt their decks and playing styles and face a new pool of opponents.