With a mere two abridged seasons left of HBO’s most popular show, many fans are already dreading the end of the series. Thankfully, Game of Thrones will live on for years and years thanks to the terrific games based on the franchise for both tabletops and computers. George R.R. Martin managed to create a rich world filled with a vibrant setting and hundreds of characters that lends itself incredibly well to games. So, it’s no surprise to anyone that the games are just as complex as the novels they’re based on.
Obviously, the biggest one is the second edition of the Game of Thrones board game from Fantasy Flight. The incredibly complex strategy game is much more than just a Risk clone (although Game of Thrones has those too). The board game was initially released in 2003, a solid eight years before the HBO series. As such, the game was free of the constraints of the franchise’s future popularity. It could instead focus on creating a deep and rewarding tabletop experience that remains immensely popular more than a decade later. The game has been described as taking the betrayal, bloodshed, and intrigue of the series and bringing it to your living room and it’s a perfect game to bring friends together, and then make them despise each other.
While the series has been highly successful on tabletops, the franchise has had a much more difficult time bringing itself to the digital world. The 2012 action-RPG should have been terrific, but it was an entirely lackluster effort that disappointed critics and fans alike. An episodic adventure series developed by Telltale Games fared much better, and the second season has been coming along slowly. The follow-up to the game was announced in 2015, but the studio has been silent regarding any further developments. Arguably, the most successful current video game licensing Game of Thrones is an online slot reel highlighted in one casino’s description alongside a number of other games based on popular franchises. It’s a simple game that takes four of the great houses of the Seven Kingdoms to the slots and manages to bring the look and feel of the series from the castle to the casino. The quality of the series when it comes
to video games is a decidedly mixed bag, but we’re glad we can take solace in the franchise’s more tangible adaptations.
The best and most recent way for fans to dance with dragons is another board game that was just released. Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne is another quality offering from the folks at Fantasy Flight, and it’s a game of intrigue and betrayal that actively encourages you to deceive, bribe and cheat your way to victory in true Westerosi style. The game system itself is directly pulled from the classic tabletop game Cosmic Encounter. Fans of the original game (which dates all the way back to 1977) will be able to jump right in and enjoy the same intrigue with their friends.
Between two tabletop games and multiple card games, Fantasy Flight has done an incredible job. And they’re not only mining Game of Thrones for all its worth, but consistently putting out great games worthy of one of the most popular shows of all time. With a universe rife with lush lore full of possibilities, the popularity of Game of Thrones is set to continue long after both the books and television series have ended.