|Image from Fantasy Flight games.|
I read through the rules and played the first scenario as a solo game, just to get a feel for how it works. Rhys wandered by while I was playing and was instantly enthralled. He, of course, asked if we could play together. With all of the family around we were not able to get to it until the 1st, but that worked out because it meant we got to start the year with a game.
The game is well laid out, the usual high quality FFG card counters and nice plastic miniatures. It comes with two factions, Lannister and Stark. The rules are clear enough, there's just a lot of them. The game play is simple but there are a lot of phases to the game, which take a few turns to figure out.
The game comes with two boards (two sides of the same board), counters, cards, miniatures (red or white plastic) and custom dice. There are also flag holders and card flags, to slot into them, for each unit. The flags are red, blue or green, and each unit type has a card laying out its stats abilities and movement/attack that corresponds to that color. The Lannister Cavaliers, for example, have three lines on their card, one for green (worst), one for blue (middling) and one for red (best). Red roll four dice to attack, but cannot move as far. Green only roll two dice but can move farther and attack.
|A painted Lannister army, on the hex map. Image from Fantasy Flight Games.|
And that may be the strength of this game. It gives you the miniature experience as a board game and is, therefor, a great entry game to our hobby. Rhys can't handle the measuring and infinite choices of Lord of the Rings, but he could grasp the movement in this game right away. His tactics were not bad at all. We played cooperatively, each of us taking half of the Stark army. I played the Lannister's, though Rhys didn't realize that was what was happening.
For the record, we tied, which had the boy very disappointed since we had almost wiped out the enemy army; they were down to just four individual figures left. It just shows the importance of playing to the objectives.
I really like this game and the game system is very slick. It might be a great way to build Rhys up to what he really wants to do, which is full on miniature gaming. I have found myself checking out fantasy and historical ranges of 15mm (the size of the minis in the game) models so we could expand our game play.