Last week saw the flames of Phoenix Dawn put on a low heat as our GM was away fighting evil which hailed the usual opportunity for us to pull on Jamie's sack to see what came out - in fact he's starting to remind me of a sort of Father Christmas crossed with a snooker referee. As it happens it was also one of those evenings when everyone just popped in to say hi and have a beer and I think I counted 17 role players all shouting over each other by the time the games began. This included a couple of visitors who found us on the internet, Leo and Cameron who wandered in to see what all the fuss was about, so a hearty welcome to the new faces. It was also one of those awkward moments when we sort of had enough players for 3 and a half games so it was a matter of sitting one in the Exalted and another came with us to play test the Game of Thrones board game.
Speaking of which, here is a magnificent picture of us plotting and maneuvering our forces around the world in an attempt to gain resources and undermine our friends. The game itself has a fairly complex sequence of play and its by the 10th round player power is tallied up from conquests and a winner is declared. You start with your house base and a few forces related to your supply, including ships, in the appropriate starting positions, place orders face down to either move, defend or support various other units and then each player then resolves their orders and the board starts to change as an initial land grab and military escalation turns into contention as forces become adjacent. Expanding supply, armies and influence is done by seizing castles, appropriating land and expending our influence. There are event cards during each turn to mix up the action and players also hold items of power and advantage cards related to their faction. A nice touch is the use of boats that are able to ferry armies around coastal boarders to project power.
We only had time for a few rounds of play given that we were also learning but it was surprising that I did manage to get a good feel for the game. It reminds me a great deal of the old '50s game Diplomacy by Allan Calhamer (derived from his study of European history at Harvard) which was a childhood favorite but the Game of Thrones context works well, particularly with forcing players against each other so quickly.
A hurricane was raging outside by the end of the evening so there wasn't the opportunity to catch up with the rest of the club so I will report back next week unless they have all stormed off in Huff.